We all want to make our business or side hustle profitable. But that doesn’t always happen. In this guide, I list my best entrepreneurship articles to help start or improve your business.
Building and growing a business is not as straightforward as most people think. There are many hidden principles that you must know about as an entrepreneur.
It’s not only about trying to succeed or dealing with failure. The lessons you’ll read about here are the ones I’ve learned from personal experience and my mentors.
On This Page
- How to build a profitable business
- Online business ideas that generate sustainable revenue
- Best books on entrepreneurship
- Read all articles on entrepreneurship
How to build a profitable business
Focus on creating value. That’s the purpose of a business. It’s not to make money. When you give value to people and place the right price for it, they’ll be happy to buy and share your product/service. The by-product is profit.
So when you’re starting out, I recommend you hone your income-generating skills. Even if you don’t know what business or side hustle you want to start. These skills will ensure you can always provide value to others.
- Persuading — it’s the #1 income-generating skill I can think of. We sell ourselves and our ideas all the time. A lot of people assume you become better at sales by selling. But true selling is nothing more than problem-solving.
- Writing — The ability to translate your thoughts into words in an effective way will help you to stand out from the crowd. I’ve built my whole career on this skill.
- Public speaking — Every time you’re answering a question in a group setting, talking to your team, or trying to get a bunch of people together, you’re public speaking. You don’t have to be a TED speaker to acquire this skill.
- Communicating — In my experience, most people in business lack communication skills. They don’t share their ideas and feelings effectively. If people don’t get you, you’re a lousy communicator.
- Focusing — If you improve your ability to focus on a difficult task, for several hours at a time, you will be surprised by how much you can get done. And when you get more things done, you get more rewards.
- Leading — When you can lead a group of people to effectively offer value, you increase your results by leaps and bounds.
- Decision Making/Reasoning — The reason most people think decision-making is not an income-generating skill is that they look at outcomes. But you don’t control outcomes. Instead, you can make better potential outcomes by having an effective decision-making process.
How to validate your business idea without spending money
You’ll want to validate your business idea before investing time and money in it. So first, ask yourself: Is there an existing market? If nobody else is offering the product/service you’re thinking about, there are two possibilities:
- No one has executed it on a large scale (you’re the next Zuckerberg)
- Or the idea isn’t profitable.
Then, soundboard your ideas with other entrepreneurs. Test the idea’s validity by getting insights from others who have real-world experience in the industry you’re trying to get into.
When you’re clear about how your idea can benefit your target audience, then it’s time to try selling it. Do that by creating a landing page. This is where you’ll see whether your audience actually finds your idea valuable enough to spend money on.
If you get enough sign-ups, then it’s time to launch your minimum-viable product! That’s when your business really starts.
8 online business ideas that generate sustainable revenue
I must be honest; it took me years to build a stable business. And I’m no way near where I want to take my business. The good thing about being a struggling entrepreneur for years is that I’ve learned what doesn’t work.
I’ll share 8 ideas for online businesses that have the potential to generate consistent revenue.
- Self-publish books — No one cares whether your book is self-published or published by a traditional publisher. The quality of your book is what matters.
- Create an app — Even without knowing how to code, anyone can build an app. There’s a list of no-code app-makers you can use online to do this.
- Sell other people’s products — Don’t want to build your own products? Then sell existing products, also known as affiliate marketing.
- Create an online course — We always want to learn. The popularity of online courses shows that there is great demand.
- Start a paid newsletter — If you can generate a small but loyal following that’s willing to pay, you can make a good living with a newsletter.
- Build an online community — Most digital entrepreneurs work from home, so they barely interact with new people (often, just clients) on a daily basis. It can be a lonely pursuit. That’s where a paid community comes in.
- Start a coaching program — You can do nearly every type of 1-on-1 coaching over Zoom or Skype. Again, it’s all about what you’re good at. People want to pay for expertise.
- Build a freelance practice — Building your own site, publishing your own content, and attracting high-quality, well-paying clients take much more time. But the pay-off is so much more rewarding and sustainable.
Focus on building digital assets like products, memberships, and email lists. Those things will help you to become sustainable. You don’t want to rely on third parties who own the relationship with your customers.
Best books on entrepreneurship and business
The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss — The modern entrepreneur’s bible. This book changed my perspective on doing business. Tim Ferriss has influenced thousands of people across the world who have gone on to start companies themselves. Ferriss is also an angel investor or an advisor to Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Uber, and other tech companies. This is a must-read for anyone who desires financial freedom.
Zero To One by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters — Peter Thiel is mostly known as the co-founder of PayPal and the first outside investor of Facebook. Zero To One is a book that discusses the motives behind entrepreneurship. It covers essential topics such as history, human behavior, competition, creativity, and how new tech companies change the world. Zero To One is a necessary read for every entrepreneur or anyone who is interested in learning about the rise of startups.
Purple Cow by Seth Godin — This is one of the best books on marketing and Seth Godin is considered as one of the best marketing minds in the world. The book’s message is simple: if you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to be remarkable. Purple Cow is a must-read for every business owner and marketer. I also encourage you to read Godin’s personal blog. He posts a thought-provoking article every single day. Now, that is remarkable.
Contagious by Jonah Berger — When you want to have massive marketing success with a limited budget, read Contagious by Jonah Berger. It is an excellent book with a thorough analysis of viral campaigns, and why they catch on. Jonah Berger is a Marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and uses scientific research to back up his findings. His writing style, however, is far from academic and very enjoyable.
The Boron Letters by Gary Halbert — Gary Halbert was a successful copywriter. And today, he’s still a legend in the marketing world. But this collection of letters goes beyond marketing. Halbert uses his copywriting skills to teach his son about direct response marketing, life, health, and being successful. He wrote these letters while he was serving time in federal prison.
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne — I have to confess that I’ve been familiar with the concept of ‘blue oceans’ and ‘red oceans’ in the marketing world for a few years. However, I haven’t been applying it as much as I should. Too often, we try to compete with other businesses in the red oceans. Why do we do it? Why do we always try to be better and not different? Blue Ocean Strategy provides valuable answers that help you create unique products that serve new markets.
Anything You Want by Derek Sivers — Almost all entrepreneurs I know are lazy. I’m the biggest example of that. Why do you think I’m so big on productivity? I don’t want to waste my time on unnecessary things. Even though reading is one of the most necessary things for me as an entrepreneur, I understand that you might not have time to read all the books on my reading list. Maybe you have a 9–5 job, run multiple businesses, or have a house full of kids. These are all legitimate reasons for lack of time.
Read all articles on entrepreneurship
Over the years, I’ve tried and tested various ways to start and improve a business. Here are all the articles I’ve written about building a profitable business!
- Work Less, Earn More: Why High Performers Live a Good Life
- Believing in Yourself Is the First Step to Achieve Anything
- How You Can Become An Authority In Your Field
- How To Get Repeat Customers For Your Business
- Focus On Your Skills—Not On Finding Hacks
- 10 Best Affiliate Programs For Bloggers
- Definitive Guide To Creating Profitable Online Courses
- Why Every Professional Should Create An Online Course
- 8 Online Business Ideas That Generate Sustainable Revenue
- How To Validate Your Business Idea Without Spending Money
- How To Use A Book To Build A Career Or Business
- Essential Guide To Making Digital Products People Will Pay For
- The Law Of Momentum: How To Become Unstoppable
- 3 Steps To Building An Online Career (working from home)
- How To Create A Career
- The 3 Rules Of Writing Successful Pitch Emails
- Perception Is Reality
- Don’t Compete. Create!
- Don’t Know What You Want? Improve These 7 Universal Skills
- Leave The Office On Time and Don’t Take Your Work Home
- Impatience: The Pitfall Of Every Ambitious Person
- If You Rest, You Rust. So Always Keep Moving.
- Life Is Math—Not Magic
- Why You Need Emotional Intelligence To Succeed In Business
- A Quick And Easy Survival Guide For Dealing With Assholes
- 10 Timeless Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read
- Being Different Beats Being Better
- The Power Of Compounding: Good Things Take Time
- A Practical Way To Overcome Impostor Syndrome
- How To Improve Your Mindset, Build Strength, And Make A Living Doing What You Love
- How To Create Products That Sell For Decades
- How Casey Neistat Redefined Branding
- 4 Ideas To Improve Your Creative Thinking
- The Importance Of Self-Awareness For Entrepreneurs
- Two Writing Tips That Instantly Improve Your Everyday Writing
- Do You Want One Marshmallow Now? Or Two In 15 minutes?
- If Social Media Makes You Feel Bad, Quit Using It
- Stop Chasing Opportunities
- The Power of Giving
- If There’s No Light At The End Of The Tunnel: QUIT
- The One Thing Nobody Ever Told You About Personal Branding
- What’s Your Strategy For 2017?
- Always Invest In Your Education
- 30 Things I’ve Learned From Publishing 100 Articles
- The Magic Of Momentum: What Goes Up Slowly Comes Down Fast
- Know Thy Time: Peter Drucker’s Strategy to Become More Effective
- How To Go From Zero To One
- The Pomodoro Method: Take Strategic Breaks To Improve Productivity
- Why I Decided To Quit My Corporate Job 365 Days Ago
- 4 Tips To Successfully Ask For A Raise
- How To Deal With Backstabbers At Work And Office Politics In General
- Leadership Lesson: Accept That People Are Different
- Why Competition Is Bad