Whether you're thinking about becoming an entrepreneur or in the thick of launching your own business, you could certainly use expert advice to help you navigate the uncertain territory of starting a business, marketing your products, balancing your workload with your personal life, and figuring out how to succeed in a busy world and competitive marketplace. We've compiled a list of some of the best audiobooks for entrepreneurs by successful businesspeople who have been in your shoes and are happy to offer you the benefit of their experience.
She Means Business
Carrie Green started her first online business at age 20, so she really knows what she's talking about when it comes to launching an online career. In this savvy and honest audiobook, which she narrates herself, Green guides you through the process of clarifying your goals and business vision, the nuts and bolts of setting up your business, and the more elusive elements of marketing and finding customers who will go on to sell your business for you. Full of creative inspiration and practical tips, this is the perfect listen if you’re in the idea stage of your entrepreneurial journey—and need a nudge to take the leap.
Ask for More
If you're starting your own business, then you need to become comfortable with negotiating. For many people, that's a daunting prospect, but in this audiobook, Carter reassures listeners that they don't need to fear the negotiation process. Carter is a Columbia law professor and mediation expert who knows a thing or two about how to negotiate. Spoiler alert: the key to negotiating successfully isn't being the loudest or most aggressive voice in the room. By asking ten simple questions, Carter gives listeners a framework for rethinking how to reach other people and come to an agreement, all of which will prove beneficial in any business setting.
If you’re like many people, the stability (and benefits) of a traditional job might be too essential to give up, even to have your own business—but that doesn't mean you can't have a successful and fulfilling side hustle. In this audiobook, Guillebeau walks listeners through how to brainstorm, develop, and launch a side hustle, find customers, leverage incentives and discounts, and manage business efficiently. Then, once that side hustle is established, he discusses how to scale it up to make more money. This is a really helpful guide for people who need to keep their day job while launching their own business, whether due to lack of financial backing or for practical purposes, as well as for those who want to diversify their income stream, helping to make for a more stable career and livelihood in the long run.
If you're building a business out of nothing, you're going to need lots of passion and perseverance. But how does a person acquire such characteristics? A MacArthur Grant-winning psychologist, Angela Duckworth has studied what it is that endows certain individuals with this so-called grit, and what it takes to build it. Going beyond talent, she examines the life experiences that give people the tools they need to keep going when the going gets tough. Duckworth narrates this audiobook, which draws on novel experiments in peak performance, interviews with successful people, and her own hard-fought journey to success.
Lost and Founder
For entrepreneurs who are curious about the startup world and the realities of Silicon Valley, this is a painfully honest audiobook from the founder and former CEO of Moz, a successful marketing software company that took years to reach success and was often in debt and financial peril. Fishkin reveals that the realities for most startups aren't at all like the genesis of Facebook, but instead involve unexpected challenges, financial hurdles, sudden pitfalls, and a lot of hard work. This is a practical, candid, and helpful listen for anyone who wants a realistic look at what it means to be a startup entrepreneur.
Cara Alwill Leyba recognizes that today's entrepreneurs aren't necessarily looking to build a multi-million-dollar corporation or design the next or design the next best-selling app. They're people with side hustles and workers in the gig economy who want to make money, have a successful career, or be their own boss. That's why she offers practical work advice for every woman who wants to take control of her own career while also supporting other motivated women—entrepreneurs, professionals, and “side hustlers” alike. Narrated by Em Eldridge, Kate Orsini, Kyla Garcia, and Cherise Boothe, this is a short, inspirational audiobook that's less about the nuts and bolts of running a business and more about how to build a sustainable career of one's own and make each other better.
Talking to Strangers
Let's face it: talking to strangers is inevitable when it comes to starting a new business. You can't just work with and sell to your family and friends. In this fascinating listening, Gladwell talks about how we think about people who are different from us, and how we often misunderstand, mislead, or miscommunicate with one another. Based on extensive research and interviews, this audiobook will hopefully reframe the way we connect with others so that we can communicate more clearly with them—which can have important effects on businesses and entrepreneurs.
Why do some products continue to sell out, year after year? How do you build a company that continues to thrive over decades, or even centuries? In this business audiobook, Holiday takes a deep dive into the most successful-works of art and entertainment, including books, films, and songs, examining how they became enduring hits. But it’s not just for aspiring writers and artists—Perennial Seller is applicable across industries and fields, and contains a nice mix of philosophy, history, and practical advice, from tips on timing to the value of building an email newsletter list. Narrated by Holiday, this is a perfect listen if you want to start thinking about the marketability of your product beyond the first year (or five) you're in business: according to Holiday, 10 years is the magical threshold.
The Magic of Tiny Business: You Don't Have to Go Big to Make a Great Living
If the idea of putting your career and financial stability on the line for a big, uncertain business venture makes you nervous, consider starting a tiny business. Tiny doesn't mean tiny profits or even part-time, as Rowe demonstrates here. Instead, Rowe defines
tiny as a business that is focused, targeted, and allows you as an entrepreneur to still have time and energy for your family, causes you care about, or whatever matters to you. Offering a ton of practical advice to help you test your concept, manage your money, create alliances, prepare for challenges, and maximize profits while staying true to your values, Rowe demonstrates that you can start a business on your own timeline and schedule without sacrificing your personal priorities. The Barefoot Executive
If you want a no-nonsense guide to building a business that you love and a work life that makes you happy, Carrie Wilkerson has written and narrated a practical pathway for you. She's opted out of inspirational or philosophical musings to instead provide a series of practical steps to help you determine what you want your business to look like, the specific actions you need to get there, and how to stay focused on your goals and connect with the right markets for your business so that you don't waste any time on your path to success. This audiobook also includes links to Wilkerson’s training videos, which offer exercises and even more opportunities to grow your business.
Now a celebrated life coach, Lisa Nichols was a single mom stuck in dead-end jobs and barely making ends meet when she resolved to break out of her self-defeating pattern, defy the odds, and make the leap to a career of her dreams. If you’re seeking inspiration for your own transformation, then you need this audiobook! Nichols focuses on what she calls the 4Es—Enrichment, Enchantment, Engagement, and Endowment—as the foundation for building a successful career and rewarding life. Full of practical steps, real-life case studies, and mindset-changing insights, this author-narrated listen has the power to help you not only take charge of your career but also dramatically improve your finances, your relationships, and your sense of self-worth.
A stay-at-home mom turned multimillion-dollar-producing business owner, Lindsay Teague Moreno delivers a how-to, can-do guide to starting a business for every woman who shies away from ambition—maybe because she thinks it’ll make her a bad mother or wife, or maybe because she lacks education or work experience. This author-narrated audiobook will empower and inspire women to acknowledge their talents and capabilities, think long-term about their business ideas, and find success on their own terms and their own timelines. Part motivational memoir and part guidebook, this listen will give you the tools and confidence to launch your business now—no matter where you are in life or what you’ve been taught to believe.
Don't Keep Your Day Job
Countering conventional wisdom, popular podcaster Cathy Heller believes you sometimes you have to take a risk and quit the job that's holding you back in order to follow your passion. But she knows it's not as simple as leaping and hoping a net will appear—and that's why she's interviewed experts on the subject, including Jenna Fischer, Jen Sincero, and Gretchen Rubin. With the help of their insights and strategies, you’ll learn how to identify your passion and turn it into a source of profit, so that you're contributing to the world in a way that's meaningful to you, and building a successful career based on doing what you love. Heller narrates this audiobook, which comes with a handy PDF of resources.
Before and After the Book Deal
You may have heard that being an author is akin to running your own small business, and Maum confirms this in her guide to securing a book deal…and then dealing with all that comes after. The first step to having a career as a writer is to hone your writing skills and then actually sit down and finish writing the best novel that you can. Maum covers that process and what comes next, offering important insights on what to expect from an agent and an editor, how publishers pay writers, taxes, and the work that authors are expected to put into promotion. She also weighs the risks and benefits of career investments like getting an MFA or hiring a publicist. A comprehensive guide to the business side of becoming an author, this candid audiobook features anecdotes and advice from more than 150 contributors, including power agents and editors, film scouts, translators, minority activists, and internationally best-selling authors.
You Are a Badass at Making Money
Being your own boss is great—but your business has to earn you an income you can live on. If you need a firm but friendly kick in the butt, check out Sincero's approach to making money. In this listen, she combines essays about her personal experiences with financial insecurity and building her business with practical tips to help you shift your mindset about wealth. Narrated by Sincero with her signature sass, this audiobook challenges listeners to confront their misbeliefs and fears about money and success in business, and open to creativity, opportunity, profitability, and financial abundance.
This audiobook is part memoir and part how-to guide to becoming a successful business owner and leader on your own terms and in your own style. Amoruso recounts how her wayward youth spent shoplifting, dumpster diving, and selling stuff on eBay led her to taking a dead-end job for the health insurance. That's when she got the idea to sell vintage clothes online—the first step in her journey to establishing Nasty Gal, a multi-million dollar fashion retailer with more 350 employees. An empowering listen, #GIRLBOSS shows that you don't need a trust fund or an MBA (or even a college degree) to start and run a successful business—you just have to have passion, drive, and the guts to trust your own instincts.
If you want to be an entrepreneur without the stress and anxiety of running a demanding business, then check out Chillpreneur. A money mindset coach, Denise Duffield-Thomas lays out various business models and walks you through picking the perfect one for your personality, desired lifestyle, and career vision. Reassuring and practical, this author-narrated listen will help you figure out how to market your work and price your offerings, talk about money without feeling weird about it, work less and earn more, and become successful at doing what you love to do.
Tirzah Price is a writer and contributing editor at Book Riot.