What to Read and Listen to Before You Start Your Side Hustle or Business

“How do I make money online?” I hear this a lot. It sounds so scammy, but this is how people make their living now.

I also hear lots of complaints from people who simply don’t make enough money at their current job but are scared to leave for various reasons: job security, they don’t have enough money in their savings, they have a family, the list of why this strikes fear in their hearts is endless.

If you’re at a point in your career where you have enough experience and knowhow but don’t exactly understand how to put that that expertise to good use to make money, my biggest suggestion is to educate yourself and learn as much as you can. This means read lots of books, listen to podcasts and follow the influencers online to see how they’ve built their empires.

These will resources will give you a better idea of what you need to learn before you even decide what kind of business you will pursue or what product you will sell.


  • The Art of Charm
  • The Startup
  • The Pitch
  • How I Built This
  • The Smart Passive Income
  • Side Hustle Nation

Google these names and consume as much information about what they are preaching:

  • Cal Newport
  • Gary Vaynerchuk (also known as Gary V.)
  • Ramit Sethi
  • Tim Ferriss

Read these books:

  • You Are a Badass At Making Money by Jen Cincero
  • Getting Things Done by David Allen
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  • I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
  • The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Then after you’ve learned and educated yourself using the above resources, start thinking about 3-5 things you’re really good at.

Think: What do people come to you to ask?

Then after you write them down, think about what your life values are. What’s important to you? Here are examples:

  • Be kind
  • Be generous
  • Never stop learning
  • Be a better version of yourself every single day
  • Helping others

How can your values guide the way to your business idea?

Let that marinate and once you figure out how the two align, you can start building your business!

In the meantime, here are some useful tools that can help increase your productivity.

Computer stuff

Loom (use my link!)

Free screencast tool w/ it’s own chat box that provides a link at the end of your video. It’s in beta right now, so send to your friends to get unlimited record time.



Chrome/Safari Extension to help spell check.



Free software that warms up your computer display at night, to match your indoor lighting. (Helps block out that blue lighting from computer screens.)



Awesome calendar app for your phone ($4.99 one-time fee) or computer (might only be for Macs? For $49.99)


Task management tools

Asana – Great for teams.



Great for creating different boards based on projects, and creating a workflow with columns and cards. Best way to visualize Trello — think of it as an organized Post Its for your computer.



Do you have a million email addresses, Slack, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. that you want to consolidate into one web app? I can’t live without Franz, it’s free too.


Make pretty graphics


Webby Award-winning design software that’s simple.



Free program that has templates for making infographics.


Lightshot Screenshot

Free web screenshot tool for screenshots. It allows you to easily add arrows, text, etc. You can also email it. Really cool!


Social Media Tools

Board Booster (for Pinterest)


Hootsuite (30-day trial period for free, then you have to pay, starts at $19 a month)



Tweetdeck (free)



Automated social media tool





Enhance Pinterest & Instagram



Helps boost your Pinterest (heard about this one today on Smart Passive Income podcast. Plans start at $24 a month)



Free tools to automate your site’s growth.


Stock Image Source

Deposit Photos






Creative Commons (this is hit or miss, but sometimes it does its job if you’re looking for real photos from real peole, i.e. Flickr)


Speaking & Networking

Co-founder’s Lab



National Association of Women Business Owners



Masters of Scale


CastPlus – Ad network for podcasts







  1. My strategy about winning on Pinterest is rather simple. I let http://PinPinterest.com manage my account…
    If you’ve been living under a rock and have managed to not hear about this awesome tool, you’re missing out a lot on Pinterest marketing 😛
    PinPinterest has helped me get from almost non-mentionable followers and zero traffic to more than 55k followers on my Pinterest and my site being a traffic-magnet 😀
    Auto Like, Comment, Pin, Repin, Follow and Unfollow..it has all the features one wants in a full-fledged tool and even more… It has Pin Scheduler that lets me schedule as many pins as I want and has a Speed Control setting that makes sure my account is always ban-safe by running at a human-like speed. The thing I like the most about PinPinterest is its intelligent content-detection algorithm, that runs in the background and detects relevant content for my account and pins only such images.


    1. That’s awesome, thanks for sharing your strategy for Pinterest. I’ve heard many opposing arguments about Pinterest and how it’s great (or not as good as it used to be), but I suppose it depends on what kind of business you’re trying to build.


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