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From idea to income: 8 books for the aspiring entrepreneur in your life

Know someone ready to start their own business? Gift them the tools and tips from authors who've been there, done that.
Image: Unwinding the way she knows best
Books written by entrepreneurs can help turn your ideas into a business, power through creative blocks and set you up for financial success. PeopleImages / Getty Images

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What do you get for the person on your list who's itching to break out on her own? With the right tools and tips from pros who launched successful side hustles of their own, she might be surprised at how quickly one can start earning money — and having fun — outside a regular 9 to 5.

“Even if you don’t want to leave your job, a side hustle is an awesome way to make extra money, use your talent in the world, and hedge against an uncertain job market,” says Susie Moore, author of "What If It Doesn't Work Out?", who started her side hustle as a life coach and writer while working as a sales director at a Fortune 500 company. Plus, pursuing what you love outside of work can help you feel more fulfilled and motivated at your day job, Moore says.

Below, Moore and two other entrepreneurs who side hustled their way to success share the must-have books that helped them build their side gigs into fully-fledged businesses.

Whether you're looking for a gift for a marketing executive who wants to do stand-up comedy shows on weekends, an accountant with a calling to be a spiritual life coach, or a lawyer working on a historical fiction novel, these reads will equip your favorite entrepreneur with the wisdom and inspiration needed to make that dream a reality.

BETTER editors, writers and experts take care to recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! Just so you know, BETTER does have affiliate relationships. So, while every product is independently selected, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the revenue.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert, $13, Amazon

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth GilbertRiverhead Books

“This is the book that gave me permission to be creative and to honor my day job while working on my side hustle,” says Krista Williams, who had a marketing job by day while she created a lifestyle blog and podcast by night. She’s now fully self-employed as a blogger and host of the Almost 30 Podcast. “This self-help book is a beautiful discussion of some of the less glamorous realities of living a creative life — like the struggle to produce quality work and fears of inadequacy or comparison. I love how Gilbert weaves in her own experience, which creates an inspiring and relatable narrative.”

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, by Deepak Chopra, $11, Amazon

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, by Deepak ChopraAmber-Allen Publishing

Author and speaker Chopra shares an alternative perspective on achieving success, writing about the unseen forces that affect the flow of money in our lives. It might sound a little woo-woo, but as Moore explains, “Success is all about the flow of give and take. This book shows you how to manage the flow of abundance that wants to reach you.”

Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business, by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters, $15, Amazon

Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business, by Gino Wickman and Mark C. WintersBenBella Books

Ready to get back to basics? This practical guide will help turn your ideas into a business. “If you need help working on your business instead of in your business, this book is a must,” says Julie Solomon, a publicist turned brand consultant and host of The Influencer Podcast. “This book really helped me figure out the overall structure of my team, and most importantly, how I could make sure to stay in the visionary role of my business.”

The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron, $12, Amazon

The Artist's Way, by Julia CameronTarcherPerigee

“If you are interested in any creative business path, The Artist's Way really is a rite of passage,” Solomon says. “The morning pages practice is a life changer.” First published 25 years ago, this bestselling book takes readers through a 12-week program that helps them discover their creativity, and overcome limiting beliefs and fears in the process.

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, $20, Amazon

Tools of Titans by Tim FerrissHoughton Mifflin Harcourt

If you’re crunched for time, you can flip open this book every so often to get inspired by the habits and routines of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers. “As a huge fan of the Tim Ferriss Show podcast, this book is great to pick up every so often and open to any page to get a dose of inspiration,” Williams says. “I try to focus on two or three at a time and really apply them or try them in my life so it's not overwhelming.”

MONEY: Master the Game, by Tony Robbins, $16, Amazon

MONEY: Master the Game, by Tony RobbinsSimon & Schuster

Another pick from Moore, this book shares a seven-step plan for reaching financial freedom, based on research and interviews with prominent investors such as John Bogle, Warren Buffett, and Paul Tudor Jones. “It's so easy to make money mistakes and not know it,” Moore says. “In this book, Tony sets you up to be truly financially free.”

Lucky Bitch: A Guide for Exceptional Women to Create Outrageous Success, by Denise Duffield-Thomas, $11, Amazon

Lucky Bitch: A Guide for Exceptional Women to Create Outrageous SuccessHay House UK

“You can't make money with a blocked, stuck, "this is so hard" type of attitude,” Moore says. “Denise gets you unstuck and fast — you'll be ready to receive more in no time!” Duffield-Thomas is a self-made millionaire who went from being broke and miserable at her office job to traveling the world and earning six figures, so she clearly knows a thing or two about getting “lucky.”

Earth is Hiring by Peta Kelly, $18, Amazon

Earth is Hiring by Peta KellyWaterside Press

Consider this a guidebook for conscious entrepreneurs. “It speaks to your soul,” Williams says. “Peta is a powerhouse, and in this book she helps us to 'wake up' and take care of the earth, ourselves, and others.” With a sense of humor, Kelly reminds readers not to take everything so seriously — and living joyfully is part of the point.


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