If you read blogs and/or books about do-it-yourself small businesses, you've probably already heard of Chris Guillebeau. I'd been hearing his name for quite a while but hadn't read any of his stuff. Turns out that I liked The $100 Startup quite a lot.
The subtitle of the book is "Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future." The central idea of the book is that you can start a small business on your own right now, using skills you already have. The author shows you lots of examples of creative people working in a wide range of fields who are doing just that. Guillebeau bases the book on his own experience as well as the experiences of a number of people he's personally interviewed. He has a very encouraging voice as an author; basically he wants you to put down the book and go and set up a website or write a sales letter or do something to get your business idea off the ground.
What I like most about the book is the author's assertion that you don't need a lot of capital or other resources to start a business. In fact, he discourages readers from borrowing money, etc. His emphasis is on starting small. This low-risk and potentially high-yield approach is very tempting, and you can experiment with it without quitting your day job.
The book actually inspired me to start teaching some independently-run online classes. I read about an artist Guillebeau interviewed who had turned her photography skills into a series of online classes, and I decided to try the same with my writing skills. My first poetry workshop is just wrapping up, and I'm taking registrations for a summer workshop now.
With his examples and his you-can-do-it perspective, Guillebeau makes you want to explore new ways to turn your interests and skills into businesses that you can run independently from home (or from anywhere in the world, if you want to travel with your laptop or tablet or smartphone). There are enough examples in the book that something is going to resonate with you. Based on my personal experience, I can definitely recommend The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future.
Coming soon: a review of Making a Living without a Job by Barbara Winter.