The buzz around e-commerce and exponential growth of online retail has never been louder and shows no signs of slowing down. After amounting to 2.3 trillion dollars in 2017, worldwide e-retail sales are projected to grow to $4.88 trillion in the next three years. While some stores are able to gross millions in a matter of months while others never turn a profit, everyone wants to know what the magic ingredients are for success.

As a serial entrepreneur, I’m always emphasizing experimentation and thinking outside the box when it comes to e-commerce strategies when speaking to people about tactical innovation. But how does one go about learning how to do so consistently? For any aspiring business owner, the first question is “where do I start?”. People don’t always realize that opening an online retail store immediately makes you a business owner, which creates an instantaneous need for an entrepreneurial mindset on top of commerce and advertising skills. The following books have helped me grow over the years as an e-commerce store owner myself, and I feel they will be helpful for any aspiring e-commerce store or entrepreneur.

1. The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months – by Brian Moran, Michael Lennington

Naturally, most people think about time in accordance with the Gregorian calendar, but redefining your year by giving yourself a three-month window to accomplish your goals can help avoid the pitfalls of slumps, low productivity, and complacency. Creating focus, clarity, and urgency allows you to prioritize the important things you should be doing now instead of later. In essence, you should always be working to:

  • Shorten your feedback loop on goals that you set.
  • Prioritize your time by blocking it off through a weekly plan.
  • Measure your execution regularly, and work to improve it.
  • Focus your goals by joining a community that reinforces accountability.

2. The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea – by Bob Burg, John D. Mann

While a fictional story about the power of giving, the protagonist learns the “Five Laws of Stratospheric Success”:

  • Value
  • Compensation
  • Influence
  • Authenticity
  • Receptivity

In essence, your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment, while your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them. If you truly want to become not just successful but influential, you must abundantly place other people’s interests before your own. By always offering yourself as your most valuable asset, you will open up unprecedented connections with others and be rewarded for your authenticity.

3. The 4-Hour Workweek – by Tim Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek spent more than four years on The New York Times Best Seller List, and for good reason: working grueling hours for decades while barely taking vacations and trying to save money simply isn’t the way to do things. It should go without saying this book goes hand-in-hand with The 12 Week Year, as both pieces hone in on the concept of working smarter, not harder. A huge key to running the business you want and having the life you dream of involves identifying what the real barriers are to creating freedom of movement and time for yourself. A lot of people, even most people, tend to stop there. Because the barriers look big, insurmountable, and scary, it can make things look worse before they get better. Tim’s formula for success might seem a bit vague at times, but it’s meant to help you identify your strengths and the things that are the most valuable about you. It’s learning how to leverage those strengths in order to provide value to the people around you that will result in both personal and financial gain.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Jared Goetz is an e-commerce digital marketing veteran, most notably recognized for his daily Facebook ad spend of over $25,000. His online store was recently acclaimed as the 2nd fastest growing Shopify store of 2017 with over $5 million in sales in Q1 and Q2.

Jared has created, developed and managed successful e-commerce campaigns, and created converting sales funnels for dozens of product activations. Prior to his work in the internet marketing industry, Mr. Goetz held the position of Director of Experiential Marketing for a software app.