Books and Culture

A 28-year-old who made $100,000 in passive income ‘in just one day’ shares 5 books that helped her get started

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Kat Norton, a.k.a. "Miss Excel"
Photo: Kat Norton

When people think of what it takes to start a business, words like "struggle" and "stressful" come to mind. But it was rewriting this narrative that allowed me to achieve success as an entrepreneur.

I was always a shy and anxious person. But in 2020, I made an effort to rewire my mindset and started my Excel training side hustle, Miss Excel, by posting a TikTok video of me dancing in front of an Excel sheet.

My passion for teaching people how to use Excel shined through — and by February 2021, I was making enough money to quit my 9-to-5 job and grow my business full-time.

Since leveraging Miss Excel into a software training business, I've brought in more than $1 million in revenue. Ninety-five percent of that is in passive income course sales. At one point, I even made $100,000 in sales — in just one day.

Overcoming my fears and making this leap has allowed me to work about 15 hours per week, and spend the rest of my time traveling. Here are five books that helped me get started by boosting my confidence and growing my business mindset:

1. "Dot Com Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online With Sales Funnels"

By Russell Brunson

This is a tactical guide to growing a digital sales business. Russell Brunson, founder of software company ClickFunnels, has helped entrepreneurs sell millions of dollars' worth of products and services.

I used the strategies outlined in his book to build out lead generation techniques and sales funnels that allow my online courses to sell without additional work from me and generate passive income.

2. "You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life"

By Jen Sincero

Written by success coach Jen Sincero, this book helped me identify my self-limiting beliefs, so I could deconstruct them and build my confidence up enough to run my own business.

The fun bite-sized chapters of relatable stories, sage advice and simple exercises left me feeling motivated and inspired.

3. "Twelve and a Half: Leveraging the Emotional Ingredients Necessary for Business Success"

By Gary Vaynerchuk

With honesty and humility, bestselling author, Resy co-founder, and investor Gary Vaynerchuk maps out the most important skills in business and includes practical tips on how to develop them.

This book is a great starting point for entrepreneurs to identify opportunities for personal growth fueled by deep self-exploration.

4. "Quantum Success: 7 Essential Laws for a Thriving, Joyful, and Prosperous Relationship with Work and Money"

By Christy Whitman

Life coach Christy Whitman shares a 10-step plan for how to establish strong inner relationships with professional contacts, create a culture of appreciation for those in your network, and magnetize future relationships and opportunities.

Applying the principles from this book helped me attract opportunities — from press spots to corporate sponsorships — and grow my business with inbound leads instead of paying for publicity.

5. "Think and Grow Rich"

By Napoleon Hill

This book is an inspirational classic that has sold over 100 million copies. It shares wisdom from more than 500 of America's most successful individuals, grouped into 13 principles of success.

The case studies in this book gave me the inspiration I needed to chase my dream, while the mindset advice gave me the tools.

Kat Norton teaches Microsoft Excel to individuals, businesses and educational institutions. Since launching Miss Excel in 2020, she has grown her TikTok and Instagram audience to over 1 million followers.

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