Sunday, May 20, 2012

The $100 Startup: Reinvent The Way You Make A Living, Do What You Love, And Create A New Future By Chris Guillebeau

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

The $100 Startup: Reinvent The Way You Make A Living, Do What You Love, And Create A New Future By Chris Guillebeau

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Product Description

In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau shows you how to lead of life of adventure, meaning and purpose – and earn a good living.
Still in his early thirties, Chris is on the verge of completing a tour of every country on earth – he's already visited more than 175 nations – and yet he's never held a "real job" or earned a regular paycheck.  Rather, he has a special genius for turning ideas into income, and he uses what he earns both to support his life of adventure and to give back. 
There are many others like Chris – those who've found ways to opt out of traditional employment and create the time and income to pursue what they find meaningful.  Sometimes, achieving that perfect blend of passion and income doesn't depend on shelving what you currently do.  You can start small with your venture, committing little time or money, and wait to take the real plunge when you're sure it's successful.
In preparing to write this book, Chris identified 1,500 individuals who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a modest investment (in many cases, $100 or less), and from that group he's chosen to focus on the 50 most intriguing case studies.  In nearly all cases, people with no special skills discovered aspects of their personal passions that could be monetized, and were able to restructure their lives in ways that gave them greater freedom and fulfillment.
Here, finally, distilled into one easy-to-use guide, are the most valuable lessons from those who've learned how to turn what they do into a gateway to self-fulfillment.  It's all about finding the intersection between your "expertise" – even if you don't consider it such -- and what other people will pay for.  You don't need an MBA, a business plan or even employees.  All you need is a product or service that springs from what you love to do anyway, people willing to pay, and a way to get paid.
Not content to talk in generalities, Chris tells you exactly how many dollars his group of unexpected entrepreneurs required to get their projects up and running; what these individuals did in the first weeks and months to generate significant cash; some of the key mistakes they made along the way, and the crucial insights that made the business stick.  Among Chris's key principles: if you're good at one thing, you're probably good at something else; never teach a man to fish – sell him the fish instead; and in the battle between planning and action, action wins.
In ancient times, people who were dissatisfied with their lives dreamed of finding magic lamps, buried treasure, or streets paved with gold.  Today, we know that it's up to us to change our lives.  And the best part is, if we change our own life, we can help others change theirs.  This remarkable book will start you on your way.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #33 in Books
  • Published on: 2012-05-08
  • Released on: 2012-05-08
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 8.60" h x 1.10" w x 5.76" l, .88 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 304 pages
Editorial Reviews Review

Q&A with Gretchen Rubin and Chris Guillebeau
GR: One thing that really sets your book apart from other similar books is its specificity. You really drill down on how people have actually built these businesses. Why did you take this approach?
CB: Because most books about business are too generic. They are filled with platitudes instead of data and real instructions. There's nothing wrong with saying "Go for it!"—but the purpose of this book is to say, "OK, you're ready to go for it? Great. Here's how you actually do it."

This isn't a book about business, at least not as most people think about it. Instead, it's a book about freedom. It's for those who want to escape from corporate life, build something of their own to support their families, or just find a way to make more money.

GR: Is it really possible to make a good business out of your passion?
CB: Yes, but the key is to combine your passion with something that is useful to the world. I used to be very passionate about eating pizza and playing video games, but no one wanted to pay me to do it.

That's why we have to go further, until we find the convergence point between what we're excited about and what other people value. For example, I met a guy who was a snowboarding instructor in Canada. He created a DVD set of instructional videos. He followed his passion, he found a way to make it useful, and it's now a $300,000 a year business.

GR: Many books about startups focus on technology companies; by contrast, you focus on small businesses started by people creating companies around something they love to do. Often, they don't look like typical "entrepreneurs," don't come from traditional business backgrounds, and don't have special skills. Why did you take this approach?
CB: I think there's a real misconception about entrepreneurship. As you noted, some people hear the word startup and imagine things like venture capital, funding rounds, and eventually cashing out if possible. It's not that different from the conception of traditional business—wearing a suit, sitting behind a desk, playing golf after lunch.

But there's also an entirely different way of creating freedom, and it's just now starting to get the attention it deserves. This alternate perspective is about starting on your own, with limited money and no special training. You don't need outside investment (of any kind), an MBA, or a 65-page business plan that no one will ever read. You just need a product or service, a group of people willing to buy it, and a means of getting paid.

GR: The economy has a lot of people feeling anxious about their financial situations. Do you think this is a bad time to take a risk like a startup?
CB: When the economy causes us to feel anxious, it's also a good time to reassess the whole concept of risk. For many people, it may be much riskier to cast your lot in the traditional job market. But what if you didn't have to compete in a crowded marketplace—what if you could essentially create your own job? The beautiful thing about starting small means that you're not necessarily competing with anyone, and your financial risk is low.

In the long run, risk is related to security. Many of the people in this book were successful in creating their own security instead of entrusting it to someone else.

GR: You did a crazy amount of research for The $100 Startup. What surprised you the most?
CB: The first thing that surprised me was how willing most respondents were to talk about the inner workings of their business, especially the financial details. The common attitude was: if this helps other people in their work, I want to share it.

Digging deeper, I was surprised by some of the interesting businesses people had started. There is a guy who earns more than $100,000 a year helping people use their Frequent Flyer miles. There is another guy in Croatia known as "Mr. Spreadsheet," who has also crafted a six-figure business helping corporate employees manage data better. There were also plenty of interesting businesses that were more traditional, like a retail yarn shop in Portland and an Israeli-American designer who created a business selling hand-made wedding contracts.

GR: You give some controversial advice: you don't need a business plan, you don't need to spend too much time planning, you don't need a large amount of money to launch, and you don't need special skills or expertise. What do you say to people who disagree?
CB: I'd say the proof is found in everyone who has made it happen. My hope is that this book will serve as a blueprint for many more success stories, just like the unconventional and unexpected entrepreneurs I talked to from all over the world.

"The $100 Startup is a twofer: It's a kick in the pants to get started on your dream and a road map for finding your way once you begin. If you're not ready to launch your own business after reading this book, you need to go back and read it again!"
-- Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

"In this valuable guide Chris Guillebeau shows that transforming an idea into a successful business can be easier than you think…You are in charge of which ideas deserve your time, and this book can help you wake up every morning eager to progress to the next step."
--Tony Hsieh, New York Times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO
"The money you have is enough. Chris makes it crystal clear: there are no excuses left.  START.  Start now, not later.  Hurry."
--Seth Godin, New York Times bestselling author of The Bootstrapper's Bible
"Everything Chris Guillebeau does is in earnest. The ideas inside this book will lead you to a better place."
- -Chris Brogan, President of Human Business Works and author of Trust Agents
"With traditional career doors slamming shut, it's easy to panic, but Chris Guillebeau sees opportunities everywhere. Making a career out of your passion sounds like a dream, but in this straight-forward, engaging book he shows you how to get it done, one simple step at a time."
--Alan Paul, author of Big in China
"Delivers exactly what a new entrepreneur needs: road-tested, effective and exceptionally pragmatic advice for starting a new business on a shoestring."
--Pamela Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur
"Guillebeau has been in the trenches for years, and in The $100 Startup he guides you step-by-step through how he and dozens of others have turned their passions into profits. It's essential reading for the solopreneur!"
--Todd Henry, author of The Accidental Creative
"This book is more than a "how to" guide, it's a "how they did it" guide that should persuade anyone thinking about starting a business that they don't need a fortune to make one."
--John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine

"Crammed with data, checklists, models, and concrete examples.  Thoughtful, funny, and compulsively readable, this guide shows how ordinary people can build solid livings, with independence and purpose, on their own terms."
--Gretchen Rubin, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project

About the Author
CHRIS GUILLEBEAU is a writer, entrepreneur, and traveler. During a lifetime of self-employment and ventures ranging from online publishing to volunteer work in West Africa, he has visited nearly every country on earth before the age of 35. Host of the World Domination Summit, an international gathering of creative people, Chris is focused on encouraging individual quests while also "giving back." His main website,, is visited by more than 300,000 people a month.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful.
5Excellent, One Of The 3 Best Business Books I Have Read
By Bradley Bevers
This is a great little book that will help you get over the hump and actually start a business. It focuses on the microbusiness revolution, which the author defines as "a way of earning a good living while crafting a life of independence and purpose."

This is full of great information, and if you have your own business or are interested, it is one you should definitely pick up. That said, here are some of the things I liked the most:

* Six Steps To Get Started Right Now. This simple six-step process is contained on a couple of pages, and could be all you need to start selling something online.

* Idea Matrix. Great way to evaluate competing ideas on impact, effort, profitability, and vision.

* The Action Bias. All about focusing on the right thing, vitally important to any success in business.

* The One-Page Business Plan. All you need to plan out your business.

* Much more, from metrics you should keep track of to tweaking your bottom line, there is a ton of information across the business spectrum here.

Lots of great things in this book, but there were a couple that I didn't like. First of all, though much of the information can be applied to any business, the author leaned towards talking about starting an infobusiness more than any other. Definitely worth picking up even if you aren't interested in starting an infobusiness, but I wish the cover matched the inside of the book more. I also found the chapter on How To Franchise Yourself not as helpful, did not seem to fit in the overall scheme of the book.

Off the top of my head, this is one of the three best business books that I have read (the other two being The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) & The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business). It is one that I marked up as I read and will refer to again and again. You will find something here to increase your bottom line, a great investment for any reader. Highly Recommended.

29 of 34 people found the following review helpful.
4Good advice, somewhat unrealistic
By monkuboy
The title of this book is sure to attract many - after all, wouldn't many of us love to start up a business on shoestring capital? Often a deterrent to entrepreneurship is the cost of starting a business but this book explains why a small amount of capital, as little as $100, could very well be all you need. There are also examples provided of people who have successfully done so.

That said, be aware that none of the examples are examined with much depth. They are used mainly to illustrate whatever chapter topic the author is writing about. Given that there are so many examples, practically speaking each can't be that detailed but that isn't obvious from reading the book description. The author also makes it sound too easy in many cases - such as how people got an idea, quickly produced a web site and then the orders just started pouring in. Maybe not immediately - like oh, they had to wait a few days, but then paydirt arrived. That's the feeling I got from reading this - that all too often everything came pretty fast and easy and there wasn't a whole lot of sweat or toil involved.

Overall I felt there was a lot of good advice in this book. It was well organized and easy to read and understand. It made a lot of sense. The people he used for examples do show that it can be done, and each chapter focuses on one aspect of getting your business started and growing. I found it to be motivating. Yet as I said above, I also thought that in many cases he made it look just too easy - that you build it and they will come. Or you charge it and they will pay. The four stars in my rating are for the advice he gives but I did knock off the one star because of being less than totally realistic.

I am glad to have the book and would recommend it, however.

[By the way - this review is based on an advance copy. There were some typos and also some missing charts and graphics in the copy I read, but the final version should not vary too much from this in substance]

38 of 48 people found the following review helpful.
4This book is really about being an infopreneur! The author is an infopreneur and he is writing about what he does for a living.
By Jeff Lippincott
I liked this book. It has 14 chapters that are evenly split into three parts. The first part covers "Freedom," the second part covers "Value," and the third part covers expanding and growing further what has already proven to be a successful microbusiness. Each chapter ends with a "key points" section that highlights the points stressed in the chapter.

I very much liked the example microbusinesses cited and described in the text. I also very much liked the list of microbusinesses provided in the appendix called "25 selected case studies." What I wasn't particularly crazy about was the author's writing style. He was kind of verbose. He kept harping on freedom, value, freedom, and value. Alright already. I got it the first time. And there was probably too much referencing in the text to other sections in the text. The book would have been better if a point was made and then the author would move on to another point. The way things were written it felt a little circular turning the pages.

I found it odd that retail shops were included in this book. You cannot start a bed mattress retail business on $100. It just doesn't happen. $100 startups are possible for teachers, trainers, coaches, consultants, and infopreneurs. Yes, this book is really a book about being an infopreneur. And believe me, you won't start an infopreneur business for $100 unless you are somewhat tech savvy. Are you tech savvy? If so, then this is a great book for you.

When I put this book down I immediately thought of Robert Skrob's masterpiece: Official Get Rich Guide to Information Marketing: Build a Million Dollar Business Within 12 Months. The first edition of that book was crap. But the second edition is a jewel. It deserves a 5-star rating. And I highly recommend the instant book being reviewed (The $100 Startup) as a tag-on to that book. Read both and you will get a pretty good picture of how to build an infopreneur microbusiness for $100 assuming you are tech savvy. 4 stars!


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