My Review of The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

$100 Startup book coverTitle: The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau.
Genre: Non-fiction

Synopsis

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 Chris Guilebeau authorhis 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.

My Review

It’s funny how you can discover a book or an author. For me, this happened in a round-about way. I was listening to Confessions of Pink-Haired Entrepreneur hosted by Sonia Simone, a podcast on Brian Clark’s Rainmaker platform and her guest that week was Natalie Sisson.

Who?

Yeah I didn’t know who Natalie Sisson was either, but when I heard she was known as the “suitcase entrepreneur,” and that captured my interest. (Click to read more about Natalie). The podcast did what is was supposed to do which was, get people interested in the guest speaker.

When it was over, I veered over to Natalie’s website and one of the books mentioned was The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau.

From the synopsis above you can see why someone like me—an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember, would be interested.

I’ve managed to live off of some of my businesses for a short while, but it has always been a feast or famine kind of a deal. Since my intention is to have a thriving, sustainable business, Chris’s book was right up my ally.

I am really glad I read it. It completely changed my perspective on my business ventures and made me realize why my other businesses failed. I was thinking too big, too soon.

In The $100 Startup, Chris highlights the positives of owning and operating a micro-business.

I always thought micro-business meant no money. I was surprised to learn that some of these micro-businesses made upwards of $50,000 a year! And the best part is that the startup cost was truly less than $100.

I was surprised to know that the entrepreneurs featured in the book had the same fears that I struggle with.

A few of them had failed in business but kept on going despite everything. The same little poker inside of me that keeps me going when the chips are down, kept them going and eventually landed them success.

Reading about them made me realize that I am not crazy and perhaps I can also finally have a sustainable business.

The business owners interviewed in the book have chosen to remain small or micro which made sense. They lived comfortably, doing what they are passionate about.

I think the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from this book is that it is not all about the money, it’s about creating the lifestyle you want in your business.

I’ve also picked up some really awesome marketing tips which I immediately implemented.

The chapters flowed nicely into each other and they’re short enough so it doesn’t overwhelm.

I’ve also learned about some great businesses and people who I have already researched and started following. Thanks Chris for putting them on my radar.

I felt the book was inspirational and motivational and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to start up a business.

Learn more about Chris Guillebeau on his website, follow on Twitter.

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