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

Chris Guillebeau
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (799 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $23.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $13.01 (57%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book 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.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review


Q&A with Gretchen Rubin and Chris Guillebeau
Gretchen Rubin photo by Dave CrossChris Guillebeau photo by Stephanie D. ZitoGR: 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.

Review

"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
"
""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
of Zappos.com
" "
"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 Sli

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
388 of 410 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less Examples, More Detail May 16, 2012
Format:Hardcover
This is an inspiring book. At least a couple times while reading it I took a pen to jot down some ideas.

My problem with the book is that there are too many success stories but no real detail on the struggle for that success. I think this book would have been more successful if the author had chosen one or two examples per chapter to really dig into. I agree with one reviewer who said that most of the examples are in the form "got an idea, started a website, made money". How did they do it all? That what I like to know. It's great to know that people have started businesses with so little capital but I want to know the struggles, the low points and how they persevered.

Toward the end of the book I just skimmed. I wanted someone to cheer for and I didn't find that in 1/2 page examples.
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364 of 394 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Top selling book on entrepreneurship? August 9, 2012
By Amer
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well I am disappointed in this book. As a top selling book, I was expecting perhaps too much.

First I would say the target audience of this book are probably those people who never ever read any other book on business, or never even thought about starting a business. Almost every advice is very basic.

When I read author had interviewed so many businesses, I was hoping he would have included more "technical" details about them. For example, the photographer in Spain, how she was advertised, how much she invested in her gear, did she take any classes, how she hires assistants, if any etc. Or coffee shop guy, how did he get money for coffee shop, how many hours he works at coffee shop, how did he gain experience for running it etc (I am pretty sure starting a coffee shop is not exactly $100 startup).

Or that single mom who became marketing consultant, exactly how did she land her first client? How did she dress, and gained their respect? How did she learn about marketing? How did she convince companies that she was a real deal not a joke? (At our company, we had experiences with so-called Social Media Marketing experts. It seems most of them just know how to update their Facebook statuses or send a twitter update.)

For good parts, the book is easy to read. It will inspire many people to do what they enjoy. It does provide a starting point. It repeats general knowledge but it is good to have all that knowledge in one place.

In the end, don't expect anything revolutionary from this book. In my opinion, if you are already inspired to do your own thing then try to find a book on that thing. If you want to start a photography business then you might be better served by a book on starting photography business than this book.
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77 of 81 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth buying, but maybe borrowing October 15, 2012
Format:Hardcover
I wasn't impressed with this book and am surprised at how many excellent reviews it gets. It had some helpful content and a some useful ideas, but for the most part it was advice you could easily find for free on the internet and much of it was a rehash of stuff you'd find in tons of other books already on the market. A lot of the stories just sounded like good luck stories more than something people could easily reproduce for themselves and some of them sounded downright unbelieveable. My biggest issue with the book though is some of the shady advice given. The three things that bothered me the most:

-The author shared a story of two people who didn't have startup money and couldn't get a bank loan, so they got a fake car loan for their startup. Of course he had an endnote at the end of the chapter that it isn't recommended to do that, but that kind of thing shouldn't even be in the book as a suggestion. He gave it as an idea in the chapter but then to cover his butt legally said he doesn't recommend it in the footnote.
-The author shared a story and the suggestion that you could sell something before you even have a product and then come up with the product after the fact and if people don't want to wait then you can just refund them their money. The example he gave was someone who developed a written program/product and sold it and then once a few people bought it, he contacted them and (lied) said that he was developing a newer, improved program and if they were willing to wait a month or so then they would get the new program at no extra cost and if they didn't want to wait then they would get a refund.
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187 of 212 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillegeau (author of The Art of Non-Conformity) accomplishes something unique. Instead of discussing how to grow, scale, leverage, and sell a new business--typical of much of the entrepreneurship literature--he focuses entirely on "microbusinesses": tiny, one- or two-person operations that maximize freedom and generate roughly $50,000 per year.

Much of Chris' advice will benefit solo creatives who rely upon strong online presences. (Chris himself makes a living from writing, blogging, and selling digital guides.) But the stories that he culled from hundreds of interviews with entrepreneurs satisfied my need for a diverse proof-of-concept. Product- and service-based--online and offline--freelance, partnership, and employee-hiring: all such business are represented in this book.

As a serial microbusiness entrepreneur myself, I especially appreciated Chris' discussion about the benefits of staying small, serving a tiny niche, and avoiding the hassles of hiring and managing employees. And his discussion of self-marketing, a.k.a. "hustling," felt refreshingly ethical.

Most importantly, The $100 Startup demonstrates that you do not need to go into debt to start a profitable and meaningful business. If more people took this advice in the realm of schooling--realizing that you don't need to go into debt to give yourself a higher education--then our world would benefit from an incredible boost in the number of creative entrepreneurs ready to tackle our problems, both big and small.

I highly recommend this book to teenagers, young adults, recent graduates, and transitioning adults who are eager to begin crafting a tiny yet profitable business, right now.

-Blake Boles
Author, Better Than College
Founder & Director, Unschool Adventures
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An easy read
This is a good book for anyone just starting to learn about creating an online business. This book is full of case studies on people who have had successful startups. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Melissa Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, but hard to follow at times
Okay, I found this book hard to follow at times. The lessons are a bit tricky to pull out of the examples used by Guillebeau. In a sense, it's important to read between the lines. Read more
Published 3 days ago by JerryDugan
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story but lacks on detail
It's a good motivational book but the "case studies" are not really studies at all. They are merely brief introductions to someone's business.
Published 3 days ago by Shane B.
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Didn't find any new information that isn't in other books. It certainly is not a road map for taking $100 and starting a business.

It's not a bad book. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Patti Pestana
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice perspective
Many people feel like living the sort of life outlined in the book is completely out of the question. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Travis M.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Inspirational...
I looking to start a small business, so I needed this book. I don't have a lot of money, but this book opened me to the possibilities.
Published 13 days ago by Timothy Doctor
3.0 out of 5 stars Need more info with it.
Not what my husband thought it was going to be about. He bought it for his grandson and felt that even though it had some good aspects it didn't give enough info needed.
Published 14 days ago by Joanne Ruby
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book to get any aspiring business person motivated
This book was just the perfect read to get me motivated and take action on an idea. I was so energized and excited after finishing the book and started work on getting my ideas in... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Debra Ann Register
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book twice. Won't be the last time...
I already read this book twice. Chris, who is also the person behind the amazing World Domination Summit, did an amazing job putting together all these stories about entrepeneurs... Read more
Published 16 days ago by MissMaaike
5.0 out of 5 stars You can do it man!
There is a wealth of practical advice and valuable information about why you do not need to have a dump truck full of money, all the latest technology, and a bunch of paid for... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Tripp Gazzer
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More About the Author

Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The $100 Startup and other books. Chris travels the world and writes for a small army of remarkable people at ChrisGuillebeau.com. Follow his live updates from every country in the world at twitter.com/chrisguillebeau.

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May 12, 2012 by Samir Hawa |  See all 6 posts
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