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

How can you turn your passion into a profit with $100? Entrepreneur and author Chris Guillebeau decided to find out by interviewing hundreds of different entrepreneurs who went from nothing, put in little capital, and have been able to continuously make equivalent to that of a salary off their business. As we’re now living in an era where we are tethered to the internet for a lot of things, turning any passion into a profit has never been easier than before with such little capital; some of the businesses mentioned were about travelling, photography, and graphic designing. For those of you who are thinking of turning your passion into a profit, this book is definitely a book worth reading as the success stories included were quite inspiring. I resonated with a lot of the points from the book as I too have been able to turn my passion for reading into a profit. Here are some of the points to the book:


1. These days the value of a formal education, in my opinion, is on the decline due to the rising costs and the lower returns that you get from it (both time and money). As the internet is so easily accessible these days, you can find online courses, webinars, and talks outside of a university that’s much more practical, for a relatively lower cost, and that will yield you a higher return on your investment. For those of you who are stuck because you think you have to go to university to learn how to create a business, all that information is out there on the internet so just Google it. In the quest for freedom, we’ll look at the nuts and bolts of building a microbusiness through the lens of those who have done it. The basics of starting a business are very simple; you don’t need an MBA (keep the $60,000 tuition), venture capital, or even a detailed plan. You just need a product or service, a group of people willing to pay for it, and a way to get paid. This can be broken down as follows:
1. Product or service: what you sell
2. People willing to pay for it: your customers
3. A way to get paid: how you’ll exchange a product or service for money


2. On the flip side, for those of you who are eager to just jump into it, slow down and make sure you test our your idea first. As Warren Buffett has said, “Never test the depth of river with both feet.” First ask yourself whether you have a clearly defined product/service, if there’s a demand for your product, and if you have a way to collect that money. If you don’t have a yes on all three questions, then don’t begin just yet. Putting something off doesn’t mean you’ll never do it, but prioritization will help you get started on what makes the most impact. First of all, keep in mind the most basic questions of any successful microbusiness:

– Does the project produce an obvious product or service?
– Do you know people who will want to buy it? (Or do you know where to find them?)
– Do you have a way to get paid?

Those questions form a simple baseline evaluation. If you don’t have a clear yes on one of them, go back to the drawing board.


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3. Keep your mission statement simple and less than 140 characters. You want to have a mission statement that’s straight to the point. No one’s going to want to buy from you if they don’t understand what you’re about. People don’t want to spend their precious time trying to understand what you’re offering when others are able to easily state the same thing that you’re about. Reduce the amount of ‘friction’ between you and the buyer. Let’s break down the planning process into a very simple exercise: defining the mission statement for your business (or your business idea) in 140 characters or less. That is the maximum amount of text for an update on Twitter and a good natural limit for narrowing down a concept. It may help to think of the first two characteristics of any business: a product or service and the group of people who pay for it. Put the two together and you’ve got a mission statement: We provide [product or service] for [customers]. As described in Chapter 2, it’s usually better to highlight a core benefit of your business instead of a descriptive feature. Accordingly, you can revise the statement a bit to read like this: We help [customers] do/achieve/other verb [primary benefit]. Focusing like this helps you avoid ‘corporate speak’ and drill down to the real purpose of the business as it relates to your customers.


4. Just because you think that no one will pay you for a service/product, that might not necessarily be the case. Through research, there are ways to find whether there’s a demand for what you’re offering. When I started this website, I started it just as a hobby and I didn’t think I could make money off it. However, after some time, I learned how to do so. I’m not anyone special and if I can do it, I’m sure you can too. I never thought that people would pay for the service that I offer, so the very first time I received a check in payment for services from my very first client, it hit me like a ton of bricks-there’s real money on the table here! And when I saw a letter from that very first customer published in a magazine recommending my service, I realized that there was both appreciation and demand for what I was offering.


By Ryan Lee


My rating:
Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 8.00.46 AM

Check out the book here:
Amazon USA
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK


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1 Comment

  1. […] I would recommend if you’re interested in learning about start-ups with little capital is The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau which is also a great […]


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