Book Review: The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

The $100 StartupThis is a great book.

It’s my second most favourite book behind the 4 hour work week by Timothy Ferriss.

About the book

Before writing the book, the author interviewed 50 entrepreneurs who have built businesses (earning US$50k or more) from a modest investment, in many cases less than $100. The book uses the interview findings to illustrate chapters throughout the book and it’s an easy read.

Who should read it

The book is pitched at people whom have recently started their own business or are considering doing so. It’s especially useful if you don’t know what you want to do but you know you don’t want to work for anyone else anymore. It’s not for those interested in building the next microsoft, it’s more focused on small/micro-businesses.

Book summary

Here’s my 5 cents on each of the chapters – essentially my thoughts combined with the summary section of each chapter. Writing this book review makes me want to read it again!

Chapter 1: Renaissance

  • To decide what to do, find what you are passionate about and then match that up with what others care about.
  • Magic formula: passion/skill + usefulness = success
  • You don’t need an MBA, just a product or service, people willing to pay and a way to get paid

Chapter 2: Give them the fish

  • Focus on helping people, if you are helping people then you probably have a viable business under your nose!
  • Give them the fish. Put simply, give people what they want. Don’t teach people how to get it themselves as most people aren’t interested in learning how, they just want the solution (and offering to teach them is a big turn off!)

Chapter 3: Follow your passion…maybe

  • Not every hobby or passion is worth building into a business.

Chapter 4: The rise of the roaming entrepreneur

  • Find out how and where you want to work and make it happen
  • Don’t think that you need to be in a certain place, you can operate your business from anywhere!

Chapter 5:  The new demographics

  • Forget about age, race, gender etc. Think more about types of customers and the values/beliefs they have
  • Use survey’s to understand customers and decide on your approach

Chapter 6: The one-page business plan

  • Plan as you go, with a bias towards taking action and being receptive to feedback
  • Find the way to your first sale as quickly as possible, don’t delay!
  • Use this one-page business plan developed by the author.

Chapter 7: An offer you can’t refuse

  • Connect your offer to the direct benefits a customer will receive. Make it irresistible!
  • What people say they want and what they actually want are often different – it’s your job to work out the difference.
  • Ensure your offer has urgency. Why should people act now?

Chapter 8: Launch!

  • A good product launch is like a hollywood movie
  • Tell a good story and remember about urgency, why should people act now?
  • Use this 39 step product launch checklist developed by the author.

Chapter 9: The gentle art of self-promotion

  • Don’t be all talk and no action, don’t be all action and no talk.
  • Spend 50% of your time creating and 50% on connecting (hustling)
  • Use this one page promotional plan developed by the author.

Chapter 10: Show me the money

  • Remember your goal is to make money
  • Going into debt to start your business is optional
  • Try to find ways to get paid more than once

Chapter 11: Moving on up

  • Increasing the income of your business is usually easier than starting it in the first place
  • Try to grow the business without increasing workload
  • Think about cross-sells and up-sells

Chapter 12: How to franchise yourself

  • Find a way to be in more than one place at one time
  • When it comes to outsourcing, decide for yourself what’s best

Chapter 13: Going Long

  • There are multiple ways to achieve your freedom, go long (stick to one business) or jump around and try a few things.
  • Remember to work ‘on’ the business
  • Keep your business KPI’s or metrics simple, have just 2 measures that are always front of mind.

Chapter 14: But what if I fail?

  • Advice can be helpful, but don’t wait for someone to give you permission to chase you dreams.
  • The biggest battle is your own mind, not the competition
  • When you have a winning moment, hold on to it. Use it to help you get through challenges in the future.

The End

Go start something, quickly!

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