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

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Lead a life of adventure, meaning and purpose— and  earn a good living.
“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
Still in his early thirties, Chris Guillebeau completed a tour of every country on earth 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. 
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 focused 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.

268 pages, Hardcover

First published May 24, 2012

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About the author

Chris Guillebeau

46 books1,534 followers
Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The $100 Startup and other books. During a lifetime of self-employment, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Every summer in Portland, Oregon he hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people. Chris also hosts Side Hustle School, a popular podcast that is downloaded more than 2 million times a month.

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5 stars
22,045 (34%)
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3 stars
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2,368 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,125 reviews
Profile Image for Matthew Trinetti.
40 reviews133 followers
January 21, 2016
Thirteen Take-Aways from $100 Startup

1. When brainstorming business ideas, use the principle of Convergence.
"Convergence represents the intersection between something you especially like to do or are good at doing (preferably both) and what other people are also interested in."

2. Building a business structured around your desired lifestyle is possible.
Although it may seem like a pipe dream to most people working in corporate jobs, Chris shows this is possible. He identifies 1,500 individuals like himself who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a small initial investment (hence the $100 Startup title). Most microbusinesses earn at least $50,000 a year in net income and have fewer than five employees.

3. When you make business about helping others, you’ll have plenty of work.
"When you get stuck, ask yourself: How can I give more value? Or more simply: How can I help my customers more?"

4. It’s more powerful to talk about the emotional benefits your business will provide to its customers, not just the features of your product or service.
"Most people want more of some things (love, money, attention) and less of other things (stress, anxiety, debt). Always focus on what you can add or take away to improve someone's life."

5. Give people fish.
"Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a day” is a powerful concept, but it’s terrible business advice. Businesses exist because sometimes people just want the fish.

6. Follow your passion, but only if you can identify a market for what you can offer.
"...you usually don't get paid for your hobby itself; you get paid for helping other people pursue the hobby or for something indirectly related to it."

7. Effective marketing is based on invitation, not persuasion.
"Most of us like to buy, but we don't like to be sold...compelling offers often create an illusion that a purchase is an invitation, not a pitch."

8. Planning is overrated — have a bias for action. Most of the case studies had a common thread of getting started quickly first before extensive planning.
"There's nothing wrong with planning, but you can spend a lifetime making a plan that never turns into action. In a battle between planning and action, action wins."

9. Avoid your customer’s immediate pang of anxiety from a purchase by immediately overdelivering.
"You'll want to get out in front of this feeling by making people feel good about the action they just took...give them more than they expected. You can do this by upgrading their purchase unexpectedly by sending a handwritten thank-you card in the mail or in whatever way makes the most sense for your business. The point is that the small things count."

10. Chris provides several comprehensive checklists and planning tools to help build your business.
Examples include Six Steps to Getting Started Right Now, the One-Page Partnership Agreement, and the Thirty-Nine-Step Product Launch Checklist.

11. Be a hustler, not a charlatan or a martyr.
"A charlatan is all talk, with nothing to back up their claims. A martyr is all action with plenty of good work to talk about, but remains unable or unwilling to do the talking. A hustler represents the ideal combination: work and talk fused together."

12. Incorporate a “Strategic Giving Marketing Plan” by giving freely.
"It's not about keeping score or trading favors on a quid pro quo basis; it's about genuinely caring and trying to improve someone else's life whenever you can...Strategic giving is about being genuinely, truly helpful without the thought of a potential payback."

13. You don’t need anyone’s permission to pursue a dream.
Stop waiting and begin it now.

How This Resonates With Me

I admire Chris. With his passion for travel, business, and following your dream, he has inspired me to take my sabbatical and continually remember the importance of working on your life, rather than just in it. The lifestyle of freedom he’s achieved is impressive and has proven it’s possible by showing the way. This is a lifestyle I continue to strive for, and I’m happy to have Chris as an example to emulate.
Profile Image for Tami.
23 reviews60 followers
October 7, 2012
I really wanted to love this book. For being an inspirational title, I think it did already. It's gotten me to scheme about my grand plan to set myself free someday from working for others and start devising a business plan. However, I don't actually think reading it got me any closer to doing it.

The examples shared were lovely, but they're just quick snippets of what the person's business is. Telling me that John Doe quit his corporate job and now helps business people schedule vacations and plan trips doesn't really help ME create a viable business. I also wish there weren't so many examples in the book of people who used an artistic skill, because that's not accessible to those of us who aren't crafty or artsy.

The author repeated himself many times as if this was a series of blog posts that ended up being mashed into a book.

Finally, I felt like this book WAS Chris Guillebeau's $100 startup idea. I felt like we were playing right into what he wanted, to make a business so he could travel around the world. I think he succeeded - lots of people are buying his book and talking about it. It all just felt too meta and not actionable enough for me.
Profile Image for Mel Bradley.
228 reviews9 followers
December 5, 2013
I am a big fan and follower of Chris Guillebeau, so my expectations for this book were a bit... high. It was a very quick read, but don't expect any big revelations or insider secrets here. This is a great glimpse into what is possible with a small investment, for people who have absolutely no experience in being an entrepreneur or online business owner. For everyone else, you'll find yourself rolling your eyes in quite a few places knowing that MOST of the story has been left out.

One of the most honest and real moments in the book was when Chris shared that he spent $10,000 on advertising for a previous guide - finally, some real information! But other than that nugget, much of what was shared was small anecdotes from Chris and his friends... He shares a story about a small literary agent who has been successful on his own, and with a little digging, you realize that it's Chris' agent.

This book would have gotten a higher rating had real information been shared - instead of trying to highlight some people only briefly, it would have added more value had the people's stories been shared at length and in-depth. Instead, it was surface-level information of success stories - none of the behind the scenes blood, sweat and tears.
Profile Image for Dave Bolton.
192 reviews80 followers
July 4, 2012
In the genre of "books that are actually long blog posts", this book really is the latest in "lean startup" type works, stripped back as far as it could go. Will anyone else in the lifestyle design/lean startup area be able to rip more meat from the bones of these ideas, leaving just a ten bullet point list?

Also, the case studies were not very useful -- very lightweight anecdotes.

It's not completely without value, but I don't personally know anyone I could recommend it for.
Profile Image for Jim Razinha.
1,261 reviews61 followers
July 7, 2012
First: my wife bought this, read it and liked it. She wanted me to read it. So I did. I found 15% substance, 83% anecdote (examples, case studies, choose your definition), and 2% vapor. Needs more "how" to be really useful, and Guillebeau shortchanged the "how" he did write, though there were a couple of good resources found on his website...

Another thing irritated me: quotes obviously taken from some unsourced site like brainyquotes.com. Any discerning reader would immediately see that Karl Marx or Anais Nin could not have said the quotes he attributed to them (Nin did not use the word "hustle" in any of her writings). That's just lazy on the part of Guillebeau, and sends me the message that he doesn't think his readers will call him on something like that. The secondary message is that if a little research uncovers a falsehood, what am I to think of the rest of the text?

Bottom line: best startup is to write a book about startups, publish it and sell it. But that's been done.
Profile Image for Beth Lequeuvre.
415 reviews44 followers
February 13, 2013
"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"

Seriously? First off it's bad enough that you thought any one who was thinking about starting a business needed to have that explained. Secondly, it was simple enough in the first sentence, did you really have to break it down further? To add insult to injury this 17 page chapter had a "Key Points" summary at the end of it.

I did read the entire book hoping it would get better. It didn't.
3 reviews1 follower
December 5, 2013
I think it' a good read. The $100 Startup shows up what's possible - but Guillebeau doens't really go further than that. The book can motivate you, but if you really want to know how to approach launching a startup, "Lean Startup" by Eric Ries (for the theory) and "Running Lean" by Ash Maurya (for applying the principle) are obligatory.
It didn't leave a lasting impression, but it's a good read nonetheless so i go with four stars.
Profile Image for Dorothy R.
88 reviews2 followers
December 5, 2013
From my Amazon Review:

"The $100 Startup" is a book that primarily focuses on moving past the barriers that we and others place in front of our desires. These barriers (not enough money, knowledge, experience, demand, etc.)make it easy for us to not go into business. Not going into business allows us not to fail. However, this self-protective instinct automatically allows us not to succeed either. The book encourages a quick, no-holds barred start-up, because the leap is what is often the most difficult. Following the leap, there are other helpful hints in this manuscript that relate to pricing and sales. Mr. Guillebeau illustrates that sometimes income is better with slightly higher pricing, and slightly lower sales volume, then it is based on quantity alone. Other helpful points cover whether or not to hire employees, whether or not to grow, when to say no, why you might not want EVERY potential customer, and so on.

I think this book might be just as helpful to existing small business owners as it is to those looking to start a business. The different sections on differentiation and customer service are insightful and seem to repeat themselves over and over through a variety of the case studies. And as mentioned before, the section on pricing is very interesting and perhaps not as intuitive as might be expected.
Profile Image for Shog Al Maskery.
113 reviews531 followers
January 16, 2018
It's the kind of business book you want to read and learn from as much as you can, but at the same time take your time to apply all you have learnt. I definitely recommend it to everyone who wants to start up their business!
Profile Image for Farnoosh Brock.
Author 17 books218 followers
April 13, 2013
There's always a more perfect time in your life that you wish you had read the books that cross your path. This is how I fel about The $100 Startup - I wish I had read it - or rather, I wish Chris had written it - about 5 years ago when I was still stumbling around, lost and confused and disillusioned with Corporate America, and beyond discouraged about doing anything I could love.

The Corporate America culture is brilliant at shunning any ideas of creativity and innovation and certainly not encouraging in anyway to those who want to strike out on their own.

If someone had told me just how POSSIBLE it is for any of us to start our own thriving and profitable microbusiness would be - NOT EASY but POSSIBLE - I would have jumped at the chance. So while I found a lot of this information in this book to be familiar - I know that it serves as an ideal resource for those who are new to entrepreneurship today.

I felt fortunate to know about 70% of the wonderful individuals in the case studies, and having been around the blogosphere for a while now, I echo Chris Guillebeau's heart-filled approach to starting a business and doing something you can love. Chris lives his words. He is a genuinely well-meaning success story, and I love that he chose to share this.

The stories CAN happen to you, if you choose to believe and to do and to give yourself a real chance. I'll be recommending this to my Smart Exit Blueprint class and writing up a more extensive review at my blog on Prolific Living. Enjoy and as Tony Robbins says, Live with Passion! :)
Profile Image for imane.
463 reviews390 followers
May 5, 2018
“Catch a man a fish, and you can sell it to him. Teach a man to fish and you ruin a wonderful business opportunity” - Karl Marx.
Turn your knowledge into something valuable (products or services...) and sell it.
Profile Image for Vaishali.
1,032 reviews262 followers
October 22, 2017
A great review for those starting a business or in the midst of next-level expansion.

"Focusing on these 2 questions will eliminate the need for outside consultants:
--- Is the business making money now ?
--- If not, what can we do to fix this now ?"

"There are only 3 things you need to start a business, and there’s no need to complicate this list :
--- Product or service
--- People willing to pay for your product or service
--- A way for them to pay you"

"Find something people want, and give it to them. Give people what they actually want, not what you think they want."

"If you’re good at one thing, you’re probably good at other things too. Transfer skills and keep learning."

"Sell an emotion, not product. The success of a business is directly related to how good you make them feel about themselves."

"Could a side-project for this business also morph into a business?"

"Freedom is very close to value provided."

"Definition of value: Something desirable and of worth created thru exchange or effort."

"Help people. Ask: 'How can I help my customers more?' If you make your business about helping others, you’ll always have plenty of work."

"Make your customer a hero... Help clients become Microsoft rockstars... 'Our training programs make customers look like rockstars to their friends and colleagues.' ”

"Sell what people buy already."

"Give more: love, money, acceptance, free time. Take away: stress, conflict, hassle, uncertainty."

"Latch onto a popular hobby, passion or craze. Anything that attracts a huge number of followers and an equally huge number of detractors (to keep the buzz going) is a good business opportunity. If interested parties love the activity but lack the discipline to implement it into their daily lives, you then have a great business opportunity."

"After building a loyal following, your customers will (and should) pounce on the new offering with gusto. Ask 'Will you be willing to pay for what we’re offering? What’s your biggest problem with —-? What can I help you with —-? What is the #1 thing I can do for you?”

"If your mission statement is longer than this sentence, it could be too long."

“Plans are good intentions, but they immediately degenerate into hard work.” - Peter Drucker

"In the battle between planning and action, action wins."

"Do a marketable idea, and provide a solution to a problem. Think usefulness, rather than innovation. Do this quickly, so you can analyze your market better."

"You need to really care about this problem, and know how others care."

"Get the first sale as soon as possible."

"The problem you face is inertia."

"How will this business help people? What will you charge? How else will you make money from this project? How can you encourage referrals?"

“I will launch this project into the world no later than (A DATE YOU STICK WITH)."

"They gave the customers what they wanted without hiding their real lives."

"... a bias towards action."

"People follow you because that’s what they’re interested in : you. I follow Shaquille O’Neal’s tweets and posts because I’m interested in what he has to say. If he spent all his time talking about other people and mentioning his other fans, I wouldn’t be as interested. What should you talk about online? Talk about yourself and your business."

"You can price high if you make the value proposition extremely clear. Always make offers people cannot refuse. It should be like getting a marriage proposal from the man of your dreams.
*** 1. Sell what people want to buy
*** 2. Make sure you’re marketing to the right people at the right time
*** 3. Craft your offer into a pitch they won’t turn down"

"Most people like to buy, but don’t like to be sold to."

"People should say about you: 'They won’t let me give them my money.' Some companies brilliantly get customers to market them."

"Who will take immediate action on your offer? How do you get others to?"

"Whenever you spot an inefficiency in the market, you have another business opportunity."

"Emergency, fast solutions will garner quick money exchanges with zero haggling."

“ 'This thing is really awesome!' … is what your customers must say.' "

"Don’t be afraid.

" Offer an air-tight satisfaction guaranteed. This erases customer fears."

"Make people feel good about the action of paying money. Upgrade their purchase unexpectedly and immediately so that they feel good about giving money to you. Go way above their expectations."

“ 'My product is a game-changer.' If you can say this, you have a great business."

"A good business needs nurturing and continuous improvement. As your project grows, take some time to
(1) fix little problems
(2) identify small actions that will create significant results over time"

"ALWAYS focus on the money. If you aren’t making money, you don’t have a good business. Period."

"Don’t be a fire-fighter. Focus on working *on* your business as opposed to *in* it. Working on the business requires a higher-level approach."

"You don’t need anyone to give you permission to pursue a dream."

"If you know what you need to do, the next step is simply to do it. Stop waiting. Start taking action."

"Success is the ability to keep going, to keep the doors open."

"Crafting an offer, hustling, and producing a launch event will generate much greater results than simply releasing your product or service to the world with no fanfare."

"It only gets better as you go along."

"You aren’t alone out there."

"Failure is overrated—who says you’ll fail? You can just as easily succeed."

"More than competition or other external factors, the biggest battle is against our own fear and inertia. Thankfully, this also means we are in complete control of managing it."

Profile Image for Youghourta.
129 reviews205 followers
February 17, 2017
كتاب يتحدث حول الطّريقة التي يُمكن أن تُطلق فيها مشروعك الخاص بأقل التكاليف لتحقق الحرية (المقصود بالحرية هنا هو عدم العمل كموظف لدى طرف آخر بدوام كامل).

عنوان الكتاب قد لا يكون دقيقًا جدًا، فالمقصود بـ "الشركة الناشئة"*، ليس المفهوم الذي يُروّج له بول جراهام في مقاله "شركة ناشئة = النّمو”* (شركة تهدف إلى تحقيق نمو كبير وفي ظرف قصير جدًا) وإنما كل مشروع يُمكن أن يمثّل مصدر رزق لك، يوفّر لك الحرّية (أن لا تعمل لدى غيرك) ويضمن لك حياة كريمة بغض النّظر عن إمكانية نموّها بشكل كبير لتصبح شركة كبيرة (بل بالعكس، العديد من الأمثلة التي عرضها الكاتب، هي لمشاريع تجارية قرّر أصحابها الإبقاء عليها صغيرة).
الكتاب يحتوي أفكارًا حول مُختلف مراحل العمل على المشروع (بدءًا من التّخطيط، ومرورًا بالإطلاق ووصولًا إلى زيادة الأرباح).
قد لا تخرج بدليل عملي لإطلاق مشروعك بشكل مباشر بالضّرورة بعد فراغك من قراءة الكتاب، لكن ستجد أفكارًا عديدة يُمكن لك تطبيقها خاصّة إذا كنت تنوي إطلاق مُنتج معرفي /إلكتروني (كتاب إلكتروني، دورة تعليمية …).

أمر آخر، قد يصعب تنفيذ العديد من أفكار الكتاب في البلدان العربية، خاصة تلك التي تعاني انعدامًا أو من تعقيدات مع أنظمة الدّفع الإلكتروني.
إن كنت تنوي إطلاق مشروعك الخاص فقد ترغب في الاطّلاع على هذا الكتاب.

* الشركة الناشئة: startup
**: رابط مقال بول جراهام: www.paulgraham.com/growth.html
ستجد التّرجمة العربية للمقال هنا: https://academy.hsoub.com/entrepreneu...
6 reviews
June 24, 2012
This was recommended to me by Michael Hanna, a former media colleague who now owns and runs The Mattress Lot in Portland. His story opens the book.

The $100 Startup is a very interesting and eye-opening read: many of the people featured just got going with something rather than giving it a great deal of advanced study.

The book would have benefited by going deeper into each story -- I wanted more about exactly HOW some of them got started, what obstacles they met along the way, and how they overcome those obstacles. In particular, I was intrigued by the story of Naomi Dunford, who apparently launched an online empire from nothing (Ittybiz) by offering to brainstorm with people for $250 a pop. Apparently people were willing to hire her for this right away... how did THAT happen?

The author also undoubtedly encountered some people who tried to launch a "$100 startup", failed, and wound up concluding that this life was not for them. Those cautionary tales would have offered some good lessons to anyone considering the approach the book recommends.

In fairness, much of that information could be contained in the materials the author sells on his website. The $100 Startup gives a valuable introduction to the idea of starting a business on a shoestring, and planted at least one idea-to-be-seriously-explored in this reader's head.

Profile Image for Jefi Sevilay.
589 reviews54 followers
October 25, 2021
Daha kitap ilk cümleden Türkiye'deki uyarlanabilirliğini yitirdi: "5 dakikada bir paypal hesabı açıyorsunuz". Evet belki açabilirsiniz ama Türkiye'de kullanamazsınız. Aynı Booking.com, Uber, kısa bir süre öncesinde kadar Wikipedia gibi. Çünkü turizm lobisi, taksici lobisi buna izin vermez.

Kitabı çok uygulanabilir, örnek alınabilir bulmadım. İlk birkaç küçük şirketten alacağınızı alabilirsiniz ve gerisini okumazsanız birşey kaybetmezsiniz. Anafikrini yine siz çıkaracaksınız. Her zaman olduğu gibi başarının 3 sırrı, altın yumurtlamanın 5 yolu gibi maddeli kitapları sevmiyorum. Bu kitap da şaşırtmadı. Çok fazla tekrar var. Ayrıca bazı işletmelere baktım ve bugün yoklar.

Bence kitaptan da başarısız olan Pegasus'un basımıydı. "Başarı"daki "ş" kare basılmış. Daha neler. Bir de "sounds great" ifadesi "harika duyuluyor" şeklinde çevrilmiş. Üşenmedim baktım Google Translate'e bile yazınca "kulağa harika geliyor" çıkıyor.

100$'lık Başlangıç, iş dünyası ile ilgili mutlaka okunması gereken kitaplar arasında ama 8 yıldır kendi işini yürüten biri olarak nasıl şu kitaplardan tek birşey alamıyorum bunu da aklım almıyor.

Bunu da atlasanız üzülmezsiniz.
Herkese keyifli okumalar!
Profile Image for Mahrufa Mery.
146 reviews88 followers
November 7, 2020
আমাদের দেশের বিজনেস এনভায়রনমেন্ট এর সাথে ম্যাক্সিমাম সিনারিও যায় না। তবে, টেক অন্ট্রোপ্রেনররা অনেকটা রিলেট করতে পারবেন। মডার্ণ বিজনেস রান করার জন্য বেশ কিছু গো টূ টিপস পাওয়া যাবে। অনেক ধরনের বিজনেসের অনেক ধরনের সিনারিও আলোচনা করা হয়েছে। পয়েন্ট করে সামারি দেয়া, ইজিলি আন্ডারস্ট্যান্ডেবল। যাদের বিজনেস / অন্ট্রোপ্রনরশিপ নিয়ে আগ্রহ আছে, তারা পড়তে পারেন।
Profile Image for Cindy.
88 reviews3 followers
July 15, 2012
When I first picked this book up, I thought it would be about how to start a small business on little or no money. That was not the case, and in fact, I wasn't sure I would even finish the entire book. But it turned out to be much more.

The $100 Start Up is really an inspiring guide to stepping out on your own, doing what you love, without fear, (your own, or)of what others might say. (You know who I'm talking about, the nay-sayers).

Throughout the book, the author interviews various entrepreneurs in different sectors of businesses. He asks many questions; and business owners are more than happy to share their personal stories.

What kind of threw me back, was the fact that the author talks about creating a business where one can "give back", to which I thought, "how does this apply in my business, as a jewelry designer?" But with further reading and exploration, I understood more.

The author stresses excellent points, such as:giving the customer what they want, connecting with others, and maybe even showing potential customers that you do have what they want!

There are so many helpful insights in this book, that I won't give away here, and encourage anyone who wants to work for themselves, be creative, and be happy to pick this book up and give it a thorough read.
232 reviews3 followers
May 5, 2012
disclosure: i won a copy of the book from Chris Guillebeau's website/blog: Art of Non-Conformity of which I am a regular follower.

i was in the midst of my final days at work when i received the $100 Startup in the mail. i had quit my job because i was ready to 'take the bull by the horns,' so to speak and go freelance. this wasn't just about a job change, but a life change - i decided it was time for me to live my life the way i want, i wanted to "create a new future" as part of the book's subtitle reminded me.

the first part of the book talks a lot about the very real possibility of working for yourself. what is happiness, what is value, how to combine those with your skills. one of the sections is called "Reality Check Checklist." this part of the book I loved - it reassured me, i wasn't going off the deep end, the idea that putting passion and purpose at the center of your life's pursuits is truly the best way to live.

the middle (and largest section) of the book are success stories (with a few occasional anecdotes on failure.) while i liked these stories, they started to blur together by the end and i even skipped some pages/sections. it's probably just who i am, but i always take these stories with a grain of salt - you never know where these people came from, the sort of help they had, the level of their success, etc etc. not to undermine their success but it's not necessarily fair either to equate their 'results' to your potential success.

i liked the stories that were interesting stories in and of themselves, start-up business related or not (like the story of Rhett would be compelling in any book, not just a book about start-ups.). but otherwise i think everyone has to learn their own lessons in life (and business.)

lastly, the book ends by focusing back on you. this book is ultimately for the reader - if you want to be small, stay small. if you fail, don't give up. if you are offered advice, take what's worthwhile and ignore the rest.

i recommend this book to anyone looking to make that leap who might not be the most-likely-to-succeed type. it's okay if you don't fit the entrepreneurial profile, the profile is a cliche anyway. take what you want out of the book and leave the rest.

one other thing that prompted a 3 instead of 4 star rating. and this may not have bothered anyone else - but the design of the book is cheap. it looks like a published at-home, clip-art, self-help book. one of the lessons of the book is to just get your idea/work out there. but i think there's something to be said about making sure it reflects your standards of quality and care.
Profile Image for Ahmad.
26 reviews11 followers
August 21, 2016
very inspiring, well structured, simply great book.
Profile Image for Kelly.
863 reviews111 followers
July 1, 2019
This book is written in the entrepreneurial spirit of trying to make a buck. That's the point of the whole book (about startup companies that people have created out of hobbies or necessities, turning their interest into profit)... but it makes for a little bit less-than-helpful reading. This is not an MBA crash course. It's more like an amalgamation of anecdotes about people who have managed to do this (including the author, through his, er, independent book sales). There's no magic formula here. There isn't even that much background on the anecdotes or those who became success stories. In fact, what do we have here?

A kind of kick in the ass - yes. That's the first half of the book. And it did inspire me to start a group right here on Goodreads for buying, selling and trading books in Israel, where I live. But you know what? Not one book has been successfully bought, sold or traded in spite of the group having over 50 members. So while The $100 Startup was great for seizing on a personal interest and inviting people to share in it (and eventually profit from it), besides the initial setup, it certainly lacks in advice for execution. Or maybe that's the point - half of small businesses fail. And my experience with this book was no different.

The second half of the book went on to discuss how you market your new business. It had no relevance to me, so I skimmed it. Overall, this was a pretty disappointing read for me personally, but for those that it has inspired - including my sister! - it has all of the value in the world.
Profile Image for Melodie.
589 reviews64 followers
September 22, 2019
Like a lot of people, I have dreams of being my own boss. I have a side hustle(maybe hustle is a bit over blown), and it has gotten me through some tight times. But I've never made the leap from my full time career to making my side job my main source of income. So maybe I was looking for that push from this book.
While I got some information, I didn't get the impetus I was looking for. A lot of anecdotes that were inspirational but short on nuts and bolts. People go from A to C, but I'm looking for dealing with B. It got me thinking though and seeing that my dreams aren't pie in the sky.
So read this for inspiration,just don't expect a blue print.
December 20, 2021
The author emphasizes two main aspects: freedom and value, i.e building a $100 startup is a way of gaining personal freedom by providing something of value to the society.
The book has many examples and practical tips on building and growing a small business. Might seem a bit out-dated without a lot of attention to internet businesses. Nothing truly transformational for me in the book but a decent read.
Profile Image for Mel.
62 reviews26 followers
May 5, 2012
I would love to write a bunch of beautifully scripted words about this book, but it just would neither truly reflect this book nor do it justice. So, I will just make this as concise and straightforward as the book is.

I’ve spent a ton of time laboring through free video seminars of big names of people who live amazing lives, work from anywhere they wish to travel with that now so predictable “hook” to compel you to buy into their brand of “school” or “association” or “academy” etc. that cost thousands of dollars even with their “buy now” discounts! None of which I can ever afford however try to use the “Free” content they so generously offered. But all it was, was a taste… part of the hook.

Tired of that nonsense? So am I!

When I first learned of Chris Guillebreau’s book The $100 Startup… My immediate thoughts were… “This is too good to be true.” and “What is the hook?” Once I got the book in my hands, I realized, Chris is delivering an amazing value to anyone either thinking about starting a business, struggling for direction and steps to launch and even those already in business that need to make some shifts to gain some momentum! The book is an easy read. No big words or trendy words. This is straight forward, nothing fancy common sense with the nuts and bolts of what you need to start ANY business! Even the graphics are crisp, clean, nothing fancy and communicate a powerful message within themselves. The book contains clear concise background information – just what the reader needs and nothing more; then goes on to give the reader action steps. The plans are easy to find because they are in gray boxes – so a reader can read through the book and then come back and easily find the task lists.

What sold me on the credibility of the content was that this is not a “How I Did It” book by Chris Guillebeau. Chris interviewed several successful business owners that fit a list of parameters – must be successful (duh) and he specifically tells you what he defined as successful by how much money the businesses were bringing in the last two years. Also the business has to be small (no more than 5 people – most of them were less) with little or no start-up cost. I also normally fall asleep with nuts and bolts type books with boring step by step stuff… However, not with $100 StartUp! This book was very engaging and interesting!

I was once told in a class that when writing a review to lend credibility to my review I should find something I see room for improvement. The only thing I could come up with? That it didn’t come out sooner!

When Chris in the book gives his One Page Business Plan in his illustration at the beginning of the chapter – there are two steps on a sticky note in the illustration. I am not going to give away the secret. But his entire book basically tells you how to do the first step and the second step is the reward for the first step. This is one of the smartest books I’ve ever read with content that exceeds any other that I’ve ever read, seen, heard that is out there – and I have researched a lot! It was Chris’ book that moved me to action because it told me “how and now!” I’m in the middle of a business launch right now that I would probably still be sitting on had I not got my hands and eyes and brain around this hot little book!

Buy the book! How is that for straightforward! I immediately started telling and texting and messaging friends to buy this book before I even finished reading it! I could not stop talking about the genius contained on the pages within. And now I’m telling YOU! Had I not received an advanced copy, I would have bought this book myself and still be telling everyone about it!

Share this review with anyone you know in business for themselves or thinking about starting a business and if they follow the advice… They will come back and thank you!

Special thanks to Chris Guillebeau (http://chrisguillebeau.com) for the advanced copy and the opportunity to review it!

Book Release Date: May 8, 2012
Profile Image for Dorai Thodla.
68 reviews101 followers
December 5, 2013
I picked it up almost a year ago, read about half of it and forgot all about it. Recently, I had to make a couple of train trips and had plenty of time to read. So went back and finished it. It is not certainly one of those books that you can do in one sitting (see some of the other comments).

I like the book since I mingle and work with lots of entrepreneurs. I think it is a must read for every entrepreneur. More than the stories, the patterns of entrepreneurship are interesting.

1. How people become entrepreneurs - some are accidental entrepreneurs (like me)
2. How each entrepreneur measures success (not all of it is high growth or billions of dollars)
3. How they face adversity and overcome it
4. How capital really is a small part (if at all) of starting and making a successful company.
5. How entrepreneurship is about something you love and really care about.

It is really a collection of several small stories with some common threads. So it can be read in fragments.

Stories of entrepreneurship are always fascinating and quite inspiring. It was a fun book to read and if you are an entrepreneur or someone who hangs around a lot of entrepreneurs, you may really enjoy this book.

More stuff written up in my blog posts:
“People Who Start Their Own Micro-businesses” http://bit.ly/1e61mlO
“Where Do Ideas Come From?” http://bit.ly/1e61qBS
Profile Image for Sumit Ghosh.
61 reviews15 followers
February 21, 2021
Regardless of it having a few flaws, I absolutely loved this book. Highly recommended.

This book resonated with me so well because it sells the idea of being a free soul and making a living through a small business (typically one-man). This idea of being a solopreneur, digital nomad, or whatever fancy name you call it, has been my biggest dream and drive for the last few years, and it fits very nicely with my personality.

Firstly, let's discuss the flaw this book has. I think it focuses too much on the individual stories, rather than just going to the general conclusion. I understand the writer's motivation behind writing the book this way, he wanted to sound as authentic as possible by referencing examples, meanwhile following the principle of the saying "Examples are better than precept". But still, at times, I felt like I didn't care much about those "Heroes of $100 Start-up" that I would read their semi-biography.

But the quality of this book that made me love it is the summarization it provided after every chapter. It focused on the core message of the book, devoid of the stories. The author also wrapped the book up with a chapter which summarizes the whole book, and I think that is really neat.
Profile Image for Rosie Nguyễn.
Author 6 books5,925 followers
July 15, 2015
Phew, finished this book finally after so much time. Just because I didn't concentrate to read it.

I followed Chris Guillebeau's blog a long time ago. Although I found some of his posts interesting, I was not totally impressed so I didn't care 100$ Startup when it was published.

The book came to me together with a set of another 3 books from an older friend, who recommended me to read startup books. And it was amazing. I found a lot of great tips to make my upcoming second book a best seller, hehe. And many other inspirational notes and techniques which may be useful for the startup project that I'm getting involved in.

I reckon Chris put a lot of hard work, a lot of research and effort in this book. And I admire his spirit. To me this is absolutely one of the must - read books in startup. And I'm just glad that I spent time to finish it eventually.
Profile Image for David Zheng.
2 reviews
December 25, 2015
One of the worst books I've ever read...

It's concept is scattered, "Start now! Don't wait - but first see chapter 11 for more info".

It talks a lot about business hype but really doesn't give any meat and potatoes to how a business can actually succeed. The information given in this book is a rally for anyone that has a dream of owning their own business but frequently gives extremely misleading insight into how it's really done.

As a business owner of a brick and mortar business, an online sales business, and cofounder of another online entity business - my advice if you MUST read this book is to be extremely cautious.

Better advice - don't read it.

Profile Image for Brittany.
325 reviews30 followers
January 16, 2018
In a world where side hustles are so prevalent, this book is definitely timely and informative. I could see some of the information provided in the book becoming outdated over time, so I would caution against that. This was a great business building book to start off the year with! Listening to the audiobook was great because I could easily take notes while listening, including my own ideas that were sparked by the book. The advice for starting out was extremely useful and propelling for my own business. I have already started putting some of it into practice and I am excited to continue!
Profile Image for Martin Smrz.
270 reviews6 followers
July 8, 2016
Could not get myself to finish this book as it is just a compilation of ideas about starting your own small business that lacks originality. I guess if you are in your teenage or early 20ties years this collection might be interesting. Over 30 and already with some business experience and the book is a waste of time.
Profile Image for Dan Cameron.
10 reviews
September 25, 2017
If you thought this book was going to help you understand how to start a small business, you were mistaken. It is just a random collection of stories about people who started their own businesses. No meat or substance is included. I guess his name should have told me what to expect. Chris Guillebeau should be pronounced as Christ, this is for the Gullible.
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