The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
Why I Chose this Book
I have been interested in learning about finance and entrepreneurship for several years now. Occasionally, I will read a book related to one of the two subjects. Recently, I watched an interview of a respected public financial advisor who often advocates becoming financially independent. Interestingly, I’ve been noticing increased talk in the media about not just better money management, but about owning your own business and becoming financially independent. One book this financial advisor recommended was the $100 Startup. I then decided to check the book out from my local library and read most of it during train rides to and from work.
The author’s stated purpose for this book is to serve as a blueprint with practical steps to build your own business. To be more specific, it is a blueprint to build your own microbusiness. A microbusiness is unlikely to become the next megacorporation, but it gives you a way to make a living doing what you choose to do on your own terms. Following this path of entrepreneurship gives you flexibility and freedom.
This book is divided into three parts. The first part describes how to get started with your business. The second part advises on how to develop and promote your business. The final and third part is about growing your business, which is reportedly easier than starting it. For each step, the author gives advice and uses examples from the plethora of entrepreneurs he has interviewed. Each chapter ends with the most important points of the chapter. Throughout the book, the author also provides some additional resources available online. Below, I’ve listed a few lessons that stuck out to me.
Part 1. Coming up with an inexpensive business idea
- Start/launch your business idea soon. Tweak it as you go.
- For an online business, open a free PayPal account to receive payments.
- A business nowadays can be started with a relatively small amount of money. Of course, some business ideas are better suited to low-cost startups than others.
- The internet is a good medium to start a business.
- A business can be considered a success without making millions or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Part 2. Advertising your business/making it successful
- All talk and no work=charlatan. All work and no talk=martyr. Balance of talk and work=hustler.
- (I think this is a good concept even for those not starting their own business, but are looking to grow their career. One needs a balance between hard work and self-promotion/advertisement. If you have worked hard, but no one knows, it will be hard to get promotions at your job or get admitted into the school you want.)
- “If you’re not sure where to spend your business development time, spend 50% on creating and 50% on connecting.”
Part 3. Growing your business
- There are several ways to expand your business such as outsourcing or hiring virtual assistants.
- You don’t have to expand your business just because you can. Choose the size of your business that best fits you.
This book provides some practical and simple advice on starting your own business. It’s targeted more towards people who work a regular job for someone else, but may be considering starting out on their own. It may hold gems for people at any stage of entrepreneurship, though. This book provides advice and examples on how to find a business that best suits you and what to expect when developing it. It is both motivational and practical. Because it’s more of an outline of what to do, if looking for specific or technical advice for building a business one would have to look elsewhere or do something even better. Start your own business and learn firsthand.