The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
In my never-ending quest to stay motivated to eventually move back into self-employment (Co-workers, disregard this statement. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. Move along. Move along.) I devoured The $100 Startup, by Chris Guillebeau. I found this book via Tim Ferris’ blog. For those who don’t know Tim, he wrote the very successful 4 Hour Workweek. The 4 Hour Workweek holds a special place in my heart. I hated half the book. Loved the other half. The spirit of the book was far more valuable to me than the actual content. The $100 Startup, however, manages to deliver on both spirit and content.
The premise is simple: Borrowing money or going into debt to start a business is completely optional. You can bootstrap your way to success, if you do it right. Having run a design consultancy (of one) for 7 years, I can attest to that fact. While I didn’t do it on $100 (It was closer to a $4,000 initial investment on hardware, software, etc.), I made a good living doing some of the same things outlined in this book.
The book mixes a variety of case study examples with “how-to” tips and lessons to follow along the way. I found a lot of little gems of advice in there that I plan to follow. Of the 1,500 potential case studies, Chris pulls 100 individuals to talk about. All their businesses are earning $50,000 or more so it’s a good cross section of moderate to exceptional financial success. They cross multiple industries and countries, and have quite a variety of stories.
What I liked most about the book was that he doesn’t sugar coat his information. He gives pros and cons to various scenarios. He doesn’t make wild promises like “Just follow my 6 steps and you’ll be worth millions sitting on the beach all day!” He uses his research and personal experience to find underlying truths to the experience of creating a successful startup. Some of it is luck. Some of it is science. A lot of it is hard work.
If you are at all interested in self-employment or looking to start a micro-business, pick up this book. It’s worth every penny.
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Learn more about Chris at his personal site or at his book site.