This post is a book review on the $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau.
In early May I was one of the 100 privileged readers of Chris' blog of The Art of Non-Conformity who managed to get a pre-launch free copy of his new book called:
Chris has travelled more than 185 countries (and he's only in his early 30s as of 2012), and in his book, he says that he has met generally two kinds of people in his life:
The first group is the group of people who are trapped and does nothing about their lives. The second group is those who are very similar to himself, who have the time and money to live the life they want. And what he did was to go out and get more data from the group who is most like him and place this data into a more coherent, understandable and workable manner which is the book here. Though it looks like a simple read, but don't let this book fool you.
I am a big believer of data and numbers, and research and data is more important to me than what I think or feel today. Chris did some solid research, having received more than 1,500 entrepreneur's entries for inclusion in the book, personally vetting them all and then choosing and identifying which were the best fit for the book.
The following inclusion criteria to be included in the book:
He then interviewed a couple hundred of people, vetted through more than 4,000 pages of survey information, made a lot of phone calls (think hundreds) to distill and then compile the most critical entrepreneurship and business lessons into a workable blueprint. It doesn't say that it's something that you can install, and "poof" everything falls into place and you earn millions of dollars – like every success, you have got to work it.
An excerpt taken from the introduction of the book, where he describes his goal for the book:
"What if you could achieve your own life of freedom by bypassing everything you thought was a prerequisite? Instead of borrowing money, you just start — right now — without a lot of money. Instead of hiring employees, you begin a project by yourself, based on your specific personal combination of passion and skill. Instead of going to business school (which doesn't actually train people to operate a small business), you save $60,000 in tuition and learn as you go."
I personally have many, many, many very smart individuals who are very talented, capable, solid and shoulda/coulda/woulda entrepreneurs who never took the leap or gave up in the start because of barriers that were not as important. Common reasons include lacking business degrees, lacking capital/funds…but they're not fundamental. Well, yes, if you have more cash and business knowledge, that may be an advantage, but in the book, Chris shows many examples of people and entrepreneurs who started profitable businesses that they love without both business degrees nor lots of money.
The book is divided into three large parts:
At every step of the way, Chris uses real-life-examples and actual entrepreneurs that he interviewed personally to highlight each tactic in detail. Here are some of my favorite take away points from my copy:
Lastly, the last segment of the book is the super-summary of 25 businesses, what they do, what they offer, and the benefits attached to it. What is nice about this is that I get to see for myself how to position and communicate who I am and what benefits I offer to my clients, and there are 25 examples for me.
Okay, to be honest, if you're very happy where you are in your career, business or finance, or your goal is to create the next Amazon or Google, this book isn't for you. It's for those who are keen on having a microbusiness that they love and have passion for – if that's you, get this, it's for you. This book feels like a light read and as though you've a sincere friend who's a couple of steps ahead of you to show and prompt you.