You probably know Chris Guillebeau, who really hit the radar in mid-2008 with the well-received release of his manifesto, A Brief Guide to World Domination. When it came out, I was a freelance writer and editor — as I had been my entire career at that point — writing pieces about the work revolution that was approaching, where the industrial model would start to become obsolete and people would increasingly act as free agents, working on their own terms from their preferred locations, as contractors, entrepreneurs and often a mixture of both.
But outside of the insular circle that was already reading these pieces, the average person was scoffing. I recall my in-laws, in particular, continued to condescendingly insist that I get a real job. It didn’t matter when my income outstripped theirs — it was still a silly hobby, a childish waste of time before I’d grow a pair, put on a suit, and start interviewing for jobs.
Just a few years ago, people were still laughing at those of us forging our own paths, regardless of how our bank accounts were doing. But now, the reality is starting to sink in: the modern age and all its tools has created a world where we can test business ideas quickly and cheaply and make our living on our own terms with relative ease.
The problem is that many of these people still don’t know how it is done. That’s where Chris Guillebeau’s newest book, The $100 Startup, comes in. With Guillebeau’s trademark mix of pure practicality, entertaining anecdotes and motivating pieces such as the opening Manifesto, The $100 Startup promises to show you how to gain personal freedom and make a living doing what matters most to you.
The focus of the book is on building microbusinesses. These are businesses that require a next-to-zero capital outlay, and have skills you can pick up without heading back to university. Despite the name, there’s no cap on income for a business to fit the criteria, but the goal is that a microbusiness will be just big enough to suit both your lifestyle and income needs, and no bigger.
This is what Guillebeau himself did — not for the first time — in 2008, when he started a blog, published a manifesto, and figured out what people wanted from there. He was most frequently asked about getting good airfares and traveling around the world, so his first product was an ebook called the Discount Airfare Guide. Today he sells a whole range of products that teach people how to dictate their own careers and take control of their own lives, which can be found at Unconventional Guides.
What will you learn from The $100 Startup specifically? For starters, how to identify the value that you can offer and test your business idea. How to nail your business plan, without producing some useless, novel-length behemoth. Chris talks about creating offers, launching products and marketing them the right way. And, finally, he talks about growing your business once it has been launched, how to franchise it, and how to determine how big you want to grow it and how to maintain that size.
If you want to fuel your venture without going through venture capital hell, The $100 Startup could be the book for you. Check it out.