Chris Guillebeau is an amazing guy. When he was doing a tour for his prior book, The Art of Non-Conformity, he thought he would head to Delaware, find a Starbucks and have a meet-up. Unfortunately, Wilmington’s Starbucks are more suburban, so I emailed him and we ended up with a great meet up at our local Brew Ha Ha, an even more awesome local coffee house, known for the latte art that makes my day special when I stop by.
The meet-up was simply a joy, and it was great to find out Chris and I had mutual friends, which made it much more like meeting someone I already knew, than meeting a total stranger. It was also great to talk to someone who had a book out, as mine was coming out later in the year, so it helped me think about what I wanted to do to make mine as special as Chris has made his.
Needless to say, when Chris told me he had a new book, The $100 startup- Reinvent the way you make a living, do what you love, and crate a new future, I was thrilled that he asked me to read it and review it for the launch. Even more important to many of the tech and entrepreneurial folks I know, this book is a great guide to making your dreams come true.
In addition to letting you know your passions can lead to greatness, Chris lays out things like the one page business plan, how to construct and offer, and how to launch. It’s the unstuffy guide to making a business that actually makes money, and you’ll learn you don’t need an infinite amount of capital to make it happen, either. It’s the business guide for the creative class, that is practical but leaves all the intimidating stuff behind.
This is a perfect book for SO many people I know, and a good reminder and resource for all of us who think we know it all, as well.
Let’s take an example. I’ve been funding projects from time to time on Kickstarter, for lots of reasons. They range from really liking some project or something that solves a problem for me, and wanting to be one of the first to try it out, to just believing that a little money can help people build their dreams. By sharing even in just the stories of these entrepreneurs as they get their projects off the ground, deal with manufacturing headaches and more, it’s like going to business school without the tuition. You get to see the real world struggles of folks working to make their product, their art, their passion come alive, and it’s incredibly inspiring. (I am sure there’s a reality show waiting to be made out of Kickstarter that would make many of the shows today look sad by comparison.) All of these entrepreneurs start out with a dream and ask for funding- some get it, and some do not. But a quick read of The $100 Startup might make some of the projects and pitches more compelling, giving them a greater chance for success from the very get-go.
Even my husband, a traditional guy by most measures, is amazed by the stuff that shows up from time to time at our house from Kickstarter and other small startups like Quarterly.co, and now he’s starting to hear about Kickstarter more frequently in his every day travels, making this side-interest of mine a little less weird and a little more mainstream. In fact, as I am discussing taking what has been a long-time alpha-project into beta testing and ultimate launch, just knowing about things like Kickstarter has made family support a bit easier to garner. Now, with Chris’s book, I have an additional source of advice to make sure the launch and initial offers are sound, and I have something to check my gut instincts against, making it much more likely that the next phase will go far better than it would have otherwise.
Chris’s new book, the $100 Start-up is probably best described as the business book for people wanting to live their dreams, but want to do it in a way that means they can actually earn a living- like at least $50,000 a year, not just eating ramen noodles and waiting for a buy out or other miracle to come along. It’s about being a grown-up, identifying a market, a service, and something you can offer that people want to buy. People want to have pain removed- they want their problems solved, and they are willing to pay to make that happen. You just have to be there to use your talents and expertise to help them solve those problems, and do so in a consistent, valuable way that makes you a source for answers.
This is a book you won’t want to miss, by someone who I’m honored to know. It’s not just a book for the late-twenty set, not wanting to wear a suit to work. It’s for all of us, looking to make our lives better and do things we care about. Period.