$100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

Rating: 8/10.

Two key themes of the book: freedom and value.

Benefits of microbusiness:

  • Cost to start has gone down
  • You build a community of royal customers, you'll know what to make for them. The more you understand what they need, the more odds of your success.

Instead of borrowing money, start right now without lots of money.

"I'll share more of my own story as we go along, but this book isn't about me - it's about other people who have found freedom, and how you can do the same thing."

The goal here isn't to get rich quickly but to build something other people will value enough to pay for. You're not just creating a job for yourself; you're crafting a legacy.

The unexpected entrepreneur

"You already have the skills you need - you just have to know where to look."

Three major lessons:

  • Convergence: This is the intersection between what you are good at and what other people need it.
  • Skill transformation: realize that you are good at more than one thing. If you are good at one thing, you are likely to be good at other things.
  • The magic formula: passion + usefulness = success

Contrary to conventional wisdom, success in entrepreneurship isn't necessarily related to being the best at any particular activity. Scott Adam's Dilbert success comes from the combination of: cartoonist, basic writing skills, ordinary sense of humor and a bit of knowledge of how to run a business.

You don't need to start with lots of money or VC. You just need a product or service and a group of people willing to pay for it.

Give them the fish

How to put happiness in a box and sell it.

Most business owner when asked what they sell and why they sell, they would answer: "We sell widgets, and people buy them because they need a widget".

A smarter response would be: "We are offering freedom. Our work helps our guests escape, even for a moment in time. They might have never considered that before."

You are selling more than a product. You are selling happiness.

Where do ideas come from?

  • An inefficiency in the marketplace.
  • New technology or opportunity.
  • A changing space
  • A spin-off or side project.

What is value?

value: something desirable and of worth, created through exchange or effort.

This is an easier way to think: Value means helping people.

If you're trying to build a microbusiness and you begin your efforts by helping people, you're on the right track. When you get stuck, ask yourself: How can I give more value? Or how can I help my customers more?

Freedom and value have a direct relationship. A business ultimately succeeds because of the value it provides its end users, customers, or clients.

Value relates to emotional needs.

Many business owners talk about their work in terms of the features it offers, but it's much more powerful to talk about the benefit customers receive. Features are descriptive, benefits are emotional.

A few examples between features vs benefits

Strategy 1: Dig Deeper to Uncover the Hidden Needs

Strategy 2: Make your Customer A Hero

Strategy 3: Sell what people buy

What do people want? They want to be happy and businesses that help customers to be happy are well-positioned to succeed.

The rise of roaming entrepreneur

Location is overrated.

You can work from anywhere in the world with internet.

Become your own publisher:

  • Find a topic that people will pay to learn about.
  • Capture the information in one of the three ways:
  • 1) Write it down
  • 2) Record a video
  • 3) Produce combination of 1 & 2
  • Combine your materials into a product, an e-book or digital package that can be downloaded by buyers.

The customer demographics

Strategy 1 :latch on popular hobby, passion or craze

Example: sell instruction on how to cook Paleo meals for Paleo diet followers.

Strategy 2: sell what people buy. Create a list of survey questions to ask customers.

Decision making matrix

A table with weight for each idea

Hustling: the gentle art of self-promotion

Charlatan - Martyr - Hustler

How to be a hustler?

  • Make something worth talking about
  • Then start with everyone you know and ask for help.

Strategic giving marketing plan: freely give, freely receive. Deliberately not take advantage of every opportunity to increase income.

Marketing will be like sex: Only the losers pay for it.


"Moving up" by increasing an existing business is usually easier than initially starting the business.

By making careful choices, you can often grow the business without dramatically increasing the workload, allowing you to scale without hiring more people.

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