Summary: The $100 Startup

The only thing stopping you starting a side venture is you


The $100 Startup is crammed with practical, research-based information on starting a side venture without breaking the bank. Guillebeau makes the point of offering a complete blueprint to get started, not just general ideas. If you’re reading this review, you can probably get your hands on $100. Really, there are no excuses left. If after reading this book you don’t start your side project, it’s probably because you don’t want to.

From the back cover

Change your job to change your life

You no longer need to work nine-to-five in a big company to pay the mortgage, send your kids to school and afford that yearly holiday. You can quit the rat race and start up on your own – and you don’t need an MBA or a huge investment to do it.

The $100 Startup is your manual to a new way of living. Learn how to:

  • Earn a good living on your own terms, when and where you want
  • Achieve that perfect blend of passion and income to make work something you love
  • Take crucial insights from 50 ordinary people who started a business with $100 or less
  • Spend less time working and more time living your life


  1. There has never been a better time in history to test, launch and scale your project quickly and cheaply.
  2. To start a business, you need three things: a product or service, a group of people willing to pay for it, and a way to get paid. Everything else is completely optional.
  3. If you’re good at one thing, you’re probably good at other things too.
  4. Merge your passion and skill with something that is useful to other people.
  5. When you focus on providing value, i.e. helping people, your business will be successful.
  6. Give people what they want, not just what you think they sould have.
  7. Sell benefits, not features.
  8. Always focus on what you can add or subtract to improve someone’s life… and then prepare to get paid.
  9. Good businesses provide solutions to problems.
  10. Not every passion is worth building a business on.
  11. You can establish a specialised consulting business in one day – the more specific, the better.
  12. Roaming entrepreneurs are everywhere these days with many making six-figures while living in paradise.
  13. What do you want to do? Forget the rest.
  14. The business of information publishing is especially profitable – and it extends far beyond just e-books.
  15. Who are your audience? Think in terms of shared beliefs, goals and values.
  16. You can often build a following by simplifying a process for others hoping to benefit from it.
  17. Keep asking, “What is the number one thing I can do for you?”
  18. Plan as you go.
  19. As soon as possible, get your first sale.
  20. As much as possible, connect your offer to the direct benefits customers will receive.
  21. What people want and what they say they want are not always the same thing. Your job is to figure out the difference.
  22. When developing an offer, think carefully about the objections and then respond to them in advance.
  23. Get people to take action.
  24. Offer assurances and guarantees.
  25. Launching your product doesn’t happen overnight. You have to build up to it. Create a story. Build buzz. Make an offer. Why should people care about your offer now?
  26. If you’re not sure where to spend your business time, spend 50% on creating and 50% on connecting. The most powerful channel for getting the word out usually starts with people you already know.
  27. When you’re first getting started, say yes to every reasonable request.
  28. There’s nothing wrong with having a hobby, but if you’re operating a business, the primary goal is to make money.
  29. Going into debt to start a business is completely optional. Many people start successful ventures without outside investment or borrowing.
  30. Whether it’s money, access to help or anything else, you probably have more than you think.
  31. Scaling a business is usually easier than starting one. Easy growth opportunities include: adding a service to a product-based business (or vice versa); creative upsells; horizontal expansion (going broader) and vertical expansion (going deeper).
  32. Leverage skills, contacts and technology to be in more than one place at a time. Strategies to do this include: outsourcing, franchising, affiliate recruitment, partnerships.
  33. Maintain one business base which you control (e.g. your website) and have a presence on other outposts (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc.)
  34. There’s more than one road to freedom.
  35. Go as big or as far as you like (and no more).
  36. Advice can be helpful but you can also just step out and take a big leap. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission.
  37. More than competition or other external factors, the biggest battle is against our own fear and inertia. Thankfully, this also means we are in complete control of managing it.
  38. Don’t waste your time living someone else’s life.

About the author

Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The $100 Startup and other books. During a lifetime of self-employment, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Every summer in Portland, Oregon he hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people.

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