Book Review: The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

“Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love And Work Better To Live More.”

Depending on where you are in your life and career, this book could be positive and inspiring or it could be insufferably ambitious. I found it to be a brew of both. Here’s how.

In a world where we are constantly discouraged by the arduous, harsh and dark journey starting and running a business is, it’s pleasant to read a book that simplifies it and makes it look achievable. The $100 Startup shows how you need three important ingredients to start – a service or product, willing payers and a way to get paid for it. It talks about how you don’t need a lot of money or exceptional training to start a business. Guillebeau advices that what you need is to merge passion and skill with something that people can use. He does, however, warn that not all passions are to be pursued as business because there are passions that people are not willing to pay for.

In the book you’ll find help to outline your business ideas quickly, helping you to solve the challenge of creating the elusive business plan that leaves many stuck. There are also steps to market testing as well as strategies to launching. Guillebeau uses case studies throughout the book; stories of people who quit their jobs and took the leap to start a business that ended up successful, and people who packed their bags to travel the world while making money.

The advice and stories are great but if you’ve already read a number of business or self-help books, this one can sound like a repetition of everything you’ve heard before. The emphasis on combining passion and skill with something people can use is at times dissatisfying and the many case studies are exhausting.

At times, a book has the pure intention of showing the reader all the possibilities out there by focusing on a lot of successful stories but that can make the book stale and create that too-ambitious element. Readers don’t want a book that says, “Sit your butt down, you will fail at this”, but they also don’t want a fairytale-esque self-help because it’s challenging for many people to square that kind of information with their realities.  

I’d recommend it for people with no baggage, no spouse or family to look after. You can’t just up and leave to globe-trot while running a business from your laptop and cafes when you have kids and a spouse with a steady job. Younger people who are still finding themselves and who can afford to make the shittiest mistakes while growing and learning their way to generating income, will probably appreciate it. Also, older people who want to finally do the things they had sacrificed to have a stable family, would appreciate it and take on this kind of journey.   

It can get you going at first but halfway through the book you can easily take a bow, put it down and say, “I get the gist, thank you.” However, the simplicity of how taking the leap and starting, making changes and learning as you go along are some of the gems you’ll walk away with.

⭐⭐

Title: The $100 Startup

Author: Chris Guillebeau

Published: 2012

Genre: Self-help

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