The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

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Chapter 1: Renaissance

Lesson 1: Convergence

Convergence represents the intersection between something you especially like to do or are good at doing and what other people are interested in. Overlapping space between what you care about and what other people will spend money on.

Lesson2: Skill Transformation

The easiest way to understand skill transformation is to realize that you're probably good at over one thing.

Lesson 3: Magic Formula

Passion or skill + usefulness = success

To start a business, you need three things

  1. A product or service
  2. A group of people willing to pay for it
  3. A way to get paid

Chapter 2: Give them the Fish

Freedom of a micro-business based on a skill, hobby, or passion

Ask 3 questions for every idea

  1. How would I get paid with this idea?
  2. How much will I get paid from this idea?
  3. Is there a way I could get paid more than once?

Value: something desirable and of worth, created through exchange or effort. Value means helping people.

Many business owners talk about their work in terms of features it offers but its much more powerful to talk abut the benefits customers receive A feature is descriptive; a benefit is emotional.

Strategy 1: Dig Deeper to Uncover Hidden Needs

sometimes what people say they want, and what they actually want are different things.

Strategy 2: Make your Customers a Hero

Purna positioned the ore benefit away from the numbers and toward something far more powerful: "Our training programs make customer a hero in front of their bosses or colleagues". Not only would their work become easier, Purna said, but other people would recognize and appreciate them for simplifying a complicated process.

Strategy 3: Sell What People Buy

Think more about what people really want than about what you think they need.

Honing in on what people want from a business is crucial. Simply put, we want more of something and less of others.

If your business focuses on giving people more of what they want or taking away something they don't want or both, you're on the right track.

If you make your business about others, you'll have plenty of work.

Chapter 3: Follow Your Passion...Maybe

The missing piece is that you rarely get paid for your hobby itself; you get paid for helping other people pursue the hobby or for something indirectly related to it.

Besides passion, you must develop a skill that provides a solution to a problem. Only when passion mergers with a skill that other people value can you truly follow your passion to the bank.

Passion + skill → problem + marketplace = opportunity

Chapter 4: The Role of the Rising Entrepreneur

Find the convergence between what you love and what other people are wiling to buy, remember that you're probably good at over one thing, and combine passion and usefulness to build a proper business.

Chapter 5: The New Demographics

Traditional Demographics; Age, Location, Sex/Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Income.

New Demographics; Interests, Passions, Skills, Beliefs, Values.

Strategy 1: Latch on to a Popular Hobby, Passion or Craze

Complicated is a sign of an excellent business opportunity: when lots of people are interested in something but have a hard time implementing it in their daily lives.

Strategy 2: Sell What People Buy

As you focus on getting to know your people, keep this important principle in mind: Most of us like to buy, but we don't like to be sold.

Find out what people want and give it to them.


  1. What is your biggest problem with x?
  2. What is the number one question you have about x?
  3. What can I o to help you with x?

Write to my customer list and ask about specific product ideas, like this: here is a list of now projects I'm working on let me know what you think? Idea 1, 2, 3, etc. Apply a simple ranking to each idea.

It's good to keep survey to 10 questions or fewer.

The Possibilities List and the Decision-Making Matrix

You may find yourself overwhelmed with ideas.

First, make sure you're capturing all the ideas and writing them down.

Second, evaluate competing ideas. Creating a possibilities list helps you keep ideas for when you have more time to implement them.

The decision-making matrix - keep in mind the most basic questions of ant successful micro-business

  • Does this project produce an obvious product or service?
  • Do you know people who will want to buy it?
  • Do you have a way to get paid?

Score your ideas according to these criteria: impact, effort, profitability, and vision.

The decision matrix helps to find strengths and weaknesses.

Chapter 6: The One Page Business Plan

The Action Bias - Action wins - Select A Marketable Idea. Don't think innovation think usefulness.

Seven Steps to Marketing:

The way your idea intersects with what other people want

Google Keywords

Solve a problem that causes pain that the market knows it has

Show people how you can help or reduce that pain

Your solution must be different or better

Create a persona - take your idea to this person and discuss it. This will get you more relevant data.

Create an outline for what you are doing and share it with a subgroup or community for feedback.

Keep Costs Low

Larger businesses with multiple employees also opted to keep the initial costs as low as possible.

Get the First Sale As Soon As Possible

Market Before Manufacturing

It's good to know if people want what you offer before you put in the work.

Respond to Initial Results

After an initial success, regroup and decide what needs to get done next.

You need the elements we've discussed throughout the book: a product or service, a group of customers, and a way to get paid.

140 Characters Mission Statement

Think of the first two characteristics of any business. a product or service, and the group of people who pay for it. Put the two together and you've got a mission statement.

It's usually better to highlight a core benefit.

Chapter 7: An Offer You Can't Refuse

I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat - Winston Churchill

I understand that what we want and what we say we want are not always the same thing.

A friendly offer has to be what people actually want and are wiling to pay for.

Most of us like to buy, but we rarely like to be sold

Instead, interesting offers often create an illusion that purchase is an invitation not a pitch.

  1. Provide a nudge

Market Inefficiency - Business Opportunity

Compelling Offer Tool Kit: FAQ, Guarantee, and Over Delivery

3 Tools will assist you in making it more interesting: the FAQ page, an incredible guarantee, and giving your customers more than they expect.

  1. FAQ - The additional purpose of an FAQ is to provide reassurance to potential buyers and overcome objections. They fall into two categories;Specific and General objections - usually relate to very basic human needs, concerns, desires and fears. The core concern for each of these objections relates to trust and authority. You must create customer confidence i order to over-come the objections. As you craft the offer, think about the objections... and flip them around in your favour.
  2. The incredible Guarantee, AKA "Don't be Afraid" - Do not make your guarantee complicated, confusing or boring.
  3. Over delivering - You'll want to over-deliver.

Chapter 8: Launch

An early look into the future you don't want to give all the details away; it's usually better to start with a simple heads-ups.

Why this project will matter; Therefore, this project will be a significant change, heres how people will benefit, and hers why you should care.

The plan for the big debut; Here's where you roll out some details for the launch itself.

Whoa we're almost ready;

OMG, Here it is; This communication is shorter, you send them a link, and encourage to take action.

Here's how it's going; something always goes wrong, heres a chance to address or correct it.

The clock's a ticking; last chance before you lose out.

I'd like to thank my mother for believing in me; The message is it's all over now. Thanks everyone. Here's what is coming next.

One more thing, if you admit to a flaw, weakness, or limitation in your product, this will probably help instead of harm you.

Relatability; which may or may not be an actual word, refers to the need to ensure that the people who hear about the launch can relate to it.

A good launch blends in strategy with tactics. Strategy refers to "why" questions such as story, offer, and long-term plan. Tactics refers to "how" questions, such as timing, price, and specific pitch.

Chapter 9: The Gentle Art of Self Promotion

Hustling is how to get the word out about a project.

Charlatan is all talk, with nothing to back up their claims.

Martyr is all action with plenty of excellent work to talk about, but remains unable or unwilling to do the talking.

Hustler represents the ideal combination; work and talk fused together.

We reward our members by decreasing the prince longer they remain in the program. This is because we recognize that the more experience they have, the more they can help other members.

Building Relationships is a Strategy

Getting to know people, helping them, and asking for help yourself can take you far.

But building those relationships today always comes back around for new opportunities tomorrow.

Give Something Away and Watch People Jump

The difference between a contest and giveaway is simple. A contest involves some kind of competition or judging, whereas a giveaway is a straight up free offer provided to winners through random entries.

Get up in the morning and get to work. Make something worth talking about and then talk about it. Who do you know? How can they help? And of course, the answer lies in being incredibly helpful to yourself.

Chapter 10: Show Me the Money

Two common mistakes; thinking too much about where to get money to start their project and thinking too little about where the business income will come from.

The first principle is that a business should always focus on profit.

The second principle is that borrowing money or investing a lot of money to start a business is completely optional.

Part ll: Make More Money (Three Principles to Focus on Profits

  1. Price your product or service in relation to the benefit it provides, not the cost of producing it.
  2. Offer customers a limited range of prices
  3. Get paid more than once for the same thing.

Principal 2: Offer a (Limited) Range of Prices: The key to this strategy is to offer a limited range of prices: not so many as to create confusion but enough to provide buyers with a legitimate choice.

Part lll: Leverage and Next Steps

The no-so secret to improving income in an existing business is through tweaks: minor changes that create a big impact.

Increase Traffic; traffic means attention.

Increase Conversion; you'll want to look closely at the conversion rate (Google optimizer lets you do this for free). Testing is important, but it pales compared to the traffic source.

Increase Average Sales

Sell More to Existing Customers

Product to Service, Service to Product

Create a service for a product-based business or create a product from a serviced based business.

You can grow your business in 2 ways;

  1. Horizontally by going wide and creating different products to apply to different people.
  2. Vertically, by going deep and creating more levels of engagement with customers.

Chapter 12: Franchise Yourself

Two options for self-made franchising.

  1. Reach more people with the same message
  2. Reach different people with a new message

List of decisions you should make during any joint venture

  • How will the money be divided?
  • What are the responsibilities between partners?
  • How will the project be jointly marketed?
  • How long will agreement be in place?
  • How often will we reach out to discuss partnership?

Chapter 13: Going Long

My feeling of being successful business owner is based on the quality of life I lead, not the amount of money I earn. I own the business it doesn't own me.

Don't be a Firefighter: Work on Your Business

Business Development: This work grows the business

Offer Development: This work involves using existing resources in an alternative way

Fixed Long-Standing Problem: everyone has problems work around them instead of addressing them.

Pricing Review: review regularly to determine price increases, up-sells, cross-sells.

Monitor Your Business

  • Sales per day - how much money is coming in?
  • Visitors or leads per day - how many stop to look at signs or sign up for more info?
  • Average order price - how many people spend when they order?
  • Sales conversion rate - What percentage of visitors or leads become customers
  • Net promoter source - What percentage of customers refer to your business