The $100 Startup Book Summary - Chris Guillebeau

The $100 Startup - Chris Guillebeau

Find out what you need to do to start your own business, develop your idea and spend little on the process.

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Are you tired of having a fixed schedule to work, having a boss pressure or getting traffic to work? If your answer was yes, the book "The $100 Startup", written by Chris Guillebeau, is for you!

What do you think about the idea of owning your business, being able to work from home, making your schedule and the best of them: investing little?

In this summary we have summarized the main topics and insights from the book to help your comprehension and so, boost your life through a new entrepreneur life!

Got interested to know how to do that? Stay with us in this summary!

About the book "The $100 Startup"

Published 2013, "The $100 Startup" brings you a step-by-step about how to be independent in the business world, make your own routine and build your own company.

Divided into 14 chapters, the book has three steps that show how to enter the life of entrepreneurship, develop your idea and leverage your business.

About the author Chris Guillebeau

Chris Guillebeau is a guy who likes challenges. Just to get an idea, with only 35 years, he had already visited every country in the world. Around his 20 years he took up this challenge and started the journey of visiting 20 countries a year.

Chris is the author of books, such as "The Art of Non-Conformity", that have been among the bestsellers of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal several times. Today, he has a site with more than 300, 000 hits every month and contributes to newspapers like CNN and Huffington Post.

To whom is this book indicated?

The content of this book is indicated for those who want to take a turn in life, start a new stage and start their own business.

Here you will be able to understand how get out of inertia and start this process, taking the best tips, the main positive and negative points, the biggest challenges and knowing what you need to take the next steps.

Main ideas of the book "The $100 Startup"

In its structure, the book details 5 lines of thought:

  • Opening your own business may be better than following the "office life";
  • The initial challenges to undertake;
  • How to structure your idea;
  • How to advertise your product to the world;
  • How to be prepared for the challenges.

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[Book Summary] The $100 Startup - Chris Guillebeau

Overview: Unexpected Entrepreneurs

I can be an entrepreneur, your neighbor can be an entrepreneur, you can be an entrepreneur, everyone can be an entrepreneur. That's the great idea of "The $100 Startup" by Chris Guillebeau.

From now on, let's understand everything you need to know to kick-start your $100 startup.

The Beginning

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

The author works all his thinking based on the concept of micro-business. But what is this?

As the name implies, they are small businesses, but they can generate great impacts. And the most important in micro-businesses is that they offer a great ability to test, launch and expand quickly, without the need for a large investment.

And to open up your venture, you just need an idea that you can develop and get a financial return on top of that.

To find an idea, combine three factors: passion, skills, and problem-solving.

  • Passion: Doing something you enjoy is essential for you to commit yourself to it. Of course, not every passion generates a business opportunity, but it is possible to accomplish things directly or indirectly related to it;
  • Skills: Align your passion with your skills as this will further develop your idea. Do something you enjoy and are good at. Understand that good entrepreneurs transform their skills according to need. The author says: "If you're good at something, you're probably good at something else";
  • Troubleshooting: Good deals are those that offer the solution to problems. People have problems and yearnings, if you don't solve anyone's difficulty, there will be no profit. So, put your skills together with something you enjoy but that will solve someone's problem.

Give the Fish

"Fish a fish and you can sell it to a man. Teach the man to fish and you will ruin a wonderful business opportunity."

The book begins this chapter by quoting this phrase of Karl Marx that pretty much sums up the thinking: your goal is to find the fish that people want and give to them.

To succeed in your endeavor, your company must help people and, as the book says, helping people is providing value. And that's the key to the business.

People have desires and needs, and if you can do it, you will profit. So choose your fish well.

New Demographic Factors

"Business opportunities are like buses: there is always another coming."

Interpreting the above sentence, we bring the importance of always being aware of an important characteristic: the today world is constantly changing, new ideas arise and new opportunities are created.

Your product can not be seasonal, that is, it cannot appear, succeed for a while and disappear. To avoid this, you should do a data survey, to understand your current and future customers and analyze the scenario in which you are inserted.

Knowing demographic data such as gender and age is very important to analyze the data, but Chris Guillebeau states that there are other factors that we should pay attention to, such as the beliefs and values that the public has in common or even manias, fashions and trends.

Data such as these give you a deeper insight into the marketplace you are in and how to work on that audience of customers, so that strategies can be traced and your product launched into the world as we will see in the following overview.

Overview: Bringing Your Child to the World

Now that you've understood the basics, it's time to get your idea out there, give it to the public.

Make Your Business Plan on a Single Page

"If your mission statement is much larger than this phrase, it may be too long."

The startup world runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And in that reality, 50-page business plans are an exaggeration.

So the business plan on a page is to briefly summarize what your business is selling, what its mission is, how much it charges, how it will publicize, its goals, and its challenges. The goal is that anyone can read this page and understand what your brand is.

But as important as it is, planning is not just about planning a business. The author says: "plan as you go", that is, you have to act. Put your plans into practice, but always be on hand to be able to adapt to the needs of your customers.

Lastly, focus on your first sale as there is nothing more exhilarating than having the pleasure of doing the first business and realizing that your product can really bring financial results to you.

The Irrefutable Offer

"Exceed expectations."

We are at a point where you already have your product structured and a complete and succinct business plan. It's time to make an offer that cannot be denied.

We have already talked about value proposition, how your product must solve a problem and the importance of this. Now you have to show this to your customer, have a clear value proposition, leaving explicit what problem you will solve, and show what benefits it will bring to it.

Use the sense of urgency, convince the consumer that they need this product and that the sooner they buy, the better.

To have a truly irrefutable offer, you should have a launch strategy, captivate the customer over time with pre-launch campaigns, leaving them eager to purchase the product.

For example, Hollywood films have a major pre-launch campaign, advertising trailers and posters to grow public interest, and when the premiere occurs, thousands of people stand in line to watch the movie.

Finally, tell a good story. Stories sting people and can outcrop different feelings. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, was a master at telling stories to sell his products. He featured a whole narrative that caught your eye, and in the end, you'd probably be wanting to buy an iPhone.

All this can be summed up in the opening phrase: "exceed expectations". Don't just do the basics, do more than what customers expect and surprise them.


"People need to know that you exist."

A good business, to have the necessary must have agitation. It may seem like a strange term to use in this context, but we will tell a story presented in the book.

Are you curious to know the role of paid advertising these days? Chris Guillebeau conducted an "experiment" on his own aiming to compare paid ads with free hustle.

For that, over the course of a month he bought $10, 000 in ads and sponsorships to promote his company. In parallel, he spent 10 hours promoting his business for free on the internet, blogging, partnering and contacting journalists, meaning he was stirring up his venture.

The result? Without spending any money, he had a financial and customer return greater than spending $10, 000.

Of course, the hustle is not foolproof, each company will face a different reality, but when used well, it can yield great results. So, always understand the reality of your business and balance the amount of paid ads with the online bustle, because together they can take you even further.

Overview: Leverage and Next Steps

Thinking about the Future

"Grow how much you want to grow (but not more than that)."

With your company consolidated, it's time to expand. Chris Guillebeau says that expanding is often easier than starting, because simple solutions can have big impacts.

  • Consider the sale of secondary products and cross-selling, to complement the experience with your product and boost sales of your company;
  • Develop contacts, new partners and affiliates who will want to assist in your development;
  • Be always present and work in your company every day;
  • Monitor indicators: have control over the achievement of processes and goals is very important;
  • Keep in mind that having a business that can expand is something very valuable.

But what if it does not work?

"You can succeed even when things go wrong."

In the business world, anything can happen. In Brazil, for example, most companies don't survive for more than 3 years.

But you must fight against fear. You have to take risks and be willing to face new challenges. When you face difficulties, remember your victories because they will give you inspiration to overcome difficult times.

Remember that resilience will be very important when we face the instability of the entrepreneurial world. Always be prepared to get up, shake off dust, and turn around.

What do other authors say about it?

The author of "Traction", Gino Wickman explores how successful entrepreneurs have an attractive and well-defined vision for their business. In this book, we realize that in order to develop your own company, you need to be focused on the market which you intend to act, researching, including new demographic factors.

In "Selling to Big Companies", Jill Konrath clarifies that focusing is crucial. Don't try to sell to everyone. As you must become an expert in your customers' business, define your market carefully.

The book "Think Simple", by Gustavo Caetano, has a profile very similar to "The $100 Startup". Both addresses the first steps in entrepreneurship, the characteristics of entrepreneurs, tell stories of success and failure, and try to show that an entrepreneur must always be prepared for adversity.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

  • Be brave! It will be necessary to begin this new model of life;
  • Develop an idea that bridges the gap between passion, skills, and problem-solving;
  • Make a succinct and complete business plan;
  • Use the advantages that the internet gives us - rock your business!
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help;
  • If it doesn't work, go to the next idea!

Did you like this summary of the book "The $100 Startup"?

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Book 'The $100 Startup'