$100 Startup is a New York Times bestseller written by Chris Guillebeau.

I liked the book cover design which has a retro bicycle, a money bag on a rear rack and a front basket.

The book is a window to unlimited opportunities that one can explore in life.

The writer, with his vast travel experience of visiting 193 countries and with an extensive research work of studying small businesses, suggests practical ways to start a business.

He presents real case studies and stories of people who started their business with a small capital and without any prior experience in the field yet made it a success.

The book is highly motivating and encourages the reader to pursue her/his passion in life but makes a strong point that one should ensure that the passionate business becomes a revenue generating stream.

Chris has also emphasized that your business should be able to help others, solve problems and if that area is covered you will always have plenty of work.

Let’s look at couple of stories covered in the $100 Startup:

An interesting story that the author highlights in $100 Startup is of Michael Hanna who lost his job and started to sell mattresses. He came up with a unique idea of delivering mattresses on a customized tandem bicycle and a trailer attached to it to hold the mattress. He went further to offer free delivery and discounts to those customers who came on a bicycle to shop. “It’s been amazing two years since I lost my job. I went from a corporate guy to a mattress delivery man, and I have never been happier” – say’s Michal Hanna.

Another interesting story discussed in $100 Startup is about Kinetic Koffee Company (KKC) owned by Mark Ritz and Charlie Jordan. Prior to starting their gourmet Coffee business, the founder duo worked in the outdoor and recreation sectors. Mark had experience in the cycling industry and Charlie worked in the Kayaking industry. Both were connected to their local recreational communities and decided to differentiate their business model by targeting fitness and lifestyle enthusiasts. They focused on cycling groups, skiers, backpackers and pretty much anyone who enjoyed outdoor lifestyle. They leveraged their connections with bicycle shops and distributors, participated in events and conferences and donated 10% percent of their profit to outdoor causes. This strategy helped them stand out in the crowded coffee market and make KKC a successful venture.

Eight lessons I learnt from $100 Startup:

  1. Merge your passion and skill with something that is useful to other people.
  2. Most people want more of some things (money, love, attention) and less of other things (stress, anxiety, debt). Always focus on what you can add or take away from someone’s life…and then prepare to get paid.
  3. Not every passion or hobby is worth building into a business, and not everyone will want to have a business that is based on a passion or a hobby.
  4. What people want and what they say they want are not always the same thing; your job is to figure out the difference.
  5. If you build it, they might come… but you probably need to let them know what you have built and how to get there.
  6. There’s nothing wrong with having a hobby, but if you are operating a business, the primary goal is to make money.
  7. There’s more than one road to freedom, and some people find it through a combination of different working arrangements.
  8. The most important lesson in the whole book: Don’t waste time living someone else’s life.

The best quote I found in the book is –

An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory – Friedrich Engels

To read more about Chris Guillebeau’s work, I recommend you sign-up for his newsletter by visiting chrisguillebeau.com

Buy this book from amazon

You may also like to read the story of Egor Pachenko from Volunteers of Kyiv Ukraine –


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Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai

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