The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau has been on my to-read list for quite awhile. I was hesitant because I already have a business, but it re-awakened some inspiration and new ideas. So whether you just have a fledgling idea or are running your business successfully, you can get something out of this book. Amazon summarizes the book as, "In preparing to write this book, Chris identified 1,500 individuals who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a modest investment (in many cases, $100 or less), and from that group he’s chosen to focus on the 50 most intriguing case studies. In nearly all cases, people with no special skills discovered aspects of their personal passions that could be monetized, and were able to restructure their lives in ways that gave them greater freedom and fulfillment." Read the full summary here: The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future
Overall, I liked how realistic and approachable the ideas and cases Chris describes are. He mentions numerous times that no special skills are needed, but I'm not sure I agree. Being able to see outside the box and develop creative solutions to problems isn't ordinary. However, it's not something you need to go to school for or get special certification. The people who make the best entrepreneurs are often "accidental entrepreneurs" who started with an idea or are following their passion, rather than setting out to make money and deciding on the idea later.
Themes that stood out:
- You don't need permission to start. Just do it.
- You don't need to go into debt. Many people started a business for under $100.
- A great option to save money and get experience is to barter services with others.
- Creativity + motivation are the backbone to success as an entrepreneur.
- Grow only to the size you want. Keeping your business small deliberately can have great advantages.
The book kept me interested the whole time and had me writing down ideas to apply to my own business. I definitely recommend it for anyone with a blog, small business, or idea to start either of those.
What's the best business book you've read this year?