Where was this book when I was 20? A fantastic step-by-step guide for anyone who wants to start a tiny business, right now. As inspiring as The Four-Hour Work Week, but more diverse and less smarmy.
In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillegeau (author of The Art of Non-Conformity) accomplishes something unique. Instead of discussing how to grow, scale, leverage, and sell a new business—typical of much of the entrepreneurship literature—he focuses entirely on “microbusinesses”: tiny, one- or two-person operations that maximize freedom and generate roughly $50,000 per year.
Much of Chris’ advice will benefit solo creatives who rely upon strong online presences. (Chris himself makes a living from writing, blogging, and selling digital guides.) But the stories that he culled from hundreds of interviews with entrepreneurs satisfied my need for a diverse proof-of-concept. Product- and service-based—online and offline—freelance, partnership, and employee-hiring: all such business are represented in this book.
As a serial microbusiness entrepreneur myself, I especially appreciated Chris’ discussion about the benefits of staying small, serving a tiny niche, and avoiding the hassles of hiring and managing employees. And his discussion of self-marketing, a.k.a. “hustling,” felt refreshingly ethical.
Most importantly, The $100 Startup demonstrates that you do not need to go into debt to start a profitable and meaningful business. If more people took this advice in the realm of schooling—realizing that you don’t need to go into debt to give yourself a higher education—then our world would benefit from an incredible boost in the number of creative entrepreneurs ready to tackle our problems, both big and small.
I highly recommend this book to teenagers, young adults, recent graduates, and transitioning adults who are eager to begin crafting a tiny yet profitable business, right now.