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Book Review : The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better To Live More

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

Why I read this book

In an attempt to improve and grow the marketing reach of my blog I started listening to a number of digital marketing and blogging related podcasts.

One which has become a favourite podcasts to listen, Marketing Book Podcast . - Weekly interviews with best-selling authors to help you keep up with what’s working in the quickly changing field of modern marketing & Sales.

The show itself is fantastic and not only does it help to listen to reviews of books that may be interesting to read, but you also get to learn about the people who write the books and learn about the books that have influenced them. Along with hearing about the marketing tricks, tips and strategies they have implemented along their path.

The authors are also required to provide a list of books, they have found influential and help them grow their business. The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better To Live More , is one of those books that seems to get a lot of mentions on the show. Many authors credit it to actually changing the way they thought about marketing and business.

While undergoing the rigours and strains of a start-up myself, I thought it couldn't do any harm to include this book in my reading list.

I have to say, I am so happy I did. Overall, I can only agree with most of the glowing recommendations the book has already received on the Marketing Book Podcast , and it truly is as inspirational and motivating as all the authors state.

What did I learn from this book ?

If  like me, you have either been self-employed, owned a business, freelancer or even if you're thinking about starting your own business, then this book needs to be high up on your reading list.

I think the most important thing that this book will do, is ultimately change your definition and perspective of what success looks like in business.

All to often, the illusion of success in business is personified as Richard Branson, Donald Trump,  Steve Jobs or any of the other Dragons Den, Shark tank or any other TV glamourised illusion of wealth and fortune.

Business is often defined as Dog eat Dog, win at all costs by being the biggest asshole on the block affair. In truth, we don't all want or even need to be multi-billionaires.

What most of us actually want, is freedom and more time to do things other than work ourselves to death.  Personally speaking, what I really want, to do is  live my life the way I want too, without having to conform to anyone else's view.  Which is in fact the basic premise of the book.

Wealth ultimately is worthless. We're all born naked and ultimately return to nothing when we die. Why waste the intervening period of chasing piles of cash in the hope that we leave some kind of legacy. Which after all is nothing more that a vanity project!

Starting or owning a business is not about becoming wealthy. It's more about doing things your way, building and maintaining a life you want. You don't need Billions of blood dollars to do so.

In the The $100 Startup, you get insight into the people who have done exactly that. Yes, some have indeed become moderately wealthy, but all have them are successful in what they wanted to achieve.

The other important point, the book raises is that you don't need money to make money, you just need to think differently. You'll find evidence of this, reading about people who have done exactly that.

In business, we all face exactly the same issues. Sure the circumstances and situations change, but ultimately it's the same challenges.

We don't all need to go on TV, to be made a fool of in the hope of gaining some money by which we only manage to create our own jobs working for the people we have begged for money.

It is entirely possible to merely re-frame and alter the way we think about it.

What I liked about this book

I think a lot of people may be misguided by the title of the book. The book is in no way a guide on how to start your next killer idea on a budget of a $100.   Sure there are actionable steps, templates and in some respects processes you can adapt to help you on your way or point you in the general direction. But, in my opinion, you shouldn't take it as such.

The book is however, full of information about how people who have been able to start successful businesses with little or no resources. It contains information how they decided to overcome the limitation of their resources and think differently.

Why I recommend this book

You shouldn't read this book in the hope of obtaining a guide to starting a business. You also shouldn't fool yourself into thinking that you already know the information that's contained in the book. If you did, you'd already be running a successful business and living your dream!

The is a distinct difference between knowing how to do something and actually doing it. That is what this book contains, stories and experiences of people who have actually implemented the things you think you know how to do.

I have been self-employed for most of my adult life, and even I came away from this book with a fresh outlook and perspectives.

The book is broken up into three major parts:

  • Unexpected Entrepreneurs. - covers how to connect your skills and interests with what other people want.
  • Taking it to the Streets. Digs into the details with a one-page business plan, guide for creating a “killer offer,” and how to raise funds, launch, and hustle for customers.
  • Leverage and Next Steps. Learn about how to test pricing and positioning, create a franchise, grow in line with your goals, and push past failure.

Each section contains examples and stories from the real-life entrepreneurs that have been interviewed to illustrate each tactic.

The book is full of examples that are easy to understand.  Providing value by revealing how real life businesses have gone from startup to profit. Guillebeau has done insane research for the book, interviewing over 1,000 budding entrepreneurs, and the value of that research certainly shows.

I have read many books that urge your to focus on your passion and urge you to create a business based on that passion.  Personally I think that is garbage and some pretty bad advice.  This book is different and the author cautions readers to think hard about turning their hobby into a business. Sometimes hobbies are best left as hobbies – things that you can simply enjoy as a pleasure of life. If you mix work and play, it can get to the point where you never get the chance to just ‘play’. It’s like when pro athletes get too tied up in the fame and money and forget how much they really love the game. For some people, the two are often best kept separate.

Gary Woodfine
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