Reading for Entrepreneurs: The $100 Startup

You guys really responded to my previous post, Reading for Entrepreneurs: The Lean Startup! It’s become one of the most-viewed pages on this site. We continue today with a review of Chris Guillebeau’s great book, The $100 Startup.

I tried to read this book twice. The first time, it pissed me off. All the talk of easy money and simple steps clashed pretty strongly with my experience, which told me that starting a successful business take a lot of strain and effort. I returned a few years later to finish the book and found it delightful on my second read.

The thing that convinced me that Chris Guillebeau isn’t out of touch is that he talked with 1500 different entrepreneurs, and their stories are liberally sprinkled throughout the book. It also draws from his own experience. This points to the deep truth that different people can engage in the entrepreneurial process in different ways, with different end results. The way you think about what you do matters.

“The way you think about what you do matters.”

The real value of The $100 Startup is that it removes the myth that you need to invest a lot of money to start a business. See, for example, the story of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. They started with $8,000. For some tactics, you can also see the slides from the talk I gave at the #SOENT17 Social Enterprise Conference about How to Get Started with Hardly Any Money. (Also, if you’re interested, there’s a video of the talk here.)

The $100 Startup moves the emphasis from investing money toward providing value for customers. Guillebeau also emphasizes action over planning, which dovetails nicely with the Lean Startup methodology discussed over here.

But my favorite part of The $100 Startup is the stories of successful entrepreneurs who started with very little money. Like most humans, I love learning through stories, and inspiration is at least an important as content in learning entrepreneurship.

Have you read The $100 Startup? Did you like it? Hate it? Leave a comment and let me know.

Enjoy the reading!



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