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Publisher's Summary

In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau tells you how to lead of life of adventure, meaning and purpose - and earn a good living.

Still in his early 30s, Chris is on the verge of completing a tour of every country on earth - he's already visited more than 175 nations - and yet he’s never held a "real job" or earned a regular paycheck. Rather, he has a special genius for turning ideas into income, and he uses what he earns both to support his life of adventure and to give back.

There are many others like Chris - those who've found ways to opt out of traditional employment and create the time and income to pursue what they find meaningful. Sometimes, achieving that perfect blend of passion and income doesn't depend on shelving what you currently do. You can start small with your venture, committing little time or money, and wait to take the real plunge when you're sure it's successful.

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.

Here, finally, distilled into one easy-to-use guide, are the most valuable lessons from those who’ve learned how to turn what they do into a gateway to self-fulfillment. It’s all about finding the intersection between your "expertise" - even if you don’t consider it such - and what other people will pay for. You don’t need an MBA, a business plan or even employees. All you need is a product or service that springs from what you love to do anyway, people willing to pay, and a way to get paid.

Not content to talk in generalities, Chris tells you exactly how many dollars his group of unexpected entrepreneurs required to get their projects up and running; what these individuals did in the first weeks and months to generate significant cash; some of the key mistakes they made along the way, and the crucial insights that made the business stick. Among Chris’s key principles: if you’re good at one thing, you’re probably good at something else; never teach a man to fish - sell him the fish instead; and in the battle between planning and action, action wins.

In ancient times, people who were dissatisfied with their lives dreamed of finding magic lamps, buried treasure, or streets paved with gold. Today, we know that it’s up to us to change our lives. And the best part is, if we change our own life, we can help others change theirs. This remarkable book will start you on your way.

©2012 Chris Guillebeau (P)2012 Random House

Critic Reviews

"Thoughtful, funny, and compulsively readable, this guide shows how ordinary people can build solid livings, with independence and purpose, on their own terms.” (Gretchen Rubin, author of the number-one New York Times best seller The Happiness Project)
"The $100 Startup is a twofer: It's a kick in the pants to get started on your dream and a road map for finding your way once you begin. If you're not ready to launch your own business after reading this book, you need to go back and read it again!" (Daniel H. Pink, New York Times best-selling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind)
"In this valuable guide Chris Guillebeau shows that transforming an idea into a successful business can be easier than you think…. You are in charge of which ideas deserve your time, and this book can help you wake up every morning eager to progress to the next step." (Tony Hsieh, New York Times best-selling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of Zappos.com)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Elton
  • United States
  • 12-15-12

Just love this book!

What did you love best about The $100 Startup?

This book is very interesting! I have read so called " start up" business books but this one takes the cake! This is something that anyone with a creative idea can use! this book has me looking at my own small business in a different way! Its time to get innovative and make some real money! Just love this book!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Great Content, Robotic Narration

I was glad to see this title in audio book format, as it's much easier for me to listen to business books than actually read one. Like those case studies in the book, I too am a micro-entrepreneur who started my business on a shoestring. It was inspiring to hear stories from others who have found great success starting out the same way I have. It reinforces the 'Follow your passion" stream of thought as well.
That said, the narration made it a less than stellar listen. To me it sounded almost like a computerized voice, lacking the very passion the book was talking about. I could only listen in short time periods before the robotic voice started blending into the background and I realized I had missed large chunks of the story he was telling.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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Best book and most needed book these days

I have bought all the "Best 50 Jobs to Work Out of Your Home"-type books over the years.

This is the best by far because it shows how to tailor your own future based on your own skills and interests, and has excellent examples of people who have actually done this.

The author has done a tremendous amount of research to produce this book. So it was not just a one-off book written from the kitchen table.

I think everybody should get this book to understand its philosophy and to help protect against the future.

Very highly recommended.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Narrated by a Robot

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I really wanted to like this book after several recommendations, but I couldn't focus on anything but the robot like voice of the narrator.

Would you be willing to try another one of Chris Guillebeau and Thomas Vincent Kelly ’s performances?

Probably not.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It might be a good actual read vs. listen.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Webster
  • Rocky Mountain Time Zone
  • 05-09-12

Enviable, Learn-able, Actionable, Doable!

Where does The $100 Startup rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

Right up there with the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, this book delivers in ways that are just as revolutionary, but probably MORE usable... <br/><br/>Before I bought this book, I had found that The Art of Non-Conformity was the only real follow up to Ferriss's work, but Chris Guillebeau has now over-delivered and really developed a capstone to what my searches have uncovered in the last two years on digital nomadism and innovative, one-person entrepreneurship. <br/><br/>But this is not only a book about those things. Chris outlines EVERY form that new-school small business takes; and EVERY contemporary method of measuring how well those forms work.<br/><br/>I cannot recommend it highly enough; it is destined to become an anchor title for small business.<br/>

25 of 30 people found this review helpful

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This book is poison for new entrepreneurs

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I am an avid audiobook listener. 90% of them relate to business and entrepreneurship. I listen when I go running or mountain biking. When I first began listening to this book, I liked it. I didn't learn anything specific, but it did help my brain process some ideas I'm currently working on. As I continued to listen, however, I began noticing contradictions in what he was saying. Then I began noticing the promotion of subtle falsehoods that a new entrepreneur would not notice. While listening to the end of the audiobook, while biking on one of my favorite bike trails, I exclaimed out loud several things like, "This guy is a hypocrite," and "This guy is an idiot," and "This book is poison for new entrepreneurs."<br/><br/>I have never given a book this harsh of a review. Seasoned and successful entrepreneurs will see right through this book, but my fear is that new entrepreneurs will eat this up. It's written in a way that mingles a lot of sound advice with advice that is crippling. <br/><br/>If you are a new entrepreneur, skip this book, and replace it with the following 3 Books: <br/>Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki<br/>The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber<br/>The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

What could Chris Guillebeau have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

It's an academic study... not based on personal experience. He takes stories of both success and failure and interprets their results with his own spin. I've had many similar experiences to the stories he shared, and saw right through his terrible advice.

Would you be willing to try another one of Chris Guillebeau and Thomas Vincent Kelly ’s performances?

I don't think so

36 of 44 people found this review helpful

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  • J
  • ORO VALLEY, AZ, United States
  • 01-30-13

That's what I did

If you could sum up The $100 Startup in three words, what would they be?

a valid approach to starting a business

What did you like best about this story?

I like the fact that he emphasized another route to starting a business. Most people think you just need an idea, then get a bunch a money from an angel, investor or bank (selling part of your non-existent company or going into debt), then you hit it big. The approach in the book is much more realistic. Start something small, grow it and self fund your growth.

What about Chris Guillebeau and Thomas Vincent Kelly ’s performance did you like?

The story telling was inspiring and well done.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The most moving point was the story of the guy that had the solid successful job, then was suddenly laid off and accidentally fell into his own business by just getting involved with something.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • T
  • Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 07-20-12

Good for anyone doing biz online

I recommend this book, I like the narrator and there is tons of good info in it. I have been listening to a lot of marketing books and I got the most "notes to use for later" out of this one than any other so far. Gets a thumbs up from me.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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This is no 4 hour work week.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Nothing, this book was painful to listen to.

Has The $100 Startup turned you off from other books in this genre?

Most of the stories were about hippie art projects, craft stores, mattress delivery on a bike, etc etc. Many of the examples are from Portland Oregon and he is trying so hard to be Tim Ferris but he fails miserably.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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This book delivers!

What did you love best about The $100 Startup?

The $100 Startup is an exceptional blend of conceptual, strategic and tactical advice. Well-presented and easy to listen to. Fans of Tim Ferris' 4-Hour Workweek will find The $100 Startup more practical but equally inspiring. In addition, while Ferris focuses on product sales, Guillebeau's advice applies to selling services as well.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The $100 Startup?

The 37-point startup checklist stands out. It's a great way for listeners to feel comfortable they're not forgetting something major while starting their own business.

Have you listened to any of Chris Guillebeau and Thomas Vincent Kelly ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but I will search them out as a result of listening to them here.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Yes, you can - absolutely!

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • stuart
  • 10-20-16

Outstanding read/listen!

Great book well worth a read for any budding entrepreneurs out there. I'm buzzing with ideas again now thanks to Chris!! Big thumbs up!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Moses
  • 10-13-16

Great insight and inspiring

A great book with wonderful insight on how to get out of the rat race and live more freely, doing what you love. Requires a lot of concentration at times but great material.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr R R O CONNOR
  • 08-01-15

Some good food for thought

Many different ideas and makes you really think about embarking on that startup. Well done

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-14-17

Very practical entrepreneurial book.

Microbusinesses is the way to go. I will continually recommend to my friends and colleagues.

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  • Claire Symeonides
  • 11-13-17

Down to earth

Chris provided a down-to-earth, comprehensive overview of the selected group of startup businesses along with a mention of other business models outside of his chosen group. The business advice he provided was intelligent, clear and easy to follow. I enjoyed listening to this book and it provided a wealth of useful tips and ideas.

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  • PEN_NAME
  • 11-07-17

Annoying!

I'm really p**sed off with this audiobook - I purposefully listened to the audio sample before I bought because I hate when you get an audiobook and hate the reader's voice. And the sample is a foreword by the author and then some guy with a dumb voice reads the rest of it! But they don't tell you that! Grrr!

You have been warned.

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  • Daren
  • 03-04-17

Essential listening for a new business

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes - good content, it is an easy and worthwhile listen

Any additional comments?

Author is young - has built several start-ups so as walked the walk. Good listen.

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  • A. Casey
  • 01-29-15

Great reference, compelling story, poor voice over

Generally enjoyed the content of the audiobook, lots of inspiring stories, only spoilt by the robot voice over.
Perhaps buy the book instead.

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  • Lukasz Hawro
  • 01-05-15

Incredibly inspiring

I've literally swallowed this audio in 2 days. The only reason why I couldn't finish it in 1 day was that I had to frequently stop to make notes of ideas and enhancements about my own business that were pouring to my head while listening to this audiobook.
A life-changing experience...

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sydney
  • 01-03-15

Very inspiring

Really enjoyed this book. I liked the examples used, which ranged from micro businesses make under £40 to larger ones. This might be the first book I've sat down and taken notes!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • HayleyM
  • 11-22-17

Sounds like a robot reading

Sounds like a robot reading this audio book, very off-putting, the narrator is ruining the book. Chris Guillebeau only reads the intro, so the audio preview is misleading.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-01-17

Amazing book with great backing stories

An amazing book with lots of practical and inspiring points. It is the Dale Carnegie's, How to Win Friend and Influence People, for people who want to start their own ventures and unique careers.

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  • Luca Versiglia
  • 03-22-17

Wide cover of many important points but

Great book that covers many fundamental aspects of starting a business that an entrepreneur should consider. However everything is covered very briefly, for somebody it would be great to get deeper in certain matters to have more time to think and consider about them.

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  • Rob
  • 02-16-17

Useful guide to creating extra wealth

The ideas in this book aren't Earth shattering but are simple and easy enough to understand. Sadly the voice performance of the book was a big let down for me. It was just not the right voice for the mood the story was written in. A lot of the dry humor is lost because of the voice. This is Definately a book to read rather than listen to.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-08-17

Amazing!

One of the best books for bussinesses i have ever read in my life, highly recommend it!

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  • kris
  • 01-22-17

Very motivating stories

It was really inspiring to hear so many stories of people having success running such a varied collection of businesses.
It was good to hear that your business doesn't need to have the potential to be the next billion dollar 'unicorn' startup.
So many of the businesses in this book are so simple, it helped me get over my fear of not being big enough, or not being the first.

  • Overall
  • ahmad
  • 12-07-16

Marvelous

I have really benefited from this book.
The experiences presented and the ideas illustrated gave me a boost to go on with my journey.

I have been motivated by the ways these new entrepreneurs started especially Omar and his partner in the MAP business.

Thank you very much

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  • Sebastian
  • 06-29-16

Great book

Great read for those looking at starting a business on a bugdet, or as a passion.

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  • Matthew Bevege
  • 06-27-16

Inspirational!

Got me pumped about about starting something I've been hesitant about doing for a while!

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  • Ali Tamaddon
  • 06-21-16

One of the best ever

One of the best ever books I have listened to in my life. Straight to the point, eye opening, touching and yet practical. Has changed my perspective towards work forever.