Entrepreneurial Book Review: Chris Guillebeau’s The $100 Startup

This month, author, world traveler and rebel-with-a-cause Chris Guillebeau released The $100 Startup, a book that shakes you up and tells you, hey, if you were ever planning to start a business, the time is NOW.

That’s right- forget about getting an MBA or that $50,000 small business loan.

An 80-page business plan? Employees? Nope.

All you need to follow is Chris’ very own business blueprint for success, and The $100 Startup shows you how to make one and fill it out. In fact, some of the blueprint sections are provided right on The 100 Startup website.

Chris went from working for “The Man” to running his own small shipping business. Eventually, he embarked upon his life dream of traveling the world and, in the process, capitalized on his knowledge of flying on the cheap (i.e., Frequent Flyer Master). In his new book, Chris offers loads of useful information for the would-be business entrepreneur, from what benefit(s) to offer customers (notice I didn’t say products) to writing a one-page business plan to not paying for advertising. At every step of the way, several real world business startup examples are provided.

How did Chris become so savvy about startup businesses?

To begin with, as Chris traveled the world with his goal being to visit every country on earth, he naturally encountered all kinds of entrepreneurs. Many of these folks did not have rich relatives or the luxury of a small business loan with which to start their businesses. In many cases, these businesspeople started with very limited funds- sometimes as little as $100 (or fewer). However, they not only successfully started their businesses but even made a good income from them. As Chris kept encountering more and more of these people, an idea occurred to him: Solicit stories from unexpected/accidental entrepreneurs through an online and offline petition. The following 4 out of 6 business criteria had to be met:

  1. Low startup cost. Ideally, the business required no more than $1,000 in startup capital.
  2. At least $50,000 in yearly net income. Entrepreneurs had to earn at least $50,000 from their business.
  3. No special skills required. Skills had to be acquired on-the-job rather than through a degree or an involved apprenticeship.
  4. Full financial disclosure. All the numbers, including expenses and income for the past two years and next year’s projected income, had to be disclosed.
  5. No more than 5 employees. To maintain personal freedom, the business had to be run by the owner only or a small team of individuals.
  6. Passion. The business is based on a “follow-your-passion” model.

The response was overwhelming; over 1,500 qualified respondents were rounded up. A select number of these entrepreneurs provided their stories for the pages of The $100 Startup. Another 25 were referenced in the back of the book. The stories provided by these business owners contained the overreaching theme that passion can turn a profit. And with profit comes the personal freedom to finally go wherever and do whatever you always wanted to do. Thus, these entrepreneurs weren’t stuck in a cubicle or hustling from one business operation to the next with no time for a lunch break. In fact, many of these folks were traveling the world, engaging in worthy causes and charities and raising families- all while running their profitable businesses.

The $100 Startup is divided into three main parts and subjects:
Part I: Unexpected Entrepreneurs. Turn your passions/skills into capital. Package your product/service as a benefit to consumers.

Part II: Taking it to the Streets. Create a one page business plan, killer offer and successful product launch. Obtain free advertising and raise money in unexpected ways.

Part III: Leverage and Next Steps. Increase your prices regularly, franchise and expand your business (or not).

For every part, Chris provides a multitude of real-life examples taken from his entourage of $100 startup entrepreneurs. But the book is not all about case studies. Here are some great business lessons that Chris provides along the way:

Give customers the fish. Customers don’t go into a seafood restaurant expecting to make salmon risotto; they just want to order salmon risotto and eat it. Likewise, when you’re offering a product/service to your customers, don’t make them work for it; make it as simple and turnkey as possible.

Don’t sell a product/service- sell a dream/experience. Victoria’s Secret doesn’t sell women’s underwear; it sells sexiness. Harley-Davidson doesn’t sell motorcycles; it sells freedom. When considering your specific product/service, think in terms of what innate human desire it satisfies rather than what features it offers.

Don’t lowball yourself. You might think that a software package priced at $25 will sell more units than one priced at $75. However, a higher priced item will hold more value with customers as long as its value proposition is made abundantly clear (e.g., use our $99.95 coupon book just once and you’ll save more than the cost of the book).

If it’s not making money, don’t do it. It’s not about how many Facebook likes you have or how many people are following you on Twitter. If, at the end of the day, your marketing plan isn’t bringing in the bucks, then it’s time to scrap it.

Work on your business every day. Set aside time each day to explore new business avenues and/or sales opportunities, communicate with customers, solve chronic issues or review prices. Create something new in your business rather than just maintain it.

The $100 Startup Bottom Line

If you’re not interested in starting a business, then The $100 Startup is probably not for you. However, if you’re looking to create a product/service and sell it for a profit, Chris’ book will certainly be useful. In many ways, Chris’ book reminds me of Tim Ferriss’ The Four-Hour Workweek because it engages you in lifestyle design by having you leave your current job and start a business. Unlike The Four-Hour Workweek, however, Chris’ lifestyle design plan is more realistic. Chris also maintains a blog called The Art of Nonconformity, which proposes new ways to think about life, work and travel.

Mostly, The $100 Startup tips its hat towards a growing population of rebels-with-a-cause who don’t want to spend 40-50 years punching a clock and working to make someone else rich. No, these renegades want to turn their passion into profit and subsequently, that profit into personal freedom. In Chris’ own words, “There’s no rehab program for being addicted to freedom. Once you’ve seen what it’s like on the other side, good luck trying to follow someone else’s rules ever again.”

Win a Copy of The $100 Startup!

We’ll be giving away a free copy of The $100 Startup to one lucky I’ve Tried That reader! All you need to do is Like this Facebook post and leave a comment there! We’ll be picking one random winner on Monday, June 4th to receive a free copy of The $100 Startup!

Best of luck!

7 Websites that pay $50 or More for Guest Blog Posts

Writing content for others can be discouraging in terms of appreciation (i.e., pay). You pour your heart and soul into a 500-word article for Yahoo! Voices, let’s say, and make a measly $4.50 for your efforts. Or you keep finding the following type of insane job offer:

I need efficient writers to write articles for me
I have plenty of work for only dedicated writers
Articles are simple; 300, 500, 750 and 1000 words
I will pay $1 for 300 word articles, $2 for 500 word article, $3.50 for 750 word article and $5 for 1000 word article (emphasis mine)
No milestones please, so if your bid has milestone I will not select you
Bid for $50 and I will be paying after submission of 5 articles, meaning that if you manage 5 articles within 24 hours then you get paid.
Waiting for bids. Thank you.

Luckily, there are websites out there that do take you seriously by paying good money for your guest blog posts. I’ve listed at least 7 websites that pay $50 or more for your writing. Keep in mind that all of these sites require high quality, novel content that is 500+ words in length and provides value to its readers. Some sites will edit or ask that you edit your content, while others might require an attached photo.

1. The Motley Fool Blog Network

Started at 1:58 PM in November 2011, The Motley Fool Blog Network lets the individual investor discuss stock, ETF and index investment ideas and receive critical feedback in the form of member comments. Furthermore, each syndicated (i.e, posted to Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, Daily Finance) blog post is paid $50. If your 10 most recent blog posts average 2,500 page views or higher and the staff views your content as top-notch, your compensation goes up to $100/post. The best bloggers may even be offered a writing contract by The Motley Fool. To see an example of my own work, please click here for Fool blog posts by halina23.

2. The Krazy Coupon Lady

Heather Wheeler and Joanie Demer (who have also been featured on TLC’s Extreme Couponing) of The Krazy Coupon Lady accept guest posts on personal finance, saving money, finding coupon deals, etc. and pay $50 for each accepted post. I worked with the KCL team a month ago and was paid $50 by Paypal within 3 days of article acceptance. The site is rather busy, however, so my article has yet to be published.

3. Freelance Switch

If you’re a freelancer and wish to share your advice on the freelance life, helpful resources, ways to make your job easier, employer reviews, etc., then you’ve come to the right place. Freelance Switch will pay you $50 for your content the month after it is accepted on the site. You may also republish your submitted content to your own blog and to offline publications like magazines or books.

4. One Spoon At A Time

Paul Wolfe, the webmaster of OneSpoonAtATime, started paying $50 for guest blog posts back in September of last year. He explains why he pays this amount of money in a post entitled Guest Posts Wanted – $50 Per Post! Paul looks for unique content relating to online businesses- starting and marketing the business, streamlining workload, attracting customers, using unusual sales tactics, etc. He prefers content pitches and asks that the guest blogger actively follow and reply to comments. Incidentally, Paul’s explanation of why he’s paying $50 per guest post provides a link to a writer’s blog that’s also paying $50 per post: MakeALivingWriting.com.

5. Writers Weekly

Do you earn a high income from freelance writing, self-publishing, ghost writing, etc.? Share your tips on writing success with the ezine Writers Weekly and you could receive $60 for your guest blog post. The site asks for query emails first along with examples of your published content.

6. TheTechLabs and Pxl Eyes

Are you so adept at 3D rendition software and applications that others often look to you for help? The Tech Labs is requesting in-depth tutorials on programs such as Adobe Flash, Flex and Air and ActionScript 3. If your tutorial is published, you receive $50-$75. Pxl Eyes is requesting tutorials on all kinds of drawing and 3D rendition programs like Photoshop, Coreldraw and AutoCAD. Payment for an accepted PxlEyes tutorial can be up to $200.

7. The Change Agent

Teachers and students involved in social justice adult education can submit their content to The Change Agent which pays $50 upon acceptance. Additionally, students can submit articles, stories, essays, illustrations and activities to The Change Agent paper and be paid $50 upon content acceptance.


8. Leaving Work Behind

As of March 3, 2014, Tom Ewer has opened up his blog, Leaving Work Behind, to $50 guest posts (upon acceptance). If you’ve recently launched a new business or are simply trying to, Tom wants to hear about it.

Honorable Mentions:

The following sites do not pay $50 per guest blog post, but the writing standards for them are a bit more open and relaxed:

1. Social Moms

Social Moms accepts queries on the subjects of saving money, working at home, health and parenting. I was recently approved to write about MSG as well as super couponing for this site. The compensation is 5,000 points per published post, which equates to $25. You can request payout at 8,000 points via Paypal (i.e., $40) or at 10,000 points via Amazon gift card (i.e., $50).

2. Spark People

This fitness and nutrition website accepts content related to health, weight loss, personal wellness and motivation and pays from $25-$75 per accepted post. Articles submitted to Spark People are expected to be between 800 and 1,800 words in length. Full-time freelance writing gigs may be offered to top-notch writers. Additional writing and freelance writer opportunities can be found at Spark People Writers Guidelines.

3. Rock Solid Finance

If you have some great ideas on making and/or saving money as an entrepreneur, pitch these ideas to David Worrell at RockSolidFinance.com. If your article is accepted, David will pay you $25 or give your website/business up to 2 backlinks- the choice is yours. Be sure to read his guest blog post instructions first, though.

Weekly Scam Roundup – 5/10/2012

Here are the latest submissions for my weekly scam roundup. If you have received any similar emails, PLEASE post them in the comments below. By posting the emails, you will directly be helping other people by exposing scam artists!

If you’re researching a “job offer” and it is listed on this page, it is 100% absolutely guaranteed to be a scam. Stop talking with your “employer” AT ONCE. You are at risk of losing thousands of dollars and your identity. You could even end up with a criminal record if the authorities get involved. Do NOT do work for them and click on the links below to find out what to do next.

Scam Email #1

From: michaelbells@redbullad.com
> Subject: Participate In the Redbull Car Advertisement Agent (BE PAID TO DRIVE)
> We are currently seeking to employ individual’s world wide. How would you like to make money by simply driving your car advertising for RED BULL.
> How it works?
> Here’s the basic premise of the “paid to drive” concept: RED BULL seeks people — regular citizens,professional drivers to go about their normal routine as they usually do, only with a big advert for “RED BULL” plastered on your car. The ads are typically vinyl decals, also known as “auto wraps,”that almost seem to be painted on the vehicle, and which will cover any portion of your car’s exterior surface.
> What does the company get out of this type of ad strategy? Lots of exposure and awareness. The auto wraps tend to be colorful, eye-catching and attract lots of attention. Plus, it’s a form of advertising with a captive audience,meaning people who are stuck in traffic can’t avoid seeing the wrapped car alongside them. This program will last for 3 months and the minimum you can participate is 1 month.
> You will be compensated with $600 per week which is essentially a “rental” payment for letting our company use the space no fee is required from you RED BULL shall provide experts that would handle the advert placing on your car. You will receive an up front payment of $300 inform of check via courier service for accepting to carry this advert on your car.
> It is very easy and simple no application fees required contact email along with the following you are interested in these offer.
> Send the Details below to hiringmanager@redbullcarwrap.com
> Full Name:
> Address:
> City:
> State:
> Zip code:
> Country:
> Present Occupation:
> Age/Sex:
> Make of car/ year:
> Telephone numbers:
> Email:
> We shall be contacting you as soon as we receive this information.
> Kind Regards,
> Michael Sparrow
> 909-666-5049
> Advert Manager,
> Red Bull™

Scam Email #2

A fast-developing United Kingdom Premium Delivery dealing with receiving, repacking, consolidation and resending the post correspondence all over the world and one of the world leaders in the field announces the supplementary recruitment for a part-time home-based vacancy. In order to provide the customers of the high service level we need people in all the American states for the Agent post.
Your duties will be:
– receiving the correspondence to your current home address;
– external inspection of the correspondence;
– photographing the received packages, scanning/photographing documents;
– repacking the goods;
– goods consolidation in 1 parcel;
– printing the customs documents and prepaid shipping labels;
– customer support.
– High school diploma or GED;
– Excellent managerial skills;
– Attention to details;
– Skills or experience with computer;
– 18 +.

Our agents earn $2,000 monthly working 2-3 hours per day!
If you like this post and you consider yourself to be convenient for this employment, please send us your contact information to Michael.Grey@ukpremiumdelivery.com
Hope to hear from you soon!
HR manager Michael Grey

Scam Email #3

Location : All around the USA
This activity is P/T and implies domestic labor.

About us :
We work with the capital investments , online payment processing and financial management markets for some years . We are the leader in our field . Mostly we cooperate with clients from Europe and our head office is located in London, United Kingdom.
Private citizens, enterprises and big corporations, who rely on us because of our high grade services and individual approach to every client, are among our clients. They trust us because our aim is getting the best results possible.
We work in several business fields and we are always looking for talented , qualified, motivated and goal-oriented nominees to work with us .
Currently we are aimed at developing our business activities to Canada, North and South America in the short term. Thus we are hiring .

This is our proposal :
Your major task will be assisting our financial department . You will conduct financial and administrative processes and receive transactions from our customers. This is not a full-time position which implies working from home . You will only have to work about 15-20 hours a week. You will be processing payments received from our customers, and controlling that all transactions are performed in on timely basis . Also, your general duty will include answering e-mails, incoming calls and submitting reports .

You will be required as follows:
– data input skills ;
– Skilled computer user (Windows, Word, Excel);
– Speak and write English properly ;
– Attention to details, self-organization ;
– Ready to work in a challenging environment and deal with any problems;
– Clean criminal record .

You will be offered as follows:
– High Income;
– Different bonus payments
– Flexible schedule ;
– Online training is provided by our support team.

We believe that this job is a great opportunity to change your life for better due to a good income and terms of employment that we assure to our staff.
Hurry up , provide us your application today! If you want to apply , justonly write us at the following email address : You will surely get our reply within the next two days.

Scam Email #4

From: “United Nations Intern Services”
Reply-To: intern@un-uncrd.org
X-Confirm-Reading-To: no_reply@un-uncrd.org
Disposition-Notification-To: no_reply@un-uncrd.org
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

The United Nations provides opportunities for students enrolled in a
graduate programme to undertake an internship at its Headquarters in New
York, Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Bangkok,
Beirut,Santiago,Arusha and The Hague.

Eligible candidates interested in doing an internship at the United
Nations Headquarters in New York or any of the mentioned countries can

The objective of the Internship Programme is threefold:

To provide a framework by which graduate and under graduate students from
diverse academic backgrounds may be assigned to United Nations Offices
where their educational experience can be enhanced through practical work

To expose them to the work of the United Nations.

To provide UN offices with the assistance of highly qualified students
specialized in various professional fields.

The United Nations Headquarters Internship Programme is offered on a
two-month basis three times a year:
• Mid January to mid March (Spring Session): The vacancy announcement is
posted mid May, the deadline for applications is end of September.
• Early June to early August (Summer Session): The vacancy announcement is
posted mid September, the deadline for applications is end of April.
• Mid September to mid November (Fall Session): The vacancy announcement
is posted end of January, the deadline for applications is mid May.

To qualify for the United Nations Headquarters Internship Programme, the
following conditions must be met:

1. Applicants must be enrolled in a degree programme in a graduate school
(second university degree or higher) at the time of application and during
the internship; or

2. Applicants pursuing their studies in countries where higher education
is not divided into undergraduate and graduate stages must have completed
at least four years of full-time studies at a university or equivalent
institution towards the completion of a degree.

3. Development-related fields such as economics, international relations,
anthropology, sociology, public or business administration, or
environmental studies. Other fields of study may be considered depending
on the type of assignment;

Any work produced by interns during their internship within the framework
of the duties assigned to them should be used for academic purposes
exclusively. All economic and moral rights (copyright) pertaining to such
work will remain the exclusive property of the United Nations.

Interested undergraduate or graduate students should write via EMAIL ONLY
to the :

Ad Hoc Internship Coordinator,
Human Resources Operations Section,
Human Resources Management Service,
United Nations Office


Applications (in English) should include the following:

a) A covering letter stating the grounds for their application;
b) Recent curriculum vitae (CV);
c) Copies of their university degrees or a list of courses attended or
d) Abstracts of academic papers they have written if any.

All applicants must be currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate
programs. No phone calls, please.

After careful consideration of all documents submitted, only successful
candidates will be notified of their selection.

Kindly send the requested applications documents to the following email
address: intern@un-uncrd.org