The $100 Startup: Do What You Love For A Benjamin

A lot of people are too scared to start a business because they’re too afraid to fail and think they don’t have enough money.  I had those same fears myself for a long time, but thankfully I got over myself and stopped being afraid of taking chances.  Life is too short to waste it living a life you don’t enjoy and to never take any risks.  After all, being frozen by fear and self doubt is exactly what our competitors want us to believe!

The $100 Startup

Chris Guillebeau has a new book out today called The $100 Startup.  It talks about how to reinvent the way you make a living, do what you love, and create a new future.  I was fortunate to get my hands on an advance copy as I’m a big fan of Chris’s work and his eproducts, aka Unconventional Guides.  (If any of your want to be an author, check out my review on his latest guide on how to get published)

Now for those of you who haven’t heard of Chris Guillebeau before, he’s a young entrepreneur, writer, and traveler in his early 30’s who has trekked to ALL corners of the globe.  He has an uber cool goal of visiting every country in the world by April 2013, and I think he’ll get there!  He’s already at 183 out of 193 countries and counting.  Now how impressive is that?!

Turning Ideas Into Income

One of Chris’s strengths is his ability to turn ideas into income.  The $100 Startup gives you lots of insights on how to find more purpose in your life and turn your passion into a career.  There’s a simple drawing in the book that says it all: 1. Start today.  2. Deposit money tomorrow.  Too often we let life get in the way of being adventurous and getting off the couch.  We put off taking the most important first steps until tomorrow, and then the next day, and the next day…

Remember you don’t need to brainstorm some complex invention, or have a masters degree to become an entrepreneur!  What you DO need is drive, curiosity, guts, and something that people want.  Having some savings that stays siloed from your business venture for emergencies is always a good idea too though for the unexpected.

Real People, Real Success Stories

What I think is most cool about The $100 Startup are the real life stories of self made entrepreneurs that Chris weaves into each chapter.  He also talks about some of his own failures and successes, but it’s really fun getting to read about the unique experiences of so many other people, across all sorts of industries.  Before writing the book, Chris compiled data on 1,500 individuals in his research who each built $50,000+ businesses of their own from very little.  A lot of these entrepreneurs spent $100 or less when they first started, hence the book’s title, The $100 Startup.

The book covers tid bits on 50 of the most interesting entrepreneurs from Guillebeau’s study.  So if you think the only way to start a business for $100 or less is online, you’ll be happy and surprised to know that there are LOTS of other industries that people have succeeded breaking into on the cheap.  For example, some of the entrepreneurs in the book have their own businesses in furniture, fitness, food and wine, toy manufacturing, clothing, photography, and even a cowboy ranch!

The Road Map

The $100 Startup is divided into three parts:

  1. Unexpected Entrepreneurs
  2. Taking It To The Streets
  3. Leverage And Next Steps

The book is comprised of fourteen chapters across 285 pages that are easy to follow and fun to read because of all the real life stories and tips you’ll learn.  At the end of each chapter you’ll find summaries of Key Points, and I also think you’ll enjoy the simple and effective illustrations by Mike Rohde throughout the book.  If you are ready to dive into a copy for yourself, the book is now available for purchase on Amazon here: The $100 Startup.

I’ll also be giving away a FREE COPY to a lucky Untemplater Newsletter subscriber this week!  You can sign up for the Newsletter using the blue form at the top right of our website where you’ll also find buttons to subscribe to our RSS feed, Twitter feed @untemplater, and FB page.

Untemplaters, have you ever started a business for $100 or less?  What is the biggest entrepreneurial hurdle you’re trying to overcome?  What’s your biggest fear or joy in starting a business?

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy reading Be On The Lookout For Small Business Scams, and Would You Take A Steep Paycut To Live In Paradise?

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Hi there, I’m Sydney! After ten crazy years, I left a grueling six-figure job in 2015 for a better life. Now I spend my days writing, freelancing in various capacities, and finding new ways to stretch my brain. I’m crazy about photography, traveling the world, and stopping to smell the roses. Untemplater is where I share my insights and adventures with the world. I hope to never stop learning and being able to give back - every day is a gift! My love of helping people improve their lifestyles, careers, wealth and happiness constantly motivate me to write and evolve. Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you in the comments below!


  1. says

    Chris Guillebeau is supposed to be coming through the Washington, D.C. area in a few days for his book tour. I still don’t have an official location.

    Either way, the biggest entrepreneurship hurdle I have to overcome is making time to create remarkable products for my customers. There are so many hats you have to wear as an entrepreneur. It’s tough to get everything done. The way I deal with the stress is to just focus on one thing. I don’t care what anyone says about multitasking, you can only do one thing well at a time. So instead of stressing about all the stuff I need to get done, I do one thing for a predetermined length of time and then move on to the next thing.

    • Sydney says

      That’ll be neat if you get to see him. He comes through SF later in the month so I will try to meet him myself as well. Making time is something I struggle with too! I have to write everything down to keep track of so many things I need to do. I try to check my list a few times each day and cross off at least one thing a day. Even though the list is always growing it still feels great marking something as completed!

  2. says

    Good stuff Sydney. I met up with Chris in SF for his other book tour. I do agree the key is just launching. People will be amazed at the momentum that is created after launching.

    I would like to claim that I started my business w/ $100, but I think I spent closer to $1,000 setting everything up with FS years ago since I knew nada then!

    Best, Sam

    • Sydney says

      Taking the first step and launching can be scary but you’re right, once you make that step forward it’s exhilerating and momentum kicks in. Learning and making mistakes and bouncing back is what makes running a business so exciting. Nice job with FS! Even if you spent $1000 that’s nothing compared to the opportunities that have come to you as a result of your hard work.

      • says

        I spent more because I was lazy and clueless. However, in the scheme of things, $1,000 ain’t that much at all.

        I do have fear in launching new things such as my FS Online Services consulting business. However, the reward is much better than the fear and I’ve come to the point where I don’t care. I fear not trying more than failure.

        • Sydney says

          I really think that’s true what you said, “I fear not trying more than failure.” It’s easier to live life and look back on failures and how we moved on versus looking back and having regrets of all the things we were too afraid to try. There are plenty of things I’ve failed at but I feel good that I at least gave each of them a shot.

  3. says

    I’ve started two businesses and both cost more than $100 to begin. I’m always interested in low barriers-to-entry opportunities. It sounds like a fun read!

    • Sydney says

      Way to go starting 2 businesses! I imagine it’s a little bit easier to take the leap on business number 2 after having done it once already even if it’s a totally different type of business. There are lots of transferable skills and knowledge that you can use from your first business and finding ways to keep costs down must help a lot too.

    • Jeff says

      Its funny how in all comments everyone starts their business(s) but no one ever says what their business is. Why is that?

    • Sydney says

      It certainly does take a ton of time, especially in the beginning and was one of my biggest worries before I started. It’s still a struggle for me to find the time to do everything I want, but setting priorities and tackling things little by little keeps me moving forward.

  4. says

    Can’t wait to read this book. Sounds very inspirational. Any website business can be started for $100 or less. But the main cost is TIME.

  5. Erica says

    Thanks for the opportunity to enter the giveaway, Sydney. I love my book, and am plowing my way thru it now. I have to admit, the stuff at the back is scary to me. I have so many ideas for businesses, I don’t know where to start. They all are interesting to me, and I know I should just pick one and do it, but I get overwhelmed and do nothing.

    • Sydney says

      I’m glad you’re enjoying it Erica! It’s natural for the unknown to feel scary. However, the fact that you have so many ideas is fantastic because there are a lot of people out there who want to do something entrepreneurial but have no ideas for a business they want to try. So you already have a leg up!

      The way I’ve learned to help overcome feelings of being overwhelmed are to micro-size steps and to set aside pockets of time in advance for working on my to do list. If you have 5 business ideas and like them all about the same, how about drawing one from a hat and start there. You may be surprised that your gut will say, “aw, I wished I picked xyz instead” – and that can be the way to tap into the idea that actually excites you the most right now.

      And don’t feel that you have to drop everything in order to start a business either. I’m a strong advocate for getting one’s feet wet in entrepreneurship by starting out part-time. I still have my full time day job, which takes a lot of pressure off of my business, and helps me manage stress. I never would have thought 2-3 years ago that being busier is actually a LOT more rewarding than having less to do! Best of luck Erica!

  6. says

    OK, I’ve got my first business. I used to have a line of all natural skin care products, but I was clueless and didn’t get it marketed, and just let it fall away. Last night, though, I started thinking about it again and my brain was so crazy with ideas I had to get up and write them all down. I blogged about it today (see the linky thing).

    Now to envision the end result and work backward from there (thank you, Chris G for that idea the other day).

    Sydney, thanks again!

    • Sydney says

      Awesome awesome Erica!! Hearing that you’ve gone from feeling overwhelmed to getting flooded with ideas and deciding to take action is fantastic. I can’t wait to hear more about your new adventure!

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