Why You Should Read The $100 Startup
The cover of my generous free copy of The $100 Startup reads:
Reinvent the way you make a living,
Do what you love,
and Create a new future.
If I had read those words even 2 years ago, they would have meant little to me. Reinvent it how? What does doing what I love have to do with making a living? And exactly what kind of “new future” are you talking about?
Today, I don’t have those questions anymore. I know the answers start with the right mindset. I feel them in my bones. I live them in my waking hours. My quest now is to show you that it can be done. Chris is talking about a new way of building that micro-business you’ve been dreaming about today. The technology and the resources enable you like never before. One would be foolish not to take advantage of it!
The $100 Start up is an inspiring and well-researched book that strikes a great balance between stories and actionable business advice.
My favorite parts of the book: The stories, especially the emotional ones that recount how unexpected and sometimes desperate situations led to creative actions. Why is it that our best comes out in the toughest situations? How do we reach within us to come up with brilliant solutions when the standard way of doing things stops being an option?
At the end of the world domination summit, Chris set a new bar on generosity by giving away a $100 to each attendee. He asked us to do something thoughtful with it. Invest it. Donate it to a good cause. Surprise someone. Start a project. I’ve put my Benjamin in my China cabinet and no idea seems to be good enough for it yet. A devilish part of me thought about rewarding myself by picking up a gorgeous bag from my newest favorite shop online: Radley London luxury bags, and I might still do that with another Benjamin but this one needs to find a good home, and I welcome your ideas and suggestions in the comments.
Top 10 Golden Nuggets for Micro-Business Owners
Well, I can’t do the stories justice; you must read them for yourself, but I have pulled my top 10 nuggets of business wisdom that filled me with renewed excitement. I love the business acumen, some of which I knew, most of which I needed to hear again, and all of which I found valuable, useful and thus worth sharing so listen up, you future fabulous business owner, this stuff is for you:
Lesson 1: Convergence is the intersection between something you like or love to do and what other people care about. In other words, success is the sum of your passions, skills (if you don’t have the skills, you can fill the gap or think of creatively relating your skills to your passion) and the usefulness of it to the world. Don’t forget the latter half! Your passion must merge with developing a skill to solve a problem that other people value and care about. Then you are onto something!
Lesson 2: Understanding the emotional needs that you can meet. Universally, people want more love, money, acceptance, and free time, Chris tells us. So help them get that and you have a business.
Lesson 3: Make an offer. Creating your stuff is the first part, but you gotta get comfortable and confident enough to make that offer. Chris defines an offer as “a combination of product or service plus the messaging that makes a case to potential buyers.”
Lesson 4: The power of value, which is defined by the measure of helping others. So when you get stuck in your business, ask yourself: How can you offer more value. I love how he puts it: “You can pursue freedom for yourself while providing value for others.”
Lesson 5: Most people want to buy but nobody wants to be sold. Focus on invitation rather than persuasion as your sales strategy. Remember that you are not selling to everyone, only to those who will find value in what you have to offer.
Lesson 6: For small business owners, the customer is often wrong – this one raised my eyebrow but as I read Chris’s reasoning, I agreed. You are building a micro business and you need to tend to the majority who resonate with you. You cannot please everyone so let the occasional bad lemon go!
Lesson 7: Understanding that what your customer wants and what they say they want aren’t the same thing and no, this is not a trick. You have to get your target market so well that you give them what they really want, and you show them that you know them better than they know themselves.
Lesson 8: You don’t want to pressure anybody into buying but you also want to instill a sense of urgency, hence the specific time period for a launch.
Lesson 9: The balance between creating and connecting in a business – and I always struggle because I love creating to bits and pieces. You must divide it up evenly the book tells us, and be constantly aware of it.
Lesson 10: The most important thing is to KEEP TAKING ACTION and don’t get in your own way. Create a new offer. Encourage referrals. Hold a contest, or many other ideas that Chris offers but remember, to not stay stuck. Keep moving forward. Keep testing. Keep believing.
My favorite advice comes from Chris’s interview with the one and only Naomi Dunford, and she says:
“There’s nothing wrong with having a hobby, but if you want to call it a business, you have to make money.”
Yeah! What Naomi said!
The Parting Messaging from The $100 Startup
The best takeaway from this book was this little known truth: Roaming entrepreneurs are quietly building successful and seriously profitable businesses everywhere around us today. They are ordinary people who have put their creativity, skills, passions and talents into extraordinary use.
In other words, they are no different than you – they are just doing something with what they already possess, they demand on a lifestyle that makes them happy and they have made a non-negotiable deal about the kind of work they intend to do with their time on this earth.
I signed the same contract when I resigned. I made the same non-negotiable deal with myself. I felt the same validation when I returned to the World Domination Summit 2.0. And someday, you may decide to do the same. If that day comes, read this book, talk to people who have done it and don’t let anything or anyone talk you out of it.
If you want to support someone who is already making waves with her $100 investment idea from WDS, check out Natalie Sisson’s $100 Change. Sign up and follow her, she’ll give you some killer business wisdom along the way.
Here’s a salute to micro-businesses that are changing the world, one small tiny step at a time and to the new world order of entrepreneurship! Are you playing this game yet? Do you want to play it and care to share your journey? Leave your stories in the comments below!
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