Summary-The $100 Startup_ Reinvent the Way You Mak -Chris Guillebeau

Summary-The $100 Startup_ Reinvent the Way You Mak -Chris Guillebeau


Here's a summary of the prologue:

  • The author encourages readers to imagine a life where they spend all their time doing what they want and are self-employed. He talks about firing your boss and doing your own thing.

  • Thousands of people around the world have rejected traditional work and created their own path to independence and purpose through starting microbusinesses. This book focuses on the themes of freedom and value.

  • The author stumbled into self-employment and freedom over 10 years ago. He started by importing and selling coffee online after seeing others' success, even though he had no experience. The income gave him freedom and independence without useless meetings or reports.

  • He spent years volunteering in West Africa, learning that freedom comes with responsibility. He then built a career as a writer the same way he did everything else - starting with an idea and figuring it out along the way. He values freedom highly.

  • Value is created when someone makes something useful and shares it with the world. The people in this book have succeeded by creating value. Often, they turn a hobby, skill, or passion into a business.

  • The microbusiness revolution is happening as people reject traditional work to chart their own path. Small businesses aren't new, but access to technology and lower costs have increased the possibilities. You can instantly test and market an idea and receive payments electronically.

  • In summary, the prologue encourages readers to pursue freedom and value through starting their own microbusiness. With hard work and the right mindset, you can create your own future.

  • Michael Hanna was a corporate sales executive for 25 years until he was abruptly laid off in May 2009 during the economic downturn. Unable to find another job, he stumbled into selling mattresses and eventually opened his own mattress store, which became profitable quickly. Though unplanned, the new business allowed him to support his family and brought more happiness than his corporate career.

  • Sarah Young opened a yarn store during the same time period, despite having no previous experience running a business. But as an avid knitter, she knew exactly what she wanted in a yarn store and built it. The store became profitable within six months and developed an international following.

  • Susannah Conway, an English journalist, started teaching photography classes for fun on the side and ended up making more money from that than from her journalism job. She hadn't realized she was starting a business.

  • Benny Lewis, an Irish engineering graduate, never used his degree. Instead, he found a way to make a living as a "professional language hacker," traveling the world and learning new languages through immersion.

  • The examples show how people stumbled into self-employment and even successful businesses by accident, using skills and knowledge they already had to meet needs they identified. They prove you don't necessarily need business experience, an MBA, or a concrete plan to build something valuable. You just have to start.

Here is a summary:

  • The passage introduces the concept of micro-entrepreneurship where small one-person businesses are thriving by utilizing unconventional marketing approaches like giving away free products and content.

  • These micro-entrepreneurs are able to quickly build successful businesses at a low cost due to the ease of starting a business today compared to previously. They are able to tap into communities and reach customers much more easily.

  • The author conducted a study of over 1,500 micro-entrepreneurs around the world that met certain criteria like following their passion, having a low startup cost, making at least $50K per year, not requiring specialized skills, being financially transparent, and having fewer than 5 employees.

  • The goal of the study was to find common themes among these diverse entrepreneurs. The author found that while big business models get a lot of attention, these micro-entrepreneurs are building successful businesses by following their passions and interests.

Here is a summary:

The book explores the rise of “micro-entrepreneurship” — people starting small businesses on their own, without investment or employees, and often without a fixed business plan. The case studies come from people who built businesses to gain more freedom and autonomy in their work.

Three key lessons emerge:

  1. Convergence: Finding the intersection between your skills/passions and what people will pay for. Not everything you love or are good at is useful to others, and not everything useful to others plays to your strengths. But where these overlap, you can build a successful microbusiness.

  2. Skill transformation: Applying your existing skills in new ways. For example, a teacher has skills beyond just teaching, like communication, adaptability, and organization. These can be applied to other businesses. Success comes from combining multiple modest skills, not just being the best at one thing.

  3. The magic formula: Passion/skill + usefulness = success. Combining what you care about with what other people will pay for. Examples include a cooking show host who shares easy, popular Asian recipes, and a piano teacher who built software to help manage his business, then sold it to other teachers.

The basics of starting a microbusiness are simple: have a product or service, customers willing to pay for it, and a way to get paid. The book aims to show how ordinary people built businesses and gained freedom through these simple principles, not genius or luck. Most had no business degrees or experience. They just took action, tested what worked, and built from there.

The case studies illustrate how people from many walks of life were able to transform their skills into successful microbusinesses, gain autonomy, and in some cases travel the world or move to other countries. The aim is to provide inspiration and a blueprint for readers to map their own path to freedom.

Here’s a summary:

  • Microbusinesses have been around for a long time, but now it’s easier than ever to start and grow one quickly and cheaply.

  • To start a business, you need: 1) a product or service, 2) customers willing to pay for it, and 3) a way to get paid. Everything else is optional.

  • The easiest way to start a business is to find out what people want and give it to them. Don’t make customers do the work themselves.

  • Most people don’t want to learn how to do things themselves. They want to pay others to do it for them so they can relax. Businesses should give customers what they actually want.

  • John and Barbara Varian started a side business offering horseback riding and meals on their ranch. After a fire, they turned it into their main business, the V6 Ranch. They say they’re “selling freedom” and helping people “escape and be someone else.”

  • Kelly Newsome worked in D.C. and spent years climbing the career ladder but eventually quit to start a travel company helping women. She says her company is all about creating experiences that allow women to “hit the pause button.”

  • The key is finding the deeper motivations behind what you’re selling—like happiness, freedom or ease. Don’t just sell a product or service; sell the underlying benefit or experience.

  • Once you determine what benefit you’re really providing, you can get creative in how you deliver it. The options are endless.

  • The stories of the V6 Ranch and Kelly’s company show how you can turn your passion into a business that gives others what they really want. You don’t necessarily need a new or innovative product; you just need to provide an experience that resonates.

Here is a summary:

  • Kelly graduated from law school at the University of Virginia and got a high-paying job as a corporate lawyer in Manhattan.

  • After five years, Kelly left her $240,000/year job because she found it unfulfilling.

  • Kelly then took time off to travel the world. During this time, she became a certified yoga instructor.

  • When Kelly returned, she started her own yoga studio, Higher Ground Yoga, focused on busy professional women in DC.

  • In less than a year, Kelly's yoga studio was making $50,000+ in revenue. Kelly is on track to make $85,000 in her second year.

  • Although Kelly's new career has some downsides like losing income during bad weather, Kelly says she would not go back to her old law career because she finds her new work more meaningful and impactful.

The key takeaways are:

  1. Value means helping people. The more a business helps its customers, the more successful it will be.

  2. A business's benefits are more important than its features. Emotional benefits are particularly powerful.

  3. To provide value, dig deeper to uncover your customers' hidden needs, make your customers feel like heroes, and communicate stories about the impact/value of your business.

Does this summary cover the key highlights and main takeaways from the passage? Let me know if you would like me to clarify or expand my summary in any way.

Here is a summary:

Purna, an Excel expert from India, started a website to teach people how to use Excel more productively. Over time, his website and training programs became very popular, allowing him to earn over $200,000 per year. His customers loved him, with one calling him their “BFF for Excel.” Purna attracted these devoted customers by:

Focusing on helping people become more productive with Excel rather than just teaching them how to use the software. Positioning his training as enabling people to become “heroes” to their bosses and colleagues. Selling products and services directly rather than relying on ads. Writing enthusiastically and persuasively about spreadsheets.

The author learned from Purna’s success. His initial “Travel Ninja” product failed to sell well because it focused too much on the details of how air travel works rather than what customers really wanted: cheap airfare deals. His later “Frequent Flyer Master” and “Travel Hacking Cartel” products were much more successful because they gave customers what they wanted: instructions for earning free and cheap airfare.

In general, businesses should focus on giving customers more of what they want, like love, money, and free time, and less of what they don’t want, like stress. They should make things easy and enjoyable for customers rather than requiring a lot of work.

The artist Brooke Snow initially struggled to earn a living teaching art classes locally. She realized she could teach online instead and reach students anywhere. With help, she transitioned her classes online. Her income increased from $30,000 per year teaching locally to over $60,000 teaching online. She attributes part of her success to her willingness to share knowledge and help others rather than hoarding “trade secrets.” By focusing on helping others, she ensured she would have plenty of work.

In summary, successful microbusinesses provide real value to customers by giving them what they want in an easy and enjoyable way. They attract devoted customers through a willingness to help and share knowledge. Selling digital products and services, whether online courses or training programs, is an accessible business model for many.

Here is a summary:

  • The author and her friend Gary are travel hackers who earn lots of frequent flyer miles through promotions and credit cards.

  • Gary started a consulting business helping executives and others use their unused frequent flyer miles to book luxury vacations. He charges $250 per booking and made $75,000 in his first year, which he invests since he already has a full-time job.

  • Gary's business is an example of a "follow your passion" business. He turned his passion for travel hacking into a successful side business.

  • The author says it's easy to start a consulting business in a day. You just need to pick a specific service and charge at least $100 an hour. Gary's simple website highlights the benefit he provides, stories of clients he's helped, his pricing, and how to hire him.

  • The author met Megan Hunt, another entrepreneur, who owns a coworking space and makes custom wedding dresses. Megan always wanted to work for herself and started her first business at age 19. Her first year she made $40,000 and is now growing by hiring employees.

  • Megan's big disaster came when she spent 70 hours making flower kits for customers but they were ruined in shipping. She had to remake them on her own dime. But she learned from it and strengthened her business.

The key points are:

  1. Follow your passion businesses that provide real value to customers can be very successful.

  2. It's easy to start a simple consulting business in a short time. You just need a specific service, fair pricing, and a basic website.

  3. Entrepreneurs often face disasters and setbacks that they have to overcome. They can learn from these experiences and build a stronger business.

Megan started a flower business which she loved. However, after a shipping disaster in which many packages were lost, she had to refund customers and apologize. Though upset, she handled the situation professionally, learned from her mistakes, and moved on with her business. While following your passion to build a business seems simple, it's more complex in reality.

First, not every passion translates into a viable business. You need to find something that interests others and that they will pay for. Mignon Fogarty first had an unsuccessful science podcast before creating the popular Grammar Girl podcast.

Second, you usually don't get paid for the hobby itself but for helping others pursue it or something related to it. For example, Benny Lewis didn't get paid simply for learning languages but for teaching others his method through his Fluent in 3 Months business.

Finally, you may not want to combine your passion and work. If your hobby is an escape, you may not want the responsibility of running a business based on it. You need to consider if you'd enjoy your hobby for long hours, teaching others, handling administration, and whether there's a market for it.

While following your passion can work for some, you need to go in with realistic expectations. As Benjamin Franklin said, "If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." Following your passion doesn't guarantee an easy or successful business. You still need to put in hard work and consider practical details to build something sustainable.

Here is a summary:

  • Passion alone does not create a successful business. You need passion plus business sense and skills that provide solutions to problems. The formula is: (Passion + Skill) → (Problem + Marketplace) = Opportunity.

  • Examples of turning passion into profit: Gary: Travel consulting service for $250 fee per client. Low cost to enter but labor-intensive. Benny: Sold language hacking guide for $29. Automated so low effort but low price. Megan: Sold custom dresses and wedding accessories. Diverse income but labor-intensive. Mignon: Free podcast supported by ads and sponsors. Reliable income but less control.

  • The key is finding the right product or service for the right audience. Not every passion can become a business.

  • Location independence is possible by building a business around your life, not the other way around. Examples:

  • Brandon Pearce: Built Music Teacher’s Helper to help music teachers handle admin tasks. Now lives in Costa Rica and earns $360K+ per year with 10 employees worldwide. Spends little time on the business.

  • Kyle Hepp: Became a travel photographer by accident after an injury left her unable to work her planned job. Now travels the world taking photos for commercial clients and publications. Location independent life enabled by the business.

  • The benefits of location independence include more control over your time, the ability to live anywhere and the freedom to pursue side interests and hobbies. But it requires finding the right business model, audience and product or service. With the right combination, you can build a successful business based on your passion.

Here is a summary:

Kyle, a photographer from Chile, was badly injured after being hit by a car. While recovering, she and her husband decided to take a long-delayed honeymoon trip to Europe. Before leaving, Kyle updated her wedding photography website and received a booking request right away. After returning from the trip, Kyle's photography business took off and became very successful, allowing her and her husband to make $90,000 a year and travel the world for work.

Bernard Vukas is a developer from Croatia who helps companies process large amounts of data using Microsoft Office. He started by charging low rates but eventually tripled what he charged new clients. One day, he made $720, an amount that would take months for someone in Croatia with an average salary to earn. Bernard now works remotely from anywhere in the world.

The publishing industry has changed dramatically. It is now much easier for authors to self-publish high-quality work and reach a wide audience. Some authors are even choosing self-publishing over traditional publishing. There are several models for self-publishing, including one-off products, fixed-period courses, and recurring subscriptions. Several examples of successful self-publishers are provided, including Jen Lemen and Andrea Scher, who make six-figure incomes offering online courses, and Brian Clark, whose company Copyblogger earns over $5 million per year largely through subscriptions.

Brett Kelly, a software developer from California, was in debt and working opposite schedules from his wife to make ends meet. He decided to write and self-publish an ebook about using Evernote, a popular note-taking app. Although he had no experience as an author, the ebook ended up generating over $120,000 in revenue, allowing Brett to quit his job and become self-employed. His success shows how self-publishing an information product, even with no special expertise, can lead to a significant source of income.

  • Brett noticed there was no detailed user manual for Evernote, the popular free note-taking software. He spent months compiling tips and tricks into an e-book called Evernote Essentials.

  • Before releasing the e-book, Brett made a deal with his wife, Joana, that if he made $10,000 in sales, she would quit her job as a waitress and stay home with their kids. Eleven days after launch, he hit $10,000 in sales. Joana quit her job.

  • Months later, Evernote Essentials was making $300/day in sales, over $100,000/year. As the sole owner, most of this was profit for Brett.

  • The CEO of Evernote loved the e-book and offered Brett a job. Brett took the job but kept the rights to continue selling his e-book.

  • Not all independent publishing ventures are successful. Many fail due to unrealistic expectations or focusing too much on lifestyle over work. Success usually requires hard work upfront to establish the business before reaping lifestyle benefits.

  • Brandon Pearce built a successful online business that generates up to $30,000/month, allowing him and his family to live an adventurous lifestyle in Costa Rica. But he worked hard initially to build the business.

  • Key points: Many location-independent businesses are quietly successful. The lifestyle isn't for everyone. Information publishing, like e-books, can be very profitable. Success comes from finding the convergence of your passions and skills with what people will buy. Hard work is required upfront before lifestyle benefits.

The author discusses how to identify your target customers. Traditional demographics like age, gender, and income may not always be the best way to categorize your customers. Sometimes customers are best defined by their interests, values, and passions.

The author gives several examples:

  • His own writing community consisted of a diverse group of people from all backgrounds who wanted to live unconventional lives and make a positive impact.

  • Kinetic Koffee Company targeted outdoor enthusiasts by partnering with bike shops and outdoor stores. They donated to outdoor causes to build goodwill.

  • The Grateful Dead's fan base spanned generations and demographics. They were drawn together by a shared passion for the music.

  • Tom Bihn, a bag company, found that their customers came from all walks of life. They didn't fit into narrow categories.

  • Kris Murray originally targeted daycare centers but struggled. She pivoted to target multi-location daycare center owners who were more invested in business consulting. Her income increased dramatically.

  • Sharkman, who runs adventure trips, learned that strict contracts mean little when local culture intervenes. When a chief died and events were canceled, he improvised a solution to save the trip. He took a financial loss but built goodwill.

The author recommends several strategies:

  1. Focus on popular hobbies, passions, or crazes. For example, the Paleo diet attracts passionate followers, presenting business opportunities. Jason Glaspey started a meal planning service for Paleo dieters.

  2. Look for groups with unmet needs. Parents of children with autism, for example, struggle to find helpful resources and may welcome relevant businesses.

  3. Pay attention to trends and get ahead of them. Identify needs that will emerge in the coming years. For example, aging populations may demand more home health aides, senior living communities, and mobility solutions.

  4. Solve common problems or frustrations in an industry. Look for "pain points" and build a solution. For example, a booking and scheduling service could relieve hassles for pet groomers or personal trainers.

  5. Tap into emotions and experiences. Businesses focused on important life events like weddings, new babies, retirement, etc. tend to do well. People are often willing to spend money on these emotional and meaningful experiences.

In summary, look beyond superficial characteristics to find your true target customers. Identify groups with common values, needs, interests, experiences, or passions. Build your business around serving those groups in a meaningful way.

Jason started Paleo Plan, a business providing Paleo diet meal plans, in three weeks with $1,500. Within a year, the business earned $6,000 a month. Jason identified an opportunity: many people were interested in the Paleo lifestyle but lacked the time to plan for it. Paleo Plan provided comprehensive resources telling customers what to buy, cook and eat each week.

A good business opportunity exists when many people want something but struggle to implement it. Jason focused on understanding his target customers: mostly men ages 25 to 35 interested in Paleo, but any background. Jason invited customers rather than trying to persuade them. He asked open-ended questions to determine what they wanted and found a way to provide it.

To evaluate different business ideas, Jason created a possibilities list to capture ideas and a decision matrix to evaluate competing ones. The matrix scored ideas from 1 to 5 on factors like having an obvious product, identified customers, and a payment method. If any factor scored below a 3, the idea needed work. The matrix helped determine which ideas to pursue now and which to revisit later.

While "the customer is always right" is commonly said, the customer isn't necessarily right for your business. Some customers won't be the right fit, so end the relationship and focus on better-matched ones. On Jason's launch day, Dan wanted advice and a refund. Jason issued the refund but declined the call, focusing instead on his core customers. The majority opinion isn't always right, and you need your own motivation to build a project long-term.

In summary, Jason identified an attractive business opportunity, determined what target customers wanted, invited them in rather than persuading them, evaluated different ideas to focus on the most viable ones, and understood that not every customer will be the right fit for a business. With the decision matrix and a focus on core customers, Jason's business grew quickly.

Here’s a summary:

  • Act quickly and avoid overplanning. Take action to turn your idea into reality.

  • Choose a marketable idea that provides a useful solution to a problem people will pay for. The idea doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, just useful.

  • To test if an idea is marketable:

  1. Make sure you and others care about solving the problem. Look for convergence of your interests and others’ needs.

  2. Ensure the market is big enough by checking relevant Google keywords and paid ads. This indicates demand and competition.

  3. Focus on solving a “blatant admitted pain”—a problem the market knows it has and wants to solve. It’s easier to sell a solution to a known problem.

  4. Most products address deep pain (a problem) or deep desire (a want or aspiration). Solving pain may be more compelling. Show how you reduce pain.

  5. Provide a solution that’s different and better, not just cheaper. The market must want an alternative to the status quo. Significance matters more than size.

  6. Keep costs low until you validate demand. Don’t invest too much up front before you know if people will buy.

  7. Start as soon as possible. Take action and adapt based on the response. You can’t plan too much in advance.

In summary, the keys are:

•Choose a useful, marketable idea •Test demand and ensure a big enough market •Solve a known, painful problem •Provide a better solution •Keep costs low to start •Take action, then adapt

Does this help summarize the key points? Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Ask people in your target market for feedback on your idea, not just anyone. Create a persona of your ideal customer and ask people like that for input.

  • Keep costs low by using sweat equity instead of money. Start small and minimize risk.

  • Get your first sale as soon as possible. This will motivate you, help you overcome inertia and fear of failure, and show you that your idea can work.

  • Market before manufacturing. Test demand for your product before creating it. Offer something and see if people will buy it, then create it.

  • Respond to initial results and make necessary changes and improvements. Optimize what's working. For example, outsource repetitive tasks that are slowing you down.

  • Focus on how your business will help people. A social mission or component, even within a for-profit business, can be very motivating and lead to success.

  • Keep things simple. You only need a product or service, customers, and a way to get paid. Use a one-page business plan to outline your idea.

  • The example of a South African wine company shows how you can build a profitable business that also supports a social mission. They helped black vineyard owners in a country where the wine industry was almost completely white-owned.

Here is a summary:

Daniel Nissimyan founded Matix Ltd, a paintball distributor in Israel. Although the business was successful, Daniel wanted a venture that combined his previous nonprofit experience with his current sports business. He launched Green Collar, a project to reduce landfill waste and tap into alternative energy sources by working with local governments. Daniel says “Much more than with Matix [the paintball business], I wake in the morning feeling I’m making the world a better place, and that I don’t need to suffer for it.”

Entrepreneurs like Daniel find that incorporating a social mission or community project into their business is fulfilling. One way to define your mission is a 140-character statement on the core benefit you provide to customers. For example, a dog-walking service could be “I help busy owners feel at ease about their dogs when they’re not able to be with them.”

Scott McMurren and Gary Blakely founded TourSaver, which provides coupon books for independent travelers in Alaska. The books offer high-value deals that provide immediate benefits and savings for customers. Their compelling offer is “Buy this coupon book, use it once, get your money back. Then you have more than a hundred other uses as a bonus.” The business leveraged Scott’s industry contacts and sales skills along with Gary’s production abilities.

A compelling offer provides benefits that outweigh the costs, like an orange slice for a marathon runner. It’s an offer you can’t refuse. Identifying a compelling offer involves finding the intersection of your skills, knowledge, and relationships with a problem that people will pay to have solved.

Here is a summary: The author describes an experience of Krispy Kreme donuts being offered during a marathon. However, the offer did not excite the runners because eating donuts three hours into a marathon was bad timing and a poor fit for the context. The author says a compelling offer, like the one Krispy Kreme made, needs to consider:

  1. What people actually want, not just what they say they want. People often say one thing but act differently. For example, travelers complain about cramped airplane seats but continue to choose the cheapest fares.

  2. Most people like to buy but don’t like being sold to. Compelling offers create the illusion that the purchase is an invitation, not a pitch. For example, companies like Groupon and Living Social let customers market for them.

  3. Provide a gentle nudge. The best offers create an urgency to buy now but even decent offers can succeed by nudging people to take action. For example, a yoga studio offered a discount for new members if they signed up by a certain date, creating urgency. Also, inefficiencies in a market, like with Priceline and real estate agents, provide opportunities for compelling offers. A graphic facilitator learned to start conversations by saying she has a “fantastic, strange job” to create curiosity and help her target audience understand her services.

The author then shares an experience of locking his keys in the car after getting coffee at Starbucks. He had to call a locksmith, who arrived quickly, but then charged a high price. The author realized the locksmith likely charged more because the author signaled the urgency and high value of getting his keys. The locksmith took advantage of the context and the author’s perceived need. The story shows how a compelling offer depends largely on the perception of its value to the audience.

In summary, a compelling offer considers the audience, promise, and timing. It provides what people actually want, in a way that doesn’t feel pushy. And it includes a nudge, like urgency or addressing an inefficiency, that prompts the audience to take action. But above all else, a compelling offer depends on the perception of its value.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • A compelling offer connects clearly to the benefits customers will receive. It should provide good value, like the Alaska coupon books that essentially pay for themselves.

  • What people say they want and what they actually want are not always the same. You need to figure out the difference.

  • When creating an offer, anticipate objections and address them proactively. Provide a call to action to nudge customers to make a decision. Urgency and timeliness are key to a great offer.

  • Reassure customers and exceed their expectations after they purchase from you. Do small meaningful things to go above and beyond.

  • The examples show how compelling offers provide solutions at the right time, like the orange slices at mile 18 of a marathon. Think carefully about how you can create a similarly compelling and timely offer.

  • Next, you need to promote the offer to the world. You're ready to move on to the next steps.

The key points essentially summarize how to create a compelling offer by understanding customers' needs, addressing objections, providing value and urgency, and overdelivering. The examples illustrate these concepts. The summary indicates it's now time to promote the offer.

  • The author discusses how major film studios conduct extensive pre-launch campaigns to build anticipation and ensure a big opening for blockbuster movies. This same principle of strategic pre-launch campaigns applies to small businesses as well.

  • Two friends, Karol and Adam, teamed up to conduct a successful pre-launch campaign. They compiled $1,054 worth of information products from colleagues and sold the package for $97 over a limited 72-hour period. They ended up making over $185,000 in sales.

  • An effective pre-launch campaign typically unfolds as a story told through a series of messages:

  1. An early look at the future product to build anticipation

  2. Explain why the project will matter to customers

  3. Share the plan for the big debut (date, how it will work, bonuses, etc.)

  4. Build excitement as the launch approaches

  5. Announce that it's here! And provide a way for people to purchase

  6. Share how the launch is going, stories from happy customers, address any issues

  7. final push before the offer ends or price increases

  8. Thank everyone for participating and announce what's coming next

  • The author shares an example of a small business owner who participated in a Groupon promotion to launch a new concept, ended up getting 2,000 more customers than expected, and had to scramble to fulfill the promotion. The key takeaway is that pre-launch campaigns can be very effective but you have to be prepared for a successful campaign to potentially bring in more customers than anticipated.

The summary covers the key highlights from how major studios conduct pre-launch campaigns to a successful example of a small business pre-launch campaign to the typical set of messages used in an effective pre-launch campaign. The disaster and recovery story reinforces the need to be prepared for the potential of a very successful pre-launch campaign.

The author's company partnered with Groupon for a deal on their dinner theater experience. The deal ended up selling 3,300 units, far more than the 1,000-1,500 they had anticipated. They were overwhelmed by the response and unprepared to handle it. The restaurant they partnered with was in the middle of rebranding to a sports bar, and the atmospher and service suffered as a result. The first few shows did not meet customers' expectations. Over time, the experience improved, and they completed 47 shows.

The author says they should have done more due diligence and communicated better with customers. However, the Groupon deal also provided exposure they never could have achieved otherwise. The author recommends sticking to the terms you set for any deal or promotion. Admitting flaws or weaknesses in your product or service can build trust with customers.

The author says a good launch focuses on telling a good story, being relatable to your audience, and having a sense of urgency or timeliness. The goal is not just maximizing sales but also building influence and relationships. Some people will always complain, so focus on your broader base of supporters.

The author shares the story of launching his online course, the Empire Building Kit, on a train called the Empire Builder. After months of work, he felt stuck but got the idea to launch on his birthday during a train trip. He invited a friend, and they set up a "blogger's lounge" on the train. The launch generated $100,000 in sales in 24 hours. The story and timeliness of the trip appealed to supporters.

Another story is of Andreas Kambanis, who launched his iPhone app in the London airport before boarding an 11-hour flight to Brazil with no internet. Though risky, he proceeded with the launch and trip as planned.

Here is a summary:

Andreas launched an online product while on a transatlantic flight and connecting flight. Although not ideal, the deadline of the upcoming flights motivated him to get the work done. The launch was successful and paid for his trip expenses within the first week.

Anastasia, an independent publisher, used a similar launch strategy for an offline event. She asked everyone she knew to help promote the launch. The event was successful, with long lines and increased web traffic and mailing list signups. The lesson was not to assume someone wouldn’t be interested or attend.

A thirty-nine-step checklist provides guidance for planning a product launch. The key steps are:

  1. Ensure the product has a clear value proposition for customers.

  2. Offer bonuses or rewards for early buyers.

  3. Make the launch fun and build excitement.

  4. Add urgency and a deadline.

  5. Test all parts of the process and fix any issues.

  6. Set a monetary goal and prepare the merchant account or payment processor.

  7. Promote the launch through emails, social media, affiliates, and media contacts.

  8. Follow up with thank-you messages and more content.

  9. Overdeliver and surprise customers. Reward them in some way.

  10. Celebrate the launch and start planning the next one.

After the launch, take a short break then continue engaging with customers. The launch generated attention, so keep communicating to build on that momentum. Meet customer needs and continue improving the product. Planning the next launch or new product helps avoid a post-launch slump.

In summary, a good launch strategy involves planning, testing, promotion, follow-up, overdelivering, celebrating, and continuing the momentum. Applying these principles to any business can lead to a successful product launch.

Here is a summary:

  • A good launch uses both strategy (why) and tactics (how) to generate attention and trust from new customers. Some prospects may not buy now but could later.

  • Ask how you can provide more value to people. After a launch, go back to your normal work but also plan the next project.

  • A launch is like a movie release: build anticipation, market before debut, have crowds eager to buy on opening.

  • Regular communication before launch helps build anticipation. Tell a good story and say why people should care now.

  • Use a checklist as a model but adapt it to your needs. Cite work by Cialdini and Walker.

  • Admit a flaw or give away free samples to build interest. An unexpected benefit could be finding a long-term partner.

  • Elizabeth MacCrellish started Squam Art Workshops to build community. She invited friends then had many more come, mostly from far away. She keeps numbers limited, assigns lodging to encourage connections, and declines expansion offers.

  • She sees herself not as a business person but does what feels right, and the event is increasingly interesting. Her model is like the Amish: community-focused, little hard selling, set prices.

  • Hustling means promoting an authentic, meaningful offer. Create then connect. Work and talk. Don’t be all talk (charlatan) or all work (martyr). Style and substance together have impact.

  • To start, make something worthwhile. Tell 50+ people you know, inviting them to join a list or spread the word. Incorporate hustling into your regular work.

  • You may have to tell people about what you built. Some spent money on marketing, while others got beta testers or used an eye-catching mural. Build an email list and stay in regular contact. Throw a party to launch. Look for ways to partner with influencers who share your audience.

  • Alyson Stanfield sent a personal hostage letter to build hype for a new product. It worked and led to many new customers.

  • Endurance Nation started with a small, tight-knit community. They rewarded long-term members by decreasing prices over time.

  • Jonathan Fields said the first step to writing a book is determining your message. The same applies to business.

  • Megan Hunt and John Morefield used "strategic giving" - freely giving valuable help and advice - to build their businesses.

  • The author stopped consulting for money because it felt inauthentic. He now does limited free consulting, which builds goodwill.

  • "Strategic giving" must be genuinely helpful, not manipulative. Some people pretend to help to get donations or sales.

  • Building relationships is a long-term strategy, not a short-term tactic. Scott Meyer and John Meyer built 9 Clouds to help local businesses.

  • Initially, say "yes" to most opportunities. Only say "no" if you have a good reason. Derek Sivers said to only say "hell yeah" to the most exciting opportunities.

  • Giveaways and contests quickly build engagement. People participate to join in socially, even if the odds of winning are small.

Contests and giveaways are two common marketing tactics that differ in the level of effort and engagement required. A contest involves some kind of skill or work, like submitting entries to be judged, whereas a giveaway is a straightforward free offer with winners chosen at random.

Contests typically require more work for both participants and the business hosting the contest, but they can generate more interest and engagement. Giveaways are quick and easy and can attract a high volume of entries, but often don't create meaningful engagement since participants just enter their name. For the best results, businesses should experiment with both methods over time.

To test the effectiveness of paid advertising versus free relationship-building and hustling, the author spent $10,000 on ads and sponsorships over one month, which generated 78 new customers worth $7,020. In contrast, spending 10 hours "hustling" through guest posts, networking, and contacting journalists generated 84 new customers worth $7,560—an implied value of $756 per hour of hustling.

While paid ads may make sense in some situations, especially at higher budgets, hustling and relationship-building are often the most powerful ways to spread the word about a new business. The key is to maintain a regular schedule of outreach and connection-building, such as through the One-Page Promotion Plan. When first starting out, it's best to say yes to any reasonable opportunity. Over time, become more selective based on what's the best fit.

The most important thing is to focus on actually making money. While a social media following, blog, or email list may be nice to have, the goal of any business is profit. Regularly evaluate how time and resources are being spent to ensure they drive income and meet the needs of your "shareholders"—whether actual external shareholders or just yourself as the business owner.

Naomi Dunford built a successful consulting business, IttyBiz, after overcoming a disadvantaged start in life. Through hustling, relationship-building, and a focus on driving income, she grew her business to nearly $200,000 in revenue in the first year. Her candid, no-nonsense style resonated with her target customers, even as it turned some others off. By providing value, focusing on profit, and not being distracted by popularity or perfectionism, Naomi achieved uncommon success and financial security.

Here is a summary:

The key to business success is making profit, not fundraising. Many entrepreneurs focus too much on raising money and not enough on making money. The solution is simple: spend as little as possible and make as much money as you can.

Case Study 1: Heather Allard started a successful baby blanket business but got into debt due to unnecessary spending. For her next business, The Mogul Mom, she only spent money on things that directly increased sales, like web design or contributors. Her lesson is to only spend on things directly related to increasing revenue.

Case Study 2: Many successful businesses were started with little money, like a tour guide business for $28 or a media company for $2,500. The average startup cost of 1,500 studied businesses was $610. It’s easier to start small, so only raise money if you have a clear plan.

Alternative Funding: Consider using your own savings, crowdfunding like Kickstarter, or unconventional loans. One company got a car loan and used it to fund their business, paying it back quickly. Another raised $80K from community members by offering 3% interest.

Three Principles of Profitability:

  1. Price based on the benefit to customers, not your costs. What value do you provide?

  2. Offer a limited range of prices. Don’t confuse customers with too many options.

  3. Get paid multiple times for the same thing. Recurring revenue, upsells, etc.

The key lessons are: spend as little as possible, focus on making money, base prices on the value to customers, keep pricing simple, and pursue recurring revenue and upsells. Following these principles will set you up for business success and profitability.

Focus on the benefits of your offering, not the features or how much time/money it took you to create. Base your price on the value to the customer, not your costs.

Offer a range of prices, not just one. This allows you to earn more money overall and captures customers at multiple price points. Have a premium option to anchor a higher price in customers' minds.

Get paid repeatedly, not just once. Continuity programs, subscriptions, and memberships provide reliable, recurring revenue. A few examples:

  • Subscription services: Streaming media, utility bills, book/wine/dog treat of the month clubs.

  • Raise your price and/or get more subscribers to increase revenue dramatically.

  • Recurring customers are more likely to buy other things from you.

Some quotes:

"When you base your pricing on the benefits you provide, be prepared to stand your ground, because some people will always complain about the price being too high no matter what it is."

"Choosing an initial price for your service that is based on the benefit provided to customers is the most important principle to ensure profitability."

"The key to this strategy is to offer a limited range of prices: not so many as to create confusion but enough to provide buyers with a legitimate choice."

"Why is getting paid over and over such a big deal? First, because it can bring in a lot of money, and second, because it’s reliable income that isn’t dependent on external factors."

"Adjusting both options—attracting more subscribers and raising the price—generates an even greater increase."

"Even better, after you attract customers to a recurring model (and ensure that you keep them very happy), they are much more likely to purchase other things from you."

Here is a summary:

The key points are:

• Growing an existing business is often easier than starting from scratch. Once you have initial success and momentum, small regular actions can lead to significant growth.

• "Tweaks" are small actions that can have a big impact. Things like slightly raising prices, improving your product, reaching new audiences, etc. These tweaks, consistently applied, are what grows many microbusinesses.

• Nev Lapwood started giving snowboarding lessons for extra money, but wanted to reach more students. He began offering video lessons, which he could sell online to a much larger audience. This "tweak" to his business model allowed him to quit his job and become a full-time entrepreneur.

• Another example is Brian Clark, who turned a one-time purchase business into a subscription model, gaining "a share of the customer" rather than just market share. This recurring revenue model provides more stability and higher lifetime value.

• Pricing experiments can lead to significantly higher income. Raising prices slightly while keeping everything else the same resulted in one entrepreneur making an extra $35,000 per year. You never know how much more customers will pay until you test.

• We have more resources available to us than we realize. Getting creative in finding ways to solve problems or fund opportunities can lead to new possibilities.

• The "first $1.26 is the hardest" means that getting started and making your first sale is often the biggest challenge. After that first success, momentum builds and growth comes more easily.

• Consistent action and persistence are key. Tweaking and improving, reaching new audiences, optimizing for higher revenue are ongoing processes that continually build the business over time.

The main takeaway is that significant business growth doesn't require massive action or major overhauls. Instead, consistent small improvements and optimizations over time can compound to create big increases in income and opportunity. Keep making little tweaks, measure the results, and keep tweaking — that's the pathway to progress.

Here is a summary:

Nev was a snowboard instructor who struggled with limited clients and seasonal work. He created an online snowboarding tutorial business called Snowboard Addiction to teach people around the world. In the first year, the business made $30,000. The next year, Nev scaled the business by working with affiliates and offering more products. Revenue increased to $100,000.

Nev didn't have much business experience, so he had to learn strategy, accounting, and marketing. Although there were challenges, like stickers arriving from China late, the business was on track to make $300,000 in the second year. Nev says starting the business after being laid off was the best decision of his life because of the freedom and ability to do what he likes.

Some tips for improving income in an existing business:

Focus on small tweaks that make a big difference, e.g. increasing conversion rate from 1.5% to 1.75% or getting one more customer per day. These tweaks add up over time.

Increase traffic by getting more attention and visitors. More traffic means more potential customers.

Increase conversion rate by testing different options and variations to see which ones work best at converting visitors into customers. Focus on the traffic source, not just testing.

Increase average order value by offering upsells, cross-sells and post-purchase offers. Upsells offer a related product after someone buys. Cross-sells offer related products on the same page. Post-purchase offers provide add-on sales via email after someone buys.

Sell more to existing customers by reaching out with sales, promotions and offers. But don't push them too much.

Some examples of tweaks:

Create a customer "hall of fame" to provide social proof.

Add upsell offers, especially on confirmation pages after purchases are made. Upsells can have a 30%+ conversion rate.

Encourage referrals by asking customers to spread the word to a specific number of friends or to like a social media page.

Hold a contest to increase attention and build your audience.

Offer a powerful guarantee to reduce hesitation, e.g. free shipping both ways or 110% money back. Alternatively, boast about offering no guarantee for high-end products.

In summary, focus on incremental improvements by increasing traffic, conversion rate and average order value. Make the most of your existing customers through upsells, cross-sells and referrals. Test options to determine what works best for your business. Keep tweaking and improving to ramp up your income over time.

  • The key lesson is to experiment continually. Try new things and see what happens.

  • Product businesses can create services by offering courses or consulting based on their products. Service businesses can create products by packaging their services into scalable offerings.

  • Examples: A restaurant offering cooking classes; a consultant creating an online course; a designer creating website templates to sell.

  • What sets apart Happy Knits, a thriving yarn store:

  • A welcoming physical space.

  • A strong online presence with professional photos.

  • Exclusive deals with suppliers.

  • A focus on customer service, e.g. personal notes.

  • Service providers should raise their prices regularly. Customers often don't leave and appreciate the increased value. Raising rates builds confidence and allows working fewer hours or increased income.

  • Common advice for raising rates: Do it gradually and regularly. Focus on the value to clients. Be confident in your services.

Here is a summary:

  • Freelancers and solo entrepreneurs should gradually increase their rates over time to keep up with inflation and the increasing value they provide to clients. An annual price increase of 3-5% is typical. Offering ongoing discounts to long-term clients is also common.

  • Pricing should be based on the value provided to clients, not the number of hours worked. Charging by the hour often leads to lower profits.

  • The best social media strategy is to frequently post about yourself, your business, your work, and your expertise. While sharing other content is good, people follow you because they want to hear from you. Promote your business and build your audience.

  • There are two ways to grow a business: horizontally (by reaching new audiences) or vertically (by reaching existing audiences in new ways). A combination of both horizontal and vertical growth is ideal for most businesses.

  • Buying into a franchise is usually not the best path to business ownership or increased income. It requires a large upfront investment, loss of control, and a high chance of failure. It's better to build your own business.

  • "Franchising yourself" means leveraging your time and skills to create multiple streams of income from one business idea or area of expertise. This allows you to scale and increase your income without needing external investments or giving up control.

  • Nathalie Lussier built a $60,000 raw foods consulting business but didn't enjoy only being known for that niche. She created a separate tech consulting brand to leverage her other skills and interests, which allowed her to diversify and scale her income. Combining two complementary but distinct service offerings is an effective way to franchise yourself.

Here’s a summary:

  • Nathalie Lussier started a tech consultancy business in addition to her raw foods business. To focus on the new business, she restructured the raw foods business to largely run on autopilot, generating steady income with less dependency on new product launches. She effectively “franchised herself” by building two related but separate businesses.

  • Brooke Thomas founded a holistic health practice, New Haven Rolfing, that treats chronic pain and mobility issues. After success in multiple cities, she created a training program, Practice Abundance, to help other wellness providers improve their businesses. Like Nathalie, Brooke built two complementary businesses serving different audiences.

  • There are two options for self-made franchising: 1) Reach more people with the same message (the “hub-and-spoke” model), or 2) Reach different people with a new message. The hub-and-spoke model involves a main website or “hub” supported by outposts on social media, blogs, events, etc. that direct people back to the hub.

  • Nyani Quarmyne, a freelance photographer in Ghana, learned the hard way to get contracts and paperwork in place before a shoot. On one job, a client threatened to detain him unless he handed over copyright to images, which was not part of their agreement. He lost valuable work but learned to be properly prepared for the future.

  • Partnerships are one path to self-made franchising. The goal is to achieve something greater together than each partner could alone. Common arrangements include joint ventures for a single project and jointly-owned businesses. Key decisions to make up front include how to divide money and responsibilities, what information to share, marketing, timelines, etc. A simple one-page agreement can outline the basics, with the relationship being most important.

  • The “battle of outsourcing” refers to determining what work to keep in-house and what to outsource to contractors, virtual assistants, freelancers, etc. Outsourcing can provide expertise and save time but risks loss of control or quality. In-house work maintains control but requires time and resources. Finding the right balance for your business is key.

Here is a summary:

  • The business owner, Jamila, started making handbags and wallets in New York City while working as a waitress. She then moved to Los Angeles to focus on her accessories business full-time.

  • At first, she did everything herself and the business struggled. After 3 years, she hired a seamstress to make the products and someone to handle shipping. This was challenging but gave her more freedom.

  • There are mixed opinions on outsourcing. Some see it as liberating while others prefer to do everything themselves. The right approach depends on the business and owner.

  • Arguments for outsourcing: It allows the owner to focus on what they love while delegating unwanted tasks. It can help the business scale.

  • Arguments against outsourcing: It can be time-consuming to manage others and correct their mistakes. Some prefer a small team where the owner can vouch for all work. Outsourcing may not suit businesses that rely on customer relationships.

  • The approach that provides the most freedom depends on the owner’s vision. Some want to travel light while others want to build a sustainable team.

  • Other options beyond outsourcing include bartering, getting family help, and hiring housecleaning services. Bartering, in particular, has benefited some business owners.

In summary, while outsourcing and delegation can provide more freedom for some business owners to focus on the big picture, it does not suit every business model or personality. The key is finding the right balance and approach based on your unique situation and vision.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Entrepreneurs often outsource tasks to others to save time and money. This includes hiring assistants, contractors, family help, or trading skills with other businesses.

  • Outsourcing nonessential tasks frees up time to focus on the business. For example, hiring a housecleaner allowed one entrepreneur to realize how important it is not to try to do everything herself.

  • Regularly auditing your business helps identify areas for improvement and growth opportunities. Questions to ask include:

  1. Where do you make money? Focus on your profitable areas.

  2. How good is your messaging and marketing copy? Review and revise as needed.

  3. Are your prices right? Raise them regularly and avoid pricing too low.

  4. How are you marketing to existing customers? Make the post-purchase experience easy and look for ways to meet more of customers’ needs.

  5. Are you tracking, monitoring, or testing enough? Test to find what works.

  6. Where are the big missing opportunities? Keep a list of possibilities to pursue when you have time or need more money.

  • One entrepreneur started a transcription service, originally offering live transcription at conferences. She shifted to providing transcription with formatting and layout. She built a team of contractors instead of hiring employees to allow flexibility in scaling the business up and down based on demand. This model was tested when the entrepreneur had to take time off to care for her sick daughter but the team kept the business running.

  • Affiliate programs, where merchants reward partners for referrals and traffic, can be a good way to generate income if done right. Problems with typical programs are low commissions and affiliates who just passively refer traffic. A good program pays high commissions, around 50%, but also expects affiliates to actively promote the business to their audiences through reviews, bonuses, and using the products themselves. Relying only on affiliates doesn’t always work out, however.

Here is a summary:

  • Spencer and Hannah Copley, ages 12 and 10, started a garbage collection service while living on a hospital ship deployed to West Africa.

  • For $1 a week, they offered to collect trash from customers on the ship and haul it to the dumpster.

  • The business was successful at first, gaining 25 customers and $25 a week in revenue. They used the money to tithe to an orphanage, save for a puppy, and buy treats.

  • When Spencer and Hannah went on leave for 3 months, they turned the business over to other children on the ship. But the new managers were not diligent and service declined. Many customers quit the service.

  • Without an active manager and formal partnership agreement, the business suffered in the founders' absence.

The key points are:

  1. Leveraging skills and contacts, you can expand your reach through outsourcing, affiliate networks, and partnerships.

  2. Use a "hub-and-spoke" model with one online home base and other outlets to diversify.

  3. Decide what's best for outsourcing based on your business and personality.

  4. Partnerships can create leverage but make sure that's what you want. Use a one-page partnership agreement for simple deals.

  5. You can become as big as you want by scaling through various means while maintaining control. Or stay small by design. The choice depends on your goals.

  • Business is good for Cherie but she has declined expansion ideas to maintain quality of life. She earns $50K+ a year but says money isn't the point.

  • Tom Bihn also declined big growth opportunities like selling through major retailers. He wanted to build his own brand and have control. All "bad days" come from letting others talk you out of the right choice.

  • Jessica Salzman started a bookkeeping business after leaving a job where the firm couldn't pay her. The business grew fast but costs soared. She switched to a sole proprietorship and one-woman shop.

  • Work "on" your business, not just "in" it. Spend 45 minutes a day on forward progress: new products/services, partnerships, events/offers, fixing long problems.

  • Health insurance options for self-employed in the U.S.:

  1. High-deductible policy plus health savings account for doctor visits. Compare quotes from brokers and groups like Freelancers Union.

  2. Concierge program for flat monthly fee, same doctor, more access. Combine with other policy.

  3. Get insured through partner's job. Not an option for singles or those without partner's coverage.

  4. Stay on COBRA from previous job as long as possible. Pay same price as employer did.

  • COBRA health insurance allows you to continue your group health plan for up to 3 years after leaving a job. It's often cheaper than individual plans. Some entrepreneurs extended COBRA for a while as they built their businesses.

  • Some entrepreneurs self-insure or use health savings accounts (HSAs) because health plan options are poor or expensive. This is riskier but cheaper.

  • Regularly review your prices and consider adding upsells, cross-sells, or other income sources.

  • Initiate communication with customers through newsletters, updates, etc. Spend time each day on this.

  • Monitor key metrics like sales, cash flow, leads, conversion rate, order price, etc. Review the full business picture every month or two.

  • The "built to sell" model focuses on creating a scalable, sellable business. The $100 Startup model focuses more on building a business around your skills and passions. Decide which freedom you want.

  • To build to sell, create a scalable product/service that is both valuable and teachable. Reduce owner dependency.

  • There are many paths to freedom and success. Choose what's right for you based on your goals and vision. Monitor and improve your business daily.

  • John T. Unger's sculpture studio roof collapsed but led to a $10K commission and the chance to buy new buildings. Losing his last day job led to losing everything but gaining freedom to build his art business. Failure often precedes success.

  • Fear and "what ifs" hold many entrepreneurs back. Overcome fear by starting small, avoiding debt, and building confidence. Success builds on itself.

  • Failure is often the starting point for success and resilience. Learn from failures and see them as redirection, not defeat. With hard work and the right mindset, success can follow.

  • John Duncan was working as an artist and running an art business in rural Michigan. He lost his building and day job in 2000 and was depressed. His friends told him to find any work he could, but jobs were scarce. He decided to stick with his goal of running his art business.

  • The best thing that happened to John was almost getting killed by a cab driver who held a gun to his head for 10 minutes. After escaping, John realized how lucky he was and that "small things" didn't matter much anymore.

  • The author says not to wait for permission to pursue your dreams. Ignore unwanted advice and start taking action.

  • The business owners' biggest fears and worries fell into two areas: external (money, competition, changing market) and internal (identity, "faking it," losing passion). Those with employees worried especially about making payroll. Success means continuing to move forward.

  • The business owners said starting their businesses was worth the effort. Many described a moment when they first knew it would work out, such as getting their first payment or client recommendation, or overcoming an obstacle like getting funding. Two examples:

  1. Gary Leff of Book Your Award said getting his first check and client recommendation made him realize people would pay for his service and there was demand for it.

  2. Karen Starr of Hazel Tree Interiors almost gave up on starting her interior design business after being denied a bank loan, but at the last minute convinced her husband and the bank to give them another chance. Two years later, they're thrilled with their decision.

Here is a summary:

  • The author recalls key moments when she and others knew their businesses would work out. For her, it was signing her first big client for her literary agency after starting it. For a photographer, it was getting hired for his first high-paying wedding gig. For a tapas company, it was finally setting up their logistics to be able to move to Spain, which had been their goal.

  • The key lessons from the stories in the book are:

  1. Focus on providing value to others.

  2. You can start a business for very little money.

  3. Find the intersection of what you love and what others will pay for.

  4. Use your existing skills in new ways.

  5. Give people what they want.

  6. You don't need specialized training to start consulting. Just offer something specific and a way to get paid.

  7. Some easy models to start on a budget are in the knowledge economy.

  8. Take action rather than overplanning. Use one-page business plans.

  9. Creating an offer, marketing it, and having a launch event lead to better results than just releasing a new product.

  10. Getting the first sale is the hardest, so do that quickly, then scale up what's working.

  11. "Franchise yourself" through partnerships, outsourcing, or new businesses to be in more than one place.

  12. Decide if you want to stay small or scale up. Either is fine.

  13. It gets easier as you go.

  • She provides updates on people and businesses featured in the book. The coffee shop grew slowly by focusing on experience and repeat customers. The map makers expanded into wholesale. Affiliate marketers had more big product launches. A virtual assistant moved his family to Malaysia. A language hacker moved to learn Turkish. An online course served 5,000 people and made $500K. An ebook author increased revenue to $160K and paid off all debt.

  • The most important lesson was that pursuing your passion and freedom leads to waking up excited each day to work on something you care about.

Here is a summary:

The key to success is finding a passion or mission that fully engages you and others. Don't wait for permission to follow your dreams. Overcome fear and inertia, which are the biggest obstacles. Learn from your failures and successes. Draw on past "moment you knew" stories for inspiration and motivation. Don't waste time living someone else's life. Follow your own path to freedom and value. Help others along the way. Invest in opportunities for people in developing nations. Create a global revolution for increased freedom and opportunity for all. The examples in the book show how creativity and initiative can lead to success, regardless of circumstances. Many people lack access to basic necessities, so do what you can to help.

10% of the author's business revenue goes to organizations that improve lives. See it as a natural response, not charity.

Join the campaign for clean water in Ethiopia. Support groups that provide microloans to help people start businesses. Find your own way to help.

Interview information was fact-checked, but errors are possible. Some businesses provided free samples; some were declined.

The author wrote much of the book in Portland cafés. "Cha-ching!" and "woop-woop" were removed 8 times in editing.

John Unger now puts meeting his wife first on his list of best things. They have a new studio. Contact Rhett the tuk-tuk driver in Cambodia at the number provided.

For more resources, join the community at Free resources there include customizable tools from the book, data, transcripts, video interviews, and strategies. The author's site is

Here's a summary of 20 streamlined businesses from the $100 Startup:

  • Mattress Lot:Michael Hanna sells mattresses in Portland, OR. Streamlined business model.

  • Happy Knits: Sarah Young owns a knitting shop in Portland, OR. Simple business focusing on one product.

  • Susannah Conway: Photographer and instructor based in Bath, UK. Streamlined by focusing on two complementary services.

  • Fluent in 3 Months: Benny Lewis publishes online language learning resources while traveling. Simple digital products.

  • Custom dresses: Megan Hunt designs and sells custom bridal dresses in Omaha, NE. Focused, streamlined offering.

  • Heart Based Bookkeeping: Jessica Reagan Salzman provides bookkeeping services in Attleboro, MA. Specialized, streamlined service.

  • Scoutie Girl: Tara Gentile publishes online business resources from Wyomissing, PA. Simple digital products.

  • Lightbulb Design: David Henzell provides branding and design services in West Yorkshire, UK. Streamlined focus on two related skills.

  • Small business transcriptionist: Erica Cosminsky provides transcription services to small businesses in Nashville, TN. Specialized, streamlined service.

  • Tom Bihn: Tom Bihn makes high-quality bags in Seattle, WA. Simple focus on designing and selling one type of product.

  • These Are Things: Omar Noory and Jen Adrion sell gifts and novelty items in Columbus, OH. Streamlined retail business model focused on a specific product range.

  • Endurance Nation: Patrick McCrann provides triathlon coaching and training in Boston, MA. Specialized service streamlined around one activity.

  • Charfish Design: Charlie Pabst offers design services in Seattle, WA. Streamlined focus on one skill and service.

  • No Limit Publishing: Jeremy Brown provides publishing services in Tempe, AZ. Specialized, streamlined service.

  • WildKat PR: Kat Alder provides public relations services in London, UK. Focused, streamlined service.

In summary, these are streamlined businesses focused on a specialized product or service, often with a digital or online component. They have a simple business model, targeting a niche market. The owners have developed a specific skill or expertise that matches their offerings.


Did you find this article valuable?

Support Literary Insights by becoming a sponsor. Any amount is appreciated!