The $100 Startup Review

by matt on May 17, 2012

The $100 Startup BookSo you might be wondering why I am reviewing a seemingly non-photography related book.  Well, photography is more than just vision, equipment and technical prowess.  If you want to make photography a career or side job then you need to think about the business side of things.  For many people this is a large chasm to leap over.  While we may be good at the creative side of things we suck at the business side.  We also tend to get caught up in the idea that we need large sums of money in order to start and run a successful business.

But not all businesses require large capital to start and this is where The $100 Startup comes in.  The $100 Startup provides you with a blueprint on how to get started with your own small business with limited financial investment.  It’s about reassessing what risk is.  Is it more or less risky to start your own small business or work for a corporate entity?  Only you can decide that but this book helps to get you thinking more about that and reevaluate what risk is.

Life shouldn’t be about working an unfulfilled job that you hate.  It’s also not about sitting on a tropical beach drinking daiquiris and watching the tide cycle through.  Life is about doing work that you are excited and passionate about and that ultimately makes a difference in the world.  As the extended title of this book states: Reinvent the way you make a living, do what you love, and create a new future.

If you are not familiar with Chris Guillebeau he is an author and writer of the blog The Art of Non-Conformity and host of the World Domination Summit for creatives in Portland Oregon.  He travels the world while running his own business selling informational products that help others find their own entrepreneurial path.

Case Studies Galore!

All of the 70 case studies highlighted in this book are people who had an idea or passion and made the decision to create a new future.  Make no mistake though; it’s not about doing less work it’s about doing better work.  It’s about working with purpose.  Chris identified 1500 people who built businesses that earn $50,000 or more from a small investment (some $100 or less).  This book speaks to the lessons they learned and provides a blueprint on how you can do the same.

What I really loved about this book is the plethora of case studies (70 detailed case studies) from a multitude of industries.  There are people who are selling mattresses, triathlon trainers, transcriptionists, interior designers, website and graphic designers and yes even photographers.  There is a guy who makes 6 figures per year selling Excel spreadsheet templates.  Another person earns over $100K helping people use their frequent flyer miles.  While they may all be doing different things there is one common thread; they are all doing something they already were skilled in and were passionate about.

These case studies are interwoven into the core blueprint which I think is great because often I find the concepts difficult to fully understand when presented on their own but when coupled with real world examples of people who started out just like me then it takes on a whole new meaning and the vision of what is possible becomes more exciting.

Skill + Usefulness = Success

In the book Chris talks about finding what he calls convergence which is the place where your passion and skill set converges with what people want and are willing to spend their hard earned money on.  Here the secret formula is passion or skill + usefulness = success.

Chris writes about ways to fine tune your passion into something that is marketable.  His Six Steps to Get Started Right Now will help get you up and running in a short period of time.

Make no mistake about what this book is however.  It’s not a get rich quick step by step instruction manual.  It’s a blueprint on changing your perspective on what it takes to start your own business based on the things you love to do and the skills you already have with minimal financial investment.  Chris provides the tools and information for you to start making the smart decisions on putting together your own business based on the skills you already have and focused on the things you like to do and are passionate about.

While it leans heavily toward infopreneurs the information can be easily applied to any business or idea you might have.

If you have been dreaming of starting your own business, maybe turning a hobby into a full time life, and are ready and willing to take the risk and put in the effort and work, then this book will definitely be a great starting place for you in taking those first steps towards your new future.  It’s informative and more importantly it guides you to take action now.

If you are really serious about starting your own photography business I also recommend the following business books that focus specifically on photography.

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