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The $100 Startup Book Summary to Show You the Art of Bootstrapping

Cover Image - The $100 Startup - Book Summary to Show You the Art of Bootstrapping

The $100 Startup book is a 300-page documentary about 80+ micro-business owners. It talks about the micro-business revolution – a way of earning a good living while crafting a life of independence and purpose.

The book isn't about founding a big Internet startup, and it isn’t about opening a traditional business. It’s the account of people who found a way to live their dreams and make a good living from something they cared deeply about.

Check The $100 Startup on Goodreads

The $100 Startup is focused on two key themes: freedom and value. And this summary of the $100 Startup book will provide you the most important lessons.

Let’s dive in.

You already have the skills you need

Microbusinesses – businesses typically run by only one person – have been around since the beginning of commerce. Unconventional approaches to marketing and public relations have also been around for a while.

What’s new, however, is that the process is much faster and cheaper today than it has ever been. Going from idea to startup can now take less than a month and cost less than $100.

You already have the skills you need – you just have to know where to look. You’re probably good at more than one thing.

The $100 Startup Summary Quotes Image - You’re probably good at more than one thing.

However, not everything that you are passionate about or skilled in is interesting to the rest of the world. Convergence is the intersection between something you especially like to do or are good at doing (preferably both) and what other people are also interested in.

So, what you need can be broken down as follows:

  1. Product or service: what you sell.
  2. People willing to pay for it: your customers.
  3. A way to get paid: how you’ll exchange a product or service for money.

Interested in quotes from the book? Check the following $100 Startup quotes

Put happiness in a box and sell it

As you think like an entrepreneur, you’ll notice that business ideas can come from anywhere. You’ll notice opportunities for microbusiness projects everywhere. An inefficiency in the marketplace. New technology or opportunity. A changing space. A spin-off or side project.

An easy way to start a business is to find out what people want and then find a way to give it to them. What do people really, really want? At the end of the day, they want to be happy, and businesses that help their customers be happy are well-positioned to succeed.

The $100 Startup Summary Quotes Image - To start a business: find out what people want and then find a way to give it to them.

If you make your business about helping others, you’ll always have plenty of work. If you begin your efforts by helping people, you’re on the right track. The more you focus on core benefits instead of boring features, the more customers will connect… and purchase.

Make sure your passion connects to others wants

Pick something you love and build a business around it. But is it really that easy? The real answer is more complex. Building a business around a passion can be a great fit for many people, but not everyone.

In the rush to pursue a passion, a number of things tend to get left out. You can’t pursue just any passion. You usually don’t get paid for your passion; you get paid for helping other people.

You must develop a skill that provides a solution to a problem. Only when passion merges with a skill that other people value can you truly follow your passion to the bank. The next step is to transfer your passion into a business model.

The $100 Startup Summary Quotes Image - You must develop a skill that provides a solution to a problem.

“Location, location, location” is overrated

It’s usually easier to operate a business while roaming the world than it is to start one. Be sure to spend plenty of time setting up before you hit the road. Also, as you roam, maintain a balance between adventure and work.

You can become your own publisher. Find a topic that people will pay to learn about. It helps if you are an expert in the topic, but if not, that’s what research is for.

Capture the information, combine your materials into a product, and create an offer. Next, decide on a fair, value-based price for your offer and find a way to get paid. Now, publish the offer and get the word out.

Not every story of independent publishing is a success. There’s no guarantee of instant riches.

Your customers all have something in common

One of the most effective ways to figure the best idea out is simply to ask your prospects, your current customers (if you have them), or anyone you think might be a good fit for your idea. It helps to be specific; ask if they’d be willing to pay for what you’re selling.

You can group them together according to their interests, passions, skills, beliefs or values. However, also keep in mind that any single customer does not always know what’s best for your whole business.

The $100 Startup Summary Quotes Image - Any single customer does not always know what’s best for your whole business.

So, score all your ideas according to these criteria:

  • Impact: How much of an impact will this project make?
  • Effort: How much time and work will it take to create the project?
  • Profitability: How much money will the project bring in?
  • Vision: How close of a fit is this project with your overall mission and vision?

If your mission statement is much longer than this sentence, it could be too long

In the battle between planning and action, action wins. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Select a marketable idea.
  2. Keep costs low.
  3. Get the first sale as soon as possible.
  4. Market before manufacturing.
  5. Respond to initial results.

Make sure the market is big enough. And always think in terms of solutions. Having something that removes pain may be more effective than realizing a desire.

Define the mission statement for your business (or idea) in 140 characters or less. It can be something like “We provide [product or service] for [customers],” or “We help [customers] do/achieve/other verb [primary benefit].”

You need to show people how you can help remove or reduce pain. That’s it!

The $100 Startup Summary Quotes Image - You need to show people how you can help remove or reduce pain. That’s it!

Create a killer offer

How can you construct an offer that your prospects won’t refuse? Remember, first you need to sell what people want to buy. Then make sure you’re marketing to the right people at the right time. Next, craft it into a compelling pitch they can’t refuse.

Here’s the process:

  1. Understand that what we want and what we say we want aren’t always the same.
  2. Most of us like to buy, but we don’t usually like to be sold.
  3. Provide a nudge.

As you continue to work on your offer, three tools will assist you make it more compelling: the FAQ page, an incredible guarantee, and giving your customers more than they expect.

Take them on a trip to Hollywood

A planned launch campaign can provide far better results than simply putting something out there and saying, “Hey, here you go!” You’ll want to think carefully about how to structure it. The worst thing you could do for a launch is to open without letting anyone know.

The $100 Startup Summary Quotes Image - The worst thing you could do for a launch is to open without letting anyone know.

Just like movies have trailers, your campaign can have stories:

  • An early look at the future product.
  • Why this project will matter.
  • The plan for the big debut.
  • We’re almost ready!
  • Here it is!

As with everything else in life, it’s important to keep your word with launches. If you said the offer would end at a set time, you need to stick to your decision.

The goal of a good launch is not just to convert as many prospects as possible. It’s also to preserve your relationship with other prospects and increase your influence.

And a good marketer doesn’t rest after a launch. A launch often results in a response cycle:

  • Here’s how it’s going.
  • The clock’s a-ticking.
  • “I’d like to thank my mother for believing in me.”

Avoid paying for advertising

Being willing to promote authentically is a core attribute of microbusiness success. Take the time to make something worth talking about. Then start with everyone you know and ask for their help. Each message is personal, although the content is largely the same.

Getting the message out about your business is like writing a book: Before you do anything else, think about what you have to say. You’re not “selling” anyone on the project; you’re just letting people know what you’re up to.

The $100 Startup Summary Quotes Image - Getting the message out about your business is like writing a book.

Getting to know people, helping them, and asking for help yourself can take you far. This is not a non-profit endeavor; it often pays off in real money (with interest!) over time.

When you’re presented with an opportunity, don’t just consider its merits. Instead, think about how it makes you feel. If you feel the opportunity would be exciting and meaningful, find a way to say yes. The point is to do what makes sense to you.

Unconventional fundraising

You should be careful about distractions. Because without money, there is no business. Spend as little money as possible and make as much money as you can. If you don’t know what you’re doing when starting out, that’s OK.

Focus your efforts on making money as soon as possible rather than on borrowing capital. Here are the three key principles:

  • Price your product or service in relation to the benefit it provides, not the cost of producing it.
  • Offer customers a limited range of prices.
  • Get paid more than once for the same thing.

Plus, whether it’s money, access to help, or anything else, you probably have more than you think. Think about how you can get creative about finding what you need.

Tweak your way into the business

A not-so-secret to improve income in a business is through tweaks: small changes that create a big impact. These are the most important areas to focus your tweaking efforts:

  • Increase website traffic.
  • Increase conversion rate.
  • Increase average sales price.
  • Sell more to existing customers.

Here are some common examples of action-based tweaking:

  • Create a “hall of fame” of your best customers.
  • Institute a new upsell (or several).
  • Encourage word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Hold contests and giveaways.
  • Introduce the most powerful guarantee you can think of.
  • Alternatively, make a big deal about offering no guarantee.

Another easy thing you can do to add a new revenue source quickly is to create a service from a product-based business or create a product from a service-based business.

And now, the best social media strategy is to talk about yourself. People follow you (or your business) because that’s what they’re interested in – you. If people don’t like what you do or say, they can unfollow you, but chances are that you’ll gain far more followers than you lose.

The $100 Startup Summary Quotes Image - People follow you (or your business) because that’s what they’re interested in – you.

Clone yourself

Buying a franchise based on someone else’s company is usually a bad idea. If the business succeeds, you’ll (essentially) have bought yourself a job. If the business fails, the company will take back the store from you and resell it to someone else.

However, figuring out how to leverage your own efforts is always worth careful consideration. You essentially have two options for self-made franchising:

  • Reach more people with the same message.
  • Reach different people with a new message.

One path to franchising yourself is to team up with a trusted partner. It allows you as a business owner to “do more of what you love” while outsourcing unwanted tasks to someone else. You may also be familiar with affiliate programs. Do it right, and you’ll have a true partnership that brings you steady income over time.

Your personality also matters in the business. You want to find the best possible solution to match your vision of freedom.

Become as big as you want to be (and no bigger)

While many people make a deliberate decision to stay small, creating a “freedom business,” others choose to grow by carefully recruiting employees and going all in. As your project grows in scope, you’ll find little time actually creating anything. The solution to this is to focus on working on your business as opposed to in it.

The $100 Startup Summary Quotes Image - Work on your business as opposed to in it.

What can you do to keep things moving ahead?

  • Business development
  • Offer development
  • Fixing long-standing problems

And if you’d like to have the option of selling your business one day, you must plan for it with specific steps. The most important step is to create something with the potential to scale.

Wrapping it up

You don’t need anyone to give you permission to pursue a dream. If you’ve been waiting to begin your own $100 startup (or anything else), stop waiting and begin. If you know what you need to do, the next step is simply to do it. Stop waiting. Start taking action.

Of course, there are concerns related to money, competition and a changing marketplace. But when you have the moment that you’ll succeed, hold on to them. They encourage you when times are hard.

Focus relentlessly on the point of convergence between what you love to do and what other people are willing to pay for.

Remember that most core needs are emotional: We want to be loved and affirmed. And relate your product or service to attractive benefits, not boring features. That’s all from this $100 Startup book summary.

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