The $100 Startup – Guidelines to set your own microbusiness

the100startupChris Guillebeau‘s book The $100 Startup is about the micro-business revolution. More specifically, he gathered stories from micro-entrepreneurs from all around the world and tried to reverse engineer their success. The result is a book full of inspiring successful cases of ordinary people making a decent living out of their own ideas and passions. The book focus on cases where it was not necessary to invest huge amounts of money, at least not initially. Along the way, it offers tips and guidelines on how to set up your own micro-business.

While reading the book, it is easy to get excited about so many successful stories. Even though I think the book tries to sell the idea that things are easier than they really are, I have identified a lot of interesting tips and advice through out the book that I would like to keep in mind in case I decide to open my own micro-business someday. Therefore, I think it might be useful for you as well.

According to Chris Guillebeau, creating a micro-business involves three steps:

  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.

I will write about his opinions on the three points above in a later post. More importantly, it is essential to get started. As I mentioned here, luck find doers. I don’t plan to build a micro-business right now, but one thing I was planning to do for a long time was to start a blog. For several reasons, I was always postponing it. This kind of advice seems obvious, but sometimes you need to hear it several times until you effectively start what you were planning to do.

“You already have the skills you need, you just have to know where to look”

On the book, you find this Six Steps to Getting Started Right Now:

  1. Decide on your product or service.
  2. Set up a website, even a very basic one (you can get a free one from WordPress.org).
  3. Develop an offer.
  4. Ensure you have a way to get paid (get a free PayPal account to start).
  5. Announce your offer to the world.
  6. Learn from steps 1 through 5, then repeat.

Many of the successful stories of the book followed this sequence of events. The key point is not to wait until everything is perfect. It is better to get started and improve things as you go.

In case you are interested in consulting, keep in mind that there is no “consulting school” or degree. Instead,

  1. Pick something specific as opposed to something general. Don’t be a “business consultant” or a “life coach” – get specific about what you can really do for someone.
  2. No one values a $15-an-hour consultant, so do not underprice your service. Since you probably won’t have forty hours of billable work every week, charge at least $100 an hour or a comparable fixed rate for the benefit you provide.

Weather you start a micro-business or set up your consulting website, remember:

“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.”

Choose the ounce of action today. I did, I finally started my blog 🙂

Just-Do-It-Now2

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College education. Is it for everyone?

The Scott Adams’ article How to get a real education touch on two interesting points:

  1. College education, specially in hard sciences, shouldn’t be for everyone. Why waste 4 to 5 years doing something which you aren’t good at and/or you don’t like. Wouldn’t be more useful to spend this time doing something potentially more useful? Like entrepreneurship.
  2. For being successful in business, you don’t have to be the best in anything, it is usually more important to know different set of skills and most importantly, to know how to combine them to create value. This notion is brilliantly stated by Scott Adams:

“I succeeded as a cartoonist with negligible art talent, some basic writing skills, an ordinary sense of humor and a bit of experience in the business world. The “Dilbert” comic is a combination of all four skills. The world has plenty of better artists, smarter writers, funnier humorists and more experienced business people. The rare part is that each of those modest skills is collected in one person. That’s how value is created.”

Besides combining skills, he mentions the following points:

  • Fail Forward: Learn with your mistakes.
  • Find the Action: Go where the most innovations are happening.
  • Attract Luck: Do something, luck find doers.
  • Conquer Fear: You should be comfortable when speaking in public.
  • Write Simply: Write direct sentences and avoid extra words.
  • Learn Persuasion: Convincing is important for any business.