The $100 Startup

As you can see, some serious research going on here.

Hello and welcome to Week 19! I really do have to apologize for the long absence. I’ve been in Bermuda, investigating travel hacking and rum. Seriously. I wasn’t just slacking off in my hometown of Edmonton. Here’s photographic proof. (Actually, I think I might need to go back to Bermuda, just to make sure that I didn’t miss any vital details.)

This week’s post will cover some territory that holds a very special place in my heart. Most of the time, we talk about saving money, but here in Week 19, we’re actually going to talk about making money. The book we’re covering is “The $100 Startup”, written by Chris Guillebeau. Chris is also the founder of the World Domination Summit event in Portland, which is where I was exactly a year ago tomorrow.

Start Me Up
“$100 Startup” isn’t your typical business book. It talks about the new model of microbusiness, a class of business that can be started quickly and cheaply, often from the intersection of your passions and skills. As the prologue says, the microbusiness revolution is “a way of earning a good living while crafting a life of independence and purpose.” This book is a blueprint for doing just that, built from a multi-year study of people who’ve already done it.

I love this book because it’s about the doing, not just the theory behind the doing — complete with checklists and downloadable worksheets to give you something tangible to work with. And there’s a little bit of a back story here.

Word Domination Summit 2012
To say that Chris Guillebeau is a remarkable man is like saying that Bill Gates is kind of well-off. At the age of 35, Chris has authored two books (“$100 Start-Up” was a NY Times best seller), visited every country in the world and launched the annual conference called the World Domination Summit. Last year, I was lucky enough to score a ticket to the 2012 Summit.

It’s difficult to find the words to describe how creative, inspiring and just flat-out brilliant this experience was. The theme of WDS 2012 was “How Do You Live a Remarkable Life in a Conventional World?”, intertwining the ideas of adventure, community and service. This weekend event was two full days of mainstage presentations, interspersed with a selection of smaller workshops. The speakers were some of the brightest and best minds (and hearts) that America’s been blessed with. Among them:

  • Brene Brown, psychologist and presenter of one of the most-viewed TED talks of all time.
  • Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water, a revolutionary non-profit that I predict will forever change the way non-profits work.
  • Scott Belsky, co-creator of Behance, an online portfolio platform for creative professionals across multiple industries.

In the break-out workshops, I also got to meet and listen to Pace and Kyeli Smith, Sarah Peck, and the hilarious Colleen Wainwright.

There are web links connected to each of those names, and when you’re finished reading this post, check them out. You’ll be impressed. I guarantee it. Not just by their success, but by the quirky, authentic ways they’ve gone about being successful.

Here’s the Best Part
When I picked up my registration package for WDS 2012, there was a copy of “The $100 Startup” in it. I was pleased, but didn’t think much more about it. Until the final hour of this already-stellar weekend, when Chris Guillebeau did something heart-stopping.
He gave away $100,000.

Acting on the gift of an anonymous donor, he closed the loop and gave me (and 999 other people) $100 cash to “go out and start something great with”. If you have a free thirteen minutes, the video is worth watching.

Wonder what I did with my $100?

You’re looking at it.

I invested my $100 in the purchase of a domain and a custom blog package from WordPress. Then I started reading and writing, and began to clippity-clop my way down the yellow brick road towards the Wizard of Blog.

I Had No Idea It Would Be This Fun
Half a year into this experiment, I realize that I am not the greatest blogger Planet Earth has ever seen. My life has an annoying tendency to get in the way. I miss deadlines. I forget to shoot photos. I’m probably making social media mistakes that I’m too dumb to even be aware of.

But … I’m having a huge amount of fun. I get to indulge the outer limits of my curiosity, checking out books and videos on a ridiculously random rainbow of subjects. (Spun sugar sculpture, anyone?)

And … I’m excited and honoured every time I see a page hit. I’m grateful for the inspiration that WDS 2012 left me with, which turned out to be the genesis of Library Life Hack. And if you’re reading this sentence right now, know that I feel privileged that you’ve taken the time to read something I’ve written.

I truly mean that. Thank you.


P.S. Starting this Friday, July 5, some 3000 people will be descending on Portland for WDS 2013. My little heart sings when I think about the amazing, life-changing weekend that’s waiting for them. Whee!

P.S.P.S. Yikes, I nearly forgot. By taking “The $100 Startup” out of the library, you’ll save an average of $17.34. (Which would buy you slightly more than two Rum Swizzles in Bermuda.)

2 thoughts on “The $100 Startup

  1. Sally. My goodness. You’re a fantastic writer. You pull the reader in. More. More.


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