Chris Guillebeau is a blogger and author who writes at The Art of Nonconformity. He is eight countries shy of his goal of visiting every single country in the world. His writing and message has shaped so many lives, including mine. He has a new book called The $100 Startup and took the time to do an interview with me.
We live in an amazing time where we have so many resources available to create a successful business from almost nothing.
You’ve proven that in your new book. How did you come up with the idea for The $100 Startup?
The idea came about largely from the AONC community. As I traveled during book tour #1, I kept hearing fun stories of people who had found their own freedom by building a business almost unexpectedly. Then we put a call out to collect more data a bit more intentionally, and I was astounded at the results. I thought: we simply have to tell this story in a comprehensive way.
As you gathered research for the book and came across many amazing stories, what were some of the common traits you found in these successful entrepreneurs?
The case studies were diverse and came from many different backgrounds. What they had in common was an ability to create something useful to the world, not just something that they were personally excited by.
In addition, I think it’s fair to say that most of the unexpected entrepreneurs were fairly curious (they wanted to know everything about their topic of interest) and also somewhat persistent (if the first idea didn’t work, they shifted to something else).
For someone who’s starting a business for the very first time, what are some common mistakes they should avoid?
Mistake #1: going into debt, borrowing money, or believing that you need to do either of those things. Chances are, you don’t.
Mistake #2: failing to convert a general business idea into a specific offer. The sooner you can go from idea to offer, the better. An offer includes a price and a means of getting paid. In other words, don’t wait to get that PayPal button up on your site.
I find that our generation is much different that our parents. I know many parents, including mine, focused only on work and left little for enjoyment until they retired.
Now freedom is what we value the most. Why do you think more people now would rather have more freedom than more money if they had to choose?
Good point. Perhaps some of it is a rejection of an earlier way of life, in the way that most generations tend to do, and perhaps it’s also just the natural evolution of human progress. I think there’s much more of an aspirational aspect to our lives now. We know more of what’s possible, and we know there are more available opportunities.
This is your second book, after The Art of Non-Conformity. Was this book easier or more challenging to write and why?
Much easier. The first book was fairly general and all-encompassing, whereas The $100 Startup is much more specific. It was certainly a lot of work, but in many ways much of the story told itself.
You just turned 34 and your blog is four years old. A lot has changed since you’ve started the AONC.
Knowing what you know now, what would you say to the person you were just five years ago before you started this chapter in your life?
“Look out! This is going to be more thrilling than you ever imagined. (Also: why didn’t you start earlier?)”
Traveling is certainly a part of you. Do you have another big travel goal?
I expect that travel will always be an important part of my life. I’m looking forward to traveling with less of an agenda, spending more time in certain places, etc. But I don’t think I’ll revisit every country, and I don’t yet have another specific travel goal.
Virgin Galactic is taking reservations for their suborbital space flight for $200,000 or 2,000,000 frequent flier points. Are you interested?
That would be great! Except I don’t have $200k or 2M Virgin Atlantic miles to spare at the moment, so we’ll put this on the wishlist for the future.
A Copy of the $100 Startup
I’ve got a hardcover copy of The $100 Startup to giveaway to a Get Busy Living reader. It’s a fantastic book and if you’re looking to create a business that you love and get paid for it, this book is for you.
It’s really easy:
- Tweet, Facebook Like for one entry!
- Comment below on your “why” for wanting to start your own $100 startup.
- I’ll randomly pick a winner on May 28th!
Update: Congrats to Grace Biskie who won a copy of The $100 Startup!