The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau Book Summary

The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau | Free Book Summary

The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau

This book is a guide for entrepreneurs and small business owners who are looking to start a business with a minimal investment. The book includes stories and examples of individuals who have successfully started businesses with little money, and provides practical advice for how to do the same.

The author encourages readers to find their unique value proposition and to focus on creating a business that is both profitable and fulfilling. It is a great resource for anyone looking to start a business on a tight budget.

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A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.


In the battle between planning and action, action wins.Free book, podcast summaries

You need to show people how you can help remove or reduce pain.

Mission statement: We help [customers] do/achieve/other verb [primary benefit].

“Plan as you go” to respond to the changing needs of your customers but launch your business as soon as possible, with a bias toward action.

An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory

Magic Formula

  • Keep costs low
  • Get the first sale as soon as possible
  • Market before manufacturing
  • Respond to initial results

Magic formula: the right audience, the right promise, the right time = offer you can’t refuse.

Work “on” your business by devoting time every day to activities specifically related to improvement, not just by responding to everything else that is happening.


If you’re not sure where to spend your business development time, spend 50 percent on creating and 50 percent on connecting.

The difference between a good offer and a great offer is urgency (also known as timeliness): Why should people act now?

The message you want to communicate is: “This is why this project will be a game changer, here’s how people will benefit, and here’s why you should care.”

Substance And Style

  • Style without substance = flash (No one respects these people.)
  • Substance without style = unknown (Everyone who knows these people respects them, but not many people know them.)
  • Style with substance = impact (This is the goal.)

Remember that most core needs are emotional: We want to be loved and affirmed. Relate your product or service to attractive benefits, not boring features.

Three Key Principles to Focus on Profit

  • 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.

Also, having a high-end version creates an “anchor price.” When we see a superhigh price, we tend to consider the lower price as much more reasonable … thus creating a fair bargain in our minds.

Features Vs Benefits

We tend to default to talking about features, but since most purchases are emotional decisions, it’s much more persuasive to talk about benefits.

Example: A feature is descriptive (“These clothes fit well and look nice”) and a benefit is the value someone receives from the item in question (“These clothes make you feel healthy and attractive”).

Small Changes = Big Impact

The not-so-secret to improving income in an existing business is through tweaks: small changes that create a big impact.

If you operate a service-based business, consider how you can introduce a “productized” version of the service.

Providing both a product and a service helps with your marketing as well.

To get an unfair advantage, provide remarkable service.

Growing Your Business

You can grow a business one of two ways:

  1. Horizontally, by going wide and creating different products to apply to different people. Horizontal expansion involves going broader by serving more customers with different (usually related) interests;
  2. Vertically, by going deeper and creating more levels of engagement with customers. Vertical expansion involves going deeper by serving the same customers with different levels of need.
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