The $100 startup: a comprehensive plan for freedom

Image by Chris Guillebeau.

Remarkable. That’s what I first thought when I finished reading the $100 startup by my pen pal Chris Guillebeau. I highly recommend this book. Why? How much time do I have? Not much? Okay, this book is for you if you want to keep your entrepreneurial goals alive.

After I finished reading the $100 startup, I had the pleasure of exchanging a few words with Chris and he graciously agreed to conduct a quick interview for Since I practice what I advise (e.g. I believe that differentiation should be a strategy driver for your business), I did not want to follow some “traditional” formula for this interview. Instead, I decided to organize the whole experience around just one open-ended question.

Jenan: Simplicity isn’t about less effort. It’s about the right effort. In your work, how do you go about eliminating what doesn’t matter to make more room for what does?

Chris: I agree with your premise, and I would add: the goal isn’t to do less work; the goal is to do better work.

For me, I focus much more on the things I want to do. I’d rather say yes and be wrong and say no and regret something. I want to fill my life with challenge and adventure—so when I’m presented with an opportunity, if it sounds good, I’ll try to find a way to fit it in.

Of course, this does require some sacrifice and paring down. So I start by eliminating things that most people do but I have no real interest in. I don’t watch TV. I rarely talk on the phone; I find it distracting. I don’t attend meetings that exist just for the sake of having a meeting.

By skipping these things, I’m then able to focus more strongly on the things that matter to me. And since they matter and I enjoy them, I don’t worry about how much time I spend on them. I work days, nights, and weekends. But the key is to keep the challenge and the adventure as core values, as well as ensuring that what I do makes some amount of difference in the world. Without those things, everything is meaningless.

Jenan: Thank you Chris and stay in touch!
May 9, 2012