Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

The $100 Startup: Interview with Chris Guillebeau

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From Jeremy: I have the privilege of interviewing Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Non-Conformity and his new book, The $100 Startup. Chris is an expert at living a better story having discovered many of the secrets to living life on your own terms. You can connect at his blog or follow him on Twitter.

I want to share Chris’s wisdom with you. I will be giving away 5 copies of his book. Details are listed at the end of the article.

JS: Chris, you live your life differently than most people. You work for yourself. You own several small businesses. You travel the world. How did you get to this place in your life?

Chris: I decided a long time ago that I did not want want to work for someone else. I couldn’t stand the thought of being stuck in an office or cubicle. Just by paying attention to opportunities around me, I started a few small businesses. Initially I sold coffee. I didn’t know anything about it when I started. But I just kept going, and I learned.

Then other opportunities arose.  Eventually I was making enough money to quit my “real” job. Now I have time to pursue what is really important to me such as writing and traveling.

JS: And then you turn these passions into businesses as well?

Chris: Right. When I started writing my blog, The Art of Non-Conformity, I found that a lot of other people identified with what I had done and there was a market for it. I am my boss, so I can be away as much as I want. Plus I set up my businesses so that I could conduct business from anywhere in the world with a laptop and an internet connect. Working on my own terms enabled me to travel as a hobby. I also write and teach other people about what I have learned about travel hacking.

Right now I am on a quest to travel to every country in the world. So far I have visited 183 out of  the 193 countries in the world.

JS: So now comes the real question. Your new book $100 Startup is about people who have done something similar. They have managed to develop their own business in a unconventional way, and now they work for themselves. Can anyone replicate the success?

Chris: I think they can as long as they keep several important principles in mind. In the book I tell you interesting stories about people who have done just that. But it also serves as a blueprint to help others replicate the success. When I discovered that others were doing the same thing as me, I collected the stories of 1500 entrepreneurs and assimilated the data. The $100 Startup is a summary of what I discovered.

Can anyone do it? Only those who have the courage and the passion to say no to the traditional way of thinking about life.

JS: What was the most important element for a story to be successful?

Chris: The single most important concept is creating “value” for your customers. Value is a common word, but is often used without much definition. My definision is that value simply means “helping people.”

The only way to succeed in whatever you are trying to accomplish is if it helps people in some way. It’s not enough to be passionate about something.

JS: Of all the stories you collected which one is your favorite?

Chris: It’s hard to pick a favorite. One that many seem to enjoy is Brett Kelly.

Brett was a self-described geek who noticed that there was no in depth instruction manual for the popular productivity software Evernote. He worked through the software. Discovered everything anyone might need to know about it and then wrote an eBook sharing his knowledge. He found incredible success. The first year he earned more than $100,000.

This small enterprise enabled him and his wife to pursue some of their dreams. She was able to quit her job and stay home. Their family got out of debt. And the best part is that Evernote noticed him and offered him a job. He now works for them doing something he loves. And he still sells his book Evernote Essentials on the side.

It’s a great story, but there are more people like Brett. People who live life on their terms and make a living doing it. They may not be rich in the traditional sense, but they live happy lives. Which is something money can’t buy.

JS: What has been the one thing that has helped you the most to become unconventional and start living your better story?

Chris: I decided to stop allowing fear to make my decisions for me. I was always fairly insecure and hesitated to take risks. Finally I just decided, this is silly — let’s take a step. I survived and then I started taking more.

JS: Who should read your book?

Chris: Anyone who wants to live life differently than how society tells them. Anyone who no longer wants to be stuck doing work they hate, but would rather do work they love. Anyone who is wondering how to take steps to make their business even better than it is.

You can buy Chris’s book at your local bookstore or on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles (affiliate links).

Do you love your work? What would you do if you felt the freedom to live life on your own tersm?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Win a Free Copy of $100 Startup

I will choose 5 people at random to receive a free copy of the book. To be eligible, simply leave a comment below telling me why you want a copy, and then share the post on Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to include @jeremystatton in your tweet. Winners will be chosen at 6am Thursday and will be notified by email. If you do not receive an email from me, assume that you did not win.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

Want to live a better story?

If you enjoy reading these stories, consider subscribing to receive email updates. I’ll give you a free copy of my eBook Grace Is

37 Replies

  1. I’d love to win a copy of this book.  I think it would help me as I process my next steps in my writing and in my desires to impact the world.

  2. I’d like to win a copy of this book so that I can give it away to a friend of mine who is in desperate need of this kind of inspiration. 

  3. Jeremy,  I would love a copy of the book “The $100 Startup”.  I am pursuing my passion of teaching/coaching and like a fledgling trying to leave the nest, I find myself flapping my wings and gripping the nest below me at the same time.  I need to let go to see if I can actually fly on my own.  Thanks for your encouraging posts and great stories of living.  @jeremystatton:twitter 

  4. Jeremy, I’d love to have a copy of the book. I think it would give me some useful ideas to implement in my own business. 

  5. It will help you. It’s full of encouraging stories and basic concepts.

  6. What do you teach, Robert?

  7. It’s really good. I think it will help.

  8. I’ve been eyeing this since it came out, I’d love to turn my writing into something where I can support my family while spending more time with them

  9. I love my work but am struggling with the stage I am performing it on. Currently I help people succeed by teaching college students about life–personal finances and transitioning from college to career are the two biggest. I would like to expand that into helping professionals find the work they love and enjoy the freedom to spend more time with my family.

  10. This book will be a great resource for you then. Thanks for sharing the post.

  11. Helping people find work they love is definitely worthwhile. Chris is a great example of someone doing this and now his books help us do it for ourselves.

  12. Great interview with Chris. He’s been a major inspiration since I discovered his blog.

    Some days I love my work and other days I dread it. It’s a give and take relationship right now. I’m working towards creating something that will give me more joy and pleasure. 

  13. Bob Weaver

    Jeremy: Thanks for your creative blogs, to help people 
    @jeremystatton Gives me hope for the next generation,  As a Christian I have lived by “Find a need and fill it, Find a hurt and help it”  I would love a copy  to give to my grandson, who is trying to find his way,  Working as mentor through his church to Middle School age kids, Coaching, and helping Young life.. Pray that Josh will catch your vision,  (I can do all things thru Christ” 

  14. Thanks for sharing, Chris! (And Jeremy, thanks for sharing Chris ;-)) What countries are left on your list? What has been the hardest to visit so far?

    This book sounds great for where I am in life (a self-employed 22 year old who loves to travel).

  15. I’d like a copy of $100 Startup. I read about Christ from Tim Ferriss and it inspired me enough to come up with a salable physical product/service (coming soon at my blog). 

  16. Jeremy –  I’d like to have a copy of Chris’ book because I think it would be a great source of information and inspiration to me.  I REALLY want my MakeGoodChoicesProject to take wings and soar.

    Thanks for the opportunity!  I’ll Tweet and post a FB entry later today.

  17. I’m there with you Joe. Looks like you are headed on a good path.

  18. That’s a great motto Bob. I plan on stealing it. : )

  19. Now is a great time to start. And for you, that happens to be early.

  20. That’s awesome Lisa. I can’t wait to hear about it.

  21. As a writer using my spare time and money to build my platform, I think Chris wrote this book with people like me in mind. I would love to benefit from Chris’ wisdom. Thanks for the post and giveaway!

  22. Denise

     My daughters are 23 and 20.They are very independent thinkers with dreams of owning a small business and in the process meeting and serving others. They both have recently expressed their doubts and concerns and are not sure how to begin to realize their dream. This book sounds like the perfect tool for inspiration and direction.

  23. Chris is incredible. Anyone who wants to see every country in the world immediately has my attention – and respect. He’s right. The value in what we do has to boil down to helping others, to making the world a more bearable place to live in. 

    I have an idea right now, but I don’t foresee making any money off of it. It’s more of an online community art project, something like People of the Second Chance – helping others recognize the grace in life. Obviously, I still have a lot to think out.

    Great interview, Jeremy. I’m so intrigued by Chris’ book. I think the trick is to look for need in the world, and then find where that need overlaps with your passion. 

  24. I’d love a copy, Jeremy!  I love Chris’s philosophy about helping others.  “It’s not enough just to be passionate about something.”  Love it.  Thanks!

  25. Thanks for sharing, Ryan.

  26. Isn’t that an awesome goal. Most of us would stop with the idea fearing that it would be impossible. He didn’t. He has already visited some of the tough places that most of us would avoid. Cuba, Iran, Afghanistan. What a story

  27. It would be a great tool.

  28. If you want to choose to live life unconventionally, then yes, he wrote it for you. Glad you entered, Austin.

  29. First, I love aspects of my work.  There are parts that simply ignite my fire.  Would I like the freedom to do more of my own thoughts and desires? Absolutely.  That’s one of the cool things about $100 Startup.

    Second, I love success stories and hearing about the perspective and challenges of others – which is why I’m interested in winning this book.  In turn I share what I learn to others, and look to add to my ability to positively impact as many people as possible.

    Lastly, thanks for doing the interview, as it’s always fun to find out more regarding an author and their thought process.

  30. Once again, another great interview. There’s a lot going around these days in regards to leaving a legacy. I don’t think this involves every one of us becoming Billy Grahams, Steve Jobs or the Gates. However, on smaller scales it does involve making an impact. The effect of that impact is probably directly proportional to the degree of how much we are willing to give away: our time, our expertise, our finances and our influence. I think that anytime an individual does something they love, can make money from it so that it enables them to live generously, and frees up invaluable time to focus on the issues of today, they are on the right track. This book should probably be required reading in all of our major Universities. Keep up the great work, Jeremy.

  31. I absolutely agree with you, Ralph. Our job is to focus on making that impact. If we do that, then we have succeeded.

  32. I teach/coach leadership with a focus on personal strengths.  I also teach classes at the local community college (leadership, ethics, mediation and public administration).  

  33. helloheady

    I have read this book. It’s really good. And, simple. As Chris said, I think 2 things: are you willing to think differently & can you figure our how to add value to others doing something you’re passionate about.

    Great interview!

  34. Want this book mostly because I want to work for myself someday. Didn’t know he knew about Brett Kelly story, but really enjoyed his story. 

  35. The book is full of inspiring stories.

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