The $100 Startup, Self Employment on a Shoestring

$100 Startup with Chris Guillebeau

Me and Chris Guillebeau

I recently had the good fortune not only to find a great book for entrepreneurs, but to meet the author – the inspiring Chris Guillebeau. In case you’ve never heard of Chris, he has a blog called the Art of Nonconformity, runs a national event called the World Domination Summit, and offers unconventional guides  to traveling, freelancing, making money with your art and more.

I just finished reading his new book, “The $100 Startup,”  and I have to tell you, it’s terrific!  As the instructor of the “First Steps for Starting a Business” course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Small Business Development Center, I constantly come across people with great ideas who feel held back by a lack of capital and minimal online skills.

This book shows you how to turn an idea into an enterprise and create a good income by doing so. Chris provides you with a step-by-step process to start up a small business utilizing the power of social media, relationship marketing, and online tools. 

Sprinkled with humorous illustrations, inspiring quotes and success stories, this book is a fun read.  Each chapter concludes with a summary  of key points which I found to be helpful.  In addition, the author generously provides downloadable worksheets from his website, to support readers on their entrepreneurial journey.

It was great to meet Chris at the book signing in Milwaukee.  He’s the real deal!  Sincere, humble and charged with purpose, he has “walked the walk” and turned his own passion for traveling and writing into an incredibly successful business.  His words positively impact not just entrepreneurial wannabes, but everyone who is seeking an alternative to the 8 to late full time job. 

I will be giving away a signed copy of “the $100 Startup” to one lucky reader on July 1, 2012. There are several ways to enter, and I will choose one entry at random (via Rafflecopter) at the end of the giveaway. You can do each of the things below once for additional chances (all are evenly weighted). 

With Chris’ permission, I’m creating and will be teaching a 3 session mini-course at the UW-Madison in Oct. based on his book.  Check out his website, enter the giveaway, and let me know what you think of the book once you’ve read it!  





Gremlin Taming: how to free yourself from your inner critic

Picture of a garden gremlinI’ve been revisiting a gem of a book; “Taming Your Gremlin A surprisingly simple method for getting out of your own way” by Rick Carson. I’ve worked with this marvelous material with my coaching clients over the last few years to help them overcome self limiting beliefs and negative self talk.  I’ve found Rick’s book so useful that today I registered for a 3 month tele-course with him to learn more “Gremlin Taming” strategies and techniques.  Here’s why I like his work and this book in particular:

  1. It is written simply, no esoteric detail or religious dogma.
  2. The author personifies the “narrator in your head” as a Gremlin who influences you. (My concept of a gremlin is like the picture above.  I found this little gray guy at my son’s house this summer just hanging out in the garden.)
  3. It is flat out full of laugh out loud bits especially the stories from the author’s personal experience.
  4. There are fill in the blank pages, like a kid’s Big Book of Fun, to help the reader with self discovery.
  5. In describing the “acts” we put on, he uses such terms as “Back to the Land Woodsman, Red Hot Mama, Pious Puritan, Hard Rocker, Damsel in Distress and Macho Man”.  (Have you met some of those folks?  Yeah, me too!)
  6. Lots of pages have hand drawn illustrations, most of which are quite humorous.
  7. The definitions are clear and easy to understand;

“Your Gremlin: is the narrator in your head.  He has influenced you since you came into this world. He’s with you when you wake up in the morning and when you go to sleep at night.  He tells you who and how you are, and he defines and interprets your every experience.  He wants you to accept his interpretations as reality, and his goal, from moment to moment, day to day is to squelch the natural, vibrant you within….your Gremlin wants you to feel bad.”

The Natural You:  is the one inside that miraculous mass of matter out of which you are now peering.  The natural me is inside my own body, which is at this moment holding a pen.  From inside this aging sculpture of hair, eyes, teeth and limbs, the natural me is writing the words, “Hello in there”.  You just pulled in through your eyes the words, “Hello in there.”  The natural you understands the essence of my words. Your mind is busy making sense out of them.  Your Gremlin, meanwhile, is gnashing his teeth and screeching something like “This is ridiculous!” or “You’re just going to get your hopes up and end up disappointed.  Nothing’s going to change, least of all you.” Or “You need another self help book like a hole in the head.”

“Beliefs: are just opinions that we develop loyalty to, so that we can pretend that the world has at least a modicum of predictability.  Doing so helps us feel safe.  Ironically, we sometimes fight to defend our beliefs, creating anything but a safe situation.”  (so true!)

Taming Your Gremlin is both playful and powerful.  It emphasizes self inquiry and self acceptance as the keys to higher awareness.  If you are looking for liberation from your inner critic, check out this book.  And come on back and visit this blog.  I’m sure I’ll post more on Gremlin Taming as I go through the tele-course.  Here is the author’s website:

In relationship to your (spotlight of) awareness, you can be a passenger or a driver, a victim or a participant, a pawn or a player  You choose.  Not once and for all, but in each moment of your precious life.”  –Rick Carson