So often people question why they are doing what they are doing. As people, how can we spend 40+ hours doing something we don’t enjoy? Life is too short, and Chris Guillebeau explains in The 100$ Start-Up how to monetize your passion. However, the difference with this self-help/how-to book is in the specifics. Whereas most books of this genre often speak in generalities and hypotheticals, Guillebeau dives in with both feet, having identified, researched, and interviewed 1500 different individuals. He delves into the finances, the time spent, and whether or not the risk was worth the reward.
Spoiler alert: it was. Chris himself lives a similar lifestyle. Only in his early thirties, Guillebeau has traveled to over 170 countries and has never received a “regular” paycheck. Although a nomadic young man may not seem like the quintessential entrepreneur I would want to take advice from, I must say that while reading through his book, I found myself not just hearing what was being said, but truly listening and understanding. Certainly Chris’ own story is inspiring, but what really makes the book is when it goes onto speak of others who have achieved monetizing their passion. Take for example the Canadian snowboarder.
Tired of earning a meager income as an instructor, he decided something needed to be done to better his annual salary. After brainstorming different possible opportunities, he realized that there was a market for a DVD set of instructional videos. After creating, taping, and producing his own original films, this former snowboard instructor became the CEO of his very own 300,000$ dollar/year business. Although not exactly conventional, Chris’ bold defiance of traditional business models are intriguing, and in many cases, compelling.
He claims that “you don’t need outside investment (of any kind), an MBA, or a 65-page business plan that no one will ever read. You just need a product or service, a group of people willing to buy it, and a means of getting paid.” That being said, I am not advocating throwing the rules out of the window. I am saying his narrative is engaging, impressive and most of all, inspiring.
Getting paid to do what we love all too often seems impossible. Yet, maybe it isn’t. Maybe all we really need is a relevant, marketable idea, a little bit of confidence, and a push in the right direction. After reading The 100$ Start-Up, doing what you love doesn’t just seem possible. It seems plausible.