start a business for $100

“We rule out the possibility of great change, because it doesn’t seem realistic…”

- Leo Babauta

In honor of Chris Guillebeau’s latest book, The $100 Startup, today I want to talk a little about Possibility and the question of “Why Not?”

But to start…

The Death of the ‘Risky’ Startup

There was a time not long ago when turning an idea into a business required a massive investment. Less than a decade ago the cost of building a passion into a career required significant risk.

It may have meant leveraging your home, your bank account and maybe even some close relationships, to drum up the seed capital and support.

For many it meant hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of loans. Or even taking on investors and giving up a large slice of your dream, in exchange for the millions needed just to get it off the ground.

And that’s assuming the passion-based business was even possible – which 30 years ago, was likely not the case.

The risks used to be enough to get almost anyone saying “there’s no f*#%ing” way.

They got so high as to convince the world that living someone else’s dream (or no one’s at all) was the way life was going to be.

But that was then…

This is no longer the case.

In the past 5-10 years, the odds have dramatically shifted in our favor.

These excuses and risks and fears are no longer valid.  

The days of a passion-based business requiring massive amounts of investment are gone.

Sure, you can still raise a boatload of cash, but you don’t have to.

In fact today, in many cases, it’s better if you don’t.

You don’t need employees, you don’t need debt, you don’t need angel and venture investors.

You simply don’t need the money.

All you need is a ridiculous passion to help people, the willingness to work your ass off and a few bucks.

Live Your Legend started as a hacked-together website created to share a few ideas with anyone who’d listen.

I started it as an afterthought, on a dare from a friend.

And I did it on a crappy Dell laptop on a free Sunday afternoon from my apartment in Santa Barbara.

I didn’t really think about taking on investors – but then again maybe that’s because I had enough ‘seed capital’ sitting in the change jar on my desk.

This is exactly how much Live Your Legend cost to create:

  1. Buying the domain name: $9.95
  2. Buying the hosting package: $7.95/month
  3. Hiring someone on Elance to help with some code: $45
  4. Inspiration and motivation to do something meaningful: Priceless

The grand total startup cost for this site…wait for it… $62.90

I kid you not.

The startup cost for this site, this business, was less than I was spending on my monthly gym membership.

That was just a few years ago. I started with exactly zero followers, zero products and zero experience.

This year this business will likely bring in well over six figures.

All from the cost of a meal out with my wife.

It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened.

And it happened with absolutely NO risk.

No risk of my savings, of my livelihood, my reputation or my sanity.

Sure, I invested plenty more later, but not until it was validated and the investment was warranted.

Money is not what’s holding you back.

Turning a passion into a business today costs less than a haircut in some cities (you should see what they charge in SF).

And you don’t have to quit your job. You can do it on the side. You can start small.

And you can do things you think you only read about people doing.

It’s not easy and it might not be fast.

But it is possible – and that’s all that matters.

That is what we seem to take for granted. Even ten years ago this stuff was literally undoable. The tools and technology flat out didn’t exist. And if they did, the costs made it untouchable to someone without a big company bankroll or venture backing.

It would have been a joke to think a man could quit a well-paying job and support a family of eight and move them across the world to San Francisco, all while writing short productivity articles from a MacBook Air. Leo Babauta proved us wrong with ZenHabits.

The thought of spending half your year in California, a quarter of it in Mexico and the rest traveling around the world with your wife – all while growing a business, was the stuff of stories. Now that’s what Corbett Barr does every year through Think Traffic and Expert Enough.

Or how about going on a quest to see every country in the world, while leading a full-blown movement to take the road less traveled, becoming a bestselling published author and growing a bigger following than most politicians could dream of. Crazy right? But Chris Guillebeau did it anyway – mostly from his laptop while 30k feet above international waters. And every day he helps tens of thousands of others (including me) learn to do the same. His latest movement, The $100 Startup, is a perfect example – which I’m honored to be a part of. More on that below.

10 years ago none of the above lifestyles could have existed. Today it’s starting to become a new normal.

And it doesn’t even have to take that long…

These people are at the top of their industry, yet many started two or three years ago. Five or six years max.

And none of them had any special connections starting out. Neither did I. We started on our own. With an idea and nothing else.

But what a difference a few years can make. Think for a second how crazy that timeframe is.

When in the history of the world could you be at the top of your industry in a matter of a few years?

These guys (and countless others) have crushed it, from a completely standing start.

They show me what’s really possible.

Live Your Legend started as a tiny hobby. An afterthought.

But I decided to start it. And slowly people started to listen.

But even after the hundreds upon hundreds of hours of writing and work, it still only began a few years ago (which seems like yesterday).

I just turned 30 – and in this industry I’m on the old side (although I’m still feeling pretty fresh :)). Last night I Skyped with a friend, five years younger than me, who recently built a high six-figure business around Rapid Learning. How random is that? But he’s figured out how to help people in an important way, and people love it. And he started while he was still in university. What were you doing with your spare time when you were in college?

there is no shortage of opportunity

There is no shortage of opportunity. 

The examples are everywhere. And there are more everyday.

There has never been a more empowering time than right now – for the world to build a micro-business around a passion and have it blossom into a career.

It’s happening all around all of us.

And it’s inspiring as all hell!

The biggest cost is you.

Live Your Legend cost $62.90 to start.

But the real investment was me. I put my heart and soul into my writing. It was a hobby turned passion. It was my favorite way of helping people. So outside of my other work, I began to give it everything. It became the work I couldn’t not do.

That’s the investment that’s free, yet the most priceless of all.

No matter what you tell yourself, it is not a question of money, or even time.

Those are manufactured excuses.

The only variable is you – how badly you want something. How badly you want to make a difference. How burning your desire is to help people in a way only you can.

Combine that passion with today’s nearly-free tools and anything becomes possible.

But it can only happen if you start.

There is no waiting. You are either doing something today to get you closer to what you want, or it’s moving further out of reach. Nothing stands still. It’s on you to decide which direction it’s going to be.

And I have something I think will help a lot.

The Birth of the $100 Startup…

Chris Guillebeau just launched his latest book, The $100 Starup, and I think it’s going to change the game in a big way when it comes to doing passionate work. In fact I think it’s the best career tool I’ve seen all year. For those unfamiliar, he’s the founder of the Art of Non-Conformity and World Domination Summit. He’s also taught me a ton about this business, both through personal interactions with him as a trusted friend, and through his writing and tools.

the $100 startup roadmapChris and I have similar goals – to get the world doing what makes them come alive. But Chris has taken it to a whole new level. He has spent the the last 2+ years seeking out the most powerful case studies around the world of people who started massively successful lifestyle businesses for less than $100. Yes – there are more of these people than you’d think.

He then compiled all their stories, and the core tenets that make their businesses and lifestyles possible, and he’s published everything into a hardcover book called The $100 Startup. It’s the ultimate roadmap/how-to guide for starting a business for next to no investment cost, and the stories and tools will blow your mind.

I highly recommend you check out the book and the full $100 Startup movement that Chris is leading. It’s powerful stuff.

You can check out the book’s website here.

If we want to do big things, we have to learn from the people doing them.

The right models are priceless. Both for living life and doing business.

Don’t underestimate the power that comes in knowing what and how someone built the career that most dream of.

Remember, the fastest way to start doing things you didn’t think could be done, is to start hanging around people already doing then.

I hope this helps.

But more than anything, what is so important to me and to all our work here at Live Your Legend, is that you do something. If the book’s not for you, that’s totally fine. But that’s not a reason not to get off your ass and start building something that matters.

Do it on your own or with the help of others.

But you must start. 

Cost is no longer a barrier to building a business around work you love.

Please let that sink in.

We are in more control than we give ourselves credit for.

Nothing is more powerful than opportunity.

All you have to do is do something with it.

Welcome to the era of the risk-free startup. Living off your passion has never been more possible.

I can’t wait to see what you build!

As always, I am here to help.

-Scott

Check out the $100 Startup Here

P.S. I don’t get any affiliate commission if you buy the book. I am just doing this because I love Chris’s work and I think it will help in a huge way. Enjoy!

 


  • Fab

    Hi Scott,

    it looks like a huge bargain!!

    I’ll make up my mind soon to buy it or not to buy it!!

    Ciao!

    Fab, greetings from Italy.

    • Scott

      For sure Fab. If you are looking to build a business online – it is indeed an amazing deal. These tools together are damn powerful. I’m reading the $100 Startup tonight and am VERY fired up!

  • Brandon Dean

    I would but I already started my business under $100! Not 6 figures though D:

    • Scott

      Well that’s even better! Congrats Brandon. You’ve already done the hardest part!

  • http://tqltotalqualitylife.com Lisa

    Hi Scott,

    I get this wonderful bargain every year – in fact I’m an affiliate myself. But I’m buying through your link this time because your story above spoke to me in a big way!

    Live Your Legend and i2P – loving it!

    Take care and keep in touch,
    Lisa

    • Scott

      Thanks Lisa. Means a lot. Enjoy all this goods!

  • http://www.thisepiclife.com kc

    Hey Scott! I’ve really been enjoying your last few posts. I’ve become a faithful reader since you joined our Good Life Project call a couple weeks back. Jonathan is the man for wrangling you as our featured guest… I’ve got mad respect for how you offer so much value to your readers. Just awesome stuff!

    (And l bought the $100 Startup package via LYL).

    Just secured a ticket to WDS from a woman who couldn’t make it this year. Really look forward to meeting you in person. Have a great week, and thanks for hopping me to this insane value.

    kc (kristoffer carter)

    • Scott

      Awesome to have you on board kc! It was a serious honor to be on that call with you all a couple weeks ago. And it was a ton of fun. So glad to have you along for the adventure and congrats on picking up that killer deal. I think Chris’s book alone is worth the price. That book is so inspiring and ridiculously useful!

      Here’s to big things and I look forward to crossing paths at WDS!

  • http://www.colleenconger.com Colleen Conger

    Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a paradigm shift about my business and future. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I get a link to the $100 Startup package. Never would I have imagined that I would have you Scott, and all these exceptional resources at my fingertips.

    The $100 Startup package is like getting birthday cake and presents everyday! I’m excited to read Chris’ book. What a story. And the best thing is, his story could be anyone’s story.

    Thanks again,

    Colleen

    • Scott

      What timing Colleen! So glad we could help. Can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  • zimt-peppermint

    I just bought it. I am a bit scared, because this totally blew my budget, but I trust you guys that it’ll be worth it! I’ll let you know if the 100$ startup works and if I have something to eat at the end of the month :D

    • Scott

      Thanks for giving it a shot. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised on all the value packed in there. Just be sure to put it to work and I have a feeling you’ll see real results. Enjoy!

  • http://PointContentWriting.blogspot.com Anna B

    Scott’s not kidding here – I started a freelance business in August for just over $100 (hey, I bought some books to learn how to do things). :-) Now it’s May and I’m making several hundred dollars a month, and it looks like the jump to $1000+ a month is on the horizon.

    I started small doing freelance articles, and as I learned more about the industry, I came up with exciting ideas to add more value for my clients and charged accordingly. It’s been a great ride. If I had the ability to put in even more effort, I bet I’d be even further along. As it is, I only have a couple hours a day.

    I still have my full-time job because I want to do this right. But in a couple years – I’ll be a full time freelancer!

    • Scott

      Yeahhh– another $100 startup story! Congrats Anna and thanks so much for sharing. It’s seriously so inspiring to read a comment like yours. You’re doing it right too. Slow and steady to start and then when you decide to make the full leap, it will be to an even stronger branch than the one you’re on!

  • http://www.ivblogger.com Sheyi @ ivblogger.com

    Its ending in few hours and those that have the money to should please get it. I wish i can buy it (paypal does not support my country)

    Sheyi

  • http://happierhuman.com/ Amit Amin

    Hah! It’s also too late for me, I’ve already started my business, and it was a lot more than $100 –

    $200 for logo design and wordpress theme
    $50/m for hosting, aweber, & alistbloggingclub
    $30 for editor
    $300 for misc. guides & books, including LiveYourLegend and Start a Blog that Matters
    $200 for membership to positive psychology institute, journals, and other learning materiels

    So around $1000. BUT you are absolutely correct. It started out with your product, which cost a tiny bit over a $100. I’m only spending because I can. I would make do without, if I had to. Congrats on being included in the product!

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  • Tarah McConnell

    I have a passion project idea that I want to turn into a blog – much like you did here. But I do not see where the money comes in to play, especially if you are ad free. Forgive me for being such a novice, but would you mind sharing knowledge on how a blog brings in bucks?

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  • http://complete-self-esteem.com Dan

    Excellent article. It the stories of people like yourself that inspire me so much. The idea of being able to give back to the world, make a difference and make money is incredible. I am in the process myself of contracting the design of the website through elance and hope to start making a difference myself in the next month. Again excellent article and keep up the good work

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  • Hayley

    I have just had the realisation of being 20 and wanting to own a successful business in six figures by the time I am 30.

    I am surrounded by people who laugh at the idea but I am motivated and I will make it happen, then who will be the one laughing!

    I have a double degree and looking at doing my masters in Business Relations, so who are they to judge my capabilities?

    Your post was an inspiring read, thankyou!