“ Reinvent the way you make a living, do what you love, and create a new future ”

by Chris Guillebeau

Book Cover


  • If you don’t like what you are doing you should be doing something else
  • Business = passion + skills + market
  • Keep it simple - everything should be explainable simply, action wins over planning
  • Make noise around what you’re doing
  • Follow the growth you want, you don’t have to be multinational

Big ideas

  • (Passion + skill) + (problem + marketplace) = opportunity. Converge on what you love to do and what people will pay for. Try to combine several skills to differentiate a lot (Dilbert example - combination of several poor skills in one person is rare)
  • When the business does not do OK, change the target: product or market.
  • Build noise around your product, else it won’t start
  • Differentiators for the offer include good FAQ (reduce objections and need for support)
  • Growth can be horizontal (broader - diversify) or vertical (deeper - extend service for existing customers)
  • $100 startup model focuses on doing something you want to do and live from it. Can switch to the built to sell model which focuses on booting a business to sell it for big payday. A sellable business both brings values and can be teachable.
  • Charge as soon as possible and build from it.


  • The 3 things you need to determine are: the product or service, the people willing to pay for it (customers), a way to get paid (how to exchange product or service for money)
  • Start from the observation of what people want and go to how to give it to them (the other way is harder: big idea for a product then find how to sell it). Your product should help people. People want more of stuff (love, pleasure) and less of other (stress, anxiety).
  • The simpler the easier: easier to focus on a core benefit (emotion for customer) than on a list of feature (definition of product). Be able to describe the concept in 140 characters.
  • Provide solutions to problems. Not all ideas or passion lead to a business model. If not so, pass away.
  • See things from different angles: traditional demographics include age, location, etc. New demographics (a.k.a psychographics) include interests, passions, skills, values, etc.
  • Latch on a trend - what people do and buy
  • think “what people need”, not innovation. Be aware that what customers want and what they say they can be different.
  • Personas help projecting oneself into customer’s needs
  • You can create the product or service after having sold it/making sure that it was sellable, especially if it’s costly to produce
  • People like to buy and hate to be sold
  • Perceived value is important: the service should be consistent with the price in terms of volume. E.g. $25 for 25 pages seems expensive, even if it actually is worth it.
  • The FAQ should help proving the customer you’re the correct choice (it’s awesome, so awesome, you don’t need to worry, it really is awesome, act!)
  • You can provide an incredible guarantee, e.g. reimburse 120% of costs.
  • Hustling is balancing work and talk: be somebody who talks a lot with backing evidence coming from work. Best way to sell. Share your time between work and sell, and keep balance
  • Keep your offer simple / limited range of prices. Offer in 3 steps: eco, medium, luxury → people will go for medium by default. Prices can be set higher. Fewer sales for higher price can be more profitable.
  • Don’t forget to tweak your revenues - by increasing the sales, the average price, the conversion rate, the traffic, or upsetting
  • Encourage referrals, they are the best free-ish marketing there is
  • Partnership is like a wedding or symbiosis, 1+1 = 3 rather than just subcontracting.
  • Don’t forget to work on the business and not just firefighting (BD, offer dev., long-standing problem fixing, monitoring, etc.)

About Reading Notes

These are my takes on this book. See other reading notes. Most of the time I stop taking notes on books I don't enjoy, and these end up not being in the list. This is why average ratings tend to be high.