How Chris Guillebeau Changed My Life Forever + $100 Startup Review

[Note from Caleb: Next week's episode of The Cubicle Renegade Podcast is with Chris Guillebeau. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes if you haven't already.]

Throughout life you have moments that shape your future more than any others. Bumping into your wife-to-be for the first time at a party, risking your hard-earned money to start your own business, or coming up with the perfect idea for a children's book about a boy wizard with a lightningbolt scar on his forehead.

In the same fashion, there are people in your life that change your world more than they could ever know. I'm not talking about spouses, family members, or politicians though. I'm talking about people that are major influencers of the world-at-large.

They have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people that read what they write and share online. They create content that resonates with you all week, products that completely change the way you work, and their followers are some of the coolest people you've ever met.

Chris Guillebeau is that person for me. He influenced the biggest change in my life so far: leaving my comfortable desk job to be an entrepreneur.

Before we jump into that though, let's go back to the beginning (and by this I mean before the existance of Pocket Changed).

In the beginning...

You see, when I started diving into this whole "blogging" thing towards the end of 2010 it was because I had been reading a bunch of books and blogs about how you could "make money on the Internet" and quit your job. I was as skeptical as the next person, but as I started studying what Chris was doing at the Art of Non-Conformity with his Unconventional Guides store I saw how he was helping people create businesses around things that actually matter.

I quickly realized that blogging wasn't about making a quick buck or scamming people into buying your overpriced eBook. It was about building a relationship of trust with thousands of people, one person at a time. (More on that in a bit.)

I found out that Chris was releasing his first book that fall and I rush ordered it so I could read it while I traveled for Thanksgiving. I practically finished it in a few hours of airport and airplane reading.

After devouring his book, I couldn't wait to attend his book tour when he came to Seattle a couple weeks later. But, there was one catch: I didn't even have a blog.

Over the next two weeks I spent most of my freetime trying to think of the perfect name and topic for a blog with my wife. (Fact: I almost went with On 12/10/2010 I purchased and 4 days later I headed to Chris's stop in Seattle with a URL to share with him and others in attendance.

At the event I not only met Chris, but other incredibly interesting people that I stay in touch with to date too. No, there was nothing on my blog at that point (okay, there was the cheesy "coming soon" post), but it was a huge first step.

That single event was the catalyst for the launch of this site, which eventually led to me connect with Corbett Barr, who I first met in person at Chris's World Domination Summit, and who gave me the opportunity to leave my desk job behind to go work with him at Think Traffic and now Expert Enough. Because of this new position my wife and I then had the freedom to leave Seattle, road trip all over the United States for three months, and move to San Diego to start her southern California wedding & portrait photography studio.

That is impact.

Care More

But back to how important it is to care about every single person you come into contact with, online or off. Here is how much Chris cares about every single one of the people he comes in contact with.

During my lunch break at work the day after his book tour stop in Seattle I emailed Chris through the contact form on his website to thank him for the event and to say I enjoyed the book.

28 minutes later I got a response.

I have gotten similarly quick responses when I thanked him for quoting my "Why You Need to Go to The World Domination Summit" recap in both an email to all the conference attendees and a blog essay shortly thereafter plus when I reached out to him for an interview for the podcast I just started. (Despite the fact there there was only one episode live at the time.)

How many people do you think email or message Chris everyday? Hundreds?

Yet, here he is responding to every single one of them. The single most important aspect for building a strong following online is to care about every one of your readers. Pat Flynn does this really well too.

I guess the point of this is simply to say, "Thank you Chris Guillebeau. Without your initial and continued inspiration I would probably still be working a job that I dread."

The $100 Startup Review

As I see it, there are two main ways to start a business. Get funding or bootstrap it. Chris Guillebeau's latest book, The $100 Startup, focuses on the latter.

The book just came out yesterday, but I was able to receive an advance copy of it and spent the last week digesting it.

If you looking to or are in the process of starting your own business, this book is perfect read for you. In it, Chris describes the most important things you should be focusing on when you are working to get your business off the ground.

He profiles over 50 different microbusiness (small in employees, not revenue) that are growing profitable unconventional businesses and what you can learn from them.

Businesses do cost money to get going, but they don't really have to be that expensive to start. $100 or $1,000 may be all you need to get started. This book will walk you through your first profitable idea and help you determine whether or not it has the potential for success.

This book is perfect for anyone trying to build a lifestyle business.

Consider this book #21 of the "20 Must-Read Books: The Cubicle Renegade’s Essential Library". Pick it up here.

Interview with Chris Guillebeau Next Week

On Tuesday I'll be publishing the next episode of The Cubicle Renegade podcast and it will feature a special interview with Chris Guillebeau. In it we talk about his new book, The $100 Startup, and what it takes to be an entrepreneur in today's economy. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes to automatically download the podcast when it goes live.

If you are interested in checking out his new book, The $100 Startup, I highly recommend it. I just finished reading it last weekend and am now going through it a second time with a notebook at the ready. :)


If you've been following Chris Guillebeau for a while, how has he influenced what you are doing with your life? I'd love to hear in the comments below this post.