Everyone’s a Winner, Baby! (Results of the $100 Start Up Giveaway)

Finally (and I apologise profusely for the delay) it’s time to announce the winners of the $100 Start Up Book Giveaway.

For the chance to win both of Chris Guillebeau’s books I asked:

How would you use $100 to change the world for the better?

You might remember that Chris gave all 1000 attendees of the World Domination Summit $100 with a similar challenge to each of us. Here’s the video if you want to see what happened:

At first I was a little disappointed in the lack of entrants to the competition, with only three people actually responding! I can only assume that most readers of this blog went right out and bought the book already after my review.. ;)

But I’m a great believer in quality rather than quantity, and the three responses were very heartening to read indeed.

Juliet, aka Crafty Green Poet, had this suggestion, which I’ve chosen as the overall winner because I believe it is really in line with the generosity behind Chris’s gesture as well as being a really great idea:

There are so many ideas but, I was thinking to spend $100 on copies of The $100 dollar start up and giving them to community libraries and schools in ‘poorer areas’ so that the local communities and students can be inspired by all the ideas in the book. Who knows how many great projects that would inspire?

What Anne said was really heartfelt, touching and also very encouraging in terms of what I’m doing with the blog – making my decision an extremely tough one despite only having 3 entries to choose from!

I’m in the business of encouraging and morally supporting my three adult children to follow their dreams and live their lives doing something they love and are good at, so not only are they fulfilling themselves, they are doing something positive in the world. All have chosen different areas of the Arts. I would invest in speciality books and some you and others are recommending on your blog. The ‘$100 Start Up’ is on the wishlist already, but I’m hoping you might pick me.

As I write my youngest son is preparing presentations and video for an application for funding for a ‘Start Up’ to further develop a prototype, so this would be invaluable and immediately useful.

Thank you for doing what you’re doing. I thoroughly enjoy reading and watching your progress and it lends extra confidence and inspiration, to encourage and support my children in their endeavours. The more happy and positively motivated people in this world, with the priority of following their true calling in life, creatively using the strengths they possess and for the benefit of others, the better, healthier and happier the world will be.

And finally, long time pal of this blog Vishnu was really being supportive and encouraging when he said:

I’d use the $100 back into your business, Milo to pay for some service, product or platform you might need to bring your services into the world and to have more access to the Clear-Minded Creative. So, my suggestion is invest in yourself to help bring out the brilliance (compliment) of this site into the world. Use the money to create that product, bring an ebook into the world, design a cover, etc, hire your cat to do a promo video.

Now there are advantages to only having 3 entries, the main one being that although as the overall winner Juliet will receive both books ($100 Start Up and The Art of Non-Conformity) as promised, I’m also going to send a copy of the $100 Start Up to the two runners up, because I believe they will both use the book for very positive means.

I’d like to talk to Juliet though about how we could put her idea into practice. Maybe there’s a way to make all of the Clear-Minded Classics so far more accessible for people who may not know about them or be able to afford them?

I’d love to hear your ideas, thoughts, opinions, advice in the comments below. And if you were one of the attendees at WDS I’d love to hear what you did with your $100 investment.

Change Your Life, Change the World – WDS2012 Dispatch #1

I just got back from an amazing trip to Portland, Oregon, where I attended the second annual World Domination Summit.

It’s a provocative name for an event. A number of times whilst walking around the city we were asked by locals what was happening and what the name tags we were wearing were for. The term ‘World Domination’ raised some eyebrows.

I was quick to point out that the name was tongue-in-cheek, and that in fact the event has an extremely positive purpose. I mentioned the fact that a number of speakers had also done TED or TEDx talks. The locals seemed relieved.

Still though, it’s tricky to explain exactly what WDS is all about, and to get across just how positive an experience it was.

The theme of the conference was ‘how do you live a remarkable life in a conventional world?’. Within that theme, Chris Guillebeau also highlighted some shared values of those attending; community, adventure and service. Speaking about personal transformation, co-organiser JD Roth summed it up as ‘if you change yourself, you can change the world’. Here’s how a few other people described it:

 WDS is Woodstock for World Changers – Jonathan Fields

The WDS experience is so amazingly out of this world that its kinda like being abducted by aliens, only difference is you go willingly. You remember everything but still not sure what the hell happened. You want to tell everyone you know but unfortunately not everyone will believe you and some may even think you are nuts. Only those that have shared this experience with you can truly understand how you feel and how you life will be forever changed! – Hung Pham, Photographer

WDS is about taking over the world for good – because people with good hearts should have more power – Jason Digges, Jaybird Productions

More Than I Bargained For

When I decided to attend WDS2012 I didn’t know what I was letting myself in for. I followed the work of a number of the speakers, such as Jonathan Fields, Pam Slim and Danielle La Porte; and of course Chris Guillebeau himself. I also knew some of the bloggers attending.

I had been a part of this loose and diverse community for a while, via social media. I thought it would be interesting to be there in person, to be in the thick of it. I was curious to see what my favourite bloggers and authors were like in person, on stage and off.

I wanted to challenge myself. To see if I could come out of my shell enough to make some meaningful connections.

I thought I might get some inspiration on where to take my freelance business and blog, and how I could maybe bring them together and ensure that they were aligned with what I care about.

I got something completely different than I expected, and 100 times better.

I’ll be posting updates about the conference over the next few days so stay tuned!

Competition Time!

Could You Change the World with $100?

I’m giving away one copy of Chris Guillebeau’s new book The $100 Start Up (read my review here) and one copy of his first book, The Art of Non-Conformity to whoever gives the best answer to this question:

 How would you use $100 to change the world for the better?

Post your idea on the Clear-Minded Creative Facebook page or in the comments below and I’ll pick the one I like best in a week’s time – at which point I’ll request a postal address from that person.

I’ll send the books to anywhere in the world, but be aware that it might take a while for them to arrive if you live outside the UK. Also please note that my choice will be entirely subjective so please don’t get upset if yours doesn’t get chosen – I’m really interested in seeing any responses that come in.

100-start-up-cover

Clear-Minded Classic #9: The $100 Start Up by Chris Guillebeau

You may have heard of Chris Guillebeau. He is at the forefront of a new breed of bloggers and creative entrepreneurs who are making a substantial income from their creative output, and inspiring thousands of other people to do the same.

As well as writing for free on his blog and in his two hugely popular manifestos, Chris has published a number of Unconventional Guides * which offer up to the minute advice on freelancing, publishing and travel hacking, and even the art of building your own online empire. As well as pursuing his goal of travelling to every country in the world before the age of 35, Chris has worked tirelessly to build his platform and a community of people around him, and he’s made a fantastic living from it.

In his new book, the $100 Start Up, which is already out in the US and available in the UK from this week,  Chris provides a clear guide to getting started with your own business, using the examples of hundreds of members of his community who have done the same. He provides concrete figures too – he only features those who are earning at least $50,000 a year, but many of the businesses featured bring in several hundred thousand pounds a year. Most of them started with around $100 dollars.

That’s pretty amazing, right?

As Chris says in the introduction:

Small businesses aren’t new, but never before have so many possibilities come together in the right place at the right time.

One of the key points that Chris is making is that anyone can start a business if they can just grasp some of the key concepts in the book and apply them to their own situation.

Most of them aren’t geniuses or natural-born entrepreneurs. They are ordinary people who made a few key decisions that changed their lives.

The man himself

A New Angle on Creative Careers

The book makes a great companion to two previous Clear-Minded Classics: Career Renegade by Jonathan Fields and Escape From Cubicle Nation by Pam Slim. Both Jonathan and Pam are friends and associates of Guillebeau, and their messages are similar.

Whilst Career Renegade is a great ‘awakener’ to alternative career possibilities for creative people, and Slim’s book is all about the transition from corporate employee to business owner, the message of $100 Start Up is more straightforward and not necessarily aimed at creative types.

It deals with all types of businesses, from dog walking to language learning. But it isn’t hard to see that anyone who is able to turn $100 into a liveable annual wage is using a great deal of creativity. And Chris himself is a great example – a writer who is extremely successful, not just scraping by.

The Basics of Business

The “$100 start up” Chris is recommending could also be referred to as a micro, or freedom business. Your goal is to have freedom for yourself, but to do that you need to provide real value for others, and to communicate that value to them as clearly as possible.

Ultimately, Chris’s message is a simple one. He covers the basics of building a small business and emphasises that you don’t need more that, at least to get going. Taking action, and making that first sale, is all important.

The basics of starting a business are very simple; you don’t need an MBA, venture capital, or even a detailed plan. You just need a product or service, a group of people willing to pay for it, and a way to get paid.

He adds that it helps to have an offer and a way of building interest, or hustling, and to use well proven techniques such as a launch strategy.

What the book goes on to outline is bound to make a few internet marketers sweat; people have been selling this information online packaged in expensive clothes for a long time now. Chris has brought the advice all together into one easy to follow book which will cost you around a tenth of his suggested start-up costs, much less than most of the information products which include similar info.

Throughout the book Guillebeau provides simple, but comprehensive one page checklists to help with choosing between competing projects, creating a basic business plan and market testing – as well as the essential ‘reality check’. You can get additional resources at the dedicated website for the book.

Of course, there are plenty of areas touched on in the book that you might want to investigate more deeply. But if you have any interest in earning money on your own terms, once you’ve read this book you’ll be struggling to come up with an excuse for not getting started right away. As Guillebeau says:

“The most important thing is to keep taking action”.

Buy the book at:*

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

This photo isn’t staged at all, honest..

How I Intend to Use the Book – Action & Commitment

I’ve bought a number of products from Chris in the past and have found them very useful in my transition from civil servant to freelance writer. His blog was also a key inspiration behind this one.

However the book is a great reminder to me that I have been stalling somewhat in using the knowledge I already have. I could potentially earn money in more ways than just copywriting for businesses, and I intend to more fully explore some of these other options.

It is also an eye-opener when it comes to how much money many of the people featured are earning on a regular basis and whilst my quality of life is more important to me, it has convinced me I need to be a bit more ambitious in terms of my financial goals.

Disclaimer

Chris is one of those ‘everyman’ figures – someone who seems relatively normal and therefore inspires others to follow his lead. However he is a very smart guy who works extremely hard. Not everyone can be him!

Multimedia Journalist and blogger Adam Westbrook, who is briefly featured in the book, has a great summary of the kind of mindset needed for this kind of work – he highlights Courage and Commitment as the keys to starting a business. Clear-Minded Creative Type Melissa Dinwiddie also highlights the importance of mindset and talks about how she has been inspired by Chris Guillebeau.

As you know if you read this blog regularly, I struggle with the commitment part e.g. when it comes to consistently working on this blog, and I’m actively trying to improve my own habits and work ethic.

All the information in the world isn’t enough if you don’t follow through, and this is a great reminder to keep pushing myself. Basically, if this book doesn’t inspire me (and you!) to get moving, nothing will.

(note: the above links are affiliate links which means if you buy them, Amazon might one day send me a gift voucher (I’m not holding my breath). The link above to the Unconventional Guides website is also an affiliate link, but Chris’s affiliate programme is a lot more generous so I might actually earn some cash if you use that one. There is more info on affiliate promotions in the book!)

Unconventional Guides