People Who Start Their Own Micro-businesses

Quotes (and some commentary) from the book The $100 Startup.

On the stories in this book:

Our story is about people who start their own microbusinesses without investment, without employees, and often without much of an idea of what they’re doing. They almost never have a formal business plan, and they often don’t have a plan at all besides “Try this out and see what happens.” More often than not, the business launches quickly, without waiting for permission from a board or manager. Market testing happens on the fly. “Are customers buying?” If the answer is yes, good. If no, what can we do differently?

This was the case of all our 4 startups. They were small and nimble when we started. Some grew to over 200 people. But I always promised myself that when it grows past a dozen people, I was going to leave and start another. It is nice to be small and focus on what you do well. But that is just me.


If I needed money, I learned to think in terms of how I could get what I needed by making something and selling it, not by cutting costs elsewhere or working for someone else.

This is the typical mentality of a bootstrapper. When you bootstrap you are focused on producing something useful fast and checking out whether any one will value it enough to pay for it. It brings a certain discipline.

A Dilemma that most startups face:

I learned how freedom is connected to responsibility, and how I could combine my desire for independence with something that helped the rest of the world.

This is a big dilemma every startup faces. Have a vision, but start with something small that provides value and build a viable sustainable business. That gives you a certain amount of financial freedom to do grow in other directions, if you want.

On Convergence:

As we’ll examine it, convergence represents the intersection between something you especially like to do or are good at doing (preferably both) and what other people are also interested in. The easiest way to understand convergence is to think of it as the overlapping space between what you care about and what other people are willing to spend money on.

Identifying this convergence is one of the biggest, initial problems in a startup.

On Tapping Emotional Needs of Customers:

A business ultimately succeeds because of the value it provides its end users, customers, or clients. More than anything else, value relates to emotional needs. Many business owners talk about their work in terms of the features it offers, but it’s much more powerful to talk about the benefits customers receive. A feature is descriptive; a benefit is emotional.

Finding Opportunities:

In addition to passion, you must develop a skill that provides a solution to a problem. Another way to think about it is (Passion + skill) ? (problem + marketplace) = opportunity

When considering an opportunity, ask: “Where is the business model?”

Persuasion vs Invitation:

Old-school marketing is based on persuasion; new marketing is based on invitation.

In all the messages you send (whether delivered via email or in another way), you’ll want to be mindful of several qualities. The first and most important is what we’ve mentioned already:

On the need to tell a good story:

On its own, however, a good story isn’t always enough. You also need to think about “relatability” and timeliness. Relatability, which may or may not be a real word, refers to the need to ensure that the people who hear about the launch can relate to it. Do

Being willing to promote in an authentic, non-sleazy manner is a core attribute of microbusiness success.