The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future, by Chris Guillebeau is about how to start a business for a very small amount of cash. Guillebeau analyzes case studies about many different companies that have started with little cash and provide a substantial income to the owner. A substantial income is defined as at least $50,000. Many of his examples earn much more, but the low limit was set at a level where you can live a good life and provide for a family.
Clearly, the examples of the pioneers are the first place I turned for support of this idea. Many pioneers sold all they possessed to go to Utah where they would establish Zion. They started in Utah with very little, and many were called to go to settle other parts of the western United States, and start all over again. Guillebeau invites the reader to do the same thing: start with little money and “create a new future” for yourself. That is essentially the same call that the early prophets made to the early saints.
We will have to go to work and get the gold out of the mountains to lay down, if we ever walk in streets paved with gold. The angels that now walk in their golden streets, and they have the tree of life within their paradise, had to obtain that gold and put it there. When we have streets paved with gold, we will have placed it there ourselves. When we enjoy a Zion in its beauty and glory, it will be when we have built it. If we enjoy the Zion that we now anticipate, it will be after we redeem and prepare it. If we live in the city of the New Jerusalem, it will be because we lay the foundation and build it. If we do not as individuals complete that work, we shall lay the foundation for our children and our children’s children, as Adam has. If we are to be saved in an ark, as Noah and his family were, it will be because we build it. If the Gospel is preached to the nations, it is because the Elders of Israel … preach the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young
Guillebeau and Brigham Young both preach that we have to work, and solve our own problems to be able to create a new future for ourselves.
Guillebeau says that the not-so-secret to success is “passion or skill + usefulness = success” (17). Surely, the early saints had passion, and worked to ensure that everything they touched had usefulness. They learned the same lessons Guillebeau is teaching.
One of my favorite illustrations in the book is of the one-page business plan. There is a napkin, with the following written on it:
- Start today.
- Deposit money tomorrow. (92)
What Guillebeau is stressing here is the importance of doing something, of getting to work. He doesn’t guarantee that if you start today you will be able to deposit money tomorrow, but he does promise that if you don’t do anything, you won’t succeed. The emphasis is on action. In the LDS faith, we rely on this belief as well. One of the stories that I remember hearing many times from President Hinckley is as follows:
As a new missionary serving in Preston, England, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley was facing a major trial in his life. He was sick when he arrived in the mission field, and he quickly became discouraged because of the opposition to the missionary work. At a time of deep frustration, Elder Hinckley wrote in a letter to his father that he felt he was wasting his time and his father’s money. A little while later, Elder Hinckley received a reply from his dad. It said, “Dear Gordon, I have your recent letter. I have only one suggestion: forget yourself and go to work.” “Sweet Is the Work: Gordon B. Hinckley, 15th President of the Church,” New Era, May 1995, 8
The impassioned plea from President Hinckley and Guillebeau is the same: “Get to work!”
There are many more great spiritual insights in this book, and I would write about them, but I need to get to work, so I can deposit money tomorrow.