Make Your Dream Career a Reality for Less Than $100

by Nora Dunn on 25 May 2012 6 comments
Photo: 1000heads

Why are we constantly pinning our happiness on events yet to happen?

  • “I'll be happy when I get that promotion.”
  • “When the kids are out of school, things will be easier.”
  • “Once I'm out of debt, I can buy that new [whatever], and then I can move forward with life." 

Maybe these examples are right on the mark.

Maybe that promotion will make you happy. Maybe each stage of your kids' development does become less complicated. And maybe becoming debt-free (and/or making a big purchase) will indeed mark the beginning of a new life for you.

Or maybe not.

What if reaching a benchmark you've been waiting for and working towards doesn't encapsulate the transformative qualities you'd hoped for? What if you could create the life of your dreams — now — for less than $100? Hundreds — if not thousands — of people have already done it...including me. (See also: Motivating Yourself and Others)

Passion-Based Business

Believe it or not, you don't need a fancy degree, large amounts of capital, or to be a high-flying entrepreneur to open your own business. More than anything else, you simply need a passion that drives you. The rest tends to fall into place from there.

In my journey to becoming The Professional Hobo, I knew I needed a change in my life. I took a leap of faith and sold everything I owned to pursue my dream of traveling the world.

With less than $100, I started a travel blog and combined my passion for travel with my financial planning skills to become an expert in writing about travel, personal finance, and lifestyle design. I earned credibility by “walking the talk” and creating a full-time financially sustainable travel lifestyle.

Merging Your Passion With What's Important

The key to any successful business is that it provides a product or service that is important to a reasonably sized group of people.

And the key to being happy in a successful business is that the product or service other people care about is also something you're passionate about.

Your passion will drive the business, and the fact that other people care about it is what will grow and perpetuate it.

Ditching the Planning

The problem with making big life changes or implementing new business ideas is our perception that lots of planning is required first. We need a business plan, a perfect website, and to have everything in full operational order before we open our doors to the public.

It feels safe to sit back and dot i's and cross t's. We can't fail as long as we're only planning.

But life happens while we're busy making plans. A lot can change in a moment (or week/month/year) of hesitation.

Although a good dose of planning is prudent, it's also a trap. We can become so mired in “the plan” that is paralyzes us from action.

When I decided to travel full-time, I had many questions and very few answers. At the time, I couldn't even properly define what a blog was! But I knew there was a convergence between my passion for travel, personal finance skills, and other people's desire to do something similar with their lives.

The Three Key Ingredients of a $100 Business

As I continue into my sixth year of full-time travel, my business can evolve with me. I can offer personal coaching, write books, give seminars, host TV shows, and more.

The three key ingredients required to make any of these business elements work are the following:

  1. I have a product or service
  2. There are people willing to pay for it
  3. I have a way to get paid 

The $100 Startup

The concepts above are addressed in depth in a new book called The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future, by Chris Guillebeau.

It features dozens of case studies of people who:

  1. Followed their passion to create a business
  2. Spent less than $1,000 — usually less than $100 — to get it started
  3. Earn at least $50k/year in net income

They are normal people, most of whom don't possess extraordinary skills or education. They just had a passion, an idea, and the motivation to make it happen.

For some of them, their business started almost by accident when they realized the convergence between their passion and a market need. Others knew they had a good idea, but got stuck in the planning phases, and it was an unexpected first sale that actually kicked them into action. And for others yet, disasters like being laid off created an environment to seize opportunities that had been on the back burner for too long.

How to Follow Your Passion

Here are some related articles about finding — and chasing — your passion, and using it to create a passion-based business that makes your heart sing:

Do any Wise Bread readers have ideas for (or examples of) creating passion-based businesses? Please share in the comments!

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Guest

Guessing that the blog has Sainsburys Plc permission for the photo of one of their food lab technicians. The give-away; The staff Name Badge.

Meg Favreau's picture

Hi Guest! Like many of the images we use, this one is available via Creative Commons. You can follow the attribution link under the image for more information.

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I am reading Chris' book right now and I can vouch for it being really excellent. It's got me all worked up and brainstorming like mad.!

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Joe Isaac

Hi. My problem is i know my passion (exercise gadgets, reading) but still couldnt relate it to any business. I feel they are many ppl out there who are more expert in this area. Any suggestion?

Guest's picture

"Although a good dose of planning is prudent, it's also a trap."

Especially glad you mentioned this DREAM-BUSTER. Shoot, I quit a sweet corporate gig to start my own bitty tour company specializing in travel to Belize and Costa Rica - verily on the proverbial "wing 'n a prayer". This - waaaaay back in the '80's when few had even HEARD of Belize. Indeed in those heady days the nightly news featured gun-toting Contras romping in nearby Nicaragua - not exactly the best marketing campaign for lolling on a beach in the Central American tropics.

Furthermore, there wasn't a single guidebook on Belize in those days, nor certainly no Internet with handy forums for researching the do's and don'ts of starting a tour biz to Central America. Instead, my entire "business plan" was to: A. take a part-time job in HR (my heretofore "career" field) to pay the rent, whilst busily pecking my first Belize trip brochure - on a typewriter at the library!

True, it was a struggle for a year or two, but eventually my fledgling int'l tour biz took off, and I was able to comfortably support myself (not to mention travel the globe) - for nearly 20 years!

In short, following my "bliss", doggedly pursuing my travel dreams, took little more than a 22 cent stamp (the cost of sending out my first press release to the travel editor of the local newspaper), and...

I dare say, I'm inclined to change your/Chris' "key ingredients" for realizing your own dream biz (for far less than $100):

1. Have a product/service that you can CONVINCE PEOPLE TO PAY FOR
2. Have an unrelenting PASSION for that product/service
3. Be prepared for a TON of hard work and more importantly - unwavering (we're talkin' at least a year or three) PERSISTENCE to make your dream reality!

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Benay

I like your list Dyanne and totally agree - passion and persistence.