$100 Startup. Really?

The $100 Startup was an interesting read.  Basically what he was saying was that the world is full of choices and to be successful you must be open to possibilities.  As a historian in a constantly changing field where the traditional path is becoming harder and harder to follow,  I felt like that is especially good advice.  However, I found that this book was a little to slick and full of buzz words for my taste.  It always bothers me when people start throwing around how much money someone made is only a year.  I always feel like I’m being sold something.  It felt like he was trying to create value in his ideas by telling me how successful I could be.  I also found that he relied very heavily on anecdotal evidence instead of facts.  I think that he set unrealistic expectations for what starting a business is.  I know that there are people who start companies and succeed.  Yet what about the people who started a business and failed?  I want to hear their stories.  I want to hear the story where they picked themselves up and went right back at it.  It feels like he painted this great picture of huge successes without having to put any effort into a business.  Just find what you love, follow your passion and with little work at all, you to can be on track to make $100,000 next year.  I get it, and I agree with some of the things that he talked about.  You do have to be willing to take risks.  Half of the battle is the ability to see opportunities where others see roadblocks.  I also believe that value can be found in helping others.  This book felt really slick to me and read like it was ice cream instead of protein.  I think for him the best business of all was writing a book about how to start your perfect business for just $100.

I found far more value in Historians as Consultants and Contractors.  This was a much more realistic study of opportunities that exist for historians.  It stated the pros, the cons, and some of the industry needs that can be filled by individuals with schedule flexibility and a thirst for adventure.  No frills in this article, but there was lot of valuable information.  (Style + substance = success.)  I also enjoyed Crafting a New Historian.  This was a look at one individual’s road to an unexpected business.  This time without all the flash and buzz displayed in $100 Startup.  The author spoke of creating opportunity out of a hobby and his historical and research skills by becoming a freelance craftsman.  His realistic portrayal about the uncertainty of trying to follow the traditional academic path in his chosen field was helpful and timely.  History is a constantly changing environment.  To be successful as a historian I believe that it is vital to be open to non-traditional opportunities and careers.  I found this to be a much better example of how to create a niche for yourself out of a hobby.

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