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Chris Guillebeau: From Idea to Income

Updated: Feb 27, 2019

Don’t quit your job, but do create a new source of income now.

During a lifetime of self-employment that included a four-year commitment as a volunteer executive in West Africa, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Since then he has modeled the proven definition of an entrepreneur: “Someone who will work 24 hours a day for themselves to avoid working one hour a day for someone else.”

Chris’s first book, The Art of Non-Conformity, was translated into more than twenty languages. His second book, The $100 Startup, was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, selling more than 500,000 copies worldwide. His third book, The Happiness of Pursuit, was published in September 2014 and was also a New York Times bestseller. His fourth book, Born for This, will help you find the work you were meant to do. His newest book, Side Hustle, will help you create a new source of income in 27 days.

What is your definition of branding thinking in Entrepreneurship?

Ultimately, branding is all about identity. Imagine that someone is describing you to someone who doesn’t know you. What do they say about you? How would a stranger be able to recognize you if they had never seen a photo of you?

Now imagine that you’ve made a product of some kind—let’s say a fitness tool. If someone describes it as “This thing that helped improve my recovery time after workouts,” then that is an identity.

Notice that in both cases, branding isn’t something that you necessarily do all by yourself. You can influence it, but in the end, you’re not in the room when your friend is describing you. Sometimes the branding you or your business ends up with is different than you’d expect or prefer. Actions speak louder than words.

When you are an entrepreneur, how do you brand your business?

The more I learned to speak to my readers (and then customers) directly, the stronger my relationship with them became. I didn’t always follow my own advice; more than once I followed a trend or otherwise did something that in retrospect I can see was inauthentic.

Authenticity is a powerful force. Figure out who you are and what you stand for, then let everything else fall by the wayside.

When you are thinking to become an entrepreneur, what do you think should be the focus, to create a brand or to create a business?

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