Case Studies Needed for AONC Book Sequel


As mentioned once in a while, I’m really glad I wrote the AONC book.

It’s been a great success and the tour has been incredibly fun—I finished all 53 stops in the U.S. before Christmas, and I’m headed to every province in Canada starting next week.

The foreign rights have been sold to almost a dozen markets so far, and I’m looking forward to having it more widely available around the world and in different languages.

I enjoyed working with the team at Penguin for the first book, and I’ll continue to support it for years to come. My next book will be published by the Crown team over at Random House, and they have also been a good group to work with so far. Since 99% of you probably don’t care about how the publishing industry works (and you’re probably smart for not caring), on to the important part:

My second book will be on unconventional entrepreneurship—specifically, how people with no special skills can start a small business doing something they love without going into debt.

I always get in trouble for saying this, but I think it’s absurd that students are spending tens of thousands of dollars a year on “business school” that doesn’t teach them how to actually run a business. Most successful entrepreneurs I know have just gone out there and started something without waiting for permission. We bootstrapped, we learned on the job, we didn’t make excuses, and we took responsibility for success or failure. There are many of us out there in the world, and many more who want to do the same thing.

Last year I ran a small business forum several times with my friend Pam Slim. Then I launched the Empire Building Kit. In each of these projects, I heard from hundreds of “regular people” who started small businesses of their own, usually within a few short weeks or months of thinking about the idea, and almost always without breaking the bank.

These stories inspired me. I’d like to meet more people with unconventional entrepreneur stories, and I’d like to profile many of them in the next book.

I’m finally putting my wasted years in higher education to good use and setting up a broad, scientific study of small business owners who skipped the part about “go to business school for years and borrow lots of money to start your project.”

Because the publishing industry takes forever, the book will launch into the world in Spring 2012, assuming I can actually finish writing it before July 2011.

Criteria for the Study

Here’s what I’m looking for, and here’s the chance to be in a book that will make an even bigger impact than the first one.

  • You run a business that produces at least $50,000 a year in net income
  • You started your business on a low budget (the lower, the better)
  • Your business significantly improves the lives of your customers or clients (broadly speaking)
  • You are willing to talk about your business in specific terms, including financial details and mistakes you’ve made
  • I’m especially looking for people who started a business after being fired, laid off, deciding to quit a conventional job, or some other major life change. The more unconventional or interesting the story, the better.


Action: if you meet these criteria and would like to be considered for the book, head over here and fill out this form. No need to email me with details—just fill out the form, and if I have questions, I’ll get back to you at some point (it may be a while, since I’m gearing up for my Canada tour).

–>The Big Submission Form

Usual disclaimer: a small team and I will be selecting 50-100 case studies from a field of many more, so please don’t be upset if yours isn’t exactly the right fit. You’ll also need to sign a release form before being included in the study. (Personally I hate those things, but that’s a compromise I make when working with a major publisher.)

And yes, you can forward this opportunity to people you know who might be a good fit for the study. I want to get a broad array of great stories to profile in the book. I know the recession has been hard for many of us, but I also think there are enough stories of hardship out there already; I want to highlight stories of people who have taken matters into their own hands and created a meaningful, profitable way of living.

Oh, and if this doesn’t apply to you now, well, check back in 15 months when the book is out.

Happy weekend, everyone. And Happy 2011! I wish you the best year ever.

– Chris


Image: DW

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