The Decision to Go (Also known as “Now Is the Time!”)


Greetings, friends and readers.

This week I’ll be in Milwaukee and Columbus, then flying over to London for the first international stop of the new tour.

I hope to see many of you on the road! Dates and schedule here.


Previous Updates in this Series:

Skill Transformation
Report from the Road

Today I want to share the most important lesson of The $100 Startup.

The central message of the book is that the skills (and the money) you already have are all you need. You don’t need an MBA. You don’t need to beg the bank for money. You don’t need to write a 60-page business plan that no one will ever read.

To start a business, you just need a product or service, a group of people willing to buy it, and a way to get paid. That’s it! Focus on these three things exclusively.

As quickly as possible, get the first sale. Aim to do this within 30 days of conceiving of your idea. Then, pursue a process of continuous improvement to tweak your way to the bank (more on this later).

There is no consulting school. If you want to help people with a specific problem, go ahead and set up shop. (See the Instant Consultant Plan.)

We become comfortable with change by taking action to change. (See this article and a lesson on bulldozers for more.)

One of my favorite stories from the book comes from Lexington, South Carolina. On my first book tour, 18 months ago, I stopped by the Jamestown Coffee Shop. It was a great place and reminded me a lot of some of my favorite shops in the Pacific Northwest…. which wasn’t surprising once I heard the story. Here’s some background on how Jamestown Coffee came to be:

From his home base in Seattle, James Kirk used to build and manage computer data centers around the country. But in an act of conviction that took less than six months from idea to execution, he packed up a 2006 Mustang and left Seattle for South Carolina, on a mission to start an authentic coffee shop in the land of biscuits and iced tea. Once he made the decision, he says, all other options were closed:

“There was one moment very early on where I realized, this is what I want to do, and this is what I am going to do. And that was that. Decision made. I’ll figure the rest out.”

As we’ll see, James later got serious about making a real plan, but the more important step was the decision to proceed. Ready or not, he was heading for a major change, and it couldn’t come soon enough. A few short months later, Jamestown Coffee opened for business in Lexington, South Carolina. James and his new staff had worked ten-hour days for several weeks to prepare for the opening. But there it was—a ribbon to be cut, the mayor on hand to welcome the business to the community, and a line of customers eager to sample the wares. The day had come at last, and there was no looking back.

Later in the book I discuss more about the coffee shop. Along the way, James made numerous adjustments. He did in fact do a fair amount of planning. But as noted, the most important thing was to go. Decision made.

Let James Kirk’s story serve as a reminder to you. It all begins with an active decision, followed by action. Will you make your own decision to act?

Lastly, a Note on Urgency

I write a lot about legacy projects, and what I believe is a core need to focus on what we’ll make with the our lives. The related theme to this is urgency, the need to seize the day and make our time count for something.

I’m on the road again now, meeting with fun people every night and hearing good stories of change.

It challenges me. I don’t get every talk right, and I’m tweaking as I go. There are a few things I wished I had done differently in setting up the tour.

But I made the decision, and I’m moving forward. Another day, another city. In the down time I work on other projects, always making a little progress at a time and thinking about the next thing. It’s fun, it’s worth it, and what else would I do? That’s right, nothing.

What decision to act can you make right now?

Tell us here.


*It’s official: The $100 Startup is an Instant National Bestseller. Thanks for your support!

The Kindle version is now available in the U.S. and Canada, and the UK/Commonwealth version launches on Thursday, May 24.

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  • Roy Marvelous says:

    Congrats on being a national bestseller, Chris!
    Finished the book and am applying you advice as we speak. I especially like the notion of seizing the day, to be productive & make our time count for something.

  • Laura says:

    This is the message that I needed to give me a swift boot to the rear and get me going on my way! I have been working as an administrator (I’m an artist at heart, so this is not a good fit) for 6 years now and wanting a change, but not knowing how. I have trained to become a birth doula (supporting women through late pregnancy, birth and early postpartum) and am so excited about it. I’m currently setting up my business and had the plan to nail down a certain amount of clients before finally (FINALLY) quitting my current job, but the heck with it! I’m taking your advice and taking the plunge! Thanks for this.

  • lucinda (singlewithluggage) says:

    Hi Chris – I MADE the decision, finally. Quit my job two weeks ago, effective 8/1 to help them with the transition. I have a million ideas, a product/service, a tribe of people I think will be hungry for it. Finally, I feel like a way finder who may have found her way. I’d love to see you in Milwaukee, but do not see the date anywhere on your site. Perhaps it’s today and I missed it, or I’m just not seeing it? If not Milwaukee, then somewhere else. I’ve been listening to you for a long time now, but it wasn’t until that moment of “Now is the time,” finally came that I truly could HEAR you. The words have been floating around in my head for some time, I guess they finally forged some new pathways in my brain. I’m so excited to be breaking free, finally, and ready to join the ranks of your non-conformist army! Many thanks, Lucinda

  • Chris says:


    And Milwaukee — is indeed today, but I’m not sure if we have any more tickets (limited capacity at the venue). I’m always dealing with flight delays and we may start later than expected.

    In other words, stay tuned.

  • Andrea Ballard says:

    I am going through the “Independent Consulting Biz” chart on page 43 & 44 in the book and updating my website to make sure I am answering those questions!

  • Andrea says:

    Enough planning, get started! That’s what I decided after reading your manifesto. I just launched my blog early this month. Great experience to see something become alive after all this planning and thinking it through that held me back before!

  • Camilla says:

    Thanks for all the inspiration! I have lived a nomadic life for the last 12 years but when I came across your writings I finallys really got together how I can present the help I can give to others 🙂 Many have been inspired by the way I live with my family in Thailand and in Greece (being a Swede) but I had not found my way. Until now! Thanks to you! I really wish you the best of luck on your tour. Where in Europe will you be? Where can I find your schedule?

  • Emily says:


    ~ Emily

    Thanks for the encouragement in Denver last week. I went to the wrong bookstore, and ended up driving (too fast) down to Highlands Ranch to make sure I didn’t miss you. Totally worth it!

    Two unexpected benefits so far:

    1) I don’t feel like a kid anymore. Moving through the ranks as a chemist and now a science education researcher, I always have to get someone else’s final approval on my ideas (first it was a graduate advisor, now a project director). No longer. I’m feeling all grown up now. 🙂

    2) Without having to get someone else’s approval, the emphasis is no longer on “what will the director/advisor/whoever approve of”, instead it’s “what will I approve of, and what’s best for my students”. Turns out, the work I do for my business is looking like my best work yet…which means it’s about to get awesome up in here! 🙂

    Thanks so much.
    ~ Emily

  • Joseph Bernard says:

    Chris, I love the energy of what you are doing, it feels rich with abundant flow and heart.

    My decision right now was inspired by the walk I just took on the beach. I have learned to listen inward over the years and those inner voices had some very clear guidance for me today. They said, now is the time to tune in throughout the day to use my soul’s guidance to take my life to the next level of realization and to be an even more tuned-in source of support for people who seek guidance.

    Loving life and the inspiration from what is infinite and eternal within me.

  • Nancy Cameron says:

    Well, I didn’t make it today, but in recent weeks, I finally decided to pull the JOB plug and go my own way. Shameless plug, but your book (and seeing you in person) kicked me in the back side to get moving (move it or lose it). I decided to act and that’s the hardest part. Keep you posted!

  • Kimanzi Constable says:

    Can’t wait to see you in Milwaukee Chris, sorry about the delays. I have taken action, as you know, the key for me is to keep pushing forward!

  • Joseph Lalonde says:

    I need to act on creating the ebooks that have been brewing in my mind for quite some time. If I don’t act soon, they most likely won’t get done.

  • Angela Petitt says:

    Great stop in Houston! I quit my job almost 3 years ago and after 30 countries and pursuing a doctorate, I am ever learning and preparing for the next season of my life. Now is definitely the time to keep moving forward! Thanks for the inspiration Chris!

  • Kristoffer Carter says:

    Hey Chris! Really looking forward to catching your stop in Columbus OH tomorrow night. I live in Akron, and also partake in Jonathan Field’s “Good Life Project.” It was so wild to read about my “classmate” Kelly Newsome’s journey, and we’re all beyond PUMPED for Cynthia Morris’s session at WDS!

    You’re rockin the world this year my man. Many congrats and continued success to you. OH! Your book brought people together… I read about (my new BFF) Karen Starr from Hazel Tree interiors… right up the block from our home here in Akron.

    I stopped in there the next day and introduced myself. It’s so inspiring to know that there are more world changers fed up with the status quo, right up the damn block! hahah. THANKS for all you do Chris. -kc

  • Maria says:

    National Bestseller! Yay!

    I am excited to see you at SF Bay Area. I am undecided between SF or Santa Cruz…

    Actions this week? Talk with a few fitness people about an idea I have and see how they think about it…It’s research time.

  • Erin says:

    Thank you for the boot to the bum. I’m working on putting all the good stuff in The $100 Startup into action. So far I’ve revamped my website and gotten some music online so people can hear it, at least! But how to get it out there… I need an album, and I need practice. I’ll be leading songs at my local crop swap starting this weekend, and I’m just going to keep plugging away.

  • Brett Henley says:

    Love it Chris.

    I’m going to pop open my last beer, kiss my wife … then we’re going to lock in on the next step to getting our freedom biz launched asap.

    Best of luck out there in the wild blue.

  • Nate Craddock says:

    Fantastic–didn’t realize you were in Alexandria until I was already on my way back home from a visit! Thanks for giving me the fire under my tail to start creating and building an audience. Your book and the 279 Day guide were lines in the sand for me. Looking forward to what’s to come!

  • Len Welson says:

    Hi Chris

    Hope the tour is going well. I read the AONC avidly and it struck several chords, particularly the section where you talk about failiure.

    I’ve ordered the $100 Start up ( which I think is roughly £60 ).

    Hope to see you in London on Friday.

    All the best – Len

  • Jeff Jones says:

    Chris, Great word on “Taking Action”. I have decided to take action on my public speaking career by creating a plan with specific goals. I will not let the tail wag the dog any longer. I have (in the words of Andy Andrews) a decided heart.

  • Alain says:

    *sigh* “92 holds on first copy returned of 6 copies” Multnomah County Library 5-24-12. Look forward to seeing you on the 6th of June.

  • Ryan says:

    Now is the time is right. Your mind will find a way, whether you decide to go or decide to make an excuse.

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