Mar 13

The Hundred Dollar Club – My Journey So Far – Part Three

I’ve talked about lessons I’ve learned, and projects which we’ve started but this short post is about my personal journey.

It’s hard to attribute all of the changes to me over the past six months to one thing. I’d like to think that I’m growing all of the time, but I think five things have really been influenced by The Hundred Dollar Club.

I’m braver

It took a lot of courage for me to write the first post starting THDC, but looking back on it now, It doesn’t seem that brave. Fear of doing things has gradually subsided.

I’ve never been particularly scared of anything, but I was (am) excellent at rationalising why not doing something is a good idea.  I’ve been shaken out of that a little and I’m far more inclined to do, not plan now. Once you end up speaking on stage at a Seth Godin gig, then most things look a lot less scary!

I’m more open

More open to others’ feedback, to new opportunities and to making new connections. I’ve seen what having a great team can do, and I’m more determined than ever to surround myself with people who get it. This is probably the number one good thing that THDC has done for me – connecting with the right group changes everything.

I take my own medicine

I’m held to account to do what I say I will now, and that’s fantastic. I’ve always believed that doing is the way to learn things, but now I am even more convinced. The THDC team won’t have it any other way.

I know there is another way

I’ve seen the changes real people have made, through applying effort and thinking differently. I know that almost anything can be done.  There really is no substitute for live examples of success to make you certain that it’s possible. Seeing other people succeed is an amazing motivator to do more yourself too.


I’m sure I’ve changed in lots and lots of other ways, but there wouldn’t be anything left for the end of year round up if I went into them now!

No more THDC updates for a while here now, but the group marches on. If you’re interested in reaping some of the benefits associated by belonging to a group of like minded folks, get in touch and lets discuss how to make it happen.


Feb 13

The Hundred Dollar Club Update – Part Two

Part two of the THDC update is probably more important than what I learned. It’s all about what the club members have been up to.

This is a very difficult post to write, as I could go on for ever about how great the projects are that people are working on. I’m not totally sure that I would do justice to the achievements, so I’ll go for simple list and some observations.

I can’t claim that THDC is in any way responsible for the success of these ventures – that is entirely down to the individuals concerned, but I’d like to think that each person has been helped in some way.

What’s amazed me the most about the group is the diversity in both location and type. We have businesses from photography to food and copywriting to composting. They’re based in the UK, USA, Germany, Netherlands, Malaysia and Cambodia.

It’s a diverse bunch and the collective experience which the members bring probably couldn’t be bought from a consultancy at any price.

So what have THDCers started?

Lindy has finally quit the job she didn’t like and has started not one but two businesses. English Without Prejudice is a conversational English Class based in her home of Kuala Lumpur, and Lindy Siu Inc is already working on communications and marketing for clients.

Gretchen was already free from corporate life, but has set up her site which combines her passion for great design with the experience of creating business strategy from the corporate world

Oliver became an Amazon #1 ranked Kindle Author with his first book 44 Steps to Natural Health and Fitness. Doubly amazing when you consider it’s not even written in his first Language.

Sonya also quit her job, and moved from Australia to Cambodia. Urban Forage runs street food tasting tours, a great blog and is planning it’s first “Beaches and Islands” retreat.

Karen is another to have escaped the world of working for the man. Her unique style has seen her land copy writing clients all over the internet, and her newly launched Untamed Writing site has even more queueing up.

Thad is still working in engineering, but has rediscovered his passion for writing. Learn. Write. Repeat. always brings a new perspective to subjects you wouldn’t expect, but I for one am really looking forward to seeing some of Thad’s fiction work get out into the wild. Hint hint.

Donna is a mainstay of THDC. She has words of encouragement for all, no matter what her personal circumstances. We’ve encouraged her to close down A Zenful Life for the time being whilst she devotes all of her her energy to battling a serious illness which she was diagnosed with at Christmas. Wish her well on facebook if you have time.

Richard is the final THDCer to turn his back on corporate work. He has more ideas for Black Pixel Photography than the rest of us put together, but I for one can vouch for the brilliance of his photography workshop. If you live anywhere nearby and want to improve your pictures, you couldn’t invest your money in any better way.

Nathan has now finished selling most of his stuff on eBay, and is preparing to bring that minimalist style to the world through Koko and Roy. Patty is still running Minimal Switch and is working on a new top secret project with her $100.

Jill is still creating a worm empire, and helping people grow their plants as she grows her business, and Kathryn has a newly found determination to take Malamalma to the next level

So this is clearly a long list, but I’m very proud of what every one of us has achieved. I say us deliberately there, because I’ve changed significantly over the past 6 months and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of this great team. More on my personal journey next week in part 3.

Here’s to the next 6 months of THDC and sharing our stories at WDS 2013.

Nov 12

Keeping Stuck at Bay

I’ve had a bit of a realisation running The Hundred Dollar Club.  It’s very simply, that whilst there are some people who need advice, training, and to learn new skills, there are far more who have it all in them, know what to do and how to do it, but are just stuck.

They’re blocked. Something stops them from moving on with where they know they should be going.  They could be at the very beginning of their journey, or they could be quite a way through it, but the symptoms are the same. They will:

  • Research
  • Plan at a high level
  • Set some goals
  • Consume inspirational content

They might even get started.  But then something will hold them back. It’s the same thing for most people. It will disguise itself in many ways:

  • Not having enough time
  • Realising that you liked a different option better
  • Needing to do more research
  • Asking advice from someone
  • Waiting for the time to be right
  • Making sure the end result will be perfect

These however are just symptoms. The real problem goes by a few different names:

It’s all the same thing in my eyes. It’s being afraid. It’s being unsure. It’s not wanting to step outside the norm. It’s wondering what people might think. It’s not wanting to be criticised.

It’s wondering if you’re good enough. It’s making excuses.

This is true for everyone. Everyone.

And the big thing I’ve seen from running The Hundred Dollar Club, is that this can’t be cured by reading some inspirational content or watching a TED video. (Even one that good)

It can only be cured by consistently doing whatever it is you want to do and putting real things out into the big wide world. There is no quick fix for this, and I’m not sure it can ever be totally beaten.

Just kept in check by getting shit done.

Aug 12

The Power of a Disparate Team

I have been struck with Olympic fever this week.  Since watching Danny Boyle’s amazing opening ceremony on Friday night, I’ve been transfixed and pretty much glued to the TV at all possible opportunities.

The event which I found most interesting so far was the men’s cycling road race.  This was steeped in expectation for Team GB with Mark Cavendish the hot favourite to win gold. However, strange as it seems, this is a team sport, and Cav would not be able to do it alone. I’m no expert, but it’s basically because riding in formation allows those behind to slipstream and expend less effort, thus saving their energy for the final sprint.

The British team were the best in the race. They had hugely talented riders who were well drilled and determined to work for each other as a team with only one goal – doing everything to allow Cavendish to win. They controlled the race for much of the time, and were preparing to deliver their heroic sprint finisher to a medal by working to a strictly controlled plan.  They looked great, and made me feel very proud of my countrymen as they lined up and could be seen working tirelessly for each other.

They were however undone by a group of about 20 breakaway riders, from many different teams and countries.  These guys had less of a plan, weren’t drilled or coached towards a common goal. They did though have a fundamental understanding that they must work with each other and each take their share of “work” in the front of the pack. Despite being less well drilled, and less individually brilliant, work shared between 20 riders, was a lot easier than the same amount shared by the 5 Brits.  They all knew that to have a chance of winning, they needed to work for and with each other, and leave competing between themselves until after they had neutralised the threat of the British team. They were highly successful in this and in the end, all finished ahead of Cavendish.

I think this draws parallels to success in business and life in general – A group that all work together and learn from each other despite potentially being in competition will do better than those which try to make all the headway on their own.  I’d say this is even more true in life, since there doesn’t have to be just one gold medallist.  There is no shortage of success in the world. Each can help others and be helped, and still ultimately be successful.

I’m hoping this plays out with individuals in The Hundred Dollar Club which launched today.  There are 22 members in this team now – hopefully enough to deliver some considerable success for all. You can follow the progress of this team over the year at Thehundreddollarclub.com if you so wish.  I can’t promise it will be as exciting as the cycling to watch, but hopefully it will come close.




Jul 12

The Hundred Dollar Club Update

Wow – it’s been quite a week since my last post.  I was nervous about deciding to put the idea for The Hundred Dollar club out there.  The old me probably wouldn’t have done it.  I would have thought about it, and then tweaked, refined and changed the idea in my head for a few weeks and then ultimately not done it.

I’m very glad that the old me isn’t in charge here.  This time, I gave it a shot, and put something out there.  It was an idea, but it was (and still is) only partly formed.  I didn’t check it out with anyone before posting, I just went for it.  And I’m very very glad I did.

It clearly helped that Chris tweeted about it. The post has so far had over 600 views, and more than 20 people have applied to be part of it. This far exceed my expectations, has really boosted my confidence and reinforced my new found belief in the power of doing. This is a minor success in many ways, but remember, I’m only comparing myself to me here, so actually this is a major success.

If that’s inspired you to do something,  big or small, let me know.  If I could be so bold, I’d suggest that there is still almost a week to go to apply to become a member of The Hundred Dollar Club, so maybe the thing that you do is apply by sending me a message or a comment?  Why not – what have you got to lose?



Jul 12

What I’m going to do with $100 Chris Guillebeau gave me

As you can see here, I started this blog last week because I was inspired by attending the World Domination Summit held in Portland two weekends ago.  I plan to post a summary of what I learned there soon, but this has to come first. If you want to know what it was all about, Gretchen explains it to an outsider, Sarah has an epic set of notes of what happened and Chris himself (the host) has a round up of a lot of posts talking about it.

A major event at the Summit happened during Chris’ closing speech on Sunday.  He discussed how WDS was a not for profit organisation, and despite being loss making last year, a profit and anonymous donation had left the organisation with a surplus of somewhere around $100,000. So far so good I thought – bigger and better next year – awesome.

But then I quickly put 2 and 2 together – 1000 people in the audience, Chris is the Author of The $100 Startup, $100,000…

So yes, it’s true, Everyone in the audience received a sealed envelope with $100 dollars in it. This is pretty unbelievable. In fact there are apparently a lot of people on the internet who don’t believe it. I can absolutely confirm that it’s true. The video of it happening is here, and the picture below is of my $100 bill and instructions.

So Chris and the WDS team had invested $100 in each and every one of us. Wow.

Lots of people talked about how amazing it was that someone believed in them enough to invest.  I can see that, but for me the overriding emotion was of responsibility and commitment. I was now compelled to do something with this money.  Something which had a story I could be proud to tell next year. Something amazing. I had to make it happen, because now it wasn’t just me – I had outside investors!

It definitely felt like an investment.  As a business kind of guy, I also felt I needed to provide Chris some sort of return on that investment. I wasn’t sure if this would be financial, or impact based return, but I had to do more than just donate it to a cause. I had to make the money work harder and do more. Having seen the amazing work being done by the likes of Charity:Water over the weekend, this was going to be tricky. But I really wanted to have a story to tell.

As I continued to think about the hundred bucks, the responsibility factor became more and more apparent to me.  I didn’t need someone to give me the money to start something.  My Trip to Portland had cost several times that amount, it would be easy to invest $100 in whatever I chose.  But the responsibility of managing someone else’s hundred bucks – that’s a different matter.

That changes the rules. That compels action.

So What am I going to do with it then?

I’m definitely going to start a business with it.  But I’m also going to multiply it by 10, and invest that in others. I feel like I want to share the very real sense of obligation to do better I got from opening that envelope.

Specifically, I’m going to create The Hundred Dollar Club.  I would like to recruit 10 people who would also appreciate the challenge, responsibility, commitment and impetus of having someone else’s money invested in their idea, and give them $100 of my own money.  I’m then going to organise this group of people to help, support and drag each other kicking and screaming into action and really deliver amazing things over the next year. We’ll create a group of people who all want to start or improve some sort of business, probably with an on-line element.

I’ll work with the group through everything. We’ll start with generating the idea for a new company, product or offering. We’ll use a structured process to help anyone struggling for what they should do.  We’ll move on to evaluating and testing the idea, proving the market or segment to create something that sticks. We’ll have help getting started and setting up websites, on-line stores or whatever is required.  We’ll do this all the way through the next year with the goal of reporting back at WDS next year.

I haven’t worked out the details yet, but I envisage 1-1 sessions, group discussions, advice from mentors, a space to share ideas questions frustrations and the like but above all a dedicated community of people to help each other through this amazing challenge. I appreciate I am not Chris Guillebeau, and a hundred bucks from me means less than coming from him, however with 10 people to help you and hold you to account, I hope that can make up a little for the stature of the giver.

So – a few questions:

Who can apply?

Anyone at all.  I’ll be forwarding this page to a couple of friends who I think could be interested and benefit, but otherwise – open invitation.  I’ll pick the people or ideas that seem most interesting. People should Ideally to commit to taking part in the club to get the most from the experience.  If you came to WDS and want to join forces that’s great – you can have another 100 bucks if it helps or you can just be part of a gang of like minded people.

Why am I qualified to run this group?

I’m probably not. But then I am because I’m taking action and getting it started. This will be about getting the most out of collective expertise, not about how much I know. In terms of what I do know though, I’ve launched two small web based business as hobbies, and my “day job” is consulting on e-commerce and multi channel strategy to big retailers in the UK, such as Marks & Spencer and B&Q.  I’ve learned a hell of a lot about what works and what doesn’t from all this and I’m desperate to put it back into practice in my next venture.

What’s in it for me (Rob)?

Financially nothing, I don’t expect you to pay me back.  However what I get out of it is an amazing community of people to share with, and a fantastic story for next year’s WDS.  Worth $1000 of anyone’s money.

What’s in it for you?

As above, except you get that amazing community, which we’ve just established is easily worth more than $1000 for -$100. So what are you waiting for?

How do I apply?

Leave a comment below or drop me an email. Explain why you’d like to be part of it. Get it done by Midnight UK time on Wednesday 1st August – 2 weeks today.  We’ll start the first session the following week.

And Finally

Ok, that’s it. I’m done for this post. As Brené would want, I’ve made myself vulnerable and hopefully it will all work out.  As Chris would say: Freely receive, freely give…  I hope this fits with WDS’s core values of community adventure and service.  It feels like it should.



Update: Whilst there has been lots of interest (way more than I expected), don’t let this stop you from getting in touch.  I originally said I’d pick the most interesting stories or ideas, and I’ll stick by this, so applications stay open until next Wednesday as I originally said.  I’ll also work out a way that anyone who’s interested can be involved in some way.


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