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

Guest Post over at Escape The City

I’ve written a guest post for the good people at Escape The City, all about the World Domination Summit.

It’s not an epic round up post like Sarah created, but I’ve tried to distil the things I took away from an epic weekend into a few hundred words.

You can see the post in it’s full glory here. Please let me know in the comments over there what you think of it.

Next post on home turf coming at the weekend.

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.

Jul 12

Comparison, Transition and Starting

I’ve discovered that comparison holds me back.  It shouldn’t.  It’s very silly to let it.

I suppose it’s to be expected – in school you get grades and marks. In the sports I played growing up there was a score.  It’s easy to know who you’re better than, and who’s better than you. I’m not saying this is bad, but it set me up to compare myself a lot.

I was good at some of the things where score was kept, so I did more.  I was less good at others, so I did less.  This is fine, but it starts to make me think  “I’m the kind of person that does that thing”, or I’m not.

Take writing this blog.  I am never going to be Seth Godin. My output will never be as good as his. It will also never be as good as many many other people. If I compare myself, then in my mind I’m not a writer or a blogger, or much of anything I want to be.

Perhaps an the best example for me is exercise. I’m not particularly fit.  I’m actually quite fat.  I’m not the type of person that goes running.

Except actually, maybe I am, but something is holding me back.  That something is comparison and what I think others will think.  In my head, the conversation goes something like this:

ME: “I’m off for a run”
SOMEONE ELSE “A run?  You don’t look like the type of person that goes for a run…”

and yes, at the moment, I probably don’t,

But I took a lot of inspiration from a talk that Nicole gave this weekend, and a conversation I had with her before it.  I think her exact quote was:

“You can’t think your way to a half marathon”

You have to DO.  You have to RUN. And that means you have to start. And that means there has to be a transition from being the type of person who doesn’t go for a run, to the type of person who does.

Nicole describes herself as being obsessed with log distance running, and talks with passion and enthusiasm about it. She’s run a lot further than I ever have, and is training for her first marathon. If you compare her to someone like Paula Radcliffe then she’s not the best long distance runner, but why should that matter.  I have no doubt that Nicole is a runner. I know she’ll run a marathon this year. I’m pretty sure at some point she will run some crazy 100 mile plus race, but just because she hasn’t yet doesn’t mean she’s not a fanatical long distance runner.

As soon as you start, you are. No need to worry about the transition.

Cheers, and thanks for being totally inspiring Nicole.


Amazing Photos from #WDS: Armosa Studios

Jul 12

World Domination Requires Action

I’m writing this on the way back to London Heathrow from an amazing weekend at the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon.
If you were there, I won’t need to define WDS, if you weren’t then the simplest thing I can describe it as is a gathering of particularly amazing people who come together to connect, inspire and get inspired.

The weekend is so much more than a conference, but it does take the format of speakers and breakout sessions. Whilst all the sessions had different messages, one huge theme emerged for me: Do Things.

Not just read about things.

Not just think about things.

Not just talk about things.

Not just plan things.

Do them.

So – whilst I might not be totally sure what things I’m going to do this year, I’m doing the first one now, in making the first post to this blog.

I commit to posting at least 52 posts before the next WDS on 5th July 2013, to chronicle what I do with my year.  I’m already signed up to attend, so I know I have a thousand willing accountability friends willing to hold me to that commitment.  Hopefully some of you will be with me on the journey.

Cheers! Rob

Photo: Armosa Studios

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