Although I have shared this before, I am doing so again in the optimistic hope that someone reads it and actually gives it a try.


 What if I told you that there’s a technique that if faithfully applied would absolutely guarantee your success in starting and building your business? Well, such a technique exists although it sometimes seems like a well-kept secret.

I’ve shared it in my seminars and in my writing, but getting people to actually try it for themselves has been another matter.

Whenever I receive a call or e-mail from someone telling me that they’re stuck, I can be certain that they haven’t given this idea a fair shake.

On the other hand, those I’ve managed to convince to use it every day report that things really start happening— and quickly.

Any successful goal setter will tell you that reaching goals big or small is dependent on breaking the big picture into tiny doable steps. That’s the essence of my favorite idea, the $100 Hour.

It works with such infallible certainty that once you make it a regular part of your plans, it’s like a rocket propelling you to your goals. You can begin implementing the $100 Hour even if you have other commitments that clamor for your attention.

Begin by making a pact with yourself that you will set aside time daily, if possible, or at scheduled intervals, for the purpose of finding an idea that will bring you $100.

You needn’t complete the plan in the hour, but if time permits use your surplus to get your idea rolling. Do research, make calls, write letters or e-mails— anything that moves you closer.

If you’re focusing your energies on a single profit center, then come up with an idea for expanding it in a way that will earn another $100. If your business plan is more eclectic, then this time can be spent designing a variety of projects.

A word of warning is in order here. While this idea works wonders, your ego may tell you that $100 is too insignificant to bother with.

Ignore it.

After all, great fortunes and grand achievements have been accomplished by steadfast devotion to creating tiny successes—which ultimately add up to enormous successes.

The discipline that comes with using this technique is perhaps its greatest bonus.

However, once you start seeing results, don’t stop using it. With continued practice, you’ll find it gets easier and easier to come up with a $100 idea. At that point, you can raise the monetary stakes, if you like.

At any rate, you’ll discover that the quality of your ideas gets better and better with practice.

There are plenty of Wealth Gurus around insisting that we should all aspire to millionaire status. Maybe that’s your goal. Maybe it’s theirs. What I know for sure is that prosperity consciousness involves getting rid of limiting notions about our own worth and that’s best accomplished incrementally.  Small daily actions add up, after all.


Here’s a Get Rich Slowly exercise that I’ve seen help many people launch and build their enterprises. 


$100 isn’t a huge amount of money—and that’s the point. It’s not so large that it scares us and not so small that it’s insignificant. Approached properly, it can be a useful tool for building abundance.


Here are some suggestions for putting those Ben Franklins (or whatever the equivalent is in your currency) to work.


° Use it as a test for your ideas. One of my favorite $100 ideas comes from Phil Laut in his book Money is My Friend. He suggests that every time you start a new profit center, you make a commitment to stick with it until you’ve earned your first $100 from it. When you reach that milestone, evaluate whether or not you wish to continue. 


Sometimes it takes a big investment of time to generate the first $100, but once there  you can see how to repeat it more rapidly. Other times, you’ll find that you enjoyed earning the money less than you thought you would. 


The brilliance of this idea is that you are making decisions from a wiser position of experience—not frustration or fear.


° Always carry $100 bill in your wallet. It’s a powerful tool for eliminating thoughts of lack and limitation. When you go to spend your last small bill, instead of thinking, “I don’t have any money,” you’ll find yourself thinking, “Oh, I have another $100.” Only spend the bill if you have an emergency or know that you can replace it immediately.


For all its convenience, many of our modern ways of dealing with money involve not actually having much contact with it. Credit cards, online banking and the like make money a distant set of numbers. Cash in our pocket has a different effect on us.


° Be consistent in practicing the $100 Hour. Whether business is booming or slow as a snail, one of the best things you can do on a daily basis is to focus for an hour (if possible) on creating your next $100. Once you’ve mastered consistently creating new sources of cash flow, you’ll probably want to raise the hourly amount. (If you need some idea starters check out the Getting Ideas chapter of Making a Living Without a Job.)


° Spread entrepreneurial spirit $100 at a time. Become a micro-lender at or give the gift of livestock through Heifer International. You might even send an anonymous $100 gift to a friend who’s launching a business. Look for ways to seed worthwhile enterprises and support them.


Want to see $100 Hour idea-generating in action? There’s a terrific example on Barbara Sher’s bulletin board. Thanks, Tituba, for the Twitter alert on this.

It happens every time I announce a new special event. Almost immediately, I begin getting messages that say, “Someday I’d love to attend your Storytelling seminar.” Or “When will you be doing your Storytelling event in Alaska?” These questions suggest that many people haven’t learned one of the basics of successful self-bossing.

Several years ago when Valerie Young announced our upcoming Making Dreams Happen event, she was deluged with e-mails from people saying they’d like to attend but couldn’t afford the enrollment fee. She called me to see if I had any  ideas about how to handle this onslaught. I pointed out that since this event was about bringing dreams into reality, getting there was the first exercise. The ever-creative Valerie issued a challenge to her readers asking them to share what they were doing to fund the conference. We got wonderful stories about the creative ways that participants found to be involved. 

A year earlier, two friends and I decided we wanted to take a little vacation. My cash flow was good so I had the funds; they’d both spent the previous months working on writing projects that had yet to pay off so their cash flow was squeaky. Once we set the goal for the trip, however, they both swung into action. They  had each built a nice little portfolio of cash flow options that included things like selling on eBay, doing market research, spending a Sunday as a flea marketing vendor. In less than two weeks, they both had the money  they  needed for the trip.

Last year, another entrepreneurial friend was experiencing a cash flow slowdown and decided to get creative. She wanted something that wouldn’t distract too much from other projects she was working on, so she put an ad on her local Craigslist offering her services as a pet sitter in her home. Not long after, I  was talking to her and she proudly announced, “I just passed the $1000 mark with petsitting.” 

So the order of making things happen is this: goal first, funding second. What successful goalsetters know is that the process goes something like this: focus on a goal, brainstorm obvious and crazy ways to make it happen, start taking action. Keep going until the goal is met. Set another goal and repeat.

You can do anything you want to do. I mean it. Blunder ahead. ~ Robert Henri



I heard a terrific story on public radio’s Weekend Edition today about a school in the Chicago area called Ag High which teaches agricultural and entrepreneurial subjects along with academics. The school’s director had some insightful things to say about the value of this broad curriculum. I urge you to check it out for yourself.