Heidi Cohen interviews Chris Guillebeau
New book: Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do
Q: What’s your best piece of advice for readers looking to improve their marketing?
A lot of things have changed in recent years and what worked before doesn’t work now. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is relationships. In fact, they are more important than ever before—the more you can build direct relationships with customers, clients, or whoever pays your bills, the better.
Q: What was the inspiration for Born For This?
I’ve spent 15 years studying and working with people who choose non-traditional paths. Many of them say they’ve found the work they were “born to do.” I’ve always thought this is interesting. How do they found that thing? How can others do the same?
This led to a long journey of further study and research, and then another long process of writing. Fortunately, reading the book and applying its lessons is much easier.
Q: What is the key concept behind your book?
There’s more than one path, but there’s also an optimal one—the work you were meant to do. Finding it is the most important thing we can do in our careers, and maybe even our lives.
This perfect work consists of the precise blend of three different characteristics: joy, money, and flow. We need each of them to be truly happy.
Q: How do you describe yourself professionally?
I’m a writer, traveler, and entrepreneur. I’ve worked full-time since age 14 but I’ve never had a real job. I spent 10 years on a quest to visit every country in the world.
Q: What are 1-3 books that inspired your work/career?
- Mountains Beyond Mountains – do everything you can to help others
- Man’s Search for Meaning – how to find purpose in anything, no matter how difficult the circumstance
- A Wild Sheep Chase – there’s something you have to find, even if it takes over your whole life
Q: What is the biggest challenge that you’ve had to overcome?
Hmmm, life or career? Life: I’m kind of figuring it out right now, so I don’t think I can say I’ve overcome it.
Career: I operated a side business back in the U.S. while working as an aid worker in West Africa. I only had two hours a day to spend on the business, so every minute counted. One day I learned that a fulfillment center I was using had shut down with no notice.
It was a huge disaster and I had to scramble to figure it out—but I did, and the business survived. More importantly, *I* survived. As weird as it was, the huge disaster ended up bringing me a lot of confidence.
Q: What’s something unusual or fun that most people don’t know about you?
I lived in the Philippines for two years as a child. I didn’t always enjoy it at the time, but later in life I realized it was an important foundation piece for my peripatetic life.
Q: Is there a piece of content, a social media campaign or a marketing campaign that you worked on that you’re particularly proud of?
Every year I produce an in-person event in Portland called the World Domination Summit (WDS). Thousands of people who attend from all over the world, and it’s one of the few things I’ve made that have stood the test of time.
Q: Is there anything else that we haven’t covered that you’d like to share?
My motto: You don’t have to live your life the way others expect. You can do good things for yourself and for others at the same time.
- Name: Chris Guillebeau
- Blog: chrisguillebeau.com
- Book(s): Born for This, The $100 Startup, The Art of Non-Conformity
- Facebook: chrisguillebeau
- Twitter: chrisguillebeau
- Instagram: 193countries
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