EBK Day 2: What the Empire Building Kit Is All About


Alright — I know I’m supposed to be much more strategic about this, but I’ve been in Cape Verde, speaking at TedX Pittsburgh, and so on.

The best pre-launch plans do not account for British Airways strikes, conference calls with my publisher in various airports, and 46-hour Amtrak rides with uncertain internet access.

Today I’m in Chicago with J.D. Roth. He’s never been here before, so we’re wandering around throughout the day and heading out to a couple of events later. (If you’re in town, feel free to join us tonight from 7-9pm at Rockit Grill, Wrigley Field location.)

J.D. and I just finished up a tour of the city courtesy of reader Margaret Hicks, who was kind enough to include visits to the Apple Store and Sprint Store among other historical highlights.

EBK: What It’s All About

Anyway, I know a lot of people are excited about Empire Building Week. What a coincidence! Me too. Here’s the plan.

The long-awaited Empire Building Kit will finally be available about 48 hours from now, on Wednesday morning around 10am EST / 7am PST. In deciding whether this is something you should pay attention to or not, here’s what you need to know:

The EBK deconstructs the process of building a successful lifestyle business — something I define as a small business with one or two employees, built around something the business owner loves to do. The “successful” part is critical, so I cast a wide net and looked at businesses that earn between $50,000 and $150,000 a year in net income.

The most important question of the whole project is: how can other people do the same thing?

Using the case study model and a series of 365 specific steps, the goal of the Empire Building Kit is to help someone become their own emperor by doing one thing every day for a year.

The not-so-secret involves hard work, a few key decisions made at the beginning of the business, and continuous improvement over time. If you already have a small business of your own, the goal is to dramatically increase your 2010 revenue. If you don’t have a business and are serious about creating your own independence plan, EBK will help too.

Case Studies

The case studies (in PDF, video, audio, and transcript format) are the best part of the project. They include a woman who makes $105,000 a year by walking dogs, a guy who hosts murder mystery parties, a fitness coach, several artists and freelancers, someone who exported an entire new industry to Germany — just to name a few.

What this diverse group of fun, interesting people has in common is that they all make a good living doing something they love. Some businesses are online and some are offline; some owners are interested in scaling up to a higher level and others are happy just to have more free time.

Each case study focuses on what you can do to create a similar business. Some of my favorite lessons from the case studies include:

  • How to raise your price from $300 to $500 an hour—and generate more demand
  • Why building relationships with other people in your industry can be the worst thing you can do when you’re trying to get started
  • How an unknown consultant created a $75,000 business in one year.
  • How to set up shop as an offline business in a new city and be profitable in the first month
  • The $50,000 e-book that keeps selling and selling (hint: it’s not one of mine)


None of the case studies are professional bloggers. Many of them use blogs and other online media to get the word out, but their main role is something different.

One other note: in business, money is extremely important — and that’s why we talk about it in every case study. I am not shy about asking the respondents: “How much money do you make?” Not only that, I also ask: “How much money did you make two years ago, and what did you do to make it go up since then?” and “What is your best-selling product or service and why?” And so on.

Hearing that you are “doing well” helps no one. Being specific can help a lot of people, so I’ve been very direct in asking the respondents to show us the money. They all came through, in very specific, actionable ways.

365 Daily Steps

Let’s see… what else? Oh wait! The 365 Daily Steps. See, the EBK includes a bunch of video interviews, audio interviews, and written interviews — in addition to other lessons from my own mobile desk from all over the world. Being in the ADD club, I totally understand how different people relate to different learning styles.

But I wanted to do something else to ensure active participation on the part of every new emperor, so that’s why I’m including a series of daily lessons for an entire year.

That’s right… EBK owners will get 365 mini-lessons over the next year. (I do try to go all out when putting on a serious project.) There isn’t any monthly fee or ongoing charge of any kind — the 365 days of lessons are included with every version of the EBK.

The 24-Hour Launch + “Ask Anything” Webinar

If you’ve been around for a while, you know I’ve been very careful and deliberate with the growth of the Unconventional Guides business. (Check out some of the Store Updates for more history.)

I’m doing the same thing with the Empire Building Kit. This is my first comprehensive resource for entrepreneurs, and I want to be careful about opening it up too broadly at first. Therefore, I’m going to sell it for one day only. Just 24 hours, and then that’s it for at least a month.

This is because I want to work a bit more closely with the first group of emperors. After the 24-hour window closes, I’ll prepare a survey for the first group where they can ask any question they want. I’ll then produce a private webinar for a few weeks later where we go through every single question in detail — no matter how long it takes.

After we’ve had a month to do the webinar and get feedback from the first group of emperors, I’ll do another launch to a broader audience with affiliate partners. There won’t be a webinar the next time, and the price of the budget version will probably go up as well.

Speaking of the price, thanks again for all of the feedback last week. There wasn’t really a consensus–I’m still getting emails about why it should cost $700 or $70 or any number of prices in between–but probably the largest group of folks suggested $365 as a base price, or $1 a day for all the updates. The good news is that those who suggested that price for the base version will be pleased to see it’s actually much less than that.

In the higher version, I also provide an entire module explaining exactly how I’ve set up the Unconventional Guides business, how much money each product makes, the 20-minute action I took last fall that has brought in an additional $4,000 so far, a few big mistakes and a few big successes, and more.

It’s a true “behind-the-curtain” demonstration with no holds barred, including some revelations that I expect will be fairly surprising. This version will cost a bit more, of course, but I know it will provide tremendous value for those who judge it to be a good fit for their situation.

I’ve worked on this project from 10 countries, and I know it is really going to help people take a big commitment towards building or improving their business. If anyone thinks I’ve “sold out” in creating a more comprehensive resource to help entrepreneurs, there’s not much I could say other than “this isn’t for you.” You should certainly not feel any pressure to buy this (or anything else).


Well, that’s it for the non-strategic pre-launch message. I’ll look forward to serving some of you with the EBK, and for everyone else, next week we’ll return to regularly scheduled programming. I’ve got a new interview feature coming up, more travel hacking fun, and so on.

Is that cool with everyone? By the way… Chi-town is a fun place! I’m happy to be here.


Image: NizNoz

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  • Etsuko says:

    I really hope that you’ll get a decent internet connection on the day of launch from the train! I’ll be traveling that day around lunch time (PST) but I want to make sure that I’m there when that happens.

    So….good luck to everyone involved, including Amtrak!

  • Jen says:

    Hey Chris,

    Even if empire building isn’t for everyone, your writing and approach to business and travel resonates with me, so I, for one, am looking forward to EBK release!

  • Can’t wait to see the EBK Chris! I’m already learning a lot from your pre-launch build-up. 🙂

  • Devin says:

    I am rooting for you, Chris,

    It sound like an exciting time and I fully expect a smart well thought out product. Definitely interested in anyone who finds success in professional growth doing something they love.

    On a personal note, just when I thought I had no idea I knew what I was doing, my new site jumped to PR3. Not an incredible feat, but something to be happy about.

  • Patrenia says:

    Ok Chris, you have teased us enough, LOL! I am really ready for Wednesday and can’t wait to see what’s included specifically in EBK. I hope all goes well and I’ll talk to you again on Wednesday!!!

  • Katie says:

    Sounds like an interesting and innovative piece of work, and I’m pretty sure it’ll be exciting for everyone who gets involved – good luck with it.

  • Evie says:

    I am excited to see this tool. I have been searching the internet for resources on how to start-up and really market/work a “lifestyle” business for about a year. Unfortunately, if I could afford what most of those folks are charging I wouldn’t be looking to start my own business – I would just sit home and chill. 🙂


  • Sara R says:

    Geeze! Can I just say that your lead up to the release of the EBK has TOTALLY worked on me! As a follower, I am of course interested…but its to the point that I’m actually thinking “What will he share about this tomorrow” as I’m driving around doing errands. BRILLIANT! Can’t wait to get my grubby little hands on it and be one of your most impressive case studies for a follow up product of sorts 😉

    Thanks for all the hard work that’s clearly gone into this – you are certainly walking the walk and not just talking the talk. Authenticity…it goes a long way!

  • Mars Dorian says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I just love the way you do your product launch with the EBK, it’s genuine and teasing at the same time, without feeling spammy.

    You dominate your part of the web galaxy, and that’s awesome.
    I’ll soon do the same with mine 😉

    Great success with your launch !

  • Bruce says:

    I actually really like the “non-strategic” approach you’ve used here. I’m looking forward to seeing the product go online later this week…

    Does it make me crazy that I want to combine the Emperor information with the April $100 Business Forum? I’ve just got all this ambition that needs to be chanelled. 🙂

    Keep up the great work! I love that you’re launching the product from a train too.

  • Hi Chris, I have to admit that I was disappointed when you chose someone else for the free EBK, but I have to say that I believe that your work is awesome and your way of doing things is very special too. I definitely admire you… be sure that for wednesday I’ll be buying the EBK and I hope my business and life change for the best.

    bye and good luck!

  • Mike C says:

    How very exciting for you! This product sounds off the charts. My next infusion of cash will be a few days late which disappoints me because I’ll have to wait until the next launch window. Otherwise I’d be picking it up Wednesday for sure! Good luck with it Chris.

  • Christianne says:

    You’ve got two big fans over here in Florida that can’t wait until the Wednesday launch! We were text messaging each other this afternoon: “EBK update is up!” “How does it look?” “Great so far!”

    Needless to say, we are looking forward to getting each new update, and the Wednesday launch is going to be spectacular, I’m sure.

    BTW, I find it clever that you’re doing the first launch in a 24-hour window. What a great way to increase demand and incite all of us to action!

    I’m so glad for your success, and also for your generosity of spirit. Thank you for what you do.

  • Hey Chris-

    I couldn’t be more excited for the EBK project. I look forward to (hopefully) purchasing it and learning how to make the most out of my small business! I know both Tyler and I are really enthusiastic about it.

    Have lots of fun in Chicago (you should definitely visit the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown)

  • Steven says:

    Chris – I hope we’ll have a chance to learn more about what’s in the EBK soon. Will the product launch contain all the gory details? Spending $50 for a product is one thing. But it sounds like the EBK will be a lot more than that. I will be hesitant to buy it if I don’t see how it will relate to the things I am trying to do. I look forward to the launch. Good luck!

  • Way to go Chris. Well done. Can’t wait to see it.

  • Geektronica says:

    Excellent! I am looking forward to it.

    I hope the price is under $200, as cash on hand is likely an issue for a lot of us. I’d be fine paying $200-$300 over the course of a year on a subscription basis.

    Either way, I’ll be excited to see the launch on Wednesday.

  • Susan says:

    You’re starting to intimidate us. I wouldn’t say you lack strategy, seems like strategic teasing…

  • Elle says:

    I’m looking forward to the EBK on Wednesday!

  • Phyllis says:

    I’m new to your blog, but completely intrigued. Love the 365 idea. Look forward to learning more.

  • Meg says:

    “The good news is that those who suggested that price for the base version will be pleased to see it’s actually much less than that.”

    The hope that my pending-unemployment self has wanted to hear! 😉 Unless something really throws a wrench at me, I’m hoping to be one of your first emperors-in-training. 😛

  • Hey Chris,

    What are the key differences between the EBK and your current Work for yourself guide?
    Who should buy each one? Or should I just buy both?

    I’m interested in running my own business but I have no idea what business to run (I’ve been a freelancer before but I’m not sold on the benefits of that compared to working full time – when I have an awesome employer). I’m about to move to the UK from New Zealand and then start travelling from there so while I’d love to start something right now – I’m not sure I can devote the time I’d need to make the most of EBK.

    What do you (or anyone else reading the comments!) think?

  • the other question I forgot in my previous comment:
    Where does the $100 business forum fit into this picture as you see it?

  • Chris says:


    Good questions. In short I’d say:

    WFY: more of an overview and quick fix (which isn’t bad; sometimes that’s what you need)
    EBK: comprehensive resource designed for people to create a legacy project over time
    $100 Biz: community group to begin working towards a project in a short period of time

  • Sonicsuns says:

    Sounds good. I don’t really have the money to purchase it right now, but I’ll look into it at some point.

  • geraldine says:

    If you decide to come to Europe (The Netherlands) in the near future, I would love to do the tourist thing with you in Amsterdam!

  • Listen, all I know is that because of you and your advice on frequent flyer miles, I effectively got a free round trip ticket any where in the world for $75. So, in my humble opinion, anything you charge is more than fair because I saved an unbelievable amount by taking your FREE advice. I can’t imagine how effective your PAID advice will be. Keep up the excellent work and I can’t wait to see where you go from here.


  • Jeff says:

    The daily lessons sound like the perfect plan for a newbie like me. Can’t wait to check it out.

  • Wow, Chris — you are truly in the zone — I can barely keep up with all your posts! I just wanted to give you a huge congratulations on these exciting projects — your enthusiasm is definitely contagious. Best of luck, and I can’t wait for the $100 Small Business Launch seminar in June!

  • Scott Webb says:

    You have built up fantastic anticipation for this!

    I hope people realize that this has the real potential to change the way they live.

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