Let’s face it. Bootstrapping requires micromanaging. One, you don’t have the financial luxury to delegate or outsource all the items on that exhaustive, ever-replenishing checklist to bring your creation to life. Two, you’re only one person with limited free time managing a product that would normally have multiple teams to get it done..
Any self-funded entrepreneur will readily share with you how arduous and painstakingly slow the process is when you’re bootstrapping your start up. Money disappears very quickly, and coupled with trying to be frugal to stretch your finite resources can be daunting. Time to completion seems eons away. In spite of the frustrations and the issues that befall self- funders, you exude and radiate the glow of a first time parent; smitten by the wonder of their creation. I know this feeling well. Three grueling years. I felt like giving up multiple times). Now, I wouldn’t even consider bypassing a single experience of this process.
Here are the reasons why doing it on your own tests your resiliency and makes you stronger:
- Bootstrapping teaches patience: When you pay as you go, you learn quickly how to prioritize, determine what you save towards, and what your needs are versus wants. More importantly, you develop a pragmatic relationship with the amount of time and effort it will take to get things done. I remember applying for the trademarks for my business on my own to save money by not hiring a patent attorney. It took two years. With an attorney: less than a year. My applications were rejected numerous times due to my naivety of the process. When I was finally awarded those trademarks, I was overcome with good tears; proud that I persevered and persisted.
Tip: Reflect on the wins you had and the journey it took to get there. Feel the joy of those moments.
- Bootstrapping unleashes creativity: With limited funds to outsource work, the creative mind [you] that created the product you’re making, will create workarounds to get their creation created! Whether it’s through combing the internet to read about areas in which you’re unfamiliar with to see if you can teach yourself just well enough to “wing it” just so that’s one less thing on the list of items that require money that you’ll take care. I learned how to write non-disclosure and non-compete agreements by researching elements online. Terms and Conditions was way above my brain tolerance, so I deferred to a professional
Tip: Reflect on the times you had to pull a “gum and duct tape” move to quickly resolve a potential crisis. Pat yourself on the back for your ingenuity.
- Bootstrapping bolsters street-smarts: Since self-funders, like you, touch every single aspect of your business repeatedly to de-scope, refine, and enhance requirements, you know when someone is trying to rip you off, asking too many pointed questions to copycat your dream, or promising untenable results. You’ve done EVERY role in the company (tester, designer, accountant, legal adviser, graphic artist, UX/UI, marketer, sales). No one can con you. For instance, I used a tech company to build my app and was told they could have it done in 16 weeks. They handed over an unfinished product a year and a half later. When I did the rebuild with another company, I mentally estimated a realistic timeframe of 10-12 months and was spot on!
Tip: Reflect on how your intuition proved you right and saved you from people who weren’t a right fit. Wipe the sweat from your brow from that great escape.
The bottom line is nobody will ever know your business better than you. No one will truly appreciate the sacrifices that you’ve made to bring your idea to life. So, bare your battle scars with honor! Those bruises you got by removing the obstacles along the way have presented a creation of immense beauty. So proud of you! If you made this happen without help, imagine if you had it all?…