Bootstrapping 101

So you are thinking of starting a business for yourself or going freelance.

The first thing you may need to know first is called bootstrapping.

Bootstrapping-where you do literally everything yourself, including paying for everything yourself, sometimes without having money to pay for it.

Every entrepeneur starting out

What does this mean for you

Let’s talk about this subject for a moment. It may mean many different things to a lot of you out there.

Bootstrapping is financially supporting an idea, project, or business endeavor. This would mean that you alone as the one with the idea is funding your idea. This can be from sales of another project, using your actual 9-5 type job, or using some savings.

Does this mean you will do this on all future projects? Maybe, but not usually. Most of the time you may have a few backers as well. VCs or Venture Capitalists can bankroll most of your project if it looks like a viable business for a profit. The downside to this is you may lose creative control, and management style if using this route.

Other forms of bootstrapping

Besides funding your project, or using a VC. The other form of bootstrapping usually involves you paying for everything, but also doing all of the work as well.

Generally, most will use this form of bootstrapping at first. Let’s face it, you’re starting out. Do not have the resources in place to either bring others to help, or there is a lack of talent available. This would mean that you are literally doing it all by yourself. From funding, programming, marketing, and social media.

Crowdfunding is not new, but a way to have followers get a piece of the action and also sometimes good stuff from the company for their support. Using this form of bootstrapping is a good way to get the word out about your project. It is also a way to get funding to lessen the blow of funding it all by yourself.

So with the last 2 forms of bootstrapping, besides doing everything yourself at first. Many may also have the problem of not being able to find talent or even get help when asked. This is where many new startups in any niche or industry will be tested.

bootstrapping article from Formstack.com *1

Learn while doing

Like the heading says, nothing better than learning while doing. This is something that, while may be hard at first. Is way better than having to watch a video about something and find out that it does not quite work out the way you want it. So you end up reading plenty of forum posts, FAQ’s and ask for help on social media.

One of the hardest part of learning on the fly. Is that you may have to try it a few times before it works out like you want it. This doesn’t mean you need to stop. Just need to make notes and pay attention to the process in case you need to duplicate it later.

You will find that some things are not so easily learned and the curve can be hard to climb when first attempting the task. Do not get discouraged or upset. There may come a point where you may just have to have someone else complete the task for you. This is where those platforms for gig workers will come handy. More on that later in this post.

Good learning resources

A good resource for finding out how to do something is doing a simple google search and the results will show everything from blog posts, videos, and articles. A good rule of thumb is to use those videos more than reading. Not everyone will be able to convey the information in a way to be understood as easily as video. This being that video can show more than a screenshot would and a few paragraphs. Otherwise you run into the risk of TL;DR.

With videos from Skillshare, YouTube, Udemy and etc., you will learn a lot and can be specific as well in your search. This makes finding a solution to your problem faster and also help the creator as well in the process!

The last good resource is by far the oldest one (since the beginning of the internet) is using forums. These can be found in many places and within niches as well. Some platforms will have a forum set up for other users of the software or product to form a community to share ideas, workarounds, and solutions for issues that the developer or creator hasn’t encounter or dealt with just yet. This is how innovation gets handled while providing value to solutions for the user.

Lets pull those bootstraps up

So with bootstrapping and figuring out that you may need to do everything on your own. While also draining your accounts financially when possibly there is no money coming in.

Finding the resources needed to just start isn’t easy. Neither is doing it by yourself not knowing anything about web development, setting up a domain, financials for the business or even social media and marketing. Your biggest obstacle is going to be that voice in your head telling you that it will not work or something like that. I will tell you “who cares” and just try it and see what happens. You never know unless you try it. The results no matter what happens, you will find that experience will be gained no matter the outcome. It takes one time doing it for experience in that particular task.


  1. Photo from “https://www.formstack.com/resources/blog-bootstrap-business-lessons

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