If you’ve done any research into starting your own business, you’ve probably read about the benefits of bootstrapping. But in case you’re not sure what the term means, it’s simply a way of building a business from the ground up, using the resources you have. This means that you don’t have to spend endless amounts of time writing business plans and attending meetings for bank loans. And you don’t have to worry about losing money that investors have poured into your venture. You can start as slowly as you need to and put all your revenue back into your business until you’re ready to draw a salary. But it’s not always easy to take this route. Sometimes it means the business grows much slower than you need it to. But if you’re willing to put in the time and work, it’s potentially the best way to get started. Here’s how to bootstrap your business.
Choose a business with low startup costs
Businesses that don’t require a lot of upfront capital are obviously the best choice for bootstrapping. And there are probably more out there than you think. One example is a freelancing business. There are hundreds of services you can offer online that many other businesses are willing to pay for. Content writing, web design, graphic design, marketing, and photography are just a few of these types of services. And most of them don’t require anything but your skills and your willingness to list your services for sale.
Do your research
There are a lot of scammers online, so it’s hard to know who to trust. But you can usually find plenty of legitimate online business owners through Facebook groups or within your own network. Also, depending on their types of businesses, you can usually investigate them for yourself. For example, someone who offers advice to bloggers will have their own blog you can check out. You can check their Alexa ranking, read blog comments, or even just do a Google search for their site to find out more. Once you have found a few people who you are confident are doing well in the type of business you want, read what they have to say. You can also email them for advice or look for group posts that discuss the things you want to know.
Don’t quit your day job
Stick with your current source of stable income as long as you can. For one thing, you need to test your business model to see if it will generate sufficient income. But for another thing, you can use some of your disposable income from that job to invest in your business. Start as small as you can with your business, but don’t be afraid to spend a little money to get started. For example, if you decide to start a business selling merchandise online, you will have to spend a little of your capital on products to test the market. A great place to find items to sell is through a Target liquidation or other types of auctions. You can usually bid on pallets of products that will sell fairly well on platforms like Amazon and eBay. Just make sure you calculate how much you can spend while still turning a profit.
Many popular business models, such as blogging, reselling, and freelancing are easy to learn from other entrepreneurs. They may offer affordable courses, mentorships, or free material to get you started. Don’t make the mistake of failing to invest in some of the tools that will help you succeed. Bootstrapping doesn’t mean you can’t spend a dime. It just means you won’t risk losing everything you have by taking out loans or blowing your savings.