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Bootstrapping Startup Resources

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This is a guide I prepared for this blog post: http://justinmcgill.net/why-first-time-entrepreneurs-should-bootstrap-their-startups/

You will learn who to follow, what blogs to read, tools to use, and even some cheat sheets and templates to use.

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Bootstrapping Startup Resources

  1. 1. Bootstrapping Startup Resources BY JUSTIN MCGILL HTTP: / /TWITTER.COM/JUS10MCGILL HTTP: / /JUSTINMCGILL.NET
  2. 2. Bootstrapping: “Building a business out of very little or virtually nothing. Bootstrappers rely usually on personal income and savings, sweat equity, lowest possible operating costs, fast inventory turnaround, and a cash-only approach to selling.” BusinessDictionary.com
  3. 3. Index Introduction …………………………………………… 4 Benefits …………………………………………………. 7 Communities ..………………………………………… 8 Podcasts ………………………………………………… 9 LinkedIn Groups ……………………………………. 10 Blogs …………………………………………………….. 11 Books ……………………………………………………. 12 Cheat Sheets ………………………………………….. 13 People to Follow …………………………………….. 14 Bootstrapper Tools …………………………………. 15 Bootstrapping Mistakes ………………………….. 16 Conclusion …………………………………………….. 17 My Last Recommendation ………………………. 18
  4. 4. Introduction Much to learn, grasshopper! Early in 2008 I was getting my entrepreneurial journey started. I had experience with Dreamweaver and could dabble with websites (I did it as a hobby) so I decided to start by offering that as a service. At the same time, I was helping a friend get his business off the ground. I was fully immersed in starting up and obsessed with trying to find ways to grow a business. My days consisted of 16 hour days of work. I was a father to a 2 and a half year old. It was hectic and incredibly stressful. My back was against the wall and I remember saying: “This has to work!” I was stubborn and relentless, but sure enough I eventually got through. Both of those businesses are still around today! It is these lessons of business management, developing sales skills, learning marketing techniques, exploring partnerships, outsourcing, bartering, and more that make you a MUCH stronger entrepreneur and will aide you in future endeavors.
  5. 5. Consulting first, full-fledged startup later Six-plus years later I have begun a new journey by transitioning from service consulting to product. I think this is the best route for a Bootstrapper, simply because you can start to scale back on your consulting work as your product begins to take shape. In my case, my web development business became a full-fledged digital marketing agency with a team I can trust to run it. In my opinion, I think it is going to be a pretty long road if you are working full time and just working on your startup during weekends and off hours. It was hard enough for me when I was working 16 hour days!
  6. 6. Bootstrap first, then you can consider investment An alternative to bootstrapping is to obviously secure an investment. This comes with its own set of hurdles (not to mention a chunk of your time in trying to find investors, creating pitches, etc). Typically, you aren’t going to get any serious investment based on an idea anyway. So to secure a decent investment in the several hundred thousand range or more, you are going to need to show your business model is working, you have customers paying you, etc. So even if you are going to try securing capital, you are going to need to go through a bootstrapped phase to begin with anyway in order to get your first customers onboard.
  7. 7. Benefits of Bootstrapping 1. Keeps focus on revenue 2. You keep more profit 3. You have more control 4. No investor meetings 5. You learn lessons that secure your future 6. You learn to stay lean by coming up with creative ways to get results without a big budget 7. As the only decision maker, you can move fast 8. You wear all the hats, so you have a complete understanding of your entire business
  8. 8. Communities to Participate Discuss Bootstrapped Bootstrappers Inbound.org Entrepreneur Connect Startup Nation Biznik
  9. 9. Podcasts to Listen To Bootstrapped The Business and Bootstrapping Podcast Bootstrapped Web Startups for the Rest of Us Entrepreneur on Fire Starting from Nothing TechZing The Tropical MBA Marketing for Founders Let's Talk Serious Startups
  10. 10. LinkedIn Groups to Join Bootstrap Entrepreneurs Entrepreneur—Think Big! The Entrepreneur Zone Bootstrapping Social Startups On Startups A Startup Specialist Group
  11. 11. Blogs to Follow Self Made Businessman Matt Kremer Justin McGill – aka ME Alex Turnbull @ Groove Signal v. Noise Dan Norris Joel Gascoigne Kate Kendall Ryan Carson Justin Khan
  12. 12. Books to Read Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days Bootstrapping Bootstrapping Your Business: Start and Grow a Successful Company with Almost No Money Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business Launch Start Small, Stay Small
  13. 13. Cheat Sheets An Entrepreneur’s Cheat Sheet of 10 Useful Business Reminders The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Starting And Running Your Business The Ultimate Small-Business Cheat Sheet Startup Marketing Plan Template
  14. 14. More People You Should Follow Amy Hoy Jason Cohen Brian Casel Adii Pienaar Rachel Andrew Rob Walling Mike Taber
  15. 15. Bootstrapper Tools 12 (Mostly Free) Web Tools for Entrepreneurs Entrepreneur and Business Start-Up Tools and Resources 6 Productivity Tools Every Entrepreneur Should Use 21 Tools to Make Every Busy Entrepreneur’s Life Easier
  16. 16. Bootstrapping Mistakes Not starting with what you know Stick with your domain of expertise so that you have not only insight but an understanding of who your customers are right out of the gate. Thinking too big It’s great to want to be the next Zuckerberg, but even Facebook started small. Launch with the smallest version of your product as you can. It ends up costing you less, it gets you talking to potential customers sooner, and gets you working on the ultimate iteration of your business that may lead to success. Chances are it won't be the first iteration that makes it. I also follow Rod Walling’s model of using no employees – just contractors on an as-needed basis. Fear of Failure There is value in failing. You learn a tremendous amount when dealing with failure. Not just learning from mistakes for business purposes, but you learn a lot about yourself as well.
  17. 17. Conclusion Don't get me wrong: having investment in an idea or early stage startup can certainly help grow your business substantially. That doesn’t necessarily increase your odds of succeeding, though. Chances are, if you can’t get your business off the ground in a bootstrapped fashion then your business isn’t going to succeed anyway, since you are going to need to validate the model regardless. You don't know what you don't know, so taking the lumps as a bootstrapper allows you to learn some pretty Important lessons. These lessons and the experience make you that much more likely to land investment in the future while putting you in a position to be able to negotiate a more favorable equity split.
  18. 18. My Last Recommendation Read and learn as much as you can, but don’t forget to take action. As I always say, “Get Shit Done!” Follow along as I let you in on strategies I used to grow a 7 figure digital marketing agency and the things I learn as I transition into products like Workado. Catch me on Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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