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Launch your business without external assistance: Bootstrapping can be the key to success

Learn how to build your startup with limited resources and the advantages and disadvantages of this approach.

Starting a Startup

Starting a startup can be a life-changing adventure filled with wonderful but also daunting moments. However, to start a business, you need financial resources. Finding investors, however, is not always easy.

Some fortunate startups quickly secure funds from business angels. However, the majority of startups either cannot find seed funding or the founders prefer not to give away company equity. In such cases, many founders consider “self-financing” or “bootstrapping.” We’ll show you how this can work.

What is Bootstrapping?

Bootstrapping, or self-financing, means using personal assets to develop your business. Instead of relying on external sources of capital such as business angels, venture capital, or family and friends, bootstrapped companies depend solely on the founders’ equity or the initial earnings of the business. In general, bootstrapped companies focus on generating revenue early and most of them are thrifty, economical, and extremely cautious with every investment.


  • Full control of your business: With seed funding, you have to give away shares in the initial investment and in each subsequent round. Bootstrapping allows you to retain full control of your equity.
  • Pressure to create a sustainable business model: Bootstrapped companies rely on developing sustainable and profitable business models from the outset. Startups with seed funding often focus on generating gross revenue even if each customer causes losses. In the long run, many of these startups fail due to the inability to transition to a net-positive operating model. Bootstrapped startups are typically quicker to become profitable, even if it may come at the expense of overall growth.
  • Fewer external influences: Some founders prefer to work alone. Bootstrapping prevents you from having to answer to external forces or deal with external influences.
  • Learning valuable lessons: Growing a business with your own capital teaches important lessons about financial management and leadership.


  • Less capital available: You likely won’t have the same level of capital as with seed funding. You’ll probably have less operating capital.
  • Risky: If your startup fails, the burden is on you. Bootstrapping is therefore risky but also rewarding.
  • No mentors: Seed funding comes with its own benefits. Incubators, business angels, and accelerators all offer mentors and resources.
  • Restriction of network and connections: Self-financing means you can’t establish the same connections as with seed funding. You’re largely on your own.

How to Bootstrap Your Startup

Successful companies like GoPro, Shopify, Wayfair, and GitHub started by bootstrapping. Self-financing your startup requires either using your personal savings, taking out loans, or quickly creating a profitable business. However, you don’t need to jeopardize your livelihood to create a successful startup. Focus on immediate profitability, slow growth, and smart business decisions.

Here are some tips to successfully bootstrap your startup:

  • Use loans wisely: SBA loans and microloans are a good way to quickly raise capital without taking out a second mortgage. Don’t risk your entire livelihood on your startup. Be cautious. Choose loans that are repayable without exposing your family or yourself to significant risks.
  • Select the right team: Bootstrapped companies should focus on hiring committed, growth-oriented team members. Choose people who are brand ambassadors. You want dedicated, focused, and ambitious talents around you.
  • Focus on profitability instead of rapid growth: You likely need to make money quickly. Initially, concentrate on easily accessible markets before diving headfirst into challenging high-growth markets. Generate revenue quickly and focus on medium-term goals after achieving some profitable milestones.
  • Limit outsourcing: While outsourcing makes sense later on, reduce your expenses at the outset. Try to learn as many skills as possible. Most self-funded founders are simultaneously marketers, salespeople, and executives.
  • Save money: Opt for used equipment. Find cost-effective office spaces. And always be mindful of saving money when pursuing new objectives or acquiring business solutions.

Launch your business without external assistance: Bootstrapping can be the key to success

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