Just Another Scrappy Startup

Posted on June 15, 2009

Anytime I talk to people about starting up, I get the same reactions – are you sure? In this economy? Do you have funding locked?  My answer is always the same – we’re bootstrapping, looking at creative options for money and want to go as long as possible before trying to do the rounds. I like to think that the two of us have lots of friends and great connections so when the time comes and we need bigger funds to grow, we’ll have other options to consider. But we haven’t even launched our first product and we both firmly believe we can do this without going to poor house – it just takes some ingenuity.

When all those comments get me a down, I look for inspiration.

So, a few weeks ago I happened across Dave McClure’s tweet about scrappy startups, and just reading it gave me another boost of “I know we can”. Which reminds me that I also have a copy of Little Toot on my shelf somewhere… But seriously, it’s a link to a blogpost by the team behind UserVoice and I love their focus and dedication – and seeing how they’ve made such great headway in one year. I’m really glad they shared because stories like that get me pumped.

Daves Tweet about scrappy startups

Dave's Tweet about scrappy startups

It also turned me on to this fun mini-post from BusinessWeek.com (scroll down past the pirate articles) which made me think of all the other things we’re doing to make this work, yet enjoy this amazing time of freedom and creativity. And since I know that we’re not the only ones thinking that now is our time, I thought I’d share some additional thoughts for all of our spunky comrades in bootstrapping.

  • Clearly, cutting down on expenses is essential. I’ve changed many habits and have even changed my living situation because making this work is absolutely my top priority. I even told my landlord I needed to cut my rent down a little or he needed to find a new tenant. He was amenable.
  • Don’t get lured into buying full solutions. The bizdev guys seem to love us and want our non-existent money – they’ll make you think you can’t succeed without them, that they’re the only solution. Until we have a full proof of concept and start building an audience, we can only spend money on the essentials – and even for that, we’re looking for the best deals for everything.
  • Bartering is our friend. Already we’re finding ways of trading services. Actually, we’re broadening our options by leveraging our own personal skills as well as future product opportunities. For example, we can help busy professionals with SEO and social media in exchange for their services. Win win.
  • Searches on the web may make you think that bootstrapping is synonymous with ramen noodles and junk food. JUST SAY NO. For the same money, buy fruit, nuts and dark greens in bulk and live off that. It will keep you healthier and give you more brain power – seriously. Eat food that is going to work for you and FUEL your creativity and stamina. If you’re 22, I suppose it doesn’t matter. But we’re not – so there’s no messing around. Here’s a great article about how to stay healthy while starting your business.
  • Have laptop, will work from anywhere. It’s almost summer and to me, there’s no reason to do this venture if I’m not going to enjoy it. Finding places with free wifi, particularly if they have outdoor seating, is pretty easy (at least in the cities where I tend to hang out) so it’s a great opportunity to change scenery, which is also great for creativity. Plus, you never know when you might meet some interesting, new person. Here – find a Jelly near you!

There’s more but I’ll save them for a rainy day. Here are a few other posts I’ve found recently on the topic – thanks to everyone out there sharing their experiences and offering up new ideas and resources.

How One Small Scrappy Startup Is Surviving (And Growing) During The Financial Crisis by SocialMedian.com
8 Things Bootstrappers Should Know by Andew Warner
Bootstrapping Your Startup by Entrepreneur.com
Bootstrapping a Startup by BusinessWeek.com
Bootstrapping Tips by BootstrapMe.com
Top 10 Reasons to Start a Business in a Recession by Entrepreneur.com
Bootstrapping Your Startup – 12 Rules of Bootstrapping by RyanSpoon.com

Got more words of wisdom to share with us? Leave them in the comments or drop us a note at friends@shinyheartventures.com.

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One Response to “Just Another Scrappy Startup”

  1. Jeff O'Hara
    Jun 30, 2009

    Only spending money on essentials is a necessity for any boot strapped startup. I can attest to that. Good luck, and I can’t wait to see what you launch.



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