What does it take to bootstrap a startup from scratch?
You should come to grips with the fact that you will have no set schedule. Building your company isn’t something you do from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and leave behind when Friday evening rolls around. Being an entrepreneur is far more than a full-time job — think of it as having multiple jobs.. Your startup becomes an obsession — you eat, sleep and breathe it.
While it’s extremely rewarding to start a company, it is also painful. What most people don’t realize is that startups involve a lot of time, energy and sometimes even money.
Not all startups have the luxury of getting investors right off the bat …sometimes it takes funding it out of your own pocket (bootstrapping).
If you’re bootstrapping your company, you’re most likely not taking home a paycheck. No salary means you have tight purse strings. Consider every purchase carefully and only spend when it’s necessary.
Living the life of a founder/entrepreneur can take a huge toll on your health. Besides investing every penny in your company you also need to remember to invest in yourself This can be hard, when you think about buying your next meal or having the money go towards a flyer or Facebook Ad for customer acquisition, etc.
Here is some of what I did, living on $28 a week ($4 a day) budget, while putting the rest of my money into the company.
1. Never allow leftovers to go bad.
2. Supplement with inexpensive foods (AKA Peanut butter, Canned beans, Canned Salmon, Eggs).
- Canned beans are cheap and full of protein. You can make a salad by mixing Salmon and beans. Good energy and low fat.
3. Shop in the produce aisle ( Potatoes, carrots, celery, lettuce, cabbage, bananas).
- Baked potatoes are great! Cheap, filling and quick to make. Soup is pretty awesome too. Boil a load of vegetables, throw in some spice, blend it up and done.
4. Substantial amount of cereals and oatmeal.
- Oatmeal is an awesome start to the day. It’s super cheap, filling, and you’ll be fuelled all morning.
5. Avoid junk food.
- You’ll get the sugar rush and then the crash. Besides, you’re in front of a computer all day, you won’t be burning much off.
I was able to find some great recipes at “Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day”, I called it the “Founder’s Menu” :-)
I would plan my meals ahead, and only go shopping one time per week (Sundays), never stepping foot back in the store for the rest of the week. NO MATTER WHAT! This took some time to adjust to a tighter budget.
Bootstrapping a company is difficult, but it’s by no means impossible. With the right amount of hard work, and passion for your company, it’s almost easy to give up a chunk of your personal life today for the sake of your future. And as many have said it before me… “it’s making an investment in yourself that will pay off for your company in the long run.”