Lessons from this entrepreneur’s bootstrapping successes
5 Simple Ways This Millennial Serial Entrepreneur Bootstrapped His Own Businesses to Success
One of the challenges every entrepreneur faces is funding the business–both at startup, and in growth mode. Every business eats cash, and you’ve got to have plenty of it if you want to succeed in the long run.
So, where should you get the money to fund your business?
Do you try to raise money from friends, family, or investors? Or do you bootstrap the business–using your own funds to get started, then continuing to fund the business from your proceeds as it grows?
Donny Zanger is a pretty amazing serial entrepreneur I’ve known for some time. This millennial New Yorker has bootstrapped a deck painting company, a temporary wall company, a software company, and a data recovery company–never raising a penny from investors.
1. Saving play.
A penny saved is a penny earned, right? Says Donny, it’s not so crazy, and it works. You may have to live with a roommate or live in a part of town that isn’t as fancy. Get used to it. The faster you ignore the things that aren’t important in building a profitable and sustainable business, the better off you are. Donny explains, “When you’re bootstrapping, every bit of cash you can invest into your business is another piece of the puzzle, and soon the pieces all come together.”
2. Mental play.
When you’re in startup mode, it’s super important to take care of yourself. Says Donny, “You can’t afford a gym membership, so you’d better buy yourself a pair of shorts at Walmart and work out in the park five, six days a week. Cut down on the beer and fast food and eat clean.” Being focused and mentally sharp is half the battle–your mind has to be 100 percent engaged in building your business. So grab your running shoes and trail mix if you’re in it for the long haul.
3. Knowledge play.
4. Equity play.
This one is key and can be very helpful in scaling your business without raising a penny. According to Donny, “It’s important to have the knowledge part down, because convincing someone to code your new website in exchange for an equity stake only works if you have knowledge to offer, as well.” Donny offers this example: You work at Starbucks and babysit on the weekends and you save $350 a month for a year. After two years, you’ve got $8,400 to put into a company. During those two years, you’ve been learning and studying–becoming really well versed in marketing. You post an ad for a programmer on Craigslist or on a co-founder website, and offer to do the marketing and fund the beginning stages of the company while she codes the website. In exchange, you offer her 25 percent founder stock. Bam–you’ve got a company.