Bootstrapping is Possible! - Do Not Quit Your Job!

February 23, 2022

I am on a mission to save you the pain of learning that there is strength in getting paid while you test your idea.

I have read many posts about the pros of not leaving your day job, but they do not provide tools for making it work.

Now, this is important. Before we continue:

DO NOT QUIT YOUR JOB.

And just to make it more clear.

DO NOT QUIT YOUR JOB!!!

Ok, so let me explain.

It takes time to bootstrap.

In one bootstrap attempt, I decided to go all-in from day one. I thought I had it figured out with a clear plan and customers.

But things did not exactly go as fast as I planned, and I felt the time slipping away from me, and the pressure was on bringing enough money home to pay the bills.

I felt the walls closing in on me.

My decisions were starting to be biased towards the negative. Everything eventually led to closing and getting money to pay the bills.

You don’t want the venture to fail just because you don’t have enough time and money to go on.

Do a little research online, and you’ll discover that bootstrap can take around 2 years (full-time) to get to enough money (revenue or investment) to be all-in. A good bootstrapper needs to plan how to survive the next 2 years.

In later posts, I will elaborate on ways to validate your services and products before quitting and build a runway to sustain you for the years necessary to make it work.

Moving on…

I recall, in particular, one bootstrap attempt where I had no idea what to do, so I just started making for myself what I built for others (it was a decision management SAAS) and ended up with crickets.

I was sure it would work and be required because obviously, who doesn’t need a decision-making SAAS?

Because there are many decision-making SAAS out there (and I am passionate about it), it stands to reason there is room for another one without a need to validate it.

It took months to get an MVP, and I had no idea what to do with it or pivot. I remember scratching my head trying to recall why I started this?

Finally, I recalled, the excuse was, I would figure it out later—a big mistake.

Most businesses fail within three years.

Starting a new business is exciting and full of energy—many people direct that energy to making a product or service because they want to get started.

And, frankly, that is our comfort zone as professionals who worked for others for so long.

That is the problem, misdirected energy.

Bootstrapping is tricky and, without an appropriate business strategy, is comparable to crossing the ocean on a pedal boat.

Ridiculous right? But this is what is expected of you if you start that way.

Your skills in pedaling may be admiring, but the sea is so big that it probably won’t be enough.

As skilled professionals, we know how to manufacture products and provide services, but there is more to business than that.

Simply expecting customers to buy will sink your boat.

Here is the thing…

Great bootstrappers:

  • Develop a concept
  • Make a few slides to demonstrate
  • Find a way to validate the demo by marketing and selling

(Iterate until you have enough pre-orders)

  • Building a runway - you need enough runway to survive the attempt (money and time).

BEFORE producing the service or product.

It is very well possible you won’t believe me and start in a way aligned with your comfort zone or worse, (Please Do Not) quit your job. Been there, done that. Never worked.

I will elaborate on each point in the following posts.

A few words about what it means to bootstrap. Bootstrap does not mean that you are never going to get an investment.

It only means that this is a phase whereby you either:

  • Choose never to get an investment and rely on revenue.
  • Need to get to a point where you can get an investment.
  • Want to have a better terms sheet by bootstrapping for a while.

Bootstrapping is both improbable but done right. It may just be possible!

I started bootstrapping on/off from the year 2000. Some were more successful, and some miserably failed.

Those that I can call successes were methodically approached (I will be giving examples in later posts). Those that failed were winging it or hopelessly trying to save some other failed venture.

I hope that I can help you succeed in your enterprise with minimal growing pains and happy feelings that you are on track.

In this series, I will be writing about the experience and techniques required to bootstrap. Especially the ones about not losing everything by just jumping in without a business plan.

Subscribe to the newsletter to hear more.

Yours,

—Tzahi


Hi! I am Tzahi Fadida, and I teach how to jump-start your professional dream by methodically bootstrapping your business and without quitting your job.

Subscribe to the Newsletter