5 Tips for Bootstrapping Your Startup or Small Business

For nearly a year before we sought outside funding for crowdSPRING, we bootstrapped. In fact, I continued to work full time until December 2007 (maintaining an active law practice) while also working full time on crowdSPRING. I hardly ever slept.

In this 6 minute video, I talk about my experience with bootstrapping and offer 5 suggestions, based on my experience, that will hopefully help you to bootstrap your startup or small business.

If you’re enjoying these videos, I ask for a small favor in return. Leave a comment with a suggestion or question or retweet this post (or both). And if there are particular topics you’d like to hear about – please let me know in the comments.


  1. Great video! This reminds me of the book I just finished reading by 37 signals “Getting Real” and would suggest it to all the bootstrappers out there. It really complements the last part of this video in that you should release early and often, keep it simple, and just get your business out there so you can start to get feedback from your customers. Check it out: http://gettingreal.37signals.com

  2. Scott – Getting Real is an excellent book. I read it back when it was first released and it helped to shape some of our early thinking for crowdSPRING. Like you, I highly recommend that people read it.

  3. Ross, so so true. Most new comers are impressed by the new fancy chair or desk. Get your business going and profitable, the rest will take care of itself.

    Keep up the good posts, wish I had them 20 years ago when I was getting started.

  4. Matt Curtin says:

    Ross, as always, clear and right to the point. You and Mike have become great “virtual mentors” for me as I pursue bootstrapping a startup of my own. And your content and delivery is better than many books/websites I have seen. I appreciate you guys taking the time to give your time back to the entrepreneurial collective!!! Keep it up.


  5. Great post Ross. We find ourselves getting caught up with point #5 from time to time. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Much appreciated.

  6. John – much thanks. It still amazes me that the people who talk about profitability are outliers. It should be the other way around.

    Matt – Much thanks for the words of encouragement. Let me know if there are any topics you’d like to hear about. We’ve made tons of mistakes along the way, so I have plenty of content – but happy to prioritize if there are particular issues that people are interested in. For example, next week, someone requested a video about technical co-founders…

    Scott – thanks the the kind words.

  7. Ross,

    Great to see this vid. It’s hard to quantify the top 5 things startups should do since it seems like the list should be 20 😀 But I would definitely say that those core areas are extremely important. We’re in the process of refactoring ourselves after ‘stumbling’ a bit with our plan and trying to fix what’s wrong. As a potential next topic, I think it’d be awesome for you to talk about walking the line between having a healthy collaborative environment and ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ that lead to morale & feature quicksand for the team. Take care!

  8. Sami – you’re right that there are many things a startup must do. Coming up with a top 5 was not easy. Good luck with your refactoring project!

    Thanks for the suggestion about a future topic on the line between a healthy collaborative environment and too many cooks in the kitchen – I’ve added that topic to the list.


  1. […] entrepreneurs prefer to bootsrap their startup. But this is not always practical or possible for all startups. Some startups must bring in outside […]

Speak Your Mind