Whether your million-dollar idea is selling granola or software, you likely share a common fear with new business owners across the world: money. It’s not easy to cover bills and expenses as you build your startup to success. And startups are rarely profitable from the get-go.
But plenty of entrepreneurs have found creative ways to self-fund their businesses. Try one of these methods to bootstrap your own startup without going broke and follow in the footsteps of other successful entrepreneurs:
1. Consult in the same field as your startup
Aside from providing cash flow to cover your expenses, consulting is an opportunity to make connections and establish credibility in the same industry as your startup. Use your expertise as a consultant to network, build your client base and gain authority. All will be beneficial to building out your startup once you’re ready to launch.
For example, look at Mike McDerment, founder of invoicing software FreshBooks. He worked as a full-time consultant as he built his software company on the side. Once FreshBooks became cash flow positive, McDermett was able to leave consulting behind and focus on building the company full-time.
2. Work a part-time gig
Perhaps consulting isn’t your thing, but you still need work just to keep the lights on. Your side job and your startup don’t necessarily have to be related. Prioritize working on your startup during your most productive hours, then take a part-time job on the side to make money. Whether it’s tutoring or doing hourly manual labor, all sorts of jobs can give you the cushion you need to build your business during “non-working” hours.
Jason Ross, founder of JackThreads (sold to Thrillist) did exactly that. He worked as a bartender at night while building his online e-commerce business during the day.