The first step to success is not to depend on everyone else.

For those who know, I have a little website called “OneForTen” ( it was based on an idea from the Six Month MBA team. It was good excuse to build a quick Ruby On Rails app to get used to the language etc.

Over the weekend a few folk had been adding some new ideas, which is great. So I put a little post on Twitter to mention the existance of the site.

This arrived in my replies:
@jasebell ideas are bountiful, funding sources are impossible ;P should make a variant for that

My reply was
Why is it that the first step to success is to depend on everyone else? You don’t always need funding. Bootstrapping does work.

I find it interesting that in order to succeed in this digital world we have this desire for other people to put the money in first. The initial stumbling block is not money, it’s the motivation to see the idea through to a concept. I’m hazarding a guess that a good 50% of startups never get past the “in my head” phase because of this notion that you’ll never find money. I admit if it’s a production facility you are setting up you will need investment capital of some form, or a bank loan, or money from somewhere. For a software startup…. no. It needs you, your time and your commitment to do something.

Case in point, my own, I’m in the middle of coding a startup project together. I’ve run it past a number of people who’ve said it’s definately a go-er. Do I need the money, I suppose I do (need a Mac but can’t afford a Mac) but I want to get something out to prove that I’ve put my heart, soul and passion into the project from the outset. It won’t show good to investors when I roll up on their doorstep with a pencil sketch (“It’s a go-er but I haven’t started it yet”). The webkit demo will do in the first instance until the revenue is there to work on a native iPhone app. The idea doesn’t just stretch to an iPhone app, it’s mobile devices, set top boxes, web…. you name it.

Bootstrapping does work, once you are at the point you have something out there then look for funding, even then keep it to friends and family. VC’s are out there but need some convincing that your idea is, essentially, going to make them money. Plus in these troubled times the equity stakes are usually higher. Less money going around and more risk.

If there’s one simple question it’s, with hand on heart ask yourself, “Would I invest in me?”.

4 responses to “The first step to success is not to depend on everyone else.”

  1. Bootstrapping is hard if you're not a developer. Take it from me – it cost a lot of money, involves a huge amount of faith and even then, you're never 100%

  2. MJ<br /><br />Good point indeed, there are still possible ways around that mainly based on stock options or revenue share. Though finding developers now that will initially work for free is rare unless the idea is a compelling one.

  3. Hi Jason – I agree that external funding is usually not the best way for a tech startup. Keep a tight focus on what you want to do – and do it 😉

  4. I agree. Often the 'need' for invstment seems to be one<br />of those barriers people build for themselves. We all think we will be great writers if we just had that particular pen or the right desk. We like to think we have a world beating business idea if only it wasn't so hard to get funding. <br /><br />Bootstrapping isn't the easy way but I'm sure it has huge benefits in the longer run.

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