I never knew bootstrapping a company would be so hard. Everything is a breeze when it’s just an idea.
Here are 10 hard lessons I learnt while bootstrapping a company in 2022.
Stay Compliant: You are bombarded with multiple compliances as soon as you register a company. Failing to stay compliant can result in significant fines and other penalties, so make sure you hire someone who could help you with it. This was the first thing that hit me hard.
It's Harder Than You Can Imagine: Everyone who has started a company knows this very well. It's difficult to imagine how hard it is until you are in the game yourself. Be ready to put in dedicated long hours and persevere.
Stop Looking For Proxy Validation: Only validation that matters is that someone is paying for the epic sh*t you built. Stop looking for validation from your parents, friends, and partner that you are doing something worthwhile. It doesn't matter what they think.
Being Scrappy Is A Virtue: With limited resources you need to be creative to get things done. We hired interns to delegate our work. Used free credits to host our website and product. Used Figma prototype to get a customer.
Adhere To A Routine: You need to play at the highest level of your productivity. Building a routine and doing that consistently for a long period of time is the only way to be productive. There are no hacks and shortcuts.
Be Patient: It takes time to realize you have made progress. You need to endure long periods of slow growth, setbacks, and disappointment before you start seeing any progress.
Don't Compare: Your journey is unique. Comparing your journey with others leads to unrealistic expectations. Mismatched expectations are the root cause of disappointment and frustration you will have to endure.
Surround yourself with loved ones: It's isolating and all-consuming. It's important to surround yourself with people who are rooting for you. Make sure to take breaks and give yourself time to rest and recharge.
Be a Jack of all traits: You need to learn to wear multiple hats at once. Overnight my role shifted from an individual contributor to a manager, accountant, writer and sales manager. I learnt to delegate and empower others to do great work.
Talk to customers: With limited financial resources I was forced to find customers who would pay even without the product. This is one thing that has helped us to find the right direction for the product.
Bootstrapping a business isn't a rosy endeavour. It's hard, lonesome, frustrating and emotionally taxing. But still, it's worth it for those who are willing to take that hit to create something meaningful and impactful. So make sure you are ready for an emotional rollercoaster before jumping on the wagon and starting your bootstrapping journey.
I am onto one though and it's been thrilling to watch what a driven group of people can accomplish for simplifying software development @vadelabs. Connect with me to let us know what we can do for you and we'd love to help out.