Collis Ta'eed recently did a Twitter “series”, if you will, highlighting ten bootstrapping tips of his to celebrate the seven year anniversary for Envato. They haven't blogged the list anywhere that I can tell, and I don't want it to get lost, so here are his tips:
- Pick a product that you can charge for. B2B is much easier to make early money on than consumer-ware.
- You either spend money or time. *You* have no money, so you better be prepared to put in a lot of time.
- Pick cofounders intelligently, their time will be a very important (and somewhat free) resource.
- Lean startups ship early to get feedback, bootstrapped ones do it to for the money as well.
- Make sure you have some savings and a cheap lifestyle, because you may be in for the long haul.
- Growth hacking is more important for bootstrappers, because anything is better than buying ads.
- Bootstrapping != Spending Nothing. Invest in important things like good accounting and setup.
- Don't freak out about well-funded competitors. They have their own set of problems to deal with.
- Referral programs are your friend. Trade upfront ad costs for pay on conversion, to an army of DIY marketers.
- Remember, you really are your own boss. Sink or swim, but do it like a boss.
You should also follow Envato's new Inside Envato blog, where they offer “an all-access pass behind the scenes of Envato.” One of the site's first articles totally knock it out of the park, as Collis describes the story of how they built a lean startup (in Microlancer) within their 200 person company.
Envato is the biggest company in the WordPress space outside of Automattic that I can think of. And even against Automattic, they have nearly the same number of employees and I'm not privy to revenues of either company to make any estimations about similarities there.
Congratulations to Collis and all of Envato on seven years, and thanks for sharing your wisdom with the rest of us.