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Bootstrapping is a term used to describe a scenario in which an entrepreneur launches a business with minimal capital and no external financing. When someone tries to start and build a business with their own money or with the new company’s operating profits, they are said to be starting up.
When an entrepreneur starts a business, he starts with few or no startup funds. The opposite of bootstrapping is when an entrepreneur raises funds from venture capitalists or angel investors before launching their business. To be successful without outside investment, start-ups rely on personal funds, rapid inventory turnover, sweat equity, a good cash flow, and streamlined operations. A company that relies on startup, for example, can run a kickstarter campaign or pre-order your product and then use the funds raised from pre-orders to create and deliver your product.
Related: 3 Great Reasons to Start Your Business
Compared to a company that uses venture capital or angel investments, starting your own business can be advantageous because it gives the entrepreneur complete control over all decisions related to their business. There are hundreds of boot success stories. From large and well-known companies to smaller companies, the start-up can lead to great success. Let’s take a look at three startup success stories and how entrepreneurs made their businesses successful on their own:
1. Markus Persson and Mojang
You’ve probably never heard of the Mojang company, but we know you’ve definitely heard of the best-selling video game of all time that Markus Persson and his company, Mojang, created a little over a decade ago: Minecraft.
When Persson first published Minecraft under the Mojang brand, he chose to sell it directly through the Minecraft website, rather than looking for outside investors, so that Mojang could reap all the benefits. In one year, Minecraft had sold so many copies that Persson was able to quit his day job and devote all his time to Mojang’s growing business.
Eventually, other employees joined the company to help expand Minecraft’s base, and as it expanded, it grew to include new consoles and therefore more homes around the world. Soon, Minecraft merchandise, such as clothes and toys like LEGO with Minecraft characters, flooded the market and Mojang went from a small gaming company to a giant.
Persson and his company turned down many offers from potential investors, most notably from Napster co-founder Sean Parker, and refused to accept external funding to help keep Mojang growing. However, Mojang’s rapid growth finally took its toll on Persson, and in 2014 he sent a tweet that simply said, “Does anyone want to buy my share of Mojang so I can move on with my life?”
And, as we know, someone accepted him with this offer. In September 2014, just three months after Perrson’s tweet, Microsoft bought Mojang from Persson for $ 2.5 billion.
Related – What I’d like to know before I start
2. Sara Blakely in Spanx
It was 1998, and Sara Blakely was a saleswoman, selling door-to-door fax machines. One morning, while he was preparing for another long day of sales, he cut off the feet of a pair of top control socks and put them under his pants. That’s when the idea for Spanx came to him. The shape and tonic offered by the top control socks were perfect, and it made her realize that the stockings were thin enough to make modeling clothes.
At the time, Blakely was only 27, with only $ 5,000 in his savings account. He invested every penny of his savings to create his Spanx products and even went so far as to write his own patent to save money.
He introduced his Spanx products to several retailers, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s, and convinced them to take their modeling line.
To this day, Blakely remains the sole owner of Spanx, which has never accepted venture capital or angel investors. Although he has never revealed the sales numbers of his privately owned company, his net worth is estimated at around $ 1 billion.
Related: Ready to boot? Consider these 5 real life stories.
3. Nick Woodman and GoPro
After two failed startups, Nick Woodman needed a while to clear his head. And so, he made a surfing trip to Australia and Indonesia. It was during this journey that inspiration arose and what would eventually become a multimillion-dollar idea was born.
As he watched other surfers hit the waves, he noticed an unfortunate trend. Surfers were wrapping their waterproof cameras around their wrists to document their adventures, but the leagues were broken and the cameras would be lost, or surfers would have to swim to find them again.
With his own personal savings, as well as a $ 35,000 loan from his mother, in addition to relocating with his parents to save money, Nick launched Woodman Labs, which would be called GoPro.
When cameras switched from analog to digital, Nick recognized that the landscape of his design was changing. And so, he went back to the drawing board and conceived of various ways in which athletes could mount GoPro cameras so that they could be used for any kind of sport or activity. Woodman began its entire operation for a decade until technology group Foxconn offered to invest $ 200 million in GoPro.
So, as you can see, anyone can start their startups without venture capital or angel investors. You just have to work hard, determination, a boot mentality, and yes, sometimes a little luck.