If you’ve ever tried to get a business loan you know it’s not that easy. That’s why it’s likely that you are looking to bootstrap your freelance business – meaning you’re using the revenue coming in to reinvest back into the business. Let’s be honest, in the beginning, it probably looks like using your own money.
I, myself, have bootstrapped my freelance business since the beginning. I’ve never had investors and I’ve never taken out a loan. While I use credit cards, I’ve never carried over debt from one month to the next. I’ve slowly built my writing and consulting business to the mid five figure range and it’s only going to keep growing from there.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned and tips you can use to bootstrap your business from zero to mid five figures.
If you are going to bootstrap your freelance business you need patience. Simply put, you’re not using other people’s money so you can’t spend as much as you’d initially like to. This is both a good and a bad thing.
The good news is you have to really think about where to invest the money because you intitially won’t have a whole lot of it. Lots of businesses have gone bust because they got a round of investor funding and went crazy spending it in the wrong places.
The bad news is you don’t have a whole lot of capital so it will take some time to build your business. This is the part where it’s important to remember that a freelance business is a marathon and not a sprint.
Be smart with your investments.
The next important thing to remember if you want to bootstrap your freelance business from zero to mid five figures is to be extremely strategic with your investments.
It wasn’t until recently, nearly three years after quitting my job to run my business full time, that I started investing in contractors to help me with stuff like social media. More specifically, I’ve hired people to help with Pinterest and Facebook ads.
Why these two areas? Because when I checked my Google analytics I saw those were two sources of traffic. Additionally, I’m at a stage where companies want to sponsor me and they want to see social media numbers.
Notice how I’m only investing in two areas right now. As much as I want to be investing in Instagram too, it’s not the right time and the funds aren’t there. It also wouldn’t have made sense to invest in these things two years ago.
This is what I mean by having patience and being smart with your investments when you bootstrap a freelance business. I’m being very strategic as to where I’m reinvesting money. I’m also layering in investments slowly as the revenue increases.
The last thing you need to bootstrap your freelance business is hustle – a lot of it. This is especially true in the beginning when you haven’t yet scaled and are perhaps still learning the ropes.
Opportunities don’t always fall into your lap, often times you have to go after them until you reach a tipping point. And even once you’re past the tipping point you’ll still need to chase opportunities.
It’s not impossible to bootstrap your freelance business from zero to mid five figures. It simply takes patience, hustle and being smart with reinvesting the revenue.