The Bootstrap Business Life

One of the pillars of how I do business is that nothing happens unless the funds are available in cash (not credit) and are not a buffer for those down months. It’s bootstrap business at its best. While it can be frustrating to not do certain growth activities, it’s better than the stress that debt causes.

a little story

Mac Mini DayThe single most rewarding purchase of my life was a 2011 Mac Mini server. For weeks, no, months, I planned the computer I’d be using for the next 3-5 years. Utilizing pro/con lists, spreadsheets of features, CPU power, upgradability, and cost-per-day calculations, I passed on a 27″ iMac and a MacBook Pro in favor of their diminutive brother. It wasn’t a moment too soon, because I was driving my wife nuts with my back and forth debates with myself, which sometimes involved her listening.

We walked into the Apple Store and asked the man to fetch me one and I grabbed a trackpad. My decision to choose the Mini left plenty of funds in our account, even after a second 22″ monitor and additional RAM. It was a good thing, too, because disaster struck.

Tractor JumpstartThat weekend, we drove from Florida to Ohio to visit my grandparents. Just past Valdosta, GA, the dashboard lights started doing weird things and we took an exit that only had a marine dealership. We got a marine battery and were on our way.

Two hours later, the same thing happened at the Locust Grove exit, about an hour south of Atlanta. We spent the night at the La Quinta (a very nice one, too) while the battery charged on a new charger from Wal-mart. At 8am, I put the battery in and drove to the shop 1/4 mile away and we left on our “merry” way shortly after noon. On a good note, we liked the hotel so much, we stayed there the next time we drove up – then we realized we have to drive straight through with a toddler. CRAZY!

La Quinta - Locust Grove, GA

We spent over $700 getting to Ohio over 2 days instead of what was supposed to be $150 in gas.

the lesson in that

What if I’d gone for a bigger computer or used credit? The stress would have been too much for what I can deal with. It was a really good thing we were in a strong financial position for that epic turn of events that would have previously made me quite sick. I distinctly remember walking back to the shop at lunch, just enjoying the weather and peaceful that I’d provided for us to not make this a big deal.

I was reminded of this day as I was planning my “next big thing” and was about to pull the trigger on a Kickstart campaign. First, my wife wasn’t comfortable with the idea of having that money and keeping track of it while we paid it out. Then when I discussed it with the person who was working with me on the idea, they said that it’s not worth the stress of not waiting.

They were right. You’ll just have to wait longer to see what it is, now.

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  • Jerry Petersen

    Spot on, Jesse. You’ve been making some great decisions.

  • Shoot 4 Moon Savings

    This world is so build on credit and debt it is good to have a reminder of of thinking out of the box and keeping a business bootstrap is wise. However, if one is planning on buying property etc… it is good to have just one credit card, spending as little as $10 a month, and repaying it gives the credit scores something to work off of. Even with this sticking to your advise, and don’t spend what you don’t have on hand to repay.