Bootstrap your Transformerpreneur Journey.
Bootstrapping means different things for different people, in different contexts. It isn’t just for tech startups. It’s for anyone trying to create something new from next-to-nothing (we always start with something) without external funding or a bottomless personal savings account.
Bootstrapping is building a company from the ground up with nothing but personal savings and, with luck, the cash coming in from the first sales. The term is also used as a noun: A bootstrap is a business launched by an entrepreneur with little or no outside cash or other support. (Investopedia)
If you aren’t full-time in your Lifestyle Transformation Business you may be managing with your existing salary if you still have a job or freelance work, or from ongoing clients, workshop, or retreat revenue that you’re already generating. And, of course, you may be pre-launch with your business or a new product or service and not yet generating any income at all.
The art of bootstrapping often applies to both your life and business. For Transformerpreneurs these are often so interconnected they feel inseparable.
Here are a few scenarios where bootstrapping is essential, if not critical:
1. You’re starting a business and don’t have any or many clients or customers.
2. You’re creating a new offering and don’t know if it’ll be successful.
3. You want to lengthen your research and launch phase runways.
4. You want to be more profitable so you can be more selective.
5. You’re struggling, spending, and losing money, faster than you can make it.
Bootstrapping is about keeping things simple, especially when it comes to personal money and business finance. I’ve included mindset and day-to-day, month-to-month behavioural changes you can adopt gradually or quickly to help you bootstrap your way through any or all of the scenarios listed above.
The art of bootstrapping a Lifestyle Transformation Business is not always about spending the least amount possible. But, it is about being extremely mindful about what you spend money on and when in your life and business to ensure you’re getting the most value over time, not just in the moment.
Perhaps the most obvious foundation of bootstrapping is to beg and borrow. Or, as Richard Branson once said, ‘borrow, rent, or lease, rather than buy’.
The essence, of course, is to minimise or cut your expenses completely by borrowing or exchanging. Doing this is a perfect opportunity for learning and honing your Transformation Craft with free practice. At the same time, you can also get some of those essential elements of your Transformation Business up and running without paying directly with money or cash.
For example, you might give a bodywork, or yoga session in exchange for someone helping you set up your website.
If you can forge connections in your online or offline community you’re uniquely positioned to explore ways to help each other move your businesses forward. Or, if you’ve hit an unexpected or prolonged difficult patch, you can create new collaborative projects that could help turn your business around and widen your skills and experience at the same time.
Exchanges, especially when business is challenging, are a solid foundation that can help you continue to do what you love doing while developing long term partnerships and relationships with your peers.
They allow you to focus the often limited financial resources you do have to solve your business problems strategically rather than just fire-fighting issues by haphazardly throwing money (away) at them.
If you can buy in bulk, or pay annually, you can save money on some of your larger regular expenses. For example, if you know you’re going to be using a particular piece of software on an ongoing basis opt for the annual payment.
This can save you $100’s of dollars a year. This is a no-brainer if you’re sure you will use the software regularly and it’s a major part of your workflow.
There is software out there that offers an unlimited lifetime access option, especially if they’re a new business in the early product development stages.
Are you interested in self-publishing books or making your marketing lead-magnets available on Amazon, iBooks, iTunes, or other eBook retailers to reach a wider, larger audience? If you are Vellum is an easy-to-use, elegant tool which offers an unlimited licence option so you can publish as many eBook titles as you want forever more.
As an added bonus, Vellum now has some beautiful paperback templates that can easily be exported for uploading to Amazon for sale. Vellum requires minimal effort and no technical know-how to produce professional results.
This is amazing value if you’re a prolific writer and harbour an intention to publish your blog series as a growing series of Transformation Books that you could sell at your sessions, workshops, retreats, and training. Or, you could publish your blog as the proverbial calling or business card book to help build your Transformation Business profile and personal brand.
Ditch Your Subscriptions
If you haven’t noticed the world is shifting to a subscription model and mostly for good business reasons. Adobe, who create Photoshop and InDesign and Creative Cloud, have massively increased their profitability after moving to a cloud subscription vs a buy-once and upgrade later business model.
They’ve saved money and increased profits significantly by not having to waste resources supporting their legacy software. And, because customers rarely leave the Adobe ecosystem, and they now have a more predictable revenue stream, they can channel marketing and advertising funds effectively and efficiently to maintain and grow their core business.
I know Adobe is a huge enterprise, but there’s something to be learned from bigger business. By paying attention you can distil strategies that might enhance your Lifestyle Transformation Business in some small or big way.
However, being tied into a $10 or $25, or $60 a month subscription model just to produce some simple marketing material for your website, blog, or facebook page is not a great return on your investment (ROI).
Unless you’re creating artwork as your Transformation Craft and selling it, or you create and manage marketing and advertising material for many clients you’ll rarely, if ever, get the value back from this recurring expense.
I was a long-term Photoshop and InDesign user until a few years ago. I, reluctantly at first, made the change to Affinity Photo.
Affinity also creates Affinity Designer (similar to Adobe Illustrator), and now Affinity Publisher (similar to Adobe InDesign). The buy-it-once (I haven’t had to upgrade yet) price was $49. So far that works out at only $2 a month and will only get less as time goes by.
That’s over 80%+ saving versus Adobe subscription services.
On top of that, if you use services like Canva, which is easy-to-use but limited, you can change to using Affinity software with very little learning and effort and you’ll save another $13 a month in the process, that can be put to better use in some other mission-critical area of your Transformation Business.
Over a year that’s another $150 saved. You get the picture.
With smaller Lifestyle Transformation Businesses, in particular, it tends to be easier, simpler, and more likely that you’ll keep track of business expenses. That’s because they can be less frequent and are normally more substantial ‘noticeable’ amounts. Think of buying a laptop, or replacing your phone, or booking a shala for a yoga retreat you’re running.
However, when it comes to personal expenditure, we can be, and usually are less than mindful, when it comes to our spending and money management.
Admittedly, in an ideal world, you don’t want to flow through life looking at the right-hand side of the menu when you’re choosing your meal while dining at your favourite restaurant, especially after a long, hard day.
But, if you’re bootstrapping this is the money mindset you must live by, maintain and refine so you can get to the point where you don’t have to price-check all the time, as quickly as you possibly can for obvious reasons.
Question Your Priorities
Bootstrapping is also a question of priorities.
What’s more important to you in the medium to long rather than the short-term instant gratification pleasure response? The creative freedoms that running a successful, profitable, sustainable, Lifestyle Transformation Business can offer may be more valuable to you than always doing and having what you want when you want it. It’s your call.
After all, what is this doing, getting, and having all about anyway? Check-in with yourself to make sure your spending habits aren’t just a mechanism to satisfy some elusive deeper-seated insatiable urge. Are you just distracting yourself from an uncomfortable feeling or thought pattern that needs to be inner-worked out of your system?
Think about this marketing scenario for a moment.
Is it worth spending one hour to think of ways to reduce your spending by just $50 a month or to spend 10+ hours a month trying to get your Patreon support channel, that after a year or two may eventually reward you with only $50 a month in revenue, up and running?
An Integral Part
As a Transformerpreneur you are an integral part of your Lifestyle Transformation Business. You’re the most important employee, team member, manager, and leader. You fulfil many roles, working ‘in’ and ‘on’ your business.
It’s easy to forget, with all this hard, relentless work you’re putting in, day after day, week after week, that you’re the biggest cost to your business as well as its most valuable income-generating asset.
When you’re bootstrapping a Lifestyle Transformation Business or a new product or service you are the cost base and income generator you’ve got to manage the most closely to get where you want to go. When you master your self (the inner you) and yourself (the outer you) in relation to your Lifestyle Transformation Business and its activities you can start to realise your vision and live life more fully on your terms, more consistently.
In the first instance, this means tracking what you’re spending and minimising your costs where you can so you can maximise them, where appropriate, when you need to, within your life and business. When you do you can squeeze the most juice possible out of your money and edge closer to living what I call your Fully Featured Lifestyle without compromise.
Realise Your Vision
These are just a few examples of how to bootstrap your Lifestyle Transformation Business. I utilise many more strategies and techniques like this while building Transformerpreneur.com as efficiently as possible.
They cover time, money, space, and weight. Whatever these words mean to you right now they are, in all their contextual forms, important considerations for every Transformerpreneur, especially the nomadic variety.
Mastering them makes the process of building and growing a business less overwhelming, less stressful and much more enjoyable. They give you much more time and space to get things right more often. You don’t have to rush around chasing your tail in an attempt to beat the system or cheat the game.
You can finally stop playing catch-up and start directing and leading your business from a grounded, confident, and unbreakable position.
Building a successful Lifestyle Transformation Business is about putting the time in, working hard, patience, persistence, maintaining a sense of humour, and making your money last as long as humanly possible.
Download my Lifestyle Transformation Business Bootstrap Checklist and Field Guide to discover more ways to start and continue bootstrapping your Transformerpreneur Journey so you can save and make more money while continually enjoying the work of realising your vision.