Boot Strapping

This Business Round Table by Exit Your Way® topic was "Boot Strapping".  The event featured people attending the event and the Exit Your Way team discussing various topics about boot strapping.  Many of the people that attend these events own their own businesses and are entrepreneurs.

This Business Round Table by Exit Your Way® topic was “Boot Strapping”.  The event featured people attending the event and the Exit Your Way team discussing various topics about boot strapping.  Many of the people that attend these events own their own businesses and are entrepreneurs.  It was a mixed bag of people sharing their experiences.  Some people have had a very organized beginning to their business while others have been thrust into them almost by accident.

The different beginnings melted away as the group began to start talking about setting up their businesses, and some of the different considerations just in doing that.

We then spent some time discussing how important it is to understand that as an entrepreneur there are three main aspects of the business you need to be concerned with are the sales, operations and finance when boot strapping.  A fair bit of discussion was spent on how people get into business because they are good technically and often find themselves in the position of boom/bust because they get clients and when the work is done they need to start over and find new clients.  We discussed how systematically keeping sales/marketing time in your schedule will help to prevent this.

Download our free business valuation guide here to understand more about business valuations and view our business valuation FAQs to answer the most common valuation questions.

The boot strapping discussion then turned to outsourcing and how specialized resources can free up time to increase your revenues and profits.  The advantages of using places like Upwork and Fiverr were also discussed.  Outsourcing the $10 – $20 /hour work is often overlooked and a very useful way to expand your business by freeing time and allowing you to do higher value added work.

There was a lot of great information shared by the group on boot strapping and growing their businesses with the resources they have developed to help them be successful.

Thanks to the people who attended and who continue to support this group.  We all rise together!

Do you want to know if your business is ready for your exit or what you should do to prepare? Learn this and more with our business exit assessment here.

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Other websites to check out:  Cross Northwest Mergers & AcquisitionsDamon PistulkaIra BowmanService Professionals Network (SPN)Fangled TechnologiesB2B TailDenver Consulting FirmWarren ResearchStellar Insight, Now CFO, Excel Management Systems  & Project Help You Grow



people, business, boot strapping, bootstrap, build, solopreneur, money, talk, launch, jeff, company, ira, entrepreneur, jacob, thought, jeffrey, point, disagree, partners, idea


Jacob Warren, Damon Pistulka, Ira Bowman, Dr. Elia, Andrew Cross, Kon Apostolopolous, Jeffry Graham


Damon Pistulka  00:03

All right, Ira’s got the music going for us. So we’re getting ready to go. Yeah. All right. Well, there’s live stations today have nothing else. I don’t know that the chillin table over there wasn’t chillin that much. So I think that the coffee has been flowing.


Ira Bowman  00:27

So I don’t think I need more any more coffee.


Damon Pistulka  00:29

Yeah. Welcome everyone to the exit your way round table once again, today we’re going to talk a bit about bootstrapping. Here we’re going to talk a little bit about next week, I think that, you know, we love to love to be talking about topics that make a difference to us as people in business as people and as people. And one of the things that today with bootstrapping, we want to go through, okay, what’s working for you what’s not working some of the things that that you may be maybe not considering. We got some good people in the audience here too with with that have done multiple company bootstraps can tell a lot of good and bad stories about it. And we’re going to get get them on stage. And if you’ve got things to share about things that have worked for you, or challenges you’re having, certainly share them with a group. And if it’s not something that you want to share with the group, feel free to do a private chat with somebody if you think they can help or would like to talk to them about it, because we’re here to help each other. That’s really why we started this is to help people and we want to continue doing that. Um, so we’ll get started with that in a little bit. Um, I want to talk some about next week. Yeah, I know, I know,


Andrew Cross  02:04

you didn’t get it out of your system.


Ira Bowman  02:06

I personally invite Joseph Stepke to the conversation. Okay.


Damon Pistulka  02:13

So so this is this is the deal. Um, this has been going on for a long time. And, and I know there’s, there’s there’s people that are, that are going to agree and disagree. But one of the things that was very apparent from the debate, which I watched very little of the other night until after, is that, and you see this, you see this with, with Black Lives Matter, you see this with the LBGT, you see this with white supremacy, you see this with everyone, it seems like we have forgotten a couple things. How to talk with people that have different viewpoints, without thinking that they’re stupid, bad person, whatever you want to call it.


Ira Bowman  03:03



Damon Pistulka  03:04

evil. Yeah, that’s a word for it. But or, and the second thing is, is to that as Ira and I were talking about this yesterday, that we have put our affiliations, and sometimes whatever that is race, political, whatever, ahead of us being head of our country. And yeah,


Ira Bowman  03:36

it’s disgusting. Honestly. Can’t wait to talk about it. Americans first guys, right?


Damon Pistulka  03:42

Yeah. We want to talk to and there’s people in here, I mean, Dr. Elia, and some of these people that, that know, what, how we can talk to each other like this. What can we do? What can we do as people I because I believe all the people in here, really like people first and feel this way. But I personally feel that we’re being controlled by the extremities. And I think there’s a large portion of us in the middle that need to set a good example, for lack of a better term. And that’s really what I want to talk about next week. And I would love for you to share, go ahead IRA just popped in there in the comments so that we can get prepared for next week, because


Ira Bowman  04:30

it’s the ability to have a civil discourse. I mean, it’s one thing we were talking about to set a table at the table this morning. So Mike and I were tagged in a post with a convicted criminal, right, and that that’s not the same thing, because now you’re talking about somebody who’s got an actual record. Right, and it’s a bad deal. That’s a bad apple. I don’t want to be associated with that person. I’m not going to talk with that person. You know, I mean, I don’t respect a career felon. That’s not What I’m about but when you’re talking about politics, you’re really talking about management styles, management theories, right? So if policy differences, and we, for some reason, because Well, I can tell you what it is we really want to get into it, we can get into this next week. But we have allowed these branches or these things that we affiliate with to be the main thing. When, like, if you remember back when we were talking about this yesterday, Damon 911 happened? And it wasn’t, it wasn’t black America or white America, it wasn’t liberal America or conservative or America. It wasn’t rich or poor.


Damon Pistulka  05:41

Yeah, you’re straight.


Ira Bowman  05:42

It wasn’t any of that. You know what it was? It was America, it was beautiful. And I loved it. And what ruined it, you want to know what ruined it there was a midterm election, right? That’s what ruined it. Because we allow the media to charge us up. We allow this two party system to charge us up. We allow special interest groups to charge us up, because that’s what they get paid to do. And as a consumer, we have to be smarter. And as Americans, we have to just make sure that our priority levels are set. Right. So you have a priority should meet in my estimation, country first. Family, second, party, maybe third, right? We’ve too many people have allowed that special interest to be the top thing. Like your whatever you are. And if you do identify as something over an American First, there’s probably a problem in depression.


Damon Pistulka  06:37

Dr. Elia. You raise your hand? Um,


Dr. Elia  06:39

yeah, good. Just a very quick note, as you know, Coach Kon and I wrote the book seven keys to navigating a crisis. And in the book early on, we created a personal health inventory that looks at people’s physical, mental, emotional and mental health just to get an add to feed to see how people are doing during this crisis. Under the mental health assessment, the very last question for people to answer is this. How open are you to hearing other people’s insights and opinions, especially when they’re different from your own? And when people say I’m very open, that means they’re very healthy if they say rarely, or never, that means we got what what’s happening right now in this country. Keep an open mind. Be respectful, we can agree to disagree. But the bottom line, like I said, in the end, we all love this country. Yeah, we’re all in this together. So the divisiveness that’s coming from both sides, and I blame both sides equally honestly.


Ira Bowman  07:38

I don’t blame right or left I bring I blame both. The the debate was a debacle. And a lot of people want to blame Trump because he was his bully tactics, tactics. But if you go back and look at the transcripts, there was nasty stuff and nasty behaviors from both there. That might be 5050. Yeah, but it’s certainly not 100. Zero, there’s enough.


Dr. Elia  08:03

thriving in this country, not in not just surviving, we have to listen to one another, and try to understand what the other person is coming from even if we disagree with them. Yeah, they’re not evil. And I’m not evil. You know, we’re just, we have different viewpoints of how to move this country forward. You know, I ran for three elections. In my in my town, I was a mayor Pro Tem for for 10 years in the city council. So I’ve been in politics on the local level, obviously. And I understand that, to bring people together who have different points of views is not easy. Trust me, I know that the first time I was on the board, I used to lose six to one in the votes. I was like, the lone voice in the wilderness. The second election was three to four, four to three back and forth, we went It was like, and finally by the third election, I brought people on my side. And we pretty much voted on the things that I personally had felt like were the right for my community. It didn’t happen overnight. But I collaborate with people that I disagree with, even vehemently because you still do it to be respectful, even though I disagree with their opinions, and their vision of what this town or this community could be like. You still have to extend that. Anyway. I’m like, talking about for 10 years, just having wasn’t easy to believe.


Damon Pistulka  09:12

Yeah. Yeah.


Ira Bowman  09:13

Well, I want to talk about motives too, because not everybody is always motivated to do or accomplish the same thing. Right. So for example, when one political party is in charge, I’ve noticed sometimes it appears anyways, that the other side is trying to sabotage what happens so that they can blame them for being inept, and when the next election, right, so that’s another thing that people have to be smart enough to identify. It’s like, why the economy stalling out when you’ve got to, to a party is running to parts of the branch of government. Why isn’t more stuff getting done? And the answer to that is typically sabotage.


Damon Pistulka  09:56

Well, I think it’s definitely something they talked about next week. And I want it I want to have a, a healthy debate on not a debate, not even a bait. I want to have a discussion on how we can rise above, and how we can be shining examples to everyone around us. That’s really all I want to care about. I don’t give a shit, what you’re, and we shouldn’t, what your affiliation is, or anything like that. Other than how can we be good examples of around us around our kids around our friends around our parents, for God’s sake. You know, it’s just, that’s all I want to do. So today, we’re gonna talk about something that’s much less heavy than this. It’s it is much less heavy than this. That’s That’s for sure.


Ira Bowman  10:44

So bootstrap boot strapping, a company can be pretty heavy. Yes, yeah. burden you bear you bear by yourself.


Damon Pistulka  10:54

Dr. Elia. Thank you so much. I might drop you back down. And but but


Dr. Elia  10:59

I don’t know nothing about boot strapping. So.


Andrew Cross  11:02

I’m not so sure. Yeah, I’m not


Damon Pistulka  11:04

sure about that. I think there are things in here that he knows about. And yeah, yeah. All right. Well, this is this is cool, because we’ve got a lot of people in the room that have that are bootstrapping and bootstrapping, our bootstrapping are trying to do. So. So there’s a couple things in here. And there’s a couple people that that I think, Jeff Graham, are you available? If you can just hit the chat? That’d be cool. I know. Jacob is going to be available here as we want. But first of all, anyone out here when we’re talking about bootstrapping, or Andrew, Andrew and I are Go ahead. Sorry, sorry, lead us off with that. No, I


Ira Bowman  11:48

think it’s a good idea what you’re about to do. What is boot strapping? Let’s talk about just the term itself, because then we don’t have people going What the hell is bootstrapping? Because I wear boots? on my feet? Yeah, are these little straps that you use to pull the boots up? And that is where the term comes from? So bootstrapping is to create a business, basically, with minimal resources without going into serious debt, usually, without taking loans or finding investors that would not be considered without that without it outside cash. Yeah. That’s usually how they can find it.


Andrew Cross  12:24

Well, I think, you know, what, what fascinates me about the subject is working in exits. And a lot of exits, especially for startup companies are raising capital, it’s when you take other people’s money. And some of the best, most honest advice I got from that experience of working with startup companies was you proceed with caution But boot strapping it if at all possible, when you take on partners, it’s it’s how that, you know, you take out partners where you take other people’s money? What are the consequences of that? I mean, so I mean, and I think that, you know, in a lot of these companies are with the sole purpose of getting either out of angel fund and in the venture capital, when you take venture capital money, though, a lot of the times they take your idea, and then they take, you know, your job. So, and that it’s a bad story. So, you know, and I thought it was great, because I saw some really, really good, you know, young companies coming up, using some Angel money, some friends and family doing whatever they could hook or crook or bootstrap in that in the advice. The most advice I got was from a VC who said, don’t take our money if you don’t if you’ve at all a possibly cannot do it. Yeah, I mean, there’s a place but it’s to be done the right way. So boot strapping it up keeping it in your by yourself. That’s, you know, and I think this is a great room here full of people who we all you know, we all are boot strapping. Yeah, that’s what I wanted to talk about today was a how would you do it? What’s what works? Good. You know, and share some experiences. Yeah.  Boot strapping?


Ira Bowman  14:06

Yeah. And encourage people in the chat right now. Yeah. If you have a boot strapping issue, but it doesn’t even have to be a story, right? Like, I’m having trouble finding an accountant or I’m having trouble building my social media audience or whatever, you know what I mean? Like, this is the time because we can we can formulate the conversation around to address those things. Because one thing I will lead with, at Bowman digital media, which is 100%, bootstrapped right. Um, the very first thing that I had to realize was I was not gonna be able to do it all myself. I was gonna need some help. So there’s this expression. jack of all trades, master of none, right. When you’re bootstrapping the temptation can be and I think I’ve seen this Some more SMB bootstrap owners then the non bootstrap businesses. They want to do everything themselves. I’ve got a guy that I’m connected to, he needs a website, his his businesses is doing pretty well. But the website would take him to a whole other level. And he’s been trying to build his own website for three months. I’m like, dude, I could have your website functional, completely launched in four days. Beautiful website four days, and he still hasn’t taken me up on it like, okay, but you’ve been struggling with this for three months, and it is literally costing you sales. You know what I mean? So,


Damon Pistulka  15:39

there’s definitely there definitely is and it starts all the way from, if there’s anyone out there that has any questions with setting up a business. You know, the first thing you do like getting registered and all that Andrew has done that several times. All right. Got Jeff Graham here. He’s done it a bunch to


Jeffry Graham  15:58

Hey, all right. It’s crazy. Sorry.


Damon Pistulka  16:01



Andrew Cross  16:02

Hey, Jeff.


Jeffry Graham  16:03

What’s up boys and Ladies? How’s everybody doing? Good. Good. So cold today, so I had to have the beanie on. Keep my bald head warm.


Damon Pistulka  16:13

There you go. There you go. Give me one of those. Yeah,


Jeffry Graham  16:17

yeah, you do for sure.


Ira Bowman  16:19

It’s 100 degrees here today, again,


Jeffry Graham  16:22

well, sucks to be, you


Ira Bowman  16:24

I’ve never shoveled my driveway ever. It’s awesome.


Jeffry Graham  16:29

I’m on the right side of the of the sun. So I melt this side. So it’s driveway side. So I got lucky.


Ira Bowman  16:37

You’re good. That’s good. Yeah.


Andrew Cross  16:40

We wanted to get depth up here to talk about it too. Because I think, you know, we we boot strapped several companies. And he has a unique approach to boot strapping, which is on the scaling side if I’m not incorrect about that, too. So yeah, get sales.


Damon Pistulka  16:59

I didn’t see any questions out there about about, you know, setting up the company. So like I said, a few.


Ira Bowman  17:06

There’s one from Jennifer wegman on CRM, which is contact record management. And, you know, that’s that’s kind of a tough one, Jennifer, because the most the biggest one now is Salesforce, but it’s not.


Jeffry Graham  17:21

It’s not ever used that as an early stage. I


Damon Pistulka  17:23

thought she was asking Brad what he needed in there. And that’s, that’s, that’s it was it was a conversation they were having. Yeah. So but that’s, you know, so I didn’t see any questions that want to move down the list. And the next thing I think that that’s snafu is a lot of people is really what is your product? I mean, you go I want to go on business, because I’m a great I’m a great accountant, or I’m a great lawyer, you know, what if your product, you know, it’s in some of them, it’s it’s pretty, pretty self explanatory. But if you’re, if you’re going to be in a consultant, or you’re going to do digital, you’re going to do this, you really have to know what your product is. and define it. In in. Jeff, can you explain a little bit about that?


Jeffry Graham  18:09

Yeah, I think what I think what people misinterpret a lot is that they their go to market strategy, they, you know, they have a product, so they automatically just start, you know, yeah, I’d say start building a business around it. And, and a lot of times, they don’t, you know, no big corporation, no matter what they’re implementing, is going to implement program without a pilot, right? So. So if big companies don’t do it, then what makes you think you can, you can do it, right. So the reality is, is once you have a MVP, which, which is, is I guess, startup or early stage or boot strapping with terms as minimal viable product, you need to test it, you need to sell it, you know, and even if it’s not complete, and you need to gain traction, so you got to have people that are interested in it or willing to pay for it if they are or willing to even consume your free version, or, or whatever it is, and use that period of time to really develop the product or hone in because you’re going to get the answers from your customers on whether if it’s, whether it’s good or bad, right, or whether it’s going to be a hit or miss. The boot strapping part is the hardest part. As entrepreneur, it’s so hard because you’re all alone, you’re you know, you’re a lot of times you’re in a silo, you don’t have, you know, people to talk to, in addition to that, you know, funding, you know, money, you know, just straight up but, you know, from a money point perspective, you need to start learning how to do things you never had to teach yourself before, you know, I’ve had to learn how to code and I can’t code for, you know, to save my life. But I’ve had to learn how to write CSS. Sometimes I’ve had to learn how to how to use Photoshop, use YouTube, you know, use tutorials, whatever, right? But the end of the day, don’t put the cart before the horse and make sure that you have an opportunity in a process. In the first place before you bootstrap, otherwise, you’re just going to dump a bunch of money, time and energy, and you’re going to fall on your face. And then you’re going to feel like a failure and just understand that like, I don’t know, I probably had a hundreds of ideas in my career, and maybe like two went, well. You know, I mean, like, my I sold a software company, and I went well. But again, how many ideas bring ideas I had, it didn’t do? Well, you strapping them makes it even harder, especially when you’re doing it by yourself. So a lot of times and VC groups or venture capitalist groups, or startup tech, or all these kind of, you know, things they always say, find a partner, and find people to work with that are symbiotic and want the same goals as you. And then that also is a way I think bootstrapping can be done more effectively. So


Damon Pistulka  20:50

yeah, you mentioned 110. Go ahead.


Ira Bowman  20:54

Sorry. Let me say I actually disagree with some of that. I’m gonna tell you that for me. If you’re not, if you’re not being asked by your friends and families to do these things before you ever start boot strapping, you probably are out of step anyways. Right? I do you love what you said, Jeffrey, about having hundreds of ideas. And two of them have actually come to fruition because I think that’s a good ratio. Like most of the ideas we have, are maybe good ideas, but not good ideas for us. So you do have to be really careful about what you would step into. Yeah, the idea where where we disagree. is, you know, you said you had to learn how to code and you had to learn how to use Photoshop. And that’s where I think actually people are making their mistake boot strapping, they’re they’re getting out of there, they’re getting out of their lane, I think you need to stay in your, in your lane. And I don’t agree that you need to bring on partners, these are from the stance of business partners, right? I think what we need to do is to source vendors, right? And so I’m gonna hire somebody to, you know, find the money though.


Jeffry Graham  22:02

Yeah, you’re gonna hire him? With no money?  Yeah. You’re gonna hire gonna learn Photoshop? You don’t have any money, bro?


Ira Bowman  22:10

How are you gonna pay your mortgage bill? If you have no money?


Andrew Cross  22:14



Jeffry Graham  22:14

at the end of the day, that’s a job not ran multiple companies on their own.


Damon Pistulka  22:22

This is back.


Andrew Cross  22:24

Again, there’s, you know, then there’s the financial aspect of it, too. So you’re right. Are you gonna pay for that? And how are you going to get you’re in business? You know, so you know, their budget, what kind of things often, you know, a good, a good entrepreneur who starts a business, whether it’s a service or anything else, you know, they don’t typically have understanding a ground floor cash flow kind of model, they don’t see you, they they’re good at other things, or they’re good at what you know, got them in the business or that whatever product they invented, and those kind of things. Yeah, so that that is a challenge. How do you bootstrap that? You know, though, you know, you, you do have resources, let’s just make that assumption, or you’re really not in business. If you don’t have some cash coming in,


Ira Bowman  23:09

you should be missing it. You shouldn’t bootstrap if you have no resources. So if you’re saying that, Jeffrey, I have zero dollars in the bank, what the hell are you doing starting business? Yeah, that’s what I agree with that.


Jeffry Graham  23:22

I think my emphasis on learning those things was just because, you know, at that time, I had to


Ira Bowman  23:27

Well, let me let me, let me again, let me disagree with you. And I’m just going to tell you why. There’s time. There’s only so much time in a day, right? Yeah, I’m a master at walking videos, and not accounting, which is more accurate for me, right? So I’m good at the digital creation stuff, but not the books. I could take the time to learn the books, but then that’s drawing away the time that I would use to do my business where I could source somebody to do the accounting and get more jobs and be more focused on doing what I’m earning, earning, while somebody else’s time. hour, something would take me a month to figure out, and that’s opportunity cost. And that’s really what I’m trying to get at, I guess we get


Jeffry Graham  24:11

trapped, we’re talking.


Damon Pistulka  24:12

Yeah, Chris Kon makes a good comics a good point in here in the beginning, when you’re sitting there in the room and say, you’ve got money in the bank and you’re starting your business, you have more time than you have client demand. Right? So so getting this initial idea going sometimes is is really, you’re saying there and some of it you will learn because you need to some of it because you want to and some of it because you just don’t know what else you’re going to do. But the the as you talk to Ira, I believe it’s right and as I think Jeff will agree as you get to where that what time you have available, switches, this outsourcing becomes more and more important. You know, we were talking to Suzanne Taylor King yesterday and one of the things that she mentioned was I’ve learned how to outsource all my tend to, you know, dollar an hour type work. And I think there’s a lot of truth in that, when you get to the point to where that is, I don’t have time anymore. And it really this time management, it comes back into time management, because in the end, they won. What are you going to work on? And what do you really need to do? You know, they’re they’re in and you got time to get it done. And the first one,


Ira Bowman  25:26

the ability, right, to scale my business up quickly, then I need to be focused on the things that actually make sense for my business. Exactly. And I think in a business to run my business, you know, you need a business to do something. I want to do that.


Andrew Cross  25:42

Yeah. And Jennifer brings up a point about you can start a business with a low budget and determination. Absolutely. But in order, you start in the business,


Damon Pistulka  25:51



Andrew Cross  25:51

I needed it. Yeah. Right. And so you can’t go into business with with zero dollars. And it can be a little money or a lot of money. That really depends. But if you don’t think about that, look ahead. When the cash flow is going to start, how much am I going to how much cash out? Most of the business, I see that fail or in trouble. We’re just undercapitalized. They didn’t realize how much cash they needed upfront to start out to


Ira Bowman  26:17

write a boot strapping lecan or I’m sorry, Andrew, put in it, by definition means you have little money. Again, I’m gonna disagree with that. Because you can you don’t have to bootstrap The minute you have the idea. As long as the idea stays viable. Right? I’m going to tell you guys a fact, just a simple fact. I build more money build, I build more at Bowman digital media, the first month, then I made at my job full time, the month after I left, you know what I’m saying? So I left the job. The next month, I build more, I made more money. Right you Why? Because I didn’t just start the minute I had the idea. Yeah, I worked for years and saved money. I built my network up, I launched when I had the money and the resources, not just money, but also the network so that I, I had orders the first day. So part of this launching strategy is maybe something we need to talk about, because you get an idea and go, I’m gonna put everything I own in jeopardy. I hope your thing fricking works. Like I knew it was going to work before I started. And part of it was because for years, I had people begging me to launch on my own. And I built this I had built this Rolodex, if you will, yeah, ready to launch when I launched, I had resources in reserve that I had saved for years, you know, still using, by the way. So that’s where my capital, my capital came from savings. It came from years of putting stuffing away money, so that when I started, I could hire an accountant.


Damon Pistulka  27:57

Yeah, and some people get to do that anonymously. Some people don’t they find ourselves in a situation where, you know, right now, you look at it and and unfortunately, the two guys that are the top of the screen on my screen here, if we went out and tried to find a job we’d be we’d be faced with ageism, and a lot of other things that would would prevent me not mentioned my mental deficits, but


Ira Bowman  28:29

he talks there.


Damon Pistulka  28:31

There’s a lot, a lot of different things that get us into boot strapping. But when we get into it, really, you guys bring up a good point, there’s a time and Jeff, you know, we hit this and exit your way when we’re gone hard, like a big fucking wall, honestly, is got to a point to where we had so much consulting work done. That’s all we had time to do. We didn’t have time to build. And then you go back and you think about that. And we weren’t building the systems and processes and everything. And I just wanted to mention, if people haven’t read the book, e myth by Michael Gerber, get it read it e myth by Michael Gerber. Because he talks about the three different things that are battling us we get into business into something because we’re technically good at something. But you also need to have the entrepreneur that’s working on the business. And and I forget what the other one is that there’s three things three things your head, but really, you as a bootstrapper have to understand that you can’t get tied up too much with a client. And Jeff, you taught us that very well is if a client is taking too much of your time and you don’t have time to dedicate to your business a little bit to your business and new to business development. You’re not going to be successful long.


Andrew Cross  29:46

Yeah. Yeah. And


Damon Pistulka  29:49

and what was one


Andrew Cross  29:50

of the one of the things about you know that too, and the, you know, the internet and the tools that are available are amazing. All the talent that is out there, right. You You don’t have to own it. You don’t have to build it. But I think I did run across one entrepreneur who was very successful and really started from zero and built up, you know, a $10 million company. And he basically said, you know, he rents he goes, if I don’t do it the best I get somebody else to do, it only does the things they do the best. If there’s somebody out there and do better than me, I’m gonna do that part. Yeah. And they don’t you know, I mean, if you want if you’re at a point where you’ve got a lot of moving parts, and you need a strategic level, CFO, I mean, who can afford that? That’s a $250,000 a year position at a big company for those people. But you know, what the new fractional ops showrunner availability and that kind of stuff, you can get that stuff even and probably Oh, you only needed a few hours a week? Yeah, I think so. But that’s, that’s just cool about what’s available. There. It is something we don’t want to get. It is amazing. And if you have an easier bootstrap


Jeffry Graham  30:58

now than it ever has been, oh, yeah.


Damon Pistulka  31:01

Yeah. You haven’t gotten on fiber.


Jeffry Graham  31:03

yet? You guys have to deal with boot strapping. 10 years ago, it’s a different ballgame. Yeah. You can get you can get websites, you can get resources, you can have your fiber you have we won’t give up or give, you know, so many resources available where you can, like I said to have fractional Hello, that isn’t that isn’t you don’t have to read you don’t have to learn and tool yourself up. You know, so, it’s a good time.


Andrew Cross  31:26

Like what is one of the people room? So, everybody in this room, you know, when we started the relationship was a great resource potentially for us or our clients? Yeah. One of the things is, you know, I not just about you know, I wrote talks a lot when he would the net when we’re working with our partners here and stuff like that, and friends, how can we help you but we also want to know, you know, that’s, this is this is a great thing. This is we’ve got an awesome toolbox to build great companies right here, right? Just here today.


Damon Pistulka  31:58

Yeah, we can


Ira Bowman  32:00

do everything we need to do right here in this room. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  32:03

There’s no doubt about it.


Jeffry Graham  32:04

Mike, Mike, don’t bring up franchising. Andrews gonna, he’s gonna go over that. If you buy a franchise, you can’t run a business, so


Ira Bowman  32:18

they won’t let you.


Jeffry Graham  32:19

You literally don’t literally go because Andrew will tear you apart, brother.


Damon Pistulka  32:26

Yeah, well, it’s a good point. It really when you start up and are you brought this before


Jeffry Graham  32:35

McDonald’s, but yeah, $3 million.


Andrew Cross  32:42

Else. It’s an 8020 rule. And there are good franchises out there that actually bring value for the money you pay to be on to that franchise. Fortunately, that’s only about 20% of them. They’re expensive. And then the other 80 Yeah, that’s one of them. They’re a pure moneymaker.


Jeffry Graham  33:03

Yeah, $3 million to get in. So Llandaff liquidity


Andrew Cross  33:06

would never go up for sale. I never see them. They never go on the market. You know, that’s a sure sign either. They’re


Jeffry Graham  33:13

sold internally all the time. Yeah. Yeah, exactly.


Damon Pistulka  33:16

Well, the The next thing that I was thinking about, and this is something near and dear to IRA and other people’s heart in here is, is it’s really to get your business going. You’ve got to be building your tribe. And I say, and I say that is you know, starts with friends and family and then it’s got to work your way out and in doing that, because honestly, as IRA alluded to and could be is your first sales will probably literally come from that that tribe or those business associates that you you’ve the round table and I’m just Jennifer just had a pin Sorry, I decided just to check in Jennifer’s thing. I don’t understand. But Jennifer, that’s cool. We’ll figure it out. I’m not I’m trying to watch the chat same time. But you know, building your tribe is really where your business is going to come from. I’ll give you an example. What happened Andrew and I a couple years ago is when we started out I did an email out to everybody and said hey, this is what I’m doing. And I got we have two businesses out. We sold out of that email and talk to some of these people for 10 years other than just to let them know it wasn’t I was selling anybody anything I just said hey, you know what I’ve decided to do is this I just want to let you know like to talk Yeah. And I got two people we sold two companies because of it. You know there’s there are people as I was saying in your in your group that that you’ve


Ira Bowman  34:49

built over time that probably have have things for you to do so don’t neglect that in the beginning was my my first thing but other other thing about it and Jeffrey brought this up In his in his statement earlier, which I think is brilliant, right? You’re doing your research before your marketing research before you ever launch because if you’re not, you’re you you have literally a vessel with no pilot and that is that’s insane. So if you don’t have a tribe, if you don’t have, you know, an inner circle or whatever that you can, you know, bounce these ideas off and and get honest feedback. This is not that this is not the time or place to have Yes, folks, right there’s gonna appease you you need you need people who challenge you. Oh, for sure. That’s why I actually like these kinds of conversations. Some of you this this type of conversation, you hear the disagreement, and you get uncomfortable. For me, it’s how we get better. This is iron sharpening iron, like Jeffrey and I like each other trust me case. Yeah, we’re sure we get along. So, but this is how, like, you know, you run an idea that you think you’ve you’ve thought all the way through, and you run it against somebody else with different experience and life lessons and intelligence. And they say, Hey, what about that, and they add another factor to the equation that you’ve never considered, that could have totally bombed your business that just a bunch of time in and maybe kept you from failing? Because you built your tribe, and you had the humility


Jeffry Graham  36:20

to ask their opinion? And then yeah, listen, and I’ll add one thing that i what i are saying is, I totally agree with him. The other thing is, don’t ask people that are willing to take the risks themselves, meaning like, a lot of people who are conservatives like corporate people, I don’t mean to, like, do that, but but you have someone that’s worked for, like 30 years, and you go, Hey, I’m thinking of starting this company, they’re automatically think you’re crazy. So start at least, you know, make sure you’re asking the right audience, your idea or your bootstrapping, or how you plan or you’re showing your business plan versus versus asking someone that has never been in the trenches taking grenades. And, and I think that that’s


Ira Bowman  37:06

really great crazy for going out on my own. Because I knew


Jeffry Graham  37:11

everybody thought I was insane. It Yeah,


Andrew Cross  37:13

got it. Here’s a larval, a powerful suggestion, you know, branching off on what Jeff is saying, you can it doesn’t cost anything, but take the time. It does. It does cost time, but go out there find, create yourself your own advisory board. Yeah, you know, you’re one of directors so that you, you know, you you report to yourself, you don’t get somebody you respect knows your business, you know, and it’s a, it’s a meeting a month, to kind of, you know, you go in front, go through status, where you’re at, get some advice, and have a gut, you know, aligned to somebody you can call. You know, this is how bigger companies operate. Look at how they do it, you know, and if you can bring that down to your level, even if you’re a one person company, you know, that’s it, it doesn’t cost anything. And people like to do it. You know, that mentor thing, mentor, protege relationship,


Jeffry Graham  38:10

as anyone here like in this whole entire group had anyone that was successful, like really successful? When you ask them for some advice been like, No, I’m not giving you that advice. Most of the time, people who are successful or made it would gladly help out. The naysayers that in the haters that are like, you know, that haven’t made it yet. They’re the ones that but man, I mean, everybody I’ve ever talked to, and been like, hey, I need some help with this that’s far beyond where I was my career, wherever, has always been open to offering help and advice you just got to ask. And I know it’s intimidating sometimes to ask. But as Mark Cuban, it gives a shit, I guarantee you, the guy will probably give you a response, you know, because he genuinely probably wants to help people, like Gary or whoever, right? I mean, whatever. You know,


Andrew Cross  38:58

if you look at those people, they got to where they are a lot of times because they somebody did it for them. And they understand that


Damon Pistulka  39:10

your hand raised is less What are your thoughts here, man?


Jacob Warren  39:14

Well, in thanks for bringing me up and says that. And then there’s additional content looks like there we go as well, so on to him. But, um, there was a couple different spots where I wanted to kind of circle back to and it’s in it’s about the boot strapping, and it’s important to differentiate between a solopreneur and an entrepreneur. And the idea in launch phase and so where I wrote was talking more of the launch phase, um, yes, you can get there but it also is very dependent on whether you’re doing a product or service because services depending on Know what your circumstances are and what your lifestyle is you can launch a lot faster than a product based business. And just because you’re not serving, you know, doing websites for your family members and so forth doesn’t negate the skill sets that you do have. And that’s where there’s has to be the balance between solopreneur and entrepreneur. There’s tons of freelancers out there. And it’s important when we’re talking about boot strapping, we’re boot strapping the building of a foundation piece for a company. And that’s where also just where Jeffrey was talking about it is yes, you have to learn CSS and those things. It’s not that you’re learning to be an expert, but you’re learning what, what what is the right questions to ask those individual that you’re going to then be hiring because you have to have this foundation piece. If you’re boot strapping you don’t and if you don’t take on those partners don’t take on the VC. You don’t have those knowledge sets that you could pull from and so you ease with, you know, you can form a corporation for six $700, whatever, doesn’t make it a bootstrap business. It then there is that balance that transition between that and what type of professional and personal tribe you have to go from?


Damon Pistulka  41:29

Yeah, yeah. Problem. So common what what are your thoughts here? You had your hand up, and I know that you help companies that are a little bigger. But nonetheless, your business, you have a mix of you see them both?


Kon Apostolopolous  41:45

Yeah. And that’s true. And Jacob must have been reading my notes, because I agree with you wholeheartedly. There’s even for all of us, I think we need to differentiate what we are. For most of us, we go out there. Like in IRAs point IRA made a very purposeful plan to say, you know what, my next my next adventure is my business. So from what you’re saying, Ira, you basically saved up the money, you built the network. You did all of that work, while you still had a job in order to launch when you were ready. Does that sound about right? Yeah,


Jeffry Graham  42:22

yeah, I did my first one. Yeah. But


Kon Apostolopolous  42:27

but from for a lot of the people that I know, on this call, this was not really necessarily a direct choice to say, I’m going to start a business. Yeah, we all became accidental entrepreneurs, because we didn’t have a choice. Because we were laid off, because we looking to supplement our income because we needed to find that next thing. And perhaps ageism comes in. I mean, how many of you have heard that, that that wonderful expression? I love what you can do you know what I love your experience, but I don’t think we can afford you. Yeah, ism right there. But to me, it’s important. I mean, I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching from that piece. We label ourselves as business owners. But there are big differences between having a $400 million business with 2000 employees and being a foreigner. Yeah, I’m a CEO on paper. But I know exactly what the scale of my business is. I know what I sell. I know who I sell to. I have no illusions about what that is. I don’t have employees, I have strategic partners. I have other entrepreneurs that I work with, in a collaborative fashion to offer services and to complete projects. I know, for example, that if I need a digital aspect, perhaps I’ll reach out to iros, the expert in that, and he and I can collaborate. But I have no illusion about what I do. But even within solopreneurs, there’s a difference between saying I generate passive income really, if you’re putting in 80 hours a week to generate passive income, that’s not passive income, as long


Ira Bowman  43:59

as very little work. If any


Kon Apostolopolous  44:00

man you are a practitioner, the minute your time when you swap time for money. You’re a practitioner. Yeah,


Andrew Cross  44:08

yeah. Well, when I say capitalizing a business to what I was doing was capitalizes. It’s not just cash. And I mean, it was you know, you had to build up a room, you know, a reserve, whether that’s in future business or immediate customers or a launch client, you know, that gets you going out the door? Well, you’re building it, that’s a plant


Ira Bowman  44:31

that capital to Andrew is also in reputation. Let’s not forget that. For those of you that have thought about that part. Like I absolutely have list referrals, credible referrals from some of the largest companies in the world. My work before I launched out and again, to Khan’s point, when you have the option, and you can do this strategically, and then be smart and do it strategically.


Damon Pistulka  44:55

Now, Jacob, you had something else you’re gonna say.


Kon Apostolopolous 44:59

Um, yeah. In it, it does boil down to the opportunity that presents itself to. So in my entrepreneur career, so to speak, I’ve had it where I’ve over committed to clients, and not the idea with being successful is the ability to adapt and try, fail and learn. Because you can have the best plan in the world, and COVID 19 happens. Yet, just like in this time, there’s a lot of businesses going out of business or out of business, there’s also just as many that are highly successful during this time. So it’s important and I think I read this is a good point that you were making is, it’s great to have a framework, but don’t lock yourself in to try to just be like a larger company, the benefit. And the opportunity that us as smaller businesses have, is our ability to adapt to very dynamic and evolving situations and not be tied down to that framework. But not getting too far away. If there’s a balance that’s really, really crucial in order to succeed.


Ira Bowman  46:21

See, this is this our the that being a single business owner, if you want to call it a solopreneur, you can, is is an advantage over taking on any partners, because your fluidity, your ability to adapt is much easier when you don’t have to convince anybody else that what you want to do is the smart Yeah, right. It’s the board capital involved, then you have you have other people who have to sign off on the moon. So and there are


Andrew Cross  46:52

one thing, Jeff is taking capital, you know, you’re giving up equity, you’re selling something by taking on partnerships, and it needs to be thought of that way. It can be done really well. And it can be a complete disaster.


Damon Pistulka  47:07

So you’re gonna say something, Jeff, and then we’ll talk.


Jeffry Graham  47:10

Yeah, we can jump on whatever you guys want. But the one thing I was gonna say is that you guys also be conscious of burnout. Like, when you’re starting a company or you’re getting started, you’re gonna get burned out, you’ll burn yourself out within X amount of time. And then you’re going to have this like downtime of like depression and anger. And like, I’m being lazy. I’m Tom, you, because you’ve been putting in 80 a week, 100 hours a week, there’s only so much time in the day, you can work 21 of those hours, the burnout happens to every entrepreneur. So I’m just saying, and Khan could probably speak more intelligently on it, but just be conscientious of the fact that don’t burn yourself out. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And think about it in that sense. So


Damon Pistulka  47:55

yeah. So con go ahead there.


Kon Apostolopolous  47:58

Well, and and I have to appreciate the reference, Jeffrey, I think Professor Pete is probably the best one in the room to talk about that one. Yeah. But I want to I want to offer my thought from that piece at the startup phase. One of the best visual examples that I got from a friend of mine who was about a year ahead of me in the process, he said, doing what we do, it feels like you are running at full speed towards a cliff, that’s three months out. He says you’re trying to wrap up what you’re doing so you can get paid. But you’ve only booked work that’s maybe three months out. So you are hoping that every time that pipeline gets really stoked a little bit that that cliff moves further away, because you’re running fast. And at the same time, you can see that cliff coming in, you’re going Holy cow, yeah, what am I going to do? This is where that is not for everybody. That level of up and down is not for everybody in person that has risk tolerance. To your point, Jeffrey, and I know that you were talking about it in terms of the corporate types. There’s a lot of people that find safety and security within a structure, call it a franchise, call it a corporate environment, whatever it is solopreneurs entrepreneurs, people that go out and do the gig economy are a different breed. They have a different psychological profile that has higher risk tolerance, or


Jeffry Graham  49:22

you’re trying to say, hey, look, we’re all done on that.


Damon Pistulka  49:28



Kon Apostolopolous  49:28

It’s high risk, high reward, man.


Damon Pistulka  49:30

Yeah, yeah, it is. And then email. And I think I think we’ve got a good a good. You know, we are we’re in Jeff, as you said. And con as well this this thing about the ups and downs this man, if I can kind of wrap things up, we’re getting close to the top of the hour, but I think I think as we’ve done this as IRA was saying when we were planning for this last week, and we found the next thing to talk about this because we just got started at you know Everybody’s going to have ups and downs in this. And what one of the things I did want to convey is this group of people and your tribe around you are there. They will, as Jeff said, they’ll reach out to help you. They will, they will give you advice. But I’ll tell you don’t get upset. If you’re asking somebody that’s not the right person for advice. You really got to consider the source. And I’ve got it in my own family. My wife worked for big companies her whole life. She thinks I’m absolutely batshit crazy. I am, but not a rep. Yeah, I mean, all I’m batshit crazy. But just get prepared. Because as Tom says, There’s ups and downs in this there are and Jeff, you know, Jacob, you know, there’s a house in Dallas.


Ira Bowman  50:54

I want to interject one thing, it’s a simple statement, if you don’t plan to win, you will fail. Yes. And and people can say what they want, just because I had the foresight and the ability to to plan ahead, that’s just the moment that you launch. So whether you jumped into this thing, because you were laid off, and you didn’t feel like, and I’m going to say you didn’t feel like you had any other options, because we always have choices, right? we very rarely were going up one thing you can do. But wherever you started from however you started doesn’t mean you have to stay there. So because you didn’t have a good starting strategy. And you just kind of were like thrown into it doesn’t mean you have to live there. Make a plan for how you’re going to spend your time how you’re going to spend your your money, how you’re going to, you know, think about sales coming in customer service going out referral time. I mean, all there’s all of it, the books running the actual business itself, because you don’t pay your taxes, you they will shut you down, right? I mean, so you have to have a plan for all of it. And you should dedicate some time to everything, including personal care. So you don’t I mean, all you need a successful well thought out 24, you know, goes,


Damon Pistulka  52:04

Yeah, your routines that what you’re going to do. And you know, it’s really good. And I think, you know, one of the things that I think that that we can talk about in a future session is, is a couple things I and I was using Jeff’s Jeff’s term here fishing at different levels, because I think that’s, you know, allocating time, first of all, and then fishing at different levels or a couple of things when you talk about the different ways that you have to generate sales and doing those things. And I think that just wrapping up today, I was hoping that this would start some conversations. Thanks. Thanks for getting on the stage, guys. And if people want to add more, have more questions, got more suggestions for our next one about this? Just put them in the chat. And we’ll do that. I see some great questions. We’ll go back and review that. But this is awesome. And one of the things you’re not alone feels like you’re alone. You’re not reach out to people and get some get. Just talk. Whatever you got to do. There are people that will help as Jeff said and willing to give you advice. But, Andrew, take Azadi. We’re an 855. Man, we hit this hard hat fast.


Andrew Cross  53:24

Yeah, closing up the meeting exit your way sponsored by exit your way. Anyways, great, guys. Thanks a lot. Yeah, Ira, you know, just starting his business just recently. Yeah. One of the most prepared people I’ve ever seen to do that. Yeah. Really prepared it. It’s like, it’s a rare. Jacob, Jacobs been through three or four iterations of his business listens to customers and gets to work man. Oh, man, you know, out there scaling up companies and Kon. keeping their mind straight. Right. Yeah. I mean, just you know, we had a lot of meetings recently too, with people about fitness. Right? This is a marathon. So you know, take care of body. Maybe. Yeah, you’re gonna get it’s gonna help you succeed and get through this. Cool. Thanks, everybody. Next week, we’re going to talk about being Americans.


Damon Pistulka  54:20

We’ll get we’ll get the right time. But we’ll, we’ll get some rounded but I do want to get into it. We’re gonna


Andrew Cross  54:28

we’re gonna build where we’re going to talk about the debate. The division and so anyways, looking forward to it. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  54:37

Should be one. Yeah. Yeah. Well, thanks a lot everyone. Have a good week.  Reach out to somebody.

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