Bootstrapping Doesn’t Mean Doing It All Alone

bootstrapping doesn't mean doing it all alone

I have ambiguous feelings about the term ‘bootstrapping’.  On the one hand, it’s the way I created my own business. On the other, I hate that it’s somehow become some sort of badge of honor.  The term originated as a way of saying something was pretty much impossible.   No one could literally pull themselves up using their bootstraps.  Now it means starting a business with little to no capital. Sure, it’s how I started out, but I had no choice having lost my job and it was hard.  Really hard.  On top of that, when you look into bootstrapping a new business it’s pretty much assumed that you’re going to be doing everything yourself.  No one ever seems to mention that bootstrapping doesn’t mean doing it all alone.

bootstrap (n.)

also boot-strap, tab or loop at the back of the top of a men’s boot, which the wearer hooked a finger through to pull the boots on, 1870, from boot (n.1) + strap (n.).

To pull (oneself) up by (one’s) bootstraps, by 1871, was used figuratively of an impossible task

Online Etymology Dictionary

Don’t get me wrong, you’ll find yourself wearing many different hats in your business if you are bootstrapping.  Boss, marketing department, accounting department, tech support and worker will all fall within your wheelhouse.  Starting with your bootstraps often means that hiring employees is not an option.  Luckily technology has given bootstrappers an alternative.  Rather than hiring employees with the expenses of payroll, taxes and equipment, you can create a virtual team that can take care of individual projects and tasks without those expenses.

What is a virtual team?

A virtual team can be made up of one or many individuals working as independent contractors.  It could be just one virtual assistant or virtual personal assistant that you can delegate tasks that don’t require you to do them. It could also be a combination of virtual personal assistant, virtual assistant, online technology assistant, accounting assistant, SEO consultant, social media assistant and/or website assistant.  And these aren’t the only virtual independent contractor types out there that could be utilized to help you grow your business. 

The benefits of creating your own virtual team as a bootstrapping business are many. Of course, it’s going to save you money.  Not having to provide office space, equipment, payroll, health insurance or payroll taxes is a huge benefit.  Only using your virtual team when needed for individual projects or tasks also makes it more cost effective.  And being able to find individuals who excel at the things you may find are weaknesses can help streamline your business processes.

Bootstrapping may have erroneously become the blanket term for starting a business on a shoestring budget, but it shouldn’t mean you also have to do everything yourself.  Putting together a good virtual team can give you the support you need to make it just a little bit easier.


Tina Marie Hilton provides online technology services to forward thinking businesses. She writes on her Tips from T.Marie business blog to share insight and information with other small businesses and entrepreneurs. It also makes her feel like that certificate in creative writing isn't going to waste completely.