How To Bootstrap a Business: Exactly What I Did To Start And Scale My Online Business

How To Bootstrap a Business: Exactly What I Did To Start And Scale My Online Business

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Wanna know how I’ve been able to bootstrap this business to do over $900,000 in just 2 years in business?

In this post, I’ll share with you how the heck I’ve done that.

I’ve been getting questions about how I’ve done this and more recently actually received a message from someone on Facebook.

She was pissed that I shared a testimonial from one of my clients, and in the testimonial the client said ‘she couldn’t afford to start with my program but did it anyway.’

The girl who messaged me said she REALLY couldn’t afford a program and it upset her that I shared the testimonial.

Here’s what I told her.

“I had -$400 in my checking account when I invested in my first program– I sold anything I could in my house to make it happen. it’s not a lack of resources, but a lack of resourcefulness that keeps us stuck.”

Tough? Maybe.

But if you keep walking around with a victim mentality telling yourself you can’t afford it and you’ll never make it happen, YOU WILL NEVER MAKE IT HAPPEN.

There are people out there who are crazy successful who started with nothing and figured out a way to make it.


Let’s get into how to bootstrap a business =)

How to bootstrap a business step 1: Find a mentor

In the beginning, this may be a mentor in a book or podcast. Find someone who has the lifestyle you want AND the business you want. 

If the mentor doesn’t have kids and works 80 hours a week, and you have 3 little ones and can only commit to 20 hours/week, you might want to keep looking. 

Ideally, they share your values. The sooner you can get a personal mentor, the faster you will grow. This isn’t cheap so you might not consider it ‘bootstrapping’, but Tony Robbins says, “you can compress decades of learning into days” when you have the right mentor.

As Tony says, “If you want to achieve success, all you need to do is find a way to model those who have already succeeded.” 

How to bootstrap a business step 2: Know what programs you MUST invest in 

You don’t need everything to get started, but you do need a few things. 

When I started this business, I skipped Kajabi ($100/month) and used the free version of Thinkific for a few months. 

Kajabi DOES look way more professional, so as soon as it was in my budget, I upgraded to give my students a better experience. 

The nonnegotiable things I paid for were website hosting, a WordPress theme,  LeadPages, and Active Campaign. 

You need to own your own website and hosting, and it’ll cost less than $100/year to get this piece. 

LeadPages is essential for creating gorgeous opt-in pages that truly convert. You can try to create some in WordPress, but I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll waste time and they won’t convert like LeadPages does. 

It’s only $25/month and you can get a 14 day free trial here. 

The last thing that I found essential was a great email provider. 

Yes, there are free ones, but you’ll want to upgrade eventually and it’s a pain to transfer everything over. ActiveCampaign is $14/month to get started, so that’s what I did, and what we still use. 

If you want to try out ActiveCampaign, you can get a free 14 day trial here. 

I did NOT have ClickFunnels, Kajabi, or other expensive platforms when I started. I stuck with the essentials and upgraded when I could. 

How to bootstrap a business step 3: Add team members

There’s only so much time in the day and only so much you can do on your own. 

The sooner you can start outsourcing, the better. My first virtual assistant lives in the Philippines and I hired him for $7/hour, 10 hours/week. 

You might be telling yourself a story of ‘I can’t afford to hire help’, but the truth is, you can’t afford NOT to. 

How many hours are you wasting trying to figure out the tech part of your business when it could take someone in the Philippines 10 minutes to do? 

What is your time really worth? 

The second person I added to the team was Arijana, who is kind of like an advanced super-skilled VA, but has turned into more of a project manager on our team. 

Then we hired Lizzy, who does all of our social media. 

Then Michelle, who is our customer service. 

Andrea and Kierra run the Pinterest management services in our business. 

Brandi does our Facebook ads. 

And Helen is our coach inside of Activate. 

Hammad and Maria do our copywriting and design for launches on an as-needed basis. 

Think about all the things you do in your business…what are the things that truly only you can do?

Make it your goal to outsource the rest. 

I can show up and do coaching calls with my private clients and within Activate. 

I can record podcast episodes, do interviews, and write blog posts. 

I can create our online courses and host webinars.

I can be the visionary for our business. 

Most everything else isn’t my zone of genius and can be outsourced. 

How to bootstrap a business step 4: Reinvest profits to grow

You need to know your numbers so you know how much profit you’re making and how much you can reinvest into your business. 

I didn’t take much of a salary when I first started She’s Making an Impact (enough to live off of, barely) and kept putting money back into the business. 

Some of our biggest returns on investment have come from having great team members and Facebook ads. 

When I first started doing webinars, I hustled to get as many people as possible on, and when I knew they converted well and were profitable, I hired someone to do our Facebook ads and started to scale them. 

We have spent a LOT of money on Facebook ads…why wouldn’t you when you put in a dollar and out comes 3? 


I hope this post helps you see how we’ve grown this company, and for you to know how doable it is for you as well. 

If I can do it, so can you <3

QUESTION: How long have you been in business? Where do you see yourself a year from now?

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how to bootstrap a business

Hey! I’m Rachel. I’m a former Big Ten volleyball player turned entrepreneur and professional cheese taster (kidding–but that would be a sweet job).

I’m a Pinterest strategist for female entrepreneurs who are sick of struggling on Facebook & Instagram and want to automate their traffic and get more leads on autopilot. I’ve used Pinterest to increase my blog traffic by 34,000/month…for free!

Obsessed with: adventure, champagne, chocolate, and yoga pants.

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