Have You Bootstrapped a Home-Based Business?

| 10/21/2009 9:52:28 AM

You want to go into business, but no one is willing to loan the upfront capitol necessary for your full-scale business plan. What do you do!? In an online excerpt from its upcoming book, The Wall Street Journal Complete Small Business Guide, the Wall Street Journal suggests you start small with your own capitol — an entrepreneurial approach called bootstrapping — and then slowly build the business to a place where investors see the its potential. Another option, once the business has grown in size, is to skip outside investors all together, put the company’s profits back into the company, and retain full control over your business.

Home-based businesses are not just about childcare and craft sales. With the Internet at your fingertips, you can make, market and sell any product or service you can think up, and do it all from your garage, basement or home office. For decades Mother Earth News readers have bootstrapped their home-based businesses, turning dreams into successful business opportunities. Are you one of the folks who has developed a bootstrap home-based business or do you have plans to start one in the near future? If so, tell us your story in the comments section, below.

6/16/2011 9:48:49 PM

My wife and I started a home-based photography business over 20 years ago, and are still going strong. Initially all portrait sales, five years ago we found a niche in architectural photography. Business is very good, and we recently made the cover of an architectural magazine! Keys to our success are REMAINING IN THE HOME---and never paying rent to anyone!! We have seen many good business start-ups come and go locally, good-intentioned people coughing up precious money to landlords every month, struggling to make a go of it, but locked into leases, overhead, utilities, etc. We live in an old 2-story home and use half of the upstairs for a studio. We get tax breaks that really help, and I know we would be broke long ago if we had to pay rent. The house needs work, but clients don't care. They see the product and love it, and promptly pay! That is the key--getting paid! Commercial photography is wonderful---sending out invoices to business clients for thousands instead of squeezing hundreds out of consumers---it is a different world. I have two college degrees I am not using, and my wife has one degree she is not using--but we work together everyday, and really love the challenge and reward of our creative work. If you have an idea, start at home, stay at home if you possibly can, and be willing to start small, and take small steps. Find what you love and pursue it with passion!

Lee Wilcox
6/13/2011 5:45:42 PM

In 1985 I was recently retired from the Navy and working with the sales arm of a local air conditioning company. I saw an ad in mother for training (3-4 day school) from a chimney sweep company (Black Magic in Stowe Vermont). I pointed out to my boss that this was a form of Heating that was ignored locally. I went to that school and eventually owned a company that did Chimney Sweeps, Heating, and Air Conditioning. My debt was restricted to buying a couple ladders, a large vacuum, and a few brushes. It paid for itself and I continued to do it after I moved on until a broken back stopped me. Sometimes if you are willing to do your apprenticeship with someone else, it becomes easier to wind up with your own company.

Nana's garden
6/13/2011 5:36:26 PM

My daughter and I made a decision to leave our Slave Wage Jobs and go into business for ourselves, doing what we love. We have our own sustainable landscape service that specializes in edible landscapes. We have made some great strides since we began. It is hard, but no harder then selling our time for too little money. Now we are helping the community and sustaining our dreams all at once!

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