Mentorship from founders who have bootstrapped their startups

Talk to mentors from these amazing companies

James Eder

Entrepreneur, Founder & Work.Life Coach
From launching Studentbeans from scratch in 2005 without any funding, the company now employs over 250 people. I was involved in all the initial sales, marketing & partnerships driving the business to be profitable.

Elaina Smith

CFO and Fintech Co-Founder
I've helped start 2 bootstrapped companies. I know how to do a lot with a little. I prefer bootstrapping vs. getting outside investment if at all possible so that founders can stay true to their original vision.

Melissa Unsell-Smith

Founder at Rectify
I can share how my first tech company funded growth through customers and how we developed a product alongside direct customer interaction (before user centered design even existed).
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Kosta Panagoulias

Kosta Panagoulias

Founder at Jobtable
My company is 100% revenue-financed. Meaning we started with zero dollars in the bank, and never taken a dime from anyone. Maintaining a lean and disciplined ideology is what helped our company grow to +7-figures in annual recurring revenue.
Peter Murphy Lewis

Peter Murphy Lewis

🕸️VP Marketing | 📺 Host | 🎧 Podcaster |🐒 CSO Zoo | Founder 🚲 LaBicicletaVerde Tours4Tips ChileGuru | 👠Ultra-Marathoner
Bootstrapped 3 travel companies in South America. I can tell you what not to do (because I did it) and what to repeat (because I got lucky or someone taught me well). I love to mentor, pivot, critique, encourage, help.

Blair Morrison

I have bootstrapped my start-up for over three years. I believe some businesses need to raise capital and others are better off with out it. I do not plan to raise capital - ask me why.

How does it works?

Step 1. Browse mentors

Browse through our list of mentors using the filters. Make sure to read their profiles and reviews in depth, and make your choice.

Step 2. Send session request

Found the perfect mentor for you? Awesome, time to request a call. Tell them a bit about your situation, choose a time, and get it set on your calendar.

Step 3. Get on 1:1 call

Time for the call, yay! Make sure you show up on time and prepared to make the most out of it. Pro tip: Ask your mentor if it’s ok to record the screen so you can take notes later.

Why talk to a bootstrapping mentor?

There are so many benefits to bootstrapping your startup. Here are just a few of them:

  • You can take your time and make sure you’re going in the right direction.
  • You’ll learn how to make better decisions when you’re under pressure.
  • You’ll build skills that will serve you for years—and even decades—to come.
  • You’ll gain valuable insights into what it means to be an entrepreneur and how to think like one.

If you’re a founder, it’s important to get mentored by founders who have bootstrapped their startups. You need mentors who have done it before, and you need mentors who have done it successfully.
Why? Because it’s not easy—it’s hard. Finding the right mentors is crucial to your startup’s success.

But what if the people you’re looking to for advice have never had to bootstrap their business? The fact is, many of the best mentors out there are no longer bootstrappers themselves. This can be a problem because they don’t know what it’s like to face the challenges you’re facing right now.

The good news is that there are still plenty of founders who have been through this process before and can help you navigate it successfully. They know what it’s like to have only $500 in their bank account and still be able to get through the day. They know what it feels like when your car breaks down and you don’t know if you can afford repairs.

Bootstrapped founders are some of the best mentors for entrepreneurs. They’ve been in your shoes, they know what challenges you’ll face, and they’ve overcome them—and now they’re ready to share their wisdom with you so that you can do the same thing!

Common Use Cases

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Frequently asked questions

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If you’re a bootstrapped founder, you may be tempted to get mentored by someone who has taken the VC route and raised millions of dollars. But that’s a huge mistake.

A founder who has raised money is going to have an entirely different perspective than someone who bootstrapped their startup. Not only does a founder whose company was self-funded have more hands-on experience than someone who raised money since they had no choice but to wear multiple hats, but they also know what it’s like to be on both sides of the table. That means they can relate better to your situation as a founder and give you advice that will help take your business where it needs to go.

The only people who know what it’s like to build a company from nothing are the ones who have done it for themselves.

It takes discipline and resourcefulness and even if you have that there are going to be surprises on the way that will catch you off-guard.

The best way to plan for the journey ahead is to talk to the people who have walked the same path and can give you advice on situations that you may face. Find your way forward by talking to the mentors that have bootstrapped their way to seven figures on a shoestring.

When you’re just getting started, giving away a portion of your business for some cash may be necessary to grow, but anyone who’s done it knows that it hurts.

But with the right idea you may be able to find the capital you need without giving away equity.

Talk to a resourceful growth mentor who can help you find ways to get cash in the door quickly and cut down your expenses to what’s really essential. Find profit early and make every dollar you give out work for you.

Bootstrapping often means keeping your startup lean, running at minimum cost, and maximizing the return on every dollar spent.

Seasoned entrepreneurs who have bootstrapped their own startups will be able to help you find and leverage the right tools to save you time, money and resources. They’ll also have worked with several freelancers/agencies that they can recommend to help you find quality work from affordable sources.

Is your business at the right stage to start looking for outside investment? Do you understand the implications of tying your startup’s future to the needs of your investors?

Raising money is more than just a check that gives your business liquidity, it has implications that extend from how quickly you need to scale to how soon you plan to exit.

A mentor can help you evaluate whether external funding is something you should consider or if maybe it’s better to grind it out until your business is in a better position to scale.

Sometimes boiling your product idea down to its Minimum Viable Product is a quick way to get it to market quickly and start bringing in some cash.

But what features are essential, and which will cost you more time and development money keeping you away from the customers you could be selling to now?

Talk to someone who can give you feedback on your product’s development, and what you need before you can realistically expect to start selling it to customers in a way that you can afford.

Three choices:

  • Skype
  • Zoom
  • Google Hangouts

Mentors and mentees are able to set their communication tools in their profile settings.

It is a good idea to connect with the other person once the session is accepted and the details are given. This ensures that the correct details were given and when it is time to start, you can start on time.

Here are some tips on how to get the maximum bang for your time on growth mentor calls.

  • Come into this with realistic expectations. They’re mentors, not magicians.
  • Ask your mentor if they’d be cool with you recording your screen with Loom
  • Give contextual information to help paint the picture of your current situation.
  • Growth mentors will be asking you lots of questions, answer them as honest as possible.
  • Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries of question asking. Be inquisitive. Stories are gold.
  • Don’t feel pressure, just relax. There’s no right/wrong way to do this. Avoid binary thinking.
  • Try to form mental patterns, especially if you speak with multiple mentors. Pay attention to metadata.
  • Embrace alternative views. Ask the mentors to play devil’s advocate and challenge your assumptions.
  • Be friendly and authentic. If you’re likable, the mentors will be your biggest supporters (even after the call is over).

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Enjoy the peace of mind that advice is always only one Zoom call away.