Running Your Small Business without Outside Financing

Running Your Small Business without Outside Financing

Have you ever worried about where you will find the money that will allow you to grow your business. I have and, like most small or solo businesses, angel investors or venture funding are not a possibility.  Were you aware that most small businesses start up by bootstrapping?  They fund themselves and discover ways to ramp up with a minimal amount of money.

Frequently there is often a misperception that you can grow your business without money. That is not entirely true. There is a good deal of marketing you can do for free; however, you can also learn how to conserve cash and only spend on what is necessary. Think of it as a game. Create a list of the essentials that you need and go shopping. For example, do you pay full price for designer clothes at the mall? Most of us shop around, look for sales and feel triumphant when we get a good deal. Think about your business in the same way.

Following are a few bootstrapping tips:

Start with a home office

Even if you know you will eventually need more space, start out by creating office space at home until your income can pay for your rent. I tell entrepreneurs that when they can afford to invest 25 percent of their yearly revenues in rent, they can think about renting.


You can save a lot by bootstrapping your telephone equipment and service.  With services like Vonage and Skype you can receive a full menu of services. Make a list of the bells and whistles you need and find the company that will provide them at one low monthly price. 

It is more expensive if you register your phone number as a company rather than a personal line. To start out, list it in your name unless you have the type of business that potential clients look for in the phone book (do people still use a phone book?).


I have seen people spending weeks agonizing over the color or exact look of their logo and spend lots of money on endless revisions, when it would make little difference to their business growth. Why not shop around for a graphic designer and web designer who has already done work you like and who are reasonably priced? Online services like Logoworks can be a good bootstrapping resource.

Make sure your web designer can help you with search engine optimization and that they will design your site in a Content Management System, so you can make simple changes easily by yourself rather than paying them to do it for you.  You can save by learning about SEO, good copywriting and how to quickly generate targeted traffic to your website for little or no money. 


There are tons of ways to market cost free on the Internet.  But offline you can also trade advertising for a percentage of the sales revenues the ad generates. You can also barter your services for the marketing services you need. You can also place ads for free on Craigslist. 

Perhaps you are good at speaking. Find organizations whose members are in your target market and offer an informational presentation. Be creative and you can reduce your marketing dollars significantly while still getting a great ROI.  Social network marketing on sites such as Facebook, Linked In and dozens of others are basically free. It just takes an overall strategy and some time; however, the results can be significant over time. This type of marketing is about building long-term relationships which means clients that tend to be more loyal and refer
others to you.


Rather than hire, outsource specific tasks.  Need administrative assistants, hire a Virtual Assistant. Needing someone to build links to your website, submit articles online, or write press releases? Go to and allow qualified professionals to bid on your job.

I recommend Team Double Click. It is owned by Gayle Buske who has assembled an international team of over 50,000 virtual assistants with every possible skill and area of expertise. You will save a lot of time and money.   You will not have to spend money on wanted ads, interview employees, and you will save on Workers Comp insurance and payroll taxes. 


There are many creative ways to obtain the products and services you need by bartering your services with the service provider. You can have a three or four way barter where you can purchase from one service provider in the group and actually deliver a service to another for "barter credit". There are some tax rules governing barter so be  sure to speak to your accountant.


These are just a few bootstrapping suggestions. Where else can you save money and still attain the results you want?


About Online Biz Boomer Babe

Rachel Lavern is a Certified Business Coach and founder of My Booming Online Business--a blog for middle-age, global, uptown women. She is on a mission to transform entrepreneurs' finances by teaching the action set, mindset and skill set needed to get launched + make money.


  1. Another totally fabulous post Rachel!

    I really enjoyed reading it and I also love your idea about three or four
    way barter.

    Provided, as you advised, be sure you run the particulars past your accountant and or CPA first. You also make
    another excellent point about wanna be entrepreneurs getting way too caught up and wasting for too much
    time on side issues, like the look of their logo or the header on their website etc!

    Granted, these things are important, by not as important as generating revenue and servicing new and existing customers/clients etc.

    Yet another great post! Thanks so much for sharing it!
    Mark recently posted…How To Use Your Inventory Closeouts For More Than Just A Quick Buck!My Profile

  2. One thing I KNOW I need to take greater advantage of is bartering. I’ve been in business for over a decade and I know that bartering can be useful. I’ve just never done it. Perhaps this is something I will take advantage of in the future!
    Katherine recently posted…My Struggle to Stay FocusedMy Profile

  3. Thank you for sharing this blog Rachel! I find it very inspiring for those who are building small businesses.

    I would need to take advantage of outsourcing. I myself am just starting on building my business, so I hired a Virtual Assistant to help me build my Facebook page following! She provides me with creative social assistance remotely from home and it has been a good start for my business ever since! I absolutely would need to look more into outsourcing.
    Again thanks for sharing this blog, I would love to hear more on this topic! 🙂

  4. Everyone wish to run their own business but everyone cannot fullfill their wish due to lack of money. Your post is a great help of those people who would like to do a business lacking money. This gives insight on running our own business without borrwing anything from anyone. Appreciate it!!!!
    vino recently posted…Onpage SEO Checklist For An Ecommerce SiteMy Profile

  5. I found this post to be very refreshing and right on the money! I tell my clients very often when they are focusing their efforts on things that aren’t that important, that they need to just start taking action. Stop analyzing how great your logo or copy is and just start producing content. You’ll be surprised at all quickly your results will increase. Thanks so much for this great read!

  6. This is filled with great information. Thank you so much for this! There was some I already knew but some that I didn’t. Thanks!

  7. You could also hold a yard sale to get rid of stuff that’s cluttering up your home. You could use those proceeds towards things that you need for your business.
    DeAnna Troupe recently posted…What You Can Learn About Public Speaking From Empire’s CookieMy Profile

  8. Hi Rachel,

    Online as well as offline, when we want to start a business, it takes money to do so. There is always initial set up costs. A web designer is needed if one ever wants to get off the ground. I’ve seen people spend too much time building their websites and never starting their business…

    I love my home office. I did move into a new home that had sufficient structure to it so that my home office is quiet and removed from the rest of the house. Before, I worked in my kitchen lol.

    When it comes to marketing, money must be spent. From one to one coaching, to setting up a sales funnel, it takes money to do so.

    So glad you wrote this article to bring to light that we must treat our business as business and have the funding to do so.

    donna merrill recently posted…Should Bloggers Give Away Their Best Information?My Profile

  9. Hi Rachel,

    I haven’t been to your blog in awhile and as usual you provide such valuable insights and information. I know how much time can be saved by outsourcing and bartering. I’ve only done a small amount of this but it has been so helpful. That is one of my goals for this year.

    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted…Intimacy Pact – How Have You Created Yours?My Profile

  10. Hi Rachel, I've been an entrepreneur for then years and I've always started businesses bootstrapping. Not that I couldn't but I just chose not to. I have a good friend in Dallas who works with businesses and coaches them before they apply for investment dollars. It's a tough enviornment. I learned through the years that the number one problem a business has is not creating products or services, but creating a message that is all about those they desire to attract and do business with. You have to learn what business you're "really" in if you're going to make it. Too many business spend way too much time talking about themselves and not those they seek to serve who are ready and willing to buy from them. You cannot attract the right people if you don't know how to appeal to them. Great post Rachel. Thanks for allowing me to extend the conversation. Have a great week Rachel! ~ Don Purdum

  11. Hi Rachel, great post on helping entrepreneurs to start up a business by giving resources to save money. I hadn’t heard of Team Double Click before – I believe in outsourcing though. If we try to do everything ourselves, especially tasks we find hard, we just waste far too much time.
    Julieanne van Zyl recently posted…Then There was Mud,Mud, and…More MudMy Profile

  12. Since I live in Boston. We outsource all work besides bringing in more business. We have saved so much time. Which allows us to focus on doing only daily execution of activities. That grow our business.

    You made a great insightful share. To much time spent trying to brand our self. Many spend to much details and just overlook the simple solutions. That is where I continue to be persistent with my company.

    One idea was to only subcontract college kids. They, are hungry and looking to make anything for the weekend. I am in a goldmine location. Hundreds of educational location in Boston. Well focused I must add.

    Thanks for these great ideas and putting us to use our imaginations and run with it.
    William Earl Amis Jr III recently posted…Enough is Enough!My Profile

  13. Hello Rachel, Great article my friend, it always amazes me when someone wants to join my business yet does not even have $20 to get started! Really how serious are they about this? Starting a business takes money, there is not way around it.

    I really never thought about bartering and do think this is a great idea. Thanks for sharing.. Chery :))

  14. Excellent article Rachel! You have provided some really helpful suggestions and tips for making the most of limited financial resources when you start a small business! I have never bartered before but I have a friend who has done it and really had some great results. Thanks for all the fantastic advice. 🙂
    Shelley Alexander recently posted…Blood Orange Cherry Turmeric MilkMy Profile

  15. Excellent Post Rachel!

    I have folks who contacted me about starting a home business but when I ask them how much do they have to start a business they said “I have no money”. It takes money to start a home business.

    Thanks for posting this article.


  16. Thanks for sharing..! this is really nice tips to kick starting up small business. Honestly, this post is really useful to me since I am going to start small business of recruitement service. You know..? What I am worrying is how could I save my money for business costs such marketing, administrative cost, and hiring.

    Thanks again, your made me sense and some worrying was reduced from my heart. LOL.
    Kimsea Sok recently posted…How to Start Best Small Business With BloggingMy Profile

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