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What I learned in my first two years of bootstrapping a startup

What I learned in my first two years of bootstrapping a startup

We made a conscious decision to fund 3 Degrees ourselves as we wanted to build a company based on our belief system that  might not fit the typical corporate mold.

To paraphrase our model company (Basecamp or 37Signals), we believe that companies can have a positive impact on their ecosystem. We treat people like how we want to be treated – whether it’s doing our best for clients, doing right by our employees and even treating ourselves with a balance of work and play. (For example, we have a 4-day work-week in December. Submit your resumes here.)

However, bootstrapping the business brings a whole new set of challenges.

  1. Everyone is a potential recruit. Even your unborn child. And isn’t 10 the legal working age in some countries?
Surprised baby

2. You call up clients who owe you money more often than you call your mother.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

3. Ikea office furniture isn’t half-bad. That high-back chair is almost like an Aeron if you sit like so.

4. You can finally have the pantry that you’ve always wanted. Chia seed biscuits? Ginger ale? Apple juice? Score!

Talk to some food

5. Listening to Spotify is a good distraction while cleaning the office toilet on a Saturday.

Mrs Doubtfier

6. Your landlord is your best friend. He’ll fix the leaking window and paint that wall for free if you ask him really, really nicely.

Where's the Rent

7. Everyone smiles on payday. Except you and your bank account.

8. There are no holidays. Ever.

9. But the satisfaction of seeing the company grow? Priceless.

Given a choice, we’d probably do it all over again as it’s time for business to get back to basics. Running a company should not be about cutting off 10,000 staff so that you can increase your share price by 2.7%.
We don’t spend on things that don’t really matter and invest in what’s really important – people.

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