Once Rich decided it was time to get a life, he moved ahead with dogged determination. He continues his story below…..
Build a Business
Since completing my MBA, I have founded or co-founded 27 businesses. Each of these ventures was bootstrapped with less than $10,000 of initial capital. Nine have been outright failures. Seven have been moderately successful, four are in process, and seven have become multimillion dollar businesses.
Countless times, while launching these companies, I have wished for a reference book or mentor to help me avoid the big mistakes. Fellow entrepreneurs were happy and willing to help with advice, but none could completely articulate the factors that had led to their success. In my search for the right reference guide, I found numerous, well-written books that were either bulging with theory or focused on high-end businesses with startup budgets of over a million dollars, but nothing credible for the person with a dream, unbridled ambition, and only a few thousand dollars.
Most people who aspire to start their own enterprises cannot cobble together the millions such books suggest are needed to launch a business. Understanding that, and drawing from my own experiences of bootstrapping businesses, I outline with Bootstrapped! how it is that a person can take $5,000 and build it into a multimillion dollar business.
When my partner and coauthor, Ron Porter, and I first started writing this book, we decided to create a company as a test case to prove the principles we are setting forth. We each came to the table with $2,500 and started Everest Web SEO, a company built around search engine optimization. Within the first few months, we had won deals with S&K Menswear, Warner Music Group, Franklin Covey, Shop At Home, and The New York Times. During these early months, we generated over $70,000 in total sales, with net profit margins of approximately 85 percent. Six months into the business, we merged with a New York online marketing firm, Interactive Acquisition, forming a new company, CastleWave, LLC. At the end of seven months, our monthly revenue was at $70,000 a month, with a $40,000-per-month net profit. At the time of making this book available, we just completed the first year of business. We now have sixteen employees. As of October 2008 CastleWave is generating approximately $110,000 of revenue per month at over 65 percent net margin. All indicators point to this business growing at an accelerated level.
Bootstrapped! combines the art form that is found in any entrepreneurial venture with practical, step-by-step guidelines that a person can—and really must—follow in building a successful enterprise with a minimal amount of capital. We share real-life examples, followed by extracting the steps you must be mindful of in building a business. The book is at once, engaging, entertaining, and motivating, even as it leads a person through proven formulas that lead to success.
You can see why people are getting excited about this book! We’ll finish the introduction to the book next time, as Rich wraps up his opening thoughts on controlling your destiny.