Bootstrapped Business Stories That Will Inspire You

Running a business without enough capital can be difficult. This is why some people lose hope and think that their business dream will remain a dream. But what most people don’t know is that starting a business from scratch and eventually succeeding can be a huge achievement for you.

To help inspire you, I’ve rounded up bootstrapped businesses from today’s hottest companies. These are real life stories that will inspire you.

Tableau Software

The co-founders of Tableau Software did everything they could just to cut costs. They all decided to invest thousands of dollars in the business, so they had to cut their expenses, avoid taking salaries and downsize their homes. Fortunately, every sacrifice they made paid off when they got the necessary funds for the business.

Tableau Software


Douglas Cole and Galen Ward are the founders of Stately. During the early years, they did everything they could to save money. Douglas decides to drop his grad course, while Glenn quits his job. Starting a business on a tight budget is very difficult, but eventually they learned how to survive without a lot of money. Using Cole’s basement, the two worked on Estately using free online tools. Their first intern worked as a developer for free. Fortunately, their hard work paid off as, after their launch, they achieved massive production. Today, his frugal early years have now been adopted as Estately’s work culture.

Furniture Factory Outlet Guide

When Kimberly Kazee couldn’t afford to print the books, she decided to make bound books out of designer plastic. They cost $100,000 and were sent by direct mail. Its purpose was to print the “Furniture Factory Outlet Guide.” He then came up with another plan – he used his home printer and bought $200 worth of printed covers to make the book himself. After the books were finished, they stayed in the RV for a year to be distributed to various bookstores. Fortunately, her story and her book were featured, which helped boost sales.



Spanx, a self-directed business, was founded by Sarah Blakely. She is the sole owner of her own business and is now a billionaire. Not everything was easy for him. In fact, his hard work became an inspiration to many. At the beginning of his career, everything he did seemed to fail. She became a Disney actress, tried to study law, and even became a stand-up comedian but failed at all three.

But, during her sales job at Danke, she came up with a great idea. When she was working, she was required to wear pantyhose which was uncomfortable due to the humid climate in Florida. So she decided to cut off the pantyhose feet and started wearing them under her slacks. It went on and on, but she already knew she was onto something.

So using his personal savings of $5,000, he bravely launched his own business. After just one year, his business has already made $4 million. To date, it is still self-financed.

Under Armour

Armor’s founders started their business in a garage. Kevin Plank, then 23, wanted to start a business that catered to high-quality sports apparel. So he decided to work in his grandmother’s basement. He began selling prototypes while traveling in his car around the East Coast. A year later, he had already grossed $17,000 from his sales and began funding his business under Armour.

Under Armour


Whether you are planning to start a business or exploring a business venture with a friend, you need to make sure that you are ready to face challenges and difficulties. You also need to believe in your service or product so that everything works the way you want it to. There may be some sacrifices along the way, but they will definitely be worth it. Nothing comes easy, but if you are determined to start a business and make it a success, you will surely succeed.

Image Sources: Forbes, Flickr, CNN
Based on content from Finance Nancy

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