I worked for big corporations for the longest time, with some years of freelancing here and there. When I had the opportunity to start my own business using investor’s money, I knew nothing about running a business.
I tried to catch up on my business reading. I asked for advice from people who have made it. I fell into the trap of trying to run my business the way I thought every business should be run—to grow it exponentially.
Needless to say, I was overwhelmed and depressed.
Then I came across a picture on social media about a small shop in Japan that hangs a sign: Open when I wake up, close when I must go to sleep. When I have enough, the shop is closed.
That gave me a wake-up call as it reminded me that the only person who knows how to run my business was me.
That picture has become my business philosophy ever since.
This is how I want to run my business. To sustain my life. Not to be the best, the biggest, the most.
It might be the stupidest, most impractical, and most downright crazy business model, but it works for me because of the kind of person I am.
Adopting this model meant removing a lot of conveniences, such as investor’s funding and monthly salary. On the other hand, I gained a lot more important things—my mental health and my drive to create. And lo and behold, the money followed.
Simon Sinek said always start with WHY. I made a mistake of not being honest with myself and my why was a copy-and-paste of someone else’s.
Now, bootstrapping for business is a privilege, because it literally means using personal savings, and the cash only comes in from the first sales, which depends a lot on luck. It’s uncertain, it’s tough, but for me it works best.
This experience taught me that before you try to become an expert of anything, invest time to become an expert of yourself first.