The Pros and Cons of Bootstrapping

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One founder offers her perspective on bootstrapping and explains why dealing with the cons may be worth the pros. 

By Victoria Oldridge (Founder, MoxTree)

The past year has been a whirlwind! We went live with MoxTree's beta phase last year and realized the aspects we would like to modify very quickly.

It was obvious, after the first few weeks of beta, that we wanted to change the onboarding process, the general UX/UI feel, and implement some more 'pop-up' reminders. In addition, we wanted to set ourselves up with a whole new framework so that we could also project and position ourselves for additional features.

Moms, as a demographic, are busy, they are constantly multitasking. This made it clear that we needed a mobile version sooner than later as well. We're bootstrapping (by choice) at this juncture (though that may change in the near future) and although there are positive elements to bootstrapping (believe it or not), the downside is apparent; time.

Cons

Iterations, modifications and new features take longer to implement and it's easy to become impatient. The other reality of bootstrapping is that you don't have a team of designers/developers feet away from you, who are easily accessible and ready to start building. This has resulted in one of our most challenging obstacles -- ensuring we are always on the same page with designers, their expectations, our expectations, timelines, various coding (front end and back) skill levels, etc.

Pros

But bootstrapping isn't all terrible. Despite the longer time frames and frustrations that accompany it, you learn to become really resourceful, really fast. You start to realize that some of the challenges of bootstrapping are part of the ride. You begin to dig down deep and become more creative and hone your negotiating skills. Essentially you end up wearing all of your 'hats' (marketer, developer, sales, entrepreneur, technical) simultaneously and learn how to swap hats in a moment's time.

We may have spent the last year on a roller coaster ride of a lifetime, noticed a few more gray hairs (well, my husband has, anyway!), and at times, felt like we were caught in the middle of a spin-dry cycle. But we're not only here, we're growing, innovating and influencing, listening, and learning. Our value has been augmented on multiple levels. We did indeed overhaul our UX/UI, onboarding, and we are mobile! We're already starting to design future features...but not after we take a short breather to absorb and celebrate this milestone first.

Would you recommend Bootstrapping? Why or why not?

OlridgeAbout the guest blogger: Victoria Oldridge noticed a gaping hole in the ways in which moms were coming together--based on one variable, a child. It didn't seem like enough to form a sustainable network and after consulting with other moms, an overwhelming volume agreed. in 2012, her third child, 'MoxTree', was born into beta phase.