I have been in the Bootstrap phase of startups a few times, and I now I am an advisor to people who are doing the same. I will tell you how I did it, and how I've seen others do it, so you have a complete picture:

Me at 24: No Salary for 1 full year during bootstrap phase. Collected some money from Unemployment, parents helped with rent, had a roommate, became An extreme couponer (seriously, those skills are extremely valuable to a startup person), did mystery shopping for groceries, restaurants, dry cleaning and gas and also in-store electronics demos at Best Buy (and others) for $30 an hour.

Me at 30: moved onto a sailboat and sailed to Mexico to save money. Insisted on being paid while company was getting started but had another remote full time job in case things didn't work out.

The only other ways I've seen people survive during bootstrap phase is:

Self-Supported (inheritance or previous earnings)
Supported by spouse/significant other/friends
Business loan
Credit cards
Home equity Loan
Selling assets

Answered 6 years ago

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