Bootstrapping Is Like Riding A Bike

Black Isle Cycle Route

Today after finishing work for the day I got on my Muddy Fox hybrid bike and took a 15 mile ride around the roads, farm and forestry tracks around the local area.

I consider myself lucky to be able to do this. I’m part of this wonderful new world of remote working and distributed teams that the Internet makes possible.

It’s counter-intuitive but the freedom to set your own schedule often means spending way too much time at the keyboard and not enough time getting outside or getting active.

These days I am making an effort to make fun physical activities (for me it’s cycling and swimming) a high business priority because I want to operate at peak performance to produce the highest quality code, databases and web based software I can for my clients.

Cycling clears my mind and I find I make more creative connections. I’m currently training for a cycle marathon and while I sped and bounced along the country paths it occurred to me that there are parallels and similarities between these two activities that I enjoy – cycling and building my business.

Here are six reasons why bootstrapping a business is like riding a bike:

1) It takes time and effort to build up momentum

When you first get going you start in a lower gear and move up each gear as you pick up speed and gain momentum. It’s the same with a business – start with smaller projects or offers until you hit maximum speed at that level, then you can use the momentum you have built up (this could be knowledge or money) to change to a higher gear and move your business forwards faster.

2) There is always a new direction to explore

When biking there are endless directions to choose from. You could go with the main road, go off the beaten track or totally off road it.

When you have a business you can always refine and improve your service, products or pivot in an entirely new direction. You can serve an existing market or create a new one. The possibilities are limitless.

3) You can travel great distances under your own power

You don’t need funding or a bank loan to start a business now. Bootstrapping your business is getting easier with the proliferation of free online tools, software, services and marketplaces you can tap into to find clients, manage your business or build your product.

4) You sometimes get a face full of bugs

This one is for the software developers! Things don’t always go to plan. You may spend a lot of time fixing bugs in the first version of your product. Your business systems may have some holes to begin with. It’s just part of the process you have to deal with.

5) The more you do the more you can do

When out riding the bike this is kind of a mantra for me. I’m going a little further each time and leveling up my stamina allowing me to go on longer or harder journeys in the future. The more customers or clients you serve the more you learn, the better your skills become, the more refined your product becomes the more valuable it will be to your customers and the further it will take you.

6) It’s all about the journey

When out riding the bike this is kind of a mantra for me. I’m going a little further each time and leveling up my stamina allowing me to go on longer or harder journeys in the future. The more customers or clients you serve the more you learn, the better your skills become, the more refined your product becomes the more valuable it will be to your customers and the further it will take you.

It can take all of your time and energy to get a new business up and running. If you are in it for the long haul you have to enjoy the work for it’s own sake, not just for the end goal – whether that be money, autonomy or something else.

I love solving problems with code and creating something from nothing in this digital medium. If you love your craft before starting a business you can enjoy your journey too.

I am currently training for the Highland Hospice Black Isle Cycle Challenge and will be doing a 26 mile on and off road cycle challenge. If you would like to help to provide care for the terminally ill in the Highlands of Scotland then please visit this link to sponsor me.

To find out more about the challenge please visit the Highland Hospice Black Isle Cycle Challenge event page.

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