6 Entrepreneurs Share the Brilliant, Crazy Ways They Took Their Companies From Pennies to Profit Whether you're self-funded or not, there's plenty to learn from a bootstrapper.
Strapped for cash? You're not alone. The business press may make it seem like every startup rakes in millions from VC firms, but in reality, many, many, many more entrepreneurs build without any cash infusion. And that often makes them smarter and scrappier.
"The idea of bootstrapping is positive in the sense that it forces you to sell before you build," says Patrick FitzGerald, a lecturer at the Wharton School and a serial entrepreneur. He sees an increasing number of his students bootstrapping -- some to keep control of their company vision, and others because they're buried in business-school debt and can't fathom taking on another loan. He sympathizes. "I myself have always bootstrapped," FitzGerald says. "My parents are teachers, so I've never had the luxury of not bootstrapping."