31 replies
Many people have to bootstrap their business when they first get started online.

We have discussion after discussion here about spending money vs. time to get traffic, build a site, or get noticed on social media. Almost every time someone says something like "you have to spend money or you have to spend time.

This article presents a compelling argument for finding the money if you are in short supply vs. spending the time. He says that time, used properly, is worth more than the money you don't have. So, in effect, you may be losing by going the free route - even in the beginning.

There is nothing wrong with doing what you can with free tools and time. However, over the years, I've seen too many people who really shouldn't be in the situation of having to choose between the two, but they have to.

For example, I've seen people with a 2,000 person list fret about the $29 a month Aweber fee. Aren't you making enough with that list? What are you doing wrong? What can you do to improve? This shouldn't be an issue in the majority of cases.

People complain about $10 a year for a domain name and in many cases, they have to let the domain go for the lack of $10. If things aren't going your way in a couple months you should know it. Ask for some help. Figure out what's going wrong and make the proper adjustments.

Anyway, read the article. It's a good one. And then come back to share your own ideas about time vs. money.

#money #time
  • Profile picture of the author Janice Sperry
    Great article and I agree with both of you.

    When I started out years ago I spent way too much time learning and doing things myself. Why? 1) I like learning new things and I like challenges 2) I thought that it would be the best way to grow my business without spending too much money.

    Looking back I could have grown a lot faster with a lot less frustration by just spending a little more money here and there. Everyone has different circumstances and has to decide how to balance it out but I think newbies would progress a lot faster by paying for software tools or outsourcing whenever they can. If you are smart about it, you will make the money back anyway plus even more.
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  • Gotta figure on two scenarios, I guess.

    In the first, you are real destitoot -- downtaya las' in the gutter with sum street cat figuresya 2nd user clothes got sum kinda protein she can lick for succor.

    Next day, sumone tossesya 5 bux, orya go clean up an' chop wood for peanuts or dish coffees to schmucks fulla imaginary bonhomie.

    Point is, money is always potentially renewable till'n you die.

    Time don't renew that way.

    You got zero choice in the bargain.

    Scrawny cat suckin' onya, gotta figureya are a teen this is kinda SNAPCHAT & figureya are 79 this is kinda OVER.

    I forgot the second scenario -- permitted it to rot while I still had time.

    Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff togethah.

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  • Profile picture of the author GrowthforLife
    Nice article. Another thing that really bugs me is the amount of time people waste 'looking for money'. It is almost impossible to raise money when you are still a new business with zero history; you'd rather figure out how to get things with or without capital.

    When I started my first company some years back I lost about 6 months looking for investors, applying for loans, etc. I was primarily seeking capital in order to boost my online marketing efforts. Then I decided to 'see what would happen' if I learnt how to do it myself, and then put in the work. Now that same company is doing really well, and I don't have any investors to deal with, no bank loans to repay. That is the reward.
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  • Profile picture of the author ValueTown
    Fantastic article! Some points to learn from here.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rory Singh
    This is a very good topic. Most people who venture into this industry can spend up to 10 years trying to compile enough knowledge (trying to get a theoretical understanding) before taking any action.

    They are trying to learn without making mistakes etc.

    But the only way to learn is by doing.

    And making mistakes is how we humans truly learn.

    In IM it's the people who just went out there...Ignorance on fire!

    I have spent thousands online through systems and education.

    And through trial and error.

    I have heard that for the average person...there is a 13 Plus learning curve to become successful.


    Most people (including myself) came from an Employee background and mindset.

    But I have also learned through 'experience' that in order for me to make a breakthrough online...

    That I had to keep an open mind as well as learn to think differently.

    Time is a lot more valuable than money.

    Money can always be made.

    But you can never get those 10 to 13 years back.

    The people who keep going the FREE route will always pay the most expensive price!
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    • Profile picture of the author ValueTown
      I know exactly what you mean about not getting those years back.
      You kick your self because you wish you had taken action earlier and realised the obvious!
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    While there's some validity to his position, you also have to keep in mind his reasons for writing and contributing this article. Check the URLs of the links scattered through the article, and they lead back to the tool the author sells. While he isn't dumb enough to come out and say 'work at McD so you can afford to buy my stuff', that's the main message.

    And before anyone trots out that tired old diatribe against "marketers whining about marketing", that's not my point.

    The problem (unless you're selling third party tools) isn't bootstrapping in and of itself. The problem is that too many people stay stuck in that mode for too long because they pull their revenue out of the business rather than reinvest in the business by upgrading from the free tool.

    Nothing against Danny Iny. I'm on his list and I have (and have read) his book.

    But when someone selling bait tells you that artificial lures won't work and you have to buy bait if you want to catch fish, you have to recognize that you catching fish isn't his primary motivation.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    John, I agree. It's like the revelations of the week that we get hit with: "Membership sites are dead" (because I am going to sell you a system to make money with ebooks). "Email is dead - Stop trying to make $$ with email!" (because I'm going to sell you a new FB messenger app").

    With marketers there is always an angle. But there is some truth in all these revelations even when the intention of the author isn't clear or pure.

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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    I've bootstrapped my online business a couple times due to some breaks.

    The first time I bootstrapped myself into being more broke. I wasn't making progress. I wasn't making any money to speak of. I had a bunch of stuff half way done as the article mentions.

    The second time I got a little smarter. Whereas before I had spent hours, days, and even WEEKS doing silly stuff like trying to get a sidebar straight on a theme, reformatting really bad PLR (free from somewhere), creating my own logos, finding a free squeeze page maker, trying to get a free membership script to work right, etc. this time I found the money I needed.

    In every case, it wasn't but a few bucks. Because of past failures, I didn't want to put good money after bad but I realized that something had to change.

    Lots of things cleared up quickly when I bought a theme that worked, when I spent a little on a membership plugin, when I subscribed to Aweber, when I bought some training, and when I paid people to help me do things I was bad at.

    The difference was night and day.

    I'm all for bootstrapping the right way. I'm all for learning how to do all these things ourselves. I'm all for using free tools. But now my attitude is that I'm against doing all that when it becomes a detriment to reaching goals.

    No one in their right mind broke or not broke, should be spending days trying to get a sidebar straight (or anything similar where the solution can be had fairly easily.)

    Get a new theme - free even. Find some cash to pay someone to help you. Stop doing online business (may not be suited to it). Give up smoking, coffee, and beer and use the money to buy what you need. Sell something on eBay or at a yard sale. Get a temporary job. Borrow money if you think you can pay it back, and plan to. Humble yourself and write a few articles or something to get the money you need.

    But don't go round and round and round in circles. That merry-go-round isn't fun. I've been on it a couple times. There are no refunds for the wasted time, effort, or frustration. And, I still can't find some of my hair from those days.

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  • Profile picture of the author Rory Singh
    The point made in the original authors content still hits the nail on the head. Now a whole bunch of 'analytical' folks may have gone out looking for holes in this article.

    And Analytical people will always waste way too much time making sure that all the T's are crossed and the I's are dotted.

    Here's another way to look at this...

    If you can not afford (or are not willing) to pay for software's, products and a higher level of online education, then it's because of your current mindset (current way of thinking based on your past).

    And that's okay.

    But if you want other people to come online and take out their credit cards to pay you who doesn't want or like to pay...that's insane!

    Everything is energy whether you believe it or not.

    So what ever you put out has to come back to you...don't want to spend...then no one will spend with you.

    Then there was the point made about the author telling people to work at McD's.

    Look, for those of you who can't afford to be in an online biz, don't.

    Get a job.

    And later down the road if you are still interested in creating a real business online (after your financial situation changes)...

    Then start your business building process then.

    If I was brand new right now (knowing what I know right now)....

    And I had to go out and get a job at McDonald's to generate an income (and capital)...

    You better believe I damn well would do it!

    In order to succeed online (to replace your income entirely if that's your desire), you have to position your life around your business (not the other way around).

    And do what ever it takes to succeed (ETHICALLY).

    Come to think of it...

    I did once work at McDonald's.

    It was a great experience!
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Absolutely agree with the principle of the article. But the other side of the coin is that the inexperienced can just as easily waste their money as well as their time. It comes down to having a clear idea of what's important to your business and what's a luxury - at least when starting out.

    Investing in a professional autoresponder service if you want to do email marketing is a necessity. Your own domain and reliable hosting are more than likely also no-brainers.

    But instead of telling his subscriber to go work at McD's (although it did provide the snappy heading), Danny really should have told him that unless your business is creating and selling landing pages, nobody needs to be spending $40 per month on a landing page tool.

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    • Profile picture of the author mmm63787
      Quite helpful.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Seems like a fear thing here. When you fear spending money, you run out of time due to your cheapness. When you kinda let go that fear, you spend more, leverage more and succeed, saving time in the process.
    Ryan Biddulph helps you to be a successful blogger with his courses, manuals and blog at Blogging From Paradise
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  • Profile picture of the author davntt
    I love the journey so I am willing to invest in my time. And yeah, to scale it, i need to invest money and well, i'm into fast money so it's all about perception.
    Play smart, not play it damn hard.

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  • Profile picture of the author JohnVianny
    I STRONGLY agree.

    If you dont have enough money to supply the basic elements of online marketing...you better have to work.

    At least, time is money.

    and all these can be reassumed in: You have to treat IM as a Business!

    And Business requires investment.
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  • Profile picture of the author GrowthMonger
    Great article, this was very educational for me. Keep sharing more.
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  • Profile picture of the author jamie3000
    Really interesting. I'm at that point now really, either go with free traffic or plough in loads of money for banner ads
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    • Profile picture of the author anayb
      What I feel only people with sufficient experiences should spend money, leverage other people's time and efforts, not a freshman (UNLESS you got natural talent for entrepreneurship and a strong mentor). A newbie trying to spend money without having a very clear idea will not only waste his time, but the money as well, can go mentally broke in the worst cases of scenario. Free routes means you're capable of gaining traction organically via SEO, which is more valuable than most paid methods, tagging your business more trust-worthy.

      Companies tend to buy those websites that are high in search ranks. Paid methods are lazy ways to get started for a newbie, IMHO.
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  • Profile picture of the author steve1991
    fantastic article. i agree all points and this something to learn from for sure.
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    • Profile picture of the author pawandave
      Good judgement buddy nice thoughts
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  • Profile picture of the author Eden A
    That's some good article and well written!

    he touched some points and I couldn't agree more.
    People all the time look at the little things I don't have
    money for domain can't afford this autoresponder but
    then go and buy the newset Iphone or TV

    So instead of complaining that they can't afford they need
    to do the math, if they are really serious about building their
    business, they have to review where they need to invest more
    money and where they need to put more time.

    because without this review they won't be able to go forward.
    and then they will say "oh open a business that is waste of time
    and money I couldn't do it so why do think you can?"

    And this way of thinking is the worst it will bring you down.

    because then you can't see where you go wrong, and you won't
    even think about reviwing the steps you took so far and what you
    can change.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    In the end you can always get more money but it's currently impressive to get more time. We all get 24 hours in a day and that's it. At least money can be earned, increased, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ishie Joyce
    Awesome article!
    Its pertinent to note that as entrepreneurs you are only accountable to yourself. We get stuck at some points; we have bad days at times. You cannot make it on your own because you are not an island. That is why platforms like this exists with people having the wealth of experience to help and guide you when having difficulties in one area or the other. just feel free to seek counsel when you need it.
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  • Profile picture of the author mmm63787
    Thanks Mark Singletary for this incredibly awesome article.
    This article and its discussion really helped me.
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  • Profile picture of the author RalphThomas
    Thanks for your great perspectives and opinion base on your experiences. This is much useful stuff to learn.
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  • Profile picture of the author tranminhnhan
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    • Profile picture of the author anayb
      Its a good idea that we all want to save out time as well as money? but, how? You need a system that revolves around Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning, which could mimic human brain to a great extent, start mastering them, and pronto.
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  • Profile picture of the author nehajadhav1247
    I think when you start your career at that point money is important to you.
    but when you have enough money then you can use your money to work for you and buy time.

    I read one fantastic article on the same topic https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/11/o...-or-money.html
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  • Profile picture of the author ma247
    You are right. Without spending money, none can succeed in online business. In business, both time, money and efforts are required. If someone invests more money he/she can get rapid success. With free method or without any invest it's almost impossible to become successful in this field. Thank you for share this helpful post.
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  • Profile picture of the author B Wyatt
    Awesome article. Thank you for it.
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  • Profile picture of the author RichardThessen
    This is lovely. I believe anyone reading this should grab a thing or two. Indeed a wonderful piece
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  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    Yep, imo ,some people are just not cut out for this. If you somehow you can't scrap up $10 a year for a domain and $19 mo. for aweber then this business is really not for you. PERIOD !!

    - Robert Andrew

    Nothing to see here including a Sig so just move on :)

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