Bootstrapping Your Business: A Guide to Success with Ruby Cole Ellis


In the world of entrepreneurship, there is a growing trend called bootstrapping. But what exactly does this term mean, and how can it benefit your business? Today, we have the privilege of sitting down with Ruby Cole Ellis, a successful businesswoman, designer, and business coach, to dive deep into the world of bootstrapping. Ruby will be sharing her wisdom and insights on how this method can help you build a thriving business while keeping your investments to a minimum. So grab your notepad and get ready to learn from Ruby’s expertise in this exciting episode of “Milk and Honey with Lemon”.

Chapter 1: What is Bootstrapping?


Bootstrapping, as Ruby explains, is the process of running a business on the smallest investment possible, or in other words, self-funding your business. This method requires discipline, patience, and creativity. Ruby emphasizes that this is not just about funding your business but funding it on your own. The term “bootstrapping” originates from the idea of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, doing something difficult on your own. By taking control of your finances and resources, you can build a successful and sustainable business.

Chapter 2: Different Methods of Bootstrapping


Ruby introduces us to three different methods of bootstrapping that can be utilized depending on your unique situation.

2.1 Proactive Bootstrapping: This method involves contributing your personal equity, usually used for side hustles or part-time businesses. You invest your own funds while juggling a full-time job. Ruby shares her personal experience of using this method for her GPA business, effectively managing her funds while growing her venture.

2.2 Reactive Bootstrapping: Calculated Debt: Under this method, you use your savings, credit cards, or lines of credit to invest in your business. The key is to have a plan in place to pay yourself back. Ruby emphasizes the importance of being calculated and disciplined to avoid unnecessary debt and financial stress.

2.3 Net Zero Bootstrapping: This innovative method involves cutting costs or utilizing existing resources to invest in your business. For example, canceling unnecessary subscriptions or selling items you no longer need can generate funds for your business. Ruby highlights the hidden treasures method, where you can find value in your possessions by selling them and reinvesting the proceeds.

Chapter 3: Pros and Cons of being a bootstrapper

Ruby shares her insights into the advantages and disadvantages of being a bootstrapper.

3.1 Pros of Bootstrapping:

  • Little to no investment required: Bootstrapping allows you to start your business with minimal financial burden.
  • Safe return on investment: Since you are self-funding, you have more control over your finances and can ensure a quicker return on your investment.
  • Easy replication: Bootstrapping methods are easily replicable and can be taught to others, making it an attractive option for team-based businesses.
  • Strong foundations for the future: Bootstrapping builds a solid foundation for your business, increasing its chance of long-term success.

3.2 Cons of Bootstrapping:

  • Requires extreme discipline: This method demands discipline and patience to resist the temptation of using your funds for other purposes.
  • Delayed gratification: Compared to businesses with investors, bootstrapped businesses may experience slower growth initially. However, they often achieve more sustainable success in the long run.
  • Full control comes with responsibilities: With bootstrapping, you retain full control over your business. However, you also bear complete responsibility for its success or failure.
Bootstrapping Your Business: A Guide to Success with Ruby Cole Ellis

Chapter 4: The Value of Control and Equity


Ruby and Lemon discuss the importance of control and equity in a business. They explore the idea that having skin in the game can increase the likelihood of success. By investing your own money, you become more passionate and dedicated to making your business thrive. Investors often look for founders who have put their own funds into their businesses, as it demonstrates commitment and belief in the venture.

Chapter 5: Bootstrapping vs. Seeking Investors


Ruby compares bootstrapping with seeking investors and discusses the pros and cons of each approach.

5.1 Bootstrapping:

  • Pros: More control over your business, minimal financial burden, faster return on investment, easy replication, and strong foundations.
  • Cons: Requires discipline and patience, delayed gratification, and limited access to external resources.

5.2 Seeking Investors:

  • Pros: Access to capital, potential for rapid growth, and external expertise.
  • Cons: Loss of control, potential pressure from investors, and the risk of diluting equity.

Chapter 6: Overcoming Financial Obstacles


Lemon and Ruby address the common objection of not being able to afford to start a business. Ruby provides practical strategies to handle this objection:

6.1 Highlighting Value: First, determine if the objection stems from not seeing the value your business offers. If that’s the case, explain the benefits and results your business can provide to help potential clients see the worth.

6.2 Bootstrapping Solutions: If affordability is genuinely the issue, Ruby offers two solutions:

  • Calculated Debt: Assess if the individual is comfortable investing using credit cards or lines of credit and work out a strategic plan for paying themselves back.
  • Net Zero Bootstrapping: Help the individual identify hidden treasures they can sell or eliminate unnecessary expenses to fund their business.

Chapter 7: Exciting News from Girl Power Alliance


Ruby teases an upcoming course on bootstrapping that she is developing for Girl Power Alliance (GPA). The course aims to provide detailed guidance, examples, and resources to help individuals successfully bootstrap their businesses. Ruby’s course will be featured in GPA’s library of courses, offering valuable insights for budding entrepreneurs.


Bootstrapping can be a powerful method for starting and growing a business. Ruby Cole Ellis has shared her expertise on different methods and their pros and cons. By taking control of your finances and resources, and utilizing innovative strategies, you can build a successful and sustainable business. Remember, bootstrapping requires discipline, patience, and a long-term mindset. With Ruby’s guidance and insights, you have the tools to take your business to new heights. So, tighten those bootstraps and embark on your entrepreneurial journey with confidence!

If you’d like to connect with Ruby Cole Ellis and learn more about her entrepreneurial journey and bootstrapping, you can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok under the handle @RubyColeEllis.

Thank you for joining us on this exciting exploration of bootstrapping. If you found this blog post insightful, please share it with your fellow entrepreneurs. Together, we can empower one another to achieve greatness in our businesses. Remember, the road to success begins with taking that first step β€” so start financing your way to success today!

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