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405 - The Bootstrapped Manifesto

The Bootstrapped Manifesto

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Why be an entrepreneur?

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But of course, this is a very specific breed of entrepreneurship. It's a bootstrapped one. It's one without a board of directors. It's one without an oversight body. It's one where no decks have to be developed and distributed around the table. One where you don't have to pitch something to someone else who's got something riding on your success. One where your gut is the only thing that's going to get punched if you're wrong. This is the fun in it for me. It's obviously a privilege, but more so an obligation.


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What's up everybody? This is Russell Brunson. Welcome back to the Marketing Secrets Podcast. Excited to be here with you guys today. Today we'll be talking about what I call the Bootstrapped Manifesto. Something I read from Jason Fried, who was one of the co-founders of Basecamp, and it is amazing. I want to share with you guys today when we get back from the intro.

All right. So it's not a secret. Some of you guys know that not now, but in the future I'm writing a book called Bootstrapped. I bought the domain name, We have a new award coming out of Funnel Hacking Live. I can't tell you a lot about other than it's the Bootstrapped Entrepreneur of the Year Award and a bunch of other things.

I'm obsessed with bootstrapping. In fact, we bootstrapped ClickFunnels from zero to where it is today. It's an amazing story that we love to talk about and brag about. I think I have a place in my heart for all businesses who bootstrap. That thought, that concept, things keep coming out of my mind because I'm so excited about writing the book and it's going to be the ClickFunnels story, how we bootstrapped ClickFunnels. I want to turn into TechCrunch, but TechCrunch for people who didn't cheat and take on money. I'm just looking for things tied around bootstrapping and starting businesses and everything. Today actually, yeah today, Jason Fried, he's one of the co-founders of Basecamp, wrote an article on his blog that is insane. I read it, and I literally just messaged Todd. I said, "This is like the title, Liberty for Bootstrapped and Bootstrapping." It is amazing.

If you don't know Jason ... There's two co-founders of Basecamp. It's interesting. It's very similar to the two co-founders of ClickFunnels. One is named DHH. That's his nickname, I don't know, it's David something. Anyway, he is the Todd of base camp. He's a hardcore coder. And then Jason is like the marketing dude for Basecamp, which is like me. I feel like he's a kindred spirit. I had a chance to interview him once, man, almost a decade ago when he wrote the book, Rework, which is one of my favorite books of all time. But he's just amazing.

I digress. I want to share with you this article from him. I'm just going to read it to you. I'll probably mess up my reading, but it is ... When I read it, I was like, "Yes, this is why we bootstrap. This is why we're entrepreneurs." So he wrote this article on April 8, 2021, which is the day that I'm recording this. The title was, Why to be an Entrepreneur.

He said, "Earlier this week, I caught up with a friend and fellow CEO over lunch. We are in entirely different industries, but as we usually do, we talk a little shop. We've both been at the wheel for a while and we both built lasting businesses without any outside capital. One of the topics we slid into is why to be an entrepreneur, not why sort of or why kind or why sometimes, but why really? If you had to boil it down, what's the one reason? When all the liquid's gone, what does entrepreneurship reduce to? For me it's this. You get to do things that no one else would give you permission to do. That's it. At least that's how I see it. I don't ask anyone's permission, seek anyone's permission or be granted anyone's permission. It ain't about getting rich. That's a crapshoot with terrible odds. It ain't about power influence. If you happen into those things, maybe they're a bonus. Although maybe they're not.

And it's not just about doing the things you want to do or freedom. That definition skips the details. It's too broad. This is really about doing things that someone else wouldn't let you do if you had to ask. That's the one thing you get to do no matter what. It's about doing things that doesn't make sense. They don't fit into the obvious frameworks. They don't add up, line up or seem like they'll even hold up. It's those things, the unusual, the unjustifiable, the downright fun, regardless of what happens. That made me want to be an entrepreneur and to stay one too. Once those things go away, I'm out. There are millions of people better suited to follow your rules than me.

But of course, this is a very specific breed of entrepreneurship. It's a bootstrapped one. It's one without a board of directors. It's one without an oversight body. It's one where no decks have to be developed and distributed around the table. One where you don't have to pitch something to someone else who's got something riding on your success. One where your gut is the only thing that's going to get punched if you're wrong. This is the fun in it for me. It's obviously a privilege, but more so an obligation. We must do things at Basecamp that no one else would let us do. If we don't, we aren't living up to the opportunity we have, the position we put ourselves in, the decisions we made to be this way and to stay this way. We must launch stuff that no one else would approve, name things in a way that would never fly if they had to go through a committee, stand for things that seem like you put yourself at odds with the bigger bottom line. We must leave money on the table because someone else will grab it all. We must.

We must make things that could only come from us. It doesn't make them better or worse, it just makes them ours. And hopefully if you like what we're up to, then they're yours too. That's the reason."

Oh, I read that. I was just like, "Oh my gosh, so many good quotes. So many things that should be on a T-shirt." So many things that I probably will be putting out a T-shirt maybe at Funnel Hacking Live or something. One of them, "There are a million people better suited to follow your rules than me." How cool is that? Talking about there's no board of directors, there's no one with an oversight. Every time you have an idea for something you want to create, you don't have to make a slide deck and send it to your board of directors. You don't have to pitch somebody every time you want to do something. You just get to do what you think is right. That's the power of entrepreneurship, of being bootstrapped.

When Todd sent me this article, he said, "This is why VCs are the anti-entrepreneurship black hole. Ask your VC overlords for permission constantly. That's literally what it is. I have so many friends who've taken on money, who have VC backing, and they can't do anything.

In fact, we had one partner we were trying to work with. They had a really cool software company. And we wanted to acquire and we didn't want to pay any money for it. We just wanted to take it over because they're struggling. They're not profitable. They're losing money. It's something that if we introduced to ClickFunnels community would blow up overnight. It's such a cool tool and so powerful. The founder, the entrepreneur, the owner was so excited and he understood and he said, "Yes. If you give me this salary and do this and this, I will give you a 100%. I'll let you guys take over the company, and I'll get paid a salary to keep doing it. You guys will blow it up and I'll get a profit share." It was such a good deal for him. It was amazing.

Then he had to take it to his board, the investors who'd given money to the business and all the board members were like, "Why would you do that? It doesn't make any sense? He's like, "These guys are the greatest marketers of all time. They have a customer list of millions and millions people who would buy our software." You just try to explain to them everything. They're like, "It doesn't make sense. We're not going to let these guys just take over control of the company without giving us any money."

They wouldn't do it. Unfortunately for him, in tears, he had called us and was just like, "I know this is the best deal for me and for the company and for the future, but I can't do it because the backers, the people who gave me money said no, and it's up to them." The VC overlords were not giving permission. That was the thing. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to protect yourself from that black hole, from taking on money where now people own your creativity. They own your ideas. They own everything. Where they can tell you yes or no, and you can't create.

Anyway, I just wanted to read that to you because first off, Jason Fried is the man. Second off, This is like a manifesto for us bootstrapped entrepreneurs. I hope that you enjoyed it. I hope you loved it.

With that said, thank you guys for listening. If you did enjoy this one, please take a screenshot on your phone, post it on Facebook, Instagram, or any of the places you post stuff and please tag me. I love seeing that you're actually listening to these things and you enjoy it. If you did get anything from this, please share this podcast with other people, other people who are like me and you who are bootstrapped entrepreneurs who are trying to take over the world. Thank you. I'll talk to you all again soon. Bye everybody.


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