The Reason Behind it All

Hi, I’m Tyler Tervooren, founder of The Bootstrapper Guild. For the last ten years, I’ve been starting what I like to call “micro-businesses”—very small companies that exist to provide me with more financial freedom.

That’s something we all want, right? The truth is that it isn’t nearly as difficult as most people believe. In fact, if you’re willing to put in a little elbow grease, almost any business can be started for less than $100 on a part-time schedule. People do it every day.

For me, it all started in 2001 as a junior in high school. I opened up shop as a freelance landscaper. I didn’t have a business license, business cards, an office, or any of that normal stuff. In fact, I didn’t even have tools. What I did have, though, was one, single client who paid me to maintain his property. A business was born.

Most people who’ve never earned a living on their own would pooh-pooh the idea that I had any kind of “real business,” but it sure felt real to me!

I didn’t realize it at the time, but what I was learning from that experience would eventually lead to a whole new way of life for me.

Later, I would go on to co-start a small labor cartel serving local farmers, open an event ticket resale business from my dorm room, and eventually start Advanced Riskology, the small-scale social movement and educational media business that now supports me full-time.

All of these micro-businesses were started for less than $100 and were profitable from day one (or at least day two or three…) I’m what you’d call a “bootstrapper.”

Now, I want to help democratize the micro-business movement by helping others (that’s you) build your own.

The Hollywood Lie

Watch any Hollywood movie about starting a business and you’ll learn the five steps (and I say this very sarcastically) to running a highly successful business:

  1. Pick a random idea from the top of your head.
  2. Lease an expensive office.
  3. Buy tons of “business things” like fax machines and desk calendars.
  4. Spend a night dancing and laughing with friends while you paint and decorate.
  5. Rake in tons of cash.

This is what I call the Hollywood Lie; attention is focused on everything that makes a business expensive and unobtainable and nothing on what makes it profitable.

The sad part is that people believe it. We’ve been socially conditioned to think the only way to build a business is to first spend a lot of money and then hope it comes back.

The “Other” Way to Build a Business

But for those of us that know better, a real business that significantly contributes to your income—or even provides it solely—is certainly attainable by rejecting The Hollywood Lie and electing to bootstrap instead.

Here at The Bootstrapper Guild, I think almost any business can be started for less than $100 by focusing on three key principals:

  1. To make something big, start by making something small.
  2. Focus only on the most important things and ignore the rest.
  3. “Make it to spend it”—the opposite of conventional wisdom.

If you see merit in those principals, and you’re ready to build your micro-business the smart way rather than the way you’ve been told, then I think you’ve got a pretty good shot, and I hope you’ll join us inside.

From my executive office (aka: Starbucks),