How to Bootstrap Yourself out of a Hole
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How to Bootstrap Yourself out of a Hole

This tells you how to start a business with virtually nothing, and how to make it a success.

During the spring of 2008 I suddenly found myself in a nursing home because of a broken ankle during this time the stock market crashed, and I suddenly found myself not only in a nursing home but wiped out in the bargain. As a result of not being able to contact my broker my portfolio of stock was virtually wiped out. At the age of 75 I was forced to start all over again from scratch. This is a situation where I should have been 20, but I was already 55 years older, and virtually penniless.

This was a situation that could have been insurmountable, but instead I was able to turn this into a profit-making situation by taking stock of what I actually had for assets that were readily available. At that time the only thing I had was a laptop computer, and a lot of ability. I already had a contact with one of the online content publishers that although they did not pay very much it was sufficient to start fighting my way back from the brink. This publisher pay between three and $10 per article, as I quickly discovered I was able to produce each week and 10 and 15 articles per day.

The rest home fortunately had a WiFi system that I was able to use as well as a room that acted as a place where the staff held occasional meetings. Since I was in a medical environment I was just about ready to hang my shingle on the door of that room that would have read, “Dr. Carter, Odds and Ends.” That was virtually when I was writing about, odds and ends. My first writings were about different ways of making alcoholic beverages, or in the common parlance “moonshine.” I wrote several different variations on this subject that were well-liked by the public, and garnered many hits that paid an additional $1.50 per thousand hits. It doesn't sound like much but over time it adds up.

Once I was back home from a nursing home I decided to make use of my knowledge as a geologist it by writing articles about gold mining and prospecting. These articles were so popular that I finally sat down and count up the number of hits that they had garnered online. Much to my surprise I discovered that these articles had garnered more than 500,000 hits. At that point I started writing a blog about that subject that has become one of the fastest growing blogs on the blogosphere. The next step was to monetize the blog and an additional one about gems and gemstones.

Then I started a school for prospectors in a place where there is virtually no prospecting, in northwestern Connecticut. To my surprise the school actually took off providing me with several students per month. Because of my volunteering on an answering blog I picked up several clients that are located in several countries around the world. Because of this activity I know own a percentage in three different gold mines.

Another facet of this business is selling information and books. Putting together pieces of information takes virtually no money except the time to write them. Selling books does take a certain amount of outlay, but in this case the initial outlay was less than $100.

The next step in my recovery was to become NI 43-101 compliant so I could sign off on geology reports and other documentation necessary to certify mining reports for companies that are selling securities in Canada through the Toronto Stock Exchange as well as other exchanges in Canada.

Now you think that you need money to start a business, you don't what you really need is hard to define, but in many cases it is just plain drive. The total cost so far for this entire set of ventures aside from what I already had, namely a computer is less than $1000. But you have to keep in mind is that you have to work with what you have, rather than what you wish you had. Sometimes having money is more of a deterrent in starting a business then being flat broke as I was. Without money you are forced to think for yourself instead of throwing gobs of money at every problem that crops up.

The last word I am going to offer is this, If you aren’t having fun with your business there is no reason to get into it in the first place.

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Comments (5)

Wow! What a nice share! First, sorry for your mishaps. I agree...one may not have the money per say...but as long as you have a desire and drive you can accomplish what ever you want. Thanks for posting such an inspirational piece. BTW...glad things worked out for you. Voted up.

Good stuff!

Truly enlightening and inspiring John. What you wrote made the idea of bootstrapping easy to understand. Great write.

Thanks for sharing this to us!

A nice share.Thanks.

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