I Bootstrapped My Digital Marketing Business: Here’s What I Did! 

In today’s day and age, if there is one thing that most people want to do is to start their own business. However, few people want to go through the tedious task of getting a loan and starting their venture. Sometimes, they start with the resources that they have at hand. I mean, they bootstrap a company!

If you have been trying to figure out how to start your business, what sort of marketing you should try, and other important things in this journey, you must have heard about bootstrapping.

To do that, you might have to go through several things as a founder. To find out, I interviewed one such man, Mr. Mashum Mollah, who has been successful in this industry for more than five years.

Want to know how it went? For that, you need to read till the end?

What is a Bootstrap?

What is a Bootstrap_

Bootstrapping will be a part of the history of most of the well-known companies you have heard about recently. Let me tell you what it is without deviating much from the topic.

Bootstrap businesses are frequently fully self-funded before the management takes venture capital or other forms of outside finance.

Self-made businesspeople, or those who succeeded by bootstrapping, are uncommon. Launching and successfully growing a firm requires strong confidence, risk tolerance, self-discipline, determination, and competition.

A bootstrapped business relies heavily on loans, credit cards, mortgages, and internal funding sources. Put another way, the hallmark of bootstrapping is its restricted access to funding sources.

A capable development plan that considers every potential risk is essential to a business’s profitable expansion. Additionally, the most important parts of the company model should receive most of the available funding.

Bootstrapping Strategies

Bootstrapping Strategies

Companies that are bootstrapping will examine the following strategies to reduce the quantity of outside debt and equity financing that banks and investors will require:

  • Owner Financing: Using one’s resources and income is known as owner financing.
  • Personal Debt: Generally accruing credit card debt on an individual basis.
  • Operating Expenses: Try to keep expenses to a minimum.
  • Inventory Minimization: Necessitates quick inventory turnover.
  • Sweat Equity: An individual’s labor-intensive contribution to the business.
  • Finance for Subsidies: Cash transfers from the government or lower taxes.
  • Selling: Sales provide revenue for the company’s operations.

Why do People Decide to Bootstrap?

What is a Bootstrap_

This is a question that most people often ask. Well, the answer is rather simple, come to think of it.

Most first-time entrepreneurs choose to operate entirely on their own. It enables individuals to establish a business without any prior experience and draw in one or more investors.

There are various rationales for selecting bootstrapping as a business model. Bootstrapping is a strategy used by entrepreneurs if they:

  • Lack of experience in entrepreneurship and creating business plans
  • Inadequate product promotion abilities and supplier relationships
  • Uncertain about how to obtain funding
  • Refusing to distribute profits to investors
  • Wish to avoid wasting time looking for an investment. 

Interview Time: What He Did and How He Did!

Interview Time_ What He Did and How He Did!

To understand what is needed to make a successful bootstrap company, I decided to go on a journey to talk to people and figure out how they make things work. I heard about Mr. Mashum Mollah, the founder and CEO of Viacon Marketing & Technologies, who started his company in 2018.

I connected with him through LinkedIn and took my chance.

I had a lot on my mind: how would he think of the questions I prepared? Will he not think of this as a joke and be insincere about it? After all, I am sure a CEO has other important tasks.

But when I entered his office, I saw this kind-hearted man in his early thirties, trying his best to figure out life.

Like most millennials, he has a clear vision of what he wants to do and where he wants to be. But unlike most others, he has worked hard for it.

When I entered his cabin, I saw him ready to answer all my questions, with a pen and a diary in front of him, his bottle (the big fancy ones that you see in the posts of online influencers) halfway empty.

While talking to him, I realized that he has heard about the term “hustle culture” but thinks that it completely depends on the organization and the individual employee. “We do not have that policy and do not think that you need to work for 70 hours a week? However, let’s say, working for 14 hours will definitely yield more results when compared to working for 7 hours, am I right?”

After many such discussions, I asked him if we could begin the interview.

“So, what were the questions? I am sorry, even though you had sent them earlier, I did not have the time to answer them all. Can we do that now?”

I gladly obliged and thus began this round of interviews.

What Inspired You to Start this Company, And How does Your Mission Align with the Company’s Goals?

“The inspiration to start this company derived from my journey in digital marketing, which began during my undergraduate studies. As I was exploring various online resources for my coursework, I discovered the power and potential of digital marketing, sparking a deep curiosity within me. This fascination led me to pursue a career in digital marketing after graduating in 2015.

During my tenure as a Digital Marketing Executive from 2015 to 2017, I witnessed firsthand the impact of digital marketing on businesses. Recognizing its potential as the future of marketing, I became passionate about leveraging this tool to drive business growth and success.

My decision to start this company was driven by a dual purpose: to experience the direct benefits of digital marketing in business and to assist other businesses in realizing their growth potential online. I envisioned the company as a service provider and a community where individuals could come together, share knowledge, and contribute to its core principles.

For instance, Sas a digital marketing enthusiast, I wanted to start an agency that would not only offer services but also foster collaboration and shared purpose among its members. By aligning my mission of empowering businesses with effective digital marketing strategies, I ensured that the company’s goals resonated deeply with my aspirations.”

Can You Describe a Critical Moment in the Company’s History And How You Navigated it?

“This question makes me look back a lot? haha? Well, there have been a few, but if I have to pick, I will pick two instances.

The first was the Google Update in 2019. That was the first time I felt the impact, and it was huge. It mattered to us as an organization because we belong to the SEO content and blogging industry. Google search rankings, website traffic, and the overall metrics of the website are some of the most vital parts of our business. All our plans were a mess because of the update that hit March to May.

I will tell you the backstory, which is bound to make you tremble. I remember that the previous year (2018), we had a revenue of 50 lakhs (INR), and at that time, only three of us used to work for this company. You know how startups and bootstraps work. In 2019, we moved and established a popper organization (physically), hired employees, and planned to grow.

Naturally, we made several investments. I was positive and had optimistically set our target for that financial year as one crore (INR). That was achievable because, with more money and resources, it was obvious to me that we would earn twice as much as we did in 2018.

But because of the Google Update that year, we earned 50 lakhs again. But this time, we had to pay the employees. So, the profit or revenue per se was practically zero that year.

The second would be the time of COVID-19. When the pandemic hit in 2020, we had just tried to come out of the Google Update crisis. When we thought of making things fine, things took a steeper turn again.

So, yes, these two were when I realized how difficult a situation can get.”

What do You Believe is the Biggest Challenge Facing the Industry Today, And How is Your Company Positioned to Address it?

“The biggest challenge facing the digital marketing services industry today is the increasing competition and commoditization of services, compounded by the proliferation of AI technologies. Many companies and individuals are now conducting digital marketing activities independently, drawn by the accessibility of resources and the allure of cost-saving measures. This has led to a highly competitive landscape, with many freelancers offering similar services.

In response to this challenge, our company has strategically positioned itself to address the evolving needs of the industry. We recognize that simply offering traditional digital marketing services may not be sufficient to differentiate ourselves and thrive in this competitive environment. Therefore, we have developed a comprehensive strategy that combines software, product, and service offerings to bring innovation, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness to our solutions.

Our approach involves leveraging technology to create proprietary software solutions that enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of our digital marketing services. Integrating automation, data analytics, and AI-driven insights into our software platforms empowers our clients to achieve their personalised marketing objectives more effectively while minimizing costs and maximizing ROI.

Additionally, we have diversified our offerings to include innovative products that complement our service portfolio. These products are designed to address our clients’ specific pain points and challenges, providing them with tailored solutions that deliver tangible results.”

How do You Define Success for the Company, And How do You Measure it?

“Haha, this is where I can get philosophical. Dreams come true? this is what I feel, provided you work towards achieving your dream. I also think we should focus more on the dream than what “success” means.

I feel success can be all about overcoming my weaknesses, big or small. It can also be about achieving something even though there is no support. To give you an example, I don’t come from a very rich family. There has been a lot of struggle involved. So, when I look back, I see all the hard work and effort I put in, which has been fruitful.

I am sure that my child will not have to face the problems that I faced. They will have different problems, but that is not the point.

I used to think this way years ago when I was struggling when I first started my company. I do not know if this holds for me now as well, but hear me out. For me, the entire idea of success was initially to ensure that I achieved things that I wanted and helped others achieve as well.

In some cases, you might think that I am successful, and sometimes, I can also feel that way. But, you see, it is all about subjectivity. I can only hope that whatever I have gained will also allow me to help others.

What’s the Leadership Style within the Company, And How does it Reflect in day-to-day Operations?

I can sense a problem with this one question because sometimes I have tried not to think about it.

My organization has not yet defined its management style or established its leadership style. Whenever the team expands, the idea of leadership also changes and becomes subjective. So, the approach might change, so I would say that this question is rather open-ended.”

Could You Share an Example of a Tough Decision You had to Make Recently, and What You Learned from it?

“As a startup, we recently had to decide whether to invest in support management and infrastructure. This decision posed a significant dilemma: balancing short-term profitability with long-term sustainability.

Despite the immediate impact on profitability, we invested in support management and infrastructure. We recognized the importance of laying a strong foundation for future growth and scalability, even if it meant sacrificing some short-term gains.

The decision to invest in support management and infrastructure would provide us with several valuable outcomes. While there is a temporary dip in profitability, we think many improvements will happen in customer satisfaction, efficiency, and overall operational effectiveness. Additionally, it positioned us for sustainable growth and better prepared us to handle future challenges. 

This experience taught me the importance of aligning short-term goals with long-term objectives. While prioritizing profitability is crucial for survival, investing in areas that contribute to long-term success and viability is equally important. This decision reinforced the significance of strategic planning and balancing immediate needs with future aspirations.” 

Where do You See the Company in the Next Five Years, and What Strategic Steps are You Taking to Get There?

“Our vision for the company over the next five years is ambitious yet achievable. We aim to establish a strong global presence, develop robust in-house Martech products, and achieve a revenue milestone of 1000 CR.

To realize these objectives, we have identified several crucial strategic steps for our growth trajectory. Firstly, we recognize the importance of enhancing management efficiencies by bringing in seasoned professionals who can drive the company forward with their expertise and strategic vision. This will ensure we have the right leadership to steer the organization toward success.

Additionally, we are committed to investing in building in-house Martech products. By developing proprietary technology solutions tailored to our specific needs and market demands, we aim to differentiate ourselves from competitors, enhance our offerings, and capture a larger market share.

We have already begun implementing key initiatives in response to these strategic imperatives. We have initiated a comprehensive talent acquisition strategy to attract top-tier professionals with diverse skill sets and industry experience to join our management team. This will enable us to leverage their expertise and insights to drive growth and innovation across the organization.

Simultaneously, we have allocated significant resources toward research and development to fuel the creation of cutting-edge Martech products. Our dedicated teams work tirelessly to conceptualize, develop, and refine these solutions, ensuring they align closely with market needs and industry trends.”

How does the Company Cultivate Innovation and Encourage Creative Thinking?

“Aspirational, I see! We have always welcomed and encouraged innovation and creativity as a business. We have created tools for two of our business sections: Blogger Outreach and Blog Management. With these tools, we have tried to streamline the work for the employees.

In our company, we have always tried to ensure that we do things for the employees. There were areas where we deliberately shifted from the traditional modes and methods. Experiment? You can say these are the ones. But has it harmed anyone? I don’t think so.

As a part of the management, we want to provide solutions to employees, clients, and customers. For instance, we are currently working on tools and platforms for consulting and software services. These are some of the ways through which we try to be creative.

We are currently working on the Innovation and Research and Development departments. I will not discuss it much because I am sure my employees will read this and learn. Let’s keep it a surprise. Haha.

I have also seen one thing, and that’s for sure: the more you give the employees exposure and a chance to get creative, the more they will shine and breathe. And isn’t that something that all business owners try to ensure?”

What’s Your Approach to Work-life Balance, and How is that Embedded in the Company Culture?

“I believe I am the parent of this company. And do you think that there is any work-life balance when it comes to parenting?

I personally did not have any work-life balance, even though I know how important it is these days, initially. And that is primarily because I was not married, and I did not have a family of my own at that time. However, I am trying to take some time out of my busy schedule and make time for my family.

When I started my journey as the founder of a bootstrap company, I needed to give that extra time and effort. I wanted to ensure that my life after so and so years was settled so that I could take care of my family.

So, this is something that varies from person to person, I believe. People starting their careers should focus on learning (which is all-encompassing), their jobs, and what they need to do. This is because when you join a company at an early age, say 22-24 years old, you need to give your time to grow better in your job. That is something where you might feel like you do not have that work-life boundary. If you have a family, you spend time with them.

Coming back to the point, I would appreciate it if my employees could achieve this positive and healthy balance. However, I would like to raise one simple and clear distinction.

Working hard is not about losing your work-life balance. This is one thing that I would like to tell all employees and aspiring entrepreneurs. Hard work is something that should be there from day one.

A lot of people have told me that they have problems meeting their targets and that they have to take their work home. Well, I would say that if you can finish your work during work hours, you will not have to risk your work-life balance. This is something that you should be responsible for as an employee.

Ultimately, it completely depends on whether you want to have this. There is no right or wrong. It is all about the comfort zone. If you think, “I want to aggressively focus on my career for growth,” do what it takes to achieve that!

How does the Company Support Professional Growth and Development for its Employees?

“At Viacon, fostering professional growth and development for our employees is a top priority. We understand that investing in our team’s skills and knowledge benefits individual employees and contributes to the overall success of our company.

We have implemented a range of initiatives and programs to support professional growth and development. Our Learning and Development initiatives allow employees to enhance their skills, expand their knowledge base, and stay updated on industry trends. Additionally, we have established Management Principles that guide our leadership approach, emphasizing mentorship, feedback, and continuous improvement to nurture talent at all levels of the organization.

Our response to supporting professional growth and development is multifaceted. Through our Learning and Development initiatives, employees have access to various training

programs, workshops, and resources tailored to their roles and career aspirations. We encourage employees to take ownership of their development by providing support for certifications, further education, and skill-building activities.

Moreover, our Management Principles serve as a framework for creating a supportive and empowering work environment where employees feel valued, challenged, and motivated to grow. Managers are encouraged to actively engage with their teams, provide constructive feedback, and identify opportunities for career advancement.

As we continue to invest in professional growth and development, we regularly evaluate the effectiveness of our initiatives and programs. We solicit employee feedback through surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one discussions to understand their needs and preferences. By measuring outcomes such as employee satisfaction, skill development, and career progression, we can identify areas for improvement and refine our approach to better support our team’s professional growth journey.”

How do You Deal with Failure as a Founder of a Bootstrap?

“As the founder of a bootstrap startup, I navigate failure through a lens of continuous learning and adaptability. Understanding that startup failure rates are high and that success is subjective, I approach setbacks with resilience and a growth mindset.

Acknowledging the realities of startup failure rates and the diverse definitions of success, I recognize that encountering challenges and setbacks is an inherent part of the entrepreneurial journey. Rather than viewing failure as a definitive endpoint, I see it as an opportunity for growth and refinement.

For instance, with no prior business experience or formal education, I’ve encountered successes and failures in running my startup. Rather than being discouraged by setbacks, I embrace them as learning opportunities. If I determine that the current business model is not scalable, I see it as a chance to pivot and explore new avenues for growth. This mindset allows me to adapt quickly and pursue alternative opportunities, ultimately contributing to my entrepreneurial resilience and long-term.”

How Long Has it Taken for You to be Who You are Now?

“When I talk about how long it has taken to build this company and reach where we are now, most of the time, I talk about the last five years, from 2018 to 20219. However, the four years I spent before ensuring that I could start the business properly and hire employees are shoved under the carpet.

I, along with two others, started my bootstrap company in the year 2015-16. At that time, I used to earn as little as ?5000 (INR). And from that, I used to save nearly ?1500. When I used to stay as a paying guest, other students who used to stay with me would get seven thousand rupees from their homes for the rent. They might not have considered that a privilege, but to me, it was.

Initially, I had no money to send home. With the money I had saved, I bought the hosting and domains.

After a few years, in 2019, I limited my spending. I believe in reinvesting now. I believe in giving back to society, and I will try to do my best to do that.”

If you’re planning to build a bootstrap company, it is only important that you try to learn about them and how they made it work, right? That is the reason why, in this part of the article, I will be talking about some of the most popular companies.

I will not be taking the names or examples of the massive ones for this part of the article. But let me break things down for you!



One of the top food and beverage corporations in the world, PepsiCo, has an interesting past. It was established in 1965 when Pepsi-Cola and Frito-Lay merged.

The company had modest beginnings, but it advanced because of its dedication to innovation and client satisfaction.

PepsiCo’s emphasis on distribution, branding, and product quality contributed to its early success.

Instead of depending on outside capital, they reinvested their earnings to broaden their line of products and penetrate new markets.

They were able to stay in charge of their own fate and create a long-lasting company because of their bootstrapping strategy.

Through the acquisition of brands like Tropicana, Quaker Oats, and Gatorade, PepsiCo branched out beyond soft drinks and snacks.

They are now well-known throughout the world, having expanded to more than 200 nations.

PepsiCo had to deal with difficulties such as shifting consumer tastes, environmental concerns, and health risks.

In response, they increased the variety of products they offered, added healthier options, and prioritized sustainability.

The experience of PepsiCo in bootstrapping shows us the value of flexibility, customer-centricity, and strategic diversification.


MailChimp (1)

The second one on this list is MailChimp.

Ben and Dan started MailChimp as a side gig. They wanted to make email marketing accessible to everyone, especially small businesses. No venture capital, no big bank accounts?just sheer determination. 

They used their own savings and kept costs low. No flashy offices or extravagant parties. Just a small team working hard to improve their product. 

MailChimp focused on user experience. They listened to customers, tweaked features, and made email marketing simpler. Word spread, and more businesses hopped on board.

As more users signed up, MailChimp’s revenue grew. They didn’t compromise their vision or sell out to investors. Instead, they stayed true to their mission.

Fast-forward to 2021. Intuit, a giant in financial software, acquired MailChimp for a whopping $12 billion in cash and stock. Yes, you read that right! One of the largest-ever exits for a bootstrapped company.


Zoho (1)

When it was first established in 1996 as AdventNet, Zoho concentrated on network management tools. Tony Thomas, Shekhar Vembu, and Kumar Vembu founded the business.

It’s interesting to note that the current CEO, Sridhar Vembu, wasn’t involved right first. When he was invited to assist with sales, he joined, and his zeal helped secure important contracts.

Early Zoho management put all of its profits back into creating new products. They put more emphasis on creating new items than on compensating themselves. 

The focus of Sridhar Vembu’s concept was on Indian goods sold worldwide. Zoho continued to operate entirely on its own, concentrating on profitable niche areas. 

Their organic growth approach made the development of a range of cloud-based applications possible.

In 2022, Zoho’s revenues exceeded $1 billion, demonstrating the success of their bootstrapping journey.

Wrapping It Up!

I hope that this blog has been of help to you, if you were searching about starting your own bootstrap company. If there are nay other queries related to the same, please feel free to let me know. All that you need to do is scroll down till you reach the bottom of the pahe. Then leave your comments and queries in the box below. And I will be there to answer them all for you!

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