One of the most important assets you have when you are bootstrapping a startup is time. If you are not able to manage your time properly every project, deadline and appointment can be delayed. This can result in a domino effect where all of the to-do tasks keep compounding until they become unmanageable. The initial period of a startup is a time of many sacrifices and time is at the top of that list. Your personal time and obligations have to be reduced dramatically until you get things going. The long hours you put in now will allow you to have the time you need for yourself, family and friends in the future.
Classifying your Time
If you are going to be committed to your startup 100% you have to classify your time into different categories and determine how much time you are willing to give and sacrifice for each sector.
In this stage you are getting your product to support the business by creating revenue. This is a period when up to 60% of your time will be spent during the initial stages of your startup.
Clients include the customers for your product as well as the investors for your startup. If you don’t have the amount you need for your funding you have to allow time to raise more funds. Until your product is able to fully support your startup you have to find the right balance between raising capital and creating capital.
3. Personal Obligation
The things you do everyday but don’t think about require time. Everything from going to the supermarket to doing your laundry requires time. The more people you have in your life the more time they will consume. If you are single you can simplify your life to the bare minimum. If on the other hand you are married you have to communicate with your better half and determine if the sacrifices both of you are willing to make will be worth the effort.
4. Free Personal Time
Your free personal time is what you do for your personal enjoyment such as going to the movies or doing nothing at all. Almost every startup company that has become successful laughs at you when you ask them about free time early in their development. If you have extended family and friends it becomes even more difficult. Hopefully they understand your commitment and sacrifice to your dream and they will be supportive.
Different Stages of Time Allocation
The startup will consume the vast majority of your time, the question is how much time you are willing to commit. Bootstrapping means sweat equity and initially you will have to sweat a lot. If you want to be successful you have to commit 85% percent of your time to the development and clients and only 15% to personal obligation and free time. This might look like it is too much but the goal is to work hard in the beginning so you can have full control of your time in the future. If you achieve your goal the time allocation in the final stage will be 50% towards work, 30% free time and 20% personal obligations.
Not Giving Your All
If a startup doesn’t get the full commitment from the founders, funders and everyone else involved in getting it of the ground the life span of your startup can be counted in days. If you are not giving your all to move it to the next phase you will run out of funding and eventually you will have to shutdown operations.
The key to success is not a great mystery. Every CEO and founder of a company has written a book detailing the countless hours they spent during their initial stages of their company. If you think you can do it without this type of commitment you better start buying lottery tickets.