How to Bootstrap a Startup with Freelancers

Starting a business from scratch is no easy feat, especially when resources are limited. For bootstrapping startups, hiring full-time employees can be a significant expense that may not be feasible in the early stages, especially considering the company piggy bank is likely to consist mainly of personal savings.

Founders of bootstrapping startups who face financial constraints still need to find a way to expand their business, especially if they have dreams of scaling in the near future.

Whether it is the need for technical skills such as software development or assistance on more creative elements such as web design or copywriting, freelancers are becoming a key component of successful bootstrapped companies.

The value of freelancers for bootstrapping startups

Freelancers can provide cost-effective solutions for bootstrapping startups facing financial constraints and resource limitations.

In this blog, we will discuss how freelancers can help to bootstrap startups, areas where they can provide value, and the benefits of bootstrapping for startups.

How freelancers can help your bootstrapping strategy

Black woman writing notes while on her laptop

Using your own money to achieve business growth can be a nerve-wracking experience: every dollar matters, and every decision counts.

However, when you’re at capacity, what should you do?

Hiring staff will undoubtedly free up your time, but instead of going down the full-time route, it may be a good idea to use the skills and expertise of one or more freelancers before you start writing that job description.

Of course, while the primary driver behind hiring a freelancer might be limiting the damage to your personal assets, the benefits go way beyond the ability to save capital.

Cost-effective solutions

Freelancers can offer their services at more affordable rates than hiring full-time employees. This allows bootstrapping startups to save money on labor costs while still accessing the expertise they need.

Additionally, startups can avoid the additional costs of onboarding, training, and benefits that come with hiring full-time employees, which can pile up significantly.

Access to diverse skill sets

Another advantage of hiring freelancers is access to a broader range of skills and expertise compared to a single full-time employee.

Bootstrapping startups can access specialized skills on an as-needed basis without the expense of hiring a full-time employee. This allows startups to leverage a pool of talent with diverse backgrounds and skill sets, which can be particularly helpful in fields like software development, web design, and content creation.

Flexibility to meet changing needs

Freelancers can be engaged for short-term or project-based work, providing flexibility to startups with fluctuating workloads.

Bootstrapping startups can scale up or down their workforce according to their immediate needs and without committing to long-term employment contracts. This flexibility can be precious in the early stages of a startup when cash flow is unpredictable.

Reduced overhead costs

Hiring freelancers reduces the overhead costs of maintaining a physical workspace and equipment.

Freelancers typically have their own workspace and equipment, so bootstrapping startups can avoid additional expenses for setting up and maintaining an office. This can be a significant cost savings, especially for startups just off the ground.

Reduced risk

Freelancers take on a level of risk that the startup would otherwise shoulder if they hired a full-time employee.

Bootstrapping startups can avoid the risks of hiring and firing full-time employees, such as severance payments, legal fees, and unemployment insurance. Unexpected costs such as these can cause significant cash flow problems and stunt the company’s growth before it even begins.

Conversely, if a freelancer does not work out, the startup can simply end the contract and move on to another freelancer without any long-term financial obligations.

Opportunities for long-term collaboration

There is no reason why a freelancer who works well with a bootstrapping startup can’t stay on a long-term basis. In fact, assuming both parties are happy, a semi-permanent freelancer on your team provides the continuity and stability needed for the startup to grow.

Bootstrapping startups can build long-term relationships with freelancers and rely on them for ongoing work and support. This can help startups maintain consistency and quality while still benefiting from the flexibility and cost savings that freelancers provide.

Areas where freelancers can provide value to a bootstrapping startup

Especially in the digital space, for any job that comes pre-packaged as a full-time hire, there is an option to nab a freelancer for a fraction of the price. This is especially useful if you need to figure out how much work you have coming up on the horizon.

Software development

One of the most significant areas where freelancers can provide value to a bootstrapping business owner is in software development.

Developing custom software solutions is a significant expense for many companies, and startups often have limited resources to allocate to this area.

However, software development is critical to the success of business operations, particularly those that rely on technology to operate. Freelancers all over the world are helping startups develop software solutions that meet their unique needs.

Occasionally, off-the-shelf software isn’t enough to cater to the specific needs of some business owners. In this case, freelancers can provide customized solutions to startups that better meet the needs of their customers.

Web development and design

In today’s digital age, having an online presence is essential for any business, so getting a freelancer to create and maintain their websites and design user interfaces that are engaging and user-friendly is a great idea.

Bootstrapping startups can access a range of web design and development skills, including coding, graphic design, and SEO optimization.

Freelancers can help startups develop a website that reflects their brand’s identity, mission, and values, which can be crucial in establishing their online presence.

A website that is visually appealing and easy to navigate can also help businesses attract potential customers and build trust with existing ones.

Content creation, marketing, and social media management

Freelancers can help startups create content, manage social media accounts, and execute marketing campaigns. Freelance content creators and marketers have the knowledge and experience necessary to produce engaging content that resonates with their target audience.

Social media management is also crucial for startups to build brand awareness and engage with potential customers. Freelancers can help startups develop a social media strategy that aligns with their overall marketing goals and execute it effectively.

Bootstrapping and freelancing go hand in hand

Startup founders and freelancers have a similar entrepreneurial mindset and ethos to work and life. Both eschew traditional modes of work to head out on their own, and both entirely depend on their own skills to create value.

It is true that most startups today are bootstrapped rather than financed through venture capital firms or other investment methods. This method of financing allows startups to maintain control over their business and avoid giving away equity.

By using their own resources, or hiring freelancers to fill in the gaps at a reduced cost, startups can focus on building a sustainable business model that generates revenue and profits rather than just seeking to attract investors.

Joining forces is a logical step

Startup founders must be prepared to wear multiple hats and assume multiple roles, including sales, marketing, finance, and operations. When the work starts piling up, the pressure can become enormous, as everything is being done with limited resources.

Many freelancers have worked with startup companies before and understand the sense of urgency founders feel. By bringing their skillset to the team, they alleviate resource allocation issues by providing work of the highest standard speedily.

Startups aren’t the only winners in this partnership either.

Freelancers are always interested in learning something new or creating something from scratch. Every completed project is an added string to their bow they can use to pick up new contracts and enhance their portfolio.

Moreover, a job well done regularly results in a referral from happy customers. If clients are pleased with their work, they will likely spread the word to other startups within their network.

Quickly Hire: Your bootstrapped startup outsourcing partner

If you are leaning toward bringing a freelancer on board to clear the decks and bring added value to your bootstrapped company, it is essential that you make the right decision rather than selecting the first candidate you see.

There is significant financial risk in selecting the wrong freelancer, as any delays in work will affect the company’s ability to create cash flow. This risk can be mitigated significantly by partnering with an outsourcing platform that has already done the hard yards for you.

Quickly Hire ensures every freelancer in its network is assessed, vetted, and interviewed before partnering with any startup or small business. By doing this, we can ensure the quality of work they produce is of the highest standard and will allow founders to get the ball moving in the right direction.


  • Alex McInnes

    Alex is Quickly Hire's content strategist and digital marketer. He's a New Zealand-born, Thailand-residing copywriter extraordinaire. Dad to two beautiful girls, Alex loves playing rugby, reading, and running with his soi dog, Effie.

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