Any Bootstrappers?

Are there any bootstrapper ID professionals out there?

If you dont’ know what bootstrapping is, it is a style of business creation using little or no money and basing everything off a theoretical sale (sell a certain amount of things before you actually make the first one).

I’m an engineering student who already carries a drafting degree. I know that’s on the other side of the fence from ID, but follows the same line of work.

I have ambitions of expanding my current company (currently manufacturing bent tubing products like strut bars, roll cages, exhaust, etc) into a full-blown automotive manufacturer (like the DP car or the LaBala, etc).

Are there any bootstrapped ID firms or freelancers out there who have made it into a successful business?

In my own start-up adventures, I’m attempting to get a business off the ground with the absolute minimum of investment. The trade off is very slow progress…

Bootstrapping is still somewhat of a paradox, however. Its a ‘which came first: the chicken or the egg’ type problem. How do you start/grow your business if you don’t have product selling? How do you sell product without bulding the business?

It works well for garage bands who want to produce an indie album, but I’m not sure its quite as viable for physical products that need a certain amount of tooling (and consequently, high overhead) to be produced and sold.

I want to design and produce furniture. I’ve got a ‘little shop of horrors’ assembled, but just coughing up the capital to purchase materials for a few pieces is difficult to justify without a formal company set up, and the expense of setting up the formal company is hard to justify when you don’t know weather or not you’ll even sell one item.

I hope someone who’s built a business on bootstrapping principles chimes in! I’m interested to hear about this as well.