Posted by: Nicky Verd Comments: 7

I started thinking about getting rich very early on in my life. The trouble was, I didn’t know how or what I had to do to get there. I promised to try anything legal I could find to get rich. As I mentioned in my previous story, after telling my teacher that “my profession when I grow up was to be rich”. I ended up starting 13 different businesses that all went bankrupt. I went through poverty to riches, then back to poverty, to being broke, to bankrupt, to poverty until I was heavy in debt.  I had a debt higher than my annual income combined. But I never gave up.  As you can tell by now, part of this dismal failure can be credited to my lack of seriousness and ignorance. Why? I under estimated the process of getting rich. I thought I needed luck but I was hugely wrong. I fail to take into account the skills it’d take to become rich.  



Before we talk bootstrapping and raising capital. Here’s a quick recap of how things unfolded in my early days. I actually never gave my full attention to any of the businesses I’d started. I raised money from 36 friends promising to build a conglomerate. Among others, I started 3 businesses at a go: a cocktail juice retailer, a Subaru Car sales body and also negotiated to shoot a reality TV show for UBC TV in Uganda. Before I knew it, all the money got finished and it wasn’t enough. My brain had lied to me. One by one, we run out of business and that’s how I ended up in debt far higher than my annual gross income combined. I thought at least one of those businesses would make me rich and I’d pay back my creditors. Trust me, that was the most stupid thing I ever did in business. To tackle so many businesses all at once.  Today, looking back I laugh at myself.



Ignorance can only last so long. As time went on I figured things out even though I got burnt in the process. My youthful curiosity put me in a lot of trouble but it also taught me lots of valuable lessons. I discovered beside my desire to get rich, I needed other skills to make it happen – leadership skills, management skills, networking skills, bootstrapping skills, human resources, financial management skills, etc. Once I discovered this I went all out to align my skills with more tools to make it work. Now I know, if I’m to kill a mosquito, I will prepare a gun instead of a slap. Getting rich is hard especially if you come from a background like mine. So kindly; never, ever under estimate the process of getting rich. Capital is not always the only challenges for start-ups.



Let’s Talk Raising Capital, Let’s Talk Bootstrapping


What is bootstrapping? In the context of business, bootstrapping is the act of starting a business with no money or, at least, very little money.  It means building a business out of very little or virtually nothing. Boot strappers rely usually on personal income and savings, sweat equity and lowest possible operating costs. It certainly means starting a business without the help of venture capitalist firms or significant investors.  It means plowing back into the business the money earned from customers. “Bootstrapping” comes from the term “pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps.” This is to say do something hard, on your own.


For most entrepreneurs, lack of capital is a common excuse for failing to start a business. I have never waited or wished for capital. Whenever it’s capital problem, I have always started instantly. Life taught me to depend mostly on me. When I first started, I knew no one and no one knew me. I had only two options, make it work or quit. If you have a dream to be in business and capital is the problem, you still have to raise capital, even the hard way like I did. it can be better to start with very little money, since the skills you’ll develop as you overcome the challenges of growing your business will be invaluable – you’ll notice your mistakes earlier and adjust faster, which will make for a healthier company in the long run.



If you don’t have capital, you still must find capital. I was a newbie in my early days. I had to look up to my own hands for capital. Years later, before I had friends I could turn to, bootstrapping and starting very small were my only options. This pushed me to what I call the most important skill there is on earth, “selling skill”. I became a salesman of anything and any product I could find.  During the many downs in my early days, my street survival came from selling something to anyone. One specific time I recall was when I was age 24. I never had any money for stock and I was flat broke. So, I went and borrowed a detergent product brochure that I could keep showing to anyone promising them to deliver a product as soon as they paid cash.



Few people agreed to pay a stranger to deliver but I had no option. If a client agree to pay on delivery, I would ask my supplier to deliver it with me then we split the profits. It was hard, very-very hard I must confess.  It was hard trying to sell something to someone without the actual product in hand. Nevertheless, I kept going. I had no one else to look up to but myself. The words engraved on my mind were, “if you don’t have capital, you still have to find capital”. One skill that really worked for me in raising capital is sales skill. Trust me, this is a hard skill to get but one you must if you’re really serious about raising capital, starting a business aka getting rich.  Selling is a hard skill to master, especially if you’re someone who’s shy like me but it never lets you down.



Lack of capital should never be the reason to give up. Money is not the sole currency when it comes to starting a business. Drive, determination, passion and hard work are all free and more valuable than a pot of cash. Money can only get you so far. If you’re a new entrepreneur launching your first startup, a big pot of money may only mask problems that will eventually catch up with you later. So, start small, look up to your own hands, sell something and you can also seek funding from friends too.


Starting small is hard, bootstrapping is hard, giving up is hard but you’ll have to choose your hard. There’s no business I started without first bootstrapping including this capital intensive venture for APRIL LOGISTICS LTD we’re currently working on. Bootstrapping for me at many levels has been about going to sell and market a product to customers I didn’t even have at hand. That’s why its important to have a positive mindset that keeps you going even when others give up and a willingness to learn the skills needed to run a business.


From my first experience of failure, I began to understand just how much I didn’t know about running a business. Even ideas that I thought couldn’t fail failed with distinctions. And gradually, by making mistakes over time and learning from them, I hit on what became my key guiding principles. To choose and focus on one business.


I went through all the businesses I had failed in and choose one trading business, the one which I had collapsed and failed into 3 separate times. I picked that business again with one mission – to make it work. I made a vow and promised myself never to quit even if it’d take 20 years.



This year 2018, before August, I’m raising at least $130,000 in total for this business (APRIL LOGISTICS) and this once again reminds me the very problem I’d faced in my early days as an entrepreneur – the lack of capital. It didn’t stop me then and it won’t stopped me now. If you don’t have capital, you still must find capital.


Let’s build Africa together.


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I am Nicky Verd, a Prolific Writer, Blogger and Transformational Speaker. I am passionate about inspiring you to Take Ownership of Your Life. Reconnect with your dreams and jump-start your personal transformation. 

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“You owe yourself everything you expect from others”


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