Want to become the next Google? Pay yourself $50,000.

Here at the Coaching Blog- one of the world’s leading blogs on the subject of Leadership and Coaching we quite often post articles by leading authors and authorities- today we are delighted to post an article from Medium.com by Elle Kaplan.

Google’s initial server was made of Legos.

Dell was started with $1,000.

Mattel’s first dolls were made of old picture frames.

Samsung’s first office was 16.5 square meters with a telephone and a noodle machine.

Besides being incredibly successful, these companies (and plenty of others) have another thing in common: their scrappiness and ability to use limited resources to do big things.

You’re probably thinking “that’s great Elle, but I don’t have the sort of business that lends itself to using kids’ toys in place of an I.T. department.”

Well, me neither. Thankfully, there are some other ways to stay resourceful that I’ve found are applicable to almost every startup.

You might not like the answer, but it all starts with your salary:

Peter Thiel, PayPal founder and venture capitalist, caused ripples several years ago when he asserted that the lower a CEO’s pay, the more likely a startup is to succeed.

He said at TechCrunch50:

“The CEO’s salary sets a cap for everyone else. If it is set at a high level, you end up burning a whole lot more money.”

So is it truly reasonable to ask a startup founder to limit his or her own pay while building the company? I say yes, and research of 11,000 global startups backs up my claim (source: the Compass Group):

Remember, when starting a company from the ground up, it’s your job as CEO to ensure success at all costs. One of the best ways to set that standard is to limit your own pay to a bare minimum.

Even if you get a strong round of funding, resist the temptation to spend the entire amount on salary raises and fancy offices. HootSuite founder Ryan Holmes suggests increasing staff pay (including your own) in line with market values, while still focusing on running an efficient, financially responsible business.

Going beyond that

This success secret goes far beyond salary.

It seems common practice in startup offices these days to offer fully stocked kitchens with ping pong tables and water bottles sporting the company logo. But whether a company is just getting on its feet, or celebrating its ten-year anniversary, every dollar counts.

At the end of the day, it’s the business and work culture that keep dedicated employees, not a taco bar or kickball team.

While a new ping-pong table or an office hoverboard might seem fun for a few minutes, I firmly believe that people are motivated by their passions and making an impact, not by free lattes at lunchtime. That’s why the biggestperk at my firm was completely free.

The key to long-lasting work happiness is giving employees free reign to run with their unique skill sets. This doesn’t mean employees can spend every Tuesday playing video games, but it does mean that they get to broaden their horizons while helping the company.

Adopt a system that encourages work in the broad context of shared goals, not in the one-dimensional framework of a job description, and allows your team’s unique skills to flourish. Besides smiling employees, it also makes people stop saying “that’s not my job,” and gets them to say “this is my company” instead. Your office might not gain any cool gadgets with this approach, but you will find a team that’s truly invested and content for the long-run.

Be Scrappy But Stay Sane

Granted, in your quest to bootstrap your business, you’ve got to stay sane while limiting your income and other expenditures. As you grow, you have to let go at some point.

Recognize that money isn’t your only commodity; in fact, your time might be even more valuable. While you may want to do everything yourself in the beginning, recognize when it’s time to outsource certain tasks so that you can focus on projects that better suit your skills.

Rather than going on a full-blown hiring, spree, there are some scrappier ways to outsource that you might want to consider:

Use your network

Whether you know it not, you have a network of knowledge all around you. Whether you’re thinking of starting a new venture or wondering how to ramp up your social media presence, it’s in your interest to seek business advice from contacts who can speak from experience. Often, just seeking out the right knowledge is all you need.


This is where the power of your network truly comes into play. Everybody has their own Genius Zone: so instead of hiring specialists outright, strike a deal. Offer your sphere of knowledge for someone else’s. These can turn into long-term, mutually beneficial — and mutually thrifty — partnerships.

Outsource partially

You don’t necessarily have to hire a new staff member or consultant to fulfill a particular need; instead, find a contractor on a freelance website like Upwork or Fiverr.

Remember, growing a company from scratch means that you are constantly looking for workarounds and opportunities to optimize, which is critical.


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