LinkedIn question from Marie-Dolores Anderson. She selected my response as Best Answer!
My answer: I bought my training/consulting company–for something like $1,000–from the guy who wanted out. I worked from home. I did shoe leather marketing. I traded for services, such as printing. People paid me in advance.
As a result, I was profitable from the beginning, and never had significant debt.
This turned out to be a problem, however. Since I relied on organic growth rather than rustling up growth capital, I grew slower, and was eventually overtaken by VC-backed competitors. I still have a good business, but not as large as I had hoped.
So bootstrapping, while often necessary, is limiting. Get past this strategy as rapidly as possible.