I love the idea of bootstrapping, but when I hear the bootstrapping evangelists talk about what it takes, they basically portray a lifestyle that only makes sense for a single person in their early 20's. What about someone who is married, has kids, and has to maintain a certain salary to provide for their family? How can someone bootstrap a startup if they don't have gobs of dispensable money and can't just move in with their parents and live off of Ramen soup and instant oatmeal? Should they just seek seed funding and stop dreaming about organically growing a business?
Wow, thanks for all the great feedback! I posted this in the middle of a late night coding session while frustrated at the limited time I have to work on my business. We definitely don't live beyond our means, and I don't expect a high salary as some insinuated. We make plenty of sacrifices and I'm covering all the costs myself right now.
The problem is time. When you have kids, you don't have the luxury of coming home after work and just jumping into your business. You have to help them do homework, make/eat dinner, potty train, brush teeth, read bedtime stories, etc. So even if the kids are down early and you sit down to talk to your spouse for 30 minutes, you're pushing 9:30 - 10:00pm. Which typically gives you a whopping 1-2 hours to work if you're not already falling asleep. Then you're up at 6:00 - 6:30am again to start the entire routine over again.
Yes, I negotiate some time-off from family duties to focus on the business, but we're in the pre-launch phase on our product right now. After we launch our product, the game changes. I'll have to spend more time doing support, responding quickly to customer issues, adding new features, and talking to customers (we're a B2B offering). Trying to get some customers and grow the business organically with its own cashflow sounds really nice, but I really feel that the competition will eat us alive if we can't have at least 1-2 people focused on the business full time. Unfortunately nobody involved has that luxury.
Yes, I agree that it might not be the right time to do a startup, but we feel like we have a solid idea and a good market, and I just can't stop thinking about the product. I have that entrepreneurial bug right now. I bet some of you know how that feels... ;-)