Lean Startup Founders: The MacGyvers of Business

A Startup Entrepreneur's Guide To Resourcefulness

Nicolas China, Lean Startup Founders

A Startup Entrepreneur's Guide To Resourcefulness: Startup On A Shoestring - Part 5 of 6 


Back when I used to work a 9-to-5, I would obsess about quitting my job and going out on my own. The problem was I had no direction...and worst of all, I was absolutely paralyzed by the fear of failure. This fear was my worst enemy. It was producing excuses and causing me to procrastinate and ultimately stagnate. 

While I was at work, in between projects and during every bit of downtime I could find, I'd read business books, I'd fill up notebooks with off-the-wall ideas and rudimentary business plans, but most of all I would DAYDREAM. I would dream about the life I wanted to lead...a life filled with freedom and creative opportunities.

Every evening I would come home from work and "talk the talk" about my next great business idea. And then every morning I wouldn't "walk the walk". I'd go back to work just as I had done the day before.

I felt my creative edge start to dwindle, my confidence sunk and my freedom felt dictated. I became depressed. It sucked.


My girlfriend at the time (now my beautiful wife!) said this to me. It was something I knew, something I felt, something I thought; but to finally hear someone else say it to me aloud, it felt different. It resonated like nothing before. These words echoed in my head...and finally woke me up.

I realized that my fears weren't actually rooted in my abilities or self-confidence, but instead they were caused by what I thought I knew. I thought I needed money. I thought I needed connections. I thought I was too young. I thought no one would take me seriously. 

This realization was epic for me. I had made a final decision to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. There was no Plan B...so I went all-in on Plan A.

Time to get my MacGyver on.

Day after day, month after month, I focused on all of the things that I thought I needed to start my own business. My "AHA" moment occurred when I realized that my focus should be on all of the things I already have: my resources.

So if you haven't ever seen the old TV show "MacGyver", I'm assuming you at least know who he is. For those of you who have never heard of MacGyver, please click the "X" in the upper corner of your web browser and stop reading...Just kidding! 

MacGyver is resourcefulness personified. The Swiss Army Knife of men. He can literally make a grenade out of a kitten and a paper clip.

Find your inner MacGyver.

What do you have at your disposal? What are your intangibles? Skills, talents, motives, driving forces?

What have you always been good at? How do other people view you? These are questions that you have to ask yourself if you decide to venture out on your own. If you can figure out what you are good at and what you struggle with, then you are on the right track to identifying your internal resources: your inner MacGyver.

Once you can recognize your skill set (and sometimes lack thereof), your direction becomes clearer. You can identify where you fit, where you don't, where you need help and where you can help others.

What (and who) do you have access to?

After figuring out where your skills and talents lie, it is also necessary to assess the external factors that can help. People, information, you name it.

First, look at family, friends and other existing relationships...it's an easy and comfortable starting point. Who can help you? Who do you know that "walks the walk"? Seek them out and talk to them! 

One of the most important resources you can ever have is a sound mentor. If you can find these types of people within your existing network, it is an invaluable resource. Who better to talk to than someone who has already blazed their own trail!? 

Second, if you don't have anyone to help you in a certain area of expertise, think again. We all have access to a common friend named Google; effectively giving you the power to learn just about anything

Finally, with the ever-evolving world of technology, making the entrepreneurial leap is easier than ever before. Companies who are bootstrapping have a plethora of apps, tools and free services available that have never existed before. 

Here is a bonus list of my 5 Favorite FREE Productivity Apps

  1. Google Drive - Get access to files anywhere through secure cloud storage and file backup for your photos, videos, files and more. Easy for teams to share files and store in one place.
  2. Tiny Scan - A mobile PDF scanner for documents, photos and more. No need to buy an expensive, clunky scanner anymore!
  3. Evernote - A digital workspace to store and share notes, ideas, photos and more. It is a great app for brainstorming and ideas sessions.
  4. Dashboard - Have your Google Analytics key performance indicators all on one screen. It is a really effective way to keep the pulse of your company website without an insane amount of data.
  5. Buffer - A great tool for preparing, scheduling and tracking your social media. Integrated with most of the major platforms including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Set it and forget it (just like those old rotisserie ovens!). Then look back and see how your posts perform. Tweak, optimize, repeat!


"The competitive flair that built our country--entrepreneurship--is one of the most undersold resources that we have as a nation." -Kevin Plank, Under Armour


Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks! 


This article, Lean Startup Founders: The MacGyvers of Business is part five of my six part Startup On A Shoestring series. 

Part one, 5 Tips To Starting A Business On A Shoestring Budget can be found HERE.

Part two, Blood, Sweat and Tears can be found HERE.

Part three, Lean, Mean Cash Flow Machine can be found HERE.

Part four, Master Social FREE-dia can be found HERE.

Part six, The Startup Scene Is The New Wild West. Be A Gunslinger can be found HERE.

For more tips, follow Nicolas China on Twitter @Nico_C7.

Nicolas China is co-founder and owner of Pixilated (@PixilatedPhoto) & Startup Soiree (@StartupSoiree).