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Bootstrapping and your gut feeling

I was reading over a magazine today while in CVS, waiting on a prescription to be filled, and I came across an article about your gut feeling. It got me to thinking a bit while I only got through half the article, and skimmed the rest. I got home though and finished the article, and thought a lot about how this pertains to bootstrappers as well. Face it, we all have a “gut feeling” and it can either make, or break anything it touches. Psychologists best describe your “gut feeling” as a mental matching game. I would agree with that, as in most cases your gut feeling will come to you in a situation that you’ve ever:

  • Been in Before
  • Read a LOT About
  • Are just plain SCARED of

Here is a quote from the article from psychology today that pretty much sums up a scientists conclusion of what your gut feeling is.

The brain takes in a situation, does a very quick search of its files, and then finds its best analogue among the stored sprawl of memories and knowledge. Based on that analogy, you ascribe meaning to the situation in front of you.

So, how does this effect bootstrappers, and how can we use our gut feelings for the best of our abilities? Well, what did you think? I was going to write an article on here and not tell you? :)

Being a bootstrapper is in most cases referred to as just “going with the flow” and not being educated, or prepared for certain things. I believe that a great bootstrapper is both well prepared, as well as ready to move forward at any given second. By the quote I gave from the psychology today article, this shows that the more personal knowledge of situations you have, or the more knowledge through reading and research, the more equip for your “battle in business”. I want to break down these two forms of knowledge and show a little bit about how each can pertain to the business world, and how you can benefit from them.

Personal Knowledge

This is the knowledge you gain from any personal experience you have had in your lifetime. This might be a job that you had to resign from because the boss was a certain way, and you found out you couldn’t handle being around someone like that. It could also be a tragic event in your life that happened to you or your family/friends and you know you will get that gut feeling anytime something even closely similar is happening or could happen.

No matter what the cause, your personal knowledge is a great asset to have as a bootstrapper. Going into business as a record store owner because you have loved music your whole life, and are up on all of the great bands and artists would be a good thing to do because your personal experience is huge in that niche. Becoming a house cleaning company because you have OCD and know that you are spotless in everything that you do is a good thing, and a great way to put that personal knowledge to good use.

Knowledge Through Research

Reading is a great tool to expand your mind. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. You might not need to go to college and get a degree, and spend 10 years studying in class to get a piece of paper that claims you are smart, but reading on your own time, always studying the fields you want to become a part of is an awesome way to have a huge amount of knowledge, and will help in your gut feelings. Myself, I have not made it through high school, but I have a whole library of books in my office that I have read through, and I am always reading at places online like Trizle and Bootstrap Me and Net Business Blog to gain extra knowledge to back me up in all of my decisions. So, don’t let anyone tell you that knowledge through research is only attainable through college and schooling. It is not.

Your knowledge through books, and reading the most recent topics about a certain niche will help in your gut feelings about buying stocks, investing some time and energy in a new market that should blow up huge, or moving away from a niche because all of the recent articles and trends show that it will be falling to an all-time low. No matter if your gut feeling is used to DO or DO NOT, the knowledge you gain from preparing yourself as much as possible for your next endeavor will pay off greatly.

The Downside of a Gut Feeling

Upon further reading with the Gut Feeling article, Carlin Flora, the writer for Psychology Today goes on to explain a relationship situation with a gut feeling.

Anxious people need to apply the most caution. They are particularly accurate at divining any negative feelings and thoughts their spouse might be having. But the catch is, they are probably missing the positive things their partner is also thinking about them. Singling out critical feelings only winds up sabotaging the relationship.

Now, this can also be used in a business sense and not only in a loving relationship sense. Anxious people will more than likely associate all of the bad someone or something does and totally rule out any positive feelings they may have because the “bad” will outweigh the “good” in their minds. This brings us to the statement that is made a lot around here and for good reasons.

When I do good, no one remembers; When I do bad, no one forgets.

This is exactly true when it comes to over-anxious people in business or personal life. You had a boss before that would never say thank you for anything you’ve done well on the job, but he would be the first to come down on you when you spilled something, or forgot to email one invoice? Well, odds are, this person is either over-anxious or just a plain out a****le. Psychology tends to lead to the over-anxious more then the a****le conclusion.

If you are an over anxious person, or have an over-anxious person on your staff, odds are that their gut feeling and judgments will become cloudy with their own insecurities and lack of better judgment. This is not saying in any way that people with anxiety are not smart, and do not have good gut feelings, because they do. In most cases though, their gut feelings are usually about a negative instead of a positive because they tend to not look at any positive side of anything, which cannot be good for business.


When you properly prepare yourself for any situation you might come across, and you don’t have the “deer in the headlights” look when it happens, odds are, your gut feeling is something you should go with. Do not be fooled into thinking that a bootstrapper can just “wing it” because 99% of the time, this will not work. Yes, there are the certain cases where someone just stumbles upon something great, but leaving everything to chance is not good. Mixed Martial Arts fighters train, and do not get into any fights when they are not properly conditioned, and neither should a bootstrapper.

  1. I would like to see a continuation of the topic

  2. Hi Maximus thanks for the comment and thanks for the request. I’ll work on the follow up to this article very soon.

    Mike Smith

  3. Very Interesting Read! Looking forward to more Bookmarked your site. Was just curious if anybody could point me to some related material. Thanks in advance.