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Starting a business without a loan

by Colum Byron March 23, 2021 3 min read

Starting a business without a loan

This is something I'm actually very proud of. I never had to get a bank loan out to start my business. 

I also don't have rich parents who gave me a small *loan* to get things started. 

But financially starting a business is difficult. We certainly didn't have a years worth of income to fall back on if things were quiet, in fact, we'd just had our baby boy, so my wife was off work, and maternity leave was drying up. 

On paper it was a terrible and risky time to start a business, I had a stable job that paid the bills that I could do blindfolded, and plenty of long service leave left to spend with a baby.

However, I stumbled into "Your Last Knife", and saw the potential that couldn't be ignored. 

I didn't start the business with the full intention of it being a full time job, more of a small side hustle to bring in some extra cash while we were on one wage. 

We had a collic baby, who never slept for more than 30 minutes at a time, so at 3am, rocking a baby I was doing a bored search online, and stumbled on a supplier who would sell knife blanks. I thought, sure, lets buy a handful, and I'll try to sell some, and get a free knife for myself. 

A week or two later, the blades arrived, and I was rather pleased with how cool they were. I made up some simple handles for them, and put them up on facebook marketplace. The three spares were sold within an hour, and 70 more messages were asking for them. I saw the potential there straight away.

Instead of just pocketing the money, I took every cent I made and bought more blades. I made 10 in the second batch, and they were gone in the same amount of time. 

This continued for a little while, each time increasing my stock, buying better tools and equipment, which made them quicker to make. 

After not too long, I'd actually built up a decent collection of knives, had the equipment built up to make things easier, and had a basic set of procedures to make them fast enough. I'd also made a very basic website to sell them on. I'd been promoting them on my youtube channel, facebook groups, and reddit, and it was a bare market for my style of knives with handles at a decent price point. I'd never needed to paid advertising.

But this was all still part time hustle stuff, and I'd needed to go back to work, so time was limited again, but being on the single income, I could spend time making these on the weekends, and was just keeping up with demand. 

I had a random thought, I should do a Kickstarter. Two weeks later, I launched it. And it did well enough for me to quit my job and focus on these full time. 

Granted, Kickstarter didn't equal instant success, and I see paths now I could have taken without it, but it gave me the confidence to expand to where I am today, and I'm grateful for that! And the future is rosy now with me being able to work from home, employ my wife to do the fiddly admin and shipping stuff, and we have a home/work balance that I only could have dreamed of before as a chef. 

I love it. 

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