A 6-Step Checklist For Self-Funding Your Startup

Before you invest, make sure you’re not just feeding a startup money pit

Joe Procopio
6 min readJan 30, 2023
image by fabrikasimf

Joe Procopio is a 20-year-plus tech entrepreneur with multiple exits (Automated Insights, ExitEvent) and a few failures. He is currently the Chief Product Officer at VC-backed Spiffy, a mobile vehicle maintenance startup, and also the founder of Teaching Startup, an on-demand advice project. He writes a recurring column for a number of publications, including Inc. and Built In.

It doesn’t matter if you invest $100 or $100,000 into your own business. It doesn’t matter if your net worth is in the millions or pocket change. If you self-fund what turns out to be a money pit, you’re going to eventually put an equally painful dent in your future.

Been there. Done that. Got a bunch of really cool T-shirts.

I’ve self-funded three startups to success — and by “success,” I just mean the opposite of failure (and there were a lot of failures). My first self-funded startup ran profitably for 12 years. The second was acquired relatively quickly. The third, Teaching Startup, has been running for almost three years now on sustainable margins.

For all three successes, I followed the same self-funding plan. But here’s the thing, I also followed that plan to…



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com