ENTREPRENEUR - Jan 27 - How'd you like to sidestep the VC crowd altogether and still see your company pull in $10M a year? Markus Frind did just that. Bootstrapping is difficult. To thrive, most companies rely on cash they obtain from venture capitalists. However, fewer of these deals are being made these days. Also, the more money a startup raises in its seed and Series A rounds, the more likely it is to fail, according to top investors. Markus Frind went it alone, from start to very profitable end, selling his dating site POF for a $575M in 2015. Because he bootstrapped it himself, he got to take home the profits. In 2003, Frind managed to master ASP.NET, at the time a brand new language. After quickly teaching himself, he created his site, and within two weeks, people were signing up. As time went on, Plenty of Fish by 2007 was outcompeting Match.com for traffic fourfold. And even then, Frind was employing just three people. A year later, his site was raking in $10M a year. Search engine traffic accounted for 2% of all his site's traffic. Instead, people were finding the site via word of mouth. So, Frind barely had to do any advertising.