The most terrifying demons are in my own mind. A favorite mantra when the pain sets in… “mental barriers are imaginary.”
As I got serious about taking my idea out into the real world, one of my biggest concerns was funding. Should I try to bootstrap? How long could I do that? Would investors give me money this early? And, if yes, how much of the company would I have to give them? Think SharkTank. Everything about the name and the process of raising funds for the first time is scary.
One of my early advisors asked one of his VC buddies what book best describes the process and he recommended Venture Deals by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson. I listened to it. I read it. And, I read it again. The book helped me A LOT! But, I’m still intimated. My advisor buddy regularly reminds me that most VCs are bastards. More intimidated.
Another barrier to jumping was the size, scope and complexity of large organizations. My vision includes building something big and amazing. The idea of building something so big or competing with such as large company is overwhelming. But didn’t Adobe, Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon start with the same humble beginnings? A couple of people with an idea and a garage? Not with billions of dollars and giant campuses full of smart people.
I remind myself that, not all beginnings have wildly successful endings. But most of those successful endings started with my same humble beginnings.
Similarly, daunting is the realization that I’ve never done this before. The risks feel high. I’m not afraid of failure. But I don’t want to botch up this amazing opportunity. Thankfully, as I talk to more people, I can start to see the path forward.
Advisors and angels (what a great name). Most of them are interested in my idea, but more interested in me. I’m surprised and humbled by how quickly my network grows and begins to surround me with encouragement and support. Pretty soon, I have a team of angels with 15 lifetimes of experience. Attorneys, CEOs, CFOs, functional leaders in large, and small corporations and startups. Some of these people have been friends for decades. Some are new. All of them begin to rally around me and this little idea. My confidence grows. I’m amazed how many people want to help; advice, contacts, money and more.
I put together a funding plan and start down that path and the funding begins to grow. More introductions. More new faces. More advice and support. More money. Then something amazing happens. With no prompting from me, a few of my angels get together and talk about a better path forward. One that strengthens our new business and reduces risk for everyone. As it all comes together, it looks right. It feels right. IT IS RIGHT. More attorney fees (love those guys). And we are now well funded with a viable future and opportunity to create a new future.
From the earliest thoughts about the project, I thought raising money would be the most difficult part. It wasn’t. But even with money, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to press forward. More valuable than money are the dozens of great people who have joined with me to make this a reality. We have a great team working full time to create a new data, process and technical foundation for procurement and B2B. And, we have an even larger team of entrepreneurs, leaders and investors with experience, knowledge and resources to help and support our ongoing success. Each of them wants to help. Even VCs have been tremendously helpful (not all bastards).
There’s something special about the very best people. They’ve been successful. And rather than hording their wisdom and resources. They want to help others be successful too. They live an abundant life because they believe in the principle of abundance. Find these people. Emulate these people.
Be one of the worlds very best people. Live an abundant life and share.
Lastly for those of you who aren’t contemplating a new venture. The principle of abundance applies everywhere. That job you have today. The team. The boss. The company. Most importantly at home. The abundant life makes it better.
You may be thinking… ‘they aren’t abundant, so I can’t be abundant.’
That’s a cop-out. BE ABUNDANT! If you can’t do it where you are. Jump and go somewhere you can.