So I’m going to brutally honest about why I am frustrated or why 99% of startup entrepreneurs become frustrated!!!
Imagine coming up with a cool idea or product and try turning it into a business. Well that’s what myself and many like me are either doing or did, but there is this one stage we all must pass through called the “STARTUP” stage.
This is the stage where you fully become crazy to everyone around you and not many understand what the heck you are saying or doing. This is where you swallow your pride and ask friends and family members to either invest or support your “Crazy” idea. Now to most that may seem very exciting, but to those of us that have been down this road know this is a major feat.
Ahhhhh the glorious startup stages, where the skies are gray and it rains more than it shines. Where the road is long and the naysayers dwell. Well let me tell you a little about the things you will encounter and may encounter.
-Want to give up
-Feel as though you are the stupidest person alive
-Have intense Insomnia
-Be told you can’t do it
-Your idea or product is stupid
-You are stupid
- Did I mention people saying you can’t do it??
-Oh yeah and people saying you can’t do it!
Whew…. Glad I got past that part… Ummmm, do you still want to take this journey down the startup road?? Ok
On to the wonderful world of capital raising or funding your idea.
Now unless you are filthy rich, have money in a trust account, a nice savings account or parents that are generous enough to give you the money, then feel free to skip this part, but if you are like myself and other entrepreneurs keep reading.
STARTUP CAPITAL!!!!! UGGGHHHHHH.
I have self funded my company with my own capital because I was told that people will not take you seriously unless you have some “Skin in the game”. Makes sense so far right?? So I did just that and was able to put together a great team, develop a prototype and other things Go Me!! What I didn’t know was that I would still be in the “Startup” phase and have to get people to see what I believe in. So long story short I ran out of capital and now I have to raise more..
How do I do this?? That was my question. Here I am the CEO of the company, people are depending on me because they took a risk to follow me and I don’t have anymore money! I knew equity would be too expensive and VC’s are very sophisticated and no longer go off prototype alone.
Then I thought, what if they don’t fully see my vision or want to be too hands on? What if they want to change the direction of the company and dilute us down to the point where I can’t share with my friends? Then it hit me like a ton of bricks… Start a crowdfunding campaign. But how?? I want to be as honest and realistic as possible. I realized that it was hard to compete unless I had a really cool product, video or sad story. I didn’t have any medical conditions, I wasn’t starting a clothing line or the next iPhone, or any of that. I was raising money to help with the development of my platform.
So I took to GoFundMe.com and created my campaign. I am apart of movement called YoungMindsCan YMC™ that was started by Jay Morrison and Mo Wilkerson of the New York Jets. I said to myself I have to have some cool rewards to get people to donate along with a compelling story. I asked Mo if he can autograph some shirts so that I can give to my donors and of course he said sure!! Power of YMC baby!!! Great movement by the way. We inspire, uplift and encourage or youth to follow their dreams and mentor them.
So I set it up and waited for the dough to roll in. Sounds easy right??? NOOOO!!! I had to promote the campaign via social network and hope to GOD that people would want to contribute.. Again, if you don’t have a cool product, need (medically) or a celebrity, which in my opinion is cheating, then it is very hard.
See a celebrity will set up a campaign, use their influence and celebrity status and raise MILLIONS!!!! Ummmmm can you say unfair? How could I compete? I don’t have millions of followers, I don’t have a medical story and I don’t have a feature film lol.. Celebrities like Levar Burton from Reading Rainbow raised over $1,000,000 in less than a day, Penn Jillette raised over $1,000,000 for his project and Adam Carolla is on his second campaign raising more capital.
People turn their noses up at me when I tell them about my campaign but applaud and support a celebrity that already has an extensive net worth. At least I care about my donors and want to give back, heck I even wanted to hold a raffle and give out prizes to my donors to show them how much I appreciate them. I’m actually behind my campaign and will send out thank you emails as opposed to a computer generated, generic email that everyone will receive.
Well here I am still and I wanted to share my story about my daily frustrations as a startup entrepreneur. I will tell you this much. I wouldn’t change this journey for any 9-5 JOB. I enjoy the 24/7 grind and the excitement. Entrepreneurs are the creators, the thinkers, the innovators, the job creators and backbone of the economy. I support all my entrepreneurs and wish the well in their endeavors. If I can help out in any way I will and I have people that can vouch for that.
Ok I rambled enough lol. So on to the fun part. Here’s the link to my crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe.com http://www.gofundme.com/StartupEntrepreneur?pc=tw_f_m. We are trying to raise $100,000 ASAP to reach our goal. If others can raise it fast, so can we. Anything will help us get closer to our goal.
A Startup Entrepreneur
You can follow me on Twitter at shabai22