3 Important Pre-Launch Investor Ideas

In this article we tackle the seemingly impossible problem of attracting money before you have much of anything to support your request. These funding rounds are called “seed,” “pre-seed,” “pre-launch,” or any number of other terms, depending on who you talk to. Those providing the funding don’t necessarily have to be professional investors; here are three non-professional investor options for funding your startup.

1. Everyone is a Potential Investor

•     Start by reaching out to your personal network. Many entrepreneurs instinctively start here, and for good reason; chances are you’ll find someone willing to provide at least some funding. Personally, I’ve always avoided this source because, although I believe in my idea, I know how risky startups are and may not want to expose friends or close colleagues to that risk. Use your best judgment regarding who you pitch and how much you ask for.

•     Regardless of whom you ask, always have a “growth mindset” around funding. With every “no,” ask why, and take that feedback into consideration in your next pitch.

•     You may also consider a securities offering via crowdfunding, thanks to the new crowdfunding legislation which help startups raise capital while providing investors with additional protections. Now, crowdfunding portals allow you to register your business and raise a funding round very early on.

2. Make Sure Your Team Is Ready

Without a fully-formed product or service yet in place, team experience, credentials and references such as university contacts or past employers can instill investor confidence early on. Even if your idea for that product or service is astoundingly good, it’s your team that counts — investors often value a good team over a good idea. And if your idea is so good that your market validation is off the charts (i.e., you hit the next big thing at the right time), your team needs to be able to convince investors that they can execute today. It always comes back to execution.

3. Consider Bootstrapping Your Business

Bootstrapping begins with raising a minimum amount of startup capital, typically from a salary, to build a skeletal framework which is used to close your first customers or “anchor clients.” Personally, this has been my favorite approach, but there are loads of limitations. For example, it’s not very useful if your business requires a lot of capital and you don’t have that kind of money, or if your business does not generate money quickly. But it is great in that it forces you to consider your entire business from the get-go.

This is just a starting point, of course. But if you’re just getting off the ground, we’re always open to discussing more. Contact us and let’s talk about what can be done to attract new investment.

Side-Hustle 101: 3 Things to Consider when Contemplating Part-Time Entrepreneurship

A recent study predicted that in less than two years, 40 percent of American workers will be independent contractors, turning the “gig” economy into just “the economy.” Side-hustles have become a reality for many, either by choice or by need. They can allow us to pursue our entrepreneurial passions while working a 9-5 job that pays the bills. But they can also have a downside. Before making that leap, here are three things to consider when contemplating a new side-hustle.

A recent study predicted that in less than two years, 40 percent of American workers will be independent contractors, turning the “gig” economy into just “the economy.” Side-hustles have become a reality for many, either by choice or by need. They can allow us to pursue our entrepreneurial passions while working a 9-5 job that pays the bills. But they can also have a downside. Before making that leap, here are three things to consider when contemplating a new side-hustle.

1. Never let it jeopardize your main job.

Let’s consider this the “golden rule” of the gig economy. Until you’re ready for your side-hustle to provide your primary source of income, you must protect your “main hustle.”

Do you need more flexibility in your day job in order to pursue your side-hustle? Consider negotiating for it when you start a job, or at another opportune time; for example, ask for flex-time or one work-at-home day a week in lieu of a raise.

Is holding a second job permitted by your employer? If you’re not sure about the rules, find out what they are, and don’t break them – ignorance is no defense. And ask if your company has strict non-competes as well.

2. Maintain a very strict resource budget.

Time, money and focus are your primary resources when it comes to being an entrepreneur, so don’t let your side-hustle siphon them off, leaving little for anything else. Managing resources is easier when you have a clear business plan for your side-hustle. Not only should this include how much you will invest and how much you will see in return, but how much time you will devote each week, and how you will distribute your focus. Clarity always helps execution.

3. Find one or more mentors.

Many have already tread the path you’re on, so reach out to those who have already been where you are. Find someone who is executing a plan similar to yours and learn as much from them as possible. Then return the favor with someone else who is just starting out. Mentors and accountability partners help you keep in touch with other entrepreneurs, and stay on track yourself.

Like any business, there’s risk in starting a side-hustle. Implementing the three ideas above can help mitigate that risk, as well measuring, observing and being diligent – three behaviors to help make empirical decisions that will lead to better optimized outcomes and result in your dream career.

We can help you get there. You may feel like you’re on your own, but we believe that business is best done when done socially. We’re building a startup community in which you can connect with other entrepreneurs and help each other achieve more success. Join us!