Five Funding Sources for Startup: Self

Out of Pocket, Day Job, Consulting, Co-Founders, Loans
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In the last installment of the Five Funding Sources series, we talked about getting money from your customers as your first, earliest, and preferably sole source of funding for your startup.

Now let's talk reality.

I'm kidding. But we're all aware of the fact that starting a company costs money, and if you're relying solely on money from customers, you're going to be restricted in how fast you can grow, especially in the beginning.

Let's face it. Everything costs money. Incorporating your company costs money, developing a product costs money, marketing that product costs money, waking up in the morning costs money. If reason number one why people don't become entrepreneurs is that they fail to act on their ideas, reason number two is that they're unwilling or unable to spend the money necessary to execute on those ideas.

I fall victim to this more often than I'd like. I don't enjoy spending money, even other people's money. I'm frugal by nature, just ask my notoriously under-privileged kids. This frugality has been more of a plus than a minus on my entrepreneurial journey, but it's also made things more difficult, and probably kept me from acting on one or more ideas that could have returned a lot on any initial investment.

So you'll most likely need some money before you get your first customer, or if your future plans cost more to implement than your revenue stream can support. That money is going to have to come from somewhere, and the best place for it to come from is you.

Funding is the most complex part of startup. How, when, and why you get funded is an individual series of choices, and every startup will take a different path. No one strategy is better than another, but you should definitely have a strategy in place before you raise a dime.

Self is the next best way to fund your startup after Customers, and self-funding is always going to be a requirement. An entrepreneur should always have some of their own money in their startup, and the more money they put in at the beginning, the better off they'll be at the end.

In fact, I'll go so far as to say you should never go after Friends and Family, Angel, or VC funding without having your own money invested first.


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