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At this point in my life, I have raised money as both an entrepreneur and a venture capitalist. And one thing that has become vividly clear is that fundraising is not fun. It is just necessary.
Two things are up against you when you fundraise. When you ask people for money, they are on defense, looking for any reason to say no. If they can sense your frustration, lack of confidence, or worse, your desperation, the battle is already lost. Unfortunately, most of the time, they WILL say no. And that constant rejection can mentally destroy you, putting you into a vicious cycle of rejection and frustration and rejection and so on.
You cannot let that happen. When you’ve lost your mind, you’ve lost your edge. All of the above qualities will surface. Your mind affects the way that you pitch, the tone of your voice, even the clarity of your thinking. Any tactic will matter very little without strength of mind, so learn to maintain it.
That, of course, is easier said than done. I am not religious, but I have found the teachings of Buddha on craving and suffering to be powerful. In essence, he teaches that suffering is not caused by misfortune. It is caused by craving.
When you experience something positive or negative, do not think about it as pleasant or unpleasant. Simply understand things as they are. Then you will not crave for joy to persist or for sadness to go away. When an investor gives you a verbal commitment, do not overly rejoice in your imminent victory. And when an investor backs out last minute, don’t fret over it.
Understand that it is what it is, and that all of this is just part of the fundraising process.
If you can learn to detach emotion from your circumstances, that peace of mind will give you strength to push forward.
(…and you can rejoice when the money is in the bank!)
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