Welcome to Credit Card VC, I’m Scott Yates.
This place, I hope, will be a home for people like me: entrepreneurs starting their own high-tech company. Maybe — like me — you aren’t doing this for the first time.
And while it may be a big idea, you are financing it yourself… maybe with some retirement money, maybe with the proceeds from your last sale, maybe and probably most commonly from that Uniquely American method of the Credit Cards.
I went looking for a place for people like me, and couldn’t find one. There are zillions of sites out there for startups looking for VC or Angel investors. If that’s what you want, you won’t find that here.
There are also lots of small business sites, helping people decide, for instance, if they should use a broker to help them purchase a dry cleaner; if they should open their own concept sandwich shop or buy into a franchise. This is not that site, either.
No, this is for the entrepreneur who sees clearly “the business.” You know the product inside out, you know what the marketing plan is, you have a good idea of the cash flow. You may not have written out a whole business plan, but if you had a spare 20 hours you could. It’s probably web-based, and certainly high-tech.
Even 5 years ago there’s no way you could have done this business on your credit cards.
* Coders wanted too much money and moved too slowly.
* The problem you are solving didn’t really exist, or if it did the tools to solve it weren’t around.
* You didn’t have the confidence that comes from surviving the dot-bomb era more or less in tact.
So, now you have a vision of a product that really will revolutionize your niche; that’s awesome!
What else do you have?
* An executive office (that accepts the cards, sweet!) or a basement office.
* Some coders working, billing you on paypal (pay them with the card, too… sweet!) and some other workers typing or transcribing or something from Madras or whatever. (You tried the Indian coder thing until you realized they all suck.)
* Some marketing stuff you made digitally; read: cheap.
Maybe you have to go to a trade show, but the show, the hotel, even the cabbies these days take the plastic.
The customers are in the pipeline, but not here in force just yet. A couple months more, maybe six, they’ll be beating down the door, and you won’t have time for any of this crud.
But right now it’s all you. It’s your job to keep all those minimums paid, keep the coders on track, keep the marketing up. And there comes a moment when you feel so all alone, so completely isolated with customers not calling you back so there’s plenty of space on your voip to have vendors calling you for payment. It’s right at that moment that you want to throw out your plan, write up a quick couple of pages and send it off to Guy Kawasaki or maybe Union Square Ventures and have them take care of all your needs, and be your friend to boot. You just want someone to share your burden.
I’m there for you, man. I’ve been right there. I’ve been so tempted to submit that plan, go start hanging out with all those smart guys. But I’m telling you, don’t do it. You and me, we’ll stick together, and get this thing done.
Why? I’ll tell you why. It is your dream. Selling your dream is like selling a child.
I’ve been through the whole cycle now. When it’s time to sell, you’ll know it. It’s like sending a kid to college, it’s time for the kid, and it’s time for the parent. But not now, when the kid is needing a fresh diaper and a walk or 30 around the living room to be put back to sleep.
Right now you have nothing but bills and a dream. Go to a VC or Angel now and it’s like sending your kid to college when he’s 3 years old.
Look, VCs will talk a good game about how they just want to help you realize your dream, but if that’s so then why do they get half of your dream? What is half a dream, anyway?
I’m clearly over-generalizing here. There are lots of ideas that really do need lots of cash and lots of good advice, and for that, there’s VC and all the rest. But remember, for every youtube, there are hundreds of others that get funded and then die in a pile of resentment, legal documents and animus. A few of them move forward a round or two, changing along the way until nobody knows what the heck the dream was in the first place, and everyone walks away feeling… well not really anything. Kind of like the feeling after your sophomore year viewed a few years later. “Was that the year we made that great trip to the lake? No? Well, crap, I know I did something cool that year.”
So, that leaves you all alone with your credit cards and nobody else.
Until now. Now you’ve got me, and I have you, too. Thanks for stopping by. Leave me a note, I’d love to hear about what you are doing.