How entrepreneurship turned into a top model contest

I quit my job and started to be an entrepreneur a little over 2 years ago. When I started the notion of startup in my country was quite new. I wanted to learn as much about it as possible. Back than the “fashion” was to have an idea and go raise money from investors. The more the better. A notion that didn’t feel right in my gut, but I went with the flow at the time, for a while anyways. Everybody kept telling me that I should learn how to pitch, how to build a great pitch deck, learn how to talk, walk and jump on stage. At some point I felt I’m not an entrepreneur anymore. I felt like one model on a catwalk with my fancy pitch deck and well trained speech. It just felt so wrong, yet everybody around me was doing it. I guess Gary Vaynerchuk was right, when he said something along the lines:

“No matter what people keep telling you, if it feels wrong in your gut, don’t do it”

After raising the first round of investment and doing it like everybody else we burned all of our capital, build a product that almost nobody wanted and almost crashed our company in less than a year. This was a wake up call.

Instead of chasing investors, we started talking to customers, and by talking I mean listening!

We listened really carefully to their needs and build a service that helped them bring value to their business. This helped us to grow by more than 100% the first months without any marketing.

Finally I didn’t feel like a trained poodle running from meeting to meeting to raise money for my startup.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you not to raise money from investors, as long as they can add value to your business. Me personally I would not raise money from investors by sending them a pitch deck. I would go out for a beer and have a chat or a night out partying. Its simply my DNA. You only want an investor who shares your values and the vision of the company.

Anything less than that is not worth your attention, period!

As for the startup “fashion” scene. If you been at any startup events recently, you probably have an idea what I’m talking about. There are some really good startups out there that you probably haven’t even heard about because they are focused on building a kick ass product instead of jumping around on stage. I like to think that a successful company is the outcome of a great team not an individual. As Steve Jobs once said:

My model of business is the Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check…. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”