How do entrepreneurs exist financially when first starting out? Originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
I started my business after college with little to no money. I took out no loans. I had no credit cards or money saved to help with start-up costs. When I started my first company it was not a real popular thing to be an entrepreneur. With that being said I had no real concept of investors waiting in the wings to fund my new venture. The cool thing was that by having all those doors closed it made me focus on the two main things that are important to any business- Creativity & Sales.
I had very little money starting out (less than $1,000) but I had enough to pay for the first months’ rent. Although I had enough to pay for the rent I did not have enough for the deposit which was two months of the total rent. If I did not have the money or the resources, then how did I get my first office space? I did what any hungry entrepreneur would do I got really creative and figured out a way to make sure that I created a win-win situation.
How it happened: The landlord of the space was a very practical business man that ran a Mold Remediation company. The landlord had a website but his website was badly in need of major improvements and upgrades. I reviewed his website and brought him a proposal. The proposal was that I would create him a brand new website in exchange for the two months’ deposit on the office space. The landlord saw my drive and appreciated the creativity that I used to create a scenario that worked for the both of us. He quickly agreed to the proposal and I was on my way. I knew that getting the space was only half the battle but by accomplishing this feat it gave me the confidence and credibility necessary for me to start building a business.
In this lies the key to all successful entrepreneurs: Sales. Even if entrepreneurs don’t need to make direct customer sales in the beginning they still have to sell themselves or their concept in order to get funded. We all sell ourselves on an everyday basis. I had to sell myself to my coach as a viable prospect when I looked to pursue football in college. I had to sell my conce to my first employees on the viability of my startup. I later had to sell myself by showing my wife that I was the right choice. (LOL)
How it happened: I knew that I had to go out and drum up some business because I had a 30-day window to get it done. I got some business cards and I spoke to everyone I met about what I was doing in business. I gave out cards in the grocery store line, at the movies, to relatives, friends, and anyone who would accept them. I was on a mission and I was not letting a simple thing like money get in the way. I got the clients, closed the deals and the rest is history. In French class in high school there were about two things that I remembered very well. The first was je ne sais pas which means “I don’t know” and the other was pouvoir c est pouvoir which is translated “Where there is a will, there is a way”.
Contributed by J.R. McNair