Chasing the Mailman: Successful Entrepreneurs Will Do Whatever It Takes


I had coffee yesterday morning with an entrepreneur friend of mine. He has received some local grants and put up some of his own money, but recently began pursuing his first significant round of capital. Raising money from angels can be difficult because many of them are busy people and, even if they are genuinely interested in your business, they have a million other things to do. The toughest challenge for raising this first round has been closing that first investor. Once someone is in, other investors feel better about their decision to get in too.

This friend has been talking to a professional athlete who had agreed to invest but had not yet come through with a check. Two of the key founders of this two year old company still have regular day jobs, and the money will let them come on full-time, so it's a big deal.

The previous day, he had returned home after lunch to find one of those stickers on his door saying that the USPS had an important letter. Assuming it was from the investor, he decided not to wait until the next day to get it. In his words, "the best use of my time right then was to get that money into the bank." So he called the post office, who explained that the mail carrier would be out on route until about 5pm. So this entrepreneur decided to drive around until he found the postal truck, which he did, and yes it was his first major check from an investor.

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I laughed when he told me, but I envy the excitement and enthusiasm he displayed. That's what makes entrepreneurship so much fun. I remember when I had owned my own business for about three months and someone asked me what my favorite thing about it was. "Running people's credit cards," I replied jokingly. But there was more truth than joke in the statement. It wasn't because I focused on the money. It was because there is a certain satisfaction that you get when someone believes in what you are doing. To have a customer say "yes, I like what you have to offer and I am willing to pay for it," is a great feeling. I haven't ever landed a major investor for something, but I bet the experience is similar.