I'm starting a new business called Kynetx (nothing to see there yet). As I go through some of the things I do, I'm planning to blog them. The whole series will be here. This is the fourth installment. You may find my efforts instructive. Or you may know a better way--if so, please let me know!
Tuesday night, after Defrag was over, I was at dinner with Andre Durand, the CEO of Ping ID. At one point we were talking about startups, something Andre has a lot of experience in, and he spoke about commitment in a way that really rang true for me.
When you tell people you're starting a business, everyone, from your spouse to VCs, has one basic question in the back of their mind: "Is this guy committed? Is he serious?" Once they have that question answered to their satisfaction, they're with you.
The reason this rang true was because of other recent experiences I'd had. The usual reaction people give you when you say you're starting a business is mild curiosity, usually expressed in a question like "what's the idea?" You can explain it--doesn't matter how well--and they'll say "that's nice" and the conversation turns to other things.
But if somehow you can express the level of your commitment along the way, you'll get a totally different reaction. Something along the lines of "wow, you're serious, aren't you?" And then they want to know more.
This is why an entrepreneur who's willing to put their own money into the business is so compelling while one trying to get a company going without getting too much skin in the game is ignored. If you've rented space or hired employees, for example, you've shown commitment in a way that's tangible.
In my case, I'm selling my plane. There are other ways to fund Kynetx, but this has some particular advantages--not the least of which is that it tells everyone how committed I am. (As an aside, this is a great plane, if you're in the market.)
Whether you just put money on your second mortgage or find some other more creative way to fund your business, do it in a way that tells the people who most need your assurance--family, friends, and funders--that you're committed. You'll see a huge change in attitude from them. More importantly, your momentum will increase with a public act of commitment.