I've helped thousands of people start their own businesses, and I have an uncomfortable truth for entrepreneurs looking to raise money

Business Insider US
Ramit Sethi.

  • Ramit Sethi, CEO and author of "I Will Teach You to Be Rich," has helped thousands of people build their own businesses.
  • When entrepreneurs ask him how they should go about raising startup capital, he always has the same suggestion: Start with your savings.
  • If you can't or are not willing to save up a couple thousand bucks to start a business, he writes, maybe you're just not ready to start one.

The people who most often ask me "How do I raise money for my small business?" are not the kinds of people who are in Silicon Valley or have the level of business savvy and sophistication to get investments from Angels or any institutional money.

They are average folk who want to know where to get an additional $2,000 to start their own small business. And this is what I ask them in return:

"How about from your savings?"

Or better yet: "What about from your customers?"

The response I get after I ask them these questions? Crickets… I never hear back from them!

Most people thinking about starting an online business expect some magical investment fairy to come to them and drop money on them. As if they can depend on the universe saying, "Wow, you've been doing a great job so far at life, you can have $2,000 - no, actually $20,000! Here you go!"

NO! You and I both know that the world doesn't work that way.

No amount of wishing or asking is going to make a business, let alone the money to start your business, magically appear.

  Read More: Advice from a successful tech CEO: Start your business in Joburg, and don’t wear shorts

Here's an uncomfortable truth: If you can't or are not willing to save up a couple thousand bucks to start a business, maybe you're just not ready to start one.

But if you insist that you are, let me ask you: Do you have a business plan?

What about a business idea or two? If yes, have you actually confirmed whether that idea is something customers are willing to pay you for?

The reality is, if you haven't actually done any of those things, you are living a fantasy instead of putting in the right first steps to starting a real business.

I've helped thousands of students start and grow their businesses, so I know full well that one of the single biggest obstacles to getting a business off the ground is finding a profitable idea that works. People get stuck here because they want any and all of their ideas to be instant hits, but most ideas you come up with - at least initially - will SUCK.

And that's perfectly fine!

There are no bad ideas in the beginning stages.

Some of my early business ideas were terrible. But I've gone on to create more than 18 successful products. That's the most liberating part of coming up with business ideas: You have permission to suck.

Once you've accepted that, you can finally move on to the next steps.

Learn more about building a business with the Ultimate Guide to Finding a Profitable Business Idea.

Ramit Sethi is the author of the New York Times bestseller "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" and writes for more than 1 million readers on his websites, I Will Teach You To Be Rich and GrowthLab. His work on personal finance and entrepreneurship have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Business Insider.

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