Do you believe that? Or do you justify yourself? Do you approach every conversation with the conviction that YOU DESERVE FUNDING? I know what you’re thinking – but what if my idea has no market, what if I don’t have a business plan, you mean my hair-brained idea that I haven’t proven will generate revenue? And that’s where I’m going to stop you. I didn’t say that your IDEA deserved funding. I am making the case that YOU deserve funding. They are not the same thing.
We’ve been trained too long by stories of VC unicorns to think that the reason we deserve funding is that our ideas are novel and will be highly profitable over a short period of time. We have been trained by banks that we only deserve funding if we have made no mistakes with our personal finances in the past (aka FICO score) and can prove we already have the means to pay it back. Bonus points if other people are already doing what we want to be doing.
What an incredible paradox that leaves the entire middle of the spectrum – the realm of the transformational entrepreneur – wondering if they deserve funding. What is a transformational entrepreneur? It’s what we need now – businesses with social impact that by virtue of novel thinking can transform communities by creating livelihoods and solving real world problems. But these businesses don’t live at extremes – they occupy the middle, they move more slowly and more thoughtfully than unicorns, but evolve more quickly and therefore need more growth funding than typical mom and pop small business.
And these are the businesses that are not being funded by VC’s and banks.
And they never will. WE have to fund them. But we won’t do this until WE believe that we deserve funding – people just like us with no extraordinary business credentials and no Ivy League MBA. People who have failed at one point or another just like us at our personal finances or in prior businesses. Until WE decide to stop sitting on the sidelines allowing only the unicorns and proven models to be funded by organizations that only have profits or the status quo as their driving force, the transformational businesses we dream of will not be funded. We know what kinds of transformational businesses we need in the world. We don’t need to give over our vote to a “smarter” funder to choose on our behalf.
And we can fund them – through old models that have existed since humans started making things to barter (private investment) and through new technology and laws that make it easier for those of us with smaller amounts of capital to get in the game collectively (crowdfunding). But we won’t make any progress until YOU AND I feel we deserve funding. Because YOU AND I are exactly who we need to fund. But that will require our own transformation as funders.
Scared because these transformational entrepreneurs look just like us, and we feel that WE aren’t ready for funding. What if we fail? What if we lose the funding? How would we ever be able to show our face again? OUR feelings of unworthiness keep us from funding others. Flip the script. Try walking around saying the words “I deserve funding” and see how long it takes for you to start looking at others with new eyes and telling them, “YOU deserve funding!” The next step is realizing you DO have the power to fund them, imperfections and all. Imagine what it would look like if we ALL came to that realization.
This is transformational funding and YOU deserve it.