The best advice I ever got from one of my angel investors: Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
I went to meet with one of my angels and mentors when things were probably toughest at my last start-up.
My co-founder had walked out the door. We had about 4 months left of cash. I was out of ideas. Yes, we had customers — hundreds — but not nearly enough. It simply “wasn’t working”, at least as I saw it narrowly at the time.
Enough, he said. I’ve heard enough, this mentor/angel said.
Go get on some jets, he said. Go get out of the office and meet more customers, he said, and close bigger deals. I did. I didn’t want to, but I did. (I closed GE, Dell and Comcast after that).
Go hire some better people, now, he said. Just find a way. (I did. I found and hired my VP of Marketing).
Go find a way to increase your runway, he said. No excuses. (I stopped taking a salary, and raised an extra $500k at the last round price. That got us a full year more of runway, with some other tweaks).
He was right.
When you have something, some customers, something … but not enough … stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Instead, find a way to do more.
Yes, that is hard. And painful.
And yes, you can almost always do more. If you have 10 customers, you can get 20. If you have 100, you can get 200. And if you do more, you will get there faster. Maybe not overnight, but a bit faster. And that compounds.