During my time in the Sandbox, my emotions seem to shift as capriciously as the sand in the metaphorical box. At times, I feel like a 10 on the scale of possibility. Just as easily, I can crash to a 3 or 4 and feel completely overwhelmed.
“You are competing against the world,” Sandbox guide and guru David Parker told us yesterday evening during class. We were learning about money—how we feel about it, how to ask for it, Angels and Angel groups, investors who give their own money to business ventures, often startups like mine, and so on.
Starting a business is no easy feat, and it takes a lot of work. Fundraising is a necessary, if not enjoyable, part of it. This is one reason why I am thankful to the in the Winter Accelerator program.
I am in no way comfortable on the subject of money. Sure, I earn money, I pay bills, and I love to buy things, especially ukuleles. But I have a serious guilt complex surrounding the spending and requesting of money.
When people ask me what I charge per hour or per song, I kind of hem and haw and mumble an amount, immediately following with apologies and possibilities for bartering or paying on a sliding scale, etc. etc.
Our presenter, Barrie Atkin, came in with a bundle of energy and wisdom that both overwhelmed and inspired me to carry on even though the statistical odds may very well be against me.
Toward the end of the session, we are all slouching and showing signs of fatigue. At this point, Barrie walked around the room and let us each choose a special marjker, which we placed on a napkin on the table in front of us. She then asked us to stand up, place the marker in our mouth, and jump up and down.
“Seriously,” I thought to myself. But jump I did. Why not?
After, she asked us if our confidence level with regard to money had changed. I was still feeling guilty (learned behaviors are difficult to overcome), so I didn’t answer.
Moments later, she explained how she had overcome her own challenges with finances and money.
“People want to help people,” she told us. “And there are people out there who have already decided that they are going to give their money to someone, so why not let it be you?”
“Investing can be an opportunity to support a person, business, or cause that someone cares about and that matches their interests and passions. Investing can make someone feel good.”
She asked us if we have ever donated money to a cause or business venture and asked us how we felt. I talked about donating money to a company that was creating an app for people to learn how to support humane poultry farming practices in their purchases.
Giving that money felt great, AND I got to pick out pins with chickens on them (I used to own chickens and still love, admire, and support them from a distance).
Toward the end of the session, our presenter offered advice that traveled straight to my heart.
Even if you do not receive money from potential investors, practice “Bless and release.”
“Always be thankful, and don’t burn bridges.”
“Stay true to your passion.”
“Remind yourself of your vision and goals and why you are doing this.”
I drove home elated and feeling like any and everything was possible in this, the best of all possible worlds.