I got an email the other day from a Web entrepreneur who wanted me to write about his startup.
I had to tell him it's too early for me to get involved. I don't like writing about what people say they're going to do - I like writing about it after they have earned the ink, by producing tangible results (money, market share, disruption, creative recognition, etc.)
He wrote back and said he understood - but did I have any tips for him, especially about raising seed money? I didn't have time to say anything brilliant, but here's the advice I offered:
What can I tell you? Take a breath. Take your time. See if you can generate some income before you go seeking investors; the more self-reliant you are, the more they will pay to get in on it.
* Surround yourself with people who like what you're doing and want to contribute. Pay them in promises - that at some point, if you see a return, they will too. But try not to give up equity until you really have to. For some people, the adventure and the experience will be enough.
* Clean up your website. Make it as professional-looking as possible. I see lots of grammar mistakes, mis-spellings, and room for improvement.
* You're doing the right thing in terms of reaching out to media, bloggers, etc. But remember - your site isn't news. It's how you help people that creates a story.
* And check out Zilch, the book I reviewed in my Post column this week. Lots of great advice for getting things done on a zero budget.