Lately I've been awed by the generosity of investors, advisors, mentors and people I've encountered in the startup community here on the west coast, so I thought I'd share a simple piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:
If you're dedicated to building a real business don't be shy, people want to help you. Get out there, ask for help, and then share the love.
Sometimes I wonder why places like Silicon Valley, or other tech hotspots succeed, and I'm starting to see that's purely the willingness of people to get involved in others ideas, make introductions, and offer sound advice when needed.
Be the type of person other people want to see succeed and you'll find success.
Also,TA McCann, founder of Gist, gave us a ton of advice, with this simple requirement:
Blog about it, tweet about it. Share the love with others!
Hiten Shah and the people over at KISSmetrics are constantly publishing extremely useful content, and Hiten makes himself available for entrepreneurs who have questions. When you have an ecosystem like this in place, so many generous and experienced people, it's no surprise that so many great companies emerge.
At the beginning of this year, Gavin and I were thinking we would just continue to build QuoteRobot slowly, adding features, doing some client work to pay the bills, and maybe one day realize QuoteRobot's vision of alleviating stress from millions of entrepreneurs, making the boring proposal writing process fun, educational, and lucrative.
A few weeks ago we decided to pitch at StartupRiot Seattle, to drum up some interest in the new version we're releasing this fall and we were blown away by the positive feedback and generosity of people we met.
As Boris Mann, one of the most generous advisors we've come across, has repeatedly said to us:
You need to get out of Nanaimo (read: your city) more often guys.
We've taken this to mean: don't be shy, people want to help. Talk about your product to people and ask for advice - you'll find you have more support than you could have imagined.
So, what are you waiting to? Go for it!