Meet Miki Agrawal, serial social entrepreneur, author, and friend of General Assembly. Miki has launched a number of companies, from an organic farm-to-table pizzeria in NYC to an underwear brand for women in the developing world. Miki also recently wrote the book Do Cool Sh*t, a guide to starting a business and living a more entrepreneurial life. We’re happy to have her share some thoughts and advice on non-traditional fundraising here on the GA blog.
– Matthew O. Brimer, Co-Founder, General Assembly
I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of raising money. I found out recently that a few people I know are having a real hard time getting funds for their passion projects and I’ve been thinking critically about the psychology behind this process.
Over the years, my twin sister Radha and I managed to raise over 4 million dollars for our various passion projects — SLICE NY (now WILD), Super Sprowtz, WILD Las Vegas, THINX — and we have a much clearer understanding of the emotional process of raising money that just about anyone could apply.
Identifying the Problem
I remember when I first started going around and “setting up investor meetings”, I was nervous, I fidgeted a lot, I forgot some key points, didn’t have all of the answers on the spot and I just wasn’t myself.
After many failed attempts at one-on-one meetings in every setting possible (coffee shop, conference room, their office, my office, etc.), I took some time to evaluate my methodology.
I realized that the biggest, most glaring problem in all of these instances was simply that I wasn’t myself at all.
The sparkle and fire that I usually have when I am with my close friends just disappeared in these meetings. The way I talked with confidence about my business idea with my friends was replaced with cracking voice and jumbled thoughts.
Why was this happening??