It's real. And honestly - it affects even the most well-educated and traditionally successful people out there. I catch myself doing it every once in a while because, you know what? Success can be scary.
Be careful about self-sabotage when it comes to fundraising.
Self-sabotage in fundraising manifests itself in a failure to launch and after guiding hundreds of founders through the fundraising process, it's something I see all the time.
I always emphasize that fundraising prep is crucial to a successful fundraise. Building relationships with investors, crafting a compelling narrative, and identifying the right investors for your company all require a great deal of time and thoughtfulness. It's not something that can be done overnight.
However, there's a fine line between preparing thoroughly and getting stuck in a cycle of perpetual preparation that leads to self-sabotage. The fear of failure can be paralyzing, and founders often become so obsessed with perfecting every nuance that they delay launching their fundraising efforts indefinitely.
It's understandable why fundraising can be so frightening. Launching a fundraise forces a founder to confront the reality of either succeeding or failing. Both outcomes can be very taxing to handle. High achievers, in particular, are often afraid of failure of any kind. They have a pattern of being well-informed and ready for anything in order to achieve their successes. Fundraising failure, in particular, is scary because it can have existential impacts on a company. Inability to secure term sheets could ultimately mean shutting down.
On the other hand, success can also be scary. Questions arise like:
These are all valid concerns that any founder would have.
The fears associated with fundraising often cause founders to subconsciously sabotage their efforts. This takes the form of rational feet-dragging. For example, a founder might say:
With all these fears, it is easy for founders to subconsciously sabotage their fundraising efforts. They may rationalize the delay, thinking they need more time to get the perfect pitch or to identify the right investors.
So, what can a founder do to overcome the fear of launching and the tendency to self-sabotage?
Here are some practical tips:
It is important to be aware of the tendency to self-sabotage and turn your fear of fundraising into faith in your process. Get excited about the challenge and the potential for growth, no matter what the outcome. The key is to strike a balance between preparation and action. Don't let fear hold you back from launching. The outcome is growth no matter which way things go.