Oversharing and Investors

When You Want People To Give You Money, Don't Do What I Did

Oversharing is not something I thought I would ever have to deal with. If you read my last post, I ended up completely masking myself from everyone for about a decade. I didn’t overshare because I avoided sharing anything at all.

Then I quit my job and had to figure out how to make money on my own. I started focusing on learning how to talk to investors. This seemed the fastest way to get me the funds I needed to build the business I wanted.

I thought I could raise $25 million. I examined various companies that were getting funding and estimated what I would need to guarantee success with my company. I figured $25 million would be enough. My hope was that I would have to raise money exactly once and be done with it. Not a problem right?

As I write this, I see how ridiculous it is. Why on earth would a person (or group of people) give $25 million to someone they didn’t know? For an idea? Just because I know who I am and what I am capable of doesn’t mean that everyone else automatically knows what I can do.

I did understand though that getting investors required building a relationship. I also found in my research that investors invest in a story. So I took all of that into my ADHD brain and went to work.

I found a couple investors I was interested in talking to. I sent them emails outlining my story.

And then I got an email from an investor who wanted to talk to me. We had a Zoom call and I thought we had something. I felt connected to her and thought our missions were aligned. I thought it was only a matter of time until I secured funding.

I also sent her a couple emails pouring out my heart a bit. The whole lack of money thing from quitting my job and watching the little money I did have dwindle away quickly. I explained that I just needed someone to take a chance with me.

At some point in the process, I screwed up. I don’t know exactly what I did, although I have many thoughts. She sent me a pretty blunt email that she wasn’t interested in investing. Based on the words she used, I think I may have inadvertently offended her.

Part of my company is helping people connect their content to the people who care about it. One of the things I pointed out was that trying to talk to investors all the time was exhausting. It was one of the pain points that I was looking at. Talking with people, in general, can be pretty exhausting for me. I think she might have taken my comment more personally than I intended.

Or she simply told me that she wasn’t interested and my brain missed it. If that’s the case, and I continued to email her, that wasn’t great for me either.

I don’t tend to catch things that are not completely obvious in conversations. I am getting a little better, but it is something I have struggled a good deal with.

After this, I was fairly hesitant to reach out to new investors. I realized I had screwed up somewhere but didn’t know exactly where. I had some thoughts but I will never know for sure. I thought about reaching out and asking directly, but I also feel like the last email I received was enough for me to not do that. I sent out the apology and that was that.

As I have reflected on this experience and continued to try to build relationships with investors, I realized something. I am very much one of two ways in my interactions with people: I either don’t share anything personal or I am willing to share everything. I don’t have much of a middle. The more research I do into ADHD, I have found that I am not the only one. This made it easier for me to adapt how I behave in ways that are more socially acceptable.

I tried not caring as much about what is socially acceptable. Trying to make everything I did socially acceptable is what led to me severely masking from everyone and falling into a pretty deep depression. Unfortunately, I found that I do have to find the right balance. I don’t want to compromise who I am. But I also don’t want to kill any chance I have and finding investors

The way I am looking at it now is that investors don’t want to know my whole story. Too much information overloads them. Not everybody is like me. Not everybody likes having every single data point that is available. The trick is to tell your story in a way that relates to the company or product. Find only the points in your story that they would care about. I haven’t completely nailed that down for my company yet, although I feel like I am getting closer.

In the last few months, my emails have gotten a bit shorter. Especially when I am reaching out to someone new. Except when I feel a connection with someone. I have definitely scared some people off.

But in the end, I keep improving a little at a time. I will never be as clean and concise as some people manage. I won’t be someone that everybody wants to work with. The trick is to find those who do want to work with me. Because that is where I can build up meaningful relationships with people again. I have already met some incredible people. It has definitely been worth the pain I have experienced from putting myself out there.

I hope that helps someone. That’s how I judge the success of my writing. Let me know!