I have been in the start up scene for around five years and listened to over 500 pitches in this time. These are my observations.
1. DON'T eat beer and pizza every night, which is what you are offered at every networking event without fail. Being in the start up community is like watching live a version of Supersize Me for pizza and beer consumption. We have enough imagination and vision to start our own companies so why can't we raise the cuisine bar higher. I'm not suggesting we all do a Steve Jobs and nibble on raw fennel while we exchange pleasantries but lets have some sort of healthy option. Starting a company is hard enough without having a boulder of concrete sticking to you intestines.
2. DON'T fight technology and let it stress you out. Instead embrace the time saving tech that can help you cut through the noise and prioritize better. Examples are trello (good for organization), getharvest (time tracking), hiri (for email control). There are also the equivalent versions for life in general such as siansplan (for healthy meal planning), Evernote (remembering things) and last pass (manages your passwords)
3. Realize that if you are in an incubator you are the product and there are over 7,500 start up incubators and the majority fail. Think about what you really need from an incubator i.e. money only, office space only, mentoring only or needing to extend your network. Then don't be distracted by things that aren't directly relevant to the success of your start up. Incubators will promote you but understand they are also promoting themselves by promoting you.
4. DON'T sleep in the office or think that working all-nighters is good for you or your start up. I am firmly on Arianna Huffington's side on benefits of sleep. There comes a point when tiredness means you are no longer being productive. And don't get me started on tech hackathons which go on for 24 hours and introduce lack of sleep into the unhealthy mix of being indoors, eating take away food and drinking Redbull all weekend. Thankfully there are some people breaking the mold such as Boston-based Hackfit (apparently sold out) but not enough. HackFit is a 48-hour event which claims to include ample sleep time, a variety of workout classes, healthy foods, and sessions dedicated strictly to coding and company building.
5. Accept that no more than 5 percent of the room will be watching you at pitching events. And more importantly don't let this put you off. Lots of these events are recorded so will be useful for your own future PR. People may be staring intently at their phone and still hear something that resonates or appeals to them. It might be the second or third time they see you or your company name that they approach you.
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