Expect nothing. Earn everything.

Yesterday afternoon, TechCrunch broke the story about our funding – $1.5M from an amazing group of investors – and I have to say it was pretty surreal.

When we started out in the tech-startup world, incorporating from my parents’ basement [where I lived at the time] in November 2007, we set out to bootstrap our way into business. We had no idea what we were doing, so to learn about the industry, I started reading tech blogs, among them, TechCrunch…

…but then I stopped. I didn’t want to read about funding announcements of other companies… I didn’t want to hear about XYZ company and why they were going to change the world… why not? Because I wasn’t learning anything and none of it was relevant to our company. There was too much hype.

A lot has happened since then, but fast forward to today and here I am, working on our second company, amidst an alleged “bubble,” a very real part of the hype machine…

NOW PLEASE DO NOT GET ME WRONG… I am SO grateful for each and every second of attention anyone is willing to give our little company. It’s impossible to keep up with them all, but I did my best to thank everyone of my friends and many whom I don’t know who tweeted about our announcement - you all are awesome supporters, THANK YOU. 

But my point is, our funding announcement, like many pieces of press is just hype. All the money in the world doesn’t matter if we don’t make something people want

When the wire transfers came through a couple weeks ago, the team was ready to celebrate. Admittedly, I was pretty excited to have our funding done [fundraising - even in this environment - is still hard] and I DO believe in celebrating wins, creating momentum and the opportunity to continue building our company…

But someone said I should get a bottle of champagne… Many friends assumed we’d go party that night. All makes sense, but I refused… 

Why? Because funding isn’t success. Funding is just a stepping stone along a long, hard road to success.

One of my favorite mantras is “Expect nothing. Earn everything.”

I love the tone that it sets and it’s something I try to practice daily.

In a startup, no one - I repeat, NO ONE - is going to do the work for you. No amount of money is going to build your product by itself. No customers are going to just show up at your door. You have to earn everything, and that means staying humble, staying hungry and grinding up the mountain one step at a time…

Expect nothing. Earn everything.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I’m really proud to have closed what we think is a fantastic round with some of the best investors in the game, I’m excited to use it to add to our already killer team and to build our vision for Shelby.tv.

Maybe when we have $1.5M in revenue, we’ll pop some champagne, but all joking aside until then, expect nothing, earn everything… after all, I’m 28, still in debt and in the meantime, I’m back where it started, living in my parents’ basement again. 

Expect nothing. Earn everything.