Every year when Outskirts Press appears on the Inc 5000 of fastest growing private companies we get a deluge of calls, letters, and proposals from investment bankers, venture capitalists, and the like. It’s easy to become flattered by all this attention from companies offering to give you lots of money, but the reality is that most of these companies are simply using the Inc 5000 as a source for approaching possible companies of interest. I used to take it more seriously than I do now, because in some cases I’ve had follow-up conversations with firms who have expressed an interest in Outskirts Press only to discover that they really don’t know anything about us – other than the fact that we are profitable and growing quickly and consistently. True, in this day and age, those characteristics alone are worth the phone call. But you would think, since those corporate characteristics are so rare, that those firms would take a moment to learn at least some talking points about the firms they are pursuing in advance of sending out letters.
It reminds me of that old axiom, when you need a credit card you can’t get one. The same holds true for investment capital. You can’t get money when you need it, but once you don’ t need it, everyone is offering it to you. That’s why I prefer the bootstrapping method of starting a company rather than the investment method. If you bootstrap a successful company venture capitalists will literally come out of the woodwork to find you. Why? Because you’ve already demonstrated you have what it takes to be successful. A venture capitalist would prefer to work with an established, profitable company than with an unknown because venture capitalists are gamblers, and gamblers like to hedge their bets.
How hard is it to find an analogy in the above paragraph fo today’s authors and publishers? A publisher would prefer to work with an established, profitable author than with an unknown, because traditional publishers are gamblers, and gamblers like to hedge their bets. Self-publishing is the “bootstrapping” equivalent to starting your own business. You aren’t having something given to you. You’re so confident in your own offering (whether it be a book or a business) that you do it yourself. It’s a viable key to success.