Was having lunch today with a friend of mine who is a fantastically entrepreneurial, smart, skilled, massively hard-working, and has done some amazing things in his life.
But lately, his cash has dried up.
We talked about it, and it turns out he's doing something mentally that I did quite a lot in the past -- often to my detriment.
I was focused on doing "very high value activities" -- by some abstract standard of my own -- and often neglected to get what seemed like small amounts of cash.
My friend is doing the same thing. He's looking for "streams of income"; not "just getting some cash."
I used to think this way. But now, I'm almost 180 degrees in the other direction.
I really think that most streams of income are discovered by hustling around and trying to get some cash, and then building around that.
That doesn't mean neglecting long-term assets or big opportunities. But thinking there's a huge abstractly-constructed project that will lead to a big win without throwing off small wins is...
...well, it happens. Just, the variance on it is much higher. And most entrepreneurs get their ventures wrecked by either their will breaking or running out of money.
Getting money, even small amounts, is good for the will and morale. And obviously, being cash and cashflow positive means you don't run out of money.
I don't think getting some cash here and there seriously detracts from what you're doing, especially if it's at all related to your core idea. If it's the same market, customers, or skillset, you will learn some amazing things. And getting cash is fun.
The guys that built AirBNB into a billion-dollar company once sold silly breakfast cereal branded with Barack Obama and John McCain to get some cash. It's fun, and it keeps you going. It's not antithetical to getting bigger stuff happening; actually, the small getting some cash plays probably lead more frequently to big wins than abstract grinding away for a big stream of income.