When she was in college, Alexa von Tobel realized she knew nothing about personal finance. And she couldn’t find any good tools out there to help people teach themselves. So she set out to learn about managing her own money — a journey that led her to dropping out of Harvard Business School after just one semester, writing two books, and starting two multi-million dollar businesses. We spoke to Alexa about the basics of business, money management, and what makes a successful start-up.
On Venture Capital vs. Startup Funding
Alexa: A cupcake shop is not a venture business. That's a business that's looking for startup capital. That's a business that's looking for 'help me turn the lights on so I can get profitable on my own.' Venture businesses are businesses where there's a real reason that you need upfront capital. Classic venture businesses are really new innovation new technology.
On Getting Investors to Believe in You
Alexa: I always say A-B-L — always be learning. You're always getting better. In general, investors want to know that they're with somebody who is going to work extremely hard but also doesn't feel like they have all the answers and is comfortable learning and listening to others.
On How Parenting is Similar to Running A Company
Alexa: Being a working parent is genuinely so hard, because there's only so many minutes in the day. I think in the same way I approach entrepreneurship, it's about enjoying the journey. It's about enjoying every day. It's about not taking the highs too high and not making the lows too low.
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