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Bernie Marcus (Co-Founder of Home Depot) Wrote Me A $1,000 Check

Bernie Marcus: Co-Founder of Home Depot

Money & Business

Raising capital can come from all kinds of people and places. Don’t be deterred by the word “No.”

Interestingly enough, my father worked in property management; his building housed several millionaires and some billionaires - including Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot. My father’s side hustle serviced many of these people who became our clients.

$1,000 isn’t a lot of money for a billionaire, but it sure was a lot of money to me when I was raising capital to fund my education abroad.

I did two study abroad programs between high school and college-one in Europe covering Belgium, England, France, Germany, The Netherlands, and Switzerland. The second program constituted studies in international law, finance, and politics in the grand county of China; travels included Xi’an, Bejing, Shanghai, and Yan’An.

Both of these educational programs required tremendous funding (tens of thousands of dollars to be exact); however, I didn’t allow the price tag to deter me from attending these prestigious programs. I buckled down to raise capital and did a ton of networking.


Let “No” Be Your Friend

My mother has maintained a couple of businesses throughout my lifetime; when I was around 9 or 10, she let me attend her client meetings. I received a portion of the proceeds from each client meeting that resulted in sales.

I started a music teaching business when I was 14 years old. I put up signs, gave out flyers and business cards, and created a referral program to get clients. But I had to go through a lot of “I won’t be continuing,” I’ll get back with you,” “Thank you, but no,” and other lovely “no” type responses from potential clients.

Since I started doing business early in life - whether it was my business, my mother’s, or my father’s - I have received a lot of noes. Consequently, I became immune to the word early in life and unafraid of it.

Operation 20

For the Europe trip, I started something called “Operation 20.” My goal was to utilize my network by sending out a letter to every single person I knew asking to conduct work for $20. More often than not, people gave me more than $20, making up for some of the many noes I received.

The first key was conveying to people I was willing to do X services (I offered a list of services I could complete to everyone I sent a letter to) for the money I was seeking to further my education. I wasn’t looking for a free handout. People respect work ethic.

The second key was stating my purpose clean and clear for why I wanted others to invest in my future and education. Over time, I learned that people are more adamant and willing to give to you when you have a clear and meaningful purpose.


Raising Capital Is Sometimes About Who You Know

I’ve thanked my father more than a couple of times throughout my life for permitting me the opportunity to tag along with him for his side hustle gig. Though many jobs required tedious effort, the exposure, opportunities, and networking were the real prize.

Half of my father’s clients invested in my study abroad education, books, and public speaking engagements. Many of our clients saw something in me that I grew to see in myself. Something else invaluable they all taught me was to invest in myself continuously.

Sometimes, going through traditional means of raising capital for your venture is not the option you’re interested in or an option at all. If obtaining capital through traditional methods is not the option for you, get creative and leverage your network, skillset, and drive to help you further your business, education, or whichever venture you’re is on your plate.


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This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Not all information will be accurate. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in All Stories, Non-Fiction, Self-Help, True Story