If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you know that I travel a good bit for business. My Facebook status updates from TripIt make my profile seem like a fan page for a flight control tower. Because of my travel frequency I often get comments like “you must be double platinum status” or assumptions that I am riding in first class.
The sad truth is that I have no status, nor do I fly first class. I board with everyone else in general boarding. Quite often I am wedged between two large, sweaty people eating fried chicken, playing Neil Diamond on the loudest possible setting without headphones.
How could someone who will fly over 100,000 miles this year have no frequent flyer status?
Over the past few years I have raised $14 million from the investors that backed IZEA. During that time I have always done my best to treat each dollar as my own. Actually, I treat my investor’s money as more sacred than my own… because it is not mine.
While I spend money on things that can grow the business, increase productivity or create a better work environment, overall I am a tightwad when it comes to my personal spending. I don’t stay in fancy hotels (we usually sleep 2 employees to a room), I rent compact cars and I always book the cheapest flight, no matter the carrier.
The reason I don’t have any status is because all my miles are spread amongst many different carriers. I could book more expensive flights on the same carriers, but it would cost the company more money, sometimes hundreds of dollars per trip.
VC Money Isn’t an Entrepreneur’s Trust Fund
If you are lucky enough to have raised some capital from a VC or other investor to fund your dream you are in a very special place. Hopefully the day will come that you create a huge exit for your investors, your employees and yourself. At that point you can live your life like Jay-Z, dropping cash like it is going out of style (actually still a bad idea, even when you have the money).
Until that point you need to buck up and take one for the team. The money in your startup’s bank account isn’t there for your creature comforts. It is there to build a better future and deliver returns for all your stakeholders.
I will see you in row 19. I call aisle.