Meet Martin Martinez, founder and president of A-Player Media in Austin, Texas, and managing director of The Founder Institute where he helps entrepreneurs start their companies and raise capital. Out of college, Martin was part of the Facebook generation and was one of the first inside sales representatives at the company. He later worked for Google and a few other tech companies but has been working with entrepreneurs ever since. Martin wants to teach entrepreneurs skills he wished he knew early on.
Martin joined us to record an episode of our podcast, What’s the Factor?, to talk about his journey in helping entrepreneurs. Here are some of his tips.
Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
Martin knows that starting a company isn’t easy and can be lonely. It is easy to question if you’re doing the right thing, especially when people that you love are telling you you’re crazy. This can make someone experience “imposter syndrome,” as Martin calls it.
Martin reminds us that it’s important to find yourself with other like-minded people going down similar paths and feeling the same type of burden. Founders lean on each other when going through rough moments because then they feel a sense of comradery and encouragement.
He stresses that if you can’t lean on your network through hard moments, then you may not be successful.
Don’t Cloister Yourself Up
When we asked Martin what advice he had for new entrepreneurs to improve their odds of success, he said to not “cloister yourself up” because it’s important to stay involved with the community. Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to be successful. Martin says it best, “It’s not like the movies where it’s just you and a computer, and boom, you’re a billionaire.”
You Need a Team
Martin tells us that when an entrepreneur starts fundraising it’s really important to have a team. You need to feel secure that you have the right people backing you up. When you leave to fundraise for four to six months, you need to feel secure knowing that your team can run your business.
According to Martin, he could not have made The Founder’s Institute successful by himself. It is important to keep building a dedicated team because you can’t always make something happen on your own.
Show Up and Build a Community
Martin stresses that mentors, advisors, champions, and those first customers that believe in you are what will make your company successful. It’s important to stay involved with them and foster your own community. This is something that few entrepreneurs understand because they are so far in the weeds, trying to build their company, that they forget to stay involved with people outside of the business.
Martin reminds us that, in the beginning, the hardest thing you have to do is to “just show up.” If you show up, it shows commitment. Martin relates commitment back to building a community. If you continue to build your own community by showing up, you’re going to continue doing the work that you need to do because there are people holding you accountable. If you’re by yourself, you’re not going to get those reinforcements or reminders. This means that, inevitably, you won’t be as successful as if you made a commitment to yourself and to others.
Know When You’re Ready
Martin tells us that the investor community likes to talk to each other. This means that you really need to be careful in deciding to meet with an investor. If you’re not ready and the meeting doesn’t go well, it could get back to the others.
Before meeting with an investor, says Martin, there is a checklist that you should complete. The three main items on it are that you should be fully committed, have a product to show, and have a team that can offset the work and energy you’ll be providing during fundraising. If you don’t have these three things, you might want to re-evaluate and set goals so that you can be ready to start fundraising.
In every episode, we ask our guests what the factor to their success is, and Martin’s is purpose. Purpose is what gets you up in the morning and keeps you working late. Understanding what that purpose is, what you can provide that is unique and valuable to others, that’s the factor.
Interested in hearing more? Listen to the full episode below or check out all of our past podcast episodes.