How to Find FREE Startup Stuff

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Ep. #606 - How to Find FREE Startup Stuff

In this episode of Startup Hustle, join Matt and Matt for Part 18 of “How to Start a Tech Company” as they discuss how founders can find FREE startup stuff.

Covered In This Episode

One common characteristic of startups tends to be their need for resources. But as a founder, resourcefulness is one of your traits, and there is a lot of valuable and FREE startup stuff available out there.

But how do you access these perks? Let Matt and Matt tell you how in the 18th episode of the “How to Start a Tech Company” series. Listen as they share how to find free startup stuff, why organizations offer them, and more. Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson explain why it is important for founders to know about these free startup perks and their benefits.

Get Started with Full Scale

Learn how to find FREE startup stuff in this Startup Hustle episode.

Missed the previous episode? Click here to listen to the 17th episode of the “How to Start a Tech Company” series. Or join the Matts in the 19th episode here.

Ready for the whole picture? Dive into the complete “How to Start a Tech Company” series.

Growth and Innovation in Startup Venture


  • Welcome to episode 18 (0:00)
  • Why companies give free stuff to startups (2:26)
  • People don’t like to switch out (4:11)
  • Organizations that specialize in getting startups with free stuff (8:37)
  • The Negotiating period (11:21)
  • Freemium (13:30)
  • Things you can do if you’re a non-technical founder (15:25)
  • You can find valuable free resources on the Internet (20:13)
  • Google it (21:39)
  • What’s something that you might have to figure out as a new business owner? (26:35)
  • Things VCs have said to me (27:03)
  • Always negotiate (35:36)
  • Free money, grants, and matching funds (37:25)
  • Wrapping up (40:20)

Key Quotes

There are a whole lot of other companies that give free stuff to startups. Why? Because they want you to be a client after you get very used to using whatever platform it has.

Matt DeCoursey

When you’re at the beginning of a business, saving money is making money. And look, if you are strapped for resources, you can cleverly daisy chain a whole bunch of stuff together.

Matt Decoursey

Depending on where you’re at, there’s available free grant money. So there’s different states and municipalities and stuff like that, wherever you live that may have these kinds of programs are free money. And some are just freaking grants. And not to mention accelerators and stuff like that you can get into and free resources from them.

Matt Watson

Sponsor Highlight

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For affordable and high-quality business solutions, visit our Startup Hustle partners.

Rough Transcript

Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!

Matt DeCoursey 0:00
And we’re back. Back for another episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey here with Matt Watson for part 18 of our How to Start a Tech Company series. For those of you that missed last week’s episode certain way, it’s okay. Sometimes with startups, things don’t go as they should. We were supposed to get this all done this year, we keep joking. I think we’re what three or four weeks behind now, which is kind of par for as long as we’re not like a whole quarter behind I think,

Matt Watson 0:29
Are we shooting for Valentine’s Day? 2022. Now, is that the final episode.

Matt DeCoursey 0:35
What are you looking for? Are you looking for the answers that we’re telling a future investors and what we’re projecting and hoping for or what we really think will hit us? There’s probably a difference.

Matt Watson 0:45
And I already sold the company like five episodes ago.

Matt DeCoursey 0:48
So. I know. I know. I know. So well, you know, so. I don’t know, say man, we’re behind schedule. But that’s pretty common. That’s pretty common. In a start up. Do you know what else is really common? Is not knowing that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is brought to you by Gusto. Gusto is a simple online payroll solute solution, payroll and benefits platform, my god learn how to read. It’s built for small businesses. Gusto automatically files your payroll taxes and directly deposits your team’s pay. Plus, you can offer all kinds of benefits 401k, health insurance workman’s comp, and more just because your Startup Hustle listener, you get three free months, when you click the link in the show notes. It’s forward slash Startup Hustle. You know, it’s really funny man is I had a hard time reading that and I was playing tongue twisters with my kids earlier. But I can’t read the words on that. But I can say She sells seashells by the seashore. And it’s not a problem. All right. So Gusto is gonna give you three free months, when you do your first payroll use knock it out. And that’s what we’re going to talk about. Because, you know, here we are, we’re behind in our own timeline here, which Matt, you know, we’re treating this whole series like it’s a startup. So man, we got problems. Were we overshot our runway a little bit here. So I think we’re gonna have to take a couple minutes and line up some free stuff. You know, I like free.

Matt Watson 2:16
Can Can Gusto actually pay us like with their money or something to like it when we like get paid? Even though we don’t get paid?

Matt DeCoursey 2:26
Technically, Gusto is paying us for me reading that. So yes, yeah. Yeah, yes. I mean, the answer is yes. But in the context that you mean, probably not. But in the reality of your question. Yes. So and you know, what Gusto does, is actually a company that does give some startup perks. And there’s a whole lot of other companies that give free stuff to startups. So lately, we’re, we’re trained to ask why, let’s just be realistic here. Why? Because they want you to be a client, after you get very used to using whatever platform it has. It’s given you something free. So there is a ton of free stuff out there. And I think sometimes people overlook this, you know, and I mean, I guess let’s first start now, and during the course of all of the businesses that you’ve started, or you’ve been involved with, have you ever gotten free stuff for being a startup?

Matt Watson 3:22
You know, at Stackify, one of the best deals we ever got was free hosting for Microsoft Azure, right to have a program called BizSpark. That would give startups free hosting and stuff on Azure. And we got signed up for that. And then we even got promoted to what they called this spark plus, I think we’re getting like $5,000 a month on free hosting. Now this this started, like nine years ago or something. So those programs may have different names now and stuff. But Azure, and Amazon and Google Cloud and other companies like that they all offer some incentives, because they know they’re given away the needle. And then you’re going to need to keep buying the drug. Because once you start using Amazon or Azure, the odds of you switching are like none.

Matt DeCoursey 4:08
And why is that?

Matt Watson 4:11
Because it’s a huge pain in the ass to switch. True. It’s like we use it’s like we use QuickBooks. It’s like, changing accounting systems, like fuck that. I’m not changing accounting systems. Like there’s just some things I like, once they get you started. There’s just like, No way I’m changing this shit.

Matt DeCoursey 4:28
I think you have a really good point when you when you use the example of hey, here’s the free needle because you’re gonna keep buying the drugs because a lot of these a lot of these things are 50 bucks a month, 100 bucks, 200 bucks a month. And they seem so perfectly priced, that they’re low enough that you’re like, Ah, it’s a lot of work to save 150 bucks a month. So you keep paying for it. And it’s the same thing. No one wants to change their server. No one wants to change other things. Now look, we’re gonna play both sides of the line here because look Just because it’s free in the beginning, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you long term. So also, as we talk about free stuff for startups, if you sign up for it, I want you to give consideration to the fact that it might be a pain in the butt to get off of it as easy it was to get on it. So

Matt Watson 5:20
Some of those things. But to add to that, though, some of these things are born to be outgrown, right? Like, there’s project management software like Basecamp, for example, like, oh, you may start out and Basecamp is great that you get to a certain point, you remember employees, you’re like, I would just need something more complicated. And then you just have to level up to the next level. And that’s just part of the deal. But the a lot of those systems, they’re, they’re free or cheap, but their usage base, right? You take something like Basecamp, or whatever, it’s like $20 a user. So it’s free for the first user or sounds really cheap. And the next thing you know, you got 20 employees, you’re like things into cheap anymore.

Matt DeCoursey 5:59
Or 200. Like we do at Full Scale.

Matt Watson 6:02
Yeah. Yeah, it’s like this was like, you get the slack bill every month. And you’re like, What the hell let’s

Matt DeCoursey 6:07
let’s, we like we love the real the real-life example. So you know, Matt and I are the co-founders and 50-50, And we help people build software development teams, which by the way, is another thing that people don’t like to switch out. Because it’s a pain in the ass. Right? So, you know, we started our Well, this, this episode comes out two weeks before third birthday, and we have 200 employees, which is crazy, but let’s do the math. So you know, you can Slack is a great example, Slack is either free or it’s $8 a month right? Now, if it’s free, you don’t get a whole lot. So we kind of started on free. And then we wanted to be able to like send bigger files, files and save a history and connect to things and whatever. So then we’re like, okay, bucks a month. It’s not a big deal. We’ve only got 20 employees, that’s 160 bucks a month. We’re like, oh, man, that’s a lot. It’s getting to be a lot. Now. It’s $1,600 a month and everything. Everything that we do and another Alright, here’s another example. You mentioned QuickBooks. QuickBooks has a time clock called T-sheets. Yep, that’s $5 a seat. This is $1,000 a month right there. What Wait, dude between slack and our time clock? We spend $2,600 a month. Oh my God. Now that’s supposed to be about free stuff. Dude, that’s $32,000 a year right there. Yeah, we will speak for Google to ah, what else? Oh, all that stuff. You know, a lot of stuff. Right? So this does definitely come down to it. But you know what? cross that bridge when you get to it, because when you’re in the beginning of a business, saving money is making money. And look, if you are strapped for resources, you can cleverly daisy chain a whole bunch of stuff together. I’ve seen people do it and do a whole lot of free. Right that.

Matt Watson 8:01
Does this count is RPP?

Matt DeCoursey 8:05
Rich people problems? Yeah. No, no, no. No. How can it be rich people problems. You are so broke that you have to string together? Banana free shit, just to get to your

Matt Watson 8:19
If your startups got 200 employees now and you’re complaining about your $1,000 a month bill? Like you’re probably okay,

Matt DeCoursey 8:26
I wasn’t. I wasn’t complaining about it. Now I was at and I was simply stating the facts. So all right, let’s No, you’re right.

Matt Watson 8:36
You’re right.

Matt DeCoursey 8:37
It’s impolite to talk about RPP. All right, you know me. So no, RPP Yeah. All right. So look, there’s free stuff everywhere. And you really can you can tie it together. You can do a lot of different stuff. You start with something like a website. This is just like the most basic stuff things like WordPress, content management systems. It’s free. You know, you can take WordPress, build a website and find a lot of other things that are free that go with it. Like Matt mentioned, there’s a whole lot of server things Amazon will give you startup credits, Microsoft Digital Ocean, I mean, it kind of goes on and on and on. Right? You got some employees gussto will give you three free months for using their payroll. If you use the link in our show notes. Try that out. Another good one credit card processing stripe will give you the stripe. You don’t even need to be a startup. I think you just won’t maybe you do you might have to fill out answer like 10 questions. I think Stripe gives everybody no fees for the first 50 grand and charges. Wow. Right. Yeah. So all right. So what I just mentioned right there, if you want to start an e commerce Store, you can do that for free. You can build a WordPress site and put it on a free server for probably at least a year and not and you get $50,000 with the transactions and one of the things that people don’t even think about is credit card companies take 3% of all your charges, man. And you know, though, alright, so we’ll take the first 50k Yeah, another another thing. You remember when I sort of before we started Full Scale mad invited me to come move my office into his office. And at the time you were having a real hard time with graphic design, you remember that you were just like, no one was really getting it right. You were frustrated with it? And I was like, Dude, why don’t you just use Canva you’re like, what’s Canva I’m like, a wet a free website that turned me into a graphic designer. And it did. And I was I was making marketing images, I was doing a lot of different stuff with it. Canva is a great free resource that really will walk you through the process. Now three years ago, not everyone knew a Canva. Now it’s a billion dollar company. But there’s that’s another example. So all right now, Matt, did you know that there are actual organizations and companies that specialize in doing nothing but getting startups lined up with free stuff?

Matt Watson 11:09
There is like KC Collective in Kansas City does that. And yeah, it’s like they got the little, it’s like they got the coupon book for you. It’s pretty awesome.

Matt DeCoursey 11:21
So what these these organizations do, you can go to Now they’ve been on the show. Look through the feed, we have other shows about getting free stuff for your startup. And so the thing is, is to get the best deals from these companies, there is a little bit of a negotiation period. Now that’s something we should talk about, because using up $5,000 worth of time and labor to get $2,500 worth of free something might not be a great return. So a Mets trying to get free stuff and free things for your startup. Don’t don’t, you got to kind of weigh that way the return. But that’s what organizations like KC collective do is they sit down and negotiate the whole thing. And then you can, you know, make a small donation and join their organization and get started. So yeah, all right. Now, another thing that can really help you get free resources is, and we’ve done this before, and this can be sizable is there’s a lot of like incubators and accelerators that get sponsored, powered by we did the Launch KC, go to launch, check out what they do, you can get into that you can apply for that for launch, you can apply for that accelerator from anywhere in the country. When Full Scale worked with launch, KC we gave every company that got selected $10,000 worth of development credit, boom. Now, I know, I know, winner winner chicken dinner on that one. And but here’s the thing is, is there was a whole bunch of other stuff. So you basically got it, there was about $50,000 worth of free stuff just by default. And sometimes they use it and sometimes they didn’t.

Matt Watson 13:17
But you’ll you’ll even get like law firms and accounting firms and stuff like that, right? That’ll throw free service at them because they’re just trying to learn it. You know, it’s all marketing for them. They’re trying to learn new customers, so.

Matt DeCoursey 13:30
Okay, so probably the crown jewel of free is almost everywhere in the world of freemium. Oh, yeah. Yep. I could probably start right. I bet I could start right now. And if I had a list of every software platform that had a freemium offer, I bet I couldn’t read them all in succession. By the end of the show.

Matt Watson 13:55
Yeah, it was like Slack. That’s it means like, a good exam.

Matt DeCoursey 13:59
I mean, so if you’re not if you’re not familiar with the term freemium, you probably should be. But freemium is that free Hey, use it you know, you’re gonna lose it if you need to do certain things, but it’s usually that teaser offer it’s back to its back to Matt handing out needles knowing that you’re going to need to buy drugs. So

Matt Watson 14:20
I’ll be there ready to sell your drugs when you need it.

Matt DeCoursey 14:24
Strike that from the record your honor strike. But yeah, I mean, there’s I mean, it’s so much now there’s other you know, a lot of other stuff too, and there’s gonna you’re gonna have to as your business grows, you’re gonna have to start thinking about stuff and you know, taking care of employees has never been more important and for years, gussto has been helping more than 100,000 small business owners run payroll offer benefits onboard new employees and more. They call it the people platform doesn’t just look nice, it works. Payroll Taxes are filed, deductions are calculated and your team gets paid you eat can even offer health insurance 401k forward slash Startup Hustle, click the link. Now. You know, there are some other things that I think people don’t always think about. How about some training mat? Like, what about good old training like free courses and places like Skillshare? And Coursera? can train you? Cuz you don’t know everything? Yeah, you just started your business, you don’t even know what you don’t know. And you can also offer some training for your employees.

Matt Watson 15:25
Well, it’s like learning to do software development. I mean, there’s tons and tons of websites and stuff to help learn do computer programming, like free code There’s like a million things.

Matt DeCoursey 15:36
What are what are some other things if you Alright, so let’s say I’m a non technical founder, and I want to hire a programmer and I just don’t really even know what those people need. Like, what are some what are some of the good places to start? Like, I mean, get hubs one Yeah, just get hub have a free

Matt Watson 15:53
Yeah, if it’s if your code is public. But and a lot of this stuff is super, super cheap, though, that I mean, that I mean, some of it’s not free, but it’s, it’s so inexpensive that it’s like if you can’t afford this, you can’t afford to even be in business, but

Matt DeCoursey 16:08
I’m gonna be doing it. Yeah. It’s kind of like you should, like you shouldn’t have a car if you can’t afford to buy gas.

Matt Watson 16:16
Pretty much. I mean, like, I think Jira, you know, Atlassian product JIRA for project management. He talked about developer products. I think it started out starts out like $10 a month or something like that, if you can’t afford it. $10 a month, like I don’t know what you’re doing.

Matt DeCoursey 16:29
Well, if you can’t afford $10 a month for JIRA, I know you can afford free on Trello

Matt Watson 16:35
Yeah, there you go. Which is just

Matt DeCoursey 16:37
another example of getting yourself through it now. You know, it’s funny because I’m the founder of GigaBook and GigaBook does not have a free but if you even that Calendly does I’m not ashamed to say that like if you can’t afford like text message reminders and customization and all that but you still want to take on appointments that’s that’s what Calendly does. And then when you want to graduate, GigaBook will be waiting for you if you want to use writing tools that you know the the thing that I don’t understand why the world doesn’t just use the Grammarly is free plugin. Yeah, I mean, it’s plugged in to everything I do. It saves me every day from a reminds me every day that I still don’t know how to spell entrepreneur. Do you do Matt spell entrepreneur don’t cheat.

Matt Watson 17:28
E n t r e p r e u r?

Matt DeCoursey 17:33
Wrong. entrepreneur, entrepreneur, or whatever. If you were like, Dude, you were like five, four letters short.

Matt Watson 17:42
Oh, whatever.

Matt DeCoursey 17:43
You were, you said, Yeah, you are at this point. Dude, I put up a poll and the Startup Hustle, Facebook chat. And I said how many of you honestly could spell entrepreneur right now without cheating? And, like 70 like 70 people said no. And seven people said yes. And at that moment, I knew that I knew 70 people that were telling the truth and seven others that were lying, because no one knows how to spell. Grammar.

Matt Watson 18:17
My only struggle with tools like Grammarly is I work in software development right where half the words are made up and the other half

Matt DeCoursey 18:27
you know, speaking of which map you can always make shit up for free. I noticed that on your I noticed on your on your Facebook today that you were you were talking about your new life and the job that you have now that you sold your company to someone else that employs you and you were talking about having to have all the buzzwords together. And I don’t know if you saw my comment that you’re encouraging one of your friends was encouraging people to just make stuff up just to try to see if the other people you work with, like pretended like they knew it. So yeah. Yeah, I recommended that you get your vertical velocity education ratio going a little more and yeah, yeah, so it’s your VBR ratio.

Matt Watson 19:12
That sounds very synergistic.

Matt DeCoursey 19:15
I made that up right there on the spot and I was really proud of it. So that’s something else you can get from

Matt Watson 19:21
his job now.

Matt DeCoursey 19:23
You can only hide that I that. I

Matt Watson 19:25
gotta show my value because I know the buzzwords

Matt DeCoursey 19:29
right, you should go back and listen to the acronyms episode we did like two and a half years ago, just so

Matt Watson 19:34
that was one of my favorite episodes ever.

Matt DeCoursey 19:38
It’s when I realized that you have a filthy mind.

Matt Watson 19:41
Like you didn’t know what ATMs to stood for.

Matt DeCoursey 19:45
Don’t I didn’t What did i Why did I say anytime money I thought ATM stood for anytime. No automatic teller machine. I was like oh man, thanks so much.

Matt Watson 19:59
There There’s another version of that too, but we won’t go there.

Matt DeCoursey 20:03
Yeah, that’s.

Matt Watson 20:06
But, uh, let’s get back to free stuff. All right, so there’s no free stuff in the ATM.

Matt DeCoursey 20:13
True, true. Now. One of the things that I think is a great free resource is you talk about trying to get started. Just the fucking internet, Matt. Like, like, I mean, let’s let the the most valuable free thing I’ve ever used is easily Google, like, don’t know how to do it. Let’s google it. Like YouTube that? Right? Same thing they are. Google owns YouTube, it’s kind of the same thing. So let’s, let’s talk about this. All right, I turned 46. This month, man, I’m getting old I had started owned, invested or been involved intimately with dozens and dozens of businesses at this point. And every day, I do work. I find myself Googling something that I don’t know how to do or I want to learn how to do about it. You do the same Is that Is that fair to say? Or at least four out of five days?

Matt Watson 21:14
I wouldn’t say every day. But it happens a lot. And a lot of my a lot on one of my friends, co workers employees, Megan is our VP of Customer Success. And she jokes all the time about she’s watching videos on YouTube trying to learn what she’s supposed to do in a job. She’s like, I’ve ever been a manager of customer success before What the hell does that mean? But I’m in charge. Now. Here we go.

Matt DeCoursey 21:39
That’s what I need to do. Yeah, and it look, if you haven’t, if you if you are an employee, somewhat, even if you’re the founder, whatever. If you haven’t googled the job description of what you’re trying to figure out how to do yourself, then you’re probably missing something that your own job, like, and I’m being serious, like, you know, it’s like when we went to hire a specific C suite, I’m like, let’s look up the job description. And every time I do that, I’d be like, Damn, we need we need to broaden, broaden the scope here. We’re clearly missing out on a few things. But I mean, really, in the end, I mean, Google is the pipeline to the world of free it is where you’re going to gain access to the most free stuff, or at least find out where it is. And if you’re, if you’re a startup that’s trying to get funding, it’s where you can find unlimited numbers of leads for where investors, accelerators, influencers, incubators, economics, development, money, free grants.

Matt Watson 22:46
I mean, I think give away free information, right. And I don’t know how often My wife asked me something, and I just look at her. And I’m like, Did you Google that?

Matt DeCoursey 22:58
That? I try to because I’m trying to become patient and loving in my older years as I age, which is not going well, by the way, those aren’t really my my defining characteristics on Sundays, but I get employees all the time, they’ll come and ask me something. And and I and sometimes if I’m cranky, I’ll be like, did you really think that asking me was a better idea than asking Google? You know, and it but it’s true. And that’s the thing. So I think as you’re growing your company, you can just train people to think about that. And, man, it shocks me. You know, I’ll talk to people and they’ll say things are like, Oh, I don’t have any experience. I’ve never done that before. Dude, had you ever. Okay, man, for whatever you do all day, every day, and I don’t even know what you do anymore. Man. You’re just a different person. Now you have a job. I feel like I don’t know anymore. It’s terrible. But but for whatever you do all day, every day, did your first experience or how you learned how to do most of that possibly start by googling it?

Matt Watson 23:58
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I mean, the first several years of software development for me were googling things and finding it on StackOverflow or some Google Groups or whatever. And like, all of that. Yeah. All of it. Yeah. Well, so I think,

Matt DeCoursey 24:14
I think really here in the end the the episode like Newsflash, people, there was nothing earth shattering or groundbreaking in this episode, except for the most important thing we could have taught you. And that’s Google, or YouTube will probably teach you how to do everything. You know,

Matt Watson 24:30
I got a great example of this. You ever go to Bed Bath Beyond you’re like, Shit, I don’t have my 20% off coupon because, you know, Google, whatever. You just friggin google it and you find a website, coupon. And then you just pull it up in

Matt DeCoursey 24:47
the store, right? Google it.

Matt Watson 24:49
I mean, so now whatever you want to know, I find it.

Matt DeCoursey 24:53
I got a good one for yes. So all right. So six years ago. I went out to pressure wash the day back on my house, and it was nasty and gross and rot. And I said, You know what I’m gonna, I’m gonna start rebuilding this thing. I had never built anything big or substantial out of wood. I said, you know, I can do this. So started watching YouTube videos. And piece by piece part by part I built an entire not one level, but two level, multi tiered deck with ornate built in bar, and benches and stuff like that did it all by watching YouTube videos one by one. And you know, now is a perfect example, one of our fellow cast members on Startup Hustle TV has a YouTube channel. And all he does is show people all day, how they’re building houses, the Perkins brothers, check them out. They’ve got 300,000 subscribers that watch them build stuff all day, literally, from day one of building the house through the bat, the two months that it takes him to build it. You can watch Eric and Jamie and their crew tell you how they did the entire thing. I don’t know if I asked by the way after doing that. I had to I had to build stuff and then take it apart a couple times to actually get it right. But I got it. I got it. And it’s mostly straight. And it’s still standing up. So there you go. And I don’t consider myself

Matt Watson 26:18
to be that. I feel like I’m living through that right now. I’m Remodeling in my house. So it’s like a daily, daily thing. No, no, I’m not doing the work. But I should just be recording videos of these people doing random shit in my house every day.

Matt DeCoursey 26:35
Okay, now let’s do let’s do a real life example. And then I want to continue our habit of I want to play another round of things VC said to me before we get back to free stuff, because that game is a huge hit. All right, what’s up? What’s something that you might have to figure out in the first month of being a new business owner? Just one simple thing. Throw your first thought out there.

Matt Watson 26:59
I got a really good one, creating a corporation.

Matt DeCoursey 27:03
How do I start a business? I’ve seconds 10 steps to start your business sba Right there, first page, Google. And it will walk us through the whole entire thing. Under 30 seconds got steps not in from the SBA. conducting market research, write your business plan, fund your business, the whole whole thing, pick a location, choose a structure. That’s There you go, there’s your entity, choose a business name, which by the way, if you’re having a hard time doing that, you can go to And it’ll help pick name. So anyway, all right. We’re gonna we’re gonna take a break here for a second because we accidentally much like most great businesses, we accidentally stumbled upon something awesome. During the episodes that we’re recording about funding, we launched our new game of things VCs have said to me. So in the face in a Startup Hustle Facebook chat. I actually said we’ve been playing a new game on the Startup Hustle podcast called things VCs have said to me. So now it’s your turn. And we got a lot of responses. Matt, we got 22 comments here. And are you ready to you’re ready to hear some of it?

Matt Watson 28:29
Oh, yeah, I’m excited.

Matt DeCoursey 28:31
The first response was, put your hands up. And he said Just kidding. Like they’re getting ready to Rob Yeah. All right, here we go. It’s a great idea, but it’s not in our wheelhouse.

Matt Watson 28:45
There you go. Yep.

Matt DeCoursey 28:46
That’s a good one. It’s a classic. That’s a classic. Here you go from Blake Mel or our friend Was I think he was episode eight have now over 600 all be your first check when you hit X. G’s. Go to one. It’s classic, man. All right. Here’s another one. How are you monetizing? Oh man, I’ll tell you what, if you’ve given a pitch, and you’ve gotten the person across the tables asking you that, you might have done a shitty job of giving a pitch. That shouldn’t be something that someone’s asking you. Two things. They’re either they are completely clueless about business or you gave a shitty pitch. So that’s a red flag for me. All right. Here’s a here’s another one. This is a red flag. I only invest in businesses when I’m comfortable operating the day to day.

Matt Watson 29:39
Oh, geez.

Matt DeCoursey 29:41
Why is that a red flag?

Matt Watson 29:44
I don’t know. I guess they want to fire the entrepreneur already. I don’t know.

Matt DeCoursey 29:48
Right? I want to come in and run it all and do everything and maybe you do want that but. Okay, this next one’s this next one’s an all time an all-time Hall of Fame. I don’t understand it. And I don’t think it’s going to work

Matt Watson 30:07
if your time’s

Matt DeCoursey 30:10
Yeah. Oh, a lot I’ve been I’ve seen you say that. I actually,

Matt Watson 30:14
I don’t know. I don’t know what you’re doing. I don’t get it.

Matt DeCoursey 30:18
All right. So Matt, there’s another one on here that I have heard you say, a lot. A bunch. I love the idea. And I think it’s great. But I don’t invest in things that I when I don’t know anything about the industry.

Matt Watson 30:34

Matt DeCoursey 30:37
I’ve started a bunch. Do I actually, you know what, Matt, I will admit of one of the three things that I’ve learned from you, in the whole time I’ve known you. That’s one of them. You know, the thing is, is if you have an investor, that saying that to you, they’re doing your favor, they’re not gonna bring any value other than a check. You want smart money, not that so. This is, this is frickin terrible. And this is shameful this next one. I need you to have this up. Not the black guy. What the thought? That’s terrible man. And the guy instead of explaining it, he was just beside himself. Like, if anybody ever says anything like that to you run from Him. It’s not someone you want to be in business with. It’s a terrible terrible option for an investor. Sorry, hear that man. All right. We have no money left for sales and marketing.

Matt Watson 31:34
What? It might be a problem.

Matt DeCoursey 31:36
by net Quiddity though? Wait, so Graham, dodge founder sec. Whether you’ll poke your eye out kid, and he’s aren’t so many words. Like, don’t mess with this. You don’t know what you’re playing with. So, oh, man. Here’s another here’s another Hall of Fame entry. Do you have a lead industry yet? Has anyone else put money on? Yeah.

Matt Watson 32:04
Is that is that kind of like, Have you ever dated any girls before? Because I’m not gonna date you until some other girl has like. And then the other ones like after you get a date you I’ll go on a date with you after you get in shape.

Matt DeCoursey 32:18
Have you heard both either or of those in real life?

Matt Watson 32:22

Matt DeCoursey 32:23
Okay. Look, I can see your face right now. And I’m not sure I believe you. For those of you that have never seen Matt on video or don’t know him. Matt is someone you want to play high stakes cash poker with for all the money you’ve got? He’s got a terrible poker face. I’ve been trying to get him to play with me for years. And he won’t do it. All right. Here’s and then probably the greatest. The greatest of all time. The probably the number one. This is a little early for us. Come back when you got a little trial. Wow. Wow. Wow. So now we just heard.

Matt Watson 32:59
And then wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. And then when you get a little traction, you come back like oh, sorry, you’re too late for us.

Matt DeCoursey 33:10
Yeah, there’s a common.

Matt Watson 33:14
I’m gonna use that for now on anytime somebody pitches me, it’s either you really if you’re too late.

Matt DeCoursey 33:21
If you had just come in, long before you had revenue, I would have been really into this. There’s a couple more, there’s a couple more that aren’t in here. And by the way, if you want to add fuel to the fire on these kinds of conversations, go to Facebook and just find the Startup Hustle chat. We have a lot of fun in there. Okay. That’s this is a really crowded space, you might have to fight the 800 pound gorilla in the room. That is someone saying Man, there’s a whole bunch of people that do this shit, and you might want to run and and our friend Lirael halt would advise you to take the cowardly approach. Don’t take on the Giants. Go do something where you people will leave you alone to get real good at it riches in the niches. Matt, you got any other ones that are that are classics?

Matt Watson 34:10
Man, I don’t know, I think you’ve covered a lot of the facets of it for sure.

Matt DeCoursey 34:13
How about how about how about, we only give matching investments? Let us know when you get another chance?

Matt Watson 34:18
Oh, god, oh, well, funds like that. And that’s that’s the topic we haven’t talked about today that we need to talk about, which is free money.

Matt DeCoursey 34:30
So all these things you just heard from a VC, which means you got to get back to free. Now one of the things that I in my opinion and I just recorded a different episode yesterday about raising capital at any stage go listen to it. It was with a former dean of a business school. And we were talking about this and one of the things is alright, so we have spent so much time talking about how investors like clever, successful driven people Well look, if you can show that you can, you can stretch $1 You can manage the books, you can operate things efficiently. You can keep things under budget and within timelines, and you’re not just a wild spender. There’s something to be said to that. So you can go out looking for deals. Now. I know this is supposed to be about free. But in my book balanced me, I have a whole section about learning how to run your own finances, because it’s one of the things that cause people stress. Don’t be afraid to literally say these words. Is that the best price you can give me?

Matt Watson 35:36
Always negotiate.

Matt DeCoursey 35:38
Just ask, just ask I asked it anywhere, and you’ll be shocked. You’ll be absolutely shocked at what you can or could hear. So okay, so you know, we’re back to free. We’re talking about all the different stuff you can do. You know, look, just Google it. And you could find it, you can find investors, you can find a lot of stuff. While you’re in the process of doing that. I want to remind you that once again, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is brought to you by gusto. If you’re on a startup, you got to give them a try. Deposit, paychecks file payroll taxes automatically get get employee health benefits, health insurance, onboarding expert HR, you get three free months when you go to forward slash Startup Hustle once again, forward slash Startup Hustle, there’s a link in the show notes make it easy. While you’re down there, click the link that says find Startup Hustle everywhere. So you can come check out our YouTube channel that’s free. This podcast is free. And Matt, I think that’s the last thing we should talk about. Look, this world of free, there’s free content everywhere you can have sit there 600 Over 600 episodes of this show. They’re all free. If you don’t like them, we’ll give you your money back. And you know, we have had the most successful people we know on the show. And talking about everything you need to know this stuff is free. It’s everywhere. If you don’t like podcasts, go find clubhouse if you don’t like clubhouse, go to YouTube. You know, if you don’t if you don’t like any of that, then you get a free get a free audible books or something. I mean is literally there is so much free info experience wisdom out there, you will never hit the bottom trying to consume it. Now, what are your closing statements here?

Matt Watson 37:25
Well, the follow up on what you said right? If if you’re the kind of person that’s not open minded, and you don’t want free advice, and you don’t want a free mentor and stuff like that, like your odds of success are probably not very good. But the the one thing I wanted to highlight that we didn’t cover a whole lot was just free money. Depending on where you’re at, there’s free grant money that’s available. And then you have places like Missouri that have matching funds, you know, it’s a different kind of thing. It’s not 100% free, you gotta find some millstone vest, but they’ll match it right. And then the state of Kansas has Angel tax credits. And, and so there’s different states and municipalities and stuff like that, wherever you live that may have these kinds of programs are free money. And there’s some that are just freaking grants. I mean, our friends at a Healthy Hip Hop have to be winning some kind of record, most number of grants and some of them for him, right? We’re from being an African American entrepreneur, right? Yep. And so there’s, there’s things like that that are out there, too. So just

Matt DeCoursey 38:24
African American social social impact. There are other things for creative, there’s new business ones that he’s learned. He’s one from Google, he’s one from the state. He’s white, I mean, one and from a variety of free. I mean, over three years, in the three years that we’ve been investors and partners with Roy, and that I’ve seen him bring in, I don’t know, I’m guessing $300,000. In free, however, cash or matches or something else, and yeah,

Matt Watson 38:53
there’s free money out there. And not to mention accelerators and stuff like that you can get into and free resources from them. And

Matt DeCoursey 39:03
I know exactly how he does it. He Googles it, and finds out that it’s occurring and signs up for it. It’s the same thing with everything that Matt’s talking about. By the way, Matt, you were referencing the Missouri Technology Corporation. They do matching investments. So for example, they won’t write you the first check. And I was kind of poking fun at that earlier because it’s frustrating when you finally get someone interested, and then they’re not going to give you money until someone else does. But I can tell you right now with a little bit of planning that I could turn $100,000 cash investment into $400,000 Because I’m aware of three different organizations that would match that first 100 dam and all you got to do is get well you got to get out there and look for him. Like if I could do that. I could do 200k That just in Kansas City. We mentioned the Missouri Technology Corporation. And we’ve had the fountain Innovation Fund on before because they’re a matching fund and they would match all three of them so you get a triple match. And you know and then there’s And then if you did that the KC Rise Fund, which also matches other matches, institutional money would certainly come in on another 100k you turn $100,000 investment into 400 grand, and you gained three really powerful well connected investment companies. Yeah. Right.

Matt Watson 40:20
I’m gonna sweeten the pot, if you raise 90 I’ll put in the last 1000.

Matt DeCoursey 40:28
You know, I’ll put in just because I don’t want it. I’ll put in the next dollar.

Matt Watson 40:36
9099 As

Matt DeCoursey 40:39
always, it was not it was it was not. You said 99,000 You’re gonna put in 1000. I said, $1 Because I want you I want you to be able to shape the facts to say we’ve raised over $100,000

Matt Watson 40:51
No, no, no, you’re gonna invest $1 So you can say I have a lead investor?

Matt DeCoursey 40:59
Yeah, I’m gonna, I was gonna put the dollar and then I was gonna get you three matching dollars to go with it. There you go. Yeah, by the way, if it was me, after I did that, I would the first thing I do after putting that extra $5 And I was then go to my website and make sure I had every single logo in there under the investor section. I just wouldn’t say $1 I mean, look, look at all these people that have invested in my startup for crying out loud. Give me a check. Matt, I gotta run. I gotta get I got I gotta I gotta get some free stuff.

Matt Watson 41:31
All right, see yeah.

Matt DeCoursey 41:33