|It turns out, Benjamin Franklin was extremely "Normal" and relate-able.|
The very valuable lesson learned below applies equally to raising money from investors, crowds of investors, or finding your first customers.
In his Autobiography he talks about starting a Public Subscription Library in Philadelphia, going door to door trying to find people willing to pay 40 shillings and commit to a subscription fee of 10 shillings a year for 50 years.It's important to note that Ben was an avid reader, and tried a shared library prior to this which ended up flopping. He also believed he was doing a great service to all who would participate and to society at large. In other words, his startup was both doing social good and creating value...
Here are Ben's words from his AutoBiography about the experience.
"The objections and reluctances I met with in soliciting the subscriptions, made me soon feel the improprietary of presenting one's self as the proposer of any useful project, that might be suppos'd to raise one's reputation in the smallest degree above that of one's neighbors, when one has need of their assistance to accomplish that project. I therefore put myself as much as I could out of sight, and stated it as a scheme of a number of friends, who had requested me to go about and propose it to such as they thought lovers of reading. In this way my affair went on more smoothly, and I ever after practis'd it on such occasions;and, from my frequent successes can heartily recommend it."
He continues, "The present little sacrifice of your vanity will afterwards be amply repaid."
This very much reminds me of the plaque sitting on Ronald Reagan's Desk that stated, "There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go If he doesn't mind who gets the credit."