by Susan O'Brien, IIBN Co-Chair and Founder/CEO of Smigin

Building a company from scratch is hard. It’s even harder when you opt to do so organically, steering clear of the more traditional, well-trodden venture capital route. The rule of thumb financially is to have a year’s salary as a safety net, but once you’ve burned your way through that, you’re probably going to need to raise some money.

Most startups begin with ‘Friends & Family’ (F&F) money. It’s supposedly the easiest money to raise. Why? You have an existing relationship with these people, they know how passionate you are about starting this company and they want you to be successful. Chances are, once you weed out those legitimately with no spare cash, and the downright cheap aunts and uncles, you’ll find some willing candidates.

The best piece of advice I ever got about raising F&F money was —