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I recently had a new client sign on to work with me to raise capital. Her dream is to develop a retail shop targeted at creative people. She wants to set one up and eventually franchise it all over the country. This is her passion because when she was going through tough times, she found that exploring her creative side saved her from the abyss.

She was invited to enter a pitch competition. Her passion showed and the judges were captivated. She won the competition!

Many months later she and I talked and I heard what happened next. The “prize” for winning this competition was that she got to pitch a whole bunch of the top venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.

Why would anyone recommend that someone who wants to start a retail shop pitch to VCs when this is so obviously not the kind of business that VCs are looking to invest in?

Maybe they thought it would somehow help her get some ideas for improving her business.

Well, that is not what happened. What happened was (1) the VCs told her to change her business model to try to make it more like the type of business a VC would invest in and (2) she felt like she was crazy because none of them really got what she was trying to do.

She changed her business model into something that she wasn’t excited about. She got demoralized and depressed. Great prize, right?

Lesson learned: Do not waste time pitching to investors that are not a good fit for you! It is worse than a waste of time. It can take you completely off track, make you feel alone, and plunge you into despair.