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Some people think that getting venture capital is a mark of success.  In my opinion, VC funding by itself means nothing, except perhaps as a bit of third party validation that someone other than you thinks that your company has a big future.

As the owner of a services company, here are some of the milestones that are meaningful to me:

  1. Successfully earning more revenue as a freelancer than I could as a W-2 employee, which took about six months.
  2. Building a stable and profitable business with a focused product line, which happened about 12 months later, and
  3. Building a business with staying power, which is a work in progress and means that the business that can thrive without its founder or owner, can take on new business without missing a beat, and has limited customer concentration risk.

Perhaps there are other milestones that I should be thinking about, but for me the three milestones above are the most important ones.  I’m not impressed when I hear about a company that takes on tens of millions of dollars in venture capital to scale up, but fails to build anything worth scaling.