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The $48,000 Question Where, exactly, do startups get their money? The answer may surprise you.

By Kate Lister

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Finding money to start a business isn't easy. It never has been, and let's face it, it never will be.

I know, because I've been on one side or the other of debt and equity transactions for more than 30 years. As a banker, I sat between the money and the companies that wanted it. Later, as a consultant, I helped entrepreneurs raise millions of dollars from angels, venture capitalists, government lenders and grant programs. Then, as a business owner, I bootstrapped, begged and borrowed my way from startup to cash-out on three different occasions.

Along the way, I bet my sweet assets, pledged my house and even offered my spouse as collateral on a terrifying level of debt. I fretted about payroll on an all-too-frequent basis. And I survived three recessions. All of which is to say, don't expect textbook narratives on capital structure or myths about pennies from heaven from me. I'm about practical, real-world strategies for financing everyday businesses.

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