Paul chatting it up with a local TV station in Fort Wayne, IN.

Skip the local investors (first).

If you want to do anything big, you need to leave your home town. Even if only for a few short days, weeks or years. That’s because no one’s ever a big deal in their hometown, especially entrepreneurs.

Once you’ve decided that it’s time to raise money, aim for angels, groups and venture firms within a 1,000 mile radius and focus on getting meetings with them first. Let me say that another way: you’re better off not talking to your local investor community first. The problem isn’t the local investors, it’s you.

Before you even think about raising money, you need to know your market inside and out. Look at every deal that’s happening and know every player in the space. (If you don’t know how to do that, click the link at the beginning of this paragraph.) Once you know the players — both entrepreneurs and investors — focus on the ones that are outside Silicon Valley and outside your home town.

Give them value, if you can. Cold email them if you must. But never ask them to spend any time or social capital before building a relationship with them first.

This all probably sounds like a lot of work — and it is. If you want to build a company, you need to raise the bar on yourself and your company. The alternative is that you can stay local, complain about everything and wonder why no one wants to back you.

Once you get someone outside your home town to believe in you, don’t be surprised when the local tech community starts to do the same.