The key difference between my two failed startups and my successful exit was that I learned to ask for help. I remember the turning point in my successful startup was when I cold-emailed the Assistant Secretary General of NATO for advice on our security-tech competition. To my surprise Marshall Billingslea’s secretary replied to schedule a meeting in Brussels. In the meeting, we discussed the initiative, and then Marshall said THE phrase that changed my entrepreneurial career: “How can I help?”

Marshall became the first public supporter of our cause. He connected us to many people, but his leadership position at NATO gave us the credibility we needed for our idea to gain traction.

Lesson: Never hesitate to ask for advice, and don’t be afraid to reach out to industry leaders.