Is the $500K your first round offering? What will you need later on down the line as you continue to
build your business? Do you have a plan as to what you would do if you used you
own money and came up short? If you have no other resources the banks won`t
touch you. If on the other hand, you properly set your LLC up to do step
offerings, your investors want to see you succeed. It is to their benefit to
see you grow. If you come up short but they can see your progress they will
expect you to come and talk to them. Again, they lose if you fail. Can you see
The most important thing is how you structure your business so that you don`t give up too much ownership in the early stages. You may need to come back to the investors and you don`t want find yourself giving up controlling shares before you reach success. You, then stand a chance to lose your business. This is where a good business lawyer is worth their weight in gold.
I think it goes back to the expression "Know Thyself".
If you are a communicative person, team player, and open to outside feedback - you may want to consider equity shares. Depending on if your investors are also mentors - they of course want updates as to when and how much they are getting an ROI (return on their investment). There are also Annual Shareholder meeting to contend with. This is perhaps a long term relationship with the option to buy out shares if included in the clause/agreement.
Borrow funds if you forsee being up and liquid making money within 30 days. If your business is ready to start ching - chinging then there are even companies that will loan based upon your monthly credit card sales. Overall, you want to use Business Credit whenever possible. Initially, your personal credit is also reviewed but you want to build Business Credit regardless of what you choose to do.
If I had to do it all again, I would have saved more money, built my business credit and alliances (mentors etc) to expedite the journey in a more sophisticated manner. But you know what? You're going to get your best education from just doing it.
Get a mentor (visit SCORE - Small Business Association - and even former College Professors or local VP Entrepreneurs who are uber successful and treat them to lunch 1x a month in exchange for guidance. Who knows - they may also invest in you. )
In the long run, it will be more about the collective intelligence than the initial startup funds. How you use the money (burn rate) regardless of the amount requires wisdom.
Just out of curiousity, what platform did you use to create the website? Are you also website designers, did you purchase a template, or did you find someone else to make the website for you?