I'm learning the hard way, for sure. Let me share some lessons to hopefully save the trouble for those who are thinking about taking the plunge...
1. Get a cofounder. If I had to do this whole thing over again, I would get a cofounder that I loved being around (in and out of the workplace). Because at times like this, where I feel like I'm trying to move a mountain by myself, having someone around to keep me afloat would be priceless. Even today I wish I had one. My next start-up won't have a single founder.
2. Fake it till you make it. I've seen time and time again entrepreneurs over-inflate their numbers, oversell what they really have to offer, and even blatantly lie (e.g. "our traffic is totally organic" when it's not), and I've always thought it was unethical. But I've realized that "hustling" is really what most of the effective entrepreneurs are best at. There's a way to do it without lying, and there's a way to do it that's ethical. If you can't sell what you're offering, nobody will want to buy it... and everyone has to start somewhere.
3. Have fun. I've been missing out on this at the workplace. I do it on nights and weekends, but the place where I'm spending most of my time is the place where I'm lacking fun the most, even though I do enjoy programming. I'll admit that doing the same thing for 60 hours a week, even if you love it, is too much.
4. Stay connected with others. Even though I work around other people, I've been generally keeping to myself. I haven't reached out to other people, even if it's just for lunch, because I don't want to get distracted and thus be unproductive. I've been getting feedback from customers and regularly reach out to them to make sure they're happy, but my lack of interaction with others, whether they are other entrepreneurs or investors, has left me still to fend for myself when I hit a tough roadblock.
David, I agree with @lasvegasreality those type of gifts should be private! (your vegas chicks will always give you the right protocol!)
What I really want to know is what does that business owner want in return for you taking office space, meeting with him weekly, etc....maybe I missed it, but was he upfront about his expectations?