Here's an exercise... It's a little bit lean startup, but it's a little more involved than a customer call. For anyone who is building something to be monetized in the future--a content site, a community for brands to interact in, etc--write up your sales deck for monetization now as if it was six months to a year in the future.
So, instead of pitching VCs for money now, assume that everything you tell investors about the future is going to happen. You nail it--customer acqusition, user engagement. Go take that pitch deck that says, "We're a social network for hamster owners with a million monthly uniques, this kind of engagement, this level of data about wheel running and water consumption habits, etc". Now try and sell whatever it is that you're selling. See if it flies. See if other people are willing to buy into your vision of the future and put money against it.
If the don't empty their pockets then, are they likely to do that when you come up just short of your ideal vision? If they don't want to buy sponsorships, do biz dev deals with you, pay for subscriptions, why spend all that money to build what you wanted to build only to find out it won't ever generate enough money or users to make it sustainable?