I'm 18 months into our startup. We're outside of silicon valley and money doesn't flow nearly as freely as the tabloids report. Even if we were in SV, raising capital is about who you know, pedigree and what successful exits you've had. The vast majority of money for my company has come from myself and my co-founders.
During the pre-revenue stages we took miniscule amounts of money from the company - mostly to pay for emergencies like staving off a foreclosure or a hospital bill or a debt to a loan shark or paying for food. We are now operational and I still can't take a salary. On the contrary, I put every extra penny I find into the startup for overhead, marketing and lead generation.
When people talk about taking risk starting a venture, they usually don't have a deep understanding of what the words risk and commitment mean. You learn their meaning when faced with difficult decisions. You are putting everything on the line: your family, your health, your financial well-being, all of your current and future savings, your inheritance, your reputation. Everything. Borrowing a poker term, you're all in and failure is not an option.
As an aside, one of my co-founders had to resort to playing poker all night to have enough money to survive (he's quite good at it). And, then he comes in and works all day for the start up.
We work nights, like all night. We work weekends, like every weekend. We personally speak with customers all day. We will succeed, we will own the majority of the company and it will pay us back 100 fold. If you believe in what you're doing and have the skill & conviction to make it a reality, you won't have to worry about what you tell your parents.