A public offering is when you solicit to the public in general that you are looking for funding. There are many SEC regulations you must follow when it comes to public solicitation, so make sure to do your research and be very careful about what you do.
The newer investor should, and usually does, focus on finding people that they have a prior existing relationship with to fund their deals. These are people such as family, close friends, etc. who are looking to get a better return on their investment than what the stock market can offer them.