Investors are hunters. Unlike entrepreneurs, we don’t create new opportunities that didn’t exist before. We find budding seeds and invest in them.
I liken my job to an eagle soaring above the sky that’s looking for an opportunity that’s just waiting to be pounced on. I am not known for my patience, but I am strategic. Once I have honed in on what–and sometimes even who–I want, there is no stopping me.
Entrepreneurs and investors need each other. Entrepreneurs provide the ideas and the direction and we provide the resources, the network and the whatever-it-is-that-they-need. Why not start a business yourself, you might ask. That is indeed a very valid question. One that almost every entrepreneur I’ve worked with has asked me.
I am not a creator. I feel no creative impulse. My mind doesn’t buzz with what I can’t see in front of me. Instead, my mind buzzes with unmet opportunities that are just laying around doing absolutely nothing. I didn’t get into this for the money. To a certain extent, I would say money doesn’t even interest me a great deal. If it did, it would be hard for me to invest in anything at all.
It takes a certain unexplainable mental discipline to expect that money will be lost. People who walk into things with an expected outcome have absolutely no appetite for risk. They have no appetite for adventure. They do not hunger for much beyond the ordinary. There is nothing wrong with those choices. All I know is that I am different. I do not know why and I have never sought to figure it out. I am no artist and have never felt inclined to be one. I simply have no creative impulse. I’m serious.
That is not to say that I can’t appreciate a masterpiece. That is not to say that I do not feel moved by musicians, artists and writers. Believe me, I do. I am a passionate person. I enjoy the good things in life. A warm meal. A beautiful song. A poem dedicated to me. I cherish these things, but I am not inclined to do them myself.
I may not feel a creative impulse, but I am driven by a strong need for adventure. To explore. To go somewhere. To do something I’ve never done before. To venture forth and perhaps even never return.
Truth be told, I have no desire to have adventures on my own. I am not co-dependent. I assure you of that. On the contrary, I like my space. I need to be free. Free to roam. Free to explore. Free to seek new opportunities.
But it’s the thought of building something–be it a business, a home, or even a family–that really drove my decision to become an investor. And let’s face it, we humans can’t build anything alone. We’re hardwired to be social creatures. It takes two to make a baby (unless you believe in immaculate conception). Why would any other act of creating something that didn’t exist before be any different?
In my younger days, it was hard to tie me down to much. Commitment, contracts, agreements… These things all felt like a nuisance to be avoided at all costs. As I got older, I realised that it was these very things that made partnerships work. It is what solidifies the relationship and gives it a structure and a form.
Without them, anyone is free to do anything at anytime.
Law of the jungle does not work for an investor. It leads to black markets, underground economies and a general lack of trust. And that lack of trust leads to fear. It causes us to second guess each other. It causes us not to believe a single word the other person is saying. It creates doubt, anxiety and constant double-guessing.
In a black market or any sort of informal economy, it’s relatively easy to strike a deal as long as you have a few street smarts and can close a deal. But it doesn’t lead to any kind of sustainable outcome for anyone. If someone ripped you off (which is quite likely), you’ll know better than to trust that fool ever again. And perhaps you won’t trust anyone else either. Everyone is a suspect for a crime they’ve never committed.
By outlining the agreement–the contract, the clauses, the terms and conditions–and stating clearly what each person is seeking from a partnership; investors and entrepreneurs hope for the best and prepare for the worst. We can’t eradicate risk entirely. Without risk, there would be no exponential returns. But what we can do is outline what happens in the event of an upside or a downside.
Both scenarios are entirely possible and utterly plausible.
I’ll tell you why I like entrepreneurs. I’ll tell you why I sit though a gazillion boring pitches to find someone with a brilliant idea. I do it because when I feel that spark… I want it to catch fire.
And when it does, it’s the warmest fire in the world. I know I’m not the one who started it. But I know that I’m the one that gave it the fuel it needed to burn big and bright.
That’s what I live for. To build a fire.
It is my birthright, my purpose, my North Star… and without a doubt what I was born to do.