Be the angel investor in yourself!

Joan F. Marques - MBA, Doctoral Student
Burbank, California- November, 2002

If an angel investor is "a wealthy individual willing to invest in return for equity in a new venture" (Schermerhorn, 2002, p.245), why not be one to yourself? Of course it will all have to start with the paradigm shift that many management experts are continuously emphasizing: the ability of seeing yourself as a brand. As Tom Peters strikingly stated it, "The Brand called You!"

Time and again we learn that we can only maintain ourselves in today's swiftly changing world if we become life long learners; not necessarily in school but just everywhere our interests take us. So here's the deal:

By being an angel investor in yourself you will have to define a few things:
1. Your area of passion.
2. The skills you already have in house.
3. The additional qualities you will need in order to enable yourself to fully explore the opportunities in your area of passion.

Point 3 involves finding your performance gap: the discrepancy between where you are now and where you want to be skills-wise. And here's where the angel investor in you comes into action. He or she will determine and accommodate:
a) The additional education you will need.
b) The process of contacting those people you will have to hang out with in order to obtain more information about the goal you've set.
c) Lunch or dinner invitations to the ones that will have to become part of your powerful network.
d) All other changes in your current pattern, necessary to bridge the performance gap.

The angel investor in you should save neither efforts nor money to elevate you from the status quo to the desired level of being.

And how about the "equity in a new venture?" In other words, what's in it for the angel investor in you? Well, since your desired goal represents the new venture, the angel investor in you will be more than satisfied with the equity he or she gets when it's achieved. Besides: elevating yourself to a higher level of knowledge, skills, and positions, will make you a more marketable brand: doors that used to be closed will now open for you; positions that used to be out of reach will become attainable; people who used to be far-away heroes in another work universe will suddenly become equal stars in your new state of performing.

An extra word of attention may be appropriate at this point: Do make sure that the area of passion you define is really something you want to explore, focus on, and deepen out, for only when you are genuinely enthused about your goal will your efforts and the commitments your angel investor devoted to you pay off handsomely. And- as the wise Lao Tzu once stated it, "when you do what you really like, you donít work a day in your life!"

Hence, depending on the degree to which your goal represents your ultimate desires, the perseverance you can work up, and the political strings you can pull, the new venture will deliver either gigantic equity or mediocre one. However, a setback is practically impossible in this scenario.

Now tell me, how much more equity could the angel investor in you wish for?

Schermerhorn, J. R., Jr. (2002). Management ( Seventh ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.