A few years ago an investor told me that entrepreneurs make bad investors. His theory was that entrepreneurs are always looking for problems. They arrive at the office and have a list of issues to solve (some people would call these ‘opportunities’).
You don’t have a clear sales pitch, the help desk is overflowing, the server’s about to crash and no one’s bothered to clean the toilet. You work hard, solve as much as possible, and that’s how you make progress.
An investor does the opposite. They invest in 20 startups – focusing their energy on the investments already doing well so they can continue to grow, and ignoring the ones that are flatlining or ultimately going bust.
I’m pretty sure there are a few very successful investors who used to be entrepreneurs, but I did get his point. It also explains something about how I deal with dull days at work and what keeps me motivated.
When we started this company we did everything ourselves; writing, designing, organizing and coding. We had to. There was no choice. So I’d go from meeting with a client, to upgrading wordpress, to designing a brochure for an event… and that was all before lunch.
Then, as TNW began to grow, I spent more time managing people and projects than physically doing anything. An exciting day for me is when I get to the office and there’s something that I can help with. It may sound awkward to wish for a small crisis where I’m needed, but it also feels weird to not feel useful. In the end, though, I look forward to slow days because I trust my team and I know we all have the same end-goal. So embrace feeling useless. It means you’ve got a great support system.