How To Be An Angel
03 Aug 2009
Business angels – or angel investors – are people who invest in the early stages
of entrepreneurial businesses.
Of course, these are just the sort of people many of us want to attract and persuade
to part with their cash.
But having achieved business success, some of us go to become angels ourselves ...
In this edition of the Mind Your Own Business podcast, Guy Kingston and John Richards
take inspiration what it takes and how to set about becoming an angel investor.
If you’ve followed gurus, bought books and attended conferences, seminars and courses
in a search of that elusive secret to a successful life then look no further. This
is the text of winning speech by the UK and Irish public speaking champion, Gareth
McHale. He has the answer and he has put it very succinctly.
You just have to read a book – the shops are stacked with them. Or attend a conference
– the schedules are packed with them. They all have one thing in common: THEY DON’T
I’m sorry to shatter some illusions, but look around you: the world is not awash
with self-assured millionaires and enlightened over-achievers. But this doesn't
stop the gullible many paying their money then scanning the skies for bolts from
the blue which will never arrive;….. whilst myriad little opportunities scuttle
I realised many years ago that the means to shape, enhance, polish your life comes
not in truckloads of ready-mixed success, but in little bite-sized chunks: little
GOOD POINTS, which you can pick up anywhere.
Advice from friends – always wear a belt and make sure it matches your shoes; GOOD
Lines from literature – it takes courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more
to stand up to your friends. GOOD POINT Dumbledore.
Personal observations – in a traffic jam, it’s the inside lane which moves the fastest.
GOOD POINT me.
Gems of received wisdom: before you embark on an act of revenge, dig two graves.
GOOD POINT Confucius.
They’re everywhere, every day and they are free – so just pick the ones you fancy
and try them out. It's like grazing in a metaphysical sushi bar – and it's all on
Like sushi, individual GOOD POINTs are small with correspondingly small effects.
But cumulatively, the effect is as big as you want to make it. Little streams make
great rivers, so harvest those trickles, rather than waiting for some mythical tsunami
of good fortune.
Every now and again, you will come across a GOOD POINT which, although small, has
an effect out of all proportion to its size, because it becomes a branching point
in your life. One of these changed my outlook on life; and another prompted me to
follow a particular course of action.
Some years back, I was having a house built, in which was to be installed a log
burner stove with an indoor metal flue. These are quite clever bits of technology
and before ordering, I spent ages researching the theory and practice; rules and
It was with some relief that I handed over a big box of bits to my builder. He had
a quick look and nodded sagely “I suppose you’ve done loads of these before” I said.
“No, never seen one before” he replied. “But it can’t be that hard, can it?”
GOOD POINT. It was just metal pipes and brackets – nothing hard about it. But I
was so wrapped up in the theory that I just hadn’t noticed. So many times in the
years since, Steve’s words have come back to me when faced with a new challenge.
I just have a go and often; it isn't that hard. Now, for instance, I can fell trees,
sail a yacht and speak Spanish – although not all at the same time.
And secondly: 5 years ago I was out shopping, trying pair of jeans. The usual 34
waist was a bit snug so I called to my wife “Do us a favour love – get me a pair
of 36’s to try”.
She replied with the frankness of a true friend “No. Lose some weight you fat pig”.
Blimey! Blimey: GOOD POINT! The way to react to a bulging waistline isn’t to buy
it bigger clothes – do something about it! So I bought the 34s. I went on a bit
of a diet and I started taking more exercise – I dug my old bike out of the shed.
In no time, the jeans fitted fine, but now I was used to the new routine. I started
cycling for pleasure. The more I did it, the better I got. The better I got, the
more I enjoyed it. And the more I enjoyed it, the more I did it.
I bought myself a racing bike and joined a club: I had become a CYCLIST. I had never
been even remotely good at any sport before, and this felt good. Then, last year,
I set myself a challenge to see how good I was. I entered Spain’s biggest and toughest
amateur bike race – Quebrantahuesos: the Bone Eater.
The Midsummer sun dawned on me, my bike and the mighty Pyrenees. The gun sounded
and 8,000 riders poured over the line, a sea of whirring chains, pumping limbs and
vivid lycra: ladies, you would have loved it. The crowd was cheering and I realised
that, for the first time in my life, they were cheering me.
As the sun climbed, so did we. Sweating, sinews straining to the summits; daredevil
descents – and they were cheering me.
Finally, after 200km, 11,000 feet and an hour ahead of my target, I crossed the
line - and they were cheering me.
There were tears in my eyes as I realised that I had completed a journey begun not
that morning, but 5 years previously in Debenhams’s changing room. A simple GOOD
POINT had set me off down the path from sporting no-hoper to someone who could achieve
this – with a 34” waist.
These are my two big GOOD POINTS, but my life has been shaped by dozens if not hundreds
of others, harvested from everyday life
And there will be hundreds more.
So take my advice, don’t wait for someone to change your life for you at a stroke.
Do it yourself, little by little.
Advice is all around you, free for the taking. Keep your eyes and ears open, stay
alert and be ready to grasp those GOOD POINTS.
© Agincourt Productions