So, you’ve built wealth, you’ve acquired a ton of knowledge from your start-up years, and now you see an opportunity to help others. You want to help others achieve your level of success and then some. You can do that by adding another title behind your name: Angel Investor. Read on to find out everything you need to know about being a Rookie Angel Investor.

What is an “Angel Investor”? You’ve heard of investors, and you’ve heard of donors. Angel Investors are somewhere in between. Confusing these three categories, or not having enough operational clarity around them, is commonly seen amongst rookie investors, and can lead to serious missteps with hard-to-rectify consequences. I don’t want you to make that mistake, so let’s start with the basics.

“Investors will give you money, but they absolutely expect something in return.”

An investor is profit driven. If they aren’t making money off their investment at some point, they aren’t interested. Lawyers and lots of paperwork tend to be involved, and the investor will make some kind of deal with you, whether it be owning a percentage of your company, or making $1.00 from every item you sell. Investors will give you money, but they absolutely expect something in return.

In contrast, a donor gives money to a fund or a charity, typically for the benefit of a tax write-off or signage. For example, a company may donate to a charity and, in return, the donor gets their name on the wall of the conference room. You’ve seen the signs or plaques outside the doors. This Conference Room Made Possible by Company XYZ. Typically, that’s because Company XYZ donated money. Donations can be anonymous, or not, and can be in various forms, such as money, time, or goods. As a business owner, you can donate to charities, but you won’t usually donate to other businesses.

“Angel Investors are motivated by the cause…rather than the business idea itself.”

Now we come to the middle of the road: the Angel Investor. Angel Investors are motivated by the cause, or by the person leading the venture, rather than the business idea itself. Angel Investors give money and expect nothing in return; they are the most altruistic of the money-givers. Angel Investors do not expect their money back, they do not expect a portion of the company, and they do not expect accolades. Unlike traditional investing or donating, Angel Investors commit not only their funds, but their personal network, too. When you experience this shift in your professional life, the first step you need to take when deciding to become an Angel Investor is identifying your motivation.

In their due diligence, Angel Investors consider the person before the business plan. They factor in the Founder’s level of tenacity, their vision, and their ability to flex and grow as their company evolves. While typical investors care about the return on their investment and their equity share, Angel Investors are largely centered on the cause and the greater impact they can create by funding a venture.

Unlike accredited investors who need to have a net worth of at least one million dollars, or have an income of $200K for the last two years (or $300K when combined with a spouse’s income), Angel Investors enjoy complete freedom of choice and can start their investment journey without having met that financial milestone. Accredited investors have the option to invest in products that are not available to the general public, such as hedge funds and private equity deals. On the other hand, Angel Investors are motivated by ventures that solve a problem and create, at the very minimum, an impact wave in society. Angel Investors start out by funding a modest investment, typically around $300K, or they invest in a syndicate, which is a group of like-minded investors who join forces in order to back a company or a venture. Education and timing are important, and as most Angel Investors realize sooner rather than later, they should only invest what they can afford to lose. This is because, by definition, Angel Investors are not expecting to get their money back; they expect nothing in return.

Angel Investors are extremely busy, but also highly purpose-driven individuals. While they have the capital, that doesn’t mean they have the luxury of time to play their part in cause-related or innovative ventures they care about. Angel Investing gives them the ability to do so, without depleting their time or energy resources.

“You can pick and choose who you give money to.”

The best way for Angel Investors to invest is by choosing people over choosing a business plan. Most Angel Investors will also investigate, in great detail, the purpose behind the venture to determine if it aligns with their vision and their core values. You have to believe in the person, or the person and their cause. This is one of the great things about being an Angel Investor: you can pick and choose who you give money to (and how much) based on your own personal set of criteria.

As an investor, I am passionate about ventures that are based in the United States, as I feel I am contributing, being of service, and playing my part in enhancing my local community and society as a whole. Nine out of ten times, I choose to back Veteran-owned companies, as I know that I can support them not only with dollars, but also with a valuable network of contacts who can facilitate and accelerate their growth in ways that dollars alone never could.

“There are no risks.”

What about the risks, and the rewards, you ask? I’ve never done it for the money, so in my view there are no risks. There are, however, numerous rewards. Angel Investors get a great deal of satisfaction and a personal sense of accomplishment knowing that they have helped make something happen, and, more often than not, on a significant scale. Usually, the entrepreneur you invested in will keep in touch, letting you know where the business stands, what strides have been made, and how your money helped. Whatever the person, cause, or venture you are thinking of supporting, you will get to see the fruits of your investments first hand, which can be incredibly gratifying.


Early on in my entrepreneurial journey, I realized that I could not possibly do everything on my own, and for two reasons: I was either not equipped, or I didn’t have enough available time with everything else I was managing within the company. My time in the Marine Corps provided a lot of insights and tactics on how to deploy strategies for successful leadership. So, I borrowed these and started applying them in my ventures. 

Personal Security Detail (PSD) is exactly what it sounds like: a team of experts that surround the core entity in order to protect it and enable it to operate at maximum capacity. The core entity is typically thought of as a person; usually a high value, high ranking individual. In that case, the PSD Team will be made up of weapons, tactics, and logistical experts whose purpose is to use their expertise to protect the individual at all costs. But the core entity doesn’t have to be a person; it can be a business. Stick with me on this.

In business, just like in the military, a PSD Team is assigned to protect you and your organization from vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities may jeopardize and could even destroy you and/or your business. In the business world, a PSD Team consists of trusted advisors, proven professionals, and experts who are at the top of their game. Their purpose within your business is to use their expertise to protect your business at all costs. Readily available when you need them, the members of your PSD Team are your secret weapons.

“It’s mastery you need in order to grow and scale fast.”

Now the question becomes, how do you build a PSD Team? First, you need to assess your weaknesses. Don’t think you have weaknesses? You’re wrong. As a business owner, you need to put your pride aside and be completely honest with yourself. Where do you have knowledge gaps in your business? Where are you lacking information? Where are you being held back because you’re missing vital skills? Most people think entrepreneurs should be able to do everything – to be a “Jack of All Trades”. But remember the rest of that saying? “Jack of all trades, master of none”, and it’s mastery you need in order to grow and scale fast. 

For example, in our company, part of our PSD Team is not one, but several attorneys who specialize in core legal disciplines. This includes a real estate attorney, a contract attorney and even an attorney that specializes in trademark law. Our company has a CPA, who has the ability to advise us not only on corporate tax law but also our personal taxes. Our PSD Team also includes an insurance specialist. He works with a team of underwriters to protect all of our business entities, from employees and contractors, to brick and mortar buildings. These are paid experts who we not only rely on to deliver us the right advice, but we also go out of our way to learn from them so we never become dependent on people who hold this knowledge and may one day decide to leave the company. This type of education also equips us with a deep understanding of how to run our business and how to ask valuable and relevant questions. If you’ve outsourced these roles, and refused to learn from these experts, you’ve chosen to stay in the dark. Without a PSD Team you have a narrow lens of your world because you don’t have multi-source reporting, and that makes your intelligence incomplete. This is why you need to curate your very own strategic counsel with experts who can provide not only expertise but a detailed “how-to” roadmap. And yes, you will need to pay for this. Rather than seeing this as “bleeding” money, I want you to see this as an opportunity to learn.

“It’s an opportunity for you to learn.”

In this era where we can outsource everything, bringing paid experts into your business is not an opportunity for you to free up your time, nor to achieve the four-hour work week. It’s an opportunity for you to learn, and learning should always be a priority in your business. Not only do you get to fast-track and 10x the speed of your growth, but you get to acquire specialized knowledge others spent decades obtaining. Doing so strengthens your bulletproof vest, and in business you definitely need one.

The relationship you have with your PSD Team is different than the relationship you have with Coaches and Mentors. Your PSD Team is highly paid for their expertise and high-end consulting, and you should be able to pick up the phone and call them at any time. You need to know you can meet with them beyond your weekly scheduled appointments, and you need to be able to know your investment in them allows you to be able to access them and their trusted Rolodex of multi-industry contacts.

Consider a PSD Team the next time you review your team structure. Even if you’re fresh in your start-up journey, a PSD Team is something you should aspire to have, and it should be a priority in your business from the beginning. If the idea of building a PSD Team feels overwhelming or you’re experiencing resistance from your partners, it’s most likely because you or they are fearful. Building a team doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It may also mean that you’re lacking the leadership skills to build a proper team. You may have expertise in some areas, but leadership may not be one of them. Again, this is a time you have to be completely honest with yourself for the good of your business. Consider how fast you want your business to grow. You need to choose whether staying in your comfort zone rewards you more than taking the time to build a brilliant PSD Team, which will reward you and your business forever.



Far too often I hear entrepreneurs say they are “bootstrapping”. I have to wonder if they truly understand the meaning of this term.

Bootstrapping is starting a business with no external financial resources or capital.

Just like the saying “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps”, bootstrapping is all about doing it on your own. 

No investors, no loans, and tight budgeting.

The idea has been oversimplified in terms of small business start-ups struggling to get off the ground.

Bootstrapping for Large Corporations

In the beginning, bootstrapping was a way for big companies to test a product or an idea.

For example, let’s say 10 years ago, Sony, Samsung, and LG wanted to create a large flat screen television with a slight curve to it.

The three companies have no idea if the product will work so they decide to each put $500,000.00 toward building and testing the television.

Now, the three companies have $1.5 million to “play with” in order to get this television off the ground.

Keep in mind, $500,000.00 is nothing to Sony, Samsung, and LG so if the product fails the companies can take the hit but still remain in business.

If the product succeeds, it was worth the $500,000.00 because the return is going to be extraordinary.

Over time, this idea of bootstrapping morphed into entrepreneurs believing they can start a multi-million dollar company with absolutely nothing invested, and that is simply not the case.

Entrepreneurship is, unfortunately, associated with a great stigma of scarcity, especially during the early capital raising years.

We maintain this warped idea that start-up founders should go through a financially challenging right of passage before they can enjoy wealth and success.

They need to be tough, working very long hours with very little financial reward in return.

And while this may be true for a lot of founders, this happens not because entrepreneurship is undeniably challenging, but because they most likely entered this game broke and with no financial backbone.

Should a lack of available financial resources stop anyone from building their dream and launching a venture?

No, of course not. But one thing is certain.

If you cannot afford to invest in your venture, you will experience slow to no growth, which could potentially see you failing rather than scaling.

“Get a bridge job.”

So how can you invest in your business when there is no available cash?

If crowdfunding, or other forms of investor capital are not part of your strategic foresight, then you need to get a bridge job.

Yes, you read that right.

This is where you need to let go of any ego, pride or self-limiting beliefs around failure and secure paid employment that can sustain your basic living expenses but still keep your mental bandwidth relatively free so you can devote it to your venture.

With this buffer option in mind, you can ease unnecessary financial stress, and keep your creativity unharnessed, which will determine the speed of your growth.

Some would call this a temporary setback, because no entrepreneur wants to return to a 9-5 clock-punching job, but I encourage you to use the pain of this as fuel to propel you forward and make you more eager to win.

Many entrepreneurs think, “I get to be my own boss; let someone else do the work while I sit back and watch the money roll in”.

If this is your mind set at the start of your venture into business ownership, get out now.

Most likely, you will work harder than you have ever worked when you start your own business.

This is the time you work not only that 9-5 bridge job, but when that work day is finished, your day as an entrepreneur is just getting started.

As a business owner, every aspect of your business, in the beginning, is your responsibility.

How are you going to pay for a website? Where are you going to get the money to buy the ads to drive traffic to that website?

And not just traffic, but properly targeted traffic that leads to conversions.

Those people you are going to hire to work at your business so you can sit back and watch the money roll in; they’re going to want a paycheck.

Where does that money come from? Do you need to purchase inventory?

You can’t start a business with zero money.

You just can’t.

In this modern marketplace, you have to buy things like websites, traffic, and influencers.

When Sony, Samsung, and LG are bootstrapping to build and test their curved flat screen, $500,000.00 is not going to break the bank; to them, it’s a rounding error.

It’s not the same as having zero money.

If you’re not flush enough with your money to be able to scale, your attempts are going to fail.

Bootstrapping your business does not mean ZERO money.

It means being financially independent enough to be able to put money into the business.

In practical terms, if you cannot financially afford to feed your business in its early stages, it’s most likely because you haven’t worked on it enough.

Consistent work pays, and your profit and loss statement is a direct reflection of this.

“Make sure you have ‘start-up money’.”

This belief that an idea and hope are the foundation for bootstrapping your business is a misconception, and will most certainly lead to unnecessary stress and quite possibly the end of your business venture.

But, it doesn’t have to be.

Think of bootstrapping as a strategic entry into entrepreneurship.

Instead of “no money”, make sure you have “start-up money”.

Don’t look at a 9-5 job as a failure, but a preventative measure to ensure more rapid financial success.

Budget properly. Hire yourself an awesome and reliable PSD Team.

Bootstrapping your business simply means you’re doing it on your own – not you’re doing it broke.

If you chose to go into business for yourself without investors or loans, you’re also going in without debt.

That is an incredible start to your entrepreneurial journey.

Properly bootstrapping your business will lead to you being on solid financial ground. It will enable you to invest money back into your business, which is not only smart, but the fastest way to scale and grow.