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An angel investor is not the best kind


2 min read

The kind of angel your business needs probably isn't the kind with new investment, but the kind with something much more important. What this other kind of angel can give you is a new perspective - a way of looking at things that you can't see when you're stuck in the weeds.

This kind of angel - the 'tough angel' - is tempting to ignore because what they're best at is seeing when you're sliding back into your comfort zone and calling you out of it. Which is why they tend to be pretty persistent. They keep coming back to tell you the same thing even though, especially though, it's not what you want to hear. They're willing to be the broken record in your ear - until you move the needle.

If you've got someone like that in your life today, you know how lucky you are.

You know, because they challenge you at the most inopportune times, right when you think you're in the clear. They keep you pushing your growth edges until those edges are where you live when they're not around.

You feel it, because they care about you in unexpected ways. They're tough on you when everyone else is patting you on the back, and they're there with a pat on the back when you're taking the right risk and everyone else thinks you're off target.

They’re tough on you when everyone else is patting you on the back, and they’re there with a pat on the back when you’re taking the right risk and everyone else thinks you’re off target.

You trust them, because they're competent in their area of expertise. And if their expertise is about people (and what business isn't?) you know they've been through their own dark night of the soul. More than once.

And you get that it's all based in their curiosity, to help you solve problems at the root because it's the only thing that's ever worked for them in their life.

Tough angels are not 'ivory tower' people. They know what it takes in blood and sweat to build something out of nothing. But they also know that just making it isn't enough. That the business isn't truly a great one unless it makes your life better, and the lives of the people around you, and the community or market in which you operate.

These kinds of angels are your business' best friend, though it doesn't feel that way sometimes. They'll help you see that short term pain is the price you often have to pay to create long-term value. And they'll help you hold fast to your personal values, and make time for the things in your life that can't be measured by ROI.

How do you know if you have a tough angel? When you have someone who helps you grow your business and inhabit your personal life in exactly the same way - from your heart, with unwavering integrity, and accountability for how you impact others. In the end, any other kind of advice is snake oil.

Jonathan Raymond

Written by Jonathan Raymond

Jonathan was a frequent contributor to the EMyth blog from 2011-2015. His articles focus on marketing, branding, and organizational culture.