How experts get things done: #2 Funding & investing
Investing is an interesting way of living. I will get to why it is interesting, and why it is a way of living, but first let me get to its meaning. The most common understanding is that it’s a way of making money, or even getting rich. You make an investment in the stock exchange or in a company. And if you have chosen well, you get x-times your money back. It is related to either buying something or putting your money somewhere with the purpose of getting something back. Now, why would that be interesting?
I realized some time ago, that we usually expect to get the service or product immediately when we buy something. The only investment where we postpone our expectations is education. We learn for years and years and expect to get a job for ourselves and income to provide for our needs. Not many have the possibility to postpone this expectation. For the most part of humanity, learning is ok. But it’s investment horizon should not be very long (if possible within weeks or at the most months). The puzzling part for me is that we are familiar with the concept of postponing, but it is actually almost against our nature not to get results asap. Why is that? I think it’s because we are on autopilot, to short term thinking. So you’d say: it’s a matter of switching to long term thinking.
That brings me to the lifestyle. How is investing a lifestyle? Exactly because of this long term thinking option. It’s an option: we don’t have to think in terms of quick returns and results, nature takes its time. And so can we. It’s amazing how my life turned around once I realised this lifestyle option. It does not make sense to think that only the rich people can invest. It’s a matter of philosophy of life, to decide that my (or your) life will be based on long term decisions. This idea changed my perspective. I did start investing when I had some money I could put aside. But looking back, I realise that investing in yourself, your education, your loved ones, children, or other people who are not part of your inner circle, investing in nature, all life, human and animal, is a matter of long term thinking.
So why invest? Why finance other people you don’t even know? For venture capitalists it’s obvious. They look for potentially fast growing companies for financial gain, it’s their living. Mostly they are interested in earning around 10-50 million in about five years. These are European numbers, the US would probably be around 100 million. Just count back. This means about 500k revenue in year one, year two should bring at least two to three million. Year three should revenue six million, etcetera. So their way of living becomes your way of living, just to become millionaires in five years time. This theory does not work in practice, by the way. Most of the times five years becomes at least ten years anyway. So imagine working day and night for 10 years to get to this point. And then probably ending asking yourself why you did it, losing your health and your friends during the process, probably ending up with only vultures interested in your wealth.
I thought it was much smarter to invest with a longer time span. Twenty years at the very least, or a lifetime and even beyond my own lifetime. That makes it possible to invest in what you believe in, no matter how much money you have. Some people keep saying they invest their time and energy, but not their money. Others keep preaching they invest only in themselves, not in others. Their philosophy is not the long term investment I define. Money is needed, you cannot pay the rent with time and friendly energy. And investing in yourself as a good cause makes perfect sense. But the limited possibilities of you only are risky. What if you get sick or die? Investment lost. You have to diversify your investments, to reach a substantial impact.
Investing with a long term view in the things you believe in, even if it is with 25 euros per month, is the best option if you ask me. It makes sense: you don’t have to be rich or get rich, but you will eventually leave this earth with the feeling that you invested in yourself and others, never left it to vultures (fortunately they will not be interested in you anyway in this scenario) and diversified by betting on more than one option. All for a better world.
Yasemin Tümer is an investor in female entrepreneurship. Keep track of her blogs (and others) at TheNextWomen.com
Watch the Working Wonders episode with Yasemin in which she talked about the changes need for a more inclusive world.
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