What’s up, Startup Investor?

It’s Daymond again. I’m so excited to keep working with you here at Angels & Entrepreneurs.

To kick it off, I’ll be coming at you every single week with a brand-new lesson that can help you make the most of your journey as an angel investor. And today, we’re getting started with one of my favorites… how to build your brand and enhance your deal flow.

(Don’t worry. It’s easier than it sounds.)

Building out your deal flow involves getting in front of the people who can put you face-to-face with the latest and great opportunities in the startup world. It’s rare that these opportunities will just fall into your lap, meaning you’ve got to get really good at networking and building your brand to find the best deals.

At this point, I understand if you’re skeptical. You might be thinking to yourself…

But Daymond, I’m not a wealthy angel investor.

How can I build a great brand with a few hundred dollars in my pocket to invest?”

Hear me out. It is totally possible for you to build up your brand, build out your network, and ultimately, create an incredible angel investing portfolio… no matter who you are, where you started, or how much money is in your bank account.

I know because I’ve lived it. You may have caught my story already…

I was raised in Queens, I didn’t go to college, and I worked night and day waiting tables to secure enough cash to get my first company off the ground.

When I finally got it running, my very first angel investor was my mom. She’s not a Wall Street venture capitalist or a Silicon Valley CEO… she’s someone who believed in my vision enough to put her own hard-earned cash and sweat equity behind it. And look where that first investment got me.

What I’m saying here is that you don’t have to be part of the 1% to make a valuable impact – both on your portfolio and the founding teams within that portfolio.

By following a few key steps, you can build your brand and create an incredible network of contacts, no matter who you are. Here are my top three tips…

First, think about what you can offer a startup beyond capital.

I guarantee you have some type of experience, skillset, or network of your own that could be beneficial to one of your future portfolio companies. How can you leverage your own connections and talents to make a tangible difference on the companies you choose to support?

At the end of the day, it’s all about putting yourself out there. Reflect on your strengths, your expertise, and exactly what it is you can bring to the table. Whether or not a startup company accepts your advice or connections, by taking this step, you’ll automatically brand yourself as “the person who can do/introduce you to/help you with X.”

That in itself is an incredible step toward securing some top-notch contacts in the startup world.

Next, start expanding your networking opportunities.

Something I’ve learned throughout my career is that great deals can come from just about anywhere. I recommend pushing yourself into as many networking opportunities as possible to source the best ones.

And here’s a secret… you don’t have to be extremely wealthy to do it. Even better, you’re already doing it by being a part of this network. Last I heard, there are tens of thousands of people who are a part of this community… which means you have tens of thousands of networking opportunities right at your fingertips, whenever you want them.

Dig into this community a little bit. Introduce yourself to a few new people, link up, and get talking about all things angel investing.

And if you choose to invest in any startups, you can reach out and keep in touch with those founding teams, too. I’ve found that sites like LinkedIn can be a great place to build out your virtual “Rolodex.”

And finally, keep up with what’s going on in the startup world.

Everyone loves an informed investor. Make sure you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the latest market trends, news, and other need-to-knows out of the startup world.

Keeping up and staying involved will help you separate the great deals from the ones you should leave behind. It can also set you apart as an angel investor who’s worth their salt, simply because you’re constantly staying informed and chasing the next greatest trends.

You can use your network to help you stay in-the-know. I’ve found that conversations with my fellow entrepreneurs and investors have been extremely valuable for giving me some fresh perspectives on what’s happening in the markets.

Ultimately, being a successful angel investor doesn’t mean you need to wine and dine the wealthiest, most elite names in the game. You just have to know who you are and what you can bring to the table… and be confident enough to put your brand out there and be someone that founders and other investors want to work with.

It worked for me… and I know it can work for you, too.

That’s it for me today, but hang tight. I’ll be back next week to talk about one of the biggest lessons I ever learned in my career: that failure is necessary for growth and success.

We’ll talk soon,

Daymond John