It’s Daymond. Let’s talk education.

I never went to college. Back in the day, I didn’t have enough money to afford it, so I took a job as a waiter at Red Lobster instead.

But for me, and for so many people, college wasn’t a necessary part of my success equation.

In lieu of college, I gained valuable experience that made me stronger, smarter, and sharper. I learned the foundation of how to run a successful business – from customer service, to account management, to inventory, and everything in between.

That experience in itself is the kind of education that a college degree can’t always provide. And I owe my own success to the experiences I had outside of the classroom.

The reason I’m telling you this is because some of the greatest lessons you’ll ever learn will come from both your successes and your failures in the world of angel investing. Whether you have a college degree or not, your angel investing journey requires you to always keep your head up and eyes open, and above all, you always need to be willing to learn.

There’s never going to be a time where you can sit back and say, “Wow! That’s all I need to know. There’s nothing left to learn.” Investing, technology, and business evolve every single day, and if you don’t have your finger on the pulse, you’ll fall behind.

That’s why I always tell people to do their homework, and I’m telling you the same thing today.

This is advice I offer to entrepreneurs, investors, and just about every single person in any career and industry. But specifically, for everyday angel investors like you, here’s why it’s so important.

You’ll come across plenty of startups in your day to day diligence, and many of them will look really tempting on the surface.

Maybe they have confident founding teams that can talk a big game about their businesses. Maybe they’ve developed flashy new technologies that look exciting on the surface. Maybe they belong to brand-new, cutting-edge markets. Whatever it is, you’re bound to run into startups like these.

Some of them will, in fact, be great. But some won’t. And as an angel investor, it’s your job to do your homework – in this case, diligence – and dig into anything that could be hiding under the surface.

Read through the deal terms of every single company before you invest. Understand the trajectory of that company’s market. Look into the company’s numbers, like sales, revenue, and net profit. And if anything doesn’t make sense or looks out of place, ask plenty of questions.

It’s about digging beyond the superficial. Startup investing is risky as it stands, but if you don’t take the time to do your homework, you’re setting yourself up for a portfolio of poor investment choices.

Over time, and with the more investments you make, it gets easier. You’ll develop a knack for what makes for a successful startup company. You’ll create your own investment thesis that will guide the kinds of decisions you make for your wallet. And you’ll understand when to walk away from a company, even when that company looks like gold on the outside.

At the end of the day, there are no shortcuts to the top. There’s only hard work, grit, and grind.

Make it a point to wake up every day excited to learn something new that can help you hustle, overcome obstacles, and ultimately, be your best self – as an investor and as a human being.

(You can start by diving into everything there is to offer here at the Angels & Entrepreneurs Network.)

So, with that, have a great rest of your week. Let’s get to studying.

We’ll talk again soon,

Daymond John