How To Earn More Cake (And Fewer Crumbs) With Authority

When you have an unconventional idea in your market space, it can be easy, tempting even, to decide it isn’t worthy. That it somehow won’t stack up against all the other brilliant or brilliantly successful “names” in your niche.

Or even worse—it can inspire you to decide that somehow YOU are unworthy.

That would be a mistake.

Because one of the wonderful things about being alive in this exact time is that there is literally an uncountable number of ways you can become an authority in your specialty.

Take for example, venture capitalist Arlan Hamilton (you can read Alexa Diaz’s interview with her here).

Unlike the traditional venture capitalist with a lifetime of comfort with and access to money, Arlan was homeless when she began her quest to build her disruptive firm Backstage Capital.

Or, as she puts it: “I was going toe-to-toe with people who had an unlimited amount of money, who could wine and dine their limited partners with lavish events and big productions.”

“It was me and my backpack, going to conferences and meeting people, sleeping in cars—doing whatever I could to meet with them face to face because I had to play ball.”

Hamilton, who is black and part of the LBGTQ community, built her seed-stage investment firm because she saw that women, people of color and the LGBTQ community weren’t getting funded. They were getting what amounted to crumbs* and Hamilton wanted them to have cake.

*Note: according to Diaz and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, less than 2% of start-up capital went to female founders and only 1% to black and Latino founders in 2016. Backstage Capital reports that “less than 10% of all venture capital deals go to women, people of color and LGBTQ founders.”

She describes her role in providing access to early funding for the underserved as wearing the Iron Man suit: “I try to give that same Iron Man suit of augmented privilege to others”.

With grit, determination and what damn sure looks like unshakeable faith in her mission, she looked at what others saw as a problem and turned it into an opportunity. She defied the odds and built a firm that is disrupting the status quo.

THAT’s the new road to authority.

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