27 January 2023 |

Taking the Leap: How to Transition from Short Term to Long Term Thinking


There are so many differences between creating a company and starting a venture fund; it’s hard to figure out where to start.

The work is different but so is the thinking and the mindset you need to have to be successful. Something I’ve noticed is shifting my thinking from short term to long term.

As a business owner, I felt like I was constantly pressured by short term objectives and goals: get to X subscribers, drive Y revenue, create X pieces of content. The short term mindset of hitting milestones and growth and revenue targets to our business up to par for a round of investments was mentally taxing and time consuming.

There was a lot more urgency too—there were more competitors cropping up and more competition for people’s attention. There was always the pressure of making revenue and making enough profit to fund other projects and initiatives that I was very passionate about. Then on top of that is all the other aspects of running a business—from accounting to taxes and legal.

Now I will say that I probably wasn’t going about things in the right way—in hindsight, great CEO’s power through and focus on the long term and aim to make that a reality. But frankly running a business was a lot for me; the financial pressure of managing my personal finances off not a lot of salary & managing the actual business felt like I was spending most of my time figuring out how much to spend and when. There wasn’t much breathing room, so we were always focused on the next month instead of the next few years. 

As an investor and VC, my mindset has shifted to ~10 years, not the next 6 to 12 months. It’s a really interesting change of pace—before where I’d been thinking about how to create a product to charge for, now I spend more time wondering how things should look and trying to find companies that are building towards that future.

That doesn’t mean you strip away things like revenue and how big a company can get; I’ve been finding myself more focused on core problems a business needs to solve—is this something someone is willing to pay for, and if so, who and how much?

Every business needs to answer this question in order to succeed. Banking as a service companies are making it easier to develop financial services products, and the audience are corporate clients that use them as a vendor. Facebook is a content platform with audience demographic data businesses are willing to pay to market to and survey. If you can’t answer it you have a problem.

There are a lot of ways to come up with this answer, but I like to start by clearly defining and testing the problem. Where and what are exactly people having an issue here, and what is this solving? Then building a solution that’s even just a little better than the status quo has a chance of succeeding. A lot of fintech products aren’t particularly novel—they’re just slightly more convenient than others, and that’s made a lot of difference.

Thinking long term and how business actions reverberate over time has been one of the more fun aspects of getting into venture capital. There’s a lot more paperwork and preparation, and I’ll eventually get into the not so exciting differences. But shifting my mindset towards more long term thinking has been one of the more fun aspects of the role.