When to Believe in an Entrepreneur and When to Run Away

It’s never the Steve Jobs fanatics who have memorized the startup playbook

Joe Procopio
Marker
Published in
6 min readJan 6, 2020

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Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images Entertainment

Last week, one of the founders I’m advising landed a lucrative and potentially game-changing customer.

This was a moment of truth in more ways than one. First of all, it staved off what had been a downward spiral of unfortunate events in the life of her company. But more importantly, it reestablished her faith in herself — faith that, by that point, seemingly no one else had.

She may not ultimately succeed, but at least now she has a fighting chance. For entrepreneurs, that fighting chance is usually all we need.

Oh, and as an advisor, witnessing that kind of redemptive win — when nobody else believed in her — is one of the best experiences in the world.

Why did I believe in this particular entrepreneur?

One of the primary reasons I’ve been successful is an ability to spot faith-worthy entrepreneurial talent quickly — in terms of picking people to work with, work for, invest in, or just stake a vouch on.

I’ll admit that there isn’t a template or checklist that I go through to decide if I’m going to believe in someone’s entrepreneurial talent…

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Joe Procopio
Marker
Writer for

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com