I have over twenty years of experience investing in startups and through my angel investing life, I've changed the way I see my angel work. Firstly I began as a hobby, after I changed to a career opportunity, later I saw it as a job and finally I understood angel investing was my deepest calling. Let’s look into this four categories:

Angel work as a Hobby

Those who see their angel investing activity as a hobby emphasise the enjoyment of the investment process and the pleasant outcomes of being involved with the startups (Benjamin & Margulis, 2005; Rose, 2014). 

- As a Hobby Angel Investor, you see your angel activity at the same level as your other hobbies like golf or reading, something informal and not regular. 

- You invest, in return for emotional value. It is more about socialising with great people, going to pleasant events, listening to pitches, investing or not investing, and searching for the next big thing. 

- You invest for the fun that comes with it and the excitement that comes with angel investing. 

- Making money from your investments is a “nice to have”, but it is not the fundamental issue.

Angel work as a Job

Those who see their investing activity as a job, aim for income or remunerated employment (Mason & Harrison, 2008; Shane, 2009). You will relate to this type of business angel if,

- You find angel investing entirely instrumental to your financial needs. 

- The perceived work value for you is essentially economic and you intend to obtain benefits and enjoyment outside the workplace. 

- See money as an essential outcome. 

- You invest because you want to work in the world of startups or within the angel activity as a board member or advisor.

Angel work as Career Improvement

Those who see their angel activity as a career relate it to achievement and advancement in their work. These individuals invest to increase their professional level, improve their investment knowledge, feel fulfilled or gain prestige and status as angels (Webster & Edwards, 2019). Corporate managers who enter the angels’ world, get to develop their ability to begin a business from scratch and impress their top management. 

- You are a Career Angel if you come from a corporate background and you see angel investing as a way to improve your career.

- You find developing your entrepreneurial skills and being close to disruptive startups important soundbites for corporate careers. 

- The perceived work value for you is both symbolic and economic, associated with a higher position in the career path to enhance your self-esteem. 

- For you, being an angel investor is an opportunity to update your professional skills. 

- Career development, startup exits and economic success from the angel activity are essential outcomes for you.

Angel work as a Calling

Business angels who see their angel activity as a calling, enter a higher level of meaning, involvement and commitment to the business angels' cause.

- If you invest in startups with a genuine passion to make a difference, the angel activity is your calling.

- If you invest to experience the journey and process of being involved but the main purpose of investing is not the financial return itself but a genuine passion for making a difference and being part of the process, angel investing is your calling.

Rui Falcão, Founder of COREangels and Leader of COREangels Lisbon, talking to the team of COREangels International at the yearly team event in 2021.

Angel calling can be external oriented, such as investing in startups to solve a big world problem or helping a specific group of people; a social cause. But it can also have an internal orientation regarding one's own convictions with the responsibility of wealth. It is the type of work that one feels intrinsically motivated to assume. One critical outcome is the pleasure of involvement. Those who feel called for being angels feel passionate about being involved in the calling domain.

It’s about a long-term commitment to the angel investing business. The main outcome is symbolic and related to improving self-esteem. Those who feel an angel calling see their angel work as a noble field of expression and social or political or public intervention to develop an ecosystem or a country.

How about you? Tell us more about you as an angel investor. How do you see your angel work?