129. To become a Digital Leader, join start-up advisory boards

career strategy entrepreneurship investing Dec 13, 2022

Joining the advisory board of a promising tech start-up will teach you vital skills, build your network and transform your professional brand.

It is a great way to reshape your career, while still working in your current role.

Here is how to do it:

  1. Remember the difference between boards of directors and advisory boards. The former have fiduciary responsibility and the ability to hire / fire the CEO. The latter do not.
  2. Work out what the start-up needs and give it to them, before asking for an advisory board position. For example, if they need introductions to potential customers, make the introductions.
    • Have the conversation about formally joining the advisory board only after you have proven your value to a start-up founder.
  3. Be aware of the company’s stage: tech start-ups rarely need in depth financial analysis but do need introductions and help with operations. Don’t offer advice based on your experience. Offer advice based on the start-up needs.
  4. Do not view this as a way to get rich via advisory options. Some start-ups have option schemes for advisors, others do not. The aim of being an advisor is for you to learn, network and transform your career, not to strike it rich from their options. (Obviously, if that happens, that is a welcome bonus, but should not be your aim).
  5. Once you are on a start-up board, be helpful, be humble and be kind. The start-up founder is likely to be over-worked, underpaid and very stressed. Offer them advice that they can genuinely use, pick up the burden when you can and do not use this as opportunity to show off how smart you are.
  6. Update your LinkedIn profile and professional bio. Telling the world that you are actively involved in tech innovation will help you get found for other exciting opportunities.
  7. For more, listen to episode 31. How To Transition Into Venture Capital (interview with Nilesh Trivedi)



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Tech for Non-Techies clients 

  • Reach senior leadership positions in Big Tech firms
  • Lead digital transformation in established businesses
  • Create tech businesses as non-technical founders
  • Pivot into careers in venture capital

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  1. Sophia and her team will look through your application. If they genuinely think Sophia could help you, you will get a link to her calendar..
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  4. The aim of the call is not to sell you on anything that is not right for you. We both win if you get results, but we both lose if you don’t.

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