How to Leverage Your Career Capital


In the last decade, computer science professor Cal Newport wrote a book about building career capital and why this is such an important endeavor.

Newport’s thesis essentially states that a person will not find a satisfying and meaningful career until they master practical skills translatable to that career. The idea is also that instead of hunting for an external “passion,” you might instead consider looking inward at the innate talents that may be untapped resources.

Unfortunately, it is not enough to have innate skills and talents. They must also be honed through years of experience. Getting professional experience demonstrates proof that the skills have been honed and are now leveled up past entry-level.

Why You Need Career Capital 

This is when having career capital can open doors. There is a sense that certain positions and specific accolades are only available to those who have done the work. By focusing on building skills rather than searching for passion, one may find their ultimate career path opening up before them.

Career capital is necessary to be a successful acquisition entrepreneur. The very best and most successful acquisition entrepreneurs are the ones that recognize their skills and are able to match them to their business acquisitions.  

But without sufficient career capital, certain doors could remain closed. Investors and lenders will look at the experience of any acquisition entrepreneur who wishes to work with them. If they see too little experience, they may feel it is too great a risk to trust them with their money.

So here are some tips on growing your career capital so that your experiences can speak for themselves.

How Do I Grow my Career Capital?

One might ask themselves how they can develop their career capital. Fortunately, there are a few good tips for building that capacity.

Never Stop Learning

The opportunities for learning that are coming your way are your barometer for stagnation. The more opportunities there are to learn new skills in a field, the more it is clear that the person is challenging themselves.

There will be cycles of boom and bust, as there will be a learning phase and then a phase of putting theory into practice. This is a time for mastery.

As an acquisition entrepreneur, new learning will always come your way. Whether you are learning about a new industry for potential acquisition or trying out seasoned skills in a new business, this is a field of continual education.

Keep Meeting People

One of the best ways to keep learning is to keep having conversations. You never know who will send you along your next big road of discovery – they may not be in your field, and they may not be anyone you would expect to share the very wisdom you needed to receive.

But more importantly, success is not a solitary endeavor. Success is built upon a team of people coming together in some capacity, connecting, and creating something amazing.

Acquisition entrepreneurs work with brokers, investors, financiers, experts in all fields, and other acquisition entrepreneurs who can offer advice or be there to talk through a challenging situation.

When we try to do everything ourselves to achieve a solitary win, then we are simply limiting our potential.

Adopt the Right Mindset

Cal Newport advocates adopting a craftsman mindset. This idea is all about considering what you can offer the world rather than what the world can offer you.

Unfortunately, many people believe they should seek out their passion in life, and when they find it, they’ll be set. But this mindset keeps people in a perpetual loop of searching and hoping for more.

Instead, by focusing on what you have to offer, you can find out where your skills fit into your field. Ultimately, feeling valued and useful in your work is what ignites the most passion and job satisfaction.

Successful acquisition entrepreneurs know what their talents are and where their weaknesses lie. As a result, they can see which potential acquisitions can gain value from their particular skills and which would be better off in someone else’s hands.

Focus your attention on gaining experience and creating achievements that could easily be replicated in a business that you’re buying. Experience is useless without accomplishment. You have to be able to show how you’ve positively impacted the businesses that provided you this experience.

Find out what makes you uniquely qualified to be an acquisition entrepreneur and make the most of it by focusing on acquiring businesses that speak to your skill sets and channeling your skills & experiences into the business to improve it.  

Patience Before the Payoff

When it comes to being an acquisition entrepreneur, there can be a lot of hurry up and wait. This is also true for developing your career capital.

Actively learning new information and honing skills takes time. There is no way around this. You cannot fly before you know how to walk.

This is to say that those who can be patient and stay with the momentum even when it feels like they aren’t getting there fast enough will one day find that they made it and they accomplished their goal at the exact right time.

Those who can do the enormously hard work of conducting business valuations, comparing profitability, understanding their intrinsic assets, and so forth are the ones that will make successful acquisition entrepreneurs.

Understanding what career capital you have is the very thing that will let you know the best business for you to lead. Are you a whiz at marketing, management, and generating profits? Take some time to think to list out your intrinsic assets and how these can plug into a business to bring that business into new profitability.

Watch Walker’s vlog as he talks about how to leverage your career capital here.

If acquiring a business is something you’re interested in doing in the next twelve months, the Acquisition Lab is your first stop. Reach out to us today and get everything you need to know about becoming an acquisition entrepreneur.

Picture of Walker Deibel

Walker Deibel

Walker Deibel is an entrepreneur and advisor. He is the author of Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game and Creator of Acquisition Lab.

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