#Spotlight on Swen Lorenz – on carving out your own career, avoiding burnout and dining with TableCrowd
We have known Swen for quite some time now, and chances are if you’ve joined a dinner or two, you’ll have met him too. With 30 TableCrowd dinners under his belt, he’s one of our more frequent diners. Curious to find out more about him, his work and how he manages it ALL, we caught up with him after our recent dinner with PensionBee, and asked him a few questions…
How would you describe yourself in just one sentence?
I am a location-independent freelance capitalist.
How do you manage to travel all the time, run several businesses and still have time for…well, anything else?
If there were any “secrets” to it, they’d be a combination of the following two:
– Get up very early every morning (for me that’s usually 5.30am), so that by the time everyone else shows up in the office or online, you have already done lots of strategic, high-value work that requires focus and concentration. If you are a night-owl, then do it at night. The point is, do this for a while and you’ll notice what an enormous difference it makes to your career and your business!
– Be aware of the choices you make with regards to who you work for and with, i.e., try to eliminate people from your life who suck in too much time and energy relative to what they contribute to your life, and actively seek to work more with those who are also focussed on results above anything else. This won’t come overnight, but if you spend a few years being very aware of this and making incremental improvements whenever possible, you’ll end up with a lot of freedom while being superbly productive.
None of this is a magic wand. It’s hard, diligent work over an extended period of time. As the saying goes, people over-estimate what they can achieve in a year, but they underestimate what they can achieve in a decade.
Any tips on avoiding burnout, which is often a problem for many entrepreneurs?
On this entire subject, I very much recommend reading Douglas Adams’ (“Dilbert”) latest book: “How to fail at almost everything and still win big.”
Douglas has a lot of very good advice how investing into your fitness gives you energy, and from energy comes everything else. Of course, it’s a bit more complicated than that. But if you are fit and you also make an effort to remain as healthy as possible, then many other things can – and will – follow.
Let’s talk about US for a moment… you’re obviously a very busy man with a thriving career and you travel extensively – but still you make time to come and join a number of TableCrowd’s dinners. Can you share why they are a key part of your schedule?
Totally independent of TableCrowd, I strongly believe there is huge value in listening to – and learning from – people who have already been on a journey and who have achieved what they set out to achieve. So where ever you are and whatever you do, I urge you to hang out with people that you can learn from based on them having genuine experience in a field that is relevant to you.
With that in mind, I found that in London, TableCrowd simply offers the all-round best events to achieve just that:
– Your speakers are without exception high calibre and very experienced in their fields.
– The format of them speaking for 20-30 minutes followed by Q&A after the main course is just the right length.
– Everyone else you meet at the dinners I view as a bonus, and I have met many an interesting participant and made new friends.
I would also like to add that after seeing what prices other organisations charge, including ridiculous joining fees, TableCrowd simply offers really good value for money. And if you buy a pack of 10 dinners, you get superb value for money!
The last point, your hosts are all lovely and add to the experience.
Do you have any particularly memorable moments from TableCrowd dinners?
You somehow managed to get one of the co-founders of Eve Sleep to speak at a TableCrowd event on the eve of their IPO! Their company had gone from Zero to over GBP 100m market value in just about 18 months. Not only was that an interesting success story to learn from and listen to, but it also had a great energy to it because of the timing. Last but not least, we were all treated to champagne at the end of the dinner!
Can you tell us about any key connections met at TableCrowd dinners that have led to interesting or positive outcomes?
I feel that Fintech is an area I should know more about, but which I somehow kind of missed becoming a part of. Through TableCrowd I met a whole bunch of Fintech-related people that I stay in touch with and keep having interesting conversations with, relating to the industry, investments, and further networking.
You have a method of making the dinners’ content stick – by writing about them and what you’ve learned in your blog. Can you tell us more about that?
One of the fundamental problems we all have is information-overload.
Your dinners convey SO much useful information in a single evening. At the same time, we can only take in so much; it’s always at the end of a long day, and not all information will be immediately relevant or require further research to be truly useful to you.
That’s why I usually write a blog article about the dinners I participate in. As I always say, I am really just writing these articles to put my own thoughts into order. Writing about something forces you to put your thoughts into order! The fact that others then get to read it, too, is a mere side-benefit.
You invest a lot of time and effort into your blog (we’re subscribers!). What are the benefits of having such a platform?
Outside of what I mentioned in the previous point, I am a huge believer in personal branding.
When I briefly attended university, I realised there were 700 people on my campus alone who were going to learn exactly the same thing that I was going to study. How would I ever be noticeable and compete against such a mass of people with identical skills?
By writing and putting yourself out there, you build visibility and credibility. Eventually, that leads to you having a personal brand.
In the next 10 years, developing your own personal brand will be crucial to compete in many areas of business. We are blessed with having the possibility of publishing a blog. It costs almost nothing and you can reach a vast audience.
Your career path has been quite an unconventional one – but if you meet someone who is attempting to go for it in a similar way, what would you advise/warn them about?
I cannot even begin to tell you how many people I meet who tell me that one day when the conditions are perfect, they will want to become an entrepreneur or a digital nomad or whatever.
The thing is, the conditions will never be perfect. And life isn’t that long!
If you want to do it, just jump into the cold water and swim. You’ll be fine!
Last but definitely not least – what’s your favourite London restaurant?
Strangely, despite London’s fast-changing restaurant scene, that hasn’t changed in the past 15 years. I absolutely love Hakkasan, i.e., the original Hakkasan in Hanway Place near Tottenham Court Road. The crowd, the food, and the service all join together for a perfect evening out. Even the path leading up to it, right into a dodgy alleyway with overflowing trash bins, adds to the experience.
Connect with Swen through TableCrowd.