From rock ‘n’ roll roadie to corporate speaker and entrepreneur, Richard Mulholland has run Missing Link, a presentation firm in South Africa, for 21 years. The self-described hobbyist talks finance, investments and expensive tattoos.
How does your company generate profit?
Different entities do it in different ways; Missing Link is a service organization where we basically sell our brain for the pound, whereas TalkDrawer and The Sales Department have a subscription and retainer model respectively. Exploring different business models intrigues me; it’s something I believe all entrepreneurs should embark on. You won’t be killed off by a better business; you’ll be killed off by a better business model.
What is your investment philosophy?
I know my weaknesses and this is one. As such I have a set-it-and-forget-it mentality. I find smart people that I like with diversified philosophies and leave them to it. The obvious exception to that is when we invest in starting new businesses.
What is your most prized investment?
I hate to be a cliché, but I timed crypto pretty well and have been pretty lucky there. My most prized investment would have to be starting a business though, that has certainly reaped the biggest dividend.
What advice would you give someone interested in investing?
In spite of what you’re told, unless you are super rich and have money to blow, investing isn’t a hobby. Find someone smarter than you to do it. Or, if you’re like me, find diverse, smart people and share the investment love.
Legacy or innovation? Which would you invest in and why?
Again, diversity is key. All that is old is not bad, and all that is new isn’t great.
Your biggest investment blunder?
I’ve invested in businesses as a complete outsider, and not given the love and support that they needed at the beginning to get traction. That has never worked… and I never seem to learn.
What do you spend most of your money on?
Of late, board games and electric skateboards.
What is the most expensive item in your wardrobe?
A motorcycle riding jacket.
How much were you earning as a rock n’ roll roadie?
R400 ($27) per week, or R600 ($40) per week while on tour.
What is the most you spent on a tattoo?
About R15,000 ($1,000) for a tattoo on my back.
Would you invest in longevity (prolonging your life) and why/not?
Only in so far as staying healthy.
What is the most interesting thing you have invested in?
Other people’s businesses. Troop Travel is one I’m quite enamoured with at the moment.