You are a sponge. Your goal is to learn, take on new challenges, hustle and make mistakes. Absorb all aspects of the business. Have lunch with anyone who will say “yes” (we all eat lunch). At this stage in your career, your advantage is time because you don’t know anything yet. The entrepreneurial spirit from the leaders will rub off on you. You have no meaningful financial equity, but you will learn, and this is your equity. You will discover yourself, what interests you and what your strengths are.
Second, in your 40’s, to earn.
Now, you have the experience and skills to lead or join a startup and make the startup successful. Do it. Your super-power is your experience combined with your energy and drive. Go all in. Grow the startup and make it successful. Then reap the benefits of the valuation growth with either an IPO or buyout. Cash out without regret.
Third, in your 60’s, to return.
You don’t have the desire or energy to do it again, and you have already made your money. Now, you can mentor others. It’s time to give back. Your super-power is your vast experience and perspective. Younger startup leaders will cherish your advice. You can contribute through board positions, consulting, pro bono work, or volunteering at the medtech incubator in your region. This will be your most rewarding startup work.