What’s Below a Rich Man? by Szymon Janiak


The post was originally published in Polish on Szymon’s LinkedIn profile. Szymon kindly agreed to republish what we think is of great value to our readers.

Someone lost themselves in pretending to be so rich it was below them to make money. It’s an interesting example of how building one’s own legend can backfire. A startup founder began to create his image as a successful man. Standard: big money, lots of business ventures, passive income. This was followed by beautiful photos, speeches at conferences, interviews for the media. In theory, a position to which many aspire. All this effort and work put into building a personal brand began to generate concrete results:

“Hi, we would love to talk to you about working for our company…” With a slight irritation at someone offering him a full-time job, he rejected it without a second thought.

Szymon Janiak, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Czysta3.VC

“I would be happy to make use of your knowledge, I can pay a few hundred zlotys for consulting…” He claimed that someone in ‘his position’ doesn’t bend down for a few hundred zlotys.

“We have an interesting business that you could invest in, we need PLN 200K…” He refused, arguing that the business was not interesting, while in practice he wasn’t watching his own account.

Actually, there was always something wrong, and the whole story had no measurable effects. It all boiled down to the same thing: for someone who was building an aura of having millions around himself, there was the fear that the desire to earn a few hundred zlotys could undermine his credibility.’ Beautifully, he went on with it, and apart from tickling his ego based on a financial hoax, he never got any significant benefit out of it. All this masquerade turned out to be counterproductive in practice.

In retrospect, I personally have a completely opposite approach to it. I believe that even if you earn an average of tens of thousands of zlotys a month and you have time, it’s worth doing additional smaller topics for a thousand or two. Why? First of all, it allows you to collaborate with new people, which can translate into larger initiatives, e.g. investments. Secondly, if it takes little time and there is enough of it, you can earn an additional tens or hundreds of thousands a year from seemingly small topics. Thirdly, it allows you to try your hand at new activities, which gives you additional satisfaction. And fourthly, it is worth simply maintaining respect for money, especially when one remembers one’s own beginnings.

There is no point in building an artificial image for the sake of it. In practice, hardly anyone is able to catch up with their own legend and, paradoxically, pretending to be wealthy may be the main reason why you will never achieve it.

The comment section had to add:

I’ve recently noticed a slightly different trend on LinkedIn. Namely, people who pose themselves as experts, conducting hundreds of meetings and consultations, pointing out how many orders they have and that for less than a few thousand PLN per day of consultations, – they don’t even start conversations. And then they publish a post with their ‘menu’ and add that, for example, they still have a time slot. Or a holiday promotion to take advantage of before they raise prices.

Dymitr Doktór, CMO and Editor-in-Chief at FOCUS ON Business by Pro Progressio

It is getting harder and harder to verify such people. Contrary to what it looks like, the case is not isolated. There are a lot of people like that. With their attitude, they build a bubble that drive many into a blind rush that leads to nowhere.

Waldemar Wiśniewski, Owner at DUEXSO Waldemar Wiśniewski

Today, anyone can be an expert in everything, rich, and whoever they want to be. All you have to do is sit at home and improve your skills in creating your online image. Scary times with such pathologies occurring. At the same time, it is beautiful, because the progress of technology inspires admiration and curiosity.

Łukasz Derbot, Country Manager Poland at Firexo

The additional benefit is getting out of your comfort zone, which is good for creativity and reduces the risk of ‘aging’ professionally.

Piotr Żygadło, COO at DRAGO Entertainment


Fascinating how the pursuit of a successful persona can sometimes lead to a paradox where the image of wealth becomes a barrier to genuine opportunities and growth.


You don’t even have to create this image yourself, AI will do it for you. More time on conversations to verify the image in reality. And I agree that it’s also worth doing small projects. When working on large projects, financial gratification is postponed, and small projects are quick to improve liquidity. It’s important not to get caught up in big things, but to get in touch with reality. I also believe it makes sense to find some time for non-profit activities, it brings you down to Earth.

Martyna Krochmal, Co-Owner at DB Broker


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