If you asked me how did I become a mentor, my answer would be: accidentally. Four years ago when I sold one of my companies, I had not planned on becoming a mentor. I had sold one of my companies (for a very small sum) which was enough to allow me to take a short break and a change of property.
During this short break which was a much-needed rest, I was looking for the next thing. I attended many startup events, pitching competitions, and other entrepreneurial and startup network events, and in the process, I was increasingly called to help at events and mentor entrepreneurs who are at the beginning of their journey.
A part of our traits as human beings is that we share our knowledge and we thrive on working in groups. I have always been equally as passionate about teaching. In order to delegate, the most important part of my job as startup CEO was to teach and transfer all my knowledge to each new team member. It feels great when you empower another team member. They can manage servers, they can help customers, fix computer problems and all of these actions are empowering actions where both parties feel great about their achievements.
Teaching is in our blood, however, it requires patience, practice, and experience. With over 20 years of experience in business, I had made quite a lot of mistakes, and as the quote says “Experience is the name we give to our mistakes”. I think most people agree with me that we learn more from our mistakes than our success. As I have been through the growing PAINS of a startup, when you hardly have enough to feed yourself let alone take on a member of staff then you can really appreciate what is and is not possible in those early days, what is value for money, and what is a total waste of resources and energy. In the early days of our startup, we are full of enthusiasm and we believe nothing can go wrong. It is linear progress to exponential growth with no hiccups. It is in this area where experience can help those who are just beginning. It is not that we are always going to be right. Our experiences will be different and in some cases even wrong. What was true 5 years ago is not necessarily true today, yet there are still many things that can help us avoid pitfalls.
This is how I started my journey as a mentor. Sharing my experiences with those who have just started. Looking at business strategy, revenue models, marketing plans and costs. Operating costs and how to achieve the most with few resources.
Over the past years, I have delved more and more into mentoring. Many of these sessions I have done for free, many for a sum that does not make economical sense and some for which I have been compensated accordingly. I have enjoyed every single session. I have mentored at bootcamps for 8 hours none stop and I have left the venue exhuasted and energised. I was exhuasted because I worked at 200% CPU and I was energised because I could give so much and I could see that my brain storming sessions were useful and helped the startups and entrepreneurs build a clearer vision about their project and business plans.
I made no effort. I was simply me and I was happiest at being me. I was not a multimillionaire but just another enrtrepreneur sharing my experience, expertise and passion. Over the past four years I have noticed my surge of energy level after each mentoring session and this is what has led me to follow this new path of becoming a startup mentor. I am at my happiest when mentoring. I I don’t need to be anyone else but ME.