BEHIND THE SCENES OF MY LILLI PILLI:
My Hunt for the right Mentors – and how I slowly eliminated the energy-wasting self-doubt.
Starting up a company from scratch can be a rather daunting and lonely process. Even though you might be a very motivated, focused and committed person, who believes 110% in your company, you can be plagued with self-doubt. Self-doubt totally sucks and can have a negative effect on you and the company you are building. From very early on in my business-building-process I recognised the need for mentors. Mentors that could stir me in the right direction and slap me out of my self-doubting tendencies. It was then my hunt for the right mentors began…..
The SPARK Program
Last year I stumbled upon an advert from Hub Adelaide about their SPARK Program, where it was possible to win a whole year of free co-working office space, a spot on the Venture Dorm Course and FACILITATED MENTORSHIPS. When my eyes fell upon the word MENTORSHIP, I knew I had to apply! I really wanted and needed an experienced MENTOR in order for my business to get on the right track. Put it simply – I needed some good guidance!
Shortly after applying I was contacted by Hub Adelaide. I had been shortlisted for the next round (YEAH-BABY-YEAH), which meant an interview with them, and representatives from Renewal SA and Flinders University (not so – Yeah-Baby-Yeah, but more like OH-SH##). A few days after the nerve wrecking interview (actually it was a rather pleasant experience, but nerve wrecking sounds so much cooler), I was told that that I and four other entrepreneurs had been selected for the SPARK program, which meant I had won a spot in the co-working office plus a spot at the Venture Dorm Course!!!!!!!
What is The Venture Dorm Course?
During the Venture Dorm Course, which was facilitated by The New Venture Institute at Flinders University, we received weekly coaching sessions and met a plethora of mentors from different industries. It was great having access to that much knowledge and experience in one place. In addition, it was nice to have other students by your side, as we often discussed our business ideas with each other.
I clearly remember one of the most valuable advices I got during this course:
“As an entrepreneur/business owner you need to start feeling comfortable with being uncomfortable”.
These words made me think. I realised that every time I was hit by self-doubt, it was mainly caused by uncomfortable situations. After this realisation I tried to turn this whole uncomfortable feeling into something positive. I now try to see it as more like an opportunity than just an uncomfortable situation. An opportunity to try new things and learn new skills in order to grow my business further. I “simply” have to step out of my comfort zone and take the opportunity when it presents itself.
Another aim of this course was also to teach us how to PITCH our companies/ideas, which is a great tool to have. The last requirement of the course was for each us to present a pitch of our ideas to a judging panel and our fellow students.
I was very excited as I was selected as a finalist, which meant I had to present my pitch at the finals (eNVIes) in front of several hundred people including potential investors – no pressure! And please keep in mind at this stage I was heavily pregnant with twins and looked like a penguin when walking as well as trying to avoid running to the toilet every two minutes…. Anyhow, it was an amazing experience, and I honestly enjoyed every second of it – it was definitely worth the hard work. Although I didn’t win, I got awesome support from many of the females in the audience and I connected with so many great people that night.
Now back to the main aim of the whole experience – finding the right mentors….
Early on in the course, I was introduced to a lovely couple, Laraine and David Floyd, who participated in the program as external mentors. Both had extensive experience in developing and growing various businesses independently, so together they had unlimited amounts of precious knowledge. After hearing some of David’s funny dad-jokes and hearing about Laraine’s love of skincare, I knew I had to get them both as a “mentor-package-deal”. Luckily, after our introduction, they contacted me, as they had some ideas how to help me further along with my business. I was soooo pleased!!!!!! A mentor match made in heaven!
Now, it’s almost a year since I met David and Laraine, and they are still a great asset to the development of my business. They are always ready to help me and when I need their advice. I’m so lucky to have found them, My Mentors.
Do you have mentors too? I would love to hear your story, and how you actually found yours.
Until next time, stay calm and don’t let the fear of feeling uncomfortable dictate your life. And remember that your chances of success in life and in business can be amplified by having the right mentors.