Here’s the email we send you to set up our mentoring relationship. It gives you a good idea of how we work.
I am available during the week if you need to speak, but I generally only take meetings between 8am and 4pm. For those in-person meetings, my schedule tends to fill up about two to three weeks in advance. If something comes up over the weekend follow my 3-step guide for how to reach me:
- Email if you've dropped a match and you want to discuss on Monday
- Text if the building is catching fire
- Call if all you see are flames
I believe that the job of a mentor is to guide, not to do the work. As a mentee, this might sometimes be frustrating because it feels like I’m hiding the ball from you. The truth is that I am hiding the ball from you, but it is rarely the case that you will learn as much from hearing my answer as you will from learning your own.
There may be times where you don’t agree with my advice or don’t want to follow it. That is fine and it won’t hurt my feelings. Mentors aren’t always right and sometimes, there is no right answer. Regardless of what you do, please be honest and transparent with me about your decision. As an entrepreneur, whether you choose to listen to someone else is your privilege and your burden. Taking someone else’s advice turns that advice into your opinion and at the end of the day you must take responsibility for the outcome.
In order to keep me in the loop, please send me updates as to your progress. I prefer once a month, but less is fine if you are progressing slowly – your call. Your reports should follow this format:
- Company Status
- Company overview and updates
- Short-form balance sheet is sufficient unless there is something more to tell
- Team Status
- New members? Issues? Conflicts?
- Progress (Good stuff)
- Including whether you’ve met/exceeded/failed to meet goals and why
- Concerns/Challenges (Bad/Ugly stuff)
- Including internal challenges, market changes, external threats, etc.
This format makes it easy for me to see, at a glance, what you’re doing and also prepares you for investor reporting down the line. Once you have set up the initial document, this exercise should take you less than 30 minutes and provide you with some good perspective. If it is taking you more than 30 minutes, you are probably writing too much or we have issues to discuss. This entire report should be able to fit on one page and should never be more than two pages.
You should also keep a “Mentor for Good-List” of questions as they come up along with the dates. It’s best if you keep this in a shared Google Doc so you and I can see a timeline of your questions/issues. Please give me at least 24 hours prior to any conversation we have so that I have some time to review, consider, and scheme.
You never need to feel guilty for receiving mentorship and you shouldn’t feel like I expect something from you. Some mentors may require compensation in the form of cash or equity. I do not. I enjoy helping other entrepreneurs and only ask that you pay it forward by mentoring someone else as soon and as often as you are able.
Finally, In the event that you ever decide that you no longer require my mentorship, please tell me so. It is not uncommon for companies to develop new issues over time and I may or may not have the experience to help you with industry-specific topics as you grow. If that day should come, I will be happy to have done my part to help guide you to that level of success.
For now, I look forward to working with you.