The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to give thanks to folks near and far.
For the last 5 years I’ve been volunteering as a mentor for my local community college. Recently, I was a guest speaker to a 101 programming course and I talked about the importance of developing a brand/portfolio as soon as possible. Over the years the talk has evolved from chatting about soft skills I look for in a team member to the latest, running a WordPress business.
It’s important to me that I give back to a school that taught me a lot about caring for an individual and not just the grade on a paper.
Finding someone to invest in
I have to remember that a majority of these 18 and 19 year old students might not have the focus of a seasoned entrepreneur– yet.
Every new semester I receive a fresh set of kids to mentor. Some are super responsive and others I never hear from. The students I do talk to, seemingly have the drive and passion to go far with their career. While each person might posses this desire, it’s up to them to execute on it.
Two guys make a game
I’ll always ask the class if anyone is currently freelancing. Selfishly, I want to know who I might be able to bring on to the team and to the same point it tells me who is willing to do the hard work.
This time the answer was different, one of my mentees said he was developing a game for Android. Another student raises his hand and states he’s trying to the same thing. Magic!
Immediately I tell them to connect and work on “version 1.0” of the game together. Being a solopreneur is not easy.
Next step, find a neutral 3rd party mentor to advise on the progress. Personally, I’ve had partnerships crumble and have witnessed other partnership’s devastate lives — get a neutral party in there ASAP.
That mentor is me
I talked to them after class and told them to contact me when they have a basic plan together. I haven’t warned them about anything yet — like the fact making the game will not be the hardest part — but I will once they reach out to me.
I don’t know if they will take advantage of my time, I’m leaving that up to them. I will not pursue them or check in on their progress. It’s up to them.
My role as a mentor is not to jump start passion and pursuit — that’s the entrepreneur’s journey.
I’m excited to see if they follow through with this idea.
Become a mentor
The WordPress community is ripe with young startups, developers, designers and business folk.
Folks that I coach often become great friends and it’s wonderful to see their dreams become reality. My hope with this site and events like the WordPress Startup Challenge do just that — we’re introducing young startups to the rest of the world.
In fact I know that Challenge runner-up WP Stagecoach is looking for pricing advice, can you help?
Is there someone you can mentor for the next 30 days? Someone to help see their 2014 resolutions come true? Let’s see if we can drum up some connections on this post.
If you’re up for being a mentor, post your contact info below and connect with someone today!