How to get and keep a mentor: why nobody wants your coffee offer

I can’t recall how many times but I did propose to buy coffee to people I wanted mentorship from.

A mentor is someone more prominent than me, right? How the hell do I suppose I will attract Brian Joffe to meet me all because I offered to buy him coffee.

He can afford way more than his own coffee and can only drink so much. I am sure he has coffee invites from Zimbabwe to Zanzibar.

Had inviting people out for coffee been that intriguing, I would have invited Azania many times. How I wish.

A mentor is important in that they can save you from making stupid mistakes and loses, and introduce you to prospective clients.

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How to get a mentor

I often get mentorship requests via email or social media. Most of those never go anywhere.

I do have mentors. Real and virtual. Virtual could mean reading Richard Branson’s biography, reading Marc Cuban’s blog or following Lebo Gunguluza’s story.

The thing about mentorship is it isn’t formal. What happens after you ask someone to mentor you? You can’t nag them with meetings and calls all week. A relationship based on you always needing never lasts. It runs out of steam. The ever needed party gets bored.

Let me give an example of one my now mentors, Bra Noel Ndlhvu of Spaza News. I made a blind call to him, briefed him of a free book I am was writing and asked for his articles to be included.

It pleased him that someone is interested in his articles and wants to in essence advertise them further. It gave or aroused a good emotion in him.

Now and then he and I meet; I listen to what he is working on, help or advice how I can. In exchange, he also gives me a whole lot of advice.

You see, he’s is more experienced than me in business, but still I try offer him something. So the relationship doesn’t get boring (one sided).

Some steps to get a mentor:

-          Identify them.

-          Be interested in what they have done.

-          Introduce yourself.

-          Inquire from them about the particular interest you have of them.

-          Figure out what they are working on.

-          Become useful and think of ways you can help out (for free).

I have had good mentors. Some I lost contact with and some I suspect hate my guts, for reasons I cannot write about (or yet). “Some mentors will eventually hate you”, someone said.

Go to Computicket for Startup Picnic tickets

Chronicles of a struggling (succeeding) entrepreneur

The fridge was empty. I swore to myself that the following day I would hustle like I never did before. I don’t know why but the implication of an empty fridge hurts more than not eating the actual food. This can’t be 3rd world problems, can it? Things got better as they always do. Months later I was back in a similar situation of having a horribly empty refrigerator. My life has had a rollercoaster of these episodes.

I must do some shit to rid my life of such low points forever. Points which make none believers not understand why folks like me sacrifice to push what is called a “dream”.

On the other hand, like the rest of society, I don’t like to keep it real. It is like I paint a champagne life with a cheap BIC pen.

You know what kind of society we are?

How new businesses can find a penetrative advantage inspite of limited resources: What business plans don’t teach

The other day I was consulting a lady who wants to start a sort of high end clothing label for preteens, but as everyone – she doesn’t have funds and is demoralized at the thought that it might be tough to get funding for her awesome business idea.

The reality is money isn’t cheap. It is only smart for investors to backup projects which have some traction or leverage: Either the venture has produced some directional progress or the entrepreneur has some entrepreneurial experience.

No one is forced to finance anyone. I often

How my grandmother and her daughter, my mother, ruined my first businesses

When it rained, with my very clean school uniform, I would walk into the pool of rainwater outside our front yard. Sometimes I would throw my grandma with stones. This was all in protest not to go to school.

Such tendencies made sure I went through Sub A to standard 1 by the whip, grade 1 to 3 as it known today. The rod wasn’t spared. The child didn’t perish. S/O to Kwanamoloto Primary School.

1993. I was 6 or 7 years old. I still wet my bed and I stayed with “mma”, my grandma.

I saved up money to buy vegetable seeds: carrots, cabbage and spinach. With passion and hard work I nursed my little farm. We didn’t have running water, most of the houses didn’t. Actually none of the houses in the area did.

Every (or most) morning after noticing that I had wet my bed, it would be a reminder to water my garden. I did.