Mentoring at Startup Pirates Atlanta
As part of my continuing effort to get out side of my comfort zone, I decided to volunteer to mentor at Startup Pirates Atlanta.
What is Startup PIrates?
Startup PIrates is a global, non-profit organization dedicated to developing entrepreneurs. In their words:
Startup Pirates is a one-week program that enables aspiring entrepreneurs to get inside the startup world and learn how to develop a business idea.
And Startup Pirates Atlanta is the first one to be held in the U.S. So it’s pretty exciting to be apart of that.
What Does a Mentor Do?
What does a mentor do at Startup PIrates? That was certainly my question going into it. I wanted to be sure I could be helpful before committing to mentor. Mike Ames, who told me about it in the first place, described it as listening and giving feedback. That seemed like something I could do.
What Was Mentoring Like?
The description of mentoring was still pretty vague, but I was willing to give it a shot. Here’s how things actually worked.
When I arrived, there was a white board set up and the teams of pirates had scheduled the mentors for 20 minute blocks. The organizers kept time and let everyone know when it was time to move on to the next group.
Each group turned out to be different in what they wanted from me as a mentor. Most started out telling me about their project. And I would usually ask a couple of questions to understand it better. I won’t give away their ideas here, but there were some really good ones and I hope to see them come to fruition.
After that, most groups asked me questions related to my field of expertise, online marketing. Their experience levels varied quite a bit. It’s always an education for me to talk with people that have different experience and comfort levels using social media, email marketing, blogging, etc.
The number one tip I handed out to everyone was to start an email list. Yes, make use of social media, but that’s not where 100% of your effort should go because you can’t control it. There are loads of companies out there that put countless hours of time and effort building up Facebook communities only to find that they now have to pay to reach those people. This can happen with any platform, but your email list belongs to you.
Takeaways For My Business
Mentoring different groups really made me think about how to teach people at different levels. When I’m creating “how to” content, which level am I aiming for? Should I create a labeling system, a “beginner, intermediate, advanced kind of thing) for my “how to” posts and videos? This is certainly something to think about if I create courses or write ebooks.
All in all it Startup Pirates Atlanta was a wonderful experience for me. I hope my mentees got as much out of our time together as I did.