Over the past few years I’ve been receiving a steady flow of incoming inquiries for mentorship, coaching, consulting and general assistance coming from WordPress freelancers, consultants, developers, agency owners and tech leads in WordPress agencies.
Currently, I work with a small group of people who reach out once or twice a month and ask for strategic decisions, sales strategy, technical advice on building a reliable infrastructure, marketing help, getting involved with the WordPress community and so forth. Some of my peers are actively growing and I’m super stoked to see ongoing progress, reports on closing large clients, signing long-term retainers and improving their technical and business skills on the way.
More often than not, when I receive a random question or any of my peers asks for help with a specific problem, I’ve already discussed that in details over a podcast interview, a guest post for a major outlet, a technical talk or elsewhere online – including Quora as of the past few months.
As a result, I regularly have to postpone responses or simply reject mentorship requests due to practical reasons (a.k.a. lack of time).
Since I’m following some smart and experienced folks on Quora, I have bookmarked a couple of brilliant responses regarding mentorship and coaching opportunities. Here are the two nuggets by David S. Rose and Gordon Miller:
The essential paradox is that the very people you would want as mentors are exactly the same people who simply don’t have the time to serve in that role, because they’re doing the things that make them good mentors in the first place. Therefore, the best that we can do is try to figure out ways to ‘scale’ our mentoring so as to positively affect the largest number of potential mentees. That is why I spend probably half my time:
Answering questions here on Quora (nearly 6,000 of them)
Creating and publishing free videos (over 1,000,000 views)
Speaking at conferences and panels (dozens of them each year)
Doing TEDtalks (at TED itself, and in half a dozen TEDx events)
Judging business plan competitions (dozens of them each year)
Running online webinars (for NASVF/NCET2, New York Angels, etc.)
Running in-person open training sessions (NYA Educational Meetup)
Teaching at colleges and business schools (Yale, Harvard, NYU, Columbia, Stevens, Rutgers, Carnegie Mellon, IESI, etc.)
Founding and teaching at an entrepreneurship program (Singularity U)
Founding and running a tech accelerator program (AREA)
Doing group events like StartUp Grind, FreeLunchFridays, and others
Writing two New York Times best selling textbooks, one on angel investing and the other on starting a company.
Blogging, tweeting and commenting on others’ blogs
I have learned over the years that my time is more valuable than money. The only reason that people work for a living is that the money they get paid is enough for them to justify the time they spend doing the work. And that is great if you are an employee. But when you are an entrepreneur, there is the “opportunity cost” to be considered and the “time value of money”.
For example, If I were to meet with the over 100 people that have asked me to mentor them, and even if I only spent 30 minutes a week with each of them, then that is 50 hours a week. That is 125% of the time that I have to work on new opportunities. It might help the 100 of you, but it doesn’t help me or any of my other existing businesses.
Other entrepreneurs and consultants receive mentorship inquiries as well and can’t handle each and every ask for help. Most of them also retract these to a side medium – their blog, videos of talks they have presented, or books they have written.
With that in mind, I’m starting an experimental “group mentorship” program for developers and agency owners as well. The format would be an email newsletter 2-4 times a month including tips and strategies from me and relevant links to publications I’ve written online, interviews suitable for the audience, and other helpful resources that I stumble upon over the month.
Here are some of the main topics and goals that would be targeted in my emails:
- How to improve your skills and provide professional development services to your customers
- What strategies do other communities employ in technical architecture and business development
- How to structure the sales and planning processes and ensure financial stability
- What marketing strategies are instrumental in building trust and reputability
- How to develop a unique business model that resonates with your customers and positions you in the top charts
- What challenges do enterprises and large businesses face while looking for a professional team or consultant for their large project
- How to explain problems in a way that is related to the business implications
My friend Marius has suggested a Q&A panel once a month or so. That sounds reasonable and given the right volume, I can send a monthly email answering some of the general questions that most freelancers, consultants, and agency owners struggle with.
The main target group is WordPress professionals providing development and other relevant services to their business peers. Building high-quality solutions is absolutely mandatory so keep that in mind before enrolling in the experimental email mentorship program.
If you have any questions regarding the program, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments area or via email.