The biggest difference my mentor made is….

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1. Tell me a bit about yourself – how did you start your career and what do you do now?

  • Grew up in Melbourne
  • Studied a Bachelor of Multimedia and graduated back in 2001
  • Back then it was quite hard to find a job in digital
  • I hunted and hunted for 6 months without much success
  • I interviewed for at a very small web design agency in Melbourne and was awarded the job
  • The man running this was a guy called Nick Marvin

2. Let’s talk about mentors. Who’s your first mentor and what impact it had on you?

  • Nick Marvin!
  • So my first day, he said “Right! You are going out on a sales call and will visit a prospective client”
  • I naturally freaked out because:
    • I knew nothing about sales
    • I barely knew anything about web design
  • The end result was the sales meeting went well, I figured out what they needed and managed to convert the sale!
  • Nick continued to keep thrusting me into the deep end and continuously pushing me out of my comfort zone
  • He got me interested in personal development
  • During that 3-4 year period I learnt so much!

3. What do you see as the difference between a coach and mentor?

  • Mentor – sets the tone & long term vision for what is looking to be achieved.
  • Coach – results driven. Very focused on accountability.

Example is the coaching program I am involved in:

  • We operate in 4 Monthly “Sprints”
  • At the start of each sprint, my mentor will look all the data (financials / organisational chart / issues + challenges / opportunities)
  • The mentor paints broad brush strokes on the general direction
  • I get the opportunity to ask questions & get feedback

During that sprint:

  • Coaching is done by peers, subject matter experts
  • We meet weekly
  • We show up having done our homework
  • We are held accountable to each other

4. How have you found mentors and what’s your advice to our listeners on finding mentors? Does LinkedIn or any other social media work?

  • When I was 23 years old saw a guy called “David Trewern” do a presentation on web design at a local meet up
  • David went on to build a very successful digital agency and then subsequently exit the business for a very good outcome
  • 12 years on, I had started my business, and written a book called “Love At First Site
  • Out of the blue I sent him a copy along with a hand written note letting him know that presentation he gave changed my life
    I was able to strike up a friendship with David and meet with him a handful of times to ask questions about his journey and how he achieved what he had achieved
  • In my opinion, offline is where it is at

5. Let’s imagine that I have identified a mentor, how do I approach the next step? Do I announce that I want you to be my mentor? 

  • A simple handwritten note is all that is required
  • Start very slowly
  • This is like dating, if you come in too strong, you will turn the other person off
  • When the time is right, ask for a meet up at a convenient location for the mentor
  • Only ask for 15 min and just say, “I have a few questions to ask you”
  • Be super respectful of their time
  • Send a follow up card or email
  • Wait a month or two
  • Repeat
  • Doesn’t need to be formalised – this is where things get icky!

6. How does a mentee maximise the mentoring opportunity?

  • Be prepared
  • Ask thoughtful questions
  • See where you can add value. Connections, opportunities
  • Always get the bill
About the author
Jon Hollenberg
With over 20 years experience within the web industry, Jon is an expert in online marketing and online growth strategies. Over the last ten years he has worked with iconic brands such as Qantas, Jeep and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary plus hundreds of other businesses Australia wide. Jon is a published author of "Love at first site - How to build the website of your dreams".
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