Tag Archives: startup mentors

A World Give Day Surprise for Fatima

May 4th is World Give Day.  It’s the one day a year where people around the world come together to support the causes that they care about most, whether that means giving money, giving their time, or perhaps just giving free hugs.

For this year’s World Give Day, I am holding a mentor-thon and  giving all the money I raise to a little girl named Fatima. Fatima is 4 years old and battling leukemia in Los Angeles.  Friends of the family started this GiveForward fundraising page to relieve some of the financial burden as they cope with the high medical bills.  Fatima’s family doesn’t know we are helping and I think it would be awesome to surprise them with a big donation on World Give Day representing the collective generosity of all the awesome people on the Interwebz! My goal is to help make Fatima’s page rock!  I’d love your help!

So how’s a Mentor-thon work?  Good question!  For the next 24 Hours, I will be using Clarity.FM to take as many phone calls as possible  from anyone who wants startup advice.  Whether your question is about business plans, raising seed capital, finding a co-founder, hiring your first employee. marketing, customer acquisition strategy, blogging, you name it. I’ll answer it.

The goal is to raise $500 for the Ortega family.   All you have to do to help is go to my Clarity.FM page and click the button that says “call me now”.  It’s $2 per minute and all the money is being donated to Fatima through the family’s GiveForward Page.

So that’s it.  Give me a call!!!!  Like ASAP!!!  And if you don’t have any startup questions, ask me about burritos.  And if you don’t have any startup or burrito questions, pay it forward this World Give Day by sharing this on Facebook or sending this along to someone who might.  Let’s make this happen for Fatima!

Click here to talk turkey with me! —> https://clarity.fm/#/ethanaustin

Alternatively, if you think talking to me will be a real snoozer and you’d rather just give directly to Fatima, you can donate on her GiveForward fundraising page here —>  http://www.giveforward.com/friendsoffatima

As an extra incentive to give, I’ll match up to $100 (in total) on donations that use the hashtag #WorldGiveDay in the donation comments.  Let’s go Internet.  Let’s make something amazing happen!

Thanks for your support and happy giving!

– ethan

PS – I hope this post inspires you to do something meaningful on World Give Day.  Feel free to share your plans or idea in the comment section.

PPS – If you haven’t used Clarity.fm before it’s a super-cool website started by Canadian entrepreneur extraordinaire Dan Martell (sorry, no relation to the Model, Rick Martell of WWF lore).  Basically, Clarity allows startup founders (or anyone really) to call up successful entrepreneurs to get advice.  For instance, you want to call up Mark Cuban for advice?  Boom! Here’s his profile. Give him a call.

Clarity is still in private beta, but there are already some really awesome entrepreneurs in the network like Dave McClure and Micah Baldwin.  Holy crap, right?  Imagine not having to deal intro emails and LinkedIn nonsense.  Imagine actually using your phone for (gasp!) talking and not just emails and text messaging. Clarity.fm eliminates all the gatekeepers, and gives people direct access to the most bad-ass, nerd-celebrity entrepreneurs in the universe.  I love the fact that it is democratizing mentorship and bringing back the phone call like it’s 1996. I only wish this service existed when we were first starting GiveForward.


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How to Get the Most from Startup Mentors: Ask for Advice but Don’t Follow it Blindly

I have two rules about asking mentors for advice.  Rule # 1 – Ask for advice frequently.  Rule # 2 – Don’t follow all the advice you get.

RULE NUMERO UNO: One of the smartest things you can do as a startup founder is ask for advice from experienced entrepreneurs, mentors and investors who have been in your shoes before.

Here’s why it’s important.  Your goal as a startup founder is to make as many decisions as possible each day. The more decisions you make on a daily basis (whether they are right or wrong), the faster you move your company forward.

But making crap loads of bad decisions each day isn’t going to get you very far.   So I suppose it’s more accurate to say that your goal should be to make as many good decisions as fast as you possibly can.

Generally, the more informed you are about a subject, the better your decision will be. The problem for most startups is that it takes a long time to gather information and so the question they face is how to balance the need for speed with the need for information gathering.  I think this is where advice from mentors and investors comes in handy.

Asking someone who has been in your shoes before for advice on a narrow subject is probably the fastest way to gather information from which you can make your decision.

Mentors =  information hack.

Think about it this way – when you were trying to figure out how to program your DVR  for the first time, you could have learned how to do it by spending 30 minutes reading the instruction manual.  Or you could have learned how by spending 5 minutes asking someone with a DVR to show you what to do.  Either way, you ended up with the same result. One path was just a lot faster.

In this example, asking for help would have saved yourself 25 minutes.  You could have then used this bonus time to figure out how to get the clock to stop blinking 12:00.

In other words, by asking for advice you are able to accomplish two tasks (i.e. make two decisions) in the same amount of time it would have taken you to accomplish one task had you tried to do everything on your own.  Advice FTW!

RULE NUMERO DOS: One of the dumbest things you can do is follow this advice 100% of the time. 

If you were to follow 100% of the advice you received 100% of the time, you’d end up running your business like a chicken with its head cut off.

Mentors and investors can provide an immense amount of value to a startup; but they should never be a substitute for independent thought. At the end of the day, no one understands your business as well as you do.   Use mentors and investors as a source for guidance, but don’t abdicate your decision making responsibilities to them.  Take all their advice, throw it into a big mentor stew, stir it around in your head for a bit and then draw your own conclusions based on the available data.

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