Being a Mentor Advances Your Growth



In Stiletto Network, Nancy Peretsman of Allen & Company confides that her female peers’ attempt to mentor young women had a surprising effect: “We thought the younger women would deeply benefit from the older women, but the surprise was that it definitely went both ways.”

There is much written on why young entrepreneurs should seek out wise mentors. Yet, very little has been written about the value of the mentee.

If growth is important to you, become a mentor. Interacting with technologically savvy, hungry young entrepreneurs will give you new insight and renewed focus. This population is looking at problems in new ways. They have their finger on the pulse of technology and are ready to create the next big thing.

As “seasoned” human beings we tend to get comfortable with the way our society functions. Young entrepreneurs are not in the comfort rut and are seeking new ways to disrupt the current environment. Nick D’Aloisio, the 17-year-old who sold his company, Summly, to Yahoo! for $30 million, is a prime example. The app he built at 15 years old shortens lengthy articles into reader-friendly portions of text that are easy to read on the go. I’m sure he could teach me a thing or two about the power of simplicity.

Being a mentor is the best way to expand your knowledge and constantly grow. As you teach your mentee, your mentee teaches you. I recently began mentoring by teaching entrepreneurial finance via text and online video. I knew it would be rewarding, but I had no idea that I would become the student. My students challenge traditional forms of learning and inspire me to learn new methods of interacting with them.

So, the next time a young entrepreneur reaches out for a few minutes of your time, selfishly say, “Yes!”

This post originally appeared on Atelier AdvisorsLili Balfour is the founder and CEO of the SoMa-based financial advisory firm, Atelier Advisors, creator of Lean Finance for Startups and Finance Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs. All AlleyWatch readers are automatically eligible for a 50% discount on either of the courses using the preceding links.Image credit: CC by The U.S. Army

About the author: Lili Balfour

Lili Balfour is the founder and CEO of the SoMa-based financial advisory firm, Atelier Advisors, creator and host of Finance for Entrepreneurs, author of Master the Finance Game, and host of the Finance for Entrepreneurs broadcast on Spreecast.

After spending fifteen years in investment management and investment banking, she decided to develop a firm to cater to the specific needs of early-stage companies. At Atelier Advisors, Lili advises leading brands across industries: from tech to consumer goods. In the past, she has advised over 100 brands, including:

Bag, Borrow, or Steal, Visual IQ, Alpha Theory, Derivix, Practice Fusion, Peeled Snacks, Sustainable Minds, Firescope, Chix 6, Duchess Marden, Erin Fetherston, Eckart Tolle, and Stuart Skorman (founder of Reel.com, Elephant Pharmacy, Hungry Minds, and Clerk Dogs (sold to Netflix)).

While advising companies at Atelier Advisors, she observed a common theme – -brilliant founders avoided finance. She began writing about entrepreneurial finance to solve this problem.

As a native of Silicon Valley and a first generation Mexican American, Lili understands the importance of imparting wisdom learned in Silicon Valley to the rest of the world. Her goal is to teach the entire planet about entrepreneurial finance.

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