Mentors – What you need to know about advisors

Alicia Kenworthy – Mentors – What you need to know about advisors.

I have a couple—I mean, I would say I have my personal mentors, and then we have the advisers that we have for our company. In terms of personal mentors, I think I started developing those and creating those relationships, or really developing those relationships pretty early. I guess in college. I’ve always been a passionate person, so I used to always look after the people that were doing something that I really wanted to do, and I could approach them at a conference or a meet up or what have you, and really tell them how much I admire them and express my desire to work with them or learn from them.

I’ve acquired various professional cheerleaders along the way throughout the internships that I did and the work that I did before. In terms of our company, I think that has been absolutely crucial, as we built our pitch, built our story, is also finding people that can help us through this process. Because both my cofounder and I are first time entrepreneurs. So understandably, that’s a risky investment. Because we haven’t been there, done that. We don’t’ know everything that we’re getting into.

What’s been really key for us is to find three or four people who have built our companies, who have operational experience, who know the industry well, who can help us along the way. Those people we found—one woman is a woman I met in my career back in 2009. I had interviewed her when I joined development for my university, and we really clicked, and I really admired her work as a woman entrepreneur, and now that I’m building my own business I called her up. She offered to be an adviser to us.

Another woman is a woman I met while I was sitting at a panel about startups, and she happened to be in the audience, and is a lingerie professional with years of experience, so we really hit it off, so she’s joining as an adviser. Another one is a partner at a branding firm that my cofounder met a conference, and they just really had a wonderful, personal connection.

I think you just have to put yourself out there, go to some of these events, go to you know, conferences or speeches where you think these people are going to be, and really put yourself out there and network.

It’s not even about pitching your idea, per se, but it’s really about making a personal connection with someone. And when you make that personal connection, then they’re inclined to help you. Ask about them, research them, find out what they’ve done. That’s one secret, I think that people love to talk about themselves. So as much as you can get someone to talk about them self, the more they’ll actually like you. So it’s not even so much about putting yourself out there, as so much as it is making that connection .