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Stop Helicopter-Mentoring Young Entrepreneurs

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Picture yourself at the head of a train. Ahead, you notice that the tracks look broken, uneven, and dangerous. If the train continues forward, it’s almost certain to hit bumpy terrain. Luckily, you see a solution; there’s a switch up ahead, and you know that if you can divert the train, it will trundle along to safety, unharmed.

So, what do you do? The answer is obvious: Divert the train. 

It’s a no-brainer of a decision — except when it isn’t. What do you do if the train isn’t yours to control? You can probably guess where I’m going with this metaphor. 

Every new entrepreneur worries that they’ll make a mistake that will topple their business. Their concern is understandable; after all, the Small Business Association estimates that only two-thirds of companies with employees survive two years, and only half make it to the five-year mark. The statistics for venture-backed startups are worse, with a survival rate of just 25%

The prospect of failure is frightening — for entrepreneurs, and for the mentors who support them. As a serial entrepreneur and occasional mentor, I know firsthand how it feels to stand on a young entrepreneur’s business “train” and see trouble coming up ahead. 

As a mentor, you want to protect your mentee from harm. You don’t want to see the business they’ve given their all to build topple, or watch them struggle with problems you know you could solve if given a chance. It feels like a given to hover over the metaphorical controls and step in whenever you see your mentee making the wrong choice — but in doing so, a mentor can be the person making a mistake.  

Mentorship is a Relationship, Not a Dictatorship

Mentorship is, at its foundation, a personal relationship that requires connection, trust, and respect. If it lacks any of the three, the mentee will not receive the professional benefits that are typically associated with mentorship. According to one recent study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, mentees who do not have a basic relationship with their mentors perform at the same level as unmentored subjects. Without the foundation of an interpersonal connection, the mentoring relationship is virtually useless. 

As Vineet Chopra and Sanjay Saint describe the matter for the Harvard Business Review, “The best mentorships are more like the relationship between a parent and adult child than between a boss and employee. They’re characterized by mutual respect, trust, shared values, and good communication, and they find their apotheosis in the mentee’s transition to mentor.”

I know the value of having a friendship with your mentees firsthand. One of my mentees chose to follow their entrepreneurial interests by building a business in my field; the similarity in our ambitions and career interests created a strong connection between the two of us. Today, she excels at what he does — but when she was new to the field, she often came to me with questions. I was her first mentor, the person she called if she was stuck on a problem, a source of support. It was easy to want her to succeed. 

Sometimes, though, I saw her make small mistakes and chose to say nothing. I let her stumble, even though I might have been able to prevent her from tripping. 

Why? For me, it was a matter of not being a helicopter-mentor. 

The Relationship Dangers of Helicopter Mentoring

Like a nervous parent, mentors may find themselves hovering over their mentees, waiting to swoop in when they see a potential problem. I know the temptation personally — as empathetic people, we want to save those we love from potential dangers. As counterintuitive as it might seem, though, helicopter-mentoring can be dangerous. Left unchecked, it fosters resentment, limits achievement, and sours relationships. 

The interpersonal trouble starts when a mentor starts barraging their mentee with advice. When you “give” instruction too frequently, you may end up “taking” control by asserting your viewpoint and leadership over your mentees. 

A collection of four psychological studies explored this phenomenon in 2018. Its researchers found that even well-intentioned advice can create a sense of power over the advisee. In the worst cases, the advice-receiver may feel as though the advice-giver is attempting to control their actions.  

While you may not mean to oppress your mentee, your constant interventions signal your lack of respect and trust for their thinking. This can leave a mentee feeling powerless, resentful, upset, and even rebellious. In the long run, your mentee might stop bringing their concerns and ideas to you, thereby harming the relationship further. 

Helicopter mentoring isn’t the only habit that mentors struggle to break. Chopra and Saint cite several other types of “mentorship malpractice” in their above-mentioned article. These include but are not limited to claiming credit for a mentee’s idea, taking control of their projects, limiting a mentee’s efforts to your schedule, and stopping them from asking for second opinions. 

Like helicopter-mentoring, all of these behaviors are controlling — and all can stem from a place of good intentions. Mentors need to be careful with their interventions and prioritize respectful interaction above all else. Otherwise, they may find themselves on the outs with their mentee, wondering why their guidance goes unheeded or unanswered.

Mentors Need to Understand Their Own Motivations

The next time that you find yourself hovering, take a moment to check yourself. Ask yourself why you want to intervene — is the problem a major one or just a potential hiccup? Will your advice be necessary, or are you simply putting your opinions over your mentees’? 

Understanding your motivations is essential. You can’t wrap your mentee in bubble-wrap, and they certainly won’t thank you for doing so. Shutting down a mentee’s idea because you want to protect yourself from your own worry isn’t only selfish — it may impact your mentee’s success and harm your relationship.

Remember your role. This is your mentee’s life and project; you are a source of support and guidance, not one of control. If you do feel the need to discourage or offer constructive criticism, think carefully about how you frame it. Check your phrasing, and try to encourage even as you point out the flaws you feel need to be addressed. As business writer Anthony K. Tjan writes for the Harvard Business Review, “You might be tempted to help them think more realistically, but mentors need to be givers of energy, not takers of it.”

Young entrepreneurs need to learn on their own. You can hover over someone to catch them when they fall, but if you do, they will never learn to run. Allowing people to make mistakes will enable them to grow as professionals and as people. 

Let the train go.

Debrah Lee Charatan is a serial entrepreneur, dedicated philanthropist, and veteran real estate sales and investment expert. Charatan currently serves as the president and principal of BCB Property Management, a real estate firm that specializes in acquiring, renovating, and managing multifamily properties in Manhattan and Brooklyn’s most livable neighborhoods. She is also a founder for the Charatan Family Foundation and serves as a donor for a number of charitable organizations in New York City. She has previously been published in Entrepreneur, the Huffington Post, VentureBeat, and CFO Magazine.

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Entrepreneurship

Revitalizing The Global Economy Through Profitable Business Ownership With Entrepreneur

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The world was caught unprepared by the current coronavirus pandemic that is affecting the lives of billions of people around the world. It already claimed millions of lives worldwide. Measures to contain the spread of the illness have forced governments to shut down trade and activity in many cities across the globe. Airports, factories, shopping centers, hotels, and schools are examples of these closures. Although quarantine measures are helping in containing the disease, it is leaving its mark on the global economy. Closure of many businesses has crippled the global economy and left millions of workers without a job.

Due to the closure of many industries, millions worldwide are left without any source of livelihood.  In the United States alone, government figures showed that about 30 million Americans are seeking unemployment benefits after they were laid off by their companies. The impact of the pandemic on the global economy is tremendous, and experts predict that it will take years to recover.

But as Albert Einstein said before, “in every crisis, lies great opportunity.” It is a hint that there are some positive aspects in these difficult times. Derik Jensen Paatan, the founder of Lead Altitude, offered insight into how to put the global economy on the road to recovery. Paatan believes that business ownership in essential services is the crucial ingredient in reviving the global economy due to the shock brought by the pandemic.

Entrepreneurship Drives Economic Growth 

Undoubtedly, the world will wince in pain from the negative impact of the pandemic. But Paatan sees an opportunity for entrepreneurs to bolster the global economy. Paatan said that by creating innovative business ventures in essential and emerging concept service verticals, entrepreneurs could kick-start the economy. After all, entrepreneurship helps stimulate the economy by providing new wealth that, in turn, will increase the national income.

Some people might ask if it is the right time to start a business at the beginning of a recession. The answer is actually yes. Paatan said that challenging situations such as recession create new problems. And when there is a problem, there is an opportunity to build a business that offers a solution. Some entrepreneurs can reposition their businesses to address the situation. He added that, like in our case today, most countries are implementing stay-at-home policies, so business ideas that can provide the basic needs of people without leaving the comfort of their homes will be thriving. And indeed, delivery and service-oriented ventures are flourishing during these difficult times. He continued that if there is a demand, there is always an opportunity to do business.

Paatan said that entrepreneurship creates employment, which in turn provides purchasing power to workers. The more people are buying, the more the economy is getting a boost. Paatan shared that is the reason why during the Great Depression, the US government went on to build Hoover Dam. The infrastructure project employed thousands of workers and revitalized many companies for the needed materials. 

Who Is Derik Jensen Paatan?

Paatan is a well-known Franchise & Investor lead generation expert in North America and around the world. Paatan has helped many businesses lead generation, email marketing, and public relations. “I started my career in the direct response industry in 2012. At the same time, I was grinding my craft in multiple sectors, including health coaching, search engine optimization for SaaS, SaaS business development, high-level coaching, and mortgage brokers.

Then, a client came back to thank him for the positive results and ROI because of the work that they provided the client. “It was a turning point in my life. It paved the way to start my journey in the franchise and business acquisition vertical,” Paatan said. He realized that compared to other verticals, there were many opportunities to position himself in that business space. In 2019, Paatan co-founded Lead Altitude, an online direct response lead generation agency. The company is helping the franchise industry connect with business buyers and sellers in North America and across the globe. More than a year later, the agency has a scalable service within the industry to serve 100 clients towards the end of the year. “We are eyeing to double that capacity by next year. With each client at least making one to two deals per year, that would be over 100 businesses established. And will be a big help in assisting the economic rebound,” he added.

Best B2B Client Attraction

Paatan said that the agency is specialized in assisting franchise brands and business brokers in scaling their brand in the United States and other areas around the world. “We provide the best-in-class business to business client attraction strategies for franchisors, business financing partners, and business brokers,” he added.

The company aims to ensure its clients that the time they spend interacting with other businesses will provide the highest financial return. “On average, our outreach methodologies can generate three to four new businesses annually per client. We are the only service provider with guaranteed campaign service options and the most competitive cost per placement,” Paatan said.

Final Thoughts

Currently, Lead Altitude has made thousands of lead generation for business buyers and sellers around the world. Each client deal they help closed is one step further in creating profitable business ownerships that could spark the revival of the global economy. They are helping the world in making an economic rebound, one deal at a time. 

To learn more about how Lead Altitude can help you in lead generation, visit their website today at https://www.leadaltitude.com/ or send Direk Jensen Paatan a message at [email protected].

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Entrepreneurship

Olumide Gbenro is growing the World’s largest community of Digital Nomads

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Olumide Gbenro, also known as The Globopreneur™, is a multilingual businessman who has grown and monetized the brands of world-class Entrepreneurs, Influencers, and Startups. Olumide Gbenro has built a global network of influence, all from his laptop in Bali, and his personal brand spans to every continent.

Olumide is the founder of Digital Nomad Summit, growing the world’s largest community of Digital Nomads. Currently based in Bali, Indonesia, his reason for starting his venture was because when he arrived in Bali after traveling three years as a Digital Nomad, he found it challenging to connect with a like-minded community of entrepreneurs. He was quick to realize it wasn’t all sunsets and beach life. There were moments of loneliness and challenges in working from a new environment, so he wanted to create a place where online entrepreneurs of all levels could feel a sense of belonging in a community.

He faced immense hardship during his childhood and experienced rock bottom three years ago, where he started with humble beginnings as a Digital Nomad. He couch surfed while hustling all day and night using laptops he borrowed from friends and lived off oatmeal, living in complete survival mode to the point where his body became weak and fragile. Olumide never gave up hope knowing he was working towards a bigger vision and brighter future for himself. A stark contrast to the finer and more luxurious amenities enjoys today.

Today I had the privilege of sitting down with Olumide to ask him three quick-fire questions around his lifestyle and business.

“You are well-respected in the global community for your ability to connect with people from all walks of life. Can you share more on how you did this and how it has helped you?”

“I go into relationships not expecting anything at all, only providing value to people I have a genuine interest in and would work with regardless of monetary gain. I truly believe value attracts money, and if you build a relationship with the intent of value-driven outcomes from the beginning, success will follow”.

“Many Entrepreneurs fall into the trap of thinking they can do everything alone. Why do you believe community is so important?”

“I truly believe it takes a village to be successful. We need a community to create valuable things in our society, and during tough times, we need others to lean on. From knowing where to renew your passport or even just need someone to connect with after staring at our screens for too long, the community is what soothes our human soul and keeps us moving forward”.

“What is your top tip for aspiring Digital Nomads?” the trap of thinking they can do everything alone. Why do you believe community is so important?”

“Be sure to balance work with fun. And most importantly, you have a guaranteed and solid source of income, so you aren’t simply working to survive and instead are thriving as you travel and work. I’m also a firm believer in “slow travel,” staying in one city for 2-3 months at a time (if laws permit) and getting to know the locals and culture, instead of merely taking advantage of the geographic arbitrage of online income”.

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Entrepreneurship

A 6 Year Old with A Dream To Be An Up And Coming Global DJ! Where Is Sean Kilkenny Today?

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Sean Kilkenny has always had a passion for music. From an early age he was inspired and looked up to people in the music industry. At age six, he followed DJs on Radio Disney and would call in to talk to them every day, even if that meant waking up at 5:30 in the morning. These mornings had a big impact on Sean.

“Ever since I was a little boy I had a keen sense of music and entertainment. When I was just 6 years old I would set my alarm every morning to wake up at 5:30am so that I could call into Radio DIsney and talk to the radio hosts. I had found a “sweet spot” of when I could call in and actually talk to the disk jockeys before the phone lines got busy. At just 6 years old I was being featured on Radio Disney and would talk on the air with the hosts almost every day. They called me DJ Sean O and although for them it was just a fun cute thing with a 6 year old at the early hours of the morning, for me it was so much more. Little did they know the impact those mornings had on me and how it would end up shaping the course of my life in the entertainment business forever.” Recounts Sean.

From that moment on, Sean knew that his life would be defined by music and that this was something he wanted to pursue. His first attempt as a DJ went terribly wrong, but this did not stop him from continuing to try and reach his goals.

“I spent countless hours practicing and preparing and when I showed up at my first real gig a bunch of kids from my middle school went there to laugh and tease me. They made such a scene that McDonald’s kindly asked me to cancel and leave. I felt humiliated and almost completely threw in the towel with my dream of being a DJ, but a fire kept burning inside of me and I didn’t quit. I pushed harder and let my passion for music and events and the teasing fuel me to keep going.” Remembers Sean.

At 16, Sean got his big break and the opportunity to begin hosting his own events, which he realized was the only way he was going to make it to the next level. He did not have the funding to host his own parties, but he knew that the local radio station did, so he set up a meeting with them and got their support.

“After meeting with the program director and sharing everything I had organized and planned, he decided to sponsor me and backed me both financially and legally. With the radio station now backing me and my event it was full speed ahead. Over a thousand people attended my first event and it was wildly successful. I went on to host multiple events with the radio station backing me till I was over 18.” Explains Sean.

From this moment on, Sean has amassed a massive following on social media. The events that he has hosted have only gotten larger and more impressive. He even scored a brand partnership with a drink that has helped him generate more revenue. Sean hopes to keep pushing the envelope further and plans to become a global music festival DJ.

“I am currently bouncing back and forth between Arizona and California and my dream is to perform at music festivals around the world. I play all genres but my specialty is in Electronic Dance Music or EDM for short. In the midst of my DJ career, I started promoting an energy drink called Verve. Every time I DJ’d and got on stage I brought up a can of Verve with me to promote it. I ended up being a brand partner with the company from 2012 to 2015 and my direct enroller-tree sales generated over 2 million dollars in revenue. I became a DJ for the company and performed at their 2013 convention at the Mirage in Las Vegas in front of 10,000 people. I have a great relationship with the CEO Bk Boreyko and have worked at multiple other events for their company.” Says Sean.

If you would like to find out more about Sean, you can follow him on Instagram @seankilkennyofficial.

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