5 Lessons I've Learned From Mentors

Hi #HIHfamily! I’m back sharing the 5 lessons I’ve learnt from my mentors.

Yes, mentors, with an ’s’ - I have more than 1 mentor. I’ve connected with several successful entrepreneurs over different industries, with very different personalities and work practices. Why? I quickly saw that working with one mentor was just one perspective. There isn’t one way to do anything and everyone has a different opinion based on their experiences.

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Work Smarter, Not Harder.

This one is my favourite. The goal is not to work 80 hour work weeks - the goal is to produce the work you need to complete your mandate. That said, working the most efficiently and effectively is the best way to deliver your product/goal/mandate. For example, going to the gym for 2 hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a better work-out than if you go for 45 minutes. It really depends on how you’re working out. It’s like being busy versus being productive. No one feels good after crossing 100 things off the list to then feel like they aren’t any closer to what they need to achieve. Don’t associate the number of hours your work to success you should expect. What’s your goal? What are you working to achieve? How are you going to achieve that? What the most efficient and effective way? And that takes me to my next point….

Experiment, experiment, experiment.

Experiment for improvement. It’s easy to get into a work pattern and be resistant to change. In this day and age, you just can’t do that. Things change way too quickly for you to not embrace it. Experimenting and trying new things keep your ideas, processes and thus product/service or whatever your working toward current. At Serotina Media Inc., we are always experimenting with our workflow to ensure we are working as efficiently as possible, without comprising the creativity and quality of our work. We also have a weekly discussion about each client and our internal projects: What can we change? What can we tweak? What can we try? What new tools are available? Then we evaluate! Testing and experimenting are useless if you don’t evaluate the results. Here’s where my training as a scientist runs wild. When doing these exercises we always keep our main goal in mind.

Execution is everything.

All the business in the world means nothing if you don’t put it into effect. It’s much easier to sign a new contract or start working with a new customer. Execution is the hard part. Keeping the business is what allows you to grow and take your ideas/service/product to the next level. This is where teamwork makes the dream work. More minds are better than one. More brains mean more ideas, more perspectives and better results, at least in my opinion. 

Get everything in writing. 

Handshakes just don’t hold the same value. Any communication, agreement or terms set between you and someone or something, it’s crucial to get it in some sort of writing. With a client or with a friend, when talking business you have to make sure both parties understand exactly what the expectations are. This is less about making sure someone doesn’t mess with you and more about ensuring there is a mutual understanding of what was discussed. Sometimes words that are said are taken out of context, and not always intentionally. I’ve been in multiple conversations where I say black and someone hears grey - black and grey aren’t the same. Making sure expectations are clear prevents any possibility of a ‘misunderstanding’. Make it a habit. It doesn't take as much time as you’d think - include just the high-level points in a bullet point summary via text or e-mail can save you many headaches, stress and probably business. Chances are if there is something you or the other party/parties misunderstood, they’ll reply back and everything will be cleared up.

Pressing send doesn’t mean if’s off your plate.

This one seems so simple but I can’t stress it enough. My boss (and now mentor) at my first full-time job out of university drilled this into me. Just because you send an e-mail doesn’t mean you can cross it off your list. You need to make sure you get that response. It’s as much your responsibility to get that answer as it is the person you’re asking. Ask anyone at Serotina, I’m now a stickler for e-mail follow-up. It seems obvious but how many e-mails have you sent with questions and not gotten a reply to and then have someone ask you if you got the answer, and you say no? I give about 24-48 hrs before I follow up. No one is off their e-mails for more than that time, unless they are at Burning Man…. 

I could keep going... Learning from mentors is something I love doing! I'd love to hear how you think! Check out what Daphne's up to at Serotina Media and reach out on insta @loveyourselfxx if you want to chat!

Xx D