5 Ways A Mentor Can Help You Overcome Hurdles

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Need to know how to manage your finances? A mentor can help you with that and other issues you face on a daily basis.


The number of male and female entrepreneurs is fairly evenly matched in Australia, but what’s missing for women entrepreneurs is a context in which they can grow, learn and be guided, and real tools that enable them to think big and act big.

Fundamentally, they need to understand the financial basics and funding models. This includes things, such as:

  • How to invoice and when.
  • What to watch for contractually.
  • The value of equity.
  • Marketing basics.

They also need have the skills to manage their commitments to family and their business, and to get to the heart of qualifying ideas and managing within constraints.

This is some of the information that can be taught and transferred from one entrepreneur to another and this is where mentoring is enormously beneficial.

Mentoring platforms

Rare Birds Mentoring is an example of a platform where entrepreneurs are matched with a mentor, who can help them tackle difficult issues and ultimately, help them grow their business.

It also supports organisations in setting up and running high-impact, wide-reaching mentoring programs for entrepreneurs and leaders.

The benefits

  1. Perspective and experience. A mentor can navigate and fast track your personal and business growth. His or her perspective and experience can be invaluable. A mentor can also learn contextually from their mentee.
  2. Define and reach long-term goals. They can help you define your business strategy and goals. They can help you set smart, realistic, future-oriented stretch goals. This can ensure focus and a more secure path to success, as well as personal reassurance.
  3. Accountability. They bring accountability and this breeds responsibility and a sense of execution you won’t find elsewhere. Their desire to see results is fuelled by action plans.
  4. Think outside the box. They can help you look at situations in new ways and ask tough, pertinent questions, which can trigger a necessary change in thinking. They’ve been through it before and this is the wonder of mentorship. In the process, the mentee gains a level of self-awareness and learns how to use emotional intelligence. They also learn about business practices, such reviews and the importance of company culture.
  5. Agility. On both sides of the relationship, mentors and mentees can learn agility. An agile enterprise strives to make ‘change’ something the business is receptive to – not reactive to. This eliminates the ‘organisational trauma’, which can negatively affect many businesses attempting to adapt to new markets and environments.

Related Articles

7 Dos And Don’ts Of A Mentoring Relationship

21 Entrepreneurial Tips For Making It Big

1 Comment to “5 Ways A Mentor Can Help You Overcome Hurdles”

  1. Launching Your Business In The US Is Hard, But Not That Hard | Rare Birds Con 2016

    […] into a foreign country will be a steep learning curve, so learn from someone in the know already. A mentor who has done this successfully in the past will be a step ahead of you and can guide you in the […]

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Why The Road Map Is Different For Entrepreneurs

This week we launched our Ambassador events program in Sydney, celebrating the learnings and experiences of some of the city’s brightest entrepreneurs and thought leaders.


Rare Birds Global Ambassadors Therese Tarlinton (general manager Australia, BuddyBid), Phil Hayes-St Clair (co-founder and CEO, AirShr) and Rhonda Brighton-Hall (leading HR expert) shared their experiences on the importance of mentorship and how entrepreneurs think differently. Here are the top four takeaways:

1. Mentors are essential to your growth

Rhonda Brighton-Hall emphasised the necessity of mentors to elevate your business and personal growth saying: “Mentors are the only thing that breaks you out of the swim lane you are born in – it’s such an important thing to get right”.

Phil Hayes-St Clair believes that, “mentoring is essential” and it should be an obligation for entrepreneurs to commit to and “one you should feel pretty good about doing”.

Based on Therese Tarlinton’s experience of being mentored, she says a great one will, “ask really good questions” with the understanding that you likely know the answers, “you just need the right prompts to dig it out”. She says that she goes to different mentors for different things, whether it is financial questions, for support through a challenging time or to celebrate a win.

2. Figure out the worst thing that can happen then go for it

Therese Tarlinton’s advice to young people is often, “what’s the worst thing that can happen?” She says she took this advice on herself and had a backup plan that involved taking a job in marketing if everything backfired in her business. She says being an entrepreneur is, “going to be a hundred times harder than you think, but it will be a thousand times better when you are actually living it” and so you should just have a go.



3. People want you to succeed, so ask for their help

Rhonda Brighton-Hall says: “I think 90 percent of the world are really great people who really want you to win, and you can rely on them and they can rely on you – and it makes the journey so much more fun”.

She says all you need to do is pick up the phone and ask for a hand, because, “there are so many people who say, ‘that’s awesome, how can I help?’” and this makes you resolve problems quicker and in a smarter way than you could ever do on your own.

4. The future plan can be defined or undefined

Phil Hayes-St Clair and Therese Tarlinton have different outlooks on the future of their businesses, highlighting that every entrepreneur is different and there is no single roadmap.

Phil Hayes-St Clair says he doesn’t know what the next three years will look like for AirShr: “We’ve plotted a very different path which has never been done before and strategy doesn’t cut it in that environment”.

He says he knows, “the product we have today is not the product we’ll have in three years time” and adds that the team understands their vision: “We want to make it insanely easy for someone to remember life”.

Therese Tarlinton, on the other hand, knows “exactly where we’ll be” in the next two to three years and has a clear vision for BuddyBid, including what resources they need, who they should partner with and how they will go global. With this clear strategy, “everything we do every single day is to get us towards this vision,” she says.

Do you need a mentor to help you develop your own entrepreneurial mindset and business? Contact Rare Birds community leader Sarah Coull at scoull@inspiringrarebirds.com for details about joining the Rare Birds Mentoring Program.



‘Meet My Mentor’ Wrap-Up

What is the value in mentorship? How does an experience with a mentor (or being a mentor) impact the personal and professional life of an entrepreneur?

These were the questions discussed at our Rare Birds ‘Meet My Mentor’ event with panelists Vanessa Cullen (Principal of Forward Thinking Design), Ron Geekie (CEO Coach and TEC Chair of The Executive Connection) and Shan Shan Wang (Founder and CEO of Roam Technologies).  Led by Rare Birds Founder and CEO Jo Burston, the panel shared their experiences of mentoring and being mentored throughout their entrepreneurial journeys.  Key learnings included:

Mentoring is experience sharing, rather than advice giving.

Ron noted ‘the best mentors don’t give advice, but know how to ask the right questions’. As Ron’s mentoree, Vanessa said that sometimes Ron will keep asking her questions ‘until I’ve figured out my own answer…’  For Shan Shan Wang, her mentors have often prevented her from making costly mistakes through sharing their own challenges and how they overcame them.

Time with your mentor is precious – go in prepared.

It’s important to remember that your mentor’s time and knowledge is valuable, and you are privileged to have it. In short – don’t waste their time (or yours)! Jo said she would always go into a meeting with her mentor with ‘a list of questions as long as my arm’. Before you meet, prepare questions, a list of areas you’re stuck on, financial plans, anything that you need advice on to discuss with your mentor.

It’s personal, AND it’s business.

A mentor and mentoree may be very different personalities, or very similar – either way it’s important to find a mentor you can connect with on a personal level as well as professionally. This will allow you to be 100% authentic and honest in your discussions with them and help your mentor to support you in whatever way is necessary.

Have you launched a business, and are you looking for a mentor to guide you through the entrepreneurial journey?  Or would you like to offer your knowledge and experiences as a mentor? Join the Rare Birds Mentoring Program and you will be matched with a entrepreneur from the Rare Birds global community.


Mentoring vs Business Coaching: What’s The Difference?

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Mentorship and business coaching are often confused because both involve a one-on-one experience between a mentor and mentoree to overcome challenges.


However, the truth is that they are completely separate practices that serve different purposes.


How does business coaching work?

Business coaching is task orientated and short term. There is a focus on solving targeted issues, such as, a desire to manage more effectively, more effective speaking, or learning how to think along the lines of a certain business strategy. The skills coaching lasts for a specific period of time, perhaps only a few sessions, where the issue in question is solved.

What is a mentoring relationship like?

Conversely, mentorship is designed to be a long-term working relationship with a view to passing on knowledge and developing business direction. Although specific learning goals or skills may be used as a means of forming the relationship, the intention extends beyond these areas. The mentor also provides a safe outlet to deal with the personal side of business by investing interest into the issues preventing the entrepreneur from developing their business and personal achievements. These could be anything from, clarifying the work-life balance, to self-confidence, goal identification, structural or financial planning, or dealing with self perception and public presentation.

Mentoring is therefore more of a mutual and involved experience and less of a training service than business coaching. This makes the process more abstract and free but means that, unlike coaching, mentorship requires a design phase to determine the strategic purposes.

Perhaps for these reasons, coaching is most employed within corporations who want to train employees to acquire specific job performance skills that would aid their work. The coach’s role is simply to tutor the skill, the relationship is clear, and then the use of the coach is fulfilled.

Where can I find a mentor or how do I become one?

Rare Birds has launched a mentorship program that is designed to match start-out entrepreneurs with experienced professionals who want to use their industry experience to develop potential and provide opportunities, particularly to women.

The mentorship process provides the personal treatment in creating access and selecting relevant mentors for the mentoree in question. The concept being that over a period of 12 months the two will meet face to face for a minimum of four hours a month that will lead both on a beneficial entrepreneurial journey. In other words, a mentorship develops the entrepreneur and consequently maintaining professional standards in the business world as a whole, not just the company in question.

Do you need a mentor to help you in your business right now? Join the Rare Birds Mentoring Program and you will be matched with a entrepreneur from the Rare Birds global community. You can also contact our Community Leader, Sarah Coull for more information about the program: scoull@inspiringrarebirds.com


Related articles:

5 ways a mentor can help you overcome hurdles
7 Dos And Don’ts Of A Mentoring Relationship

21 Entrepreneurial Tips For Making It Big

1 Comment to “Mentoring vs Business Coaching: What’s The Difference?”

  1. Tara Lorigan

    The definition of Coaching is not complete in that it focuses on one aspect only. It lacks clarity of what the profession is recognised globally for. Trained coaches facilitate thinking that creates performance in any area.
    A trained business coach will be able to progress the business and the person. Trained coaches are using a range of skills based on an understanding of how the brain works and therefore how humans create performance. They will also be able to add a range of resources from their own skill and experience.
    It is globally proven as the most effective performance tool available.
    It can be for a short term or a longer term. The term is dictated by the focus.

    Mentoring by contrast is informal and based on experience and skill.

    Both mentoring and coaching are integral to success but for women it can be hard to extract ourselves from mentoring relationships that may no longer be serving us.

    My feeling based on working with thousands of women (and my own personal experience) is that multiple mentors serves us better – particularly at the early stages. We have so much to learn and one person won’t have it all.

    Having said that, it’s amazing to have one person who believes in you, if they are the right person ( = passion for you and your vision + relevant skills and experience + proven integrity track record + time to add to you).

    The very best/ most effective mentoring relationships (i.e. that work for both mentor and mentee) are structured so you know the term you’ll work togehter, what you’re going to focus on and when you will do that). ps. mentees buy the coffee :-)

    Go for it woman!

    Like 1

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Would You Like to Be A Rare Birds Mentor Or Mentoree?

Mentorship Program Launch

Are you ready to soar to new heights in your business this year?


Or would you love to fast track another female entrepreneur to success? Our Rare Birds 2016 Mentorship Program launches today!

Mentoring is a cornerstone of the Rare Birds initiative, supporting high level collaboration for entrepreneurs on their journey to success. Our Rare Birds 2016 Mentorship Program will connect successful business entrepreneurs with emerging and established entrepreneurs looking to grow their business.

It creates the perfect opportunity to help solve entrepreneurial challenges, as so often entrepreneurs feel isolated and uncertain navigating uncharted waters. By engaging with a Rare Birds mentor you are guided through a 12 month journey learning valuable lessons and processes, which can ultimately grow your bottom line.


“Whenever I’m asked what the missing link is between a promising businessperson and a successful businessperson, mentoring comes to mind.” – Sir Richard Branson says.


Each candidate is required to fill in a questionnaire which highlights five key focus points. Once the questionnaire is completed, interviews are then conducted with the program’s director and upon matching, candidates decide upon the most effective means of communication, be it online across the globe or sitting across a coffee table.

Afterall, distance truly is no barrier. The program requires just 4 hours each month for the one year journey, with online learning resources available and periodic surveys conducted to measure progress throughout the year.

To get mentors in at a very early stage is vital. I get so inspired by people who are better than me in different areas“, says Rare Bird Pauline Nguyen, co-founder at Red Lantern.

For the Rare Birds 2016 Mentorship Program, candidates looking for a mentor simply fall into one of two different categories; emerging entrepreneurs (those in business less than three years) or established entrepreneurs (those in business longer than three years). Rare Birds also offers a corporate package for those companies ready to develop their employees’ potential.

To be considered for the Rare Birds 2016 Mentorship Program, go ahead and click here! http://www.inspiringrarebirds.com/ 


Inspiration isn’t enough, entrepreneurs need tools and the know how


Jo Burston
Jo Burston
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