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The importance of a mentor

17.11.10 - 9 comments

The past few months, I’ve been working on my latest venture.
It will solve a big problem I have been confronted with since I started, and by scratching my itch, I am sure I will also be able to scratch others’. I  believe my business will become the next best thing since the invention of the occupation called: “writer”.

I have been to multiple meetings, events and people in the industry to present my idea and ask for some feedback. Everywhere I went, I received great comments and replies; The overall message is that those individuals and businesses I met, want to become my clients when I launch my project. They all loved it.

Recently, on a nice Sunday afternoon, I read a small tweet addressed to me, about a business that received millions of dollars in funding. This happens everyday, you might say, but what made this single event a dark point in my day, is the fact that this specific business is doing something similar as what I’m developing. Even worse is that I am only 2 weeks away from launching.

“The critical issue is to have a mentor, period. You want a mentor who has clout and who can be helpful to you.” Sheila Wellington

I immediately panicked and sent a mail to a person, who I consider to be one of my mentors, asking if I should “quit” working on the project. Discovering that my newborn competition received multiple millions of funding, while I am on a shoe-string budget, was kind of terrifying and it made me shiver down to the back of my spine.

My mentor sent me the following reply. Simple, down to earth and absolute common-sense, which I could have easily thought of myself. However, I didn’t because I panicked, thus this short email meant the world to me. It calmed me down and reassured me that I should stick to what I’m doing:

The world is big enough for two similar services – and yours has a
better name of the two :)  Besides the big world, there are always specific
niches – geographical, linguistic, content-related, etc. – you can go after
and “own” rather profitably regardless of the competition in the big world.

And – last but not least – if they become huge and your service becomes
“just” significant, you can always sell it to them :)  Also not a bad deal.

So, I’d suggest to keep at it

My conclusion of this article is the following: YOU NEED A MENTOR; If I couldn’t send out this panic-bomb to someone, most likely, I would have turned to friends and family, of whom most had said to me to quit. Why? Because people who aren’t entrepreneurs have a different take on the idea of creating a business with absolutely no assurance that it will succeed. It would simply be just another reason for them to tell me to stop.

After some reflection and comparing my project with the “competition”, I discovered that my new business has a lot of key differences which will make it a much better service.

When you’re a young starter in the big world of entrepreneurs, having a mentor will definitely be to your advantage!

If you liked this article, or learnt something from it in any way, let me know. It’s great to hear about your experience.

( Ps: Leo, you rock! )

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9 Responses to “The importance of a mentor”

  1. Bart Jacobs

    Couldn’t agree more, Davy. As you write, it is vital to have someone you can call for help who has gone where you want to go. You should consider yourself lucky as finding such a person is a challenge on it’s own. Really enjoyed reading your post and I’m curious to see what that mystery service is!

  2. Patrick Kestens

    Davy, I know the project and please do not consider to quit. it’s A GOOD IDEA.
    keep up the good work.

    • Davy Kestens

      I’m definitely not going to. Asking him if I should quit was rather a question about what I should do with a competitor that “big”. I realize that it’s a proof of concept and simply means I have a great idea ;)

      • Frederic

        Another great advantage of having a (bigger) competitor is that he takes care of the marketing budget (at least, if the idea is so brand-new it needs to be advocated)… in a way, competitors save you money !

  3. Mohammed ALi hussain

    hey Davy,

    Nice post. How did you find your mentor?
    Nyways, another point that i wanted to add was that…
    If they have a budget 100 folds greater than yours..they also need a profit 100 times greater than what would keep you happy…!! Their advantage is itself their disadvantage..!

    All the best with your project.

    • Davy Kestens

      Thank you for your motivation! Indeed, when they receive a significant amount of money, they also have a huge pit to fill.
      About the specific mentor I mentioned in my article: I met him by signing up for a few workshops on marketing and revenue for startups. Check out

  4. Andrés Mejía

    Looking forward to see your new project! Do you have an email list to be notified when it launches?

  5. Gustavo Freitas

    Hi Davy,

    It’s an interesting point of view for sure. I have a piece of phrase that makes me think twice before giving up some idea: “If you create something, it must aggregate value.” The rest doesn’t really matter, since it’s a matter of choice. If you believe what you’re creating add value, go ahed, it will work.


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