For youth entrepreneurs like myself, the startup journey can often be lonely. Building a business by yourself means that many questions arise along the way. However, few people in your network may share the same perspectives and be able to be a sounding board for you and your concerns.
Therefore, having a confidant to talk to is vital for young and growing entrepreneurs.
A dedicated mentor who understands your journey and motivates you to continue persuing your dream can make a big difference to your motivation. This person will contribute to your growth as a manager and to the success of your business.
When I joined the Ye! Coffee Roulette, I was going through the lowest time in my career as an entrepreneur. At the height of the pandemic, my business revenue was low, and expenses were high. My motivation to keep working harder was dwindling. At that time, I realised that I needed to surround myself with peers who understood what I was going through. I therefore started looking out for support communities where I could find like-minded people. This is how I joined the Ye! Coffee Roulette, an innovative approach to traditional mentoring programmes.
I have been a member of the Ye! Community for 3 years, but I was not a very active member previously. The daily business demands of my start-up and regular consulting projects took up most of my time and had prevented me to engage more with the community.
The invitation to join the Ye! Coffee Roulette came at exactly the right time: I was very excited to subscribe, as I needed someone to talk to about my concerns about my business. The Ye! Coffee Roulette became my first mentorship experience and am very proud of the results. Find some of my new insights below:
Maintaining a healthy Work-Life Balance
This is easier said than done. Most of us young entrepreneurs tend to get buried by the tasks that our businesses demand. As a result, we can sometimes forget to connect and to reach out to our family, friends, and loved ones. One common trait I observed in all of the mentors I matched with throughout the Ye! Coffee Roulette programme, is that they dedicate time to their families and friends outside of work. Reflecting on this, I realized how much energy I could draw from the connections that I have with my friends and family. I decided to dedicate more time towards nurture better relationships with them. When the road of entrepreneurship gets tough, it is important to have the right people to lean on.
Discovering new opportunities and exploring your potential
When it comes to mentorship, one of the benefits that I enjoy the most is the flexibility to share ideas and insights. This exchange of ideas can be exciting, especially if you are pairing with a mentor from a different country or even continent. Your mentor might be doing things differently in their country, and might even work in an entirely different industry to yours. This boosts innovations as you can easily learn and adapt new approaches that have led to great results elsewhere. These insights can encourage you to continue working on your idea, knowing that you too can succeed.
Growing your professional network
Mentors have vast experience in different industries and across different projects, meaning that they also have bigger and more diverse networks. Being connected to their network offered a great opportunity, not only for me but also for my business. I was guided towards better ways of doing things, and I was recommended other professional networks to join. Last but certainly not least, I was able to make new friends who made a difference to my personal growth, my life, and my business.
If you ever thought about getting connected to a mentor but are not sure whether you can dedicate the time to it – think again. This small time investment into mentorship has made all the difference to my entrepreneurial journey. After joining the Ye! Coffee Roulette, I now value the relationships that I have so much more, and I have also become much more intentional about the new ones I would like to create.
Daaki Joshua is the Founder of The Growth Office based in Kampala, Uganda. Connect with him on the Ye! Community platform here.
For more insights into the importance of mentorship, listen to Mentorwise here - a podcast by the International Trade Centre's Youth & Trade Programme and VC4A.
Sign up to be part of the next cohort of our Ye! Coffee Roulette here.