A Virgin week in many respects – a week where things happened that hadn’t happened before including something that involved Virgin Startup!
I love weeks like this one, when you know you’ve put plenty of effort in, sometimes quite some time ago, and now things seem to be happening – really happening!
My latest news is that I have been accepted as a mentor on to the Virgin Startup scheme, something I never imagined I would be able to do although I loved the idea of it. Luckily I had a close friend who made a very persuasive suggestion that perhaps I should apply & see what happens. Around 6 weeks later, here I am waiting to find out who my first mentee is.
For anyone who doesn’t know me, I’m a massive fan of Richard Branson. I find him so inspiring and down to earth, so to apply to Virgin Startup for me was a natural decision. Government backed, offering unsecured personal loans for business use, Virgin Startup have already helped fund over 1,000 entrepreneurs in around 2.5 years. Not bad really. I just can’t wait to get started!
It was a really interesting application process, part of which was having to highlight the skill sets that you are strong in and gauging them 1-5 depending on how confident you were in these specific skills. It was noted when I had my interview that I hadn’t put 5 (top mark) for any of my skills. Basically as far as I am concerned I am not an expert in anything, I am always learning. I love to hear other people’s views, find different ways to look at things and add or build on my current skill set. So I doubt I’ll ever consider myself as a 5 in anything!
What it also means is that I will learn from my mentee as well. All consulting / mentoring / coaching should be a 2 way process, in my opinion. Even from a coaching point of view which should hold no directional guidance (it’s all up to the coachee to come to their own conclusions), there are learnings on both sides – obviously the coachee will realise strengths inside themselves and paths they perhaps hadn’t thought of before. However the coach may also be learning from a situation he/she hasn’t experienced before, new challenges in coaching this individual or discover qualities in themselves that may not have been obvious before.
Mentoring with Virgin Startup is not industry specific either, in fact the Virgin Startup team try to pair without any industry match to prevent any pre-conceived ideas, competition potential and the like. Again, in my opinion, another way to learn about a different industry and revel in the amazing potential that people hold to create new solutions for others as well as new dreams and vocations for themselves.
I’m hoping to be able to use some of my mentees as business cases to demonstrate how marketing and strategy can boost a business, so keep your eyes peeled over the coming months as there could be some complete superstars on their way in to business!!
To find out more about the Virgin Startup scheme click here.
Susan Walgate says
This is brilliant for you, Jo. Massive congratulations! Hope you still have time for Inspire etc? Very best wishes,
Jo Long says
Yes of course, Susan – networking is such an important part of growing your business, you must have pre-empted my next blog! :-))
Look forward to seeing you soon and hear how you’ve got on with your plans. Thanks for your message, Jo