Actual photo of me doing mentory stuff

MentorshipBuilding my Board of Mentors

Ryan Doyle

When I first started building software in early 2021, I got lucky with a product idea. It popped up pretty quickly and I took funding from Calm Fund. funding tweet

I had no clue what I was doing. I still don't, a lot of the time. Back then, I thought I should start hiring developers. But based on customer feedback and experiments, Magic Sales Bot changed so quickly that it was hard to provide stability.

I was realizing something else: I believe that this creation game is one I will play for the rest of my life. I want to get my hands on every facet of these businesses, at least once, so I can be acquainted with them if/when I hire or look at them from a bigger scale.

Lastly, I know I do well with the "employee mentality," where I feel accountable to someone for getting work done. I had just quit a corporate job where I was a great employee.

Combine all of that, and I realized I shouldn't be hiring people under me (yet). I should be hiring people over me.

It started when I found Liam Houlahan, Calm Fund investor and mentor. I was sending messages into the void of communities that I was in. earnest request

Of the 5-6 people I DM'ed with, he ended up being the best fit. A former founder who sold his SaaS, we met once a week and I paid him hourly. liam Houlahan

I'd bring him my customer feedback, what I was thinking of working on next, and my priorities. He'd help me uncover deeper priorities and truly keep first things first.

I wanted to become a better product builder, to deliver value to users through a web app, and how to make that value easy to get to. He's helped me become a better product builder by shit-checking me. Most importatly, he was with me through my pivot, when I realized my initial product wasn't going to cut it.

damn (the first iteration of MSB was very successful, if SaaS was a churn competition.)

It was about 5 months of weekly meetings, before I started executing on the pivot. 6 months post-pivot, I can truly say I have a product that's delivering value for users. nice (revenue increasing proportionally to the good testimonials I receive)

I wanted to apply this idea to other aspects of my work. Eventually, I could see working with different mentors across financials, people, and general leadership.

Presently, I really only care about the product I'm delivering, the story that product needs to be a part of, and how I acquire users. Working with Liam for #1, and being a sales guy for #3, I felt that left me with a marketing mentor for #2.

I tried a few different options. I would send out feelers, meet with someone, follow up with them a few times, and not get a response. Maybe they were too busy. Or they "didn't see it" with Magic Sales Bot.

When I saw Corey Haines post about his $500 MRR challenge, I thought it'd be a great opportunity to add him to my "board." corey tweet

Pay him $500, if he doesn't add that to your MRR in X timeframe, you get your money back. Since I made my pivot in November I've been looking for someone like him. Having followed him for a while and spoken a few times, there's a lot higher threshold of trust in his reliability and ability.

Now I've got a two-pronged "board." It's different than a board of directors. A Board of Directors can oust you, fire you, control you. A Board of Mentors is there to build you up.

I'd recommend finding where you could improve in your work, and considering this approach. It's inexpensive and effective.

Reach out to the people who toe the line between being ahead of you, while not too far ahead that it doesn't make sense for them to speak on your situation. You may encounter some crickets - of the 15-20 people I messaged, I'm only working with 2.

Questions? Hit me up on Twitter, I'm happy to talk through them.

I build businesses and write about it.