Behind the scenes ... Rich, before I posted this, I had messaged and talked on the phone with Sam, and I had his permission and approval to put him in the spotlight with this thread. I asked about his background so I could explain it accurately to others, and I asked him about his willingness to weigh advice, and apply suggestions from SuN members, even if it took him in another direction. And he responded with confirmed enthusiasm.
One of the things that is so great about Sam is how curious, receptive, and gracious he is. He has no hesitation about taking action in response to the advice he receives, and he does his "homework." He told me that he read the book authored by Jeff and Rich Sloan, StartupNation: Open for Business, before he came to the StartupNation site, and that he was encouraged to take action by what he had read, and all the positive interactions he experienced. He is the kind of person that encouraging people love to help.
I`ve been known to post some disparaging responses to posts that are created by people who don`t appear to have done any research on their own, and want to learn the shortcuts and be spoon-fed information by others who have done the reading and research that serious entrepreneurs should do. I`ve notice similar frustrations posted by other "regular" members who are asked for advice that is readily available from various sources (including elsewhere on the SuN website). So I`m encouraged and happy to report that there are serious aspiring entrepreneurs who may be lacking experience, but are willing to do what it takes, and ask questions that are thoughtful and pertinent.
I am so pleased and grateful to see the offers of encouragement and assistance from everyone so far. ngknikole, your offer is much appreciated. Your pro-bono policy is a great example for others to follow. MiteyMite, you`re on top of things, as usual, igniting ideas with your sparks of enthusiasm, everywhere you go. Sam will benefit immensely from your help and the luck of your nearby proximity. Thanks, Stonesledge, for your offer too. Stay tuned as this develops; I`m sure you`ll see an opportunity to assist, and if you`re like me, you`ll benefit as much by Sam`s eager interest as he will, by receiving your advice. And Rich, you are an awesome inspiration as always - full of optimism, encouragement, and empowerment. I feel as fortunate as Sam to receive your endorsement and attentive support. You`re a big part of creating the venue for such an exchange to take place.
Perhaps this teaming up between Sam and me will create a model for other SuN members. We could create multiple mentoring teams and stir up some competitive momentum among these pairs, using some goals with timeframes to measure accomplishments.
I once read about a successful business person who received frequent requests from people who were seeking a mentor with whom they could consult. The business person would always first ask the mentor-seekers who they were mentoring. You don`t have to be a Fortune 500 executive to mentor someone. Anyone with valuable life experiences and cumulative knowledge can share advice and encouragement with someone who has less knowledge and experience.
Along a similar line of thinking, I have a vague concept for a market niche that might be explored as a potential business idea for Sam. This would draw on Sam`s financial interest and knowledge, and his uniquely youthful perspective. I think there is a real need for financial education, on a very practical level, for adolescents and even grade-school-aged children. I haven`t thought this concept through to the point of defining the best product or service that could fill this niche, but I want to toss it out to the fertile ground of this community to germinate and sprout new details that might make it viable.
How could the need for adolescent financial education be turned into a business opportunity?