Don't ask what I think of your project

So there's a very famous story about Barbra Streisand that goes something like this: Years before she became famous, she once had a voice teacher who did not believe in her abilities at all. The teacher finally told Streisand, quite bluntly, to literally not quit her day job. She would never make a living as a singer, so she should stop wasting her time.

We all know how that turned out.

Could you imagine being that voice teacher? Could you imagine being so crushing, so negative, only to turn out to be so very wrong? I would never want to be that teacher, not in a million years.

I do my share of mentoring - I help other business owners, some of whom are actually in business, some of whom are fleshing out fledgling ideas. I help them hone their vision, come up with a strategic plan, identify their best sources of revenue streams, and how to grow sales.

I do not, in any way shape or form, tell these business owners what I "think" of their businesses or business models, for a variety of reasons. I don't like being asked this question.

First of all, the question is inherently wrong. Don't ask what I think of your project. It's the wrong question to ask of me or any other mentor. It doesn't matter what we think, because we don't know as to whether or not your business model is "good" or "bad." No one knows. All that matters is execution. We live in a world where people have figured out how to sell water and gourmet coffee to one another. If it's possible to sell those things, one can sell anything.

The only opinions that matter are those of your paying customers. When people hand you over their hard earned money in exchange for your product or service, that is all the validation you need. And if they don't, that also tells you all you need to know. Time to regroup and redefine your product, service, or market approach.

A good mentor isn't some blowhard who goes on and on about their own genius, trying to make you feel like you should seek their approval, telling you everything that's wrong with your business, your business model, and/or you. Rather, a good mentor will help you figure out how to achieve your goals. A good mentor will ask the right questions to get you thinking on what you need to do next in order to create those ongoing revenue streams with good margins.

When I mentor other business owners, I want to see them get fired up and excited about the next steps, and how to put together the jumbled puzzle pieces. I want to inspire them, not crush their souls.

Again, don't ask what I think of your project. Ask me to help you define and achieve your goals. And to the best of my ability, I will.

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