Life has an amazing, often hard to understand path for us, but we should always be open to the opportunities it gives us.
I had a chance to mentor at TechCamp Reconnect Warsaw recently. I often mentor at various events for startups at different stage of development, but this was not a typical program with startups building their business. TechCamp Reconnect supports a group of incredible people, who dream of making a difference and changing the world, because they cannot accept the world as it is today.
At first, I was not sure how I could help journalists, people fighting fake news, people fighting corruption, or those educating others to be more efficient in reaching these amazing goals. However, I soon understood that I could be helpful by coaching them to achieve their potential and grow their ability, making a difference against all the odds in a world where financial return on investment is the priority.
I am personally building a company, which has to deliver business results. Beyond that, my dream is to make sure that the team is cultivating a culture based on trust, respect and mutual understanding. Our mission is to help people feel better about themselves, without wasting time and money on it. This belief helps our team achieve more of what they are capable of achieving in important parts of their lives.
A few thoughts about TechCamp Reconnect Warsaw:
TechCamp Reconnect started with short presentations from each of the project groups. I have to admit that being a newcomer, it was first hard to understand what the project leaders were doing and most importantly why they are doing what they do. And then I realized, that what they needed was a way to organize their dreams, plans, and thoughts, and come up with a plan to make it happen.
The best way to do this is by creating a pitch. At TechCamp Reconnect, the participants had five minutes to present all of the most important information about their projects. Why is pitching so important? As someone told me a long time ago “Life is a pitch”- and it is true. Whatever we do, we need to know what we want and be able to communicate it as clearly as possible. So ask yourself, what is it that you want to achieve? If you do not know, surely none else will know and definitely no one else will help achieve that dream.
When you make a pitch, you have to sift through all the thoughts, plans, and dreams in order to find the most important path. Surely we can talk for hours about what we do, how, why, but no one (or at least no one who can support you) has enough time to spend on figuring out a plan for you. It is always your responsibility to know your objective, to have plan, and to make it happen.
Things will change hundreds of time along the way. Unexpected things will happen and you will need to adjust. Sometimes things will go absolutely against you (at least that is what you will think), but all these things are supposed to happen. That is why you need to know right at the beginning why you do what you do. This knowledge gives you strength to overcome all the obstacles on the way and pay less attention to everyday struggle because you can focus on your longterm goal.
People I met at TechCamp Reconnect had this vision and long-term goal and I truly admire them for that, since most of them were still very young. And they definitely have the advantage to succeed over so many young entrepreneurs who believe all they need is money. What TechCamp Reconnect participants are missing however, is the lack of knowledge about how to make their dreams come true (especially on the monetization side). What they need to realize is they need to come up with a monetization model, and there is nothing wrong with that. Ventures must be sustainable in the long term and enterprise has costs, even if it’s an operational cost like paying for a server or paying salaries. With time, they need to make money to make a living. So, the challenge for them is to find this monetization model without giving up on their goals and values.
Here are a few tips that I offer to TechCamp Reconnect Warsaw participants as well as other participants designing project ideas at TechCamp:
1. The first step is to create a good pitch, because it gives you clarity. I will not go through tips on how to pitch, as there are so many great resources on the internet; just type in “best pitches,” and you will find instructions in articles and videos on how to do it right. Please take your time to do so, it is a crucial step in achieving what you want to achieve. Then, practice pitching wherever you can. Why? Because with every pitch you will feel more comfortable, you will have more clarity on what it is that you want to do and the ability to answer tough questions will give you more clarity as you communicate.
2. Find the way to monetize what you do so that external factors/the necessity of life will not push you to give up on building your dream.
3. Talk to as many mentors as you can that will give you tips and inspire you about how you can achieve what you want to achieve. TechCamp Reconnect brought together many amazing mentors, from many countries and different background to provide a different perspective. Mentors have seen many different models, know other startups, and can tell you about resources that you haven’t heard of yet. And they want to help.
4. Share your knowledge with others so we all become a better global community, building on our strengths and values.
I wish that your dream comes true and that you will make a difference. I also would like to thank the TechCamp team, Jamie and Meredith for the amazing program. I am so grateful that I had a chance to meet you and become part of this program. I wish you that the dream of making TechCamp Reconnect impactful and global will become reality very soon.