Today is a big day for me, I started my first company. It’s called grraft. But that’s not where the story begins. See, I wanted to become a software engineer. Jim Rohn said “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” but I didn’t know any software engineers.
I looked for sites which connected proven professionals who were looking to mentor to people seeking mentorship in a specific professional domain, I didn’t find anything compelling. Also, for a couple of years I’d been thinking about the growth and liquidity in human capital; the transferability of one’s valuable skill and experience from one walk of life to another.
I pitched an idea to my family whilst having our evening meal together. My sisters are experienced professionals in Accounting and Pharmacy and my dad in VAT. It went something like this; imagine if you could see professional mentors and mentees nearby. The mentee, a newly qualified Accountant, looking specifically for someone who’s become FCCA qualified (a senior accounting qualification) because they want to see what their career trajectory could look like. Or the senior Pharmacist who manages a team during the workweek and mentors a group of junior Pharmacists an hour on the weekend, and charges for their time. Not only does that beat Saturday afternoon television, earn extra money, it creates a moment where the mentor can take a holistic view of what they do and why they do it. The mentees in this case are Pharmacists with a couple of years of experience under their belt with little management experience looking to make the step up. Feeling their current manager is ‘too close’ to talk to, they gain confidence through a local mentor and push themselves forward. Or how about the HMRC professional with over 30 years of experience mentoring a graduate who’s on the Civil Service Fast Track. That graduate isn’t on the Fast Track anymore, they’re on the inside track. Finally consider the first time startup Founder who hasn’t been exposed to the startup scene. After gaining traction they realise they can’t do it alone. They seek mentors in the areas they need help with; one mentor leaves a lasting impression. The mentor’s a grrafter; they’ve a growth mindset and invest in themselves, they’re trustworthy in their character and clear about their competency, and they see the potential in others. The Founder offers a part of their company for the mentor to join as a Co-founder, and the Co-founder accepts.
It’s my vision to make those moments possible. grraft will provide the technological glue to facilitate finding trusted professionals, experiencing, and paying for mentorship. Bill Gross found timing to be most important factor in a tech company’s success; is the time right for grraft? It is, for three reasons
- Trust in online identity and competency. Facebook were among the first to nail online identity for the masses. LinkedIn is doing the same for the professional. If I’m meeting someone for mentorship I need to be able to trust them. Trust is composed of two parts here; the person is who they say they are and they can do what they claim to.
- Squeeze on the professional middle class. With median salaries in London under £28k and the average house price over £530k, Londoners are faced with colossal 19x salary-lending multiple, no mortgage company lends at that factor. Even City workers, who’ve a median salaries of under £50k, are squeezed; they need to partner up to bring the lending multiple to a reasonable level. It’s up to the professional to grow and monetise their human capital.
- Technology. Access to and the accessibility of services by companies like Google, LinkedIn, and Stripe mean developers can connect the dots to create businesses around them
Over the coming months I’ll be designing and developing www.grraft.com and taking to the streets of London to get professional worker’s opinion on grraft and sign them up if they’re interested. If you’re interested in grraft, micro mentorship, monetising your professional skill, or anything in between, please checkout www.grraft.com to request your invite into the beta programme.