Mentor Mondays.

11 06 2012

It’s that time of year! Lots of our new mentors signing up are young mentors, offering advice on school and university life; dealing with exams pressure and stress, choosing courses and applying for university, and dealing with the new way of life that going to university brings, away from home and family.

Here are just a few of the new mentors who have signed up in the last month, just a fraction of the horsesmouth mentors offering advice on this topic, but why not snag a new mentor before someone else does? Let’s meet them.

rhaugh1, 20, about to finish second year studying Psychology at Northumbria University in Newcastle. ‘As someone who has recently encountered the university application process, I am knowledgeable on the procedures involved, what makes a good university application, how to choose a university and how to prepare for course interviews. As a member of my university swim and triathlon team, Psychology Society secretary and an active volunteer inside my university, I am informed of the different opportunities available to students. I am able to provide advice on making the most of university, coping with university work and peer pressures and general welfare.’

DaisyF, 21, just finished third year of a health degree and about to go on to a mental health nursing degree in September. ‘When I originally applied for university, I didn’t reach the grades I needed for the course I had applied for. However, my first choice of university offered me the opportunity to study a different degree with the possibility of transferring to my original course dependent on my grades. Although at first I wasn’t sure, during my first year I realised that my original degree wasn’t really for me and this led me to my future degree. I am so happy that the alternative degree was given as another option and it all happened the way that it did.  This helped me to learn that when something doesn’t go your way, it’s not the end of the world and things will have someway of working out as long as you are willing to try something different and work hard!’

LawUndergrad, a 20 year old Law undergraduate, living in rural Lancashire. ‘I am a young person who has been through school, college and I am now in university. I have experience in deciding a career path, navigating friendships, handling a workload and moving in with housemates for the first time. I would like to mentor on this subject because these issues can seem all encompassing at the time and an objective viewer can often help one realise the issue is not quite as daunting as it initially seems.’

Ads, 27, living in Somerset. ‘I have been through university however I am not naturally good at my studies and I have always had to work hard. I’ve been a D student who turned themselves in to a B student and have overcome many obstacles to do this. I have learnt it is about working on your strengths and taking a logical approach, breaking things down, etc. I have always studied economics and have a general interest in finance. When I graduated from university I was in debt but have since turned this around. I can offer practical advice on this subject.’

To contact any of these mentors, simply click ‘contact mentor’ on their profile. If you are new to horsesmouth, you will need to register first – it’s free and easy! To search for other mentors to contact, or to sign up as a mentor yourself, go to our homepage. Good luck and happy mentoring!

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Meet the mentors who defy definition.

20 04 2012

Something we regularly notice at horsesmouth HQ is how our mentors rarely have only one story to tell; an entrepreneur may also be a single parent, struggling to make the balance work. A teenager may also be a carer for an elderly parent. These varied frameworks of experience are of course what makes the individual advice of each mentor so valuable. Each different perspective, informed with a unique set of references, adds up to a fresh angle on whatever problem or goal you might be trying to tackle.

Today we wanted to introduce a few of our mentors who can’t be defined by the ticking of a box.

Meet entrepreneur and family man MVN. As well as mentoring on how to grow start-ups and mid-size companies, his personal life has given him insight into relationships and bringing up children.

‘Having got divorced when my daughters were 9 and 13 and then bringing them up alone for the next 11 years, I gained great insight into teenage development, pressures and relationships with their peers and adults. My own marriage ended due to my wife’s infidelity so adding that experience to that of my kids’ means I can talk with some personal insights into the pressures that happen in many relationships.’

Likewise, toastedbun. With experience at director and manager level in several SMEs, as well as starting several businesses up from scratch, he is happily married with one stepdaughter, having been through the divorce, family courts and learned a lot about life’s ups and downs.

As well as offering business advice, he wants to mentor on how to deal with stress, saying, ‘Having been through this myself I can understand and help those going through a stressful time either at work or with the family. I have learned a lot about how to cope and how to solve the issues that cause stress.’

Onioncompany describes herself as, ‘almost a workaholic but a love of life prevents me from tipping over the edge into 60 hour weeks.’ She’s passionate about helping small businesses and firmly believes that they are the life blood of the British economy. But as well as that, she is passionate about interior design. ‘Just a passion of mine and apparently I’m not too bad at it! I’m also a great lover of photography, art, antiques, travel and food.’

Noridoha is one of our 4Talent mentors and has had an incredible portfolio career, with over ten years experience in developing and pitching TV ideas. However, as well as this she is a published author. ‘I never thought I ‘had a book in me’, until I signed up for a writing course on a whim.  I secured my first choice agent within a few days of submitting my proposal and got a publisher contract not long after that. I can advise you on how to write a book proposal and on what happens after you get a contract.’

Wings is a self-defined housewife, but the clue is in the name as to her other alter-ego; she is also a trained pilot. ‘I may not be a professional, but I have life experience, having been happily married for 21 years, and I have a daughter of 20 and a son of 17. I have started my own business and have volunteered in various capacities. I am also a pilot, having learned to fly at the ripe old age of 40!’

Chameleon went from being bullied at school, which she offers mentoring on, to moving to a forest in Norway to set up a retreat. ‘ I have been living there for two years, during which time I have had lots of time to think over my life and come close to who I really am. Now that I don’t have so many distractions, no TV, newspapers, radio, I can hear my own voice again, and it is amazing that I surrounded myself with so many superficial things for so long.’

And last but definitely not least, is Assistocrat. Having started and grown successful businesses, he is now an investor. ‘I invest in a broad range of assets including equities, funds, derivatives and commodities, as well as more exotic niche instruments. I am a chartist at heart and over the last ten years have developed and refined my trading system and style.’ But as well as his successful business ventures he has also authored over 35 books, including fiction and many nonfiction titles.

Proof that there really are two sides to every coin; an impressive variety of experience and achievement. To contact any of these mentors for advice, register to join the horsesmouth community today.





Mentor Mondays – Channel 4 Internships.

26 03 2012

Got talent and want to get into TV? Channel 4 Internships could be for you. You don’t need special qualifications, not even a degree, but bags of enthusiasm and talent. The internships are paid and run across various departments, from Commissioning to Marketing. 

Where does horsesmouth come into this? Our partnership with 4Talent, the team who manage the internships, offers online mentoring with current Channel 4 staff, across all disciplines. So, if you need advice about interning, or tips for your application, you can get them straight from the horse’s mouth. So to speak.

We’ve even got a 4Talent mentor who used to be an intern herself. Who better to ask for advice?

Keep an eye on the Channel 4 Internships page on the 4Talent website, to keep up to date with the latest available internships. 





International Women’s Day.

8 03 2012

To celebrate International Women’s Day it seems only right to shout about some of our exceptional female mentors, of all ages and backgrounds, with every range of experience you could imagine – and then some.

There are women with unusual stories such as Chameleon, who completely changed her life and relocated to live in a hut in a forest in Norway; or Wings, a mother and self-professed housewife who learned how to pilot at the age of 40. There are women who have gathered a lifetime of experience and qualifications and simply want to share their wisdom. Then there are those who have had successful TV careers as well as getting their books published, or started successful businesses. And those who have added motherhood into the mix, too.

We have young female mentors offering advice on university life, love and relationships and the struggles that young women face such as eating disorders, school life and bullying.

Yet more inspirational mentors: those who have raised to the top of their game in business, who have managed to balance children, work and life, or simply women who found their path in life through trial and error and want to help others along the way. Then there are the visionaries who do what makes them tick instead of living inside the box.

One of the great advantages of horsesmouth is that it is anonymous. This means that subjects that might be difficult to express in real life are much easier to raise, honestly and without fear of judgement. We have mentors who advise on miscarriage, domestic violence, rape, and post-natal depression. And because we are fully moderated, you can be confident that these sensitive conversations are talking place securely.

All in all, as you would expect, the mix of our female mentors is as rich and varied as you would imagine, with the bonus of anonymity to enable freedom of expression. And of course, it’s totally free. So, if you haven’t already signed up, what are you waiting for — get involved today!





NESTA – Innovation in Giving Fund

1 03 2012

We were thrilled to be included in the first round of recipients from NESTA‘s Innovation in Giving Fund. The purpose of the fund is ‘to support and grow innovative ideas that bring about a step-change in levels of giving and exchange and which have a credible route to being self-sustaining in the longer term.’

Currently standing at 45,000 members, we’re delighted to be able to use the funds to develop and grow the community and build awareness of what horsesmouth offers: a safe, online mentoring space for people to easily share their experiences and wisdom, to support and advise others.

Check out our pitch film, for more information and insight into what we do.

NESTA expect to open a second round of applications in Spring 2012. To be informed about the next call for proposals you can subscribe to NESTA’s newsletter or follow on Twitter @nesta_uk

Thanks to Silverfish, for the film!





Mentor Mondays.

27 02 2012

For today’s Mentor Monday, we thought we’d share our house rules. Most important is to stay safe: don’t share any personal contact details, don’t meet anyone and don’t buy anything! That’s just common sense. (As well, our moderators will intervene if any personal information is swapped, so the site does have a safety net there for you. And in special instances, with the consent of both parties, we can consider waiving the strict safety rules.)

Also important is to say give feedback and thank you! Our thank you bank is an easy way to show appreciation to a mentor, or to someone who has shared a pearl of wisdom or a story. Simply click the ‘just say thank you’ link beneath the post, and it will let the person who posted know someone appreciated it. Always try to rate your mentor using the m-factor tool, as well. It encourages mentors to keep on volunteering their time.

Here are a few more guidelines that will help you get the most out of horsesmouth.

DO:
Show respect
Talk to more than one mentor – they’ll be able to help in different ways
Give feedback on the site so it can improve
Rate mentors
Be patient
Publish for the community
Think before you write
Drop by regularly
Seriously consider signing up to mentor other people
Recommend your friends sign up as mentors
Report any abuse of the site
Enjoy yourself

DON’T:
Give out personal information like addresses and phone numbers
Use the kind of ****ing language that might cause offence
Be rude – people are here to help
Take all advice as gospel
Buy anything from anyone via horsesmouth
Arrange to meet other users offline

Is there anything we missed?

 





Volunteering, made easy.

23 02 2012

Would you like to volunteer but feel you don’t have the time? People increasingly feel they do not have enough time to do everything they want to do in their lives, or the energy to do it. Research shows that 48% of people don’t believe they have enough time to do everything they want to do, and 56% feel they don’t that have the energy to get it done.

This is reflected in the plateau in people volunteering their time, as people feel they have less time to volunteer and prioritise their time more carefully.

All of which makes online mentoring the perfect option, if you feel that you are time-poor. The clear benefits of volunteering in this way are that it is flexible (you can choose when and how long you spend doing it), and you can you can do it from your laptop, cutting down on precious travelling time.

HopeItHelps, a 26 year old graduate explains, ‘This kind of mentoring is excellent as it is accessible. I think the best mentors are probably busy people who may not have time to actively go into their community but do have a few hours/minutes available to spend online.’

And there’s no need to train. Whatever your life experience is, from being a successful entrepreneur to a mother of twins (or maybe both!)… your advice, or even just a listening ear, is guaranteed to be of use to someone somewhere.

As one of our mentors ohsoserene says, ‘I joined horsesmouth as it seemed a very easy way to help people and it can fit around my own life. It’s too easy for people to become isolated these days and just having someone to talk to can be a life saver. Horsesmouth seems a perfect way to let people know they’re not alone in his fast moving, digital age.’

We even have a time tracker function on the site, which allows you to keep a track of how much time you’re spending on mentoring. Mentor theplayethic is a busy, successful father of two, and says, ‘I like the idea of being available for a few hours a week to share my practical knowledge and wisdom with others who might benefit from it.’

Another mentor, cosmicjulie, CEO of a social enterprise and an MA student sums it up perfectly, ‘I’m always keen to help others develop and looking for ways to use technology to make the most of the time I have available – horsesmouth provides an ideal solution for me to ‘volunteer’ in the way which suits me best.’

So, maybe volunteering is more accessible than you thought. Even just a few hours a week could make a real difference to someone’s life: a few hours here and there, multiplied by many, equals real change.

Even if you just want to find out more about what other volunteering options are out there and what might suit you best, horsesmouth can help. Ask one of our many mentors who volunteer and offer advice on volunteering

To register to mentor on horsesmouth today, click here.