You’re never too successful to have a mentor – that’s the mantra that motivated five-time AFR Young Rich Lister and owner of 12 global digital marketing agencies, Nick Bell, and fellow digital agency owner, Lisa Teh, to create a new global platform that is set to change the way mentors and mentees interact around the world.
Lisnic brings together the stars of business, entrepreneurship, academia and sport (mentors) with anyone who is motivated to advance their career (mentees). When a mentee outlines what they want from a mentor and their budget, mentors from around the world can bid on that job.
The mentee chooses with whom they’d like to connect, and a time for a first session is locked in. There’s even a ‘first date guarantee’ – if a mentee is unhappy with the first session, they don’t have to pay.
One key difference between Lisnic and other mentoring services is the outstanding calibre of talented mentors on the platform, such as Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph, real estate tycoon Elaine Culotti, professional big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, eminent biologist Dr David Sinclair, and strategy expert and best-selling author Chris McChesney.
Lisnic was born on the back of a sharp rise in video conferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the owner of 12 global digital agencies, Bell had to change his management style during 2020 when he could no longer meet in person with his international business leadership teams.
As he adjusted to leading and coaching via video conferencing, Bell realised the future of mentoring and leading teams was no longer the sole domain of in-person meetings.
A strong believer in founding businesses he would use himself and a long-standing devotee of mentorship, Bell and fellow Melbourne-based digital agency owner Lisa Teh saw an opportunity to create a useful service.
“Finding a mentor traditionally relies on having the right networks or access to people, which is damn hard when you’re just starting out in business, or living in a remote or regional location where you physically can’t get to meet people,” Bell said.
“Lisnic solves that problem by not only giving mentees the opportunity to connect with mentors from around the world, but also allows you to set your budget and choose more than one mentor if you like.”
“I’m a huge advocate for having multiple mentors. I have a What’s App group with 10 business owners who have created multi-million dollar companies, and shoot off a message whenever I need advice.”
Lisnic integrates secure video conferencing capabilities into its site to host all sessions, which can be conducted from anywhere in the world – all participants need is a computer, a webcam and an internet signal. An inbuilt messaging service makes it easy to schedule sessions.
Mentees can specify a budget, and Lisnic provides an example budget guide to outline what level of experience can be expected from potential mentors. By posting their requirements in a job alert, mentees can ensure that appropriate mentors are alerted to someone on the hunt for their skillset. Mentees can then browse the profiles of mentors who have bid for the job, and award the work to their choice. The streamlined process is fast and easy to navigate.
Lisnic also offers access to ‘mind mentors’ – accredited therapists and psychologists with years of experience across many industries. Their skills can confidentially help mentees with specific issues – for example, stress management, public speaking confidence, or remembering people’s names.
Ironically, or perhaps appropriately, Bell and Teh’s business relationship is the extension of their own mentoring arrangement, forged after Teh approached Bell to invest in her own digital agency.
He initially declined, however Teh’s persistence paid off and not only did he invest, but the two bonded over a shared interest in helping people excel in business.
“Nick’s not only become a great mentor for me, but he’s broadened my network and taught me a lot about business in general,” Lisa Teh said.
Not all mentees are as fortunate as Teh to find such an engaged mentor, or to take the next step and create a business opportunity. That’s why it makes sense to invest the time and money in finding the right mentor, Bell said.
“The most successful people in the world are often extremely busy. By paying for their time, you get access to the world’s best minds,” he said.
“It’s a commercial relationship, with expected outcomes for the mentee. Who knows, your mentor might even open up their ‘little black book’ to you, if they feel like you respect the relationship!”
Lisnic launches on 15 March, 2021 in beta version, with the first session free through the first month. Other opening specials include weekly feedback sessions through Lisnic for anyone who has completed a minimum of one session as a mentor or mentee, and monthly rooms with a celebrity coach (maximum 50 people per room, must be active on the Lisnic platform).