I recently had a chance to chat with Kristin Demidovich, CMO for tech-edu company, MentorMob. Kristin shared with me her experience in switching from a career in fashion retail to a start-up, and what she’s learned along the way.
What is MentorMob?
MentorMob is a learning and discovery website and app that uses crowdsourced knowledge to create comprehensive learning guides.
When you go online to learn something, you don’t really know where to start, what to learn next or who you can trust. So in a sea of free content, people are still paying for online lessons. We realized that if the best content was organized into guides for any topic, then millions of people around the world could learn from the best experience for free. We see the impact that encyclopedic sites have made; we want to do the same for hobby and lifestyle topics.
MentorMob allows individuals to learn from one another by communicating within the site, like traditional mentorship. MentorMob also allows for a one-to-many type of mentorship by providing a digital platform for a larger number of individuals to learn almost any skill. The community of individuals who have helped curate the best content into guides for various topics, like parenting and kiteboarding, are sharing their knowledge to an infinite number of people who can learn from them.
What is your role at MentorMob?
I have an awesome part in the team at MentorMob… I am the Chief Marketing Officer, but what that means is I get to do really cool things with really interesting people everyday – everything from learning new hobbies, to promoting professional athletes online, to going to events to network with creative individuals. With this role Virgin Hotels has actually added me and our MentorMob community as their Dare Devil persona for the Chicago Hotel opening. Pretty fun!
What did you study in school?
Fashion Retail Management at Columbia College Chicago
What was your first entry-level job out of school?
I was an Assistant Manager at Coach. I continued with Coach for the next 8 years of my career, working in many different Chicago locations and ending at Store Manager level.
Wait, What? What made you change careers?
I was ready for the next step in my career personally. I was not sure what I was looking for, but I knew it had to be something I was passionate about, believed in and could make a difference in the world with. It was 100% scary, but knew that I could try it and always go back if I needed. I just had to try.
What was the biggest surprise, and/or biggest learning moment, being part of a startup?
The biggest surprise is how much you can accomplish and learn if you put your mind to it and stay confident! This came from multiple learning moments of mine – of being told NO time and time again. In a startup, most will say “no” at first and you will get down on yourself, your idea and sometimes even the team. BUT you have to remain confident and through this confidence you will be able to learn how to turn those “no” into “maybe” and even “yes.” Always remember that having the confidence and courage to try a startup is more than 50% of the battle. The rest is staying confident throughout the road to success or failure. You have already succeeded by trying.
What is the most inspiring thing about your job? What makes you get up and want to go work for MentorMob every day?
Meeting new people that are insanely passionate about a hobby or lifestyle and set out daily to teach other people or themselves everyday. No day at MentorMob is the same. Somedays I am talking to top kiters in the Dominican Republic and other days I’m hearing an inspiring adoption story from a parenting blogger in Iowa. It is so inspiring to see how excited people are to mentor and interact with others in the community. Knowledge is powered by people!
Any advice for people out there considering career changes?
Try it! One of my favorite quotes comes from Richard Branson – ‘I’d rather look back on life and say ‘I can’t believe I did that’ than ‘I wish I’d done that’. If you try what you love, you will do it well, want to learn more daily and never give up. It will not seem like work. You can always go back, but you may never know “what else” unless you try!
Advice for people considering working for a startup?
Ask a lot of questions and have AWESOME mentors. You are doing something that no one has done before, so don’t think you have all the answers. Do not be afraid to ask questions and seek help. Being vulnerable is looked as being confident in wanting to be successful!
Learn more about Kristin and MentorMob at www.mentormob.com or @MentorMob.