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Arend de Jong, originally a strategy consultant and finance professional, has a passion for new businesses and products. When he learned about EforAll, he saw an exciting opportunity to assist entrepreneurs. Over the last 10 years, he has been supporting startups as a CFO and/or consultant, helping them succeed in a competitive environment. Since 2018, he has also been serving as a mentor for EforAll Lynn.

What made you want to become a mentor?

I became a mentor because I love working with enthusiastic and inspired people. My first mentee was an incredibly knowledgeable beekeeper who needed help organizing her business. She had no idea she was already generating significant revenue because her administration was a mess. I enjoy using my skills to help these passionate individuals manage and grow their businesses. It’s energizing for both sides.

Can you give us some examples of the kinds of startups you have mentored with us?

I’ve mentored a variety of startups. One was a beekeeping business where the entrepreneur had a degree in beekeeping and initially worked for the state’s agriculture department. Her business grew from offering free bee removal to selling honey and bee products, eventually generating significant revenue. Another example is a mother-daughter team that created a skincare line from their kitchen, which they sold at cheerleading meets. They needed help scaling their business from homemade products to a larger market.

Is there a specific mentoring experience that you are most proud of?

I’m particularly proud of helping the beekeeping business. She went from having no administrative structure to turning over half a million dollars in one year. Her husband even quit his job to join the business full-time. Seeing her realize the potential of her business and succeed was incredibly rewarding.

What is your favorite part of being an EforAll mentor?

My favorite part is helping entrepreneurs refine and develop their existing ideas. It’s not about teaching them something entirely new but guiding them to existing tools and strategies. It’s rewarding to see them avoid years of trial and error and instead make rapid progress. When they come back with successful updates based on our discussions, it’s immensely satisfying.

What do you think makes EforAll special?

EforAll is special because of its careful selection of motivated and viable entrepreneurs. The diversity in ideas and stages of development among participants is impressive. The matching process, which includes a “speed dating” element, ensures that mentors and mentees find a good fit, making the mentoring process more effective and enjoyable.

What advice would you have for entrepreneurs?

Don’t take too much advice from people!  Friends and family often advise based on their own experiences and concerns, which might not align with your goals and situation. They might prioritize your safety over your dreams, leading to cautious advice that could hold you back. Also, avoid hiring friends and family; it complicates things if they don’t perform well, and managing or letting them go is tough. Focus on building a professional, capable team that aligns with your business vision.

Interested in becoming a mentor? Learn more here.