Meet the Mentor: Paul Schofield
The Meet the Mentor series gives us an opportunity to get to know the experienced and dedicated mentors at Stone & Chalk, who are committed to helping startups thrive. Our mentors bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table, spanning a range of industries and disciplines.
With the second iteration of the series, we hear from Paul Schofield, mentor at the Sydney startup hub, and his experience with developing relationships, managing your mental powers, and being as flexible as possible.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your professional background
I’m an independent executive consultant with over 25 years of corporate experience, mainly in Financial Services. I have a passion for helping individuals and businesses grow and exceed their perceived limits. I love coaching and playing AFL, cooking, eating, drinking – and life in general!
How would you describe your experience as a Stone & Chalk mentor?
Fantastic! I enjoy coaching and mentoring and love the vibe at Stone & Chalk! The whole ecosystem is so supportive and everyone is open to learning and sharing.
What are some of your highlights/success stories from your time as a mentor with Stone & Chalk?
It’s hard to pick the highlights. How do you differentiate between watching a founder and business grow versus seeing the gender reveal of a founder’s first child? The birth and growth of businesses, individuals, and families is such a great and rewarding thing to be part of!
What are your top tips as a mentor for startups looking to grow and scale their business?
Firstly, look after yourself as a priority. Your mental and physical health powers your success. Next, don’t try to be the solution to every problem. Use the resources around you, be they colleagues, friends, fellow founders, mentors, or even consultant/contract help. Most startups I see are based on a technical solution to a problem or market gap. That solution needs to be backed up with sales, marketing, recruitment, training, and other skills that from an ROI perspective may be best outsourced or contracted. Look for a commercial launch of your product or service – not perfection!
What should founders consider when seeking a mentor?
Look for complementary skills. Be honest, assess the areas you believe you’re weakest in and identify a mentor with those skills. Don’t take an alternative opinion as criticism. It’s your baby, but putting it in different clothes may get you the outcome you need. You need to be challenged to be your best!
What tips would you have for someone looking to become a mentor?
Do it! Be open to a two-way learning process. A good mentor is not a lecturer but a hands-on coach that can flex with the specific situation and learn along the way. Get excited by the prospect of making a difference rather than being the solution. You should feel like part of the team.