Tshepo Sedumo is that rare combination of new school cool and old school charm, of street-smart nous coupled with a stylish sense of nostalgia. After finding that finance wasn’t his first love, he quit his studies and turned to his twin passions – tech and music – using self-taught skills to bring his bespoke boombox business to life. And the Atlasville-based artisan has taken his authentic brand to new heights, through the power of mentorship…
Starting a small business in this day and age is more accessible than it has ever been for the average ‘Joe’, but that doesn’t mean that the process itself is any easier. One of the biggest assets that a new entrepreneur can attain in the journey to success is a guiding hand and a motivating force. This is where the concept of mentorship comes in. The Mentorship Challenge is more than just a platform that connects mentors to mentees; it’s the starting point of a process that has the power to unlock your greatest potential and keep you focused on chasing your dreams.
Let me take you back to 2018 where my story began. The month is February and the mood is sombre – it sounds a bit dramatic but hear me out! At that point in time, my business was two years old and I was beginning to question why I took this risk in the first place. What risk, you ask? Well, it’s pretty simple – and pretty cool actually; I decided to create, design and build my own brand of portable boomboxes… all by hand. That’s right. I created a business called Grove Audio out of my passion for sound and working with wood. Passion, as most entrepreneurs will tell you, is a strong motivator and can fuel your ambition through the difficult times, but when you start a small business, you often times have to wear multiple hats at the same time. You can’t just be the person who comes up with the ideas and makes the products or provides the services. You have to be the accountant, the marketer, customer service, and so on and so forth. You have to learn a variety of things and make a variety of mistakes before you get to where you want to be – and that can be overwhelming, especially when you truly believe in the potential of your business. In February of 2018, I was frustrated at the slow growth of my brand. So, I made the decision to find a mentor.
There isn’t exactly a guidebook out there on how to find mentors, so I did what anyone else would have done in that situation: I Googled it. That was the first time that I had heard about The Mentorship Challenge, and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that my mind was blown away. Here is a website that connects people with immense knowledge and experience, across a wide variety of fields and professions, to anyone, regardless of whether they are students, aspiring entrepreneurs, or current business owners looking to expand their learning… all for free! It was a true game changer in my eyes, and I signed up that very same day.
I had an absolutely incredible time working with my mentor, a coaching professional by the name of Precious Zeinzinger-Tuitz, who taught me about more than just business. It was clear to me from our very first meeting that I would be strongly, powerfully motivated, simply by being in the presence of and engaging with a person who has encountered their own hardships in business – and overcome them. And it helped to remind me that success doesn’t come easy for those who dare to dream big and do something different. The power of mentorship extends beyond just taking notes and trying to replicate someone else’s formula. It’s about learning how you can be your best self, with the support of an individual who believes in seeing others succeed.
As far as I’m concerned, there aren’t enough positive words to capture how extraordinary The Mentorship Challenge is, and to detail the lasting impact it has had on my life and on my thought processes. I could go on and on! I recommend that anyone who is looking to shake things up and transform themselves – be they a small start-up or a seasoned business owner – should give it a try and to let the results speak for themselves. You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain, through the persuasive power of mentorship.