Our mentors do brilliant work helping our startups to learn and grow. Our Mentor of the Month, a mentor who has gone above and beyond, is coach and podcaster Mark Leruste - let's find out more!

Business name: The Unconventionalists

Based in: London

Website: www.markleruste.com

Twitter: @markleruste

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/markleruste

Mentee: Andrew Holme (Insignia Crew)

Mark Leruste, Mentor of the Month
Photo credit: Robin Boot

What’s your current business?

I create online training programmes for entrepreneurs who want to grow their personal brand, scale their impact and become experts in their fields.

I also host a weekly podcast (www.theunconventionalists.com) where I get to sit down with some of the most inspiring people I know (JP Sears, TheMinimialists.com, Chris Guillebeau…) and talk about what it’s really like to start a movement (available on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud).

What’s your specialist area of business?

Coaching & training.

Sum up your attitude to business in one word

Purpose-driven. It’s probably two words. But then again, I am the founder and host of The Unconventionalists…

How do you make sure you achieve your daily goals?

I do my best to identify what’s really important (i.e what’s going to have the biggest impact) and pick three things from that list to achieve each day. And if I can get through those three things then it’s a good day! You can also find out more about how Post-It notes saved my business…

What tech can’t you live without?

#1 My laptop! #2 My phone…

What book/magazine/blog would you recommend people read, and why?

If it’s a book I’d probably say The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber (one of my favourite business books) as it’s a great insight into why most small businesses fail (and what you can do about it). Otherwise, I’m a big fan of The School of Greatness podcast with Lewis Howes (https://lewishowes.com/blog/ ) as you get to hear a wide range of inspiring and thought-provoking interviews. Which always helps me remind myself that I’m not alone trying to create a business and life I love. And last but not least, Building a Storybrand Podcast (http://buildingastorybrand.com/), as they’ve got some amazing marketing tips.

Why do you love being a VSU mentor?

I genuinely feel honoured to get to mentor Andrew and give back in some way, as his business is having such a positive impact. I love his story and just how hard he works and how committed he is. I also love the fact that I get to play a small role in his success story as I know he’s going to go off and do great things. Insignia Crew are doing some incredible work helping woman and men who’ve served their country get a second chance at life by fulfilling their potential in the Superyachts industry.

What’s the best startup advice you have received?

So many! But If I had to share one, it would probably be, sell it before you build it. It sounds counter-intuitive and almost dishonest at first but the truth is, so many Startups I come across spent SO much time developing, building, researching, etc without ever testing to see if the market REALLY wants it. So by selling your idea before you’ve built it (see Crowdsourcing for example) you know that you’re not wasting your time. And when it comes down to startups, you really don’t have time to waste! (If you want to find out more about this concept read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries (or just watch his talks online if you’re short for time!).

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