Is there a certain description for a person who delivers emotional support as well as brings in competence?


Founding my business included a lot of desperation and hard work. Neither do or did I have the social support that was and is necessary to endure tough times. A lot of people recommend working together. I would love to work with other people on an equal footing. But I found people to not be willing to join. People are eager to become employed but they are not eager to be responsible for the company's decisions aswell. And this is what I want, I want someone to help me in tough times and enjoy the good times. By giving emotional support and - what is more - business advice being rooted in experience. Sure, I could – theoretically – get a mentor to help me, but he will pretty sure not be willing to give emotional support when going through tough times. I would like to tell someone what my idea(and already running website) is about and I want him or her to tell me what I could do in times of crisis, when I myself don't have any ideas on how to continue. I'm willing to give him or her a fair share of the company's income.

I heard that to get other people to work with you on eye level you have to enthuse them with your concept. I noticed frequently that me being excited about something does not make anyone else being excited about it. When I was much younger, about 12 years old, I was able to make other people be excited about things. But when I grew older, I am 31 now, even the most awesome things didn't seem to bother anyone anymore.

Given this background here comes my question:

Is there a certain description for a person who delivers emotional support as well as brings in competence? Where do I find him or her? PS: to make this perfectly clear, I'm not looking for someone who takes orders and expects a salary at the end of day. I'm looking for someone who tries to understand my (internet) business, wants the best for my business and me(!) and gives suggestions based on that which he or her is able to justify to me.

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asked May 30 '13 at 17:44
114 points
  • It sounds like you are describing a mentor. As for finding one, I think it tends to depend upon serendipity, rather than a deliberate "hiring" effort. A mentor is someone who helps you because they want to (perhaps they see a younger them in you), not because you pay them, although a token equity grant may be appropriate in some cases, simply to show your appreciation. – Steve Jones 9 years ago
  • How would you push your luck of finding a suitable mentor? – Zurechtweiser 9 years ago
  • Networking and always be open to the idea. As I said before, I think it is something that "just happens", often through shared values, rather than either party doing deliberate recruitment. – Steve Jones 9 years ago
  • Have you ever had a mentor? If yes, how did you find him or her? – Zurechtweiser 9 years ago
  • Not really. I've had lots of people who've helped me along the way, but no mentor as such. – Steve Jones 9 years ago

3 Answers


Actually there is. As surprising as it may sound, it is called CEO. In my opinion the CEO's role is to create an environment where everyone feels safe and productive. Where everyone does what he or she does the best without having to think about the existential risks the company may face.

Entrepreneurs and CEOs can share the responsibilities of running the company if both are willing to do a little extra work. An entrepreneur must be willing to take some direction, and a CEO has to offer ideas and corrective advice for an entrepreneur who may be both fragile and headstrong.

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answered Jul 2 '13 at 18:14
Jani Kovacs
75 points


There seems to be multiple needs here:

  • Emotional Support from those who are in it / have been there
  • Objective on demand advice to support critical decision making

In my opinion, the two can (and many times should) be separated.

When making a specific business decision - I'd rather have someone be direct and able to call my baby ugly and explain why vs caring about my emotional reaction. Empathetic yes. Sugarcoated, no.

I'm not saying that emotional support isn't necessary, but that it should be applied within the right context.

For emotional support, many have followed this path:

  • Coworking space: Being around people with similar belief systems
    can be helpful. Regardless of the product / solution being offered,
    many face similar business level challenges
  • Meetups: Find a local chapter, and then go to the meeting.

Sharing common experiences can be better than punching a pillow or playing the latest xbox shooter - but it also runs the risk that others are "drinking the same kool aid " and lack an objective view.

That's where external validation comes in. Some options are:

  • Free advice channels (Onstartups is one) where some alternative perspectives can be found. Many times, you will be able to find conflicting advice from multiple answers. Whether or not the advice is useful or relevant to your condition is left as an exercise for you to contemplate.
  • (If you are US based)
    offers low / no cost mentoring services covering a range of topics.
    Local, Online and email mentoring options are available. You'll need
    to make the determination whether there is enough domain experience
  • Services like Clarity exist where you can have
    schedule a timed conversation with skilled people. Not so much of an
    advisor / more of a one-time event, but helpful to gain another
  • Hire a specialist to work though a problem is another path - but difficult with open-ended type of tasks.

It would be nice to have an effective private advisory service for tech startup founders that wasn't dilutive or cost prohibitive - but I haven't seen one yet.

answered May 31 '13 at 02:36
Jim Galley
9,952 points
  • Additionally - If you have them, investors can be sources of advice - but with it comes the disclosure that you may not have a clear understanding of the situation AND the possible burden of explaining why you didn't follow their advice. Advisory boards are great and can point you towards possible sources - but they are not built overnight. – Jim Galley 9 years ago
  • "Meetups: Find a local chapter, and then go to the meeting." - Been there. Please elaborate what to expect and how to get what I want out there. "If you are US based" I live in germany. – Zurechtweiser 9 years ago
  • What do you mean by "dilutive"? – Zurechtweiser 9 years ago
  • dilutive - assigning of shares to others. Regarding meetups - can't elaborate more than meeting with people with similar aspirations can be helpful. – Jim Galley 9 years ago
  • Have you been to a meetup, yet? – Zurechtweiser 9 years ago
  • I don't understand how meetups are working. What I see are people being uneasy, trying to see their benefits in others while contributing as little as possible. I don't see in how far these meetings help me. I attended two of those events and they were the same. As long as I don't know the unwritten rules of those events I won't attend again. – Zurechtweiser 9 years ago


I'm coming late to the party on this one.

But I have found that there is rarely a peer for the Entrepreneur. I've found that few people are willing to be their own anchor. Fewer still to weather the storms that come.

I've worked with some very competent people. The common trait among all, weak and strong, they profess never ending "brother-hood" when times are good, and they go running, crying, and accusing when things get tuff. The most competent people I've worked with (those I thought would stay tuff in the clutch), broke down and became negative. Many more pushed for a certain course and took [email protected] responsibility for it.

If you can see a vision through, do all the dirty and artistic things, even accepting set backs, then you are a very rare breed. Don't expect co-workers or spouses to understand. You're asking too much.

You will only know you have found that rare "brother-in-arms" when he/she has faced severe adversity and kept their positive energy around it.

I'm still on the look

answered Oct 20 '13 at 14:35
Dave A
101 points

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