Where Do You Turn When You Don’t Have a Full Time Mentor? … Is a question turned in to us for the Ask A Protractor series. Spencer Lewis from @Insider_Carpentry is passionate about this subject. He has came on the show today, and answered this question inside and out.
If you’ve ever struggled with wondering where to turn when you lack a full time mentor, then listen to this show. The very least it will do, is inspire you. And most like it will leave you feeling motivated to be active in the online community, and help others as you yourself grow in the trades.
So, don’t delay any longer. Listen to the episode above, or read it below.
#Protractors – Making A Difference!
>>>Full Transcripted Blog Post Here>>>
Martin: Today I have Spencer Lewis from Lewis Carpentry on and this question was submitted to
It says, “As somebody who lacks a full time mentor, I’d like to learn more about how people tuned in their skills and what resources they used.
Spencer, welcome to the show.
Spencer: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Martin: Well, I appreciate it too. I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day and I really look forward to hearing what you’ve done around this subject. This is coming from someone that lacks a full time mentor but they’re wanting to hone in their skills. They’re wanting to get better at what they do. First of all, did you have a mentor? Let’s back up. Where are you located and what is it that you do specifically?
Spencer: I’m in Indiana. I’m a finish carpenter. I work on new construction, residential homes and
that’s my specific niche, just trimming homes full time, usually in the $700,000 to a little
over $1,000,000 price range.
Martin: How long have you been doing this?
Spencer: Trimming homes has been something I’ve shifted into over the last couple of years. I
started in construction whenever I was 16, as soon as I got my drivers license.
Martin: Oh, so about a year ago?
Spencer: A couple of years. Not quite.
Martin: Just kidding.
Spencer: Yeah I gotcha.
Martin: Spencer, have you ever lacked a full time mentor?
Spencer: I would say I’ve lacked a full time mentor for most of my career in the physical sense. I
never had a real skilled craftsman that I worked under, so this is actually a subject that
I’m pretty passionate about because I think it’s actually a limiting belief to think that you
need that physical presence of a super highly skilled tradesman. Because of the time
that we live in, there’s so many resources that you can use to gain skills, learn more, be
inspired, so on and so forth.
Martin: Let’s talk about that a little bit. What would be some resources that you’ve found have
really helped you move forward, maybe get to the next level, as well as keep you
inspired and going in the day to day?
Spencer: It’s kind of an evolution. Starting off in the trades, I got into online forums really as soon
as I started at 16 years old. I’ve been a member of forums since 2005. Whenever I
started out, I just did tons and tons of reading. I wasn’t very active in the conversations
but I just absorbed everything I could from these conversations of tradesmen that were
further along then I was. From there, I would say after some time, I would get more
involved, ask more questions, participate more. In that stage, you can also start to really
use resources like Fine Home Building.com, some trade publications and things like that.
Martin: On this subject of online forums, is that changing or do you still recommend that people
do a Google search for forums for contractors or has that changed now to where it’s not
as much forums these days?
Spencer: Yeah. I’m glad you asked that because something amazing has kind of happened. Since I
started in 2005, the content that has become available on the internet and the
conversations that have taken place on forums has multiplied over and over and over
again. To find the really good trade tips is difficult because there’s just so much. If you’re
searching now, it’s a lot harder to find things that are meaningful. It does seem like as
millennials become more active on the forums, you’ve got a lot of people who are
speaking with authority, who really don’t have any experience. It can be hard to weed
through who actually knows what they’re talking about and who doesn’t, if you’re just
starting out. They’re still beneficial but I would say with just the abundance of content
and threads that are available, it has become more difficult to use those.
Martin: Okay. So where do we go from here, then?
Spencer: I would say it’s very important as you develop, you start to also make connections with
other tradesmen online. It’s not necessarily like a master carpenter to novice carpenter
relationship. But peer relationships, where you’ve mutually discussing how do you do
this, how do you do that. You’re really just growing off of each other and that’s really
probably what’s made me be able to take my work to the next level, is the relationships
that I’ve developed with other really good carpenters. You give and it gets reciprocated
back to you. That’s the important thing. I’ve got guys I text back and forth all the time.
Whenever you find some new trick or whatever, you just grow together. That’s been
really huge for me is those trade relationships.
Martin: I see that happening on Instagram where contractors will become friends and direct
message and then they have their phone numbers and start texting and so on. Is there
other places besides Instagram to connect up with your peers like that?
Spencer: For me personally, besides online forums, I haven’t personally really connected. Maybe
Facebook a little bit. I actually got started on Instagram by way of a private Facebook
group. Someone recommended to me that I check out Instagram, so that’s how that all
started. Instagram and forums have been primary for me.
Martin: What else have you thought about or has helped you on this subject of lacking a full
time mentor but yet wanting to tune in your skills and use resources out there?
Spencer: I would say just realizing the truth. That you don’t need that one person. Anybody who
knows one thing that you don’t know, you can benefit from. So having those
relationships is important. And then just taking the initiative yourself to learn. I recently
heard a quote that “Education is what others do to us and learning is what we do to
ourselves.” The key is really becoming a learner and taking the initiative ourselves to
find the information and to grow those trade relationships.
Martin: I know it can be lonely in business. I experience that in this business I’m in and then
previously when I had my own contracting business. It can be a lonely road when you’re
trying to start one. I had my dad who is a contractor that I could call and I would call
often and bounce ideas off of. I can just imagine that there are a lot of contractors who
might be listening to this, who feel that loneliness. You’re recommending online
connections and peer to peer stuff. Is that something that will help with?
Spencer: I would say it’s absolutely huge for boosting your motivation. The word camaraderie
comes to mind. Just the way you can feed off of other tradesmen, seeing their work. I
know for me personally, I even get motivation just from at the beginning of a day, if I’m
going to start a coffered ceiling, I’ll put my story on Instagram and then I’ve got
accountability because I got people watching. They’re going to see what I get done. That
is kind of a source of just connecting with others to really keep you inspired. It’s been
just absolutely huge for me to have those connections. I can’t imagine if I just tried to be
by myself, in of my own motivation. It would just get really boring, I think. Instagram is
great for keeping up the motivation.
Martin: Cool. Well, is there anything else that you can think of, that you’d like to share on this
Spencer: No, I would just say to anyone that’s listening, you can do it. You don’t need that
physical mentor. Just get active online and give to others and be humble and it’ll come
back to you.
Martin: Spencer, where can people follow along if they want to see what you’ve got going and
follow along with you online?
Spencer: Most of what I post is going to be on my Instagram page. That is Insider_Carpentry, so
that’s my handle.
Martin: There you have it. If you’re looking for an online mentor, sounds like Spencer would be a
great place to start. Go check him out at Insider_Carpentry and until next time, have a
good day. Thank you.
Spencer: You too. Thanks.