Email updates to career advisors
Issue 96: Keeping those who invested and backed you
The investor update is a crucial email sent by startup founders. Every month or quarter (or whatever cadence), founders send a note to all investors to give them updates on metrics, product roadmap, burn rate, etc. I’ve found them exceptionally informative and also bring a lot of joy in hearing people’s successes. When it comes to your career or life ambitions, I’m a proponent of assembling a personal board of directors—trusted individuals who can give you guidance as you need. For the last few years, I’ve made an effort to keep them informed and updated on my progress—career advisor updates.
I send updates twice a year to this group to keep them in the loop. In this issue, we’ll cover who is on your advisory, the benefits of sending updates, and ideas on how to write the content.
The advisory roster
Mentors and advisors are crucial supporting characters in your career journey. As you continue moving forward, it’s natural you won’t communicate with them as much as you did. You no longer work with them and people are busy. However, it’s important to foster these relationships along the way. Some ideas of people who might be on your group of advisors:
A former manager
An investor in the startup you worked at
The former colleague you used to work with who you’d like to work with again
Instructors or teachers who made a big impact on your life
Friends who hold you accountable and tell you like it is
The value of sending updates
The best updates are relationship-based vs. not transactional. We've all experienced that icky feeling when someone comes out of the woodwork, wanting to catch up, only to reveal they need a favor from you. This doesn’t feel great. My rule-of-thumb is continually fostering relationships and if there is an ask, it naturally arises.
Email updates to your advisors invoke serendipitous moments. People I’ve managed from years ago on occasion send updates to me when they’re looking for a change. Their message sparks more intention for me to be on the lookout to point them in a direction they might be interested in.
Crafting an update
Let's brainstorm a few places to start if you feel stuck on where to begin.
Start with a personal intro
Start with a human intro and let your advisory know how things are going personally before jumping into business. Update on how life is going and how you’re doing.
Professional wins and challenges from the last six months
This is the bulk of the update—a recap you'd give to stakeholders. This advisory group knows you very well and can give you guidance other people cannot. When I write about something I'm struggling with professionally, they tend to come back with a lot of advice that is useful because they know my strengths, weaknesses, and ambitions.
Any requests or asks
They've helped you through your career and likely will continue to do so. For me, it's usually an FYI of something I'm interested in doing and asking them to keep an eye out if there is any serendipitous opportunity. Perhaps it's launching a side project or looking to get into advising.
Share your gratitude
Finally, end it with gratitude—for yourself and them. They've been your backers and don't expect you to thank them. However, it's important to remind them what a spark they've been in your journey. A lot has changed since they were highly involved in your life and it's nice to share where you're developing. I like to mention that I grew in a certain area and how they helped me grow.
A few tips
Though some advisors have become friends, I keep it professional. Here are a few tips and considerations.
Keep it brief: I try to keep my updates to about three paragraphs to keep people in the loop
Don’t spam: You're not growth hacking your advisors. If you're sending from your personal email, BCC everyone to keep it confidential.
Personalize it: There may be instances where you want to add additional context for certain people.
Write a quick update
It takes 10 to 15 minutes to draft an email update, select the contacts, and send it. People are busy, and you might not get a reply from your recipients. I guarantee. you that they'll read it and hearing from you will put a smile on their face.
This action to send an update to your advisors might seem obvious to do, but it's often the obvious things we forget to prioritize in life. Send a quick update.
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