AUTHOR: Ivana Petkukjeska

How it began…

During the last months of 2020, I started started considering the idea to start my own consulting
business more seriously. Given my experience and knowledge in project management for NGOs, I
started thinking about providing project development and writing services to anyone that has an idea for change and know-how to implement it, but no skills to convert it into an S.M.A.R.T. project proposal.
I knew the end result, but I didn’t know where to start. I knew the direction, but wasn’t sure which
road I should take. So I started opening everything there is on the PMD4NGOs website, and ended up staring at the discussion board and thinking “On a scale for 1-10, how stupid it is to ask a question about how to take the baby steps?”
There was nothing to lose and everything to gain, so I dropped the question. The answer (which I
didn’t even expect) led to free individual mentorship sessions with an international expert. First, I
couldn’t believe that I got such a person providing individual mentorship for me. Second, even more unbelievable, all for free.

Every Tuesday through December: The benefits of the online mentorship process

While the mentorship process about my consulting business idea has already started, I slightly
doubted that organizations needed this type of service. Although I never said that out loud, Edson
showed me that what I want to sell, I am good at and enjoy doing is something that others are willing to pay for, might be bad at or even hate it. This was quite unexpected information for me. I falsely assumed that every project manager knows how and is willing to write projects. I was wrong on this very rare occasion when I assumed without even asking.
It wasn’t just about the need for project writing services I got new insights for. I also got very clear understanding where I should begin, the best approach to promote services, new insights about the market and its demands, potential pool of clients, and guidance for pricing methods. All of this information was provided in a concrete, easy to follow action steps.
Moreover, Edson didn’t only help me see possibilities; he opened doors for me by creating relevant international connections!
There were a lot of other questions that were arising as a result of the conversation or between
mentorship sessions, while I was working on a particular task/guidance I was provided. After each session, everything became clearer. The fear to start on my own diminished and the motivation rised.


3 take aways for future mentees

  1. Utilize an opportunity to get a mentorship from someone more experienced.
  2. Before it starts, get clear about what you want to ask/need information or guidance for (at
    least the first 3 questions, the rest will pop-up as the discussion progresses)
  3. Be open to listen and put the suggested next steps on a to-do list that you plan to execute really soon

Mini bio

My name is Ivana Petkukjeska from N.Macedonia, currently based in Slovenia.
For the last 13 years my work is mostly focused on writing and implementing projects. I’ve worked
with over 50 clients based worldwide, mostly NGOs, for which I’ve secured funding from
governments, ministries, municipalities, EU funds, embassies, companies (CSR programmes), and other international foundations and agencies etc.
I hold Project Management for Development Professionals certificate and an MA degree in International Relations and Diplomacy.
Currently, I am in the process of establishing my own consulting company with a mission to connect
those with an idea and those who give money for ideas. I will do that by supporting my clients in the
process of re-shaping, developing, and writing their ideas as a meaningful, sustainable, manageable,
feasible, and impactful project that makes a change (and sense).

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