Struggling? You need a Mentor.
Today's Editor's Picks
Every once in a while I’ll stumble across a forum thread asking others what their favorite resources are for entrepreneurship.
They always start off listing blogs, podcasts, and products. These are good resources, no doubt, but there is a problem …
After some time many websites you read will not give you the information you need.
In time you will outgrow what’s being taught on your favorite websites.
Your choice from this point is to:
A. Keep searching for that “next level” provider of education
B. Start working with a mastermind group
C. Find yourself a mentor
A mentor is very valuable when you feel you’ve learned all you can from your current resources. They’re not there to hold your hand throughout the entire process of building and growing your business but, instead, there to give you audience because they’ve walked the walk.
In the following I want to explain how you can go about finding a mentor. I also want to explain what type of conversations you can have with them to help grow your business. And finally, I want to share how you can give back to these mentors and reward them for their time.
Part 1: Finding a mentor
The first thing to remember is that you don’t have to have a personal relationship with a mentor in order to gain their knowledge and support. The second is that if you do seek personal relationships they can be found just about anywhere.
A mentor doesn’t need to be around you in order to benefit. How so? Because there are many great individuals already pushing out great content and advice through a variety of means like:
You don’t have to be in touch with them to gain that value – all you have to do is look and listen. Though I started this post saying these eventually hit a stalemate in terms of learning they are still worth their while in the beginning because you have to start somewhere, no doubt.
However, if mentorship is something you want to be personal then do remember you’re in no way limited to just your surrounding area. You’ve got the benefit of online chat on your side so your mentor may come from anywhere in the world.
You can find these people through many different venues:
- Mastermind groups
- Meet ups
It may sound weird but all you need to do is ask.
Not everyone has the time to mentor but it wouldn’t hurt to at least ask if they’d be willing to spend a few moments of their time, throughout the month, to hear your ideas and provide some guidance.
Part 2: Getting down to business
The biggest rule of thumb about mentorship is that you don’t waste time. You may feel all buddy-buddy with them but remember that there is real work to be done so it shouldn’t be something to distract you from accomplishing your objectives.
Treat the mentorship like you would a project: go into each exchange with a highly directed objective.
- Ask for advice on one major question
- Ask for feedback about one specific campaign
- Ask for guidance on one heavy topic
Limiting your engagement to just one item will keep the conversations short and directed. It’ll prevent you from covering too many topics which become a distraction from your real goal. It’ll also stop you from wasting their valuable time (this also includes yours).
An example would be as if you asked about what to do about hiring an additional employee for X position. They should be able to give you a good run-down on the pros and cons along with their experiences on the topic. This is directed and should easily clarify any doubts in your mind.
Part 3: Creating the value exchange
The other thing to remember about this whole mentorship thing is that there needs to be some form of value exchange – like a friendship. You don’t really want to have this one sided where it’s just you gaining all the benefits while the mentor is just shorted on time and energy.
You’ve got to give back.
You’re more than welcome to provide a value exchange through monetary means such as buying them a gift. You’re also more than welcome to exchange your aid and knowledge if they run into any problems or issues of their own.
The mentor may be one you see as someone more knowledgeable than you but there are always little areas they won’t understand which you could fill in the gaps.
Sometimes it’s also enough to just be friends with the person.
My first mentor was one of my bosses. It was a small business so we had the time to sit down and just talk about goals. He was open about me starting one and even encouraged me to pursue it even if it meant that in time I would have to leave the business. His words hold value to this day and have greatly helped me succeed and push forward with my business goals.
You, too, can find a mentor if you’re open to the idea. There are many professionals that would just love to sit down and help others. Find someone passionate like that and you’ll never feel like you’ve hit the end of the road when it comes to learning. They won’t do the work for you (and this is a good thing) but they’ll be the ones there to keep you going forward.
Question: Do you have a mentor? Why or why not?