Keeping yourself on track and figuring out when to zig instead of zag are important pieces in being successful in your business. But you’re not always going to have the knowledge or answers in how to do this, which is when having a mentor can be the difference between making it or breaking it.
It’s not uncommon for high-level CEOs and top performing executives to state how vital their mentor was in allowing them to achieve the successes they have been able to attain. So it stands to reason that you’d benefit from the same, right?
But how do you find a mentor? What do you even look for, where do you start? How do you know if someone is going to be a good fit?
Great questions. I myself struggled with this when I first started and I was lucky enough to connect with a few mentors online, one of those being Sean Ogle, Location Rebel founder and Location180.com blogger. Without Sean’s guidance and wisdom, I am certain I would not have taken the leap of faith I did way back in June 2012 when I quit my full-time job to pursue a freelance career.
That’s all well and good Lise, you’re thinking, but how do I find someone like Sean Ogle for me?!
Before you check out the different ways you can find a mentor, remember the following questions to use as a way to vet a potential mentor, because not everyone you come across is going to be a good fit for you and your business:
- How long has your potential mentor been doing what they've been doing?
- Are they successful in the area you're pursuing?
- Does your potential mentor live locally or internationally?
- How accessible is meeting with your potential mentor likely to be? Either in person or via Skype.
Once you know the answer to these question’s, rate them in order of how important they are to you, with #1 being the most important. This will steer you in a direction of which person to contact first.
Let’s find you a mentor!
5 Ways to Find a Mentor
- Start by looking at the right sources for your niche. So if you're a freelance photographer, start with your local photography professional institute. The same applies for if your a freelance writer, web designer etc. A lot of professional organizations that regulate their membership will offer a mentorship program. Start here first.
- Look at your local university. Everyone learn's their skill from somewhere and what better way to connect with a mentor than someone who has been recognised as being at the top of their field and is now lecturing others. This applies to all training institutions also. If possible, attend one of their lectures or ask other students what they think of this person. Always seek feedback where you can.
- If you're still in school, asking your guidance counselor is a good option. They will often have connections or suggestions about where to find a mentor or how to get involved in a mentoring program that is specific to your niche.
- Go direct. Approach someone in your niche that you admire and see if they are open to answering a few of your questions or if they are local, open to meeting with you for a cup of coffee. Skype calls are also a great way to connect with someone that you might have been following online for a while. This was how I was able to connect with Steve Scott. Keep your requests short and sweet and make it as easy as possible for them to accommodate your request.
- Ask for recommendations from people you trust. If you're not fussed on someone specific to your niche, reaching out to your network is a great way to find some ideas that you might not have considered. Because in the end, being successful has a lot to do with mindset rather than specific skills or being in a specific niche.
Now that you’ve got a few ideas together on how to find a mentor, think about your first meeting or discussion with them. Clearly defining your goals and having your questions prepared ahead of time will not only save you both time, but will make you look like you’ve put some forethought and consideration into their time.
One last thing — make sure that you’re not going to be charged for your time with your mentor. Mentorship doesn’t normally involve money, so double check this ahead of time. Otherwise, you’re entering into the realm of coaching, which is an altogether different type of arrangement.
Do you have any other ways in which you could find a mentor that you’d like to share? Yes? Then please do in the comments below!