When I first started in business, I wanted to find someone who can hold my hand through the whole process.
I hated failure and so I thought that if there were someone who could guide me every step of the way then I couldn't fail.
The problem with this, however, is that I had no clue how to find a mentor - everywhere I looked, I saw useless advice like 'contact your close network.'
Let's all be real with ourselves for a second.
Out of everyone who goes into business, maybe 1-5% of us will have someone who owns a business in our direct network or family.
Most of the time, we're all going to be coming from families who have followed the status quo their whole lives.
We will come from families who work hard but deserve better.
We will not come from families where our uncles are oil tycoons, or where our grandparents franchised 5 different McDonalds.
Therefore, when I saw advice like this, I lost hope completely - "How am I going to find help when I know no one who owns a business?"
My first option was to turn to YouTube and watch videos on starting businesses.
I found a 3-4 hour long eCommerce course and I followed it, second by second.
Many successful entrepreneurs take their hats off to mentors - they mention how mentors helped them reach where they are today.
Mentors, when you find the right one, can be very beneficial.
They can help you shave years off of your journey by directly guiding you through the process with the years of knowledge they have.
They will be able to tell you what to do when things go wrong and help you gain clarity on what to do next.
However, I understand the frustration of trying to find one.
It might feel like whatever you do, you just can't find the right person.
Although finding a mentor is not a straight path - it usually does rely on both work and some luck, this article will help you through the process.
Here are 5 ways to find a business mentor quickly.
Prior to the pandemic, networking events were popping all around the world.
No matter where you lived, there could have been some business events near you.
All you have to do is search online for 'business events near me' and browse through the massive selection of events happening.
Whilst some might be free, others might be paid.
Whether you think paying to go and meet a bunch of people is a good idea, people who attend paid events are usually a lot more likely to be successful and serious.
On the other hand, if you go to a paid event, people will more likely want to help you succeed - if you paid, then you'll also look like you're here to do serious business.
At networking events, you'll be able to meet a whole host of new people.
- and even mentors
You don't want to restrict your circle to only mentors - go around and have fun.
Enjoy your time and meet new people.
When you restrict yourself to only meeting mentors, it will be more difficult to find one.
However, when you broaden your search, you can grow your sphere of influence whilst gaining new connections that help you find a mentor.
Chances are that people at a networking event already know other people.
You'll want to add them on LinkedIn or take their phone number and follow up with them after the meeting.
Secondly, don't jump into the conversation with 'I'm looking for a mentor.'
It's like approaching a girl/boy you've never spoken to and telling them 'I want a partner.' they'll run away!
What you want to do instead is have a real conversation, tell them about yourself, ask about them, and what they're looking to achieve here today.
If you're terrible at speaking to people, I recommend reading 'How To Win Friends And Influence People.'
To summarise the book, you'll want to always talk about the other party - people love talking about themselves and so when you show a genuine interest in others, they'll want to talk to you.
At some point in the conversation, they'll ask about you too - again, don't tell them you're looking for a mentor.
Say something like 'I'm here to meet new faces and expand my network. I'm looking for relationships that can help both parties succeed.'
If the person you're speaking to is not a mentor, then make sure you get their number/LinkedIn and that's when you ask them if they know anyone.
However, if the person you're speaking to is a mentor, you want to ask about how they find it, their experience, students, and show a genuine interest in what they do.
You'll also want to make sure that you take their information down and hint at the fact that you want to have a follow-up call/meet-up at some point in the future.
Networking events are very direct and are the best place to meet entrepreneurs and mentors alike.
In the light of the pandemic, it'll be much harder to find events, and so online meet-ups are also available as another option.
Do good stuff
The second way to find a mentor is to do cool stuff by yourself.
Start a business or build a cool project and talk all about it online.
Make yourself known as the person who did 'X, Y, or Z.'
Mentors want to help you succeed, however, they're a lot less likely to take you seriously if you haven't yet started.
Mentors love to work with people who are already doing good stuff but need that extra push to help them over the wall.
So before you start to look for a mentor, start building a business.
When I was building Condensr, I was building something very interesting.
Therefore, when I reached out to people to help me do customer discovery interviews, a lot of the people I spoke to accepted.
In the process, I managed to connect with dozens of entrepreneurs, some investors, and even some mentors.
When you're already in the process of building something, it's going to be a lot easier to get others to help you along the way.
This is because you can't expect someone to build your business for you.
You can't expect someone to come in and rescue you from the hole you're in, you need to start working on it yourself.
When you've begun your journey, you're going to want to share it all over social media.
We're going to talk about social media more in the next method, however, when you share your journey, it will show people that you're working.
It will show potential mentors that you're working towards something already.
This can potentially attract a lot of attention to you and your work, helping you find a mentor much more easily.
Find them online
To find people you're looking for, you need to go to where they hang out.
A lot of the time, mentors will be on social platforms where other entrepreneurs are.
This could be:
In that order.
LinkedIn is the best possible place to find a mentor - every single business mentor will probably have a LinkedIn account.
Better yet, they'll have the word 'mentor' in their bio under their name.
You can search for these mentors on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter by searching for terms like: 'business mentor,' or 'mentor'.
You'll want to reach out to them and connect with them, building positive relationships.
Similar to the first method, you're not going to reach out to people online and tell them 'I want a mentor.'
You're not going to get a reply.
If you want to get a reply, build a long-term relationship with them.
You can say something like, "Hey [name], I would love to learn about what you do. I'm a business owner working on [idea] and looking to build relationships along the way..."
As long as your message sounds genuine like you're not about to sell someone on something, they will reply.
In all of my marketing agency articles, I've mentioned how prospects are now very cautious online - they don't want to get tons of messages every day from people wanting to sell them stuff.
Therefore, if you come out as someone looking to sell them something, you're going to get ignored.
The great thing about Facebook/LinkedIn is that you're able to join groups.
Find Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups where lots of entrepreneurs hang out.
This will give you immediate access to an entire community of business owners, investors, and mentors too.
Post in the group, engage in the group, and learn about people.
You can also use what we talked about first in this method - finding and connecting to people - by going to the 'members' area and looking for mentors.
Once again, many mentors will have this in their bio making them easier to identify.
When you talk to mentors online, don't just tell them you want them to mentor you - after you've spoken for a while and explained your business, you can ask them for their advice.
"Would you have 15 minutes for a call? I'd love to pick your brain and ask you for your advice."
Being asked for advice is a mentor's dream.
They love to share what they know with people and so a lot of them will tell you 'sure'.
After booking a call with them, connect further on the call and that's when you can talk about what you're looking to achieve, get some feedback, and take it from there.
It's a lot easier than you think to find a mentor in today's world.
Especially if you're looking for a paid mentor.
There are three types of mentors:
- Free mentors
Free mentors will help you out for free - if you find a mentor for free, it could be a really good thing.
If someone doesn't want to be paid for sharing their knowledge, it could mean they're a lot more qualified to be a mentor.
- Paid mentors
Paid mentors are simply mentors who charge you on an hourly or monthly basis.
These can be great, but you need to be careful.
Anyone can just call themselves a 'mentor' on the internet and charge money for it.
You need to properly vet them.
- Equity mentors
When a mentor asks you for a stake in your company, it could be a sign that they know what they're doing.
They don't need money right now, they just want a small cut for when you sell your business.
This means they'll help you build the business but only get rewarded once you sell it.
Finding a free mentor may be the hardest, especially with this method.
However, through other methods like networking, social media, and being interesting, you could potentially come across someone willing to help you for free.
This method we're going to talk about works best for finding paid mentors and equity mentors.
Simply type into Google 'business mentors' and a ton of sites will show up.
These sites will be full of vetted mentors who can help you build a business.
They'd usually charge hourly or monthly, but in some cases, you might be able to find someone who takes an equity stake.
If you don't plan on selling your future business, I don't recommend looking for an equity mentor.
Go through each website, search through the mentors available and find someone who fits your category.
As a rule of thumb, you should only look for mentors who have done what you want to achieve.
If you want to build a 5 figure lifestyle business, find someone who has done that.
If you want to build a 7/8 figure business, find someone who's successfully done that.
If you want to build a 9 figure or billion-dollar business, find an ex-unicorn founder.
You'll be able to message or book a call with these mentors and take it from there.
Don't break the bank looking for a mentor - find someone who's skilled, within budget, and able to help you make a difference.
You've learned about 4 ways to find a qualified business mentor.
All that's left now is to be proactive about it.
Don't sit around waiting for the right person to land in your lap.
It's never going to happen.
Start searching by yourself, take initiative, and look for the right people.
It might need you to step out of your comfort zone, but it's all part of the process.
Go to networking events every quarter.
Message people on social media and make new connections.
You can even look for mentors by easily searching mentor sites.
Keep at it, and you'll eventually find the perfect fit for your business.
There is, however, one more way I wanted to speak about.
It's not going to work like a charm but can make a massive difference when it does.
Every day, you're going to be finding new companies, new websites, and new business owners.
A lot of the time, business owners are mentors themselves.
These business owners will not claim the title of 'mentor,' but connecting with them can help you find that out.
Whilst exploring new businesses you like, find the owner and connect to them on social media.
When I was doing Kickstarter research, I found a bunch of brands that successfully raised a ton of money for their projects.
Condensr was an app that I wanted to fund and bring to life, so I came across a ton of other apps on Kickstarter - one of them was the most funded app called 'Dwell Scriptures'.
It was a bible app that managed to raise almost $130,000.
With no expectations, I emailed the owner of the project, Josh Bailey, asking for his advice on raising money for my own app.
To my surprise, he replied and we ended up getting on a call.
I loved meeting him - he was a great guy.
You can also try this out for yourself.
Reach out to people you want to work with and get on a call with them - be proactive about it.
On the call, you can ask for advice and find out if they can mentor you.
That's it - those are the 5 ways to find a business mentor quickly.
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