Mentors are no doubt an integral part of the success of many popular entrepreneurs around the world.
Big names like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and even Bill Gates award their success partly to the mentors who have been involved in their lives.
Given these wildly successful entrepreneurs have all had mentors, it seems only logical that the rest of us seek mentors too.
However, this is not always the case - in fact, it may not always be necessary to have a business mentor.
While some of the most successful people in the world have had mentors, there are still a ton of success stories where people have managed to become successful all on their own.
So, do you really need a business mentor to be successful? Let's discuss that now.
Why you need a mentor
Let's talk about the key reasons why you might go out and seek a mentor.
Fastrack your success
At the end of the day, business success is all about trying new things that take you out of your comfort zone.
You'll most likely fail a lot, but that's all part of the process.
The way you react to the failure or mistakes that you come across will determine your level of success.
If you're unable to bypass the mistakes, you'll inevitably label yourself a 'failure.'
Mentors can help you with this. They've done exactly what you're currently doing and they most likely understand the challenges associated with succeeding.
They know where you go wrong, where you might go wrong in the future and are well equipped to help you when needed.
The process of trying, failing, learning, passing can be a slow and challenging process.
Along the way, there are a lot of mindset shifts that you'll experience which will help you make it to the next level above.
However, a mentor can speed this entire process up for you.
They'll tell you what should work, what won't work, and help you lay out a plan that should take you from A-Z in the easiest way possible.
Having a mentor can almost feel like having a teacher over your shoulder as you do a maths test.
You're still in charge of passing, however, when things get messy, you just look over at your teacher for help.
Tailored support when needed
I've gone through quite a few courses in my time.
For a long time, I was against the idea of buying courses because I thought that there was nothing for me to gain.
Once I finally swallowed my ego and decided to invest in my first course, I was proven right - in terms of content or knowledge, there isn't much that courses offer which you may not already know.
There might be a few tips and tricks which will surprise you, however, there is no secret that you suddenly unlock.
With a mentor, it's much different - you don't get course modules, or a community to ask questions and talk to.
Instead, you get someone whos been where you are, done what you need to do, and made it to the other end.
This way, they're able to know exactly where you might be stuck and offer tailored support to help you over this hurdle.
Courses usually don't offer this, instead, you get some modules with pre-recorded lessons, however, there are some courses where you have weekly Q&As with the creator.
This is still not as effective as sitting down, 1-to-1 with a mentor and freely asking questions, getting your answers, and going in-depth on certain problems and their solutions.
Standing on the shoulder of giants
There's a scientific saying that was coined by Darwin which stretched over to the entrepreneurial landscape.
The phrase, 'standing on the shoulder of giants,' essentially refers to the idea of using the learnings and experiences gained by major thinkers who have gone before us in order to make intellectual progress in the present.
Think of mentors as giants who have enough foresight and knowledge to see over the mountains you'll inevitably have to climb in order to succeed.
Whenever you buy into a mentor, you're standing on their shoulders, gaining all of their learnings, experiences, failures, and successes, to boost you in your own career.
You can always go and read books, but this isn't directly comparable to finding a mentor.
You can always find courses, however, mentoring gives you an entirely new experience to learning.
When you decide to work with a mentor, you're essentially buying dozens of years of information and wisdom which could take you the same amount of time or longer to reach yourself.
Mentors know people
When I was working on Condensr, I was able to meet a really great person who eventually became my 'informal mentor.'
He wasn't a business owner himself per se, but he was knowledgeable.
We'd meet every week over a call and I'd share some information on where I was at with my business, and get some tips on where I could be.
Even after I quit Condensr and started to work on Hawk Prospecting, he made the transition with me and helped me with some connections.
Every time I spoke to him, he would mention that he knew someone or something that can help me with various parts of my business - whether it was through webinars or a virtual meeting with one of his contacts.
Relationships are crucial in business, and mentors have a lot of them.
If you're able to find the right mentor, someone who's built businesses and amassed the level of success that you want to reach, they're most likely going to be well connected.
These mentors will also know other people who have achieved massive levels of success which can be very beneficial for you as a small entrepreneur.
Money is never made in the first instance that you meet someone - not every person you meet is a transaction.
However, you never know who that person could know.
Whether you're struggling with a marketing problem or a product problem, mentors should know the right people who can help you jump that hurdle.
Whether you make the most out of the connection is all up to you, however, a good business mentor will always have contacts who can help you with your business.
Why you don't need a mentor
Does it sound like having a mentor is great?
Now, let's discuss some reasons why you don't need a mentor.
Success is never guaranteed
Before we jump into a few reasons why I believe that you don't need a mentor, I wanted to make one thing clear.
Success is never guaranteed in business, even with a mentor.
Investing in a mentor doesn't suddenly mean that you're buying success.
No one can ensure your success other than yourself.
At the end of the day, you're still going to be the one getting up every day and working on your own business.
You're still going to be the one taking the risks.
You're still going to be the one running into the walls - the mentor will only be there to show you the way forward, not push you through it.
Everything is available online
Dozens of years ago, people struggled to become successful because it felt like a secret only those born into wealth knew about.
There was no internet that helped people learn about dropshipping, or building a business - if you wanted to be successful, you had to really get your hands dirty.
Unfortunately, if you were born into a not-so-well-off family, then your fate was essentially sealed.
I don't want to be dramatic, but the only way you can change your fate is if you'd work for a rich man who then unlocks the doors to 'heaven' for you.
However, today it's much easier for anyone with a bit of cash and internet access to become successful.
There are almost no barriers - age, gender, status; nothing matters more than one's determination to succeed.
Right before the 21st century, Larry Bird and Sergey Brin create 'Google' which is now the most popular search engine in the world.
Google has made it incredibly easy to find almost any single piece of information if you know how to look hard enough.
With all this at our disposal, I believe that mentorship is unnecessary, especially if you've already got the right mindset for success.
Everything can be taught - for free too, meaning you don't need a mentor to hand-hold you through the maze.
In addition to Google, content creators have also found it profitable to create free, educational videos on YouTube which in turn benefit a ton of people and land some cash in their pockets.
Therefore, YouTube is a man's best friend if you're looking to build a business.
In fact, you need to be careful not to consume too much knowledge, or else you'll get tangled up in a whole heap of information which you won't know what to do with.
Become more resourceful
When you hire a mentor to help you become successful, it'll almost feel like they're carrying you to the finish line.
A good mentor will not hand-hold you but push you to challenge yourself while understanding exactly what the issue you're facing is.
However, most mentors will make it feel as though they're the answer to all your problems.
As soon as you run into a bit of trouble, maybe your mentor can help you solve it!
However, it's this mindset that you want to avoid - you don't want to grow dependant on one thing for your success.
When you become too dependant on someone or something, you put yourself in a vulnerable position whenever they're not there to help you out.
Most likely, your mentor will not always be your mentor and so it's important to practice independence and resourcefulness as soon as possible.
Instead of looking for a mentor to solve your problem try to solve your problems yourself.
Use Google, YouTube, buy courses or use Skillshare - it's all much cheaper than finding a mentor.
The more resourceful you are, the better your chances of succeeding in the first place.
Going back to the previous point, everything is already available to you online.
It's not about knowledge, it's about having the right, forward-thinking, resourceful mindset that pushes you to go out there and get to work.
You don't need a mentor to tell you any of this.
Not all mentors are made equal
Although mentors are undeniably useful in many cases, unfortunately, not all mentors are built equal.
If you find yourself in bed with the wrong person, it'll see you back much further than you would have been without them.
The truth is, mentors are useful, yes. However, finding the right mentor is difficult.
When I was working on Condensr, I wanted to speak to someone about finding product/market fit.
With an interesting idea to test out, I took to Fiverr to see whether or not I can find someone to help me.
After briefly explaining my idea to someone, we exchanged numbers because he was extremely interested in the idea I had.
He was so interested that he wanted to act as an 'advisor/mentor' as I built the business.
However, before we managed to get into any long-term, awkward agreements, I realised that there was quite a lot wrong with the whole interaction.
While you may* be able to find someone helpful on Fiverr, it's frankly not how you go around looking for business mentors.
The process of finding the right mentor is long, tedious, and not guaranteed to pay off.
In fact, the process can be so long that it's sometimes not worth the hassle - the time it takes you to search for a mentor can be used to build a business, make some mistakes, learn from them, and prosper.
If you end up rushing the process or simply making a wrong judgment about someone, you could lose a lot of time, money, and trust in people.
A lot of the time, finding a mentor isn't going to be strictly based on what they know or their business experience - it's going to be how well you match up to them on a personal level.
A good mentor will be a friend, not just someone you talk to on a transactional basis.
Those were the reasons why I believe you don't need a mentor - what do you think?
Do you believe that you need a mentor to be successful?
Did you find this article helpful?
If so, please leave your thoughts in the comments below - let's get some conversations going!
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