entrepreneurship, online marketing

You Need to Get a Mentor

Even though most of us would like to think we can do everything ourselves, tackling a new skill or a really big project can be scary and overwhelming going it alone. If something is totally new for you, you may not even know where to start or be afraid of taking the wrong steps or making a big mistake that is costly.

Besides, you can’t know everything there is to know about how to get where you want to be. While it’s possible to learn the needed skills, this will take time and likely cost you some other investments, too. Instead, what if you had someone (or a group of people) who can help guide you more quickly and smoothly to success?

This is where a mentor comes in and just might be right for you. A mentor is someone who currently is where you want to be, or at least a few steps ahead. The relationship you have with a mentor can be official as in someone you hire or contract with for a specific amount of time or project, or it can be informal such as following in the footsteps of someone you admire or having them shadow you. Mentors have a high level of experience and have gone through the growing pains towards success. They will know what kinds of training you may need or skills to develop. They also have made mistakes along the way that you can learn from and maybe avoid yourself.

More importantly, mentors can give you needed feedback on what you are doing right and wrong during your development. This kind of advice is invaluable. You don’t want a mentor who might hold back. Make sure you give them permission to be completely honest with you. Most worthwhile mentors will have no problems doing this for you.  Sometimes it may be tough to hear, but you’ll be better off than having mentors who just give you yesses and sugarcoat your progress. That won’t really help you.

The mentors you choose should have the specific experience or skills you desire to learn. Be sure to ask lots of questions about what they expect from you and ask what you can expect from them. This mutual expectation process and setting of goals is important. Otherwise, you won’t have any means of knowing whether the mentoring relationship is working.

A quick word on the difference between a mentor and a coach. A coach is usually someone you engage for a short or specific time and to improve your performance with a specific result or skill, and your time is very structured and limited. Mentorships are a closer personal bond and with a less formal relationship that grows and changes over time, usually overlapping to all areas of your life. A mentor comes alongside you as a guide, and a coach leads.

Back to finding a mentor. Once you find some people to consider, it’s good to ask some tough questions and get into details. This is a good way to find out if there is a fit between you for a solid working relationship. Not everyone with matching experience will be a personality fit, and you want to test it out since you will both be investing quite a bit of time into this.

Should you pay for mentors? It depends on what you intend to receive from this kind of arrangement and the level you want to achieve. If there is someone you already know well who can act in a mentor capacity and they are willing to do this for free, then consider doing it to get yourself started. On the other hand, paying for someone to help you lets you hold them accountable. This is a crucial aspect of mentoring. Without it, there is less investment and it may not go where you want it to, or in the timeframe you hope. You could also barter your time as a trade.

You should make your mentorship fit your lifestyle and your goals, and it should move you forward in a way you would not be able to do on your own. You always need to keep up your momentum as the entire reason to take on a mentor is to fast track your development.

Now, go make a list of some people who you think might be great mentors for you and go start talking with them!

JOIN our free Facebook group and maybe you’ll meet your perfect mentor there!