10 Ways To Secure A Mentor And Grow As An Entrepreneur


The value of mentorship has become increasingly evident. Many young professionals recognize that having a mentor can be a transformative experience, propelling their careers to new heights and offering the kind of guidance, insight and wisdom that textbooks simply cannot provide. However, the process of approaching a successful entrepreneur about becoming a mentor can seem daunting, leaving many unsure about where to begin.

Here, Young Entrepreneur Council members share tips for how young individuals can secure entrepreneurs as mentors, starting them off on their own paths toward successful entrepreneurship.

1. Attend Events

Visit events that your desired mentor is speaking at, and if you don’t yet have a targeted mentor, attend business events in your community and beyond. Listen to different opinions from different leaders in their field, and find someone who identifies with your needs. Reach out personally; mention something they’ve done that you’ve found inspiring—perhaps a talk they did that gave you insight into solving a problem of your own—and make your ask of them clear and direct. Be upfront about how much time you would ideally want from them, the type of communication style you are looking for and what types of problems you would like their help with. The more information you can provide them with, the better they can evaluate their own ability to help you as well. – Darby Cox, Cox Consulting

2. Find A Mentor On A Similar Path

Choose mentors who fit your ideal lifestyle or, alternatively, fit your actual reality. Too often, young founders and entrepreneurs are drawn to the “shiny object” when it comes to mentors, like the person with the eight-figure exit or the social media juggernaut with millions of followers. In reality, the best mentor is the mentor who lives the life that is attainable. If you have two kids and a mortgage, a single, 45-year-old billionaire is most likely not your best mentor. However, how about the person with a significant other and three kids? The odds are strong that they will have some insights that go well beyond balance sheets. We are all on divergent paths, so choose the proper guide. – Ryan Bradley, White River Consulting, LLC

3. Express Genuine Curiosity

When approaching an entrepreneur for mentorship, it’s essential to express genuine curiosity about their experiences and insights, rather than just seeking them out for their status or connections. Begin by sharing your passion, the challenges you face and your eagerness to learn, framing the potential mentorship as a collaborative journey. Remember, a sincere and humble request, grounded in a desire for growth, often resonates deeply because many accomplished individuals remember a time when they too were seeking guidance and direction. – Javon Frazier, Maestro Media

4. Make It A No-Brainer For Them To Help You

Don’t lead with, “Will you be my mentor?” Instead, start by offering value first. Maybe it’s assisting with a specific project they’re working on, sharing a relevant insight or piece of research or even sending them an online article you think might benefit them. The key is to be genuine and show that you’ve done your homework about their interests and challenges. Successful entrepreneurs are swamped with requests and have limited time. By leading with value and showcasing your dedication, you’ll stand out to them. – Chase Williams, Market My Market

5. Be Clear About What You Hope To Gain

It’s important for young people seeking mentorship from entrepreneurs to be clear and specific. This approach is crucial because entrepreneurs are typically busy individuals with hectic schedules. By being specific about their goals and what they hope to learn or achieve, young people can demonstrate that they respect the entrepreneur’s time and are serious about mentorship. Additionally, it shows that they have carefully considered how the guidance of their mentor can benefit their career. – Chimezie Emewulu, Seamfix Limited

6. Avoid Forcing A Connection

A mentor is someone whom you click with and has the experience to offer you good advice and moral support. Let the relationship form organically. Someone becoming your mentor doesn’t have to be a formalized process. For example, instead of saying, “Would you be my mentor?”, instead say, “Would you mind if I gave you a call from time to time for advice?” This takes all the pressure off you—and them. And remember, a mentor should get as much, if not more, out of the relationship than you do. Many times, a person becomes your mentor without either of you even realizing they’ve become your mentor. The important thing isn’t the label, but the role they play in your life! – Bill Mulholland, ARC Relocation

7. Listen And Absorb

The two ultimate actions young professionals of today must take are to listen like a student and absorb like a sponge. These steps are so critical to grow as a human being and as a professional entrepreneur. When mentors or successful moguls see these two actions, it reminds them of themselves when they needed support, and will make them want to volunteer to help you because you’ve shown a solid foundation and that you are serious. Create the perfect environment, and you will be surprised by how many successful moguls of today will try to mentor you because they started the same way as you. The difference is, they didn’t stop until they won. – Doval Bacall, Bacall Companies

8. Focus On Mutual Value

Highlight how their guidance aligns with your career goals and articulate what unique skills or perspectives you can bring to the relationship. This approach emphasizes a reciprocal exchange of knowledge, making it more appealing for the entrepreneur to invest their time. By showcasing a clear and purposeful vision for the mentorship, you demonstrate commitment and increase the likelihood of establishing a meaningful and productive partnership. – Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME

9. Ask Them Who Else Might Be Able To Help

The best question that you can ask is, “Who do you know that can help me?” When you ask this question, the professional, networking event attendee or cold contact can think about other folks in their network whom they may want to connect you with. I found this extremely useful when building my network for the first time. I went to all sorts of meetups and demo days, and heavily tapped the university’s free resources. Remember, you don’t need just one mentor—you can have a “brain trust” of mentors whom you go to for specific issues. A truly great mentor will understand where the limits of their ability to help are and connect you with those who can fill in the gaps. – Kaitlyn Witman, Rainfactory

10. Respect Their Boundaries And Time

Entrepreneurs are renowned for their hustle and are generally very busy. So, it’s important that you respect their boundaries and refrain from being overly persistent with your demands. Reach out to them in a respectful way and give them time to get back to you. Most entrepreneurs are humble individuals, so they will try their best to get back to you at their earliest convenience—just don’t flood their inboxes with unending follow-ups. Even if they are unable to commit to being your mentor, accept their response gracefully and carry on with your pursuit. This attitude will help you grow your connections and eventually find the mentor you’ve been looking for. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms



Source link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2023/09/13/10-ways-to-secure-a-mentor-and-grow-as-an-entrepreneur/

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