Understandable—after all, it's good advice. Having a mentor relationship is often a dream come true.
A mentor is a teacher, a trusted advisor that a budding entrepreneur can turn to with questions and get valuable advice tailored directly to their industry and specific business situation.
And now you're thinking, how can I find a professional business mentor who is willing to spare some time weekly to help me? While sometimes the relationship forms organically, it's too much to hope for the perfect mentor to simply drop into your lap.
THE RIDDLE OF FINDING A MENTOR
To answer the question of “How do I find a mentor?” with the simple reply of - By networking!
Is a bit annoying.
We all know networking builds connections, but for new entrepreneurs, it can be hard to start. When you start thinking about finding a mentor via networking, think about building connections rather than finding "the one."
Focus on expanding your network and making connections with others in various industries you can learn from.
Look at the top 20 to 30 people you currently do business with who are not your customers. You are looking to see if one of them would be a match or if they can introduce you to someone who would be a match.
Also, go to any upcoming events in your field.
Is there a local conference on an aspect of your business? Maybe a prominent local business owner in your area is giving a speech? Attend events like these and use them to make contacts. It's okay to ask people for their business cards and hand out your own as well.
Sooner or later, you might find yourself with a mentor, even if it's not on official grounds.
WHY NOT GO ONLINE? - DIGITAL MENTORSHIP
Sites like Meetup.com offer a vehicle for anyone to start any kind of group in your city, and with that comes a variety of networking groups, small business groups, and so on. In addition to sites like Meetup, there are plenty of online resources to help you find a mentor.
Here are a couple of free resources that are highly recommended:
- LinkedIn where you can join relevant industry groups, and either directly inquire with someone you feel would be a good fit or post to the group at large. The Women's Mentorship Network is a great example of a general group geared toward matching mentors and mentees.
- Our site, MicroMentor, connects mentors with mentees, for free. You can create a profile, complete a mentor request, and contact mentors privately.
MicroMentor was built because, just like you, an entrepreneur looking for a mentor, some mentors are also seeking to donate their time and help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
That's when the MicroMentor community comes in. A network of mentors and entrepreneurs from all over the world who can connect, collaborate, and ultimately build businesses and improve communities together, entirely for free.
APPROACHING A MENTOR - THE RIGHT WAY
Here's the thing, mentors are busy individuals.
First things first, a quick introduction about yourself and your business always goes a long way. Let them feel your passion and also that you're eager and willing to learn. Then tell them about the most critical challenge you're currently facing and why you think that they might be just the right mentor for you based on their profile's information.
What will all of these accomplish? Easy! It will save time both for you and the mentor to quickly assess if you might be compatible with one another.
You might want to try sending these messages to several mentors, especially if you're in a hurry to connect. Of course, some mentors will take longer than others to respond, and it's always a good idea to have several options on the table when it comes to finding a mentor quickly.
Most entrepreneurs realize that work ethic is often what makes or breaks their business, so remember that ultimately, the effort on your part will bring the results quicker than later.
For more information on finding a mentor entirely for free, head over to MicroMentor.org.