If you’re ready to launch your entrepreneur journey, one of the best things to do is find a mentor. It’s been said having a mentor is the most important thing way to increase your success.
Fortunately, the internet makes finding a mentor easier than ever. There are communities and networks online to connect entrepreneurs with seasoned advice to share their journey and identify pitfalls.
Or maybe there is someone in your circle who could act as a mentor – someone you met through business or conferences or with whom you share a personal relationship.
No matter who they are or how you made the connection, make sure the mentor has these qualities before you ask to be their mentee.
They practice what they preach
Lots of people in your life will give great advice on different topics, which is awesome! However, it can be more difficult to find someone who gives great advice…and then practices that advice in their own lives. If you discover that a potential mentor doesn’t practice what they preach, that may be a sign they shouldn’t be the first person you go to in times of doubt or hardship.
They have a network
For entrepreneurs, avoiding networking is not an option. Whether online, at conferences, or in daily life (and preferably all three), entrepreneurs have to reach out to get to know others in order to improve their craft and business. If you notice an established businessperson’s network is lacking, that may be a sign they have trouble connecting or cannot keep connections. Find someone who’s social skills are strong and who has long-term connections.
They are not a “yes” man
We all need a good cheerleader in our life. Someone who always wants to give us a gold star and assures us we can do it all no matter what. However, this person should not be your mentor. A mentor is there to cheer you on, but just as importantly, they are there to challenge your assumptions and to be completely honest with you. If a potential mentor appears to think that you, your ideas, and your business model are picture perfect, run for the door.
They share your core values
A mentor is going to have an important impact on your life as an entrepreneur. If they are going to be the person you go to for advice, make sure they share similar values. What is their business philosophy? What is most important to them in life? Why are they interested in helping an entrepreneur?
If you can’t relate to a person’s goals, motives, and passions, they may still have a great place in your life as part of your network or even as a friend. However, a relationship between a mentor and mentee is best when you share a deeper connection.
And remember this. Starting your entrepreneur journey without a mentor is like flying a plane without an instrument panel. It can be done, but you are more likely to make mistakes that are critical to your survival.