How to Find a Business Mentor

I'd always wanted a business mentor, but mentorship never came the way I imagined it would. 

Instead of having one person in my life guide me through a lot of business decisions, I worked with a variety of people at different times, and each of them taught me something very different and valuable along the way. 

We didn't have coffee dates or structured conversations but instead, I simply watched their lives and learned along the way. 

How did I get access to amazing people? You may be surprised to learn… I didn't ask.

How to find a business mentor

I understood that people weren't just gonna let me follow them around and learn from them. People are busy and proper mentorship takes a lot of time. 

Even the most generous, sweetest person will think twice about mentoring someone (especially if they don't know them well)

This is why I never just asked for what I wanted from a potential mentor. 

Instead, I assessed: 

  • How can I help them,
  • Solve a problem, or 
  • Offer something of value to someone I admire. 

Basically, I needed to find a way to prove that they would benefit from investing their valuable time in me. 

Let’s dive into a few examples to see how this unfolded… 

  • Early on in my photography career, I learned an esteemed photographer needed help writing an article for a photography magazine, so I offered to write it for him. He set up a two-hour conversation so that I could craft his narrative. 

Now, it may seem as though he got a lot more out of this deal, but I’m the one that truly won because I got a deeper understanding of his mind and work ethic.

  • The next mentor opportunity I discovered was on social media when I learned a photographer was overwhelmed as he often moved  from one studio to another. 

I jumped at the opportunity to help by emailing him and sharing that I was very organized, enjoyed taking on a lot of tasks, and would love to offer my help for FREE (sounds crazy I know, but hear me out)

He was hesitant to take me up on my free offer at first, but I insisted I simply wanted to help because the experience would give me insight on working from a studio instead of working at home (which is how I worked at the time). So, I volunteered for five hours. 

I packed boxes and we shared a pizza before I left. This was an incredible opportunity because we spoke throughout the afternoon and I walked away having learned so much. The biggest thing I learned was that I didn't want to manage a team of photographers or have massive overhead and the stress that comes along with it. 

  • The last experience I’ll share is when I reached out to an entrepreneur I greatly admired. This person was an inspiration, however after I read the About section on their website I didn't think it highlighted their personality in the most powerful way. So, I rewrote it and sent it to them. 

That may seem a little bit forthcoming… I mean, this person didn't even know me and I wondered if they would be offended by my attempt! The good news is that they actually emailed me back the next day and said that they’d updated their website with what I wrote. How cool is that?

Even better, we exchanged emails, and though we're not friends by any means I feel comfortable reaching out in the future if I have a question. 

Would you like a full-time mentor? If your answer is, “Yes.” Good! I can’t speak highly enough about the power and influence of mentorship. As you begin (or continue) your search for the right mentor, it’s important to remember… 

Running a business isn’t charity.

Running a business is a transaction. Mentorship is a transaction of time between two people. So it has to benefit both parties.

>>If you want a mentor, find ways to create value for another person and make it a win for both of you.<< 

You have something special to offer… 

  • Trust your gut. 
  • Be humble.
  • Go above and beyond, and 
  • Ensure that you are the type of person that a mentor actually wants to work with.

One day, sooner than you think, you will have the opportunity to mentor someone else. That day will be a beautiful one that makes everything you’re striving for and working towards that much more rewarding and worth it. 

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