Entrepreneurs Succeed with a Mentor

Author: Wendy J. English

Carla was a young mom with an older walking partner. She had recently graduated from college and had no real career plans for the future, but every morning her dear friend Dee would talk to her about the research she was doing.

Those years of walking had a great impact on Carla, and Dee’s coaching enriched Carla’s life forever. Because of that mentorship, Carla had the confidence to follow her dreams, raise great kids, and take the risks required to start her own business.

Research from a free mentoring service has found that people who receive mentoring increased their revenue by an average of 106%, while those without mentoring only increased their revenue by 14%. The research also shows that with mentoring, 82% of the startups they worked with survived for 1-2 years.

When we think of mentors, we think of someone in our neighborhood, church, school or work environment, however, some of my best mentors have come from social media! I love LinkedIn for the opportunity to create relationships with people I admire and to learn new technologies which will enhance my business skills. I follow a few people religiously on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, without whom I would have never learned how to make the perfect sugar cookie or how to pitch to angel investors!

Six Tricks to Mentoring:

  1. Mentoring isn’t only for the ones being mentored. The mentors also benefit greatly! When a person achieves mastery, unless they learn a new skill or mentor another person, they enter what I call “the doom loop.” It is only a matter of time before dissatisfaction with life sets in. Without implementing something new into their lives, they will start losing ground, and in some cases, spiral downward. You can see lots of examples of this if you look around; humans have an innate need to grow and become better. Mentorship fills this need for growth in both parties- the mentor and the mentored.
  2. A good mentor will provide knowledge and contacts. A client of mine has a mentor that has opened up a whole new world for him, a world he wouldn’t have even dreamed about without someone to guide him! The mentor has introduced my client to many contacts, and these introductions have been game changers, providing amazing opportunities to grow and succeed.
  3. Mentoring provides insight, perspective, and vision. Because a mentor has been there/done that, their advice and insight is a treasure trove waiting for you to dive into! They can give insight into company cultures, what to avoid, and who you need to know. If left to your own devices, this knowledge may take years and some heart ache to accomplish. It is so much easier to learn from someone else’s mistakes than to make them yourself!
  4. You are not alone. One of the biggest hurdles as a small business owner is feeling alone on the journey to success. Having some people in your corner as mentors can really mitigate those feelings. It is so comforting to know you have someone you can talk to about your unique challenges and who understands you. Sometimes the greatest gift a mentor can give is to listen.
  5. Finding a mentor. Many believe successful people are hard to reach and have no interest in assisting another, but nothing could be further from the truth! Almost every successful person I have met is generous and kind with their time, knowledge, and contacts. Find someone you respect and look up to, preferably someone who has been successful doing something similar to what you hope to accomplish, and write them a letter or connect with them through your social media channels.
  6. Be humble. Just like there are some people who have to learn life’s lessons the hard way, there are small business owners who do the same. After years of working with small business owners, pride and an unwillingness to listen take more businesses out of the game than one would expect.

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