As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get excited and start running your business solely off of your own knowledge, without seeking the input from others. However, the gag is while you have a great idea, may have figured out the product market fit, and have even made some money, often times you may not know exactly what it takes to sustain and scale your business.
Having someone in your corner to teach you valuable lessons on business and simply surviving entrepreneurship is crucial. This someone, a mentor, can challenge you, hold you accountable, and can keep you on track with your goals. When times get hard, because they will, a mentor can push you harder, and can be there to guide and support you.
Mentors are invaluable, even outside of the reasons aforementioned, but it is one delicate relationship that people tend to handle wrong.
Mogul Millennial recently connected with Tim Salau, the founder of Mentors and Mentees. This organization is an international Facebook group that fosters a community with professionals who are looking for support in their career, business, life, and personal advancement. Mentors and Mentees is a welcoming space where members can ask questions, share stories, and guide other members in need.
In our chat, Tim and I discussed the value of having a mentor and how we can all find our ideal mentor. Here are the top 3 takeaways from our convo:
Mentorship is not a give and take type of relationship
Mentorship is a two-way street — and not a transaction. If you are fortunate enough to find a mentor that genuinely has your best interest at heart and wants you to succeed, don’t mess it up. Take the time to develop a real connection with your mentor, and assist them whenever and however you can. If you only email or call them when you need something, your mentor will quickly realize this and it could be detrimental to your relationship.
Anyone can serve as your mentor
In life, you can and should have more than one mentor. Each mentor that you have will be different and can contribute something unique to you. The mentors you have in your life can be virtual – people you may not have actually met in person. They can also be people that you have met and can easily interact with in person.
No matter what, your mentor should be aligned based on where you are trying to go in your life and what you are trying to learn. According to Tim, “Your mentor can be someone whose in your same industry space, or they can be someone that’s in a totally different industry. Your mentor can be older than you, younger than you, or the same age as you.”
Don’t force it
As Tim told me, “Put yourself in the right spaces and know how to brand yourself. Whether that’s virtually on social media or at networking events. Reach out to people that you feel that can teach you, that you can learn from, and from people that you can also add value to.”
The mentor relationship is unique and isn’t about having a formal relationship or forcibly asking someone to be your mentor. It’s about building a relationship with someone, providing value, and maintaining that relationship.