In Entrepreneurial Leap I write an entire chapter on the power of having a mentor and the process for finding one and how to manage the relationship.
Finding and working with a mentor will expedite your entrepreneurial journey. There are different stages of mentorship, just as there are different stages of entrepreneurship.
You should realize that the mentor you find at this stage of your entrepreneurial career might be different from the one you need in the next stage. You might first find a mentor who just took their entrepreneurial leap and is able to mentor you in doing that. Then you might find a mentor who helps your business grow to ten employees, and then another who helps it get to a thousand.
Mentoring has many variables. Some relationships are short, lasting only a year. You may also have multiple mentors. One entrepreneur I interviewed had ten mentors over twenty years. By contrast, other relationships will last a lifetime.
Finding a Mentor
You should also consider going to work for an entrepreneur who’s where you want to be. Imagine being able to spend every day inside their business. If the opportunity to learn is advantageous enough, and they’re not willing or able to pay you, you might work for free or at least for less than market compensation. This is like going to school but not having to pay tuition.
At the least, shadow an entrepreneur for a day, week, or month, so you can see what the real world of entrepreneurship looks like. Watching your mentor deal with financial, customer, and employee issues, cash crunches, and back-to-back meetings is invaluable.
Please take a few minutes and think about the type of mentor you want and who might make a great mentor. Maybe it’s someone you already know—a parent, aunt, uncle, or friend of the family. Maybe it’s someone you admire but have never met. Write down your thoughts, ideas, fears, and concerns… and then call them!