How Entrepreneurs Can Develop Relationships with Working Mentors
Mentors are important for entrepreneurs because they can help guide one through their career. They can also teach things that college professors might not be able to teach, like how to deal with the high-pressure situations of running a business. This is especially valuable if you are an entrepreneur without any prior experience in this field. Entrepreneur Alexander Djerassi explains the benefit of having working mentors rather than just reading about them or talking to friends who may not know what it’s really like on the ground floor.
When thinking about starting a business, it might be helpful to talk to someone who runs their own company. However, it can be hard to find people who are available and willing to give up their time. Many entrepreneurs don’t want others interfering with their ideas especially if they’ve come up with something successful, so they tend to want to work alone. This is why so many people turn to mentors for advice instead, but this isn’t always that easy either.
The first thing to note is that there are different kinds of mentors. When getting started in business, then the main focus should be finding a ‘working mentor.’ This is someone who is involved in the industry you’re interested in and has done for a long time. They’re not just somebody who had success when they started out, but somebody who is still working in that area or an area closely related to it and can pass on advice about what to do next.
To create a good relationship with a working mentor, one needs to show respect to their time. Don’t call them constantly asking for advice, and don’t bombard them with emails or texts every day. Instead, send them one email a week or text them once a month, and keep in touch by phone or Skype occasionally. Ask them questions, and let them know what you’re doing. When contacting them, try to be specific about key advice one is looking for. For example, when trying to start a new business, say so. If one is struggling with a particular problem, explain exactly what it is.
According to Alexander Djerassi, one can also use social media to connect with other entrepreneurs. There are lots of groups on Facebook where people meet other people in similar industries. These groups are often run by people who have been in the same position and they’ll be able to answer any questions one has. Also look online for forums or blogs that cover the topics of interest. The best way to find these is to search Google using keywords like “forum” and “blog.” Once one finds a site that looks interesting, read through their archives until they find something relevant. Then post a question or comment, and see if anybody responds.
Another option is to join a local networking group. Some of these exist purely for mentoring purposes, while others are more general and include many types of businesses. Most of these groups will have a website where you can sign up, and from there you can browse through the members’ profiles and see whether anyone looks like a potential mentor.