Hey, thanks for taking the time to meet with me. I have a favor to ask.
Owning my own business is relatively new to me. I’m figuring things out as I go. And since I work from home, I don’t have the chance to seek feedback and discuss options with coworkers. So I was thinking that I could use a business mentor. Someone to help me avoid some of the pitfalls of entrepreneurship.
Maybe that someone could be you.
Here are the 8 qualities I’m looking for in a business mentor:
1. Has a genuine interest in my success.
The mentor must be willing to commit to helping me. You are interested in seeing me do well. And I’m asking you to make an investment in my future.
So you’re not looking for compensation. You’re not a coach or a consultant, and I’m not a client. Not that there is anything wrong with that. The mentor is a long term, career development resource. Coaches are hired to supervise specific performance goals. We’re working toward something bigger.
2. Demands an investment from me.
I will make the commitment as well. I don’t want to waste your time and effort. The best way to ensure that is to give me a list of deliverables or benchmarks. Assign me tasks to accomplish with deadlines and hold me accountable to them.
I’m not recruiting someone to work for me. It is on me to do the heavy lifting required to be a successful business owner.
3. Can agree on a framework.
We need to define this relationship. In addition to the deliverables you assign me, we need to figure out how often we’re going to meet. And we should have some rules surrounding what to expect from each other. Finally, there should be some way to tell if this is working for both of us.
4. Meets my definition of success.
You have been running a business on the Internet for a few years. You’re not rich — and I want to be able to say (at least) the same thing about my business. That is how I define the success of this venture.
I know other people have a different definition of success and look for someone who’s aligned with them on that. Fair enough. That’s just not what I want right now.
5. Has the right personality.
There is not a singular “good mentor” personality — although being a skilled observer and strong listener count for a lot in my book. But I’m not sure if I need you to tell me the answers I need or if you need to coax them out of me. Let’s see how this works. Of course, what works for me may not work for another person.
There is a chance we’re not right for each other. That doesn’t say anything about the quality of either personality. It’s just that mentoring is a tricky relationship. Sometimes you need to move on. So let’s try to leave our egos out of it when we assess how it’s going.
6. Can be honest.
I know I said there isn’t really a single personality type that fits the mold here. But being able to deliver honest feedback is a must. I have to be able to trust your advice. And I have to have the guts to hear it and absorb it even when it isn’t what I want to hear.
Of course this won’t work if I’m not honest and open with you, either. It’s disrespectful to you and won’t yield any advice worth following.
7. Can be outside my industry.
Right now I’m seeking someone doing the same work I do. But I recognize that business owners of all sorts have experience and insights that I would find valuable. It is possible for me to have more than one mentor. To maximize the benefit, other mentors should bring different experiences and qualities to the relationship. This can work if the other mentors match my definition of success and fit with my personality.
8. Will not make my business successful.
That’s on me. This is why I’m working for myself. I have control over my success and failures. As a mentor, you can be part of that success with your feedback and direction.
So…when can you start?
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