One of the most effective ways to grow is through making mistakes and learning from them. An even smarter way to do it is to learn from someone else’s mistakes. This is why having the right mentor can lead to exponential growth, both personally and professionally.
Did you know that small business owners who receive three or more hours of mentoring report higher revenues and increased growth? Did you also know that mentored entrepreneurs create twice as many new jobs as solo entrepreneurs?
If you’re trying to figure out how to find a mentor, you’ve come to the right place. Learn concrete strategies and tips to lock down an amazing mentor today.
How to Find a Mentor
If getting a mentor was easy, everyone would do it. However, doing so is not as hard as many people make it out to be. Follow the steps below and you’ll find your mentor soon.
1. Offer Value to Your Target Mentor
In this age of social media, the most admirable people get slammed with requests for friendship, advice, mentorship, etc.
A better way to develop a relationship with your desired mentor is to help them achieve their goals.
For example, you could comment on and share their posts, buy their goods and services, or attend their events.
Better yet, if you have a valuable skill-set, like graphic design, video editing, blog post writing, or WordPress technical skills, you can offer to assist them with growing their brand.
This is perhaps the most powerful tip I can give you.
While I get a lot of people reaching out to me, the ones I respond to are the few and far between who offer a reciprocal relationship!
For example, you may notice that a mentor you are targeting has an amazing brand presence on one social media platform, but is quiet (or altogether absent) from another growing social media platform that you love (like Pinterest, Tik Tok, or SnapChat for example).
In this case, you could offer to help them expand into new realms.
Contributing to them will help you get noticed. It will make you stand-out as someone who “gets it” that relationships have to be valuable to both parties involved.
In short, offer to help in order to ask to receive.
2. Be Exceptional
This tip is particularly relevant to people within a company or corporate structure. To get potential mentors to take notice of you, it is important to be exceptional in all that you do.
Mentors won’t want to waste time on mediocrity or people that do the bare minimum to get through life. They typically have a lot of knowledge about wealth, health and life in general to share.
So, be passionate about your growth and learning. Within your role, always do more than is required and volunteer for extra assignments or projects.
Offer value during all meetings, help others achieve their goals, seek out responsibility and be the best in your field.
Then, when you approach your target mentor – who is likely someone above you in the corporate structure – they’ll be impressed and ready to take you seriously.
3. Be Creative and Varied in Your Approach
Many people lack awareness of how their behavior may be putting off other people. The importance of reputation is often a more difficult lesson to learn.
For example, persistence is good, but if someone refuses to be your mentor, then you’ll need to be varied in your follow-up attempts. Put yourself in the desired mentors’ shoes and act the same way you would want a mentee to act towards you.
If you target mentor turns down (or ignores) your first request for help, then get creative and approach them with a different offer on your second try.
For example, your first attempt may be to send an email offering your technical skills in exchange for 30 minute of a potential mentor’s time. If that gets no response, then try varying your future touch points.
For example, you could:
- Offer to buy them lunch next Friday
- Offer to complete actions on their to-do list (saving them time)
- Leave a great book on their desk that they’ll enjoy
- Bring them a coffee when you step out to grab one for yourself
- Leave them a thank you card for the small things they may have helped you with to date
In short, act in ways that other people around them are not acting. Surprise and delight them.
Do these things and I promise, they’ll take notice.
Where to Find a Mentor
Now that you have tips on how to find a mentor the next question is where you can find one. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Start with Your “Power Base”
You “power base” is the group of people in your life that know and trust you. This includes:
- Extended family
- Members of your church/synagogue/mosque
- Anyone else with whom you have familiarity
The reason why many people fear figuring out how to find a mentor is they are thinking of approaching strangers, and thus are afraid of getting rejected.
However, strangers aren’t the best starting target for mentors, because they need time to figure you out and see your strengths and weaknesses.
It is easier and more effective to ask someone you already know, who has achieved the results you desire.
Not only will they know your character and how you need to grow, but it will also be easier for them to accept your mentorship request.
If your circle is too small and you know no one that could be your mentor, then you’ll need to venture out and meet new people.
In this case, you’ll want to attend networking events, speaking engagements, trainings/conferences, and charitable events to seek out people that you admire.
2. Connect through Social Media DM’s
Technology has made it easier than ever to start conversations with strangers─even if they are a big name celeb. If you know you have a valuable skill-set or unbeatable work ethic, slide over to their DMs and make your presence known.
For example, the famed entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, is widely known to answer most (if not all) of his direct DM’s.
Even for big celebrities, a DM will often reach them directly, because they are just like the rest of us and are logged into the major social apps on their phone.
I’ve done this with several large celebs, including Jonathan Van Ness, and have gotten personal replies.
Of course, remember to be respectful of their space and boundaries. Do not flood their inbox with conversations if they haven’t answered you.
Instead, be creative, appreciate and interesting when sending out messages.
3. Join A (High-End) Gym
Few people do this, but I’ve got to tell you, I’ve had great luck in my life with this strategy.
Business people tend to be very active and take their health seriously. If you join a high-end gym you are sure to meet many potential mentors while you work out, in gym classes and even in the changing rooms.
The more regularly you go, the more familiar you will be to others in the gym.
While you’re there, smile, be courteous and polite with your use of the equipment, and start brief conversations with people around you.
Remember, these are busy people who are trying to fit in a high quality workout, so be extremely respectful of their time.
A 30 second conversation between rest sets may make sense. A 5-minute conversation probably will not, unless it is at the end of their workout. In these case, read their physical and conversational cues to see if they are in the mood to linger (or not).
Other than the gym, also consider joining fitness-related groups in your local area.
For example, cycling clubs, running clubs, and swimming clubs, are all powerful options.
4. Become a Volunteer
Giving back to your community pays off, because you could end up finding a mentor while volunteering.
Many successful people know the value of giving back and are members of charities or societies that improve their communities.
Find a cause that you are passionate about and support it by giving your time or money. In the course of your volunteering, you will meet other like-minded people, some of whom may agree to mentor you.
Retired professionals, in particular, tend to have time and wisdom. If you’re lucky, they’ll be willing to share both with you.
5. Attend Industry Meetings and Conferences
In case you are looking for a mentor within your profession then the best place to find one is by attending meetups and networking events specific to your career.
The more events you attend the more you will become known. In particular, it’s great to sit near the front of the room and strike up short conversations with the people around you.
When in doubt, giving someone a compliment is great ice breaker.
Personally, this is my go-to move for networking with potential mentors. You could compliment their clothing, an interesting question that they asked a speaker, or anything else that makes sense.
Also, here’s a “pro tip”:
Try to exchange phone numbers instead of business cards. In today’s modern age, most people are willing to do a quick telephone number swap. If they’re not, then casually go for their email.
In my experience, exchanging business cards feels formal and impersonal, so it will make your follow-up harder and less likely to convert. If you’ve connected authentically and are feeling in rapport, you can also take a quick photo together and make it their profile photo in your phone.
In addition to creating familiarity, this will help you remember them if they call.
Once people start recognizing you and becoming your friend, you will be able to confidently ask a suitable person to become your mentor.
5. Online Mentorship Networks!
I can’t say enough about this approach. The internet has made everything easy for us, including how to find a mentor.
Numerous websites are available to match you with a professional mentor. Some are free and others charge a minimal amount.
Once you are matched, you can discuss your goals with your mentor and then agree on how often you would communicate and meet.
While there are few others, below are the 3 online mentorship platforms that I use and recommend:
Each of these are described in detail below.
Best Online Mentorship Platforms
MicroMentor is an incredible website that connects potential mentors with potential mentees. Impressively, it is the world’s largest community of entrepreneurs and volunteer business mentor. Launched in 2008, it has 25,000+ mentors within its network. Best of all, you can screen for mentors by expertise, industry, years in business, language, and geographic region.
Clarity.Fm is a twist on mentorship, in that it allows you to pay by the minute for someone’s expertise in a specific area. Specifically, its lets you book phone calls with experts, paying only for the time that you speak. Best of all, it is very easy to screen for mentors using topic keywords, price or area of expertise.
I absolutely love this site and frequently use it when I’m trying to figure something out, fast.
Try These Tips to Find a Mentor
Learning how to find a mentor doesn’t have to be as difficult or intimidating as most people think. Put your best foot forward and show them how the relationship would be mutually beneficial.
Be sure to choose a person that is aligned with your goals and lifestyle.
What strategies have you used to find a mentor? Let’s me know your tried and true approaches in the comments below!