There are numerous studies that describe the heart and core of an entrepreneur. What sets us apart, how our minds work, our perspective of the world around us and how we engage in normal activity that creates extraordinary results. And there is something to be said about entrepreneurs because we clearly are unique and resilient at our best, which is why you’ll find some of the most successful entrepreneurs are experts in their field and millionaires multiple times over. However, even the supposed self made entrepreneur had advice, guidance or words of encouragement to push them beyond their boundaries.
As entrepreneurs, we are becoming more aware of the growing number of resources at our disposal. Whether they are community centers, online information or government aid and facilities, there are quite a few sources for us to turn to. But, how many of us have considered adding a mentor to the list?
We all have dreams we want to realize and actualize, but let’s be honest, we don’t know everything and if we’re a first time entrepreneurs, we really don’t know everything. And sometimes it’s best to turn to someone who has more experience and knowledge; someone who has made the mistakes we want to avoid and someone who knows the rewards we seek out. We need a mentor. But, why?
Mentors are great individuals to bounce ideas off of. They offer great outsider advice (because sometimes we’re so caught up in our dream idea, we’re looking at it with rose-colored lenses). Mentors are even great when things are going wrong because now you have someone to tell you as to why your dream business isn’t producing or, what you’re doing wrong rather than just trying to figure it out through trial and error. A mentor is someone to guide you when you’re absolutely clueless about how to best market your venture or handle an outraged customer or which tax form to request. But a mentor isn’t just anyone and shouldn’t be just anyone .
If you’re an entrepreneur, so should your mentor be. Simply because this is someone who knows the pitfalls to look out for, what obstacles you’re going to face and what handy tricks to use to manage difficult situations. Should your mentor be someone in the same industry as you? Not necessarily. There are some pros and cons to that. Having a mentor in the same industry will provide insight and depth money can’t buy, however, if you and your mentor are providing similar services or products, the issue of competition may arise. And would you want to take advice from some who’s your competition? It might be best to have a mentor in the same industry as you, just as long as your products are different enough. But in the end, you’re going to need and want someone with the experience to have your best interest in mind.
“There is nothing so easy to learn as experience and nothing so hard to apply” – Josh Billings