I have been mentoring women for nearly 20 years, and I have been mentored all my life. But not in the ways you might think. You might think that I've been surrounded by mentors who meet with me personally (and for free) over a leisurely meals to school me in the ways of the entrepreneurship. While that has happened a time or two, in general, I have been mentored not because people took the time to mentor me, but because I took the time to make sure I was mentored.
People mean different things when they say they want a mentor.
• Some people are looking for someone to tell them what to do
• Some people want someone to just listen to them
• Some people want a coach or consultant, but they don't want to pay for one
After serving as an entrepreneurial mentor for two decades, I have concluded that, when people say they want a mentor, they really want a combination of all of the above. But where do you get that?
If you look closely, you'll discover that you can get it all. It's already there. Mentors are everywhere. Here are 9 places you can go right now to get the mentoring you need.
- Books and other written materials
One of my earliest entrepreneurial mentors was Martha Stewart. I never met or spoke with her. I didn't subscribe to her magazines or watch her television shows.
Instead, I purchased The Martha Rules, her book about entrepreneurship. Written in part while she was serving a prison sentence, I wanted to be mentored by a woman who built a multi-million dollar company, watched in horror as it collapsed around her, went to prison, found a way to inspire fellow inmates by knitting ponchos, got released from prison, and re-built her company all over again.
The other thing I did without fail for years was read her publicly traded company's reports which are filed annually with the Securities Exchange Commission. These reports are like mini-business plans, disclosing everything from a company's financial health to the plans they have for the business in the coming years.
Martha and I have never spoken a word, but she has mentored me all the same.
Mentors are readily available through videos on Facebook and Youtube. There is no business tip you cannot find, no mindset approach you cannot be exposed to, and no marketing strategy you cannot follow if you just carve out the time to learn from so many masters who have recorded it all for you on videotape. It's free, and it's in your purse right now. One of my favorites The Power of Habit, a 23-minute presentation by Napoleon Hill, which I frequently listen to while in the shower.
This and similar videos provide the means for you to be mentored all day, every day, by some of the most successful people in the world.
- Community events
Every community has local colleges, universities, museum, and media outlets that hose free or low cost lectures and panel discussions on every topic under the sun. These events are great places to learn and meet new people who can inspire and encourage you. Are you taking advantage of them?
According to Podcaster News, there are approximate 609,000 podcasts available for free via Apple Podcasts. This means that mentoring is available to you 24/7 on any subject in the universe, including entrepreneurship via podcasts like my Indie Business Podcast (on Apple Podcasts or right here at this blog). All you have to do is use your favorite online or smart phone podcast app (like Stitcher or Apple Podcasts) and a world of mentors is at your fingertips.
- Discussion groups
Whether free or paid, discussion groups can be an awesome combination of like-minded fellowship and entrepreneurial instruction. A powerful example is the Indie Business Network Entrepreneurial Community I host for people who join the Indie Business Network. Our members support and mentor each other at all times of the day and night. It's an efficient way for me and all of my members to mentor and care for one another.
While the overall magazine industry continues to ebb and flow, there are still some reliable entrepreneurial magazines with notable mentoring content. A few that come to mind are Fast Company, the Network Journal Entrepreneur Magazine and Forbes. And while Success Magazine (one of my favorites!) seems to be undergoing a transition, you can order back issues of the publication for just $1 as of today. Magazines are a great way to keep high quality mentors close at hand on a few book shelves in your home or work space. (These publications are likely to have digital subscription options as well, if that's your preference.)
- Blog posts and comments
Blog posts are filled with both inspirational and action-based information you can use to mentor yourself to success. And don't forget the comments, which are frequently filled with more personal discussion offered by people who want to clarify or contribute additional value to what is offered in a main post.
- Social media comments
While it's definitely a double-edged sword, you can find so much inspirational mentoring by scrolling through the social media feeds of people whose opinions you trust and whose track record of success shows that they know what they are talking about. Choose carefully. Don't get sucked down the rabbit hole. You can mentor yourself in snippets using a few awesome Instagram feeds. A few of my favorites are Michelle Obama and Foundr.
- Challenge programs
Challenge programs are made up of a group of pre-planned activities you perform in order to reach a certain goal. There are challenge programs for everything from fitness to entrepreneurship.
For example, if you want to grow your email list, you might participate in a challenge that instructs you to perform specific activities every day for a certain number of days until you reach your list goal or until the challenge ends, whichever comes first. Essentially, the leader of the challenge mentors you daily during the course of the challenge. Challenges are everywhere, and easy to find online, especially inside Facebook.
Clearly, mentors are everywhere, and they can help you solve nearly any entrepreneurial challenge you have.
But other problems lie inside the solution, don't they? For example:
• There are so many places to find mentors that it's nearly impossible to settle one a few that will work for you
• Arms length mentoring does not suit people who prefer a more intimate connection
• A magazine, YouTube video, or blog post cannot hold you accountable, or help you measure your progress
If you are bewildered by all of the options, and want to get straight to a mentoring scenario that combines support, accountability, and measured progress, you can apply to become a part of a Maker Mastermind Circle.
Still Need a Mentor?
If you prefer not to be mentored in isolation, a Maker Mastermind Circle is the best option for you.
A Maker Mastermind Circle is a community of two or more similarly situated, like-minded Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs who gather regularly to address and solve their biggest business challenges, and celebrate success together.
In a Maker Mastermind Circle, everyone is both coach and client, and everyone brings their A-game. When your circle meets, an invisible “master mind” is in your midst to help you identify and pursue new opportunities, and facilitate transformative strategies.
Your Maker Mastermind Circle will help you accomplish more — together. You may prefer instead to speak with a trusted and consistent mentor on a regular basis, and to have a community of like-minded people around to support you in a more personalized way.
Registration is open now, but it closes soon, and space is limited.
Learn how you can apply to become a part of a Maker Mastermind Circle NOW, so you can get the mentoring you need to grow your business.
With the entrepreneurial guidance, instruction, and community offered inside a Maker Mastermind Circle, you really can have the mentoring you so desperately want and need to help you mold your business (and yourself!) according to the vision you have to impact the world with your products.
Don’t miss the opportunity to go further and have more fun in your business than you could do on your own.
Do you have a mentor or mentors who invest in your growth and success, and who care about your success as much as you do? Are they available to help you consider new ideas and strategies innovative new approaches to grow your business and improve your life? If you're looking to be a part of an entrepreneurial mentoring community where you can help others as you are also helped, consider Maker Mastermind Circles. Post your questions below, and don't forget to share this empowering information with a friend on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.