(Updated Aug 19, 2014 with more great content – original post July 2, 2013)
Blogging and social media are community inspired so it stands to reason we don’t have to tackle everything on our own. This post is going to take a quick look at mentorship and how it can help your online business. How we find a mentor and what to expect from them. Being a good mentor ourselves and, finally, sharing your mentor with the Hot Blog Tips’ readership.
What is a mentor?
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A mentor should be someone you admire, in your field, that you have access to. If you don’t have access, get it. You don’t need to live next door or be best friends with them; in fact, it’s probably best if you aren’t that close. You should, however, be able to ask your mentor a quick question or seek advice from time to time. You should be able to see and appreciate the steps they are taking to gain success. For that, you’re going to need mutual consent. In other words, your mentor can not be someone you secretly admire. A mentor should be at, or well on their way, in or at a place you want to be. Not a physical place, of course, but a stage of success or achievement that you want to attain. This success can be in business, education, physical or mental condition or anything else you strive for. In other words, mentorship can help with either professional or personal growth.
There are many mentors for hire. In our field of blogging, podcasting, and online marketing, it’s not unusual to find paid mentors for $300 to $3,000 a month – and up. The amazing thing about paying a high-end mentor is how little time/access you often get for your money. Even more amazing is that many people that have hired a mentor will swear by them. It seems that the right fit as far as the mentor is worth the money to many successful people. I have listened to many interviews by very successful people who swear that guidance and advice is what made the difference in their businesses.
Challenge: I challenge you to find a single ultra-successful person online that isn’t being mentored by another person. It’s common practice and a theme worth looking into because, well, they’re doing something right. Right? Whenever there’s a common factor among the ultra successful you’d think we would pay very close attention.
Group Mentorships & Masterminds
Some will argue a true mentorship requires a one-on-one relationship but group mentorships and masterminds are getting more and more popular.
A mastermind is where are small group of people, preferably at the same level of success, meet on a regular basis, either in person, Skype, phone, or hangout, and help one another get through trouble spots and work toward higher levels of success. Each member of the mastermind will get a predetermined amount of time in the “hot seat” to solicit help from other mastermind members. Masterminds are usually no cost and setup as an equally beneficial relationships.
Group mentorships, often in paid membership sites, will normally have a “leader” that’s currently at a higher level of success than the other members. That leader will apply his or her skills and experience toward the other member’s businesses. Some of the better memberships like these will have a platform, usually a private forum or group, so paid members cam help each other as well as soliciting help from the person or people collecting the payments. Group mentorships are generally a more cost effective solution than one on one paid mentorships but require more time investment.
Now I totally just made up that term, Indirect Mentors, because I’m at a loss on what else to call it. Again, many might argue the case but I believe we can benefit, albeit to a smaller degree, from indirect relationships with those at a higher level. For example, I have listened to every single podcast episode put out by Pat Flynn. Now I feel I have been educated, inspired, as yes, even mentored by Pat, even though he has no idea who I am or what I do. I can name many other PodCasters and bloggers that I feel the same way about and I’m sure I’m not alone. I know I’m blurring the line between mentorship and inspiration with this point and I’d love to get your input on it.
What mentorship is not
A mentor is not a consultant. They are not at your beck and call for every little challenge. A mentor isn’t someone to copy or plagiarize from. Your mentor should inspire you to find your own path, not give a step by step path of success.
Why we need a mentor
We need mentors because it’s easier than doing it on our own. We learn from our mistakes (hopefully) but it’s far more favorable when we can learn from the mistakes of others. If you have the support and encouragement of a mentor, you’re far more likely to succeed. They can help you see mistakes before they become discouragements. A mentor can inspire us reach beyond our own inclination and help us see things from an alternative angle, if you will.
Finding your mentor/s
I’m a blogger and I love reading and writing about blogging. Obviously my mentor would have those same interests. Like my friend Sheryl coined, “bloggy bloggers“. She probably doesn’t mean that as a compliment but I’m proud to be one. 😉 So for us bloggy bloggers, we wouldn’t seek out one of those bloggers that have become too big, too busy or just too unapproachable to mentor us. So if you have a photography blog, for example, you might want to look for a photographer that you admire and have some way of following. Social media has opened a lot of doors for us in this respect, but we need more than just a Facebook page to follow; we need a relationship. Without that relationship, you mentor is nothing more than an idol.
How many mentors should we have?
I’m certainly not an expert and I haven’t studied mentorship, not even for a second. I intentionally avoided the research I normally do for posts like this because I already have the message I want to convey. With that disclaimer out of the way, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s probably better to choose one main mentor and focus on that. That doesn’t mean you can’t have dozens of people you respect and admire; all of which you are inspired by, but you can’t follow everyone’s lead. You’ll find yourself going in too many directions and accomplish nothing. At least for a single goal; let me explain: If I want to become a better writer, I might seek out someone I consider to be a great writer to mentor me. Now, if I also want to lose weight, I would likely need a different mentor for that. But it might get a little confusing to be mentored by multiple writers, all with different levels of success, ways of getting there and all with different expectations of you as the one being mentored. That’s just my opinion. Feel free to debate me in the comments below.
Are you mentoring anyone?
Mentorship is a privilege that you may not even know you’re enjoying unless your mentoree comes out and tells you so. Just like you know I love you because I tell you so but others may not be as open with their feeling as I am. 😉 I do think, however, that a true mentor should have the mentee’s interest in heart and that’s much more likely as a mutual endeavor. Awww, just like love again. lol I you are mentoring someone, or even more than one person, I would love to hear about it.
Who is your mentor?
Do you have a mentor? A person that you think of as a mentor and actively follow and respect? Do you see the power behind mentorship, for both sides? I’d love to hear about them. Do you want to give your mentor or mentee a shoutout? Want to declare your respect for and ask for the guidance of your mentor right here – right now? Link to them and bring them back here to get the ball rolling. Leave your comments below.