Mentor shaking hands

What Is A Mentor And Who Is Yours?

(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?

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.

Indirect Mentors

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.

About Brian D. Hawkins

Blogging superhero by day and internet super villain by night. Blogger, future online millionaire and an all around great guy.


  1. Interestingly enough, although I do aspire to avoid titles and labels, I use the term “CoachMentor” in my work, because the lines between the coaching part (assisting someone to see that they already have the spark within them to achieve their goals) and the mentoring part (leading by example/providing perspective not “the answer”/ being a mirror, muse, pat on the back-kick in the shins objective neutral ally) blend very well in how I work with clients.

    I designed a business mentoring course that I delivered for 8 years, pairing early growth business owners with seasoned successful business owners/entrepreneurs, and used a wisdom exchange model to facilitate learning, exchange and growth; a two-way street, wherein Mentors and Mentees both benefitted from the experience.

    My mentor (now deceased) was Jack Donohue, Canadian men’s basketball coach whose most important counsel was this: “Take what I say and chew it around. If you don’t like it, spit it out. But at least chew it around for a while.” It’s stayed with me for years. Cheers! Kaarina

  2. Interesting stuff Brian. I wrote a newsletter on this very topic years ago. I’ve had a few mentors here and there but not for very long periods of time for most of them. You’re right, they might not always be there, and yet I have one mentor where, if I really need something, I can call him at any time and he’ll talk to me, and it’s a relationship that’s gone for more than 25 years. Never hurts to have a CEO on your side. 🙂

  3. Great topic Brian. Thanks for embedding our little Twitter conversation 🙂

    When I first got online I found a mentor in Lisa Irby. I was mesmerized by how well she spoke and I wanted to be like her. It was a long time before we actually chatted with each other. I think she retweeted one of my blog posts and I was on cloud 9 for about 24 hours 9 or more).
    I think it was ok to admire her from afar at first because now we are always chatting online and she’s more like a buddy to me these days.

    Growing up I had several mentors. Most of them were teachers so I guess not too much has changed about me over the years.

    Thanks for the post Brian. You really made think!

  4. Hey Brian
    Every one should have a mentor as they can even explain you about those mistakes which they did so you can be aware of that. BTW Thanks for sharing this well described post. I always love to read which give all the needed information. and this post is of that kind. This post is helped me to enhance my knowledge.
    Take care and keep enjoying
    Chetan Gupta

  5. A mentor!? I don’t have a mentor that I know of. I try to do everything independently without out relying on anyone. I don’t like to bother anyone. I’m getting started being a critic testing out my method’s with Top 10’s and such. I guess I’d just say that my mentor’s are a thing of history. Critic’s need to get their voice out, they need to be heard! In order to reveal a small time nobody to a larger crowd so their work means something more breaking the way through the pay wall of commercialism and giving respect’s where respect’s are modestly due. Just like you do, you find other people’s blog and think. “Why? Why isn’t this being read and shared! It’s great!” My goal is to help others just like that and hurt those company’s who try to fool the public in the media today. – Scott Craighead

    • That’s an admirable business goal Scott. I don’t think a mentor would necessarily distort your ultimate target but might have guidance on the path or other aspects. An ideal mentor might be familiar and have success in the gaming industry, marketing, networking, etc..

      • So your my mentor!? haha. Well, actually you are my mentor in terms of marketing and networking I think. As in I take or trust your advice over anyone’s. I dunno, I don’t see any critic’s like Robert Ebert or Gene Siskel for gaming. I see people doing everything for money “Reviewing” things. Sad, really.

      • Watched latest Hot Blog Tips Realized you made fun of my comment. Not a good mentor, Brian! haha. *sighs*

  6. I’ve been thinking a lot about mentors lately.I’ve had some great, talented, generous people help me out in my (very short) writing career in journalism. But what I REALLY want in a mentor I’m too scared to ask for, because I have this idea writers either have a novel manuscript shoved in a drawer and are bitter about the whole process, or else they won’t have any better advice than “write lots.

    • It sounds like you’ve given this a lot of thought Martin. You bring up a great point though, we need to be very selective when it comes to a mentor. We don’t want to follow someone just because they are will to be followed.

  7. Please, I want you to be my mentor.
    I am really serious with this.

    • I’m flattered Emmanuel. I’m here for all bloggers, that’s what I do. As far as a mentorship type of relationship, we’d need to get to know each other much better and work towards something like that.

  8. Hi Brian,

    A mentor is somebody you have access to. True. However, this is not enough. “You should be able to ask your mentor a question or seek advice from time to time.” This is the most important thing.
    “A mentor is not a consultant. They are not at your beck and call for every little challenge.”
    I strongly disagree with you.
    There are two roles: coach and mentor. A coach is rarely at your disposal. “They are not at your beck”, indeed.
    A mentor MUST provide a step by step path to success, directly and specifically for that particular person otherwise he or she is not a mentor but a coach.
    Most of the time people get stuck in details. They don’t know how to do this or that. It is exactly at this point where they need help. Precise, and targeted help. Your mentor should be there for you and give you advice at that specific point and on the whole journey to success. This is a mentor.
    So the process seems to have two stages: first you find yourself a coach. You pay for a general course and learn the ropes. From time to time you are entitled to a little question.
    Then, after you have got the overall picture, you need a mentor to help you whenever you don’t understand and you are stuck at a particular stage. He will provide you the details that were not available in the first phase and help you go through the whole process and understand it.
    This is the real role of a mentor and this is what differentiates him from a coach. If you are a mentor but you are not available exactly at that time when your disciple needs the most, then he will stop for a long while, get disheartened and discouraged and quit. In this case you are not a mentor but a coach or a shit.

    Have a nice day

    • I don’t even know where to start Silviu, I disagree with almost every word you said. lol Mentoring and coaching have similarities but each does have their own definition (difference between mentoring and coaching). The only debate we could have here is if we agree with the official definitions or not so I guess we can agree to disagree. I do appreciate you taking the time to express yourself though; that’s what it all about. 😉

  9. I do not have one at the moment but I really want to have one. I will try to choose one in the future. I really liked your article. Thanks for sharing! Cheers!

  10. I haven`t actually secretly named someone to be my mentor but I`ve recently met a person that I hold much respect to and I think that I should study and take over some of his moral values. Thank you very much for the post, I found it very interesting.

  11. I personally think that you should have a mentor for every single aspect of your life. If you can find someone who knows their stuff, and who is committed and passionate about something specific, you should make sure that you profit from their knowledge.

    This sounds a little strange if you are speaking about friends, but you will always have something that you can give back in return. Eye for an eye and all that!

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