Being an effective, impactful mentor doesn’t take much time, requires no travel, and you don’t have to spend a penny. StartUpNV mentors come from all professional and industry backgrounds because our member business types and needs vary widely. We LOVE our mentors and value their impact! Like this post or click to fill out the link to show your interest and support.
Mentors make an impact
Successful professionals have help and mentorship throughout their careers. If you are successful, you most likely want to pass along the lessons you learned – but even if you don’t want to, you should. Not only is your advice likely to have a big impact on any entrepreneur you mentor, but you get as much or more out of the experience as you give. Being a mentor makes you better as a professional and as a human being.
Mentors are brutally honest
Being a mentor is different than being a friend or parent. If the situation is difficult or bleak, say it – and say why. Ask hard questions and guide – rather than offer a specific solution. The solution developed and outcome derived will belong to the entrepreneur – and the mentor will learn from the context the Q&A develops. Entrepreneurs have friends and family who are positive for them without direct experience. Mentors are the reality check – without being a jerk.
Mentors teach and learn
Know what you know and guide from that experience, but be humble – because no one knows everything. Stay in your lane of expertise. Say “I don’t know” and make introductions where needed. As a mentor you’ll teach and guide where you are the expert, but you’ll also learn from your entrepreneur – and other mentors.
Mentors leverage time better than anyone
Be prepared to spend 1 hour per month and no longer than 1 year mentoring an entrepreneur. Set an expectation that the entrepreneur should be well prepared for your time together with questions, updates, and topics that can be covered in 20-30 minutes – once or twice per month. Don’t travel. Meetings should be via web conference, phone, or at the mentor’s office – so the mentor can get back to their day. Every hour mentoring should save the entrepreneur 10 or more hours. You can have a massive impact without spending much time.
Mentors build meaningful relationships
Honest, direct conversation based in a shared experience builds strong bonds. Genuinely helping someone to succeed, teaching someone to fish rather than giving them a fish to eat, benefits the mentor and the entrepreneur – and binds them together in meaningful ways. The relationships, experiences – and yes, friendships, developed through mentoring will be some of the most treasured ones of your lifetime.
Be a mentor! Give of your experience and of what you know and love. You’ll be paid back 100 fold.
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