With a new year always comes thoughts about new hobbies, side hustles, or even career changes that we’ve been tossing around in the back of our minds. Maybe you haven’t yet dived into something you’ve been wanting to try. Or, you’ve just started a new path personally or professionally. Just as we were encouraged to get internships in high school and college, there is nothing that tops learning from someone who has done that thing before…and someone who does it well. Whether that’s a coach, teacher, colleague, family member, or someone you may not know yet, mentors can come in all forms.
When I was first taking Oh Joy! to the next level (from working from home solo to moving into an office and hiring my first employees), a mentor came into my life. She had started and sold multiple businesses. She had published multiple books. She knew how to hire and fire people. And she helped me so much during that transition when I was ready to really grow my business. She was the business angel I didn’t know I needed and truly helped change the course of my business from that point forward. Because of that experience, I will never underestimate the power of learning from those who have been there and done that before me.
What is a Mentor?
A mentor can be someone you work with regularly (through an internship, official mentorship, or job). They can be someone you can call or email from time-to-time as needed. They could be someone you work with only once but they help get you over some obstacles in your way and give you the guidance you need to move forward. There are all kinds, and it really depends what you want to learn and who you find.
How Do You Find a Mentor?
Think about who you know in real life that has expertise in this area. You may already have a friend, family member, or acquaintance who could prove to be a great start. That’s not to say you want to ask your published author aunt to be your mentor forever, but she might prove to have some tips for you on how to get your book proposal together and some other resources (or people) you can further connect with. Sometimes a mentor could be someone you don’t know personally but look up to. You think they’d never consider mentoring you. But you don’t know if you don’t ask!
Do You Pay Them or Not?
This depends. Traditionally, a mentor is someone who gives their time to you out of the goodness of their heart and/or someone who either has taken a personal or professional interest in helping you. Or as part of their job, they take on mentees regularly (maybe a couple a year, for example). There were a couple years pre-Covid, where I personally took on one mentee a year which was a nice way to business coach someone over an extended period of time. I didn’t charge for it because I had the capacity to do it and had interest in helping those specific people during that time. But there are people who mentor for a living (business coaches, life coaches, and simply those in business who offer coaching or consulting in addition to their main job). So payment is going to be very specific to who it is and how they work and whether you can afford to hire those that do charge.
So, What’s Next?
Well, if this sounds exciting to you, and you have something you’re wanting to learn more about and are ready to spend the time doing the work, start looking for a mentor with the tips above! I’m keeping these methods broad enough to cover any subject with the main focus on knowing how important it can be to help you with something new and exciting you want to be doing. Go find those people who can guide you and be ready to work hard to grow with their help!