Smart hustlers know that success leaves clues. My biggest source of breadcrumbs has been my mentors. I've been fortunate to be mentored by millionaires who knew and worked for billionaires, television personalities, and a host of others.
What I've learned and gained from those experiences has been so invaluable that I now own three businesses which connect world-class entrepreneurs to my community of up and coming entrepreneurs. When these world-class mentors are introduced to my community, there is inevitably someone who wants to be mentored by them one-on-one.
Being on fire about the advice someone gives during a podcast and taking specific advice from them to better your business are two different things. All mentors leave clues, and you need to find the one that is going to leave the best clues for you.
Here's how to approach a business mentor so you can be the mentee they don't know they need - yet.
1. Do Your Research
One of the ways I've found my mentors was offhandedly hearing their story. When I started blogging and met my mentor, I was on welfare. It turns out that this mentor had been fired from a high-profile position. The fact that she'd turned what looked to be a failing into a victory was exactly what I needed. Other mentors might not have understood that, and they definitely couldn't have shown me how to craft my story to inspire others.
Your business mentor needs to understand your past and your future plans to be effective for you.
2. Invest in Time with Them
Attend conferences where they are speaking, read their books, attend their webinars, be in their space both virtually and physically. Become an active member of their community. Before you ever approach someone for their help, help them by being in their audience. No matter how big someone is, they investigate their community, and if you are an ad hoc leader within it, they will certainly notice. So become a member of the Facebook group who contributes, comment on their blog posts, volunteer at their events, share their interviews on social media. This investment of your time is a great way to show them you are serious about what they have to share and what they are building.
3. Offer Them Your Value
Before renowned matchmaker and entrepreneur Paul C. Brunson became my mentor and business partner, I sent him countless ideas for his business. I even offered him my editing services. He didn't immediately use any of my ideas or services; however, when the time came and he needed to add to his business, I was top of mind. When you offer on-target, relevant, thought out ideas to your mentor you show two things: you are willing to put in the work to find out what they need, and you have value to them. Mentors shouldn't be seen as a "give me your knowledge" type of deal. Going with your hand out makes you like everyone else. Taking something of value to them makes you stand out.
4. Take Action on Their Advice
If you really want to bring the "wow" factor when you are courting your mentor-to-be, use their advice. Showing that you are open and ready to do not just work but the work they have outlined in their courses is a smart hustle move. You want to learn from this person and success leaves clues. Being a self-starter; starting before the formal mentorship begins; not only does that show your mentor-to-be that you are serious, it also helps you move your business forward faster if your perfect business mentor isn't available.
5. Be Genuine
Remember, your mentor probably gets tons of requests for their (free) time and expertise. Let them know you are looking to start a mentoring relationship with them. Tell them why you believe their specific experience and knowledge will benefit you and how your knowledge and experience will benefit them and their current projects. Also, if they can't help you at this moment, be gracious and let them know you will continue to support them (and do!). Ask if you can stay in touch. Your preferred business mentor may not have the time for a formal relationship today; however, most will take the time to answer a few questions or point you to their favorite resources if you show them you are truly respectful of them.
Finding a mentor can be relatively easy; becoming the mentee that mentors can't refuse? You got this, Smart Hustler.