October 14, 2023

A digital entrepreneur's guide to finding the right mentor

You've worked hard to get where you are. You've poured over tons of business books, tuned in to all the podcasts, and perhaps you've even leveled up with some premium online courses on business growth strategy or something similar.

Yet, even with this arsenal of knowledge, you still find yourself coming up against a wall when it's time to talk about scaling your business. Why?

The missing link in your entrepreneurial growth puzzle is likely the absence of personalized, one-on-one guidance—a business mentor who's navigated the very challenges you're facing. Consider mentorship as your custom GPS for business growth, a way to avoid traffic jams and wrong turns on your path to creating a highly leveraged, successful company.

Mentorship has many benefits. Here are but a few you can expect to experience:

  • Tailored business strategy: A mentor can provide actionable advice specific to your individual circumstances, going beyond the cookie-cutter tips you find online.
  • Act as a sounding board: There's no substitute for having a reliable sounding board, particularly someone who's deeply familiar with the nuanced world of digital entrepreneurship.
  • Provide accountability: Having someone in the know keep tabs on your objectives significantly boosts your odds of sticking to your scaling strategies and revenue growth plans.
  • Introduce networking opportunities: Think of a mentor as your business's backstage pass—a means to access spaces and faces that accelerate your business development.
  • Offer emotional support: The emotional roller coaster that is entrepreneurship demands more than just a seatbelt; it requires the stabilizing presence of someone who's ridden it before and came out thriving.

So, if these sound good, it might be time to put finding a business mentor on your growth list. But how do you find someone who can help?

Let's dive into the characteristics and strategies you'll use to identify someone who can truly amplify things like business growth strategy and client acquisition efforts while helping you carve out your own space.

How do you find the right business mentor?

Finding the ideal mentor is more art than science, but there's a method to the madness. This process begins with a deep dive into what you seek in a mentorship relationship. Are you looking to break the mold in business scaling, excel in brand differentiation, or gain an edge with advanced revenue growth tactics?

The first step is to be clear about what you need, so let's break it down.

The layered approach to mentorship

There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to mentorship. It varies based on the phase of business you're in and what specific challenges you're tackling. Let's look the types of mentors that could help you depending on the current state of your journey:

Layer 1: The Industry Trailblazer

During the initial stages, when you're still delineating your market space or trying to grasp the full scope of your business, an Industry Trailblazer type of mentor can offer you a bird's-eye view of the industry landscape. This type of mentor is initially invaluable, but you might find yourself quickly transitioning to the following kind of mentor once you hone in on your services and business plan.

Layer 2: The Skill Virtuoso

Once you've got the panoramic view, you might need to go microscopic into specialized areas like digital marketing, sales conversions, or operational efficiency. A Skill Virtuoso mentor brings focused expertise, often backed by a track record of success in that domain. They're great at getting down to the nitty-gritty and helping you understand your business from first principles.

Layer 3: The Accountability Ally

Sometimes, what you need is not a guru but a guide—someone who's tread a similar path but is a few milestones ahead. They can offer pragmatic tips based on their own fresh experiences and hold you accountable for your actions. This mentor-mentee relationship is often rewarding because it reinforces learnings in both people.

Remember: There are all types of mentors for all types of mentees. Before you hit 'send' on LinkedIn connection requests or cold DM a would-be mentor on Twitter/X, take a moment to evaluate your pressing needs. And get specific. The more detailed you are about your needs, the more likely you'll know what you're after, which will help you attract the ideal mentor.

Implementing a mentor's advice effectively

Ok—you've successfully attracted a mentor and have even begun to cultivate a symbiotic relationship. Now comes the challenging yet crucial part: turning wisdom into action.

Here are three ways I recommend to get the most out of your mentor's advice.

1. The Priority Matrix

Your mentor will likely offer a wealth of insights and recommendations. While it's tempting to act on all of them immediately, that approach can spread you thin. Utilize frameworks like the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance.

Place each piece of advice from your mentor into the matrix:

  • Urgent and Important: Act on these immediately.
  • Important but Not Urgent: Schedule these for later, but don't neglect them.
  • Urgent but Not Important: Delegate if possible.
  • Neither Urgent nor Important: Consider dropping these.

Doing this lets you focus on what will genuinely move the needle for your business in the short and long term.

By the way, I have an entire article about the Eisenhower Matrix, including instructions and a downloadable PDF to help you implement the framework. I recommend checking it out.

2. The Action Roadmap

In the world of digital entrepreneurship, ideas are abundant, but implementation is sparse. What sets great entrepreneurs apart is their ability to create an actionable roadmap based on their mentor's advice.

Steps to action:

  • Break down advice: Split the guidance and direction into smaller tasks.
  • Assign deadlines: Place deadlines on each task for accountability.
  • Review: After each task is completed, evaluate the results. Were they what you expected?
  • Iterate: Make changes based on your review and continue to execute.

3. Failing Forward

It's important to remember that failure is often just a stepping stone to success. When things don't go as planned:

  • Analyze the failure: What went wrong? Was the failure due to the strategy, its implementation, or unforeseen factors?
  • Discuss the outcomes (good or bad): Use these failures as additional touchpoints with your mentor.
  • Revise your strategy: Amend your strategies based on the lessons learned and move forward.

Implementing a mentor's advice effectively is a nuanced process that requires careful planning, agile execution, and a willingness to learn from both successes and failures. By focusing on these aspects, you maximize the value derived from the mentorship, creating a robust foundation for scaling your business.

Transforming mentorship into metrics

Having a mentor guide you with invaluable advice is one thing; translating that wisdom into measurable outcomes is another. Now that you have a plan to put your mentor's advice into action, here's how to turn qualitative guidance into quantitative growth.

The 30-day action plan

An effective way to monitor your progress is to segment your mentor's advice into a 30-day action plan. You can make this as robust or as agile as you want. Here's a quick way to create your own plan:

  • Set milestones: Take the advice and break it down into specific, actionable milestones.
  • Assign metrics: Link each milestone to key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help measure its success. These are likely very specific outcomes you want to measure in your business.
  • Everything should be time-bound: Stick with a 30-day cycle to create urgency and focus. You'll want to focus on other tasks after this cycle, so keep things moving.
  • Review and revise: At the end of the 30 days, analyze the results against the set KPIs. Discuss these findings with your mentor for insights and adjustments. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Remembering that mentorship should be a dynamic dialogue rather than a one-way street is vital. During your 30-day action plan, keep the communication lines open to make necessary real-time adjustments. Maintain frequent, perhaps weekly, touchpoints with your mentor to discuss your achievements and setbacks.

The cumulative power of mentorship for digital entrepreneurs

Mentorship is more than just another business strategy; it's an essential tool for personal growth, strategic development, and long-term business sustainability. By engaging in a meaningful, mutually beneficial mentorship relationship, you can harness tailored guidance to sidestep pitfalls and accelerate your growth trajectory.

Key takeaways:

  • Personalized GPS: A mentor offers invaluable personalized guidance that can act as your business growth GPS.
  • Actionable advice: A mentor's words are impactful, but only if you implement them.
  • Measured growth: Tracking KPIs aligned with your mentor's advice allows you to assess your growth concretely.
  • The cycle of giving: Don't forget to give back as you grow.

Your next steps:

  • Identify your needs: Evaluate your business goals and personal needs to select the right kind of mentor.
  • Seek and build relationships: Use platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter/X to connect with potential mentors.
  • Implement: Take your mentor's advice and transform it into actionable steps.
  • Measure and adapt: Always come back to your metrics.
  • Full circle: Consider how you can contribute to the mentorship ecosystem as you see results.

Mentorship in digital entrepreneurship isn't just about climbing the ladder; it's about extending a hand to those who are a few steps behind. It's not about shortcuts; it's about "smart-cuts"—and the smartest cut of all is learning from those who've walked the path before you.

P.S. The right mentor can be a cheat code for growth. If you're looking to take your creative business or agency to the next level, I offer affordable monthly async coaching and mentorship. Check out my plans and feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the benefits of having a business mentor?

    Having a business mentor can provide invaluable benefits such as tailored business strategy, accountability, networking opportunities, and emotional support. A mentor serves as a custom GPS for navigating your business growth, helping you avoid wrong turns and fast-tracking your path to success.

  • How do I find the right business mentor?

    Finding the right business mentor involves evaluating your own business goals and needs, then seeking out individuals who align with those objectives. Consider utilizing platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter to connect with potential mentors. Look for someone who has navigated similar challenges and can offer actionable advice specific to your situation.

  • What strategies can I use to implement a mentor's advice?

    To effectively implement your mentor's advice, consider using frameworks like the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance. Create an actionable roadmap to break down the advice into smaller tasks, assign deadlines, and review the outcomes. This helps focus your efforts on what will genuinely impact your business.

  • How do I measure the success of mentorship?

    To gauge the success of your mentorship, set specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) aligned with the advice given. Utilize a 30-day action plan to track these metrics and review them with your mentor. This approach turns qualitative guidance into quantitative growth.

  • What types of challenges can a business mentor help me overcome?

    A business mentor can help you overcome a variety of challenges, including but not limited to, business scaling, brand differentiation, and revenue growth tactics. They can offer specific advice based on the phase your business is in and the unique obstacles you're facing.

  • How important is accountability in a mentor-mentee relationship?

    Accountability is crucial in a mentor-mentee relationship. A mentor not only offers advice but also keeps tabs on your objectives, thereby significantly boosting your odds of sticking to your business plans and achieving your goals.