Are you struggling to make your first dollars online? If you really want to be successful in this business, a great “shortcut” is to seek out someone who is doing what you’re doing and learn from them. As Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
A good mentor has been there and done it – they’ve taken the hard knocks for you. And while they can’t completely save you from the pains of doing business and learning for yourself, they can offer guidance and point at the correct knowledge you can leverage to ultimate success. Instead of some floundering newbie flailing to swim in the currents of the Internet, you can start the ball rolling in the right direction immediately and barrel straight towards a profitable business.
So how to find such a mentor? I’ll give you that it isn’t always easy, but here are some tips to get you going.
1. Prepare to Work
Don’t expect to have things easy just because you get a mentor to take on the task of helping you out. In fact, a mentor will believe, correctly, that they are doing you a gigantic favor, and that the best gratitude you can show them is putting out a real effort.
It took them hard work to be successful, and even with their guidance, it will take you hard work as well. Without that same work ethic, the knowledge they hand you is useless.
2. Breaking the Ice
It’s considered pretty bad form to approach someone who is making money online and just outright say, “Hey, will you mentor me?” Why should they? You need to build a relationship with them first and earn their respect.
It’s true that many successful entrepreneurs do like to turn around and help others once they’ve accomplished their goals. It gives them meaning in life. But they need to know you’re actually going to use that knowledge, for one, and they want to believe you deserve it.
Instead of approaching them in this manner, you might instead email them for specific advice. Be sure to explain why you’re emailing them specifically, why you respect their work, and thanking them for any inspiration or knowledge you’ve gained from them. If they give you a bit of help, then reward them by using it and report back your success. You can start building a relationship and earning their respect in this manner.
Also, think about how you can help them out. Do you have a special skill that you can use to make their life easier, in business or otherwise? Instead of asking them what they can do for you, ask what you can do for them.
Successful people like to scratch backs that scratch theirs.
3. Do Everything They Say
Have you noticed a theme here? Many people don’t respect their mentors by actually putting the knowledge to use and carrying through. Many take a few half-hearted steps and disappear or just apply the tips they believe in. Don’t be that guy.
Take everything your mentor tells you and dive right in with it. Some might seem insignificant but be anything but once you dig your hands in. The least you can do is try, and it’s only respectful given the time and energy they are giving you for free.
4. Ask Questions
You’re not going to understand everything your mentor tells you – much of what they assume as common knowledge, through years of experience, will be way above your head. You might be tempted to keep your mouth shut, hesitant to demand more of their time, but if you are acting on misunderstood information, you’re not going to get anywhere. And then their time really will be wasted.
So speak up. Ask for clarification, expansion, or recommended research resources to fill in the gaps.
5. Show Appreciation
It goes without saying that you should always show your appreciation, and sometimes the best appreciation is just getting back in touch to let someone know how well you’ve done. If their reputation at all depends on the success of their “students,” then, by all means, write out an epic testimonial and send it over.
Or if there’s some way you can offer them something of value in the future, do it! Putting your skills to work for them free of charge, for instance, is one good way. Here’s another – if you come across a book that you think they’d like or would benefit from, buy it on Amazon and have it shipped directly to them. This can be a fine gesture, even it’s a non-business book related to a personal passion or goal of theirs.
Another idea is to send them leads and referrals for their business from time to time.
6. Break Out the Dough
Finding a mentor for free can be tough, but there are a lot of online coaches and great programs you can tap into by breaking out your wallet. Just do your due diligence – there are no shortage of scams and next-to-worthless learning programs on the web.
Seek out people who have actually hired these mentors and see how they’re doing. Verify that the coach or mentor actually has success in the field and isn’t just leveraging a bunch of hype.
If you find a program that’s bringing others real success and it looks sound, I see no problem with investing in valuable knowledge. The winners do it all the time.
Are you going to be a winner?