how to find the right mentor for your business
When it comes to business advice, there are certain people you really need to consider talking to. And there are certain people you need to stop asking for advice. There is a very common mistake I see women make all the time, I’m even guilty of it myself. But, if you really want to build a business that serves the right people and makes you money, it’s super important to find the right mentor.
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Let’s go back to our first pre-Algebra class, probably in 6th or 7th grade. I want you to think about who you asked for advice. Did you ask your 3rd grade sibling for advice? Or maybe your 6th grade buddy who got a C on an exam? Maybe your teacher, a high school sibling, or your buddy who got an A+ on the last test.
I’m guessing that the answer to this question seems pretty obvious. We wouldn’t ask our 3rd grade sibling for help with pre-Algebra. They don’t have any experience. And we probably wouldn’t ask our 6th grade buddy who got a C, on the last test, for help either.
We would want to find someone who was just a little bit ahead of us, who was doing a little bit better than us, for help.
Your business bestie is not always the best person to ask for business advice
While this analogy may make sense when it comes to math and who we ask for help, somehow that logic gets lost on us in our businesses. Very often, I see women going to each other for business advice.
They’re asking somebody who is either right at the same place they are in. Someone who really isn’t making any money yet, just getting started. Or they’re even asking somebody who’s behind them in business. Or someone who has no interest in business, their sister, mom, or next door neighbor.
This is a problem in your business. And it might seem obvious when I say it here and compare it to math; it might seem really obvious. And yet we all do it. I’ve done it before. And I watch so many of you do this.
What happens when you get advice from the wrong people
I’ve seen it in Facebook groups. I was part of a Facebook group when I first started this business, a couple of years ago. The leader of this group, she knew her stuff. She was fantastic. She’s on top of business. She has a successful business and she has helped other women create successful businesses.
There were a few women in this group who decided to create their own splinter group. The idea was to be each other’s cheerleaders. They created a second group on their own, full of women who were more like them. We do this because sometimes we feel uncomfortable with women who are doing a little bit better than us in business. We judge ourselves against them.
So they created the splinter group and I went with them because I love the idea. I love the idea of women cheering each other on. As I watched what happened in this group, it made me really sad. They gave each other terrible business advice.
They said things like:
“You can’t make money until you have a lot of page views.”
“You’ve got to get ads.”
“You’ve got to sell physical products, digital products just aren’t worth it.”
“You don’t really need email marketing.”
“Just keep copying other people’s content.”
This is a horrible advice! But they were all kind of in the same place in their business. None of them had really seen a lot of success in their business yet, and they were trying to help each other. Their efforts were sincere and genuine, but they just didn’t have the knowledge to really help each other.
It broke my heart. They were keeping each other stuck, stuck in the mud, spinning their wheels, whatever analogy you want to use, they were stuck.
This is one of the main reasons why you are not seeing the success that you want from your website: You are getting advice from the wrong people. I left the group because I was too tempted to correct them and give them better advice. I didn’t want to make anybody feel bad and I didn’t join the group in order to get business for myself. That’s not why I was there.
3 Reasons why it’s important to find the right mentor to ask for business advice
But, I see it all the time. Even my workshop attendees, 8 women who paid thousands of dollars to come and learn how to build a business. They spent months with me, on Marco Polo and Zoom calls. And then they spent an entire week with me live, learning and building their websites.
But even still, they would ask each other for advice. As I listened to the responses they were getting from each other, I was like, “No guys. No!”
#1 – They don’t consider your target market
Person A would ask person B for advice about their website, but person B wasn’t their target market. So the advice they were getting wasn’t great. Person A would say, “I think you should do it this way.” What if their target market doesn’t want them to do it that way?
#2 – Give advice in the wrong order
Maybe it was good advice, but it was step 5 instead of step 2.
#3 – Discourage each other
Now this is completely unintentional. In fact, it’s typically done out of love and a desire to support. I want to help you see it for what it is. Business is hard! Running your own business is hard. It takes grit. It takes determination. It takes a willingness to do hard things.
When you can’t see the end from the beginning, it’s hard. And when you sit down with your mom or your next door neighbor, or someone who is right at the same place you are with their own business, those people are probably going to see it as abnormal.
They’re going to look at that and say, “Oh, it shouldn’t be that hard. It just should not be that hard.” And when you get that type of feedback, it becomes very easy to quit. It becomes almost easy to give up on yourself and your dreams and what you felt prompted to do.
When you find the right mentor, they will help you make informed decisions
Now, this does not mean that the answer is always to push forward. There are times where you need to let go of your business. I have done that before. I sold a business that I owned for over a decade and it was hard, but I did it because God told me to. So I know, from firsthand experience, that sometimes that’s the right answer.
But if the only people you’re talking to are people who are either not in business at all, behind you in business, or stuck in the thick of it with you, you’re not going to have somebody who can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. You can’t make a truly informed decision. You need someone who is ahead of you in business to tell you this is normal.
This is totally normal.
You’re not incapable. You’re not tech illiterate. This is just a normal learning curve. And you can do that. I’ve been where you are and if you push through it, it will get better. You need someone to be able to tell you that in order to make a truly informed decision about what’s best for your business.
Make sure that you have somebody who is ahead of you in business. Somebody who got an A+ on their last Algebra test, somebody who is in high school while you’re in 6th grade, ask them for business advice.
5 ways to find the right mentor for you
So how do you decide who to have mentor you? Who do you look to for help? Who do you turn to for answers? Here are a few suggestions.
#1 – They have done what you want to do business.
If you want to have passive income, meaning you want to work 5-15 hours a week, you want a lot of freedom but you want your income to be fairly steady, then you need to find somebody who has achieved that.
If you do not want to work 40 hours a week and put your business ahead of your family, then you do not want a mentor who does.
#2 – You admire the values that they uphold.
Do they put people before profits? Do they value honesty and integrity in their business? Or do they use techniques that feel slimy to you? You do not want to ask them for business advice if they don’t have the values that you believe are important.
#3 – They have the family life you want.
This kind of goes back to number one. They’ve done what you want to do business-wise, but also in their family. Do they involve their family in their business? Does their family find joy from their business? Do they see it as a good thing?
#4 – They face their own fears
If you have a mentor who tells you that nothing scares them or you see that they don’t step outside of their comfort zone, they might not be the best mentor because you are going to have to step out of your own comfort zone in order to be successful.
#5 – They’re realistic about challenges.
I highly suggest you do not follow someone that says, “Hey, I’ll show you how to make a million dollars in the next six months working 10 hours a week” because it’s now possible. You’ve got to have people who are realistic.
Can you get to the point where you are earning six or seven figures and you’re working five to 15 hours a week? Yes, you can get to that point after a lot of hard work and with a team. It can happen, but it’s not going to happen overnight and it’s not going to happen without a team. It simply isn’t.
One caveat when choosing who to ask for business advice
Now, one thing I want you to be careful about when you choose a mentor, I want you to be careful about choosing too many. You could have 10 different people who meet those five qualifications. They’ve done what you want to do with their business. You admire their values. They have the family life you want. They face their own fears. They’re realistic about things.
You could find a lot of people who fit those five requirements, but they all may have different ideas about the steps that you need to take and the order you need to take them in order to be successful.
And the truth is – they could all be right. Every single one of them could be right. But if they’re different, you are going to get confused. You are going to get frustrated because mentor A tells you to do it one way and mentor B says do it that way. And if you did mentor A’s entire program, start to finish, you’d be successful. And if you did mentor B’s suggestions, start to finish, you could be successful.
But when you try to do what mentor A says for a week and then what mentor B says for another week, you’re not going to be successful. You’ve got to make sure that you either have one real mentor and you become loyal to them and do everything they say or if you have multiple mentors they need communicate with each other.
I help my clients with their tech stuff. Mostly I get on their websites and make sure their websites are working correctly. But along with that, I have a really hard time building a website if I don’t know the marketing strategy. I have really strong ideas about marketing and systems that work.
So I give my tech clients a lot of marketing advice. When they have a separate coach that gets difficult. So we pull all three of us on a call together and we make sure that all three of us are on the same page.
I’m not saying that you can’t have two mentors. But they’ve got to be willing to listen to each other, to communicate and be willing to adjust and help you see what really is the best path for you.
4 ways your peer group can help you with business advice
So let’s end by talking a little bit about what your peer group should do for you. I don’t want you to leave thinking that you should never again form a Facebook group full of women who are at the same place as you in business. There is a place for that. Absolutely 100%. But it’s not the place you go for advice and help about your business.
#1 – Find Your Target Market
If you have a group of a couple hundred women in a Facebook group, I promise you there’s very likely two or three or four or 10 of them who are your target market. Find them and then ask them, “Hey, do you like this title for a blog post?” “What do you think about this product? How could I tweak this?”
That’s good advice, not specific for business advice in general. You want to find out if your target market really likes what it is you are creating. So if you can find them in that Facebook group, this could be invaluable.
#2 – Discuss Challenges
Now, as I said, if these are the only people you are talking about your challenges with, you may just end up getting very discouraged. So make sure that you’re balancing this with those who are ahead of you in business. But it can feel really good to be validated. To admit, “This is hard. Am I the only one?” and have other people tell you “No, it’s hard for me too.”
Just make sure that those women are the type of women who are going to continue moving forward. Unless they’re told differently by their Father in heaven, but you want women who have grit and who really want to be successful.
#3 – Brainstorming
And then you can take that information back to your mentor to sort through. Sometimes it can be really hard on our own to see outside of our businesses. And if we can brainstorm and get some ideas that can help us get going, but don’t let it stop there. Take that to somebody who’s ahead of you and have them help you sort through the good ideas and the bad ideas.
#4 – Referrals for paid products and services
If you, and a bunch of other women, who own their own businesses are in a group and you are upfront and honest about this, it works great.
For example, this happened a lot in my workshop group. We had a cosmetologist and there were other women in that group who had friends who wanted help with their skincare. They were able to refer those people to her as they learned to trust her.
There were sisters that came to the workshop who teach ASL to families and help families of deaf children learn to speak sign language. They have gotten referrals from those of us in the group who know people who could benefit from their service.
Do this in a very natural, organic, honest way. Those groups can be a great way for you to get some really solid referrals.
So in summary, don’t get rid of your peer groups altogether, they have a place. But make sure that you also find the right mentor. And if you happen to have more than one, make sure those mentors are willing to communicate with each other so that you can create a clear plan of action for your business.
Where to find the right mentor for your business
Stop asking 3rd graders for help with pre-Algebra. It will not serve you. Your business will not grow. Your website will not be successful. You’ve got to find a good mentor.
I would absolutely love to be your mentor. I would love it. I am best at mentoring women who have a lot of grit and are brand new to the online business world. Or women who have a lot of grit, who have been in the online business world for awhile, but they have seen very little success. Those are the people I am best at mentoring.
If you would like my help with your business, please make sure that you are on my email list. You can do that at DesignedForGoodness.com/join.
If you are further along in your business and you are ready to really dig deep into building a high quality funnel, you’ve got products created, you have a beautiful website and you are ready to go create a solid funnel for your business, an automated way of earning passive income – I highly suggest you reach out to Sarah from Sarah Grace Live.
If you really want help being successful on Instagram and getting people from Instagram to your website, I suggest you follow Michelle Gifford.
If you struggle to get organized in your business and that is something that is really holding you back, really frustrating you, then I suggest you follow Ceri Payne.
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This was originally recorded as a podcast episode. The Goodness Squad podcast is no longer being updated, but you can still listen to past episodes.
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