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Mentorship: 4 Steps to Take Control of Your Own Success

Mentor

A budding entrepreneur is sure to hear the same advice regardless of the industry they’re in or direction their business is taking: find a mentor.

However, getting a reliable mentor can feel like a shot in the dark. What do you do if you can’t get a business veteran to be by your side? Do like all great entrepreneurs do and think outside the box. Utilize these four tips to launch your career and take control of your own success.

1. Explore reverse mentoring.

Rapid changes and constant learning already characterize today’s business landscape. That’s why you could benefit from finding a reverse mentor—someone who is younger, more familiar with emerging trends, and more comfortable with technology. Many services, software, and industries didn’t exist when today’s seasoned mentors made their marks on the world. Take advantage of what young people bring to the table. They can educate you on useful services to streamline your business, such as team-messaging apps, virtual assistants, stylish website builders, and inexpensive Internet phone services. A reverse mentor can teach you how to leverage these tools and services, saving time and money for your day-to-day operations. Make sure you offer a symbiotic relationship to motivate your reverse mentor. Teach them about business, sales, team building, and negotiation. It’s a smart value exchange that builds your network at the same time.

2. Join a peer-mentoring group.

Two heads are better than one, and 10 heads are even better than two. Some circles provide huge value in exchange for time and insights. Peer-mentoring groups exist to give members the opportunity to grow without breaking the bank. Everyone has something to learn, and everyone has something to offer. That’s how peer mentorship works. Technology and social media bring people together without geographical barriers. Members with different experiences, resources, and outlooks are addressing some of the same challenges that you face. Start looking for them on LinkedIn, where you can find groups of ambitious people dedicated to your industry and skill set.

3. Network your way into new opportunities.

Invest your time opening doors for and sharing your expertise with others. The more you give, the more you'll receive. Networking remains one of the most successful ways to locate new opportunities, even in the digital age. People spend time with, invest in, and do business with people they like. Regional organizations, professional associations, and small-business resource centers can help you meet new contacts to develop and grow your personal network. Many also host professional seminars and skill-building programs. Attending conventions and industry events will keep you current on more than emerging trends. Making even one or two meaningful connections per event represents a solid return on your time investment.

4. Embrace informal lifelong learning.

It’s never been easier to learn on your own. Teach yourself new skills to keep up with the curve. You don’t even need to enroll in night courses to stay sharp, although extra certifications don’t hurt. Follow blogs from reputable sources and thought leaders for daily bursts of learning that land right in your inbox. You also can take online courses at a modest price to become certified in your area of choice. Never underestimate the power of spending 15 minutes on learning each day.

Today’s world moves so quickly that a traditional mentor might not be the best fit for your entrepreneurial endeavor. Learn on the fly, make new connections, and pursue new experiences without apology. You don’t need a mentor to grow your business. You just need to reach out and discover new frontiers using alternative channels.

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