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You're My Idol Working with a mentor may be just what you need to improve your business skills.

By Pamela Rohland

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When 33-year-old image consultant Michelle Damiano decided sheneeded a mentor, she employed that finely honed skill that manywomen learn at their mother's knee: shopping.

Put your car keys away, everybody. There's no Mentors"R" Us store stocked with a selection of experiencedprofessionals. But Damiano adopted the same methodical approach tofinding a mentor that she would use to buy a car. Since imageconsultants aren't in great supply in rural State College,Pennsylvania, where her business, Impressions, is located, Damianogot a New York City phonebook and combed the listings for imageconsultants in the Big Apple. After cold-calling several andlanding in-person interviews with a few, she found a match, andbefore she knew it, she was learning the ropes by volunteering ather new mentor's business.

Although the whole arrangement sounds a bit calculated, Damianoconsiders the guidance she received through her mentoringrelationship invaluable-the kind of experience she probablycouldn't have had in State College. In the past three years,her sales have grown from $20,000 to $100,000 a year.

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