3 Secrets You Must Know to Find and Work With the Right Mentor

Kindling a relationship with a mentor is like wooing a spouse. When you find the right one, you need to convince them you're the right one.

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By Timothy Sykes


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The recent Father's Day holiday had me reflecting on how lucky I've been to learn from both my father and from others who have filled a similar role in my life. I've had the chance to learn from other traders and from my students, and they've all convinced me how important having a mentor can be. That's what my mentorship program is all about.

No matter what you're trying to achieve, a good mentor can help you get there. I don't care whether you're starting a business, trying to climb a mountain or learning to trade penny stocks, a mentor will get you there faster and help you avoid the beginner mistakes that'll cost you time and money.

But not all mentors are created equal. If you're serious about your success, check out the following three secrets that'll help you find and work with the right teacher for your goals.

1. Find a teacher who's achieved what you want.

I really can't stress this point enough. If you're going to go to the trouble of finding and working with a teacher, you need to be sure it's someone who's achieved what you want!

I'm going to use a trading example to show you why this is so important…

Thanks to the Internet, pretty much anybody can set up a website and call themselves a trading teacher. Seriously. It's super easy to fake a bunch of screenshots and take pictures with stacks of fake money to convince people you've got what it takes as a trader. But what can that trader teach you? How to forge trading profits? How to scam other people out of their money?

Do your due diligence. Don't just believe everything you read on the Internet. Do your research, and if you can't be 100 percent sure that your mentor is telling the truth about achieving the kinds of goals you want for yourself, look elsewhere.

Related: How to Get the Most Out of Having a Mentor

2. Be persistent.

Unfortunately for you, the best mentors get approached all the time by prospective students. As a result, they don't take on everyone they talk to - they just don't have time to teach that many students while still keeping up on their own projects.

As a teacher myself, it can be hard to have to turn people down like that. I get so many people coming to me for advice that I couldn't possibly help everybody. These days, I actually have to have interested students go through an application process to help weed out the people who are willing to work hard from those that aren't.

If the mentor you want to work with isn't immediately open to your request, be persistent. Follow up several times to show that you're someone who takes initiative. Don't be annoying, but do use these opportunities to show that you're someone who's worth spending time on.

Related: 5 Kinds of People Who Will Help You Succeed as an Entrepreneur

3. Bring value to the partnership.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "But Tim, I'm just a student. What do I have that can bring value to somebody who's way more experienced than me?"

And yeah, I get it. If you're working with a stock trading teacher like me, you're probably not going to come up with some new technique that your mentor's never heard of before. But what you have to understand is that teachers want more than "tit for tat" payback.

I teach because I love sharing what I've learned over 15 years of trading with other students. I've made my money - been there, done that. Now, what makes me happy is seeing other people succeed with the lessons I've taught them.

What I get out of the deal is seeing my students win big and make massive profits, so the way students can bring value to the partnership is to simply show me that they're working hard. Showing me that you're actually acting on the things I'm teaching you - not just wasting my time - makes me feel good about putting out the effort to teach you. It's a win-win, and it's surprisingly easy to do.

Want to see how one student did it? Out of the blue, my student Gregg sent me an email asking if I wanted to hear how he was using the lessons I taught him. Of course I do! He sends back a 1,000+ word response breaking down one of his most recent trades and how my teachings helped him snag a $3,100 profit after commissions.

Gregg didn't show me something new, and he didn't have to make some crazy gesture to show me he appreciated my mentorship. Explaining to me in detail how he put the knowledge I shared with him to work was a great reward that proved how much he valued our partnership.

Of course, these secrets alone won't get you a mentor - and they definitely won't help you if you aren't willing to put your mentor's teachings to work. Finding the right mentor is just the start of the battle. The rest - the part where you act on this information and start living the life you've always dreamed of - is up to you.

Related: Richard Branson's Guide to Finding a Mentor

Timothy Sykes

Entrepreneur and Penny Stock Expert

Timothy Sykes is an entrepreneur and a penny stock expert, trader and advocate. He has been featured on CNN, Fox News, CNBC and more. Watch his media appearances and speeches on Youtube here.

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