The 6 Most Important Traits to Look for When Choosing a Mentor In this article, I highlight what I believe are the six most important traits to look for when choosing a mentor based on my experience.
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When starting out on your entrepreneurial journey, you are laser-focused on your new business idea or venture. You're excited about the prospect of success; you can see that your solution solves a big problem and you're motivated to turn the idea into reality. So, in this situation, you have a few choices. Do you try to work things out on your own? Or do you turn to someone who can mentor you and steer you in the right direction?
If you choose to have a mentor, you've made a great decision. Although I will say, you can still have success if you put your head down and go it alone. But your journey will be longer, more stressful and potentially more expensive.
I've been fortunate enough to be mentored by some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the start-up world. I honestly can say that my mentors have shaped me into the entrepreneur I am today. I saw how they operated, and it inspired me to work hard every day to go to the next level and achieve the same success they had.
So, you would like to find a mentor who can guide you along your journey, now what? Let's dissect what I believe are the 6 most important traits to look for when choosing a mentor.
Related: How to Find the Right Mentor: Insights From an Immigrant Entrepreneur
When you need guidance from your mentor, you need to be able to reach out to them to connect. If your mentor is too hard to reach or has no time, you should consider someone else.
Even though your mentor may be super busy with their careers and businesses, they should get back to you in a reasonable amount of time to give you guidance.
Another thing to consider is that you should be able to call your mentor at any time. During your journey, you will be in a situation where you need guidance ASAP and being able to call your mentor is important.
Just remember, mentors love helping people so hopefully accessibility isn't a problem.
It's important to ensure your mentor has lots of experience in the industry that you're in. This is a no brainer because you need to tap into their experience and apply it to your venture.
You have a mentor to help you make good decisions and it's pointless to take advice from someone who has no experience in the sector you're playing in.
A really good way of checking out the experience of a potential mentor is by going to their Linked In profile. You will see straight away, based on their experience, if they are a good fit.
Related: 4 Benefits of Finding a Mentor
This is a super important trait your mentor must have. They must have a network that compliments your venture to potentially grow your team.
Not only should they have contacts, but they should also be willing to make introductions for you to succeed and grow.
Why toughness I hear you say? You need a mentor to be tough on you and have the courage to call you out if you're dropping the ball, or if your attitude stinks.
Think of your mentor as a big brother or sister who takes you under their wing. If you do lose sight of the path, they need to first recognise it and then get you back on track.
Sometimes on the entrepreneurial journey, you can veer off track and not even realize it. So having a mentor who can steer your ship back on course and kick you up the butt if you need it will help you so much.
One trait you need to look for in a mentor is enthusiasm for what you are trying to build.
If your mentor is enthusiastic about the problem you're solving, it means they are excited about your venture and are more than likely willing to help as much as they can.
If your mentor is enthusiastic about your business, pat yourself on your back and allow their enthusiasm to build your confidence.
They obviously believe in you and the direction you're going in which is a sign that you are doing something that the market needs.
The ultimate mentor to find is one that has the "wow factor." This simply means that your mentor is a head turner and has lots of influence in the space you're playing in.
This type of mentor can open up many different doors, provide the best advice and can bring in other people to assist you with ease.
In conclusion, if you manage to find a mentor who has the above traits, you will not only have the best chance for success, but you'll also get a backstage pass to see how successful people operate which is inspirational.
This should inspire you to achieve greatness and most importantly, mentor the next generation of problem solvers coming through to give back, much like your mentor gave back to you.
Now go forth and prosper my fellow entrepreneurs.
Related: 3 Core Principles That I Think Everyone Should Seek in a Boss or Mentor