3 Steps to Find a Business Mentor
With the right approach, entrepreneurs can get free business coaching.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As a newly single person, I get excited when someone asks me out to dinner. Then I hear, "I'm treating!"
"Wow, that's promising. Someone really likes me!"
But, my enthusiasm is dampened when I hear this…
"I'm treating because I want to pick your brain."
Now, at my age, I'm thrilled that anyone wants to pick a piece of my body, but my least favorite part to give away for free is my brain. Isn't that called intellectual prostitution? I'm whoring my brain away for a filet of Salmon.
I understand why I get approached this way. After all, I'm a former standup comic turned speaker and one of the few people who actually gets paid to do what I love -- to stand in front of others to entertain and inspire. Most people who consult with me on improving their presentation skills want to learn the necessary steps so they can quit their day job and get paid to speak.
I know that the comic or speaker who asks me out for a date has good intent, but there's a better approach to get information than to offer a meal. It's not like I have a sign on my door that says, "Will consult for food."
Related: 5 Secrets to Finding and Working With a Mentor
After all I'm sure you, just like I, have spent a lot of money filling your brain with marketable skills and professional know-how. We've gone to college, attended meetings, got CPU credits, not to mention years of therapy to correct a dysfunctional childhood so we can go days without Xanax.
And you want me to tell you how to get paid to speak for a slice of pizza?
Now, I do give stuff away. But, it's usually when someone approaches me with a message that I believe in. Then I don't even care about the meal. I WANT to help because the person has ENROLLED me in their message. They get a "piece of my mind" and a boatload of my talent when they offer me to be a part of something I believe in.
I have donated speeches to cancer, children, veterans as well as assisting with writing TED talks for discounted fees because I believe in the message. That's what happened when Muslim scholar, Dalia Mogahed asked me to write her TED talk which resulted in over 1.5 million views. I'm proud to be a part of that.
Related: 4 Ways to Get Anyone -- Even Your Heroes -- to Be Your Mentor
So, when you need help that you can't afford, think about how you approach someone. Rather that paying them with a Falafel, know how to enroll someone in your message.
Here are three steps to enroll a business mentor:
1. Forget "I" "My" "Me".
Describe your business without using "I" "My" "Me." Rather, describe what you do in terms of the RESULTS you create for OTHERS.
2. Identify the problems your business solves.
When Dalia Mogahed came to me, rather than telling me all about herself and the TED talk she wanted to do, she told me of her concerns about the stereotyping and discrimination of Muslims. Although I'm not a Muslim myself, I got fully onboard as I wanted to join her in making a difference.
Related: Why Entrepreneurs Need Mentors and How to Find Them
3. Clearly state what you want fixed.
Create a simple statement that contains the problem you want fixed, the audience your business addresses, your credentials to fix the problem and the results you can create.
Master these simple 3 steps and you will not only enroll a business mentor, but interns, followers and especially customers. The secret to being a successful entrepreneur is that your message is NOT about you and how great it would be to promote your services, while you get paid to speak!