Tips on Finding a Mentor


Phillip writes:
I have read your article The Value of a Mentor: Find Yourself a Mentor and I am wondering how I would be able to find a mentor. I recently moved to LA. I have great aspirations and I know I will be successful in whatever I do but I need some motivation and inspiration.

I would love to start my own business. I always have ideas of businesses to start and also have ideas on how to innovate everyday items and processes. I have a lot of goals including starting a successful business traveling the world starting a charity helping people learn musical instruments having a speaking role in a movie plus many others. I am for the most part a very optimistic individual who loves to learn new things. I take positive criticism to heart because it’s a chance to see my faults and its a necessary tool to grow as an individual.

I don’t know how to find a mentor for business/life. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.


The Career Doctor responds:
I would suggest two approaches:

  1. Identify some owners of small local businesses you admire (ideally small because the owners may be less busy than owners of larger businesses) that are related not but not potential competitors with the business you would like to start. Write an old-fashioned letter inviting them (one at a time) to be your mentor. You could e-mail but letters are so rare these days that a letter will likely get more attention. Say in the letter that you will follow up in a couple of weeks (don’t place the burden on the prospective mentor to get back to you) and do so.
  2. Join one or more online discussion groups (e.g. LinkedIn Yahoo Google) relating to entrepreneurship and issue an open invitation for a mentor.