Imagine this …
You are sitting in a stylish coffee house, sipping your favorite latte while across the table from you is someone who listens intently to what you are saying. This person knows you, your hint-of-genius strengths, your tendencies to get side-tracked, and your ever-so lofty goals.
This person shares war stories of past failures and victories, advice on perilous pitfalls to avoid and helps you chart a course of action for your success. You know you owe a noteworthy portion of your success to the generosity of this person who shares their valuable time with you. You are meeting with your mentor.
Inventors Need Mentorship Now More Than Ever
This account of connecting with an experienced and vested mentor is not one that many people know first hand. However, in this entrepreneurial day and age, mentors have perhaps never been more important.
Study after study has shown that successful people have mentors and as the Age of the Entrepreneur progresses, the mentor is playing a significant role in the ultimate outcome of many entrepreneurial stories. Entrepreneurs of all types, including independent inventors, know they need mentors, but where can they find the elusive, all-important mentor?
Mentors can be found here or there; mentors can be found everywhere.
Mentors can be found, but maybe not all in one person and in one place. An aspiring entrepreneur has only to ask the right questions of the right people. But just as in everything related to success, the one who goes after their goals will be the one who succeeds in reaching them.
Consider inventor Thomas Edison, the recipient of 1,093 patents, is famously quoted as saying, “I never did anything worth doing by accident nor did any of my inventions come by accident. They came by work.” Entrepreneurial inventors are accustomed to the hard work involved in product development and building a business.
The following seven methods can help inventors work equally as hard to find mentors:
Join a local inventor or networking club.
Inventors will find other people with inventing mind-sets in these local clubs. Glean what you can and ask questions of the more experienced members. Clubs can be great but not everyone lives near a local club or can conveniently connect with one.
Read business books and blogs.
Many a mentor has been found within the pages of a wealth-of-information book written by an expert. Blogs that are active can also be very helpful. The downside of these paper or virtual mentors is that you can’t ask them questions! In reality, though, this type of mentor should be a requirement before you interview an experienced inventor.
Naturally, a prospective mentor can tell if you have done your homework and will feel that you are not respecting their time if you approach them without doing your due-diligence. Books and blogs allow you to do your homework and in your own time frame. However, don’t stop your quest for mentoring until you are able to find real people with whom you can converse and ask your questions.
Go to trade shows.
Trade shows are a great place to network with other inventors. Get to know those you meet by asking probing questions while having a teachable and open attitude. Delve into their journey a bit. People love to talk about themselves and the road that has brought them this far. Follow up after the show with a thank you email and maybe some more in-depth questions.
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