Starting a business and becoming a full-time, self-employed entrepreneur is full of ups, downs, incomplete to-do lists, and infinite possibilities. The mounting responsibilities and challenges can easily cause temporary rough times to leave us feeling stuck, depressed, or discouraged.
If you’re stuck, it’s okay. We’ve all been there. Some entrepreneurs can get themselves out of a funk, while others need a bit of help.
At this juncture, consulting a qualified business coach or mentor is a wise choice. Not only can mentors share their own experiences to help you avoid common pitfalls, but they can also advise you on how to best navigate the highs and lows of running a business.
What qualities should you look for in an ideal business mentor? Here’s an inside look.
1. Early-stage investment experience
Consult a mentor that has experience as an early-stage investor or someone familiar with making bold investments. Entrepreneurship requires bold decisions. If your mentor has not walked the path you’re on, their advice may not be actionable or applicable. As a result, you could easily feel misunderstood.
A mentor should know what it feels like to have skin in the game. They should also be able to articulate what it practically means to do so. As a result, a mentor will push you to believe in yourself enough to take calculated risks. If they have been there and have done that, then they will understand what it means for you to do the same.
2. An Owner and/or CEO background
Look for a mentor that has current or prior experience as a business owner or CEO, ideally both. A mentor that is in a management or C-suite role is great. However, the responsibilities of a CEO and owner are different and carry more weight. If you can’t pay employees, their livelihoods are impacted. If the company goes bankrupt, all stakeholders are affected.
If a prospective mentor has never dealt with the business realities that a full-time owner and CEO face, they are ill-equipped to help you navigate success and failure at that level. If there is anything I’ve learned from ten years as an entrepreneur, it is this: your journey as an entrepreneur includes many failures that come with great lessons. Failure is the best teacher.
3. A proven track record of results
Can your mentor speak to the results of their work with prior clients and mentees? Consider a mentor who has helped others get results instead of singular and personal business success.
It can be extremely inspiring to look at a mentor’s successes and think, “If they can do it, I can too.” However, as we often see in sports, the best players rarely make the best coaches. Personal success is not an indicator of a person’s ability to lead someone else to success.
Don’t be impressed by big numbers and clout. If a mentor cannot communicate how to apply what they’ve accomplished to your business, it is useless.
Make sure your mentor can deliver and has truly mastered their craft to a point where they can help you on your road to success.
Em Ducharme is a business strategist for influencers and experts looking to monetize and scale their audience through digital marketing and passive income. Her work has been featured in media outlets such as ThriveGlobal and Business2Community. As a former corporate sales consultant for Fortune 500 companies, Em has helped grow and scale businesses over the last ten years in various sectors, including hospitality, finance, entertainment, and e-learning. She’s raised millions in investor funding for the companies she worked for and was personally able to scale her own companies past the six-to-seven figure mark. Learn more about Em at zerotoceo.co.
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