Having A Mentor – Ever Considered The Possibilities?

This is a guest post by Ruan Oosthuizen.

Mentor

When you start out as a new blogger, chances are you are very unfamiliar with the online world and what goes on behind the scenes. Even if you’ve been online for some time, as you become more involved you will discover that quite a different side to things exists than you’re aware of when you just read other people’s blogs and articles.

Often at times starting as a new blogger, you have a gazillion ideas that you wish you could get out there all at once. Don’t we all feel like that when we have a new idea? We feel like “gosh, the world is going to love this!” but after you’ve been out there for a while putting some of the ‘great’ ideas you had out there, you find out that maybe you were a little optimistic and maybe not everyone thought that was such a great idea.

The hard and sad truth is it might be a very good idea. It might even be a brilliant idea but the way in which you have put it out there may have not been as effective as it could have been…

Just like the above example, likewise are there many other aspects of blogging and being an online entrepreneur that may seem like an easy task when you look at it from the outside “world-view” but in reality it is quite a bit more complicated than it looks and well, unfortunately sometimes we learn this truth the hard way.

There is another option though…

Having a mentor might be your answer. There are some people whom have gone through exactly what you might be going through right now.

The good news for you is that many of them don’t expect you to go through all these alone and are putting priceless hours and investment of their time out there available for you to capitalize on.

They are willing to take your hand and show you the obstacles to watch out for, the kind of opportunities to grab with whatever you can and the tools to use that are the driving force behind their own personal success.

Below I will share with you quite valid and valuable reasons why having a mentor will shorten your journey to online success.

1. Experience

A good mentor is a person that has some good experience doing what you want to be doing and they are actually at the point where you want to get to.

A good mentor also has the social and physical proof of their success. I mean you can’t have a person ‘mentoring’ you who has failed his first four websites and is currently busy making another bloomer out of his fifth, right?

A good mentor will share his/her experience with you, what they’ve tried, what worked for them and what haven’t. They will share how they did go about doing a certain thing, what they needed prior to getting started with it and then also what results they got.

Simply put, Having A Mentor means they will be able to share with you what they tried, what they found that works and what to stick with but more importantly what to leave alone that will only end up as invaluable time wasters.

2. Training

Not only will a good mentor show you what you should be focusing on according to your individual needs and also according to your specific goals but Having A Mentor and a good one that is, means they will teach you everything they know on how to use the tools and knowledge you need to get to where you want to be.

In other words, they will empower you with knowledge and skills to help you achieve what you want to achieve.

3. Connections

Your mentor needs to be someone who has achieved what you’re trying to achieve, there’s no question or doubt about that. This person didn’t get to where he/she is all on his/her own and throughout their career they have met other successful people. They have made valuable connections with people that somehow somewhere probably played a role in them achieving their success.

Having a mentor with all of these other connections and influential people within their inner circles, automatically opens up the possibility for you to get access to these people and their inner circles a lot easier than you would have should you have been on this journey on your own.

The possibilities are really endless as you never know whose webinar or training call you might get invited to next week. You might be doing something of extreme value, your mentor gets mentioned or even just sees it, share it with their circles and you could get someone within their inner circles being interested in what you’ve given for all you know.

4. Opportunities

Having a mentor with all of these other connections and friends they’ve made throughout their online careers, might result in you suddenly having all of these unexpected opportunities coming your way.

You may hear of an event you might not have even known about before having a mentor with his/her connection and you making contact with them. You may get an opportunity to feature them within some content you have created and getting more exposure by them sharing what they’ve been included in with their other connections and friends.

You simply have a number of unexpected opportunities that Having A Mentor provides that could give you a push in the right direction, opportunities that would probably never have happened if there wasn’t a mentor that was the key to opening all these other doors.

5. Mentors Have Mentors

This is another truth that I’ve learnt from…one of my mentors.

Speak to most successful people, no matter their industry, online or offline and they’ll tell you, most anyway, that Having A Mentor is unavoidable and something they themselves have or still use even though they are mentors themselves.

It’s recommended all over that one of the first things you need to do as a start-up blogger is to get yourself a mentor, someone good at what they do and someone that has the physical and social proof of their success.

I am not saying you have to get yourself a mentor because everybody else does. What I am saying is get yourself a mentor because there’s nothing more valuable than learning from the best in your game. They have themselves done it and it proved to be working.

Key Take-Aways

So what should you take away from this article?

Having a mentor is not always easy..

Having a mentor means you will have someone not necessarily doing everything for you. In fact that would be a bad idea as you will learn nothing at all. Plus you need to go through your own experiences and learn from your mistakes along the way. Having a mentor though will give you an added advantage above others not having one as you will have someone to ask for advice, talk to about certain ideas and of course have a knowledge base of experience and expertise right at your disposal.

Having a mentor is rewarding…

The most important things to keep in mind when you do decide to get yourself and follow the advice of a mentor is, you need to be open to criticism, prepared to implement what they teach you and also work very hard. At times they will require you to do things you think might be totally insane at that time but you need to trust their judgement as they have been there, done that.

Do you have a mentor?

Why do you think Having A Mentor might or might not be your answer? Share your thoughts with the rest of us in the comments section down below; we’d love to hear what you make out of this!

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Comments

  1. says

    Ruan

    From the first day (7 years ago) of starting my on-line business, I got myself a mentor.

    That mentor taught me all the basics like building the website, blogging, building my email list and creating a product. It took me around 4 weeks to do that…with the mentor.

    Without the mentor…I really don’t know how long it would have taken. 6 months?

    And every day since…I’ve always had a mentor.

    Some say mentors are too expensive and I agree, some are.

    But let’s say you find one you like and respect and they charge $300 a month for their time. And with their knowledge they save you 20 hours’ worth of research and time wasting. That mentor has only cost you $15. Plus you will have progressed much faster than without them.

    Andrew
    Andrew just posted 7 Steps To Getting More Blog Traffic And Comments On Your Blog

  2. says

    I like how you pointed out that having a mentor is not always easy. Nor should it be…often times you need someone to keep on you (accountability)…which is a great thing. Also someone that will tell you like it is. At the end of the day, having one makes a ton of sense as they say…success leaves clues.
    Sean Mitchell just posted Life’s Challenges

    • says

      I agree with you 100% Sean. If it were easy you probably wouldn’t have learnt a lot because you most likely would have had a lot done FOR you instead.

      If this was your plan from the start I think it would have been more cost-effective to outsource to a freelancer rather than hiring a mentor which I can almost guarantee is more expensive.

      Thanks for your valuable contribution!

  3. says

    Hey Ruan,

    Really interesting article, There is no doubt if you’ve a mentor he can certainly benefit you in many fields which you already mentioned in your article. However the best thing is that you can avoid general mistakes with the help of guidance from your mentor.
    Aasma just posted PG in Delhi for Girls

  4. says

    Ruan:
    Everything you state also holds for the entrepreneur who is running a bricks and mortar business or a combination of that and on-line. I would also add that mentors are valuable but sometimes they do not possess all of the skills you need so I would suggest an advisory board or support network where each member is experienced in a different set of skills.
    Great article!
    Jim
    Jim Smith just posted Your Customer is the Most Important Part of Your Small Business

    • says

      Hi Jim,

      Great addition you made here! Unfortunately that is the case in some instances but I have to bluntly say that I don’t regard those as real mentors in the first place. Of course they might become good and experienced ‘guides’ in future so no offense to them, but when you do your thorough research especially on the solid and proven track records of the people you intend to spend your time and energy with, those have a few miles to go in order to get into my “mentor’s list”.

      Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you around more!
      Ruan just posted Content Traffic Generation: 5 Guaranteed Strategies Freelance Writers Should Follow

  5. says

    Having a mentor sounds like a very good idea, also for people living the digital life. But where to find one, what will it cost and how much “test driving” can you afford? I’m also guessing that the top notch mentors will charge a substantial amount of money and if the mentor you hire turns out to be the wrong person, you could loose a lot of money.
    Rick just posted How To Get Website Traffic

    • says

      Hi Rick,

      I understand where you are coming from. To be honest personally I haven’t hired a mentor myself yet! Would you have guessed? Exactly for the reasons you mentioned! For me it’s not that I don’t believe they are worth the fees they charge especially if they have a proven track record. It’s simply that I am not financially ready to hire my mentor at his fees, which currently can be anything from $300 to $3000 per hour depending on the experience and track record of the person.

      With that being said, having a mentor doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hire one to learn from him. This is probably a longer road as opposed to hiring a mentor directly and asking him what you need to know straight out but I have found a few people through my extensive research and being active online and then simply learn as much as you can from the person through what he or she has made publicly available. Attending webinars, reading what they have published in their archives, following up on their recommendations, etc. You’ll find the real people worth following are the ones believing to create value and tons of it before thinking about generating an income from it. This will help you get started.

      Then what you do is you begin asking them more questions as they become more familiar with you after you’ve added some value to their content by interacting on comments for instance, or replying to an email after they’ve asked for your feedback on something and so on.

      What I know now is enough to earn my income online and I haven’t paid one penny to any mentor yet. However, now it’s time to switch to second gear and invest in myself and my business by allocating income towards professional training.

      I hope that helps :)

  6. says

    When I started out, I didn’t know everything that was going on behind.

    But over time, I was able to learn slowly on what it takes to build a successful blog.

    If you do get a mentor, you do gain an incredible connection right there, right off the bat!
    Samuel just posted 7 Cool WordPress Plugins!

    • says

      Tapha, to be honest I have never used any of those sites to look for a mentor. As I have explained to Rick here, I found my mentors through my research and spending many hours online. You begin to learn whom you can really trust and also whom you get the most value from by learning from the content and value they are willing to share.

      These will typically be the people I’d hire as a personal mentor when I’m ready to do so.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Ruan just posted Content Traffic Generation: 5 Guaranteed Strategies Freelance Writers Should Follow

  7. says

    Good evening, Ruan.

    I’d 100% support getting a mentor. Without a mentor I wouldn’t even know what blogging is, let alone have a blog myself. But the value gained went well beyond building and contenting the site. It prompted me to develop other areas of business that I wouldn’t have thought about before.

    The downside was that when the year ended, I felt lost – it was short-lived, but nonetheless I felt somewhat ‘alone at sea’.

    Kind regards,
    L
    Linda just posted Austria Remembers One Of Its Darkest Days

    • says

      I wouldn’t even call it a downside, Linda :)

      I am sure this was a valuable time to put what you’ve learnt to the test? We need to swim on our own at times which I also found at times to be exactly when I gain a lot of self-confidence in my own abilities.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We’ll both look back at some stage and be satisfied about what we’ve managed to achieve we might have never imagined possible initially. Keep on keeping on, Linda!
      Ruan just posted Content Traffic Generation: 5 Guaranteed Strategies Freelance Writers Should Follow

  8. says

    Ruan, I also had a mentor, but I didn’t have her right from the start and I regret it. A few months went in vain with so many things to test and so many mistakes to make. But when I got my mentor she helped me focus on things that I really should focus on. Although I am currently not bugging her more often, she is still nice when I send her a query :)
    Jane just posted Why Is Reader Engagement Important For A Blog?

    • says

      Hi Jane!

      Yeah I can imagine that when you personally grow in your own career then there will come a time when you won’t need to be mentored much as in the beginning. I also think it’s nice to know and have that person on the other end still being willing to listen or give you some advice at the times when needed.

      You are still one of my mentors and I bet you didn’t even know that! ;) I’ve mailed you a few questions in the past, haven’t I?
      Ruan just posted Content Traffic Generation: 5 Guaranteed Strategies Freelance Writers Should Follow