Deciding to become your own boss gives you a level of independence some people only dream of – but when you’re first starting out, you might feel a little overwhelmed. This is completely understandable – so wouldn’t it be great if you could get good, trustworthy advice while maintaining that level of independence?

concept of starting off with a kick

Well, with an entrepreneur mentor, that’s exactly what you can get! They can provide guidance, wisdom and direction, so you can continue doing what you do best without a shadow of self-doubt.

A mentor is a business investment, and an invaluable one at that. According to a recent study, 70% of small business owners and entrepreneurs that receive mentoring survive for five years or more, which is double the rate of those who don’t use a mentor.

And 88% of those in the same study used that exact word, ‘invaluable’ when describing the mentoring experience.

Types of Mentor

You know the old saying that no two entrepreneurs are the same – well, no two mentors have the same expertise and advice either. However, there are a few different mentor types for you to consider when it comes to choosing:

The ‘Mentor from a Distance’

This is a type of mentor you can obtain without any monetary costs at all, and you’ve most likely already got several of these without even knowing it. This mentor from a distance is someone who doesn’t know you – a stranger, but someone who can have a great impact on how you decide to run your business.

You can engage with these mentors by scouring the internet for free content such as blogs, video instructions and guides from successful people you admire, or those who inspire you; we’re thinking something like TED Talks.

While this kind of mentoring doesn’t involve any one-to-one time, it should never be counted as anything less than incredibly valuable – you can learn all sorts of things from brilliant, disparate minds who are driving the world forward in terms of innovation.

In fact, one of the most brilliant minds, Elon Musk, attributes his success to this very type of mentor. Whenever he’s asked how he learnt to invent and what drives him, he frequently answers, “I read books”, with some of his inspirational mentors from a distance being fiction writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien and Isaac Asimov.

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The Industry-specific Mentor

This is the type of mentor that’s already walked in your shoes – a mentor who can help you with more industry-dependent challenges such as managing your finances and choosing your suppliers. While it’s rare that you’ll find an industry-specific mentor who provides their services full time, their help and one-to-one advice can be some of the most valuable help you’ll receive, especially if you’re in a niche field.

The best place to find one of these mentors is through social media – yes, that may sound strange, but social media is changing the way we communicate with each other while providing an easier way to find sources of help. However, to find a mentor who would be perfect for you, you need to truly know your industry.

Find a success story similar to yours, find someone high in the world of your industry – you want to ensure you’re reaching out to the right people. Don’t go overboard of course, but leave a comment which prompts a discussion, re-tweet an interesting article and continuously look for an opportunity to make a personal connection.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, one of the world’s wealthiest and most successful people, credits his success partially to his mentor, investor Warren Buffett. Gates has been on record stating that he admires Buffet’s abilities to teach complicated concepts so people can “get the benefit of all his experience, all his models of how the world works.”

And when you think of everything Microsoft has done, the innovations they’ve made with their operating system and software, you can see that it’s obvious Buffet inspired Gates to make complexity more accessible.

Direct Mentors

Direct mentors are more the ‘standard’ mentors in that you will normally be paying for their services. They help to guide you in making desired impacts and adapting to life as a self-employed person. They can help with managing your time too, reframe problems as opportunities and even help you overcome self-imposed limitations.

Fountain pen writing Business Time!

Choosing the Right Person

When it comes to choosing a mentor, you want someone who is passionate and committed to helping you, as well as someone with plenty of experience when it comes to overcoming obstacles and looking at things from a different perspective.

Choose your mentors wisely; make sure you’re comfortable enough with them to express all of your fears and unconventional ideas. A great mentor will push you into turning your vision into something spectacular.

businessman and businesswoman are handshaking over documents and presentation

Of course, if you’re looking for people to mentor you when it comes to your finances specifically, we at ICS can help – from advising you on IR35 to helping you understand your responsibilities as a contractor, we cover it all. For more information on our services, you can contact us on 0800 195 3750 and speak to one of our friendly team members today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for all of our latest news.