The Overlooked Role of a Mentor
Just type “the importance of a mentor for an entrepreneur” into Google and you will get pages and pages of articles which stress the importance of a mentor for an entrepreneur. Using charts, diagrams, stories and statistics, they all explain that a mentor is someone who can help an entrepreneur through:
- Sharing expertise and industry knowledge
- Keeping an eye on the big-picture
- Giving the entrepreneur honest feedback.
And we absolutely agree that these are extremely important roles. But there is one role that is very often overlooked, or under-explained. We think it is the role that is the most important for young entrepreneurs.
That role is: Personal Supporter.
The road of entrepreneurship is a scary one. It really is. Especially if the entrepreneur comes from a place where entrepreneurship is not well understood, nor encouraged. It takes bravery, perseverance and constant optimism to start and run a good business. For first-time entrepreneurs especially, who face more uncertainty and unfamiliarity, it is very easy to lose the strength and conviction to continue.
That is why a mentor should be a cheerleader. Someone who will tell the entrepreneur to keep going. To tell them not to worry, that things will be alright, and that they are doing well. To help them feel more sure about their decisions, and less scared of the risks they are taking.
This is what the young entrepreneurs from the Ye! community said, when we asked them why they were looking for a mentor:
- “[I need a coach to help me understand how to] be motivated in order to keep my vision and purpose perpetually alive”
- “My only expectation from this is that in the future I don’t feel lost again”
- “I find it hard to be patient”
- “I want to keep in touch with trainers as I get very motivated through them and my energy increases”
- “I need someone to be happy and proud of my business”
A mentor is clearly more than just someone who gives business advice. That is why, when you are looking for a mentor, it is important that you find someone with whom you have a good personal connection. Look for someone who really loves your idea, but most importantly who believes in you.
In the following weeks, we will be creating a series of posts that discuss the topic of entrepreneurship, including how to choose the right mentor and how to maintain a productive relationship with your mentor.
To find a mentor, visit the Ye! Coaching marketplace.
Photo credit: Brian Ujiie, Flickr