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The Top Tens

Ten ways to find your mentorship match Add to ...

Having a mentor with practical experience can be extremely helpful to entrepreneurs, especially those starting out. Here’s some advice on how to find the right one:

1. Attend industry talks. Attend all talks, networking events, speakers, panels, etc. that relate to your industry, and make a point to go up and introduce yourself to the speakers at the end. Give them your business card, and then follow up with them by email afterwards. Ask if it would be okay to contact them from time to time for advice and to keep them posted on your progress – they will probably say yes.” - Stephanie Kaplan | Co-Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Her Campus Media

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2. Find a genuine supporter. If you meet someone who you think you would like as a mentor, take some time to get to know them before requesting their regular input. You want to make sure that they’re most interested in helping you achieve your goals, not making a replica of themselves. The ideal is to find someone who makes you feel respected and empowered, not uncomfortable or constricted.” - Elizabeth Saunders | Founder & CEO, Real Life E®

3. Use SCORE! “SCORE is a great resource that partners with the Small Business Administration to provide free mentorships to those who need it. They are great at producing high quality mentors and advice.” - Vanessa Van Petten | CEO and author, Science of People

4. Look to further your education. Even after you’re knee-deep in your industry, it can benefit you to seek out new sources of continuing education: classes, post-grad internships, informational interviews, etc. Not only will you continue learning, but you’ll also have the opportunity to meet those who could eventually become colleagues and mentors. Establish and maintain those valuable connections.” - Steph Auteri | career coach, writer, and editor, Word Nerd Pro

5. Clarify your goals. The more time you spend clarifying your goals and desired outcomes, the easier it will be to articulate what you need from mentorship. Most ideal mentors are very busy so one of the best ways to get on their radar is to be specific in your requests. If you clearly communicate your intentions, your chances of success increase. - Lisa Nicole Bell | CEO, Inspired Life Media Group

6. What do you need help with now? There’s no rule that says you can only have one mentor at a time, let alone one mentor ever. Especially if you’re building a business that isn’t run of the mill, it’s unlikely that one mentor alone is going to be up on all different aspects of your business. So rather than trying to find one perfect mentor, take a look for the mentor that can help you with what’s currently on your plate. - Thursday Bram | Consultant, Hyper Modern Consulting

7. Scavenge your extended network. Find someone who is in your same (or a similar) field or industry. This person should have similar goals to your own. Take the initiative to contact the individual, as you’ll benefit most from the relationship. (Although, don’t think that your potential mentor won’t benefit at all–they will.)” - Heather Huhman | Founder & President, Come Recommended

8. Use Twitter! You can connect with just about anyone these days on Twitter and you’d be surprised how receptive people are. Send a tweet to your dream mentor and let him or her know why they inspire you. I have connected with three mentors on Twitter that I otherwise may never have had the chance to meet and learn from!” - Natalie MacNeil | Emmy Award Winning Producer & Entrepreneur, She Takes on the World

9. You already have a mentor. I’ve often found that my mentors have popped into my business life without me seeking them out. In fact, every encounter I’ve had in my business’ history has been some sort of learning lesson. Often times, the people who are teaching us the most, sometimes more than a hired or sought after mentor, are those who are right in front of us – we just aren’t seeing them in that particular light. - Erin Blaskie | CEO, BSETC

10. The search works the opposite way! I believe the right mentor finds you. Of course, you need to be passionate and transparent about what you hope to learn and how you want to grow, and work tirelessly toward your goals. If you join professional organizations, express your work on Twitter and LinkedIn, attend industry events, and ask people you admire to coffee, mentors come out of the woodwork – organically and authentically. “ - Tammy Tibbetts | She's the First

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.

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