I’ve had a number of “mentors” over the years, but for the past few years I’ve been completely on my own. Perhaps that’s been good, in a way, but last week I was talking with a friend who said he was looking for a mentor, and that got me thinking. Then, last night, I kept my 9-month pregnant wife up until 1:00 am talking about the business and all the challenges, and the conclusion I came to at the end of it all is that I think it’s time for me to find a mentor again. I just don’t have much of an idea who it should be, and of course, once I find them, will they be interested? After all, being a mentor is something of a charitable service, unless they’re being paid for their time. I’m not opposed to paying someone for their time, but I’m not looking for a business coach or someone who provides “business mentoring services”. I’m looking for a fellow entrepreneur who’s been where I’ve been, knows what I’m going through, and who I can talk to and who will say “That’s a horrible idea, here’s what you should be doing…” Chances are the right fit is going to be someone who will mentor me because they enjoy doing it, the same way I’d enjoy doing it for a young entrepreneur who’s just getting started. Here are my thoughts on the type of person I’m looking for:
- Active or former entrepreneur
- 40-50 years old
- Background in technology/marketing
- Has started at least two businesses
- Has experienced failure, as well as success
- Willing to meet with me for 1-2 hours per month (perhaps over lunch), although I’m willing to consider someone out of state
- Straight-shooter, no bull
I’d put particular emphasis on that last one. The mentor I’m looking for might come across to a lot of people as rude, cruel, heartless, uncaring, and without tact, but experienced and dead-on in their analysis. I’m not looking for a cheerleader, I’m looking for someone who can help me solve problems. I don’t want someone who will worry about my feelings, I want someone who’s willing to tell me I’m fat, ugly, and stupid, if that’s what I need to hear. And if they’re rude and insulting about it, I could care less, as long as they know what they’re talking about.
So, if you know anyone, please let me know, or pass this post along to them.