Forget formal education. Having a mentor to guide you through a journey such as starting a new business will fast track you to success. Why? Because they’ve done it all before. They’ve made mistakes and they’ve learnt from them. Having a mentor allows you to learn from their mistakes so you cut your learning curve MASSIVELY.
The thing is, successful people’s time is worth a lot. They can’t afford to spend time regularly with a student unless if there is something in it for them. That’s why it is usually very expensive to be mentored. However, there are a few ways you can get top class mentoring 100% free if you are smart in your methods.
Get a job that puts you close to a mentor
Say you want to be a real estate tycoon. Go get any job you can find in a successful real estate business. Or maybe your dream is to one day own a film production company. Go get a job as a runner at a successful production company.
No matter how low down you are in the chain, you will still brush shoulders with the top guys. And that means more opportunities to get to know them and get them on your side until eventually they see your potential and become your mentor. I don’t care if your current job is paying more, if you have to get a shitty job to be close to a mentor, then suck it up and do it. It’ll be worth it in the long run.
Offer to work for free
Successful business people’s schedules are usually packed out with phone calls, meetings and the like. They don’t have time to sit down and teach you about cash flow when they’re juggling multiple deals at any given time. However, having a shadow doesn’t cost them any time. If you offer to be their personal assistant for free you potentially get full access to all of their business happenings. You get to watch as they negotiate deals, solve problems, manage their staff, and manage themselves.
Try find someone you know, maybe a friend of your parents, and ask if they could give you some work experience. They’ll be more than happy to help out an inspired young individual like you, especially if you are providing value for them by doing any work they can delegate to you too.
Spend time with older people
I never turn down an opportunity to go to an event with my parents friends. You may think that’s boring if I could be out at the club instead, but while my friends are getting drunk I’m absorbing years of experience and knowledge from these people and growing as a person. It’s crazy what you can learn from older folks. Social skills is a big one. You can learn a lot from the way an older man interacts with his friends and with women. Listening in to their conversations about work and business is also incredibly valuable.
To find a mentor at a networking event, make sure you’ve got something to offer them. For example, I may go to a networking event looking to find clients to manage social media for. If I get chatting to someone who I see as a potential mentor, I may offer to do some free work, not only as a means of proving my worth but in return for them helping me out by mentoring me.
This is the easiest one of the lot, and still very credible. By reading biographies and autobiographies you delve into the minds of some of the most successful people who ever lived. You read about their daily routines, their struggles and how they overcame them, and their life philosophies.
This is something you can start right now and it will cost you nothing but the price of a book. Some biographies I’ve picked up for under $3 include: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Jobs, Alan Sugar, Jack Welch, Howard Schultz. Think about how much it would cost to sit down with a paid mentor and run through their entire business history and all the advice they had to give.
With a bit of hustle, or not much hustle at all (depending on which route you choose – I recommend networking events), you can find a mentor for free who will drastically cut your learning curve. If you’re about to start your business or are currently working hard to create something, spare a few hours or a day every week to find a mentor. The time invested will pay back tenfold.