Who are you learning from? Lots of you will have started your own businesses for the very reason that you can’t stand the idea of someone else being in charge and telling you what to do! But if you think being in charge means that you automatically have nothing left to learn, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Think about the most successful sports players in the world. The ones at the top of their game. Do they get where they are on talent alone? No! It takes an army of trainers, mentors, sports psychologists, physios and support teams to keep them at the top.

Business is no different. If you want to stay ahead, you should be continuously learning and surrounding yourself with the best possible teachers. 

Finding a mentor might not be something you’ve ever consciously thought about doing, but I guarantee that if you get it right, it pays off in spades. So how to find the right person? These three tips are a great place to start:

1.    Who do you know?

It’s unlikely that someone you’ve never met is going to give up their time to help you be better at what you do. You want Richard Branson to be your mentor? Guess what, so do a million other people, and he’s probably got much better things to be doing.

Your best chance of finding a mentor starts with the people already in your network. Who have you already worked with who inspires you? Which of your friends have skills you want to learn? You’re much more likely to be able to approach someone to mentor you if they already know you exist, so think about who you could ask to mentor you who already knows your potential, your strengths or how well you could work together.

2.    Don’t ask – add value

Don’t ask what someone can do for you. Instead, show them how you offer THEM value. If you want somebody’s time, you’ll need to understand what that means for them as well as for you, so that any mentoring is worthwhile for both of you.

If it’s someone you work with, look at how you can add value to what they’re already doing. It might be as simple as engaging with the content they put out on Linked in – sharing, commenting, expanding the reach of that person’s own network. Can you introduce them to any new business? Refer any new clients, or team members?

Think outside the box to show how you can support your potential mentor in their own objectives, and flip your mindset to be someone who gives before they take.

And if you have nothing else to offer then be prepared to pay. No one of quality and experience is going to let you ‘pick their brains’ and give up their best advice for free. Why should they help you grow your business whilst getting nothing in return?! So be prepared to put your hand in your pocket and pay for the right advice.

3.    Kiss a whole load of frogs

Like with sales, if you only have one lead in your pipeline, you’re going to be really disappointed if that person says no. The same is true when finding a mentor – you need volume! The more people you are networking with the better – building your contacts and constantly looking out for people you can learn from. If you’re constantly growing a network of talented and successful people, the greater your chances of building a useful working relationship with someone that is going to benefit your skillset and business.

Get out of your own way!

If you feel embarrassed about the idea of asking someone to mentor you – GET OVER IT! Even if the answer is a ‘no’, most people are flattered by the idea that someone wants to learn from them. The only way to guarantee you never learn anything new is not to ask.

It doesn’t even have to be a formal arrangement. We’re all the product of the people we spend the most time with, so if there’s someone who is already acing all the things you want to be doing, it’s over to you to put yourself around those people, and be in a position to learn from them.

I’ve written and recorded a lot of content about how I build and use my network to grow my own businesses, so if this is something you’re interested in, check out my YouTube channel and other blogs for more tips and tricks.

I am also about to launch my own mentorship programme for a select number of applicants so watch this space to find out more!

Matt Haycox


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