Why is Mentorship Important?
One of the questions I get asked probably the most is how do you pick a mentor, and why is it something you should invest in. These are both great questions! I normally get these questions connected to a video on Tiktok where someone is selling a course or mentorship program.
I feel that mentorship in small business is important because as small business owners it is easy to feel out on the island alone. I know I struggled with feeling like I had to be an expert in everything, and do everything. I felt I needed to post 3-5 times on Tiktok, have content pillars I followed religiously on Instagram, and do tutorials in my Facebook groups, weekly. I felt I had to have a beautiful YouTube were I was made up and gorgeous and never made mistakes. Spoiler, that never happened. I looked out at everyone else, and thought to myself, I'm not doing enough.
It wasn't until I was working with my therapist a few years ago and she told me "you don't get a gold star for going it alone." We talked about how in my corporate job I don't ever had to "do it all", I'm expected to be really good at some things, and work with people who complement my skills in others. In my corporate role, I have a support system built for me. She compared that to hiring a virtual assistant (I have another blog about that) and finding a mentor.
You don't need to be a super hero and do it all. You should be building a healthy business support system for your small business just as you would as a corporate employee. THAT is why I think it is vital to consider a mentoring program. But Beka, you haven't sold me your mentorship program, why aren't you trying to sell it to me? Because that's not why I wrote this blog. Mentorship should be a fit for the both the mentee and the mentor. I am not going to be the right fit for everyone, and everyone won't be the right fit for me. So how do you know?
A good mentor should be available, analytical, and an active listener. A good mentor should not be your best friend, they should be someone who can listen to what YOU need, and tailor the program to you. In my opinion, it shouldn't be a one size fits all situation. Each small business is as unique as a fingerprint, and each small business owner will need something different.
A good mentorship program will have clarity, (for your responsibilities, for the mentor's responsibilities, and for the program length and goals) communication, and commitment. So let's dive into what I look for when getting a mentor. (and yes...I still have my mentor!)
Clarity: you should know in the meet and greet call how the mentorship program is set up, how long it's for, and have a generally good idea for what is expected of you, and what is expected of the mentor.
Communication: a good program will walk you through how you plan to communicate, and should also tell you exactly how to get out of a contract when your goals or expectations aren't met. A good program will also tell you how the mentor can terminate a mentorship as well. These are healthy and necessary parts of the program.
Commitment: I know, it's scary to pay for something, especially if you are a new business, but it's scientifically proven that when you have made the commitment, you are more likely to follow through. The same goes for the mentor when they are upholding a paid contract. You should know exactly what you are committing to as far as time, money, and value. You should also know right away what the mentor is planning to commit to.
All three of these things are what helps make a successful mentorship relationship. I have had my fair share of good mentors, and I've been taken for a ride by "mentors" who really just were looking for a quick buck with little effort on their part.
My last little soap box-y comment is this...I see so many times in the craft small business world where friendships become enmeshed, business boundaries aren't clear and upheld, and it comes messy, heartbreaking, and drama filled. I am not saying don't make small business friends, but the biggest value I have in my mentorship relationship is that my mentor is my rant companion, my sounding board, and an unemotionally involved third part who keeps me sane. It is VITAL to have business relationships, and it is VITAL to have friendships but...it is imperative that you keep those two things very clear and different.
I hope this helps! Thanks for reading this long if you have!
If you're interested in my mentorship program, you can head here! (if this link is gone, just search mentorship on my website!)
Existing in chaos and karma,