By definition, an entrepreneur is a person who starts a business all by themselves. But that doesn’t mean an entrepreneur isn’t occasionally in need of some good advice! As a matter of fact, asking for advice and bouncing ideas off others is essential to any entrepreneur’s success!
But you know what? I’ve been oh-so fortunate to have had a variety of mentors over the past 19 years, and I can’t imagine being where I am right now if it wasn’t for each and every one of them. Running a business can feel very solitary & precarious at times and these mentors have been a big constant in my life.
And another thing I’ve learned along the way is that it’s also important that mentors come from a variety of perspectives, and these are the three types of mentors I’ve had during the past few years. And just so you know, mentors are valuable no matter what type of work you are involved with!
1. A friend who knew you before you started your business.
Perhaps no voice matters more than the one that knew you before you started your business. After all, they knew you when all of this was just a pipe dream, or maybe even long before you knew what a startup was. They speak your language and can ground you when you feel a little overwhelmed or lost. For example, they’re impressed with what you’ve done, but they’re also quick to remind me to slow down, and take time to “smell the roses”. No entrepreneur should lose sight of that!
2. A colleague with abilities that are similar to yours.
The relationships I have with fellow designers (most of whom I’ve met thru the Quilt Market) are truly valuable because we push, challenge and question each others decisions. We’ve been there for each other when things fell through and also when our big days have happened. There’s a confidence that can come with a camaraderie like that because we understand what each other is going through.
3. A person with abilities that are opposite from yours.
It’s equally important to seek out mentors who are nothing like yourself, because business is business, and there are certain things that all businesses have in common. For example, it was my dentist who first advised me to incorporate my business and my printer has given me excellent tax advice and provided me with some terrific vendor resources. Having these types of mentors is really important because its impossible to know all you need to know to effectively run a business.
So… how about YOU?
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and who gave it to you?
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