Looking for a mentor/coach/co-founder in 2023? Use this checklist before engaging:
Too many of you are trying to do it all on your own. Here's a cheatsheet for knowing what to look for, and a key idea for engaging a mentor too:
Dan Meredith (in the picture above) took me from zero to making six figures+ on a new business I launched within a year of the first time I spoke to him.
He once wrote a very funny post belittling other coaches who ask their clients “What do YOU think the problem is?” …This made me laugh as it’s a tell-tale sign they don’t have any ideas and are fishing for the client to do their job for them.
One of the first times I spoke to Dan he said “Ok, launch this product, for this price, with these posts, and close the offer after this time”
I followed his advice and made money immediately - as it should be if someone is mentoring you in business.
Sidenote: If you’re talking to a mentor (or just someone who has “done more” than you, pro tip: Don’t argue with them.
If you accept the fact that they’ve done it before and know more than you, easier (and less effort) to just do what they say.
A telltale sign amongst newbie entrepreneurs of them being “trouble” is when they tell someone with a lot of experience they’re wrong, when the newbie has done *nothing* of any note in the space.
Being coachable is so key! Anyway on with the show, here’s a useful checklist when assessing whether to work with a potential mentor:
1. Has this mentor done whatever you want to do before?
2. Do they do things differently to other people?
3. Can they explain things in a simple way?
4. Desires excellence and calls you out for cutting corners
5. Can they make you do a 180 on your strategy in one conversation?
6. Doesn’t need you/your project- They have their own stuff going on (i.e. if they 100% just tell others what to do with no known projects of their own, unless your thing is coaching, avoid)
7. Do they have a good network of people to make your idea/music project/business happen if you do what’s needed to get the project off the ground?
8. Do they have deep domain knowledge (“industry secrets”) and enjoy talking for hours about them?
9. Can they smell excellence in their field and uses it to recommend the best people to hire?
10. Do they make threats to stop working with you if standards are not upheld? (note: I don’t like this one, but I understand it)
The above list was written for finding a mentor, but it works well for a cofounder, new hire, even a coach too.
It’s VERY EASY to watch someone put some posts or videos up on social media and naturally assume they “know what they’re talking about”.
It’s very easy to parrot smart thoughts and appear smart.
The internet age is full of stories of people who faked their way to the top, as I famously wrote about in this article:
If I could offer one key idea?
Know your subject area VERY WELL before you look.
- It’s fine to not be running a healthy growing company before you ask, but they will not entertain answering questions that can be found with a quick google search.
As for finding them?
Send them emails, DM’s, interesting articles you come across, everything.
People respect persistence.
People are just too busy to get back to everything right away, let alone they may not see it.
The last person I hired kept emailing me even when I had nothing for him to do, eventually when I did have something for them to do, they were top of mind.
The difference is…if you have good ideas and know your niche, it will show (great)
If you have no idea and haven’t even googled answers for things you will ask them…(bad)
I’ve yet to meet someone in business who hasn’t been ripped off by a vendor, cofounder, or mentor (sad) but the truth is you can’t do it alone.
Take a deep breath, follow these points.
“If you want to go fast, go alone…If you want to go far, go together”