Choosing the Right Mentor for You
with Kevin Harrington and Mark Timm
with guest Kevin Harrington and Mark Timm #MakingBank S5E12
Whether you began your entrepreneurial journey at a young age or wanted to start a business after working for someone else, every new entrepreneur experiences a steep learning curve. The entrepreneurial route is so open and unstructured that oftentimes, you may feel like you don’t know in what direction to go. While there are now helpful classes you can take and books you can read, you may feel like you need more guidance. You may have questions specific to your company, or inquiries about your field.
If you can find a mentor, however, you can have someone to turn to when you feel lost. You will learn as you go but having a mentor can help you save time and money. A mentor can help you avoid mistakes and shorten the time you spend with that learning curve.
Perhaps you’ve thought about having someone advise you, but you just don’t know who would be best. After all, choosing the right mentor for you and your business is imperative for success. While you may be happy just to have a mentor, you want to find the right match. You want to pay attention to who you click with, who’s knowledgeable in your field, and who understands your vision.
On a recent episode of the Making Bank Podcast, guests Kevin Harrington and his mentee Mark Timm discuss the important lessons they’ve learned in their careers about mentorship. Kevin Harrington, the king of infomercials, and successful serial entrepreneur, Mark Tim, met when their shared mentor, Zig Ziglar, passed away. They had individually reached out to the family to find a way to continue Ziglar’s legacy when Ziglar’s family connected them. Since then, Kevin has mentored Mark in his ventures, and together they have created their informative and inspirational book, Mentor to Millions.
Through their experience, they have learned how to find the right mentors for you, and they share those tips with us today. Keep reading to discover what those tips are!
Asking for Help
Before we discuss how to identify the right mentor for you, you first need to be open to the idea of a mentor. You may want to build your business all on your own. Perhaps you feel embarrassed asking for assistance. Mark says, “you just need the confidence and the courage to raise your hand and say, ‘I need help.’ That’s where a lot of people fall short is they don’t raise their hand and say, ‘I need help.’”
Kevin and Mark point out that without a mentor your business may grow extremely slowly, or not at all. You could end up wasting money or driving the company into the ground when trying to do it all on your own.
Perhaps, you are theoretically open to mentorship, but when you find someone who will offer you advice, you keep ignoring that advice. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t say no or push back on your advisor every once in a while. However, in order to get the most out of a mentor, you must whole-heartedly respect and believe in the relationship. If you invest in your mentor, s/he will invest in you and your business.
Examine Your Surroundings
Kevin shares that his first mentor was his father, from whom he learned many lessons. While he acknowledges what his father taught him, Kevin says, “you’ve got aunts and uncles, but I say go into your professional organizations, the chambers of commerce or any organizations you belong to. An EO—entrepreneur organization—will give you mentors.” Keven is suggesting that while starting with someone inside your family can be beneficial, you must enter entrepreneurial circles to find a mentor suited to this path.
On this matter, Mark offers encouraging words. He says, “the coolest part about mentorship is I want to believe, and I do believe that you already know everybody you need to know to accomplish everything you need to accomplish in life.” While you can start with family, as Kevin did, you can also look to family friends, teachers, those in your local community. Joining a mentorship program or entrepreneurial organization, as Kevin suggests, is a great way to find mentors that are within your reach. As Mark believes, “It’s all about finding someone who is in your swim lane, as I like to say. It needs to be someone who you can really relate to in your sphere of impact.”
Examine Your Business
If you feel completely lost in where to look, or if you don’t have access to an entrepreneurial organization, Kevin offers an interesting tip. He recounts that when he was building his business as an entrepreneur, he asked himself, “‘who can I call? Who can I contact?’ Well, I’ve got an accountant. I write a check to him. I’ve got a lawyer. I write a check to him.” He examined who he paid in his business and therefore was invested in his business. He says that asking himself who he writes checks to “simplified it for me because if I’m writing them a check, they’re providing me service. They’re going to get more service the bigger I get.”
In other words, look to the people who will benefit if your company grows, as its only in their interest to help you. They may not be able to answer all your questions, but they can bring up points you didn’t think about before. As Kevin says, “If I need some good people or some mentors, they can be great places to get some good advice.”
Be Honest with Yourself
Say you’ve entered spheres of entrepreneurship and you’ve started connecting with those who may want to help you. How do you know which mentor is right for you? Kevin and mark both agree that it must be someone with whom you have chemistry. As Mark puts it, you must ask “for help from someone that you know, you like, and ultimately you trust, because then you’re going to respect the wisdom they give you.”