Using a business mentor: What entrepreneurs need to know about working alone?

Do you feel alone as an entrepreneur? If you are entrepreneurial either within your own business or as part of your paid employment you can often feel alone. The decisions you make, good and bad, the visions you have for the future and your beliefs and tenacity in getting a job done can at best leave others perplexed at your way of working and at worst leave them offended by your directness, and willingness to step out alone in your ideas and plans. ?Have you considered a business mentor or trusted advisor?

It is possible that you regularly find yourself working completely alone. Yet realistically most people who carry out entrepreneurial activities definitely do not work alone. Let?s think about it for a moment: how many of you work with others in order to achieve your aims, your plans and your dreams. Everyone from web designers to virtual assistants, accountants to designers, freelancers to paid staff. They all enable you to work alone.

Therefore as an entrepreneur you often find yourself working with other people, be they clients, other team members or other business people. They can and will affect your work and plans. With that said, it is likely you will find yourself from time to time feeling very alone. Because in reality as an entrepreneur, or an intrapreneur within an organisation, the project?s plans and ideas you carry out are yours and the buck will stop you.

It?s at times when we feel alone that we can beat ourselves up, have moments of self-doubt and question not only our own decisions but those of the people around us. Often this is when you can find yourself speaking to those people who you have been working with, expecting that they will give you the feedback and clarity that you desire. But this can be your biggest downfall. Whereas asking those around you for their feedback can be useful it cannot be taken in isolation. Remember they are as emotionally involved as you are. This is when you need people around you who can give you good, honest, clear and sensible feedback which you can act on, or reflect on, in order to help you grow and develop as an entrepreneur.

So who are your trusted advisor’s? Where do you find them? And how do you know you can trust them?

For many entrepreneurs I work with their first port of call would be family and friends. But from experience their feedback can often be based on their love and desire to keep you safe rather than honest, and if necessary brutal, in order for you to become better and more successful.

So where should you go for feedback if you?don’t?have a mentor?
As I said first of all, speak to those around you: your clients, your business partners, your suppliers and other business people you connect with. They can be your first port of call for feedback. Don?t expect this to be your only form of feedback, however it can be a good way of getting some basic review and understanding of other people?s experiences of working with and for you, or of buying from you. This feedback can play an important part of reviewing your work. However taken in isolation this can make you feel even more alone than ever before, particularly if the feedback you receive is not what you were expecting.

For me this is when you need to speak to your trusted advisers. Trusted advisers are people who understand you, your work and what you are trying to achieve. Finding your trusted advisers takes time. These are people you grow to appreciate and respect. Their knowledge, their experience and their willingness to support you can be the most valuable tool in your entrepreneurial tool kit.

So what can a trusted adviser do for you?
It is likely that they will be willing to listen carefully to your experiences, your questions and your problems. Then they can help you understand what you need to do in order to grow and improve yourself and your enterprise. They can do this by asking you questions, giving you honest and clear feedback, and helping you to question your actions and your experiences. Their desire is only to help you become the best version of you possible. These are often your un-official mentors. They are people with experiences and an ability to help you clarify your thoughts and ideas.

For me these are not always people who have achieved more or greater than anyone else but people who are wise and keen to support you. My trusted advisers are willing to listen when necessary, question for clarity and encourage me to find my own solutions with just the right amounts of belief in me. For me they are people I trust and respect. I am willing to listen to them, question them when necessary and take on board their thoughts and advice.

Finding your trusted adviser, your business mentor and guide can take time but when you have found them their value to you and your business can be greater than you ever imagined. Try reading 25 ways a mentor could help you in your business.?

Do you want to know more about finding a business mentor or working with me as your business mentor? ?Then drop me a message here and I will get straight back to you to arrange a chat.

 

2 Comments

  1. Great post, Rebecca. Being an Entrepreneur or Small Business Owner can be very lonely – and it can often feel as if you’re boring the pants off everyone around you! It’s so emotional running and launching your own business and can be difficult not to take everything personal – each success feels more exciting, each set-back is like a punch to the stomach. Having a business mentor is a fabulous way around this (I’ve had a business mentor for about a year now and I wouldn’t do without her now). She give me focus, clarity, and sets me back on track. We’re often so busy working really hard that we don’t stop and check that we’re working in the right direction. Finding the right mentor is priceless!

  2. My father made it all on his own. No help. He’s my hero! But me? Couldn’t do that. An online biz means navigating the murky tunnels of ‘technical skills’ and I need help with those.

    I’ve found the most amazing people, initially through a marketing group and now in forums. Loving them all! They’re my guides and it’s so much more fun to have that, when you want a little baa-lamb type weep. (you know the one – stop/start/stop/start.)

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