"Get mentors." That's Alexa von Toble's advice to young entrepreneurs.
Von Toble, who remains CEO of LearnVest, the financial planning company which sold for more than $250 million in 2015, echoes something we've always promoted at Create & Cultivate.
Mentors are not only a wealth of information for the career-driven young-preneur, they also help boost your confidence by given you actionable advice. Something we consider vital when you're starting out.
So why mentors?
Mentors are inspiring
Ask any successful person about their career trajectory and they will always cite people who have inspired them. They have stories that push us to work harder. They've made mistakes we can learn from. They have wins that keep us going.
It's like having an inspirational professional playbook.
Mentors tell you when you should do better
Constructive criticism is easier to take from a mentor than from a boss. If you've chosen one or two people who you really trust, then you can remove any workplace issues or resentments that make it hard to hear what your boss (or superior) is saying.
No one likes being told that they're wrong. Or that their work needs improvement. But when it is coming from an objective third party, it's much easier to stomach and will likely inspire you to *gasp* do better.
Mentors have key relationships
If you impress your mentor, chances are they are going to find a way to connect you to other people who matter, professionally speaking. Often this can happen naturally. People who are willing to be mentors like connecting the dots and as such, will connect the dots.
Plus paying it forward is a win-win. When you are in a position to introduce them or connect them to new clients, do it.
Mentors know what it takes to make it
Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. That's what it takes, and when you're midnight-deep in another oil burner at the office, and you don't think you can do it anymore, a text to your mentor that reminds you they were once (and probably still are — because making it means even later hours) in the same boat, goes a long way.
They've also heard "NO" a million ways and never gave up.
A little bit of encouragement from someone you respect and trust? That's the juice that turns into a money-making smoothie.
Just because you’ve made it, doesn’t mean you don’t need a mentor
Sophia Rivka Rossi co-founder of HelloGiggles, has “made it” by most professional standards. The feel-good company online platform was acquired by TIME last year for an estimated $30 million. And yet, when speaking with Elizabeth Rice and Julie Cutler, co-founders of SoulCycle, she cited both women as her mentors, and who she continues to look to for for inspiration. Smart, savvy, successful business women never stop learning. It's how you grow. Even when you think you're tall AF — there are still professional inches to be gained.
Where to find them
One, at Create & Cultivate. Have you become an insider yet?
Two, six degrees of separation is real. One very simple way to see who knows who you want to know, is to look through who your friends follow on Instagram. You'd be surprised to find out how interwoven our lives are. Then, craft that DM and tell person X that you'd love to bring them coffee and take 15 minutes of their time.
It could be the beginning of an amazing working relationship.