How to Get a Mentor

It’s so obvious in hindsight, and it represents my greatest mistake, but I should have gotten a mentor sooner.

Up until 2006 I relied on “virtual” mentors, extracting wisdom through books and products. But I should have hired a coach. When I finally did, my business took off and sales increased exponentially. I made more money in 3 days – with a launch – than I did in the previous 9 months.

So how do you get your mentor?

Well, since I’m moving into a new place today, let’s turn it over to Eric Barker with a summary of his top tips…-Craig

 How to Get a Mentor – By Eric Barker
The Email

What does an intro email look like?

My friend Ramit Sethi, NYT bestselling author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, has some templates to use.

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of my thoughts meshed with his insights.

1. Subject line: I like to use the name of a mutual friend or contact that referred me. Otherwise, use something you share in common (alumni of the same school, etc.) or something attention getting.

2. First thing: introduce yourself and clarify the connection you mentioned in your subject line.

3. Politely flatter. It’s appropriate — if they weren’t awesome why would you want their help? It shows you took the time to learn about them. Highlight uncommon commonalities.

4. Be clear, but polite, about what you want. Short but not blunt. Do not waste their time.

5. Show you’ve done your homework.

Can your questions be Googled? If so, to the ninth circle of Hell with you.

6. The easier you make it for them to give a yes, the more likely you are to get a yes. You’ll schedule around them. You’ll drive to them. You’ll bring coffee.

7. Proofread, edit, and make sure it’s brief. Take the time. A hastily sent grammatical abomination from your iPhone is a terrible idea. And if the length of your email elicits a gasp, a sigh or a comparison to the Game of Thrones books, you’re not done editing.

How To Handle The First Meeting

So they agreed to talk to you or meet with you. Great. I’m not going to tell you to be on time, be polite, and brush your teeth. If you require that kind of advice you don’t need this article, you need preschool.

Some tips culled from Ramit, Ryan Holiday, and my own experience:

1. Ask good questions. Good questions show you are smart and have done your homework, and make the mentor feel that they offer unique value.

2. Other than asking good questions, shut up. Ryan says, “The point of an accomplishment mentor is not for you to give them your opinion.”

3. Don’t ask for a job. This makes people feel awkward and undoes all the good work you’ve done so far.

4. Be likable. Here’s more on making people like you, using Dale Carnegie’s classic advice and making good conversation.

5. Again, never waste their time. Keep it short, hit your marks, create an impression you can build on and make an exit.

Do those and you’ll be in good shape. Of course, right after this is where most people totally drop the ball.

What do I say when I touch base with them?

The best answer, in my opinion, is simple:

I used your advice by doing _____. Here’s how wonderfully it turned out _____. Thank you so much!

Do what they said, get results, and let them know they made a difference. This is what mentors want.

If they engage you can follow up with:

I (did my homework) and figured (really impressive next steps) would be _____ but I’d love your insight. Do you think (well-thought-out-strategy #1) or (well-thought-out-strategy #2) is better?

You want these interactions to be conversational back and forths, not one-offs you need to regularly hit with a conversation defibrillator to keep the relationship alive.
And try to reconnect with them in person or on the phone at least annually.


Thanks to Eric Barker and crew.

I highly recommend Eric’s blog here.

Be a mentor as soon as you can,

Craig Ballantyne
PS – Need a mentor?

Your next opportunity is Wednesday, May 7th at our next Mastermind Meeting. Email to reserve your spot.