Where Do I Find a Mentor?

ETR reader Kendra Pearsall is eager to find a mentor and/or business partner. But she works at home, alone. “How do I find someone to work with?” she asks.

Kendra, there are plenty of ways to do it. The most important thing to know is this: Don’t look for a “forever” business partner like you would look for a spouse. Look, instead, for people you can partner with for specific projects — people who have expertise in areas where you are weak.

If you are a writer, look for marketers, graphic artists, and technical people. If you are a numbers person, team up with creative talent.

Go to chat rooms and chat. There are so many ways to connect with people via the Internet, there is absolutely no excuse for not doing so.

Go to trade shows and seminars and smile a lot. Don’t give out business cards. Take them. Make follow-up phone calls or e-mails. Ask, “What can I do for you?”

Building business relationships begins with you. You have to demonstrate that you are someone who is willing to give, not just take. In all likelihood, you know how the people whose cards you take can help you. But they might not know what you can do to help them.

As I said, the goal is not to find someone who will be your long-term business mate. It is to find people who can help you build your business in the short run.

If you have a dozen such relationships, one or two of them are likely to have the potential for something longer-term and more rewarding.

Brian Edmondson, Director of our Internet Money Club and Internet Power Coaching programs, was a budding online entrepreneur when he met the ETR team at an Info-Marketing Bootcamp. That informal meeting led to a valuable partnership that is mutually beneficial. Brian provides content and services. And we provide marketing expertise and an audience of buyers.

Several years ago, Monica Day and Krista Jones met at the American Writers & Artists Inc. yearly conference in Florida. They became fast friends and did a few writing jobs together. Before long, they were partners in a business.

My high school friend Eddie and I re-met in a bank lobby 25 years ago. He was a real estate attorney and I was buying real estate. He helped me close several deals. In return, I invested in a few of his limited partnerships. Gradually, we became full-fledged partners in several very substantial developments overseas. This has been a sideline business for me over the years, but it has made me millions and millions of dollars.

These are just three stories — three examples of how you can find great partners if you simply devote some time to meeting people and then starting some sort of relationship with them, even if it is to become a customer or client.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]