Interestingly enough I have opted to write a post about my search for a mentor on the night of Fathers Day. When I think of people I have looked up to in life, no one stands out more than my father. A hard worker, an honest man, and a man dedicated to his trade. All things I would love to find in a professional mentor at this point in my career.
If you follow me in the social realm you’ve probably noticed that I have been a busy bee as of late. I am working on a number of ventures at the moment, some old and some new and I realized I have hit a point in my professional life where I feel that while I can continue to grow through self education, I might finally be better of with a mentor.
One of the things I miss most about my career with the Walt Disney Company was easy access to professional mentors. From direct managers, to ops managers, and up the company was full of innovative, influential people to learn from. But sadly, outside of their corporate culture, you don’t find a lot of mentoring opportunities of that caliber.
I have tossed the idea around a lot in the past and even posted a bit about it on the SEO Training Dojo, but at the time it was mainly from an internet marketing perspective. However now, as I continue to strive to better myself and my career both as an internet marketer and an entrepreneur, I recognize now, more than ever, that I need a mentor.
I’ve thought about it a lot over the last few weeks and have outlined the qualities I would like to find in a mentor, and hope that perhaps there is someone out there who might be willing to take me under their wing and help me on my way through this next stage in my career.
- Willingness to share – I don’t want all the answers, but I also don’t want to feel like I am constantly left to fend for myself when I am struggling for insight.
- Personal interest in mentoring me – There are a lot of people out there who offer to help, but I need someone who wants to actually invest in me a bit and build a strong mentoring relationship.
- Loves what they do – There are a lot of people out there who are good at what they do, but I want someone who loves what they do.
- Provides honest feedback – I want to know when I’m doing well, but I also want to know when I am messing up. I’m a grown man, I can take it.
- Motivates – I don’t need a cheerleader on the sidelines everyday, but I definitely want someone who is going to check in on me and continue to push me beyond my own motivation.
These sum up the core values I hope to find in a mentor. On top of these I am looking for someone who is not only strong in internet marketing, but also in business. My latest venture, Foodskout, is unlike any other venture I have attempted and unlike a blog or an internet marketing company there are plenty of opportunities to mess up early on. Ideally I want to find a mentor who has experience with startups or has their own successful startup that may offer some insight and guidance along the way.
When I first started seriously thinking about looking for a mentor a few names came to mind. They are people I respect in my industry, and folks who have not only shown strength in the internet marketing trade, but also in building successful online businesses.
- Jon Henshaw – Co-Founder and Director of Product Innovation for Raven SEO Tools, Jon has been at the forefront of developing the Swiss Army Knife of SEO tools with Raven SEO Tools. Being with Raven from day one, he has shown that he not only understands startups, but also internet marketing and has helped create a stellar product and brand. He is someone I look up to, and definitely someone I would love to learn more from.
- Taylor Pratt – Another member of the Raven SEO Tools team, Taylor is the VP of Product Marketing. He has done a number of guest posts on SEO and the industry over the years that I have read and learned from. His background in internet marketing, much like mine, stems from an accidental involvement that has turned into a passion. An integral part of Raven’s marketing team and an internet marketer with valuable hands on experience he was another name that quickly came to mind.
- David Harry – The closest thing to a mentor that I have had up until this point in my career is David. He has taught me a wealth about internet marketing through his blogging, community, and chats that we used to have via Skype. I hold a high regard for David as he is highly skilled in his craft and has built an SEO community unlike any other. David has a wealth of knowledge to share, but at times he makes you dig a lot harder for it than some might prefer.
These are just a handful of the many names that come to mind that I would love to learn more from in a mentor-like relationship. There are many talented people in my industry that I look up to, sadly there are also many talentless hacks looking to help you “succeed online” that would jump at the chance to tell me how to be a better marketer and businessman. So as I start on this journey to look for a mentor, someone to help me succeed at this next stage in my career, I hope that I can find someone who will hep me to not only build upon my strengths, but help shed some light on the areas that I need to grow in order to be a successful entrepreneur and internet marketer.
What are you experiences with professional mentors? How did the relationship come to be? What are some traits you have found in a mentor that I should also look for as I embark on this journey? I’d love your feedback in the comments below!