Why are mentors good? Why would you want them? How should you contact them? What should you expect? How would you find them? They’re good because they help you avoid making mistakes that they made. You would want them to provide helpful criticism so that you can make better choices. Mentors can help you improve your skills like presenting on progress and pitching your idea. Imagine if your future self had a time machine and could go back in time. What would they tell you? They’d probably tell you how to avoid mistakes you will make in the future. That’s what a mentor is, your future self with a time machine that can shape-shift. Look for a mentor that you have something in common with like; hometown, alma mater, industry, current location, or a mutual friend. Expect that your mentor is busy. Look for someone who is retired or has more time. If they don’t live in near you think of them as a pen pal. Give them an update every month and ask questions. A useful question to ask is to test your assumptions. An example is “From your experience what is the failure rate in this industry?” You can find them through many different ways:
It used to be called Service Corps of Retired Executives, now it’s just the acronym. SCORE advisor are all around the US (sorry rest of the world) and was created to give you business advice. It’s a non-profit and provides free consulting.
You can find a SCORE mentor at score.org
Another website is AngelList. If you don’t know, it’s a website to connecting startups with angel investors, but it has grown and is used for a lot more. AngelList is now used as a place to find jobs at startups, invest in hedge-fund-like syndicates, and follow next successful startups. It also makes it easy to follow and contact many experienced entrepreneurs. AngelList forwards you to the person’s social media profiles including LinkedIn. Again find mentors that you have something in common with it makes it easier to contact them.
You can search location and schools on angel.co
AngelList may only connect you to LinkedIn, so what do you do from there? Try to contact your potential mentor and briefly tell them who you are, why your awesome, and why they should care.
You can also use Advanced Search.
Find local mentors, these may be a banker your wife knows or a regional manager for a paper company that you met at a magician seminar. For mentors that live around you, you should look for two things; does the person know more about the topic than you, and can you talk to that person. Some people you can’t talk to because you just can’t stand them, or they’re really busy.
Now go out and talk to people and learn!
Another helpful article is from Forbes, How To Find a Mentor