Many beginner entrepreneurs are all too aware of the challenges and struggles of starting their own business.
While it’s essential to make mistakes and learn from them, it can be frustrating to feel like you’re running into the same barriers repeatedly.
For this reason, many entrepreneurs turn to a mentor to help guide them through this journey and provide professional support along the way.
WHAT IS A MENTOR?
A mentor is an individual whom you can turn to for guidance when starting your business. Typically they have already experienced the same experiences that you will encounter and can provide invaluable support as you grow as an entrepreneur. Mentors are essential for beginning your journey, but hopefully, the relationship continues for mentorship throughout your professional life.
HERE’S SOME OF THE “WHYS” FOR FINDING A MENTOR
Imagine an eCommerce mentor as your high school sports coach. Of course, even though you knew that you needed to train and stay in shape to play the best, not many high schoolers will willingly make a couple of sprints at the gym on their own accord.
An eCommerce coach is a relationship that will help you stick to the path you’re on. With everything going on in a new business owner’s life, it is easy to lose focus on because of how much else falls in the way. Ideally, your eCommerce mentor should hold you accountable for the goals that you set.
When someone else is aware of the goals you have set (including timelines), they are that extra step of accountability so that actions are not forgotten, and goals are not continuing to be pushed down the line.
It’s never wrong to have a second brain to think deep thoughts about your business or a second pair of eyes to review ideas and decisions. Starting in eCommerce requires a certain level of creativity between fabricating your business model to designing marketing materials. You will benefit significantly from having an eCommerce mentor who can add a different perspective to your thinking processes.
Ecommerce mentors are genuinely a source of guidance for any new entrepreneur or even an individual wanting to move their business forward. With guidance from someone with more experience than yourself, you can move forward confidently with your business decisions. Sometimes you need to ask for advice on a big decision or even just that second look to confirm what you were already thinking.
Guidance from an experienced eCommerce mentor can save you valuable time and money. While some bad decisions are unavoidable, why make mistakes that a great eCommerce mentor has probably already experienced and can steer you away from?
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN AN ECOMMERCE MENTOR
The beauty of having an ecommerce mentor is that they can guide you through the different steps of starting in the industry, such as how to organically grow your sales conversions and optimize social media ads to increase your audience. Although a mentor can’t just be anyone you meet. He/she should possess the specific knowledge that pertains to your business and has a passion for sharing their expertise in a mentorship role.
One of the most apparent characteristics that you should look for first in an ecommerce mentor is that they have found business success. A mentor is someone whom you want to be able to refer to for advice and support. They should have a visible and measurable track record of success that you can follow. If a potential mentor can prove this, it means that they have already succeeded in finding ways to overcome common challenges and can instruct you on how to do the same!
It’s also crucial that they have a good work/life balance. Not only to show you as their mentoree how to achieve the same but also so that they have the time to provide regular mentorship.
Lastly, you should find an ecommerce mentor who truly has a passion for their trade. If your mentor is passionate about the work that they will do, they will be more willing to share their knowledge and experiences. They’ll be ready and excited to help you find the same success as they have. This kind of attitude will also make the experience more enjoyable in general.
Ecommerce is a growing industry. With all the changes to online marketing algorithms, tools, and software, it’s crucial to find a mentor who can advise on these unique challenges.
HOW TO BEGIN YOUR SEARCH
The first step to finding an eCommerce mentor is to first define your personal and professional goals. If you don’t know what you’re aiming to get out of this mentorship relationship, it will be hard to even know what you should be looking for. Plus, defining your goals is a win for both sides as it also helps potential eCommerce mentors see if they are the right fit for the position.
Next, it’s important to begin considering what exactly you are looking for in an eCommerce mentor. This can be thinking of whether you want them to be from a specific industry, have certain skills that work well with yours, and even what availability you are looking for.
Once you have taken a deep dive into your own goals and intentions, now it’s time to actually begin searching for an eCommerce mentor. It is recommended to start with your closest circle of friends, family members, coworkers, colleagues, and anyone else you already have a connection with. Ideally, a mentor relationship would grow from an already existing relationship to continue fostering that space of trust and caring.
If you cannot find anyone in that first circle, you can slowly branch out into other circles, such as individuals you may know of and respect, but who you don’t already have a relationship with.
Continue to stretch out into other circles of people you know until you discover the perfect match. It may take some time, but it’s essential to be picky! There’s no use in doing all this work if the eCommerce mentor relationship doesn’t benefit you both in years to come.
SPECIFIC AVENUES TO LOOK TOWARDS
Many mentorships stem organically from friends or colleagues with whom you already have an existing relationship. If you have a friend who fits the criteria above, you’re already off to a great start.
If you do not have a personal relationship already that could turn into a mentorship, networking and cold outreach are two other ways to seek out an ecommerce mentor.
Send a Cold Email
While sending a cold email can be intimidating, it is a very direct and successful way to connect with a potential ecommerce mentor. When reaching out to someone by email, it’s crucial that you are prepared with questions to get straight to the point. Your initial inquiry email should show that you have done your research about them as an individual and their business and start with asking to have a quick chat. After that first phone call or meeting, you can then lean into increasing the regularity of your mentorship.
Connect on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is Facebook for the professional. LinkedIn profiles give you all the information you need about someone’s professional background, experience, and skills. You can search through LinkedIn users that you have previously connected with or even connect with strangers who are professionals in your field.
Find an Ecommerce Specific Community
Online communities and forums are spaces where you can post questions and talk about your business. These Can be beneficial for finding information about more specific topics. They can be great spaces to connect with potential mentors as well.
Join an Ecommerce Mentor Mastermind Group
An ecommerce mentor mastermind group is more of a collective group of like-minded individuals. In this sense, you can receive more peer-to-peer mentorship versus working with only one specific individual. While many are free, some require a membership fee. With a mastermind group, you gain access to multiple individuals creating a greater sense of community.