Are you retired, but would still like to stay active in the business world and make use of your many years of experience? A great way to achieve this is to become a mentor to up and coming, young business owners. In the process, you’ll find that mentoring also benefits you by helping you to learn new skills. Here’s how…
Mentoring: Letting Your Experience Help Others and Yourself
When you started off in your field of work, was there someone who helped you along the way? Someone that taught you some valuable skills that helped you become more successful? Becoming a mentor is a wonderful way to pay forward to another person just starting out in the business world. In doing so, you can also learn valuable new skills that can translate into creating new experiences for yourself.
Mentors counsel fledgling business owners/entrepreneurs to lead them in the right direction in areas that the mentor has experience with. There are several ways in which mentors and entrepreneurs can connect with each other. They include:
1. Online posting of mentoring skills/experience via a blog or industry website.
2. Joining a professional mentoring organization, like MicroMentor, or MassMentoring, that match mentors experience with information that entrepreneurs are seeking.
3. Industry/association connections. Many entrepreneurs join their business’ industry associations and seek mentorship from already established older, experienced members. Members can list themselves as offering mentoring and list their contact information.
When mentors and entrepreneurs connect with each other, mentors get an idea of what information the entrepreneur is seeking and determine if the mentor’s experience is a good match. Some entrepreneurs are looking for specific, per project, technical advice on how to launch a new idea/product, marketing strategies, or they may need general industry advice, especially if the entrepreneur is very new to the business.
Business researchers report that entrepreneurs who grow their business with the help of a mentor average about a 120% growth rate, so mentoring skills are highly sought after. But the benefit is not all just for the entrepreneur. Mentors can gain significant new skills and connections that could lead them to new endeavors of their own such as:
1. Becoming a partner for a new, exciting business – some entrepreneurs are actually looking for a partner who can not only mentor them but perhaps come on board with them.
2. Becoming a consultant for other businesses – mentoring entrepreneurs gives you experience to be able to grow your mentoring skills into a successful, paid, consulting business.
3. Becoming a teacher – many mentors go on to teach in business programs at junior colleges, universities, special trade or business schools.
4. Gain information to write a book. Perhaps you want to put all your years of experience down on paper for other businesses/entrepreneurs to learn from. Mentoring can help you organize all your experience and can help you document how it has successfully benefited other companies.
5. Create Mentor-Entrepreneur Job Fairs. Once you start mentoring, you may want to hook up with other mentors to create specific job, or skill-trading, fairs where entrepreneurs/mentors can connect with each other, exchange skills, or look for future clients. Staying connected to other mentors also helps you stay current on what’s new in business.
Forbes magazine reports that, in 2013, mentoring has never been more important. There’s a lot of information and technical advice that’s needed out there. Entrepreneurs need to be able to ask someone they trust, the many questions they most definitely have. A good mentor, Forbes reports, helps navigate the politics of industry organizations and avoid the landmines. They push their mentorees to take risks and aim higher; and even advocate for them when they’re not there. Forbes also offers these 2 important tips to would-be mentors:
1. Listen. Your role is to provide advice and encouragement, keep an open mind, and allow your mentoree to “vent” about any confusion they have regarding their business. Mentoring is a lot like parenting – you’ll tend to want to take the reins – let them learn.
2. Be a role model. Most importantly, mentorees need a good role model to follow.
I’ve seen many of my retired clients enjoy rewarding “after life” careers as mentors. They stay connected to their industry without all the stress or pressure of a full work week. I’ve also seen many go onto successful new careers as consultants, teachers, or partners in up and coming new endeavors. Becoming a mentor is a great way to not only put all that experience of yours to good use after you retire, but also help a young person become successful.
Dale Brown, M.A., C.E.C.
Natural Health News
Become a Mentor
Tips On Becoming a Great Mentor, http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/05/17/how-to-become-a-great-mentor/2/