Being a freelancer and entrepreneur has a range of joys and difficulties. It takes creativity, dedication, and a passion for your work to be successful. How successful you are depends on your definition of the word, what your goals are, and where you want to go with your career. Having a mentor can be a beneficial experience when you’re about to embark on the work of freelance and entrepreneurship. Or maybe you already have, but you’re struggling. If you don’t have a mentor, or you’re displeased with your current one, don’t fret too much. There are people with gifts, just like you, who want to pour it into others.
When choosing a mentor, you want them to assist you in the development of your career. Unfortunately, a lot of people have poor boundaries when it comes to their work. It’s helpful if your potential mentor has established what their work/life boundaries are. Putting these types of guidelines in place assists you in resisting burnout. Examples of work boundaries include: setting business hours, limiting work email outside of those hours, effective time management, monitoring client/project load.
The way we talk to each other can be a big obstacle in our relationships. Having healthy communication takes effort. Being able to communicate effectively with verbal and nonverbal cues is important. Choose a mentor who listens actively, asks questions, and addresses conflict in a healthy manner. Avoid individuals who are passive aggressive and view life with a negative lens. Your career dreams can evaporate by learning from a mentor who complains consistently about their own.
Building your career can be expensive. You’re already paying for a number of things to assist you in your journey as a freelancer and entrepreneur. Some mentors may charge for their services, while others will not. Be careful of scams. Negotiate on a price that feels good to you, and to them. Most likely they’ll charge more than you want to pay. It’s okay to ask for clarity as to why they request that price. Ask yourself, “how much am I willing to invest in my mentorship?” If they wish to mentor you for free, extend gratitude by buying them coffee when you meet. Pay the generosity forward.
At the end of the day, you want to be able to trust your mentor with your career goals, dreams, and thoughts. Picking a mentor is like choosing a friend or partner. If you guys don’t jive, and you don’t enjoy your time with them, find someone else. There are enough relationships in your life that take work. Don’t waste emotional energy on a mentor who you makes you feel like crap. Sometimes it isn’t that dramatic and it is just a personality clash. You’re not going to mesh with everyone, and that’s okay. Choose a mentor you want to invest in you, and take it a step forward by investing in them too.