I was watching Piers Morgan interview a professional athlete a few nights ago and I was absolutely mesmerized by the rigorous training schedule, carefully planned diet, and the overall mindset you have to have in order to achieve incredible physical feats.
It’s a lot of hard work for the athletes who compete on a global stage and their secret weapons are often their coaches. Actually, any super successful person you speak to in any industry or field will often credit a coach or mentor for their success.
Up Your Game
My mentors have definitely helped me up my game. Here’s how:
- Accountability -This is the biggie. If you have a coach or mentor, they want to see you achieve your greatness and they’ll push you to accomplish more than you ever thought possible simply by making you commit to achieving big things and following up to make sure you do what you say you’re going to do.
- Mindset -For athletes and entrepreneurs alike, having an “I can take on the world” mindset is a must to accomplish big things. You see this with athletes just before they’re getting ready to race, swim, cycle, dive, or whatever the sport is. The athlete will often be in their own zone before the event, sometimes listening to their iPod to block out the rest of the world, and getting a pep talk from their coach.
- Network -A coach or mentor can open doors for you. This can come through new business opportunities or connections in your mentor’s network that can help you get to where you want to be. It definitely takes time to build a good enough relationship to ask to be connected to people in your mentor’s network but it’s worth the wait.
Connecting With Potential Coaches
So you know you need a mentor but perhaps like many other entrepreneurs you just don’t know where to find one. I hear this a lot. Here are a few ways you can connect with a coach or mentor:
- Social media -Twitter has allowed me to connect to a lot of mentors. It starts with a simple follow and engaging with that person. Once you’ve built a rapport you can follow up with a direct message or an email to build a stronger relationship. One of my mentors, Alan Quarry, and I started communicating a lot of Twitter which led to me reaching out to him for further business advice. You can also use social media to find coaches that charge for their services and follow them for awhile to see if you think they would be a good fit for what you’re trying to accomplish. Coaching is worth including in your budget as an entrepreneur. I’ve had coaches for everything from media training and speaking to money and finance.
- Events -It’s important to attend conferences and summits to build a solid network of people in your niche and industry. Events are great places to meet power players who often show up as speakers to the events. That’s how I connected with an entrepreneur I really admire, Gina Bianchini, who was the Founder of Ning.com and has since founded a new startup called Mightybell. When I asked if she would have time to chat with me about a few questions I had about her experiences and she was very willing to speak to me as a young entrepreneur starting her first company.
- An email or phone call -Calling someone up or sending them an email is scary for a lot of people. I usually use She Takes on the World as my reason for calling. Since I have the site I connect with a lot of women entrepreneurs for interviews which can be a good “in” for building a relationship. You don’t need a website to do this though. Think about ways you could include influential people in your products and make sure there’s something in it for them. For example, do you have a product launch coming up that aligns well with the mission of someone who you’d love to have as a coach or mentor? Craft a pitch that tells them the benefits of working with you and how it will help their mission or business as well.
My “5 Minute Rule”
No matter how you decide to connect, keep my 5 minute rule in mind:
Instead of asking to go for lunch or go for coffee with a coach or mentor you admire, ask for 5 minutes instead.
Respect their time by saying you’d just like an opportunity to speak with them for 5 minutes at their convenience OR ask if you can send three questions via email about your project or industry. I have found that people are much more receptive when you don’t ask for too much up front. If all goes well, you should be able to follow up and develop a relationship that will ultimately help you to take on the world.
Disclosure: I am blogging on behalf of Visa’s Go World Olympic Campaign and receive compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. This post was sponsored by Visa Small Business. From now through August 31st, visit http://www.inc.com/visa-business-of-the-olympic-games/ to learn about Team Visa Olympic athletes who are also dedicated small business owners. Visit Visa Business’s newly-launched Facebook Page for more details, and follow @VisaSmallBiz for ways to help make your small business more efficient and successful. Discover more at http://visa.com/business.