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Ok, so let’s look for something a little less formal than Olympic class training. Finding support and mentorship on a basic level is important in achieving most goals in life, and yet we often overlook this professionally. Or rather it becomes a complicated situation. Seeking out others in our same boat is fine, but professionally this is “networking,” which can become a chore. When we have a problem in our personal life, we may turn to many different people. But when it comes to our professional life, we often have few options.
Yet successful entrepreneurs stress how the importance of relationships for business owners. Hayley Barna, co-founder and co-CEO of beauty company Birchbox, emphasis how “Mentors can be a sounding board and shed light on unnecessary stress.” This is particularly true when starting and growing a business.
Melissa Johnson, owner of Oh My Cupcakes in Sioux Falls, suggests seeking out leaders that seem out of your league. “Reach out to someone you think is really cool,” especially “someone a few years down your path.” You need to be around people that have gone farther than you.
Making the First Steps:
So how to go about this? First off, you need to find who these role models are. They may be people you know personally or thought leaders you have always admired online. But before you can surround yourself with great people, you have to know what you want. Which qualities do you admire? And remember, aim high and don’t be intimidated.
Next, do the research. One of my mentors told me about how when she began her career she plucked up the courage to ask a local industry leader for lunch. Her insightful comments about the leader’s writing got her a lunch date and a great mentorship that has continued throughout her career. Two things people will always like: compliments and a free lunch.
Finally, cultivate the relationship. Get that lunch date or coffee and make the most of your time. Develop a lasting mentorship by helping your role model when you can as well.
There are no age restrictions on mentorship either, so go surround yourself with the people that inspire you. Soon enough, someone else might be asking to buy you that lunch.
Felena is a long-time entrepreneur and marketing maven. Her latest venture, Hera Hub, is a spa-inspired shared workspace for female entrepreneurs. This as-needed, flexible work and meeting space provides a productive environment for women who primarily work from home. Hera Hub members have access to a professional space to meet with clients and to connect and collaborate with like-minded business owners, thus giving them the support they need to be prosperous. Cost-effective monthly membership options are suited for freelancers, independent consultants, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and authors.
Hera Hub is much more than just a shared workspace; it’s a community of like-minded entrepreneurial women who find the additional resources, such as special classes, workshops, and one-on-one support essential for their business growth. The first San Diego location is conveniently located in Sorrento Valley. By the end of 2012 Hera Hub will have additional locations in Mission Valley & Carlsbad.
Felena is passionate about education, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of San Diego and her MBA from California State University Dominguez Hills. She taught Marketing and Entrepreneurship at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and at California State University Dominguez Hills for the MBA online program for eight years. Felena was most recently rewarded for community efforts, as she was awarded the “Women Business Owner of the Year Award” by the local chapter of the National Organization of Women Business Owners.