by Rob Avis
What would you have done differently?
When asked this question, all of the experts resoundingly responded with the same answer that I give to people: I wish I had spent more time with a mentor before diving in. I get a lot of mentorship requests from my students and I honestly want to take them all, but with two young kids and a growing business there is just not enough time in the day. For anyone starting out, there are four main ways of getting mentorship:
- Find a way to provide mentors with value: We all have value to offer and those of us running businesses don’t have enough time to do everything we need to do. Find out where there are gaps your mentor needs help filling and fill them in exchange for mentoring.
- Apply for a job: Every once in a while there will be a job you can get into that will allow you to get paid to help these people. If you ask the right questions you will get some great advice. You also get to see their business operating and you will discover all sorts of niches that you could fill.
- Find an existing business where you can provide complimentary value: Verge is like a boat going through the water: We create a wake. Within that wake, there are income streams we don’t have time to go after. A keen and self-motivated entrepreneur can find ways to utilize the momentum of our company and create a complimentary business alongside us. I am sure other folks feel the same way.
- Offer to pay mentors for advice: Cash is just another way of exchanging value. Chances are you are looking for valuable advice that was hard for your mentor to attain. If you have no value to provide (which is hard to believe), then offer to hire them. I think more professionals should offer mentorship programs and I don’t think that it is an issue to state the value in the form of money. How you work out the exchange is really up to you and them. The one nice thing about paying for advice is you will take it seriously. As I mentioned earlier in my volunteering experiences, we tend to not put a lot of weight on free feedback.
I hope that you have found this series of articles on how to successfully grow a permaculture business useful. As always, I appreciate any feedback or comments you may have!