Do you need a mentor? Many business gurus say not having a mentor is a mistake.

You might think, “But what if I’ve never had a mentor? Can I still have a successful business?”

The answer: Maybe.

The more important question is: “Are you sure you’ve never had a mentor?”

Before you answer, keep in mind that today’s mentors look different and share information in new ways, compared to just a few years ago.

Here are three tips for finding a new kind of mentor.

  1. Consider having an online mentor if you’ve never had a mentor.

Maybe you’re already following at least one or two online influencers in your industry. It’s okay to consider an industry leader a mentor if you subscribe to that person’s YouTube channel, listen to their podcast, follow their blog, or read their book.

Or maybe you’re brand new and you’re not sure who’s at the top of your business’ industry. If you’ve never had a mentor, pay attention online to other entrepreneurs and companies that have businesses similar to yours. 

What social media accounts are they following? What types of posts, tweets, or other content are being shared by people and companies in your business’ niche?

Gathering this information will point you toward possible online mentors.

  1. Ditch useless networking events if you’ve never had a mentor.

You might think, “No networking events? No problem? I mostly run my business from my laptop and/or smartphone anyway.”

More companies are hosting online/virtual conferences and similar types of digital networking events, since in-person networking events aren’t currently happening.If you’ve never had a mentor, focus on only certain events instead of virtually attending a bunch of general conferences.

Only check out virtual conferences and other online events where you’re likely to find these kinds of people:

  • People who currently have the type of business you want to run.
  • People who work directly with the group described above.
  • People who have a unique point of view on your industry.
  1. Take notice of all the informal mentors you currently have.

There’s a good chance you’re overlooking the mentors you have in real life simply because they don’t fit the traditional type of mentor you usually see in TV shows or movies.

Mentors can include any teacher or other person who has written/emailed any type of letter of recommendation for you for a job, college, or something else. Even a positive social media post from this type of person about you and/or your work counts.

Any advice given directly to you from someone can also make that person a potential mentor.

Also, don’t forget about your friends. Maybe you’re starting a new business and you have a friend who started their own business a few months or a year ago. This friend can share their knowledge with you.

Final Thoughts if You’ve Never Had a Mentor

Recent events (a global pandemic, more people working from home, etc.) have changed who are possible mentors and how we can learn from them.

If you’ve never had a mentor, in the traditional sense, remember these tips.

  1. Consider having at least one online mentor.
  2. Be picky about attending online conferences and events.
  3. Don’t overlook your teachers, other adults, and your friends who are already helping you and/or your business.

Many young entrepreneurs do well with non-traditional mentors. You can also have a successful business as long as you know where to look for help.

Photo by Monica Melton on Unsplash