One of the main debates was whether mentoring should be a free experience for the mentees and free time given up by mentors, or whether it should be paid for by the mentees (or part-subsidised), therefore paying the mentors for their time.
I for one am very much in agreement with the latter.
Rockstar Group was started in 2007 after I experienced two phenomenal mentoring experiences as a mentee - both of which I paid money for, and the mentors received payment for.
The first was when I was at Goldman Sachs and was mentored by one of the heads of the department I worked in. I paid an upfront fee of $5,000 (AUS) for three hours with my mentor each month, for six months. My mentor and I set the goal of bringing in $100m (AUS) of new client business in that six-month period. We didn't achieve that in six months - we did it in four.
The second was a property mentorship. I paid £15,000 upfront for a three-month period. My goal was to buy at least one property during our face-to-face time that earned me a solid yield and one that I could pull my deposit money out and replicate. I achieved that within three months, while still having the property delivering positive cash flow each month. I then replicated the strategy 12 times in the next 12 months.
I absolutely owe these results to my mentors at the time, David and Raj, and still feel it was the best money I have ever invested in myself. I also genuinely believe these results would never have been the case if I had not paid for their time and expertise. My reasons are the following:
We don't value things if they are free
While there are some exceptions to this old saying, they are few and far between. The purpose of mentoring is to have someone give you their time, guidance, contacts and make you accountable for your goals being achieved. There are no guarantees that your mentor will make you a lot of money, but if you are investing money for their time and expertise, you make damn sure that you put the hard work and effort into achieving the goals you set out together. If it costs nothing, it is difficult to put a value on that time and hard work, and the old excuse of 'I'll do it tomorrow' is far too easily adopted.
It becomes a two-way business contract
I think a lot of would-be mentees out there like the notion of mentoring. But to add to my first point, there are A LOT of successful entrepreneurs who are happy to give up their time to be a mentor, but will get frustrated very quickly with their mentee if they are not taking it seriously and fail to complete tasks or even bother showing up to meetings.
If the mentees are paying a substantial sum of money, mentors know they are dealing with someone who is serious. Whether you pay mentors or not is not the key issue. Any mentor will tell you that they ONLY want to deal with people who are SERIOUS about achieving success in their business. Otherwise to them, it is a waste of their time and that is one of the most valuable things any successful entrepreneur holds dear.
Your business goals become measurable
If you invest in a mentoring program, you have a monetary benchmark to set your business goals against. The most common goal for mentees is to increase revenues through increased sales of their products or services. They invest in mentors who have the expertise and contacts within such an industry to fast-track that sales growth. If you invest £3,000 for six months mentoring, the minimum goal should be to be make at least £6,000 back in new sales.
When I paid my £15,000 for my property mentor, the goal was to make at least £30,000 back in my first year. I did it in three months.
Paid mentoring is an important investment that should be used by all business owners, in my opinion. As opposed to a free chat each month, it should be done with structure and with BOTH parties serious about achieving a measurable goal. Doing it this way will gives mentees the best chance of getting the most out of these mentors who very kindly offer their time to help businesses grow.
We would love to hear your views on this topic.