What is so great about having a mentor? We're all suckers for a story which we can relate to and there's no better way to learn than from listening to someone that has the know-how to take your idea to the next level.
Matt is also a lecturer for the Digital Marketing Institute and a mentor himself. He explains why having a mentor is essential within business.
Why did you choose to mentor entrepreneurs?
"After developing my own knowledge in the digital marketing industry, I began blogging a lot on industry publications and then my own blog. Due to this, I received a lot of questions from business owners who were asking for advice and tips. I actually ended up spending a large proportion of my day getting back in touch with people on their questions so it made sense for me to see if any of them were interested in more of a long-term partnership.
After a few successful mentoring sessions it was clear that my mentees were actually getting quite a lot from our conversations and actually, so was I. I find that speaking with a lot of different business owners helps me to further my knowledge and almost acts as a big brainstorming session that I wouldn’t otherwise have, which is great!"
What made you want to become a mentor?
"I’ve always enjoyed sharing knowledge with people and it was one of the main reasons why I set up my own blog. I’ve recently started working with the Digital Marketing Institute as a lecturer there and am doing a lot more public speaking around content marketing and SEO. Being able to share my experience and have a direct positive effect on other people’s businesses was a huge motivation for me.
On top of this, I’ve found that mentoring business owners has opened up a lot more opportunities from a commercial point of view. I get recommendations sent my way that help to build my client base and, more importantly to me, I increase the number of people who want to hear what I have to say."
What's the first bit of advice your give your mentees?
"That’s a tough question to answer because of how different each business is, but when it comes to content marketing and SEO, one of my first pointers is that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
I’ve worked with no end of business owners who have tried to take short-cuts with their search engine campaigns and ended up having a seriously detrimental effect on their long-term efforts. As well as this, I try to reinforce the fact that they should always be testing things themselves. Everyone’s customers are different and every campaign is different – the only way to improve is to see what works and build upon it."
How have you improved as an entrepreneur since becoming a mentor?
"Mentoring other business owners has without doubt been the best thing that I’ve done towards developing my own skills. Not only has it helped me from a direct commercial and networking point of view, but it’s enabled me to encounter a lot of problems that businesses have had and develop ways to overcome them.
A lot of these situations are quite niche-specific; therefore I may not have come across them before. Working with my mentees forces me to think like them and develop solutions to their problems."
How important is it to be able to relate to an inspirational or success story as an entrepreneur?
"I think that all entrepreneurs love to see things that they can relate to. Whether that’s someone else that has achieved a big milestone within their niche or if it’s some advice that comes from someone that you look up to; it’s these kind of things that help to motivate others.
Personally, I love reading case studies and success stories from businesses and individuals, especially when they talk about how they did it. I’ve got a ton of articles like this bookmarked in my web browser."
Linking up with a mentor alliows you to take your business to the next stage and will prepare you for the challenges that your start-up may face. By discussing your strategies with a mentor, you could potentially gain an advantage over your competitors.
But being a mentor is also essential for them to improve as an entrepreneur. Every little helps and you never know where a little bit of guidance may get you in the future.
So next time an eager business enthusiast asks you for advice, don't hesitate to help!