As a freelancer, you might think that you don’t need a mentor. After all, you are doing business for yourself. However, a mentor wants you to succeed and helps you overcome any obstacles you face.
Most companies have mentor programs for their employees, but as a freelancer, it’s up to you to find and establish connections. How do I find a freelance mentor? And what to look for in one?
What is a freelance mentor?
A freelance mentor is someone who literally knows what it takes to be a successful freelancer and is willing to share insights and experiences to help you take your freelance career to the next level.
How can a freelance mentor help?
In any profession, it is helpful to learn from someone who already faces similar goals and challenges that you are dealing with. And in fields that do a lot of work, from marketing to accounting, like freelancers, relying on mentors for support can be particularly advantageous.
Provide guidance and advice
Perhaps you are not sure how to rate your work and set your rates. Or maybe an unhappy customer blows up their inbox and doesn’t know how to respond. This is a situation that other freelancers have dealt with. Your mentor will share their wisdom and experience to guide you through these challenges in a professional and productive way.
Freelance has advantages, but also disadvantages. Sometimes, among the shortcomings, you need a freelance mentor.
Not everyone understands the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of freelance life. Having someone to sympathize with, sympathize with, and congratulate you on is an easily overlooked but still very important advantage.
There is no way around it. There will come a day when freelance feels like too much. You can feel ready to let go and quit and return to the traditional 9:5 comfort and predictability. In those moments, you need someone to talk to. And no one is better than someone who has experienced the same feelings. A freelance mentor is a great resource for support and encouragement, especially when you are depressed or discouraged.
How to find freelance mentors to start your network
Decide what you want to learn from your mentor, and then evaluate who is the right person for it. Having more than one mentor can be helpful.
Managers who have helped set goals in the past with thought-provoking questions can still be a great choice if you’re looking for career guidance. Relying on a neighbor who runs your own business can help you learn how to navigate life as an independent contractor.
Likewise, be willing to think outside the box. If building an online presence is one of your concerns, then switching to a younger but social media savvy former colleague can pay off high dividends.
Try outside the network
If you can’t find “mentor resources” among people you know, branch out. Professional organizations, alumni and community groups can help you reach the right people. Likewise, there are many online options for LinkedIn groups to introduce connections to online communities such as the Freelancers Union.
Take a chance and ask
A little connection or introduction can make the process of meeting a mentor easier, but it’s worth trying to form a bond with someone you feel attracted to but don’t know well. Whether this person is a blogger who speaks your language or a director of a local nonprofit with a sense of purpose you admire, take the opportunity to get in touch.
Arrange a meeting or phone call at the person’s convenience. Explain who you are and why you would like to mentor him. If you think you are interested, hold another presentation for a specified time on a specific topic. Focusing on the initial conversation can help keep potential mentors from becoming overwhelmed and relationships can build slowly.
Always Keep trying
Finally, finding a good mentor can take time. Don’t take rejection personally. The person you are requesting may be currently overwhelmed by other personal and professional obligations. Explore the various options until you find the correct match. A freelancer looking for a good mentor is one who never gives up!
Give and Receive Rule
Once you’ve found a mentor, remember that the relationship is two-way, even if you’re the one doing most of your learning.
A good relationship is a give-and-take, whether it’s serving your mentor occasionally for coffee or being able to help when you need it. That way, you will have a productive professional relationship that literally pays off.