As promised, my first guest blogger is making an appearance today! An internet rockstar and my mentor, Pat O’Bryan, who needs no further introduction. . . . . .
Mentoring (by Pat O’Bryan)
Working with a mentor can make the difference between success and failure.
And, I don’t just mean financial success and failure. You can’t achieve self-actualization if you’re struggling to pay your rent. To fully embrace life, you need financial freedom. To have the luxury to explore spiritual and existential questions, you need the time and head-space to read, think, meditate, learn, and explore.
It takes time to learn a skill, and Internet Marketing is a career that requires certain skills. When you’re first starting out, you face what can look like an overwhelming continuum of learning curves, and way too many choices.
A mentor can help you narrow those choices down and prioritize them. Then, they can give or point you to reliable resources for climbing those learning curves. In the early stages of your Internet Marketing journey, you’ll probably be scrambling to make enough money to take a deep breath and then focus on learning the next thing. A mentor can help you scoot through this phase.
As Martha mentioned, one of my mentors is Dr. Joe Vitale. You probably know Joe, or know about him. He’s at http://mrfire.com. The story of our meeting and quick success together has been featured in several books, including mine: “Your Portable Empire, How to Make Money Anywhere Doing What You Love.”
He and I have an unusual mentoring relationship because we became business partners almost immediately. We now have scores of products and several businesses that we’ve created together.
However, Joe’s still my mentor, and I’m still learning from him. This affects the way I run my Coaching Program because you can only teach what you know, and a LOT of what I know I learned from Joe.
I have a small group of mentors I work with, and I mentor about a hundred budding Internet Marketers. In addition to Joe, I meet weekly with a blond Buddhist who is at the top of her profession. She is currently working with the Dalai Lama and his staff putting together a trauma treatment program for Tibetan refugees. This project is rapidly becoming international, and expanding beyond Tibetans to extend help to trauma victims on several continents. We meet weekly, and have for over a decade.
I hire other mentors on an “as needed” basis, usually to help me work through a specific challenge. This could be a business problem, such as PPC marketing, or a spiritual challenge, like learning Tantric meditation. In every case, the investment has paid off many times.
This is important on several levels. First, I’m using my mentors to enhance my financial and spiritual well-being. Second, it gives me a deep inventory of skills that I can teach.
My students are in Denmark, Holland, Scotland, England, Spain, Mexico, Canada and all across the U.S. I love them all.
So, let me tell you honestly, firmly, and with a great deal of passion: “Get the right mentor(s).” It will save you a lot of time, save you money, and keep you from getting so frustrated that you just give up.
The question is which mentor? How do you choose?
Let’s keep the discussion focused on Internet Marketing. Other disciplines have other criteria.
A good Internet Marketing Coach/Mentor:
1. Is making the majority of his/her income from doing Internet Marketing. The ‘net is full of “Internet Marketing Coaches” who are making their entire living from teaching Internet Marketing.
The problem with this is that you can’t teach what you don’t know. Internet Marketing is a dynamic and mercurial subject. What worked six months ago probably doesn’t work now. Also, you can’t teach success if you aren’t successful. Look for a mentor/coach who is successful and active.
2. Actually does the coaching. Make sure you’ll be working with the coach, and not with some assistant, intern, or dufus who moonlights at a phone bank. You’d be surprised.
3. Can teach. Doing and teaching are two different skill sets. Not all successful Internet Marketers have the patience and empathy to teach effectively. No two students are the same, and a good coach has to know how to be gentle with the ones who need gentleness, and also how to administer a virtual boot to the buttocks when that’s appropriate.
4. Has successful students. This is the big one. Before you join any coaching program, talk to as many of their current and former students as you can. They should be able to point to specific things they’ve learned and some increase in their income as a result of the coaching program.
In this context, success can look a lot of ways. For some students, actually getting their first squeeze page and sales page online is success. I’ve seen beginning marketers waste years trying to accomplish this much. For others, success can be measured in actual dollars. A good coach will work with each student at their current level, and take them to their next level.
Don’t take the Coach’s word for this. Before you sign up for any coaching program, ask to talk to current and former students. If this is a problem, don’t hire that coach.
5. Provides good learning resources. Ask about resources available to the students. Are there webinars or teleseminars? Videos? Forums? Not all students respond to the same modalities. Some are visual learners, some are auditory learners- Make sure there are plenty of teaching resources that work for you.
A few final words about mentors, and how to get the most out of your relationship with them:
Once you find the right one for you, focus on that mentor’s teaching. There is so much alleged information coming at you from so many directions that it’s going to be tempting to get distracted. Your coach will tell you to do something one way, and you’ll get an email from somebody else telling you to do it differently. They could both be right. However, choose one person to work with and do it their way.
Do the work. If your mentor recommends a book, get it and read it. If they give you an assignment, do it. Ultimately, you are responsible for your success.