A few weeks ago, I was a guest speaker at a meeting held by the Dallas Chapter of Women of Visionary Influence (WOVI), whose mission is “to empower women to lead and mentor.” Each member has access to a mentor to help her achieve, succeed and prosper in her chosen path in life.
For me, the WOVI meeting was a reminder of the power and importance of mentoring. That’s especially the case when it comes to starting a business, launching new products and services, and achieving other major goals.
Here are a few groups in addition to WOVI that offer opportunities to connect with mentors.
SCORE – This nonprofit organization has the largest network of free volunteer small business mentors in the nation. Visit SCORE’s homepage and click on “Find a mentor.” This link takes you to a page with three options to find a SCORE mentor who fits your goals and needs.
Inventors networks – These groups can be highly valuable for new and would-be inventors who need support and advice to bring their products to market. The Washington, D.C., area, for example, has the Inventors Network of the Capital Area (INCA). To find an inventor association in your geographic region, click on this U.S. map provided by the United Inventors Association.
Meetup – Use this service to find business mentoring groups and other events focused on entrepreneurship (or just about any other topic). If you can’t find an existing group that meets your needs, Meetup lets you organize and host your own group.
Toastmasters International – This public speaking and leadership development organization offers a way to build supportive relationships with goal-oriented people as well as a place to practice business pitches in a safe, supportive environment. Toastmasters has clubs all over the world, including some that are especially for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
LinkedIn – Here’s a post from Rising Innovator with tips for using LI to find a business mentor.
If you don’t have mentors to support you, it’s time to cultivate them. Last year, fellow freelance writer Kristen Edens and I co-authored this article about the value of business mentoring for people of all ages, including older entrepreneurs. As we mention in the article, finding a mentor may not happen overnight — but it’s well worth the time and effort.
The search itself is beneficial because you meet new people and gain different insights. When a good connection happens, it can launch a relationship that’s valuable and fun for both the mentee and the mentor.
A mentor sometimes sees something in you that you don’t see in yourself. It could be a talent, an attribute, a special gift you didn’t know you possessed. Once you and your mentor unearth that hidden talent – and you become aware of its existence — it might turn into something big.
In short, mentoring can change your life. What are you waiting for?