I believe that when you are a solo business owner you are the business.
It’s you that decides every angle, turn, niche, strategy, and plan that your business implements. The same is not true when you have employees in your business and vest decisions in their hands.
Why is this important and usually overlooked by people early in their business career? They often refuse to be responsible and accountable for their business not working or the obstacles that block their path. They feel that outside influences are the cause of their struggles and sometimes failures.
No doubt, events and conditions outside the owner’s control do play a role in online business. But these influences happen to everyone – they are part of the challenge of being an entrepreneur – they are expected although not welcomed much of the time. Savvy business owners learn to modify, adapt, “roll with the punches” so to speak, in an effort to keep their businesses moving forward. A business owner has the choice of steering his business around obstacles or ignoring them and smacking into them head-on.
If you are a business owner that feels the world is conspiring against you – and that you are not responsible for the outcomes of your business – you probably aren’t going to last long online. Often owners gripe, moan, whine and complain about their competitors, Google (Satan’s platform), prospects, or the advice on the boards and forums. They can never accept the fact that they are totally responsible for whatever takes place in their business.
Some then decide to hire a mentor to “make them successful,” show them the way, or guarantee their profitability.
That is not the role of a mentor and with expectations like that, the student is bound to be disappointed and fail once again after spending considerable amounts of money.
If you are contemplating hiring a mentor, I suggest the following:
1. Have the basics of online solo business already down. Know what would be termed “universal online business owner basics.” If you don’t understand the basics already that can be learned online for free, you will be paying an expensive tutor to help you with these things. Why pay a mentor to teach you about autoresponders, squeeze pages, capturing prospect contact info, sending out emails, and all the other basic principles of IM? Besides, knowing these things will help you to ask intelligent questions of the mentor and you can focus on getting help in just the areas where you are weak or may stuck at a standstill.
2. Have a business plan (including a business model and marketing strategy) already in mind. Even better, would be to have already set up at least the basics of what you want to do and have some experience so that you will see where you are deficient and the areas where you really need professional help. Even if the mentor suggests you start over in a different niche or with a better business model/strategy, you will already have invaluable experience under your belt and you will soon come to know why what you’re doing isn’t working.
3. Discuss exactly what roles and obligations both you and the mentor have in this “relationship” before you hire anyone. Be very clear on your expectations and what the mentor plans to do for you. Put it in writing so that you will be reminded often about the mentor’s deliverables and your own duties and accountabilities.
4. Hire a mentor who has been successful in your niche and with your business model. I have never seen highly successful business owners that know everything there is to know about all the various types of online business. Some are great at affiliate marketing. Some are great at membership sites. Some are great at product creation, and on and on. Nobody is great at what they haven’t done. So as you look for a mentor, find one who has been down the exact path (or as close as possible to that path) you plan to travel. Charles Barkley was a great basketball player but he sure can’t hit a golf ball well – I’ve watched him try many times!
5. Your mentor “owes you nothing” (except, of course, whatever you have agreed to in your written contract.) He/she is there to support, advise, and counsel you. The business is still yours . . . and remember . . . you are the business. A mentor cannot guarantee your business success. The mentor can not make your decisions for you. Remember this when you are looking for a mentor and if you see a mentor promising some amount you will be making per month, or some time frame when your business will be profitable with his help, it is a bright red flag that you shouldn’t hire him.
6. Mentors are human, they make mistakes, they carry biases and dislikes, they have their own ways of doing things. You are not obligated to follow everything they say. I mentioned earlier that it was good to have a basic understanding of how online business works before you ever hire a mentor. With the basic understanding, things the mentor tells you will “ring true” or they may sound wrong to you. It’s OK. Talk to the mentor about his advice, question his methods (respectfully) if you feel you need an explanation, all so that you learn “the why” of what he’s asking you to do. Sometimes mentors give bad advice and you are free to accept what you want and to turn down what you don’t want.
7. Understand that mentors are the greatest boost, the greatest rip-offs, and everything in between based on many, many variables. The experience you have, after you have done your due diligence in finding the right mentor, will be the result of your own skill, talent, and effort combined with the guidance of the professional.
You are the business and unless you learn and do what is necessary to have a profitable business, you have no one to blame but yourself.
To your online business success,