Remember the old TV game show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”?
On the show, contestants were asked a series of multiple-choice questions, each one getting more difficult as the show progressed. The more answers they got right, the more money they won and the higher value the next question had – all the way up to $1,000,000!
(Just think of the business investments you could make with that kind of money!)
But if they got a question wrong, they were done. So, to help the contestant choose the right answers, they were given a few different lifeline options:
They could “phone a friend,” “survey the audience,” or “ask an expert.”
When you think about it, getting the advice you need to progress in your business plays out much the same way. Your options are just slightly different.
(And hopefully, you’re not in a situation where if you get one thing wrong, you’re done!)
The key to picking the right option for you is knowing what you’re looking to get from your investment of time and money.
Mentors (a.k.a. Phone-a-friend):
Mentors are people who have already done what you’re looking to do. Think of them as trusted ‘guides’ for your business journey. They’ve ‘been there, done that.’
Education (IE: insight, knowledge, or training): Their advice is based upon their individual experience. Keep in mind that their approach often equates to saying, “This is what worked for me” or “What I did was…”. You’ll want to find a mentor whose situation, personality, resources, and goals match your own.
Support: With a mentor, you get personal 1-on-1 support. You won’t feel alone with a mentor. You’ll have a friend walking with you, guiding you on your journey.
- Mentors usually understand what you’re up against and how to deal with it.
- They provide valuable real-world recommendations for you based upon their experience, giving you the confidence and support you need.
- Rarely can one person provide you everything you need.
- They will explain what worked for them and not necessarily what will work for YOU.
Masterminds & Peer Groups (a.k.a. Survey-the-audience):
Mastermind groups and peer groups are small groups of 5-10 business owners who meet regularly to support, encourage, and challenge each other. These groups are becoming more prevalent today and usually include only one business per industry, so you won’t be in a group with a competitor. One of the most impactful groups in the creative industry is The Rising Tide Society and their local meetups called Tuesday’s Together. If you are thinking about a Mastermind, you should check out what they are doing.
Their value is based upon the members being in a common stage of business.
Education: The quality of the advice you get from these groups is dependent upon the facilitator and the members. While more heads are better than one, the other members might be struggling with the same challenges you are.
Support: This is where masterminds and peer groups shine! They build a strong sense of camaraderie and community. You won’t feel alone as a business owner when you are a member of these groups.
- They provide you support, create accountability, and remind you that you’re not alone.
- They help you realize your situation and challenges are not unique and can be overcome. They often give you several different ideas and options to try.
- There is no guarantee they will cover the topics that are most important to you.
- There is no guarantee their advice will be accurate or valuable.
Training Programs (a.k.a. Ask-an-expert):
At some point, we realize what we’re actually looking for is expert advice (not just some person’s idea or opinion). We want to learn what these experts know, and we’ll pay to get access to their training systems.
Their value is based upon their specialized knowledge.
Education: Education is exactly why we buy training programs. They help us get the advice, answers, and solutions that we need. The information these programs provide is usually extremely valuable. They are experts, after all.
It might be worth noting that these programs often provide deep knowledge, but not much breadth of knowledge. Experts tend to ‘stay in their lane.’ So, like mentors, you may want to invest in more than one training program as you continue to grow your business.
Support: Training programs aren’t really designed to provide the emotional or social support we’re often looking for as business owners. However, there is a rational sense of support in knowing that these experts have helped hundreds or thousands of people overcome the same challenge(s) we’re dealing with.
- They usually provide deep, detailed knowledge and advice.
- Their expertise is often based upon helping a lot of others overcome the same challenges. Therefore, they usually provide more comprehensive advice than mentors do.
- They tend to focus on very specific topics. Plan to invest in a number of different training programs.