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Charlie Hoehn’s 6 Key Tactics for Landing Your Dream Mentor

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Charlie Hoehn

Like many other millennials coming out of college, my first foray into the work world wasn’t a smooth landing into a stable job. I spent a year in a startup incubator before leaving to start interning with a mentor to develop my marketing skills.

I then went on to lead marketing for Sumo.com, until that blew up 8 months later. There’s more detail to the story, but suffice it to say that I’ve made it to the other side successfully. Now I spend my time working for myself as an entrepreneur, traveling the world, and growing my site.

I can say without hesitation that the key to getting this ball rolling was finding a set of mentors who guided my initial learning, widened my network, and provided feedback along the way. The time I spent with my mentors set me up for success no matter what path I decided to take.

Finding a good mentor isn’t easy. It can be downright intimidating to reach out to someone you admire and ask for something. But it’s a skill that can be learned. A lot of my learning on how to find the perfect mentor came from Charlie Hohen’s book Recession-Proof Graduate.

Charlie spent the summer of 2008 after graduating college applying for jobs. Each day he’d stalk every job board applying to any job for which he was even slightly qualified – even if he didn’t really want to work them. This was at the peak of the global recession, and no employers were responding to the application of a fresh grad like Charlie.

Eventually, Charlie gave up applying for jobs and figured out how to start working on stuff he loved with mentors he admired, like Tucker Max, Ramit Sethi, and Tim Ferriss. Working with mentors eventually landed him in paid positions he could have never dreamed of before.

I was lucky enough to sit down and interview Charlie to discuss his book and his tactics for finding a mentor.

Here are the top points from our conversation that anyone can use to go from zero to getting a mentor, a fruitful internship and paid work no matter the circumstances:

1. Stop caring about what people think

You might get a lot of raised eyebrows as you opt for this atypical job search. Friends and family might doubt you, you may doubt yourself, but as Charlie says, you deserve a chance to do something unique and different. As a young person, you’ve spent more than a decade-and-a-half following someone else’s agenda, in school and at home. Now, with the fewest responsibilities you’ll ever have in your life, you’ve got the chance to follow an agenda of your own. Seize the day.

2. It’s all about communication

Finding a mentor is all about learning and mastering effective communication. Effective communication is all about giving before you ask: ‘give first, ask later’. At every point in your communication with your prospective mentor, find ways to offer value first. This might be offering insightful comments on their social media, or helpful replies to their blog broadcasts. When you’ve got something to offer, your prospective mentors will be much more receptive to offering something to you.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

3. Get skilled

To have something to offer, you first need to develop a marketable skill. Developing a skill doesn’t mean become an expert right way. You just need to become really good at a few things. How? You can teach yourself an array of marketable skills online or through books, and then create an inexpensive online portfolio to put them on display.

4. Work for Free

This is the toughest for people to accept, but finding a good mentor means offering something in return. And there isn’t anything better than offering a useful skill for free. This drastically lowers the barrier to entry and places you in a position to impress. If working for free seems too crazy, just think about it, you’ve been doing free work for years in school. A few more months in return for a great payoff doesn’t seem to bad in comparison.

5. Make it easy for them

Don’t approach someone asking them “how can I help?”. This has the counter-intuitive effect of placing the burden on your prospective mentor to figure out what work to give you. Instead, do your research and figure out how you can specifically add value to your mentor’s life or business, and pitch that service to them. It might be editing their YouTube videos, sending them a content marketing strategy or creating an infographic based on their blog content.

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” – Warren Buffett

6. Treat people like people

Resist the urge to place your mentors on a pedestal. Don’t view your mentor as a means to an end. Treat them like a person with whom you creating a lasting friendship. After all, these kinds of connections are the most valuable and long-lasting.

Here’s one more important piece: Make sure you maintain the relationship with your mentor even after you’ve moved on. A mentorship isn’t like an internship that you do over the summer and forget about. A mentorship is first and foremost a relationship, and it’s up to you to make sure that relationship keeps going. Make sure that you’re always giving back to your mentor whenever possible, and you’ll reap the rewards for a long time to come.

How did you land your dream mentor? Leave your experiences below!

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10 Tips to Deal With Negativity While Starting a Business

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There are ups and downs in business but fearing failures can stop you from taking your first step towards excellence. With pandemic on tow, aspiring entrepreneurs feel a little stuck when ideating a business prospect. Here, we give you some actionable tips to deal with negativity while starting a business, even during situations like a pandemic. We also took the liberty to throw in some amazing book recommendations that’ll help you enjoy the process of being positive and achieving your business goals.

10 Tips to deal with negativity while starting a business in a pandemic

1. Get a mentor

The first thing to do as a new business owner is to find the right kind of mentor. That person could be someone in your industry or in general who you look up to. The guidance must be apt for your business, and it should be a mutual responsibility of sharing knowledge. 

2. Two big R’s – Routine and Refresh

Made a mess of something? Try to reboot the situation and make it work. Take a break once in a while and refresh yourself if you feel stuck or your ideas feel mundane. Plan a routine and stick to them – both personal and professional. Having a routine can increase productivity and engage in more activities apart from your pre-planned schedule. 

3. Inculcate problem-solving mentality

Do not panic once you are thrown a problem. Arrange a meeting with the respective party, listen to both sides of the stories, and make a decision that is more realistic and feasible. 

4. Hire half and half

Whenever you hire someone for your business. Make sure that half of the people contradict your ideas, and the other half have the same mindset as yours. The people who contradict can bring in more valuable points and their perspective might take the discussion to a whole new level.  Don’t take too much time finding the perfect one. Hire an apt person who can have the right attitude. 

5. Network, Network, and Network

Find like-minded people and mingle with them. Be more sportive in the learning process. Listen more and talk less – if you are a beginner. You can only be a constructive person who gives input to someone if you have listened to everyone’s point of view. If you feel down, your network might have something to uplift your mood and change your perspective on something. 

“Negativity, in general, is one of the things that holds people back, and you have to see what’s holding you back to get away from it.” – Lucy Dacus

6. Tech-savvy personnel

Learn a thing or two about the latest technology that you implement in your organization. Since the world revolves around technology, make sure your administrative authority knows as well.  

7. Don’t schedule a meeting, that could have been an email

Yes! I said it. Having unnecessary meetings will weaken the purpose of having a constructive discussion. Having back-to-back meetings drains the team members and yourself too. Always have a 10 to 15 minutes break between each meeting to feel refreshed and give your 100%. 

8. Have a pros and cons list

Always, I mean always have a pros and cons list. Let’s say one of your team members pitch an idea to improve the marketing strategies starting next month. Jot down the pros and cons before approving or rejecting it point-blank. It’s a systematic way of making a decision. 

9. Track your finances

Even if you have a team of accountants and auditors, make sure that you are present (both mentally and physically) – learn if you are not aware of it. Trusting your employees is a must, but not overseeing the records is a mistake that should be avoided. 

10. Remember your “why?”

At some point in your hectic schedule or not having ME time can get to you. During those tough times – ask yourself – “Why am I doing this?”. If you can answer this question with a valid explanation, you’ll feel energized. Because “A purpose drives you”. 

5 Best books to read to be more positive as an entrepreneur

Reading always puts me into perspective. Therefore, I took some liberty to give a sample of positivity and determination through words. 

These are the 5 books that’ll guide you to be a more positive and successful entrepreneur. 

  1. Attitude is everything by Jeff Keller – The decisions you make, the routine you set for yourself, and the affirmations you say to yourself every day are going to make a huge difference. If you feel tired, hopeless, and quitting – then this book is for you to boost you up!
  2. Mindset: The new psychology of success by Carol Dweck – You do what you think. In this book, the author talks about two mindsets: The growth mindset and the fixed mindset and what they’ll do to you respectively. She helps you recognize your mindset and change it for the better. 
  3. Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen – This book is about technology uprisings all over the world and businesses that adopted and implemented technology in their firm. The author teaches you that just because your competitors and others are adopting something into their businesses doesn’t mean that you have to as well. Make an informed decision. 
  4. As A Man Thinketh by James Allen – This book specifically is about the power of thought and how it shapes your life into a more meaningful and fulfilling one.
  5. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle – The author talks about how people always keep thinking about what the future holds but then forget to live and enjoy the present. And also helps us understand how to make decisions more efficiently based on the present. 

Working towards inner balance requires consistency and perseverance. So does hard and smart work. Being negative is a part of our lives. It’s important to channel it appropriately and make things happen despite the roller coaster ride that is our lives. Hope you overcome your fears and negativity to shine bigger and brighter. Cheers! 

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Defining Your Own Success: A Step by Step Guide

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Everyone wants success in their lives, but success can be defined in so many different ways that it can sometimes seem daunting. In this blog post, you will learn how to make success easier for yourself by defining what success means to you. (more…)

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5 Characteristics of Athletes You Need for Business Success

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Michigan State basketball coach, Tom Izzo, wrote “Players play. Tough players win.” I would add to that, “It’s tough to win.”I think if you, as a leader, are looking to build an organization that is successful – that wins – you first have to accept that it will be tough. There are no shortcuts to success. In my 44 years of coaching, I was fortunate to coach a lot of tough players. I believe the toughness I have seen in athletes corresponds well to any organization or business. (more…)

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5 Changes in Your Habits That Will Help You Thrive

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We’ve all found ourselves at the bottom at least once in our lives. We thought that everything’s ruined and there’s no going back. The truth is – there’s always going back. Moreover, it takes one to fall many times and feel like everything’s ruined to succeed in life. (more…)

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