I’ve been doing a few webinars helping people starting a business nail down how their vision exists in their heads and the steps needed to translate that into reality, the current podcast episode highlights the two points that kept coming up during our discussions: First, reworking your idea to produce a product; and second how a mentor can help you begin to build out the thing you’ve imagined into a successful business.

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Becoming an entrepreneur is something that can be taught but in all fairness some people have an advantage in that they were born with a self- starter mindset. What if you weren’t? That means you’re going to have to take some time and consider what it is that brought you to wanting to start a business? You have to seriously look at your skill-set to get a sense of the things you can do that are potentially marketable. Often these may not be the skills you thought were going to be important or trained for. I’ll use Martha Stewart as an example. She graduated college with majors in History and Architecture and soon after married a lawyer that required her to entertain members of his firm. Despite the formal degrees, her skills rested in the cooking and decorating that were required in her life as the wife of someone on the rise. Her catering business thus began in the basement of her home, and the rest as they say is history.

I used her as an example to say that often you take the usual road and forget you have skills that may come naturally that have real value if you simply recognize and work at them. Very often that understanding requires convincing not only others but yourself.

I firmly believe that finding a mentor is much like looking for a soulmate. Many have the idea that in the grand scheme of things is the one who will fulfill all your needs and understand you completely. It is possible to find someone who fits a good deal of your requirements to have a happy life; however, expecting someone to understand everything about you is asking for the near impossible because getting to this sweet spot requires a lot of work for just one person. That is where friends come in because they fill in where the one may be lacking. In that same way you have to approach finding a mentor as maybe one main person with several others providing additional input in different areas as you are trying to get your venture off the ground.

motivation 1That means you may need different views and ideas to refine your vision for your business. By that I mean you may want to search out someone for the steps to put together the foundation of what will be your plan. Next may come help in figuring out who the people are that need what you have to offer. Then, you may want advice in getting over the hurdles of taking the action steps required to grow your business. And finally, there is the advice that will keep your morale up on those days when you question everything.

I mention needing several mentors because there is this desire to look for solutions in a box. “I’ll follow this expert and poof I’ll have a plan” that much like the soulmate will answer every question and anticipate every problem. Here too you are setting yourself up for disappointment. The upside of all this is that we live in an age when mentors are all around you either through using social media or reading books, but no one person’s experiences will exactly fit yours. You can franchise your own development only up to a point. Social media platforms like blogs, blab, You Tube, Twitter, as well as the person standing right next to you can open you up to the various mentors you’re going to need at different stages. Take advantage of their counsel because “in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” However, just as with the regular mentor as teacher down the hall it falls to you to adapt the information you receive to your particular situation and only you know how to do that. Accept that you will make mistakes but also will learn along the way. Ask questions wherever you can, that is the benefit social media allows you to access.

Each contact can help you refine your process. Just keep in mind there is only one you in the universe but there are often parallel lives that can help you better understand yours and several people might be required based on the twists and turns on parts of your journey. This is important because, back to that realizing your skills part, only you will know if the destination you finally reach is the one you wanted.