So, you don’t have any money and you want to have a millionaire take you under his wing for the next year or so and show you how to get rich for free, right?
Don’t laugh too hard. This is the exact discussion (argument) going on right now in a heated thread at my favorite web marketing forum.
And, it shouldn’t be too surprising either with the new influx of people just getting started with trying to make their first buck online. Every other thread on the forum seems to be related to “How do I get started online?” or “How can I make $2,000 a month on the Internet?” and my favorite, “What to do if you’re desperate!”
Most of these people seeking mentors, as they say in the threads, are either laid off from their jobs or fear losing their jobs or can’t find a job. So, they turn to the web of course.
That’s all fine as I encourage everyone to get involved online, even part-time, while you DO have a job. There is plenty of money to be made on the Internet for all. What makes me nervous is the big push for people to find web marketing mentors…and the definitions people use (mentoring, coaching) to mask the actual help they’re really needing (training, implementation).
On this blog post, I’d like to offer some replies to some of those questions, claims and realities related to the concept of web marketing mentoring in case you’ve been wondering some of the same things. It will also serve as a place to send people who send emails to me asking me for mentorship as they get started online.
First, what is a mentor and why would you want one in the first place?
Web Marketing Mentor: Marty’s Official Definition
Dictionary.com provides the definition for mentor as “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.”
Allow me to broaden that definition and yet make it more specific to a web marketing mentor, which is someone that:
- You want to become more like, in actions, visions, work ethic, and results
- Has done exactly what you want to do
- Is willing and interested in allowing you in on their secrets and strategies
- Provides higher-level thought and brainstorming rather than one-on-one training to complete tasks
- Meets with you on occasion in person or by phone when they are available
- Is extremely skilled at a very few select pieces of the process you will need to be successful but has no business advising you on the parts they’re not sure about
- Does NOT ask for pay because they are offering their time to you as a way of giving back for others that have mentored them
If you are paying someone to guide you through a process, you have a coach, not a mentor. If you are looking for more frequent and scheduled weekly communication with a sort of guidance counselor, you’re really looking for a coach.
Here’s a blog post I wrote a while ago that has had a pretty fair amount of attention in terms of visitation, search engine positioning, and comments related to the topic: Why Internet Marketing Coaching Doesn’t Work.
So, to stay with the theme, let me say first that I’m a HUGE fan of mentoring. I have had no less than 20 mentors in my life so far and have mentored countless people to become better public speakers, trainers and Internet lead generators and sales generators. But, not all mentors are success stories waiting to happen either.
Here are specific reasons when mentoring doesn’t help at all—and can in fact do serious damage to your business:
1) When the Web Marketing Mentor Has No Mentoring Experience
This one is probably the biggest of them all, so I’m featuring it first. Many mentors have no idea exactly “how” to mentor. They yell at their mentees, making the mentee fearful of making contact in the future. Inexperienced mentors belittle their mentees, making them feel inferior. They schedule appointments over your because there’s always something else that has a higher priority than YOU! When you do have your meetings or conversations, they answer their cell phone, they look at their watch, they combine appointments to be before yours and after so that they maximize their time. This is NO WAY to mentor a person! But, it happens a lot. I’ve been on the receiving end of horrible mentorship and have tried hard to be the opposite in those I have mentored over the years.
2) When the Web Marketing Mentor is Plumb Broke!
Some of the greatest web marketers are horrible business people. Thank goodness they have all those new product launches because they can get their debt paid off faster that way! What you see when you meet a mentor face-to-face or when they’re on stage at some big conference event could be a very different person if you were to follow him or her around as a fly on the wall for a few days.
Remember, this is a person you want to become more like in habits, actions and results, right? Be careful. Too many so-called mentors are happy and willing to meet with you because they have plenty of time on their hands or because they’re trying to build back their own confidence to get back on their feet again. What better way than to have an understudy oo-ing and ah-ing at every suggestion? Remember, just like “you are what you eat,” well, you become the very people you hang around too.
3) When the Web Marketing Mentor Loses Interest
Web marketers are a flighty bunch. I can say that in confidence as I’m on of ’em. We race through a project, get it out there to sell and we’re on to the next hot item to roll out. It’s how our minds work. Belabor us in a single project too long and we eventually get bored and look for ways to get out. Since a real web marketing mentor would never accept payment, they quickly start to wonder “what’s really in it for them?” and look for ways to get out. You MUST look for ways to incentivize your mentor if you go the mentoring route.
4) When the Web Marketing Mentor is Not Attentive
Working with a mentor is the non-physical equivalent of a patient/therapist relationship. There will be parts of you that will be revealed to your mentor that NO ONE else in the world will ever hear about, even your spouse! If your chosen mentor has a bad bedside manner, fails to take your personal, financial or professional challenges seriously, your relationship will not last very long. Not only does your mentor need to be skilled in the area of expertise you were seeking guidance for, the person needs to be a bit of a psychologist too by listening intently and offering supportive and inspiring motivation to get you through the obstacles that will undoubtedly present themselves during your web marketing campaign.
5) When the Web Marketing Mentor Does Not Share Your Thought Pattern
Do you think visually with images and pictures? Or are you more of a step-by-step sequential thinker? This is a very important determination to make for yourself and a question to ask your mentor. Why? Because you must ally yourself with a mentor that thinks the same way as you do or you will never have a chance of accomplishing the goals and tasks that your plans require. It’s like trying to fit an elephant through the front door or your house. It just doesn’t work.
6) When the Web Marketing Mentor Chooses Pride Over Promise
Some mentors get pretty full of themselves. They have a need to project to their mentee that they know something about everything when they really are only truly well skilled in a few core strategies. I’ve been a full-time business owner for more than 18 years now and I still humbly claim to be really really good at only two things (gaining trust and selling), while I continue to improve at the other 150 things I need to become more skilled at to grow my business.
The big problem comes into play with this one when mentors start to improvise to cover up what they don’t know. They’ll tell their mentee that a strategy should be implemented, but because the mentor has never performed that strategy, they will give poor advice for how those tasks should be executed. Mistakes like these to save one’s pride can destroy your business! Be very careful that the mentor you choose does not let anything build their pride to the point of costing you wasted money, effort and time.
7) When the Web Marketing Mentor Steals Your Idea!
Don’t think this happens? Think again! Web marketers are always looking for what’s hot, what people are buying, the latest and greatest affiliate program. Remember earlier how I said you MUST figure out a way to motivate your mentor to stick with your project for more than a few weeks. I should add on to that statement “so that they don’t steal your idea too!” Have your mentor sign a non-disclosure and non-compete document before you engage. If he won’t do it, find another mentor!
What’s the Real Web Marketing Mentor Solution?
You’re probably wondering by now how a mentor could EVER work. Well, when it comes to the web marketing world, a true high quality web marketing mentor is very difficult to find. I can tell you now that I have little interest in serving the role as a pro bono web marketing mentor. I am much more effective toward helping you get the results you’re looking for if you allow me to get more involved with your project. My focus is working with people that consider their business as a “real business” backed by an actual budget for marketing.
If you DO consider yourself in that category, maybe it’s time for something new. You might look into what I call my Live Buddy Program.
If not, that’s fine too. Hopefully these 7 things will help you make some decisions in your web marketing mentor search.