I am a strong believer that you should always be both a student and a mentor.
As an entrepreneur, you learn new tips and tricks in your niche on a daily basis. Eventually, the time will come when you can help out someone in the same situation you were starting out.
If you were to make a list, you might find that the pros of becoming a mentor far outweigh the cons. Actually, let's go ahead and do that.
Here are three perks of being a mentor, followed by three pros of being a student (and there's no reason you can't do both at the same time):
Perks of Being a Mentor
1. Giving Back
Do you remember when you were bright-eyed and bushy tailed, ready to take on the world if only you knew how?
Sharing the lessons you've learned along the way can be a fantastic way to give back. You'll be helping a budding entrepreneur along their journey, and bettering the business world by educating others.
Another perk of being a mentor is expanding your list of connections in the business world. Let's be honest: We all need more people on our side. Chances are, your protege will probably become a kick-ass younger version of yourself.
2. Become a better manager
Managerial skills are often learned through trial and error, and learning how to delegate tasks can be especially difficult.
Fine-tune your skills by budgeting time to focus on your student, and giving them your undivided attention during those times. Setting high (yet attainable) standards for them to meet will build their self confidence as an entrepreneur.
3. Keep up on the latest trends
The good thing about discussing business with someone who is "fresh-faced" is keeping up with the latest trends.
You may have a wealth of knowledge in a specific area, but it's nearly impossible to keep up with the ever-changing business world on a daily basis. There's always a new app or program to explore, and perhaps your mentee will be able to offer some insight into these areas.
While many of us feel as though we are the leading authority in our field, the key to outpacing your competition is to always be learning. Soak up as much information as possible, and your business won't ever go stale.
Pros of Being a Mentee
1. Self confidence
Nothing boosts your ego like advice from a professional in your field. It's like having a cheat sheet in your back pocket, with the answers to any question you might have.
Learning from the best gives you an advantage over the competition, and with that comes a healthy dose of self confidence.
2. Learn to take positive feedback
Sometimes it can be tough hearing feedback on your hard work, but learning how to take constructive criticism will only benefit you in the end.
Take it from me: You're not doing everything correctly all of the time, and having an outsider's point of view on a project can be the difference between making it and breaking it.
3. Build contacts
Think of taking on a mentor as a privilege. If someone is willing to take time out of their chaotic schedule to build you personally and professionally, you have to respect that.
One of the great parts of being in this type of relationship is the connections made in the process. Your mentor will want nothing more than to see you succeed, and they may introduce you to key players along the road. Consider every introduction as a possible business associate, and tend to those relationships accordingly.
Now, it's time for the hard part: Create a list of your dream mentors. Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to learn as much as possible. You never know--even the person most out-of-reach may consider mentoring you one day.