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In July of 2012 I became a solopreneur. In September of that same year, this site was officially launched. I was nervous and uncertain, but also excited and optimistic. I knew it was the beginning of something, but I wasn’t quite sure what.
At the very inception of this journey, my good friend Jason told me about a coach he had recently hired. Jason was enthusiastic about his coach and the results he’d gotten already.
I understood what traditional consulting was, but I didn’t know there were so many people offering personal consulting services to people at an individual level. Well, there are many of them, and the consulting/coaching industry is a massive one. Some people have formed six (and even more rarely) and seven-figure businesses by offering their services and expertise.
This realization left me with some big questions:
Who are these people and what makes them experts? Why should I hire one? When should I hire one? Who should I hire? How much should I expect to pay? And so on…
Well, I did hire one. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about this business. In fact, I now have my own Freedom Lifestyle mentoring program. My program offers more of a consultative and strategic approach to solopreneurship, working more effectively, and having more fulfillment.
Bottom line: finding (and hiring) a mentor, coach, or consultant is a smart decision. It’s an investment in yourself you will not regret.
Now let’s break down each of these questions, and give you everything you need to make an informed, educated decision.
Why You Should Find (and Hire) a Mentor/Consultant/Coach
Success leaves clues. Take advice from people that are already doing (or have done) what you want to do, not those who aren’t where you want to be.
A caveat: There are no shortcuts. However, a mentor can help you make better decisions and avoid unnecessary defeats. A mentor can also help you identify (and make sense of) what you already know, and give you the leverage to take action on the most important pieces.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Whatever you’re trying to do, it’s probably already been done before.
A mentor, especially one that you hire, is someone who will give you the unfiltered, unbiased advice you need most. A mentor is someone who has the experience, or expertise, or skills that you wish to acquire.
Whatever it is you’re looking to do, there’s someone out there who can teach it to you directly. Hire a mentor. Get a consultant. Find a coach.
If you think you can do it yourself, you might be right. Sure, eventually, you may get there. But why wouldn’t you want to know the exact recipe, steps, and mindset necessary to ensure your success? This information is invaluable and priceless.
When to Hire Someone
I believe there are two critical and ideal points at which to hire a mentor: at the beginning or at a plateau. I hired a coach at the beginning of my journey, and it gave me the focus and mindset I needed to succeed. I did make a naive mistake though, one I’ll touch on below.
Everyone hits a point where they eventually plateau. They’ve done everything they can with the knowledge and skills they already have. But to become great, you should find out what the champions know that you don’t — that’s when you get a mentor. Find the person who is getting results where/when no one else is.
Who’s the Right Person?
If you’re trying to lose weight or get fit, would you hire an overweight trainer? If you’re looking to solve some major life issues, would you hire an inexperienced life coach? If you’re trying to become successful in online business, would you hire a mentor that didn’t have an online business?
Clearly, you get the point. The person you hire should be a match for the solution you desire. You don’t want to hire someone for the sake of hiring someone.
Note: Don’t be the person who asks for time and expertise for nothing. Plan on paying for this person’s time. If you have the right person in mind, but they don’t have a formal mentoring program, make sure you offer to pay them.
When I decided to get a coach, I just jumped in. I assumed whatever was working for my friend Jason would for me too. I signed up for a free consultation with the company, and was assigned a coach immediately. My first call with my new coach was…awkward, to say the least.
We weren’t a good match, and I felt like I had to carry the conversation. At one point I didn’t say anything, and neither did she. “Hello, are you there?” I said. She replied, “Yes, I’m just giving you space.” More awkwardness. Anyway, I eventually found Colby, and all was gravy.
My point is this: Find the person that’s right for you. Be careful about signing up with generic companies that offer “coaching for everyone”. Why not decide on your own and pick exactly who you want to work with? I think that’s more of a win-win for everyone.
Should You Pay Your Mentor?
Do you always have to pay? Not necessarily. But you should always offer. The mentor you identify as right for you may not have a formal program, but you should still respect their time. Show you’re earnest by offering $100 upfront for a brief conversation. Most of the time they’ll be flattered and may even decline.
A professional mentor, coach, or consultant will already have fixed fees though. You’ll find that some will charge as little as $500 a month, while others will charge even $10,000 or more. Keep in mind: A consultant’s fee is not always directly proportional to their ability to generate results.
How so? Well, some charge too little and are afraid to ask for more. Others have been taught how to sell expertise by experts who teach how to sell expertise. Did your head just spin? I thought so.
Unfortunately, if you want to hire someone, you have to play by their rules. Attaching a dollar value to the amount of time you’re receiving isn’t going to help you. It’s about the results this person can provide, and that has a ripple effect across your life and/or business.
There isn’t always a way to measure this, so you’ll have to be confident with your decision and set clear expectations of what success means to you.
Finding and/or hiring a mentor is an investment. Investments are anything you can consider assets. There are two forms of assets, internal (e.g. your knowledge), and external (e.g. appreciating assets like real estate or investing in companies).
Investing in information that helps you grow and get results is the best type of investment you can make. If the time is right, you have clear expectations/goals, and you’ve identified a solid candidate — you should look into hiring them.
Have you ever worked with a consultant, mentor, or coach? How was it? If not, is it something you’d consider now?
Photo credit: Yoda-Shrek — CC license