Successful Startups aren’t born in a vacuum. They are part of an ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, suppliers, and consumers. Surviving in this environment can be a challenge. But it is one that your fellow entrepreneurs have already faced successfully. Can you benefit from their experiences? Yes, you can! Below, we will discuss how you can do so through job shadowing, mentorship, reading, listening, and connecting online.
Shadow a Peer
Job shadowing is a great way to learn from a professional – even if you’re striving to do something that’s never been done before as an entrepreneur. Why? Because other entrepreneurs, even in other industries, have faced the same challenges you will face in running a startup.
How do entrepreneurs handle the fast-paced lifestyle and ever-present demands of running a startup? What do they do to manage stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle? How do they cultivate the company culture that they desire? What do they do when faced with sudden disruptions or economic upsets?
You can learn all of this while shadowing an entrepreneurial peer. How do you unlock a job shadowing opportunity? Networking is important. Attend industry events and get to know people. Keep in touch with them on LinkedIn. Then don’t be afraid to ask to tag along for a day.
Find a Mentor
A trusted mentor can deliver valuable insights and advice based on their years of experience. They can point you in the right direction, especially when you have big decisions to make. They can introduce you to other professionals and expand your network.
How do you get a mentor? Some mentorship experiences can be bought. You may pay to attend a seminar or a mentorship retreat. But often, all you have to do is ask. Reach out to someone you admire. Ask for their input or questions about a specific challenge you are facing. Many professionals are happy to share their hard-won wisdom with the next generation.
Mastermind groups are becoming increasingly popular. In a mastermind group, like-minded entrepreneurs meet regularly—sometimes in person, but often online—to share new ideas, update one another on their progress, and ask for advice in facing challenges.
Hit the Books (or audiobooks)
Forbes reports that “lifelong learning is the key to entrepreneurial success.” Never underestimate the value of your investment—whether time or monetary—in continuing your education.
Many entrepreneurs reach out for post-graduate degrees or attend training seminars or other events in order to continue their education. Learning from peer wisdom doesn’t always involve in-person interactions or the cost of college courses. Many entrepreneurs have written books, appeared on podcasts, or posted YouTube videos.
They are interviewed in business-focused journals such as Inc. magazine or Fast Company. Some appear at high-profile events, such as industry conferences or the TED Talks stage. These resources are available online, at your fingertips, and free of charge.
Set aside a few minutes each day to read something beneficial. Reading is a great way to ease into your work for the day. If you don’t like to read, try listening instead.
One of the great things about listening to a recording of a peer or mentor is that you can do it on your own time. You can listen to a podcast or an audiobook, for example, while exercising, cleaning, or driving. In this way, you can fit even more positive peer pressure into your day.
Click to Follow
Above, we talked about connecting with peers on LinkedIn. Many entrepreneurs are also frequent posters on other social media sites. For example, serial entrepreneur John Guertin posts almost daily on Instagram. His raw, no-nonsense motivational messages resonate with an entrepreneurial audience. And, he has invited viewers to reach out to him for mentorship opportunities.
Following your favorite fellow entrepreneurs can give you valuable insights into the state of the business world as well as the motivation to keep pushing and moving forward. On LinkedIn, X, and elsewhere, you can gain insights into the minds of some of the world’s top entrepreneurs, including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk.
Above, we’ve talked about various means of networking, such as attending events or connecting only. But the value of networking cannot be stressed enough. It helps you build your brand, increase visibility, and attract attention. And some of that attention will come from peers who will help you succeed.
Whatever challenges you’re facing as an entrepreneur, you can be certain that someone, somewhere has successfully overcome the same challenges. Instead of learning everything the hard way, you can save time and effort by learning from other entrepreneurs.
Ask to shadow them or be mentored by them. Keep educating yourself. Pick up a book or listen to a podcast. Connect with them on social media. These are things that you can do today to jumpstart your entrepreneurial journey.