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Building a Network & Support System

In business and in life, a strong support system is essential in growth. As we navigate choices and make decisions as entrepreneurs, having access to a trusted advisor or a mentorship group helps us build significant relationships with the right people: those that allow us to thrive, overcome challenges, and push us towards success. We are proof of it: “I have a ton of people in my life, not only advisory boards but also personal relationships with entrepreneurs, who I rely on to coach me through certain situations,” shares Celebree School CEO Richard Huffman.

Forming and establishing this network of support can happen in so many ways, whether organically or through expanding your network and eventually finding connections that resonate with your values and goals and nurture your potential. It can start with your own personal relationships, such as seeking your family and friends’ advice, to gradually exploring various industries to find your mentor. While it can be daunting at first, surrounding yourself with a diverse group of mentors means greater opportunities to learn—because ultimately, being an entrepreneur is a continuous learning process.

Finding a mentor

First, it’s important to know how a mentor can help you. This way, you can set your priorities and outline an actionable plan to go through. Be proactive in your search: begin with your existing network first. You may also consider looking at workshops, seminars, conferences, and networking events, as well as maximizing available resources online (including remote sessions) to diversify your insight as you expand your network. Another option is reach out to people who you want to directly learn from. “You’ll be amazed at the amount of people and entrepreneurs who are willing to help others start their own business and make sure they are successful,” our CEO notes. 

Mentorship is a valuable investment in your career, which rests mainly on rapport and mutual trust between the mentor and mentee. One of its unique and rewarding aspects is how you can fit both roles as you gain experience and develop mastery of your work. A mentor is not just a coach or an advisor—they can also be an assessor, information provider, referral agent, guide, and developer. As a mentee, it’s essential to take initiative, be inquisitive, collaborative, creative, communicative, adaptive, and open to criticism and change. 

It’s also important to remember that there should be value and clear boundaries set for both parties in the mentor-mentee relationship. Transparency is crucial. Sometimes, advice may not be a good fit with your plans or goals, and you should be able to openly and respectfully discuss any possible compromises in order to reach your desired result. 

The collective power of mastermind groups

As a defined concept, mastermind groups have been around since 1925, which its creator Napoleon Hill describes in his book Think and Grow Rich as, “a friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.” In order to be successful, the group must “maintain perfect harmony between yourself and every member… the master mind principle cannot obtain where perfect harmony does not prevail.” These groups often meet on an agreed-upon schedule, much like individual mentorship arrangements.

Specifically, mastermind groups complement individual mentorship in a way that it broadens your thinking through the collective expertise and experience of a group in a peer-to-peer manner. Learning from each other is beneficial to everyone involved: whether it’s brainstorming strategies or developing solutions. Success, according to Hill, can be achieved through the principle of “borrowing and using the education, the experience, the influence, and perhaps the capital of other people in carrying out your own plans in life.” 

Moreover, being a part of one helps us stay in focus and also gives us varied perspectives before making a decision. Typically, members come from different niches or industries so as to avoid conflicts of interests and actively contribute to each other’s success.

Mastermind groups offer a sense of community and allow you to give back, too. For our CEO, it’s also about paying it forward. “There’s a lot of great ideas of those who have already gone through what you’re about to go through and can make that journey a lot smoother for you… I know I get calls all the time and never turn down anybody who requests 10 minutes of my time. It’s so rewarding and gratifying when I get off the phone and realize the impact that I had on that person. So find yourself a mentor, find yourself a mastermind group and get involved as soon as possible.”

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