The Fast Lane: Who’s your mentor?

The Fast Lane: Who’s your mentor?

Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely old life. 

Which is why having a mentor can be a real source of support as well as make the difference between failure and success. 

The most obvious way to go about getting a mentor is to pick a person you’d like to be your mentor, and figure out the best way to get to him or her.

Whether or not you get there, you may find there are people along the way who are even more helpful than the hero you have in mind.

At last week’s Smart50 awards, Small Business Minister Bruce Billson led a panel discussion in which some top entrepreneurs suggested some other mentoring solutions. 

Andrea Culligan, founder of Harteffect and Unigrad, says she has found mentors through her membership of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO).

EO enables Culligan to connect with fellow entrepreneurs and receive advice from them on challenges in her business. 

Culligan says she has also received “daily mentorship” by being surrounded by “incredible women” like Naomi Simson and Susan Wu. 

But Freelancer founder Matt Barrie told the audience there’s no need for a real life mentor in 2014 when “the whole wealth of knowledge is online”.

Barrie recommends entrepreneurs get online to access Peter Thiel’s “fantastic course for startups at Stanford”. 

He also suggests seeking out online “pearls of wisdom” from Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz of Horowitz Andreessen and Paul Graham of Y Combinator.

“It’s all out there and you just have to look,” he says. 

So whether you do it the old school way, through an organisation or online – mentors are out there.

If you don’t ask, the answer is always going to be no.

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