So, Mr. (or Ms.) Newbie, you want to find a real estate mentor? You have zero track record. No deals. No connections. Nothing to show. So why should someone with years of experience invest their time in you? That is the million-dollar question—and one you need to answer in order to obtain a solid mentor.
Most successful people in this world are willing to give back and help the young, motivated kid with nothing but a great attitude to offer. Unfortunately, the mentor to mentee ratio is vastly skewed in favor of the mentee. As a mentee, how do you make yourself stand out? How do you convince someone that you are worth their time?
That’s what this article is about. It is for the highly motivated newbie who is in the market for a high-quality mentor. If you follow these steps, I can almost guarantee that a mentor will show up in your life whom you can model yourself after and ask questions. As you read through this, the first step is crucial. After the first step, there is no order of importance.
As with anything, finding the right mentor takes take time and consistency. However, the more of these steps you act on, the higher the probability is of you finding a suitable mentor in a shorter amount of time.
Here are my 7 tips to finding yourself the right mentor.
Tips to Finding a Mentor
1. Find your passion and work in that field.
The first step is to find your passion and find a job in that field. Take a pay cut. Whatever it takes. Just do it! The reason? In most cases, the people you work with are the people you spend the most waking time with on a weekly basis. Your coworkers will likely have similar goals as you, but given that you are just starting out, there is a high chance that they are a little closer to those goals than you are. Perhaps they are exactly where you want to be in the next couple of years.
You are around them so much that seeing what they are doing, asking questions, following their steps, and heeding their advice is completely natural. This leads us to the next step.
2. Look for someone who is 3-7 years older than you.
When people think of mentors, they typically think of some older guy who has been through the ringer. They have seen both the booms and the busts and know how to react in each situation. Having an older mentor certainly is not a bad thing. However, it may not be the best thing.
Having a mentor closer to your age may mean they can relate much more to the day-to-day activities you need to tackle to achieve your goals. They were in your position perhaps only 2-3 years ago rather than 20-30 years ago. Times change in 20-30 years. The strategy that your older mentor took to achieve his or her goals will probably not work for you.
3. Realize you can have more than one mentor.
Don’t feel like you are “cheating” on your mentor. You can have one who is in your generation AND one who is much older.
You will not be forced to walk around with a giant “A” on your forehead, I promise.
In fact, I think it is best to seek out both a younger and older person. You can talk to the younger person more regularly, relate to them, and take advice from them. The older person will help you look at the bigger picture, and you’ll be able to tap into their wisdom on an ongoing basis.
4. When you find that person, take their advice and let them know it.
It is human nature to want to help others. When you act on something your mentor says, let them know! Let them know you took their advice, and let them know the result. If it’s working as they explained, great! If you are having problems, they will likely advise on how to solve those problems.
People love to hear that they have been an influence on someone else. Don’t hesitate to give them credit. Even if they don’t show it, deep down, it makes them feel good. When they realize that you are grateful for the advice they have given, it makes them more likely to continue providing valuable advice.
5. Give back.
All relationships (including mentorships) are two-way streets. You need to give just as much as you receive if you want it to last. After you complete step number one, there is a high probability that your mentor will be at your work. He or she may be your boss or your boss’s boss.
If this is the case, you are in a great position to help them out. In addition to the duties on your job description, your mission is to make their life easier. If you find yourself idle at any point, ask them if you can help with anything. Many times they will say no, but the gesture goes a very long way. Occasionally, when they do need something, do it and they will be very grateful that you are taking care of it.
6. Don’t give up.
Nothing in life worth having is easy. So keep fighting! Don’t give up! You are going to run into some trouble. There will be bumps in the road. One of the biggest reasons to find a great mentor is so that they can guide you through these situations.
However, don’t just go to him or her and ask, “How do you solve this?” The right method would be to think of a solution yourself and ask your mentor for their opinion on the situation. That way, you can show them that you have thought through the problem and have a reasonable solution. There may be some kinks in your solution that they can help sort out. But do not just go to them for blanket advice.
Related: What I’ve Learned (Good and Bad) From the Various Mentors of My Career
7. Never specifically ask them to become your mentor.
Who is your best friend? Did you go up to him or her on the street and say, “Hey, do you want to be my best friend?” Of course not! You become best friends after years and years of good times, bad times, fun times, and dull times. When it comes time to admitting to someone that you are their best friend, it typically means a lot to the other person.
A mentorship is no different. It starts as simply you interacting with a person who has already accomplished what you are seeking to achieve. As you progress towards achieving your goals, you ask more and more questions, take their advice, and soon enough you have a “mentor.” There’s nothing official about having a mentor. It is just about having someone to go to with questions you may have.
Finding a mentor is not difficult. As long as you complete step number one (work someplace that you are passionate about), you will likely find one in your work place. After you do this, all the other things will easily fall into place.
Remember, a true mentor is nothing official. You don’t have to pay. It’s a genuine relationship with someone who is ahead of where you are and whom you can ask questions or model after. You likely already have mentors.
For example, your personal trainer is your “fitness mentor.” They are likely ahead of you in terms of your fitness goals. While they are there to show you new exercises, as your relationship grows, they can also teach you certain mindsets and how they got to the physical condition they are in.
Where are you in your process of finding a mentor? If you already have one, what advice would you give to newbies?
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.