“How can I find a mentor?”
It seems like every would-be entrepreneur, whether in real estate or elsewhere—is looking for a “mentor”—and with good reason. Mentors can be incredible assets in building businesses and wealth—or simply in pursuing excellence in something that inspires passion. Mentors are valuable resources who can provide incredible insights into very specific areas of business and personal life.
On the other hand, mentors can be seen as advisors who will do a lot of hand-holding through all the possible challenges on the journey to success. Those folks aren’t looking for mentors; they’re looking for parents.
What is a mentor?
“Mentor” is a broadly used term. They can be anything from coaches or bosses with whom you interact for eight to ten hours per day to a friend whose counsel you seek a few times per week to a successful person you meet with just a handful of times for specific advice.
As with any relationship, working with a real estate mentor requires a give and take from both sides. Sometimes that means being attentive and grateful. In other situations, it could mean a dedicated effort and long-term commitment to helping your mentor achieve their higher objectives.
A real estate mentor is not someone who I only contact when I need something. I don’t go to my mentors with small, trivial problems or to discuss my bad day. My mentors aren’t there to help me with vague questions or with directional life decisions (“What career should I choose?” or “Should I invest in real estate?”). I do not expect to go to a mentor and have them hand me the keys to success while I drive off into the sunset.
You will need to find out for yourself what kind of mentor you want and what kind of mentee you want to be. Do you want someone to discuss personal issues with? Or do you strictly want guidance on real estate ventures and nothing else?
Now that we’ve defined what a real estate mentor is—and the kind of mentor-mentee relationship you want—here are nine steps to help you find an incredible mentor.
More on mentorship from BiggerPockets
1. Become a mentor yourself
Every single person reading this can mentor others and help them achieve their goals. Everyone has a skill set that others need or want to develop—and you don’t have to be a successful real estate investor yet. It’s important to give back and not just take.
Think of the areas in your life where you could help someone pursue their goals. Some options include:
- Tutoring a high school student
- Volunteering with folks in financial crisis
- Teaching classes on basic personal finance
- Meeting with new investors looking to buy their first property and relaying your experience as a peer
Nothing is quite as rewarding as seeing a student or former mentee become successful. It’s amazing to watch a motivated personality achieve what they set out to do—and for them to attribute at least some of their success to you is an incredible feeling. Positive feedback from a mentee will more than make your day!
From being a mentor, you will also learn the types of behaviors mentors hate. Mentors hate answering thoughtless questions twice. Mentors hate directing those they teach to resources that will benefit them, only to have students ask questions that are obviously answered by just looking at the materials. Most of all, mentors hate laziness.
2. Define and commit to your objectives
It’s pretty futile to attempt to mentor someone unsure of what they are attempting to do. Often, folks looking for good mentors have vague goals or switch goals week to week and month to month. They don’t know or care where they are going. One day they want to invest in real estate, the next, it’s the stock market, then next week, they want to start a blog. Figure out where you want to get to before you go asking for directions.
3. Announce your intentions
Make your intentions clear on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, BiggerPockets, and everywhere else in between. Announcing your intentions loudly and repeatedly to everyone you come across can open door after door for you. You have the opportunity to meet incredible real estate mentors and connect with professionals who have the capacity to help you succeed.
Announce your intentions to the world and see who responds. Anytime you meet someone new, steer the conversation in that direction, and see if it sparks interest. Find those in your current network who secretly share your same objectives or interests.
4. Identify those who can (and want to) help you
Let’s say your goal was to get started investing in real estate. A great real estate mentor might be a small-time investor with a few properties or someone who had just recently purchased their first investment property. On the other hand, a poor choice might have been to seek the guidance of a billionaire real estate investor, who may be unable to tailor an investment strategy to you.
Find a mentor who aligns with your goals and has a successful track record in the area of your investment interest. Take their advice, and then do what they say.
5. Take action and express gratitude
Not every potential mentor will work out, and it is not in your best interest to follow all advice given by real estate professionals. But if you are looking for a mentor to regularly and repeatedly return to with challenges, you must take action based on their counsel and then express gratitude.
Here are a few ideas of ways to express gratitude to your mentor:
- Buy them a cup of coffee
- Send them a thank-you card or email
- Give them a shout-out on social media with a message and hashtags for #mentoring
- Send them an edible arrangement, flowers, or chocolate
Additionally, you will want to verbally express your gratitude to them in person, of course.
6. Know why you need a real estate mentor
When you’re sick, you look for the best doctor around, and when your car breaks down, you go to the best mechanic in the region. You don’t watch YouTube videos or attend courses on how to do open-heart surgery or, for that matter, repair your car’s clutch.
These experts you go to are invaluable because they have a lot of knowledge and experience. And if you wanted to do your car repairs yourself, you would go out and learn from a buddy mechanic or get someone to show you, not watch the tutorial on YouTube.
In the same way, real estate is a very dynamic kind of business. So, getting a mentor to guide you through it all is like getting a mechanic to help you out. If you want your business to be successful, you have to go to those who are already where you want to end up professionally.
Build a stable financial foundation
Are you tied to a nine-to-five workweek? Would you like to “retire” from wage-paying work within ten years? Are you in your 20s or 30s and would like to be financially free?the sort of free that ensures you spend the best part of your day and week, and the best years of your life, doing what you want?
7. Identify the kind of real estate mentor you’d like
Understanding why you need a mentor and getting a mentor that matches that need are two different things. When you set out to find a mentor you’d like to work with, start identifying the kind of mentor you’d like.
Choose people who know how real estate markets work and who have been there and done that. They should know the market and give you advice on what the right thing to do is. They should also help identify pitfalls.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Geographical reach: Pick someone who is easily accessible and within the same geographical location as you. Your local real estate investment association (REIA) may help you find a great real estate mentor.
- People you admire: Find someone with qualities that you’d like to have.
- Real-life lessons: Opt for mentors who won’t just put you in some classroom setting but will let you see what they do and how they do it.
- Be ready to rough it out: Be open to their criticism, and don’t expect your mentor to do the work for you.
Once you have found someone you admire in real estate, get to know them a bit better before approaching them.
8. Know your mentor
When you are researching to get to know the real estate mentor you want to approach, you obviously want to keep an eye open for any red flags. Here are two ways you can gather information on your prospective mentor.
- Keep an eye open for any negativity or shady business about that person.
- Check out their work ethic and try to find out if there are elements you’d rather not associate with.
- See who they’ve previously mentored and if they share similar goals to you.
- Look into their social media profiles to understand what kind of person they are and how they operate.
- Look up their reviews.
Read their blogs: Once you’ve ruled out all the bad things, read their blogs and see either their interviews or what they’ve written online. The way a real estate agent deals with a topic will help you understand whether they are easy to follow when they’re explaining things and if you’ll be able to benefit from their mentoring or not.
9. Reach out to a real estate mentor
This isn’t always as easy as it sounds. In fact, when you really find someone you’d like to learn from, asking them to teach you can be really tough. And then there’s the aspect of whether money would be involved. And if they do agree to mentor you for free, would it be a good match or not?
Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a mentor:
- Relationships: Treat your mentor like a best friend and trust them completely.
- Paid or unpaid: Most mentors don’t accept anything in return for their mentorship. However, you may want to confirm that before committing to them.
- Give and take: Mentoring is not just about taking from the mentor, but it should be a win-win situation for both of you; make yourself meaningful and useful to your mentor as well.
While hard work and persistence can get you anywhere, mentors are experts who can take you to your goal quickly and with fewer pitfalls. They can provide insights that are rare and teach through example.
These nine steps are essential for finding the perfect real estate mentor for you. By following these processes, you can build a precious mentor relationship and experience success in your real estate investment. While hard work and persistence can get you anywhere, mentors are experts who can take you to your goal quickly and with fewer pitfalls. They can provide insights that are rare and teach through example.