How Do I Find a Mentor?
It is a Common Question on Bigger Pockets
How Do I Find a Mentor?
One theme that comes up regularly on Bigger Pockets is new investors wanting to know how to find a mentor. It's a common question because it is often recommended here on Bigger Pockets that newbies get a Mentor.
So How do you find a mentor?
1) You can pay for a mentor
2) Just ask for help
3) Make the effort to network
4) Offer value in return
Should I pay for a Mentor?
Sure But Watch Out For the Sharks
In this in the real estate business there lots of paid coaches, or Gurus, out there that call themselves a mentor or have a mentoring program. There is nothing wrong with paying for a coach. I have spent a LOT OF MONEY on seminars, books, CDs, courses, boot camps, and coaching. I have learned a ton from these investments. The knowledge I gained has helped me earn a good chunk of money.
Yet I and many here on Bigger Pockets are somewhat anti-Guru. This is because today there are so many expensive real estate coaches that over promise and under deliver. Most of these coaches are not real estate people. They are information marketers. They make their money selling information. There is nothing wrong with that, if it is good information at a fair price.
Today there are hundreds of new names rehashing others materials and they have no depth of knowledge. Often the same misinformation is spread from Guru to Guru to unsuspecting student. I will wrap up about paid coaches by giving you Ned’s Rule of Real Estate Gurus. The value of a real estate investing course is often inversely proportional to the price. In other words some of the best material is the cheapest.
So How Does One Find a Mentor?
It's pretty simple just ask!
Anyone who reads the Bigger Pockets Forums sees very quickly that there are many, many investors here ready to help anyone at all levels. I try to be generous and sharing with my information. I do this not only here on Bigger Pockets but sometimes on my own Baltimore Real Estate Investing blog, at local club meetings, or just with investors I meet on the street. You can be sure that is not unique to me. Given how much time experienced investors give here on Bigger Pockets, they are clearly many willing to share.
If It Is That Easy, Why Do So Few Find a Mentor?
Most Never Ask
I often greet new members here and respond to their introduction posts
Many times I will privately answer a specific question and even give my phone number and say that they're welcome to follow up and contact me by phone or email. Particularly if someone's in my market I'll make this offer.
Surprisingly however very few follow-up. Considering how many people I've offered my phone number to, and how many people are saying "I can't find a mentor", I'm really surprised how little follow-up there is. Of course there will be one or two posts back-and-forth, or perhaps a private polite hello or thank you. However persistent follow up is rare
What Doesn't Work?
Waiting for a Mentor to Appear.
You need to understand how finding a mentor works. Nobody is going to walk up to you and say hey "I'm looking for some new investor to mentor" or "I want to help you become successful. I want to give back. It will make me feel good." In fact if you do hear that approach, RUN!
Asking someone you don't know.
I regularly see posts here on Bigger Pockets asking for a mentor. These are often the first post a member makes here. One of the moderators here J Scott posted:
you're essentially asking a stranger to:
- Devote a significant amount of time to you
- Train you to potentially become their competitor
I don't know too many people who would do that for a perfect stranger for nothing in return. So, instead, I would suggest one of two things:
1. Offer something in return
2. Get to know someone first before asking them to mentor you so that they have a personal incentive
Regarding J Scott's (J's Website) point #2 above. People are more likely to invest time in you, if they see you have already invested some time and effort.
You may want to skip the word "Mentor"
As J Scott says above, asking for someone to "Mentor" you implies a responsibility. Even a stranger may be willing to help. Even the most generous friend may not want to make a time and responsibility commitment of being a "Mentor"
Remember the goal is to find someone to help and guide you. The name put on that relationship is unimportant. In fact that relationship doesn't have to have a name.
How it Works, Use Networking & Persistence
You must follow up
No it doesn't happen that way at all. You have got to make the effort.
It's just good old fashioned networking. Talk to people at club meetings or stop when you see a property being rehabbed. Communicate via the internet and social sites. When you find someone willing to share, take the next step. Ask to take them to lunch or perhaps ask if you can visit their rehab in progress.
If you do that enough times, you will learn what you need to know, and develop the relationships that will help build your business. Some people may never find one key mentor. Having multiple relationships that add value in many various areas is just as good. If you find that key partner or Mentor/Mentee relationship so much the better.
An Example of it Working
I did have one fellow follow-up, Mike. Mike is a young man and was new to real estate investing. He was out of town but asked if I could go look at a lead he had. Perhaps we could partner on it. He made an appointment for me to go look at the property. We followed up with a meeting at a coffee shop.
The deal went nowhere, however he did persist and our coffee shop meetings continued. Ultimately this young man has become my full-time business partner and we're growing quite the business together. This has been a true win-win situation. Well at least I know I'm winning. I hope that he feels he's winning, from my experience and knowledge. I know I have gained a valuable partner, someone who's turned out to be an outstanding negotiator, who's a fast learner, who is creative, and most importantly he takes action.
Having a partner like Mike, who is very good actually getting things done, has been a tremendous value to me. We've been able to do some phenomenal deals together
The point is Mike has me as a partner and mentor for one reason, he asked. He made the effort to get in touch and keep in touch.
Why Would Someone Mentor Me?
Because You Can Offer Value to Your Mentor
I wonder how many people that have been offered help on Bigger Pockets have thought "Wouldn't it be great to have a mentor like that guy?" At the very same time they never realized the person offering help was thinking "Wouldn't it be great if I could find some aggressive eager investor to help me with my business?"
I'm guessing I'm somewhat of a mentor to my partner Mike, however I don't view myself as a mentor I just look at us as partners. Mike has been a tremendous benefit to me. I'm glad he came to me. I'm glad he made a point of pushing to get together for coffee. He picked the time, he picked the date, and he made it happen. Honestly if he left it to me, it probably wouldn't have happened.
I'm New What Can I offer?
You have Something to Offer. You Just Need To Find It
It's amazing how common it is for people undervalue what they offer and can bring To the table. I'm in a national coaching group with a lot of very successful people. Even among these very successful people, they often undervalue what they can offer.
My point here is simple. Even though you may not feel you have much to offer, you probably have a lot to offer. You just haven't learned to recognize it yet.
Everybody has some kind of resources. Everybody has knowledge in at least one particular area. You may not be an expert in real estate but maybe you know something about finance, or numbers, or marketing, or have great people skills. It might be as simple as you are a good employee and you're good at following directions.
Your resources may include contacts, people that have money, or friends that have excellent credit. You may have a high-paying job and/or excellent credit yourself. Perhaps you have no money, no knowledge, no real estate skills, but you do have time. There are plenty of low skill jobs in this business. You can help with the grunt work as you are learning. There a lot of different ways you can help your mentor and add value.
The most successful people, are successful because they leverage Other Peoples Resources. You can be a resource for your mentor.
Be Like Nike
Just Do ItSo reach out to people. Network with other investors. Use Bigger Pockets as tool to network. Recognize what you can offer others. Follow up and make it happen.
Happy Investing - Ned Carey