As an entrepreneur, you’ve likely heard about all the ways you can benefit from having a mentor. But mentorship isn’t a one-way street – there are many professional and personal benefits of mentoring others, too.
“I see mentoring others as an opportunity to give back and share my experiences in a positive way,” says Jay Fife, CEO and President of FusePhase. He’s a big supporter of mentoring others and has done it himself for years, particularly through two non-profit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area: ICA Fund Good Jobs and Junior Achievement of Northern California.
Here are just a few reasons why you should consider becoming a mentor.
4 Benefits of Mentoring Others
1. Connect with your community
Let’s face it – in these tumultuous times, we all need to be doing our part to actively support each other. This is especially true within our local communities where our efforts can have a more immediate and lasting impact.
You might think that giving back to your community requires a financial contribution of some sort. But what’s just as valuable as money, if not more so, is the donation of your time and skills.
Mentoring is the perfect way to lend your time and expertise to support the success of someone else.
As a bonus, you could:
- Strengthen relationships with other community members
- Grow your network of other entrepreneurs
- Gain more local exposure for your business
Talk about a win-win.
2. Refresh and strengthen your skills
As a business owner, it’s easy to fall into a routine. You might follow an old, outdated way of doing things without even realizing it. Or you might even forget certain skills that you simply haven’t needed to use recently.
When you’re teaching or mentoring others, it challenges you to step up your game as an expert in your field. You might have to dust off old skills and explain how to do something you haven’t done in a while. This is the perfect excuse to refresh your memory. Also, if you’re asked a question you can’t immediately answer, you’re then inspired to do some research and learn something new.
For example, Jay has encountered a variety of financial questions while advising business owners through ICA Fund Good Jobs. This has helped to keep him on his toes, and it’s encouraged him to stay up-to-date with the latest information.
3. Reignite your own passion for your work
You started your own business for a reason. We’re going to venture to guess it wasn’t all about the money, but more about the passion you have for what you do. (Although the money doesn’t hurt, of course.)
Over time, you might feel bogged down with all of the inevitable challenges that come along with running a business. It’s not uncommon to lose a bit of that initial spark that inspired you to launch your business in the first place.
Sharing your knowledge and experiences with others can help you to reconnect with that passion for your job. Your own business is sure to benefit as a result of your rejuvenated interest in what you do. Better yet, your passion might even inspire someone else and help to spark the same flame for them, too.
“The idea when working with students through Junior Achievement is to get them to think about what they want to do and what they want to be,” says Jay. “It’s important to find your passion and having someone who can point you in the right direction can make all the difference.”
4. Become a better leader
When you help others on the path toward success, you’re able to strengthen your own skills as a leader.
The best leaders have strong interpersonal skills and are excellent communicators. This means they’re able to clearly explain things to others, but will also take the time to listen to feedback, rather than simply waiting for their turn to speak.
Mentoring gives you the opportunity to put all of these skills into practice. As you engage with people of different ages and backgrounds, you might be challenged to think in new and different ways. Exercising these skills will help you in every aspect of running your business, from interacting with clients to working with your team on a day-to-day basis.
How to find mentoring opportunities in your area
Interested in growing as an entrepreneur while helping to promote the success of others? You should definitely explore opportunities for becoming a mentor.
Consider what groups in your area might benefit the most from you sharing your experiences. Focus on groups that might be particularly under-served based on factors such as income, age, race, etc. After you’ve narrowed down your options, reach out to relevant organizations about potential mentoring opportunities. Read more on how to be an effective mentor here.
Have you ever been a mentor in your community? Share your experiences below. Tell us how you feel you benefited – professionally, personally, or both – from mentoring others.