A successful decade-long-plus career at a Fortune 500 company. A passion for small business and technology. A start in a technical career, but then a move into strategic and general management. You might think I’m talking about my own career. However, I’m describing the career path of my mentor and coach, Chuck Bowen.
I take great pride in seeking counsel from many different people. I have a great group of friends in the Thriveal community and Free Agent Academy, and these groups motivate and challenge me. As great as these groups are, every entrepreneur needs a dedicated mentor who can help one steer through the hills and valleys of starting a business.
Starting a business is lonely – you need some help
I knew starting my own business would be somewhat difficult. I do not have the traditional background of an entrepreneur. I spent 13 years in finance and operations in a Fortune 100 corporation. As great as that company is, it is not a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity. I then moved to a smaller, but still multi-billion dollar, corporation supplying a number of major defense contractors. Through these challenges, I still worked hard to build my business.
I met Chuck at a Free Agent Academy retreat in 2010, and we hit it off. I saw someone with a similar background who is a successful “free agent”. He saw someone who was in a similar situation as he was 15 years earlier. I have run many major business and life decisions by Chuck, and I now pay him to coach me.
The four reasons why every entrepreneur needs a mentor
1. Entrepreneurship can be lonely – By its very nature, entrepreneurship is a lonely venture. Someone works for a company, then they split from that company to start a business on their own or with a small group. You need someone to give you advice and counsel when big decisions arise.
2. You need an outside perspective – Entrepreneurs can be so passionate about their new business. Unfortunately, this focus can lead to missing key aspects of running a business. A mentor or coach can help you see the forest for the trees.
3. You need someone to challenge you – There are days you miss out on a big proposal or don’t feel like working on your marketing or other aspect of your business. A coach is there to hold you accountable and challenge you.
4. You need someone to celebrate with you – I recently won a major proposal, which was my first significant accomplishment with my business (more on that in a future blog post, I promise!). After I called my wife and my mom, I called Chuck to celebrate. He has taught me so much, so I had to share my excitement with him.
If you have considered hiring a coach or asking someone to mentor you, do it now. You need it, regardless of how successful or experienced you are. The benefits of working with someone to encourage and challenge you will help you long after the relationship has concluded.
How can a mentor help your career? Share your thoughts in the comments below!