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Want to get a REAL MENTOR? Swear your undying loyalty first

Discussion in 'People & Relationships' started by benhebert, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. benhebert
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    benhebert Silver Contributor Speedway Pass

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    I finished reading The Wolf of Wallstreet recently (very fun read) and something the really struck me was how the Strattonites would swear undying loyalty to Jordan and he would make them rich. They'd buy into the system, the lifestyle, the fraud and he'd build them into champions. They would have to sacrifice everything, but greatness was promised if they bought in.

    And then it struck me... I did something very similar earlier in life to find my mentor.

    No, it didn't involve any midget tossing or as many women as I would have liked (happily in a relationship now), but I did swear my undying loyalty.

    Working at GiftCardRescue.com as the first employee gave me a real first hand business education. We were a bootstrapped e-commerce startup, fighting against venture funded Silicon Valley companies, in a cut throat somewhat grey industry.

    I saw a lot of things. I took paycuts. I worked 80+ hour weeks, sacrificed weekends and STILL went to college at night.

    Am I special in any way? No. I think this is what you have to do, at least initially. Forget the 4-hour work week, that's an alternate reality.

    I swore my undying loyalty to the boss that we would ride the thing out. That no matter what happened, I would be there and we would make it work.

    Call it foolish optimism.

    Today GiftCardRescue.com is #138 on the INC 500 list.

    The founder and CEO Kwame Kuadey sits on the board at my new company Natural Stacks.

    We just got an endorsement from the #1 biohacker in our niche, Dave Asprey, The Bulletproof Executive.

    So where do people get mentorship wrong?

    While admirable, going at it alone is the wrong thing to do. Having real relationships with entrepreneurs with killer business sense will help you 1000000x over. You may have to go to war for them. It may take years to build that trust.

    People think that they can help out and get a mentor that way. Let me say this - NO ONE WILL HELP YOU UNLESS YOU'VE HELPED THEM FIRST.

    You need to provide maximum value to get their attention and then appeal to their needs in order for the relationship to be profitable for both sides. If you're a no one, THERE IS ZERO CHANCE an influencer will help you unless you've done something for them.

    And by something for them, I mean make them money / famous / powerful / etc.

    You do this by swearing your undying loyalty and going to war.

    It may work out or it may not. But getting experience on someone else's dime, will prevent you from making the same mistakes over and over again.

    I've literally saved tens of thousands in development, design, marketing, seo, and PR with my new company from the skills I learned bootstrapping before.

    Don't feel like you need to start a business right away, you can work for a startup before building one of your own. You'll build real relationships that scale, be networked with the right kind of people and set yourself up for longterm success.
     
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  2. throttleforward
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    throttleforward Platinum Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    I'd love to hear more about this, as I'm doing that myself right now.
     
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  3. benhebert
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    benhebert Silver Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Out of cash is out of business. Your cashflow is EVERYTHING and you cannot spend money on things you can do yourself.

    Get good at outsourcing (dev, design, seo, pr) to other parties. Don't use contractors in the US.

    Also, talk to millionaires and get short term loans to make the big deals go through.
     
  4. Nadia
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    Nadia Silver Contributor Speedway Pass

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    This is very wise and insightful advice! I personally am friends with plenty of successful people who are high 6 to 7 figure earners and I have never asked them for anything (even when I wanted their advice). Even till today, my social media platforms are FILLED with inspiration and guidance and they naturally come to me, which is then when I request them.

    It is all well and good wanting mentorship however if you have nothing to offer in return to your mentor, buh-bye.
     
  5. Lippy
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    Lippy Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    @benhebert what you said is spot-on! I've got this mentor now who's helping me get into a better mindset and checking my progress every now and then, and I wouldn't have had this relationship with him had I not reached out and helped him in the many little ways that I can. Just so happened the "little ways" and the "odds and ends" I helped him with enabled him to fry bigger fish.

    So very true - you gotta give value too! Mentorship is a two-way street!
     
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  6. Cruor Vult
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    Cruor Vult Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Such a great point. Focus on what value you can give, not what they can give you. You will get much more in return. The mindset is very Fastlane.
     
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  7. liquidglass
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    liquidglass Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Rep + Like to the OP. I couldn't agree with you more.

    Your story sounds very similar to what I did although my mindset at the time was laughable. After he lost everything (in the bubble burst (including all employees)) and was at the lowest point in his business I saw the potential after just one meeting. I quit my JOB (just over broke) that day and started with no promise of income, salary, etc. Just a dream he painted and I bought. Through thick and thin I've been there. I've gone from the guy that knew nothing but did whatever was asked in the interest of success - to a student (of a mentor)- to friend - accountability partner- to business partner.

    It's been a long road and it hasn't always been easy (where's the fun in it if it was?)
     
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  8. Kak
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    Kak Capitalist Swine Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Well put. I don't have a formal mentor, but I do believe I have surrounded myself with the right people to ask for help when I need it, to lend help when I can and to push forward along side of them.

    Also, something to realize is that the wrong mentor can screw your progress and make you fall behind. It happened to me after I partnered with mine on a business. I realized some things I would have never noticed by going into business with this person. You are better off alone than with a sh*t mentor, the funny thing is that sometimes the sh*t mentors even have a lot of money. Be careful.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
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  9. AroundTheWorld
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    AroundTheWorld Be in the Moment Speedway Pass

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    In this case, you also learned, right? Sometimes learning what not to do can be as valuable as learning what to do.

    You bring up an interesting point, though. It is a delicate balance between being willing to do what a mentor tells you to do and paying attention to your own intuition and always being sure to own your own choices. NEVER blindly follow someone else because a mentor tells you to and that mentor is "successful." There needs to be more to the thought process than that. On the other hand, having a know-it-all attitude or getting stuck in analysis paralysis can be just as detrimental.

    In the end, remember that your mentor is someone that is there to guide you, but you are not in a parent-child relationship... Pay attention to your own path and make your own choices. Sometimes those choices might be in alignment with your mentors advice and sometimes they won't.
     
  10. Greyson F
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    Greyson F Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    This wraps around Napoleon Hill's idea of a Mastermind Group, which is just an awesome display of the teamwork of more than one person where each member contributes a certain way in a certain area. It really fills the gaps when you have a lack of knowledge (weakness) but have expert knowledge on something else (Strength). They don't become your mentors at that point, they become your partners, your friend, and your associates for success! Great post!
     
  11. Kak
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    Kak Capitalist Swine Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    I did learn something. I realized that I spent 3 years working on a venture that required my time to scale so therefore was limited by my time. He encouraged it. Then I realized when I went into business with him that he was lazy almost to the point of incompetence. As my mentor he was retired, so I didn't think anything of it. It took a few months of being in business with him for me to get disgusted enough to go on my own.
     
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  12. Get Right
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    Get Right Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Great post! Another thing to remember is that mentors are giving you a gift. Use the Hell out of that gift. I mean drain every drop out of that avenue they sent you down.

    I mentor a few people and I love when they wear those gifts out. Makes me want to give them more.

    Btw - that doesn't mean wear your mentor out :)
     
  13. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Bump, nice mentor write-up.
     
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  14. Jacquesvh
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    Jacquesvh New Contributor

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    I agree with you on not wearing your mentor out.

    One of the things I despise is people wanting mentor-ship in order to drain each and every technique, bit of knowledge and intellectual insight in order to go at it on their own. If there are any signs of this in the first 3 meetups, get out!

    I mentor a few people at the moment too and one thing that I love right from the start is when the hunger and passion boils over every time we sit down. I notice that people that want it bad enough aren't scared to sacrifice. They also know that utilizing their current resources to invest in themselves are crucial to growth.

    Being mentored in high-school by two highly successful entrepreneurs helped me understand that it wasn't their influence that was going to make me successful. It's going to be me. It's something I now carry over to the people I mentor...I help them psychologically understand their road to success. In a year from when they started they look around them and everything is different.

    They drive different cars, stay in a different house or city, have different friends and people that surround them....It's all different. They did it all. I just set out some guidelines, helped them avoid traps and encouraged/motivated the hell out of them.

    I don't ever claim that their success is thanks to me though. I believe that as a mentor, I don't change their lives...they do. It's all them!

    Psychological approach ;)
     
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  15. benhebert
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    benhebert Silver Contributor Speedway Pass

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    If anyone is looking for a mentor that happens to come with an amazing job opportunity, we are hiring again at Natural Stacks.

    Customer support / hr / operations / everything you'd expect working at a bootstrapped startup.

    Details here.
     
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  16. Blackthndr
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    Blackthndr New Contributor

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    Good luck , Ben ill be watching and keeping an eye to see your company in the future.
     
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  17. adiakritos
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    adiakritos Bronze Contributor

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    I have a mentor, but I didn't sweat my UNDYING loyalty to him. BUT, I think he knows I probably might if he asked me to join him as a real player in any of his businesses. I work for him right now doing footwork while I work on my own projects.

    But what he does offer me is coding advice, a sh*t ton of it. He'll spend hours with me. Working with him is great too because his drive for perfection rubs off on me.

    I'd like more mentors though. Having one is great but I think because of the way I am and what I'm doing more will come. Thinking about it now, it's more like befriending someone who's uber good at something and also demonstrating your potential in who you are.

    My mentor tells me once in a while how he knows I'm gonna make it. That helps probably dozens upon dozens of people over the 5 years we've known each other and I'm one of the ONLY ones that's stayed with my nose to the grind and is actually getting somewhere. That always gets me extremely excited and invigorates my motivation. He know's college is slowing me down a little but since I have 1 more semester to go to finish I decided to finish.

    But now that I think of it, mentors aren't like relationships that I've arranged by asking "Hey dood, can you mentor me plz?". It's been much more like making friends I can call on once in a while to ask for advice or simply share what's going on and let them offer their advice... because they know I'll listen and apply it. Not explicitly asking for this relationship arrangement takes the pressure off of them feeling obligated to give me advice. I offer value by talking about the things I've learned from others as well, or by giving them the satisfaction of knowing that I'm using what they say.

    That's my experience, and talking about it reminds me to call those particular people I know and keep those friendships fresh, partly because they are great people to know as people, but also because of the value they can offer in terms of advice.

    Actually, the other guy I'm thinking of who I need to call to catch up with who's basically an OG gazzillionaire entrepreneur in the hotel biz strongly suggested I just finish college. He's the one who basically said "Man, I dropped out of college and I wished I never had. Just finish college. Do it."

    Typically I find that by going to meetups and other events where lots of entreprenuers meet I'll run in to successful people who I jive well with who ask me to contact them again. My biggest downfall has been this stupid excuse I had that I shouldn't call them because I'm still in college, which doesn't even make sense. Anyhow, If I want a group of successful friends/mentors I've got to follow through with them.

    So yeah, that's my 2 cents on mentors.
     
  18. Oswalito
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    Oswalito Contributor

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    Life story and lesson for me...

    Around 2009-2010, through a blog I was running, I met someone who went on to become a good friend and he had a startup and was alone.

    I believed in his project so much I joined him. What I got was... No real pay, just Friendship, business experience, networking and later on serious money.... Oh and serious trust issues.

    Hulkshare.com gave me the best experience in the music industry and also the worst experience. I see Theodore (the friend I went into business with at the time) as the best mentor I could have wished for. Alongside him, I learned so much and met some great people and artists. He also f*cked me hardcore when he sold the business from under my nose and disappeared but I also learned from that.

    Now I know that the day I will mentor someone, I will be sure to teach, guide and never make them feel as sh*tty as he made me feel. Great mentorship all around though, including the f*cking me over part.

    So that's what swearing undying loyalty did for me...lots of learning and guidance but also betrayal. I don't think I'll ever be able to swear an undying loyalty again...
     
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  19. Michał Kóska
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    Michał Kóska Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    What could you expect from the pirate? :p
    This could have more legal consequences for you, lucky guy.
    Rember Megaupload's case?
    If you do business with someone, everything should be written on the agreement and signed by all parties.
     
  20. Oswalito
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    haha Nah, to this day I believe he's a good guy who got scared by the megaupload events and bolted to hide f*cking me in the process.

    I remember telling him that everything would be okay, it was just a matter of adapting the business model to an industry that changes constantly...Didn't listen.

    Now, I'm coming back from another angle into the music industry and hopefully I get to make the waves I wanted to with hulkshare.
     
  21. Michał Kóska
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    Michał Kóska Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Keep me posted, I used to be a DJ :) good luck!
     
  22. VanguardGabriel
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    I am going to start a siding business. I am looking for guidance. I have been in this service industry for almost 20 years. Am I in the right place? I'm not very savvy with forums. I have a lot more to say about this, but want to keep this short until I KNOW I'm in the right post for conversations like this.
     
  23. Shamrox
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    I found this thread while looking through the "regularly asked questions" link, under how to find a mentor.

    It's amazing how many mindset adjustments one must make when they've been brainwashed in the ways of the slow lane for so long - referring to myself, of course. Or should I say referring to myself, off course.

    After finishing TFM I decided; "to hell with it, I'm taking life by the balls and getting my family out of this damn traffic jam."

    As a result I'm now working towards building a web based subscription service aimed at a market that's just starting to explode. Turning one's ideas into actions is a daunting process, especially when time is of the essence. Like MJ said, when opportunity comes knocking on your door, if you don't answer it'll go knocking on someone else's. Unfortunately this means borrowing money to get the ball rolling, since finding investment in Northern Ireland is a long and drawn out process. Time and bureaucracy-dealing are luxuries we currently do not have.

    At the end of the day risk = reward. My VERY conservative projections estimate that the company will be worth £1.3 million in three years. If we hit a liquidation event along the way (since we will be generating huge amounts of traffic), even better. But, £1.3 million based on the initially investment alone, which is in the lower 5 figures, has me super excited. Is it an amazing opportunity? Not by any means. Hell, it might not even be a great opportunity. But it's a good opportunity and a whole world better than being stuck in the slow lane. I like tortoises but I don't want to be one. I've spend 12 years working for the man. Time to shift gear.

    What has this got to do with your post? Well, what you say seems to fit in with what we're doing. The team consists of me and a really dead on web developer, bootstrapping it on top of our 9 - 5s, which we will have to quit by the end of the year. Your description of your younger self reminded me of this web developer. I worked with him at another company years ago. I've worked with hundreds of developers over the years but when I sat down and asked myself if I know anyone who can go on this journey with me, he popped into my head instantly. Why? Because of his attitude. He always went the extra mile, and always went out of his way to help the less experienced guys on his team. I really can't pull it off without him, not in the same time frame. Not only is he dead on, he's invaluable.

    To be honest, a mentor would be awesome right now. But your post taught me something: It helped me to separate a mentor and a financial investor into two different entities, because up until now they have always been one in the same to me. That's not to say a mentor can't be both. It just never occurred to me that they didn't have to be.

    Plus the "foolish optimism" comment sounds just like how I'm feeling right now. The human mind is a fickle thing, so I live by a new mantra; "thou must regularly bitch slap thyself." When you receive a mental re-adjustment from someone who's already been playing the game, even better! So, thank you!

    Now if anyone out there would like me to swear my undying loyalty to them, let me know :D

    Edited: To correct typos...
     
  24. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    First time I got myself a mentor and "went to war" for him, he turned out to be a pill popping lunatic that tried to hang his misdeeds around my neck. Worked out, though, because I got a reputation as a stand up guy through the whole thing, and I've learned more in the last 2 years than in the previous 10.It turns out that every millionaire I know has worked for at least one lunatic in their early life, and I got some "street cred" out of that whole situation.

    Also, having a mentor that's a crazy a**hole can be a worthwhile education. I can spot a con man from a million miles away, and my tolerance for stress and people's games is much higher now. I view the whole thing as totally worth it, no matter how much my parents shake their heads in bewilderment. :clench:

    It really comes down to whether you have the realization that you don't know everything, and that what other people have to offer is valuable enough to be worth what others might consider a "crazy" level of commitment... or you can keep being normal, and sane....
     

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