A Mentor Fit for You

I want to end my ‘apprenticeship trilogy’ by answering the following three questions. First, what type of person should I look for in a mentor? The second question is, when should the apprenticeship end? Last but not least, how do I find a mentor? This is just a compilation of information that I could not put in the other posts, and I do feel that this information is very important and will help set you up for success.

Finding The Right Mentor

The right mentor is very important because this individual will have a huge impact on your career. That means it can go either good or bad. If you really want to be successful you need to find someone that will set you up for success. I created a check list of four things, in order of importance, that you must look for in a mentor. Before I give you the list, you need to understand that you will become who you spend your time with. 

  1. He or she should be a good person that people love to be around.
  2. He or she should have a positive attitude and a strong work ethic.
  3. He or she should be business minded and a good money manager.
  4. He or she should have the kind of business you want to have and make the kind of money you want to make.

The first three are pretty self explanatory, but I want to talk a little about the fourth point. You can not teach what you do not know. That’s why you have to find the mentor that already knows how to get where you are trying to go. For instance, if you want to make 6 figures a year shoeing horses but your mentor only makes 5 figures, he is probably not the right choice. If your mentor shoes reigning horses but you want to shoe jumping horses, again he might not be the right mentor for you.

The Right Time To Move On

I get this question a lot: “Ty, how do you know it’s time to stop riding with someone?”. There are several answers to this question, so I’ll tell you. The most important thing about mentor-ship is that it should never end. You will need these individuals for the rest of your career. It’s important to nurture those relationships and never burn those bridges. I still have contact with all of my mentors, and I continue to seek their advice. I could not get to where I’m trying to go without them, and all of my successes are due to them.

I recommend that you guarantee your mentor an amount of time that is beneficial to both parties. If you do this however, you must stick to it. Think of it as an investment of your time that will pay dividends one day. The way I suggest you part with your mentor on a day to day basis, is to let your mentor know you need more time for your own business, month(s) in advance. They know it’s not forever and this gives your mentor time to find someone to replace you without doubling his work load. You need to help find and train your replacement as well. Remember that you still need this mentor in your life and if you just drop him or her, they will drop you as well.

Where Do I Find Such A Mentor

I am answering this question last for a reason. A lot of people start with this step, and that’s why a lot of those same people do not see success from their apprenticeship. Before you begin looking for someone you need to know what you are looking for.

Finding the right mentor starts with building your network. Networking is critical in any business, and maybe even more so in this one. You need to join associations like the American Farriers Association and the American Association of Professional Farriers. After you have joined the major associations, you should join your local state chapters as well. I am a member of both of those associations and two state associations, the Oklahoma Farriers Association and the Texas Professional Farriers Association.

Bobby Menker Clinic Here At OSHS April 2012

All of these associations have clinics and conventions. You need to be at every one of these functions. Try to learn new things, get involved and, most important, develop your network (meeting people). They will not come to you, in most cases, so don’t be afraid to stick your hand out and introduce yourself. Facebook is a great networking tool as well. I will talk about Facebook in another post.

Final Thoughts

Before you begin your journey, sit down and write out where you want to end up one day. You can’t get there if you don’t know where you are going. Write out who you want to be as a person and how much time you are willing to devote. Once you have done this, join associations and develop your network. Then find the person that fits you and your goals and make it your mission to make that individual your mentor.