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How to bag a great mentor (and avoid a bad one)

I’m currently running a series on mentors, masterminds, and getting hardcore accountability to have maybe, your best year ever.

The easiest person to lie to is who? Who is the easiest person to lie to? Of course, you are the easiest person to lie to. You do not know what you do not know. You haven’t done what you haven’t done.

To that end, it’s a lot harder to get the results you want, trying to figure it out yourself. I’m a massive believer in standing on the shoulders of the giants, on leveraging the experience of others, on leveraging the mistakes of others, on leveraging the decades of hard yards, and toils, and grafts, and wisdom of others. I believe it is the cheapest form of getting results.

A lot of people look at being in a Mastermind, or getting advice, or having mentors as a cost. I see it as an investment. And I see not having it as an expense. I can have £100,000 idea or £1 million idea now. We’re doing 20 million plus a year, which also means, I can have 100 grand or a million-pound bad idea or stupid mistake.

If someone’s got a company that’s 5 times my size. If someone is worth 10 times the money, if they’ve got 10 times the followers, then they’re more likely to have tried what I’m trying to figure out, experience in both the upsides and the downsides what I am yet to experience. Therefore, there’s massive leverage in that.

In my group, The Disruptive Entrepreneur, the Facebook Group, there’s a really great debate going on right now about this. It’s kind of come alive. And people seem to sit on two sides of fence when it comes to mentors. Some people are like, well look, you can get a lot of knowledge and experience from somebody who’s been there and done it. The investment you make in them is much less than the cost of not having them. You have someone to support you, to challenge you. You’re following a proof and path so you don’t have to blaze the trail, and make all the mistakes. We can’t succeed alone. We need the help of others. It is a wisdom and humility to learn from those who’ve already done it.

Oprah’s mentor was Maya Angelou. Christian Dior mentored Yves Saint-Laurent. What about our own self-delusions? We lie to ourselves. We tell stories to ourselves. We deny ourselves.

Great mentors can call us out on the bullshit and the stories, et cetera. Gates was mentored by Buffett. Steve Jobs mentored Mark Zuckerberg. A lot of people get, that having a mentor is great. And actually, if you look at when Andy Murray was struggling in his career. The change was getting Evan Lindell, his coach, and made a huge difference.

Look at Liverpool, I mean they were going nowhere for decades. I’m a Liverpool fan. Then all of a sudden, they get Klopp, and look what’s happening now. They’re absolutely like walking the League. Because Klopp is a proven great manager. You can see he’s a great people person, a great manager of people.

But then you have the other cohort, ah, well, why should you pay for advice? You can find everything on Google. There are so many fake mentors out there. Most people are running a business of a mentor, and they haven’t actually done the thing.

To be honest, I see a balance of both sides. And I sit in the middle. I’m just going to explain to you how find a good mentor, how to weed out a bad one, whether you actually need a mentor, whether you should pay for a mentor, and that’s going to be the subject of the rest of this content. I believe free advice is worth every penny. I believe you get what you paid for. I really do.

Of course, you can pay for stuff, and it’s still cheap. And you cannot pay for stuff, and get some benefits out of it. I get benefit out of books. I get benefit out of podcasts. I really do. But you have to filter through a lot. You maybe, follow other people on social media, and listen to other people’s podcasts. You may have to filter through a lot of ads, and a lot of people’s podcasts to get a decent mentor or influencer.

If you pay for a mentor, then you are going to assume they’re good mentor. Let me just turn the light back on. That’s better. You’re going to circumvent all that time, all that research, all that filtering, all those ads. Therefore, that time saving is going to have a financial saving.

For me having a mentor is not about the cost, it’s about the ROI. Everything in business for you, other than the human element, should be about ROI. Don’t be about ROI at the expense of the human, the caring, and the connection. But assuming you’re going to do that, everything else is an ROI. If I invest this money, will I make a return equal or greater than it? Or, if I invest this money, will it cost me more, or will I not get a return equal to the amount I invested? For me, that is what I’m always thinking.

For somebody who does 20 million a year plus, a 2-grand course or a 10-grand mentor is nada. It’s just a no-brainer. I almost think, if I can’t get anything out of a 2-grand cost over a 10 or 20 or 50-grand mentor, it’s not on them. It’s on me. Because come on, 2 grand is one course sale or half a property source. It’s just such a small amount of money.

I have a more openminded view of mentors. And that’s probably, because everyone I’ve studied who’s successful, has got a mentor. Arnold Schwarzenegger says there is no such thing as self-made. Everyone is reliant on other people, staff, customers. You’re accountable. You need managers. You need directors when you make films. It’s not just about the actors. So, he really believes that no one is self-made, and everyone is part of a team. And I didn’t get that, but I get that now.

And if track back my life, really short, simple, a radio edit version, is, before the age of 26, I tried to do everything myself. And I failed in nearly all of it. I tried to run a pub. I tried to be an architect. I tried to be an artist. I didn’t have any mentors, didn’t study competition, didn’t have a Power Team, didn’t have any support, didn’t really have any staff that weren’t family, didn’t make any money, got myself into debt.

After 2006/07, I’m still pretty much the same person. Okay, I’m more openminded to learning. I probably am a little bit more positive. But ultimately, my DNA hasn’t changed. I’m pretty much the same person. But this time, I’ve got mentors. I’m in Masterminds. Mark Homer was my first mentor. Warren Borsje was my second mentor. Andreas Panayiotou was my third mentor, a billionaire. James Caan, I paid £3,000 a session for, was, my 4th mentor. Then now, all of a sudden, I’m making millions of pounds a year. I became a millionaire between the age of 30 and 31. We do 10 million, probably by the time I’m aged 35-36, something like that.

I really believed that, that is the binary difference between me failing and me being a success. When I was not having mentors, I don’t think the concept I really even understood it. Why would you pay for someone else’s information? Why don’t you just go and learn it yourself? If you want something done, do it yourself. I just didn’t get it. Then I would have seen that as an expense, instead of an investment.

Ironically, I’m paying 500 quid or grand for suits. I’m spending loads of money on going out and drinking. I probably got, well, I did have a car with a car loan. The car was going down in value a lot. I wasn’t investing in myself. Now, a lot of people when it comes to mentors, it’s not really about mentors. It’s about not valuing themselves to invest in themselves.

Some people had a bad experience. Or, they just don’t… They’re sceptical, or they just don’t want to get turned over. They throw the baby out of the bathwater. They don’t do anything just in case they make a mistake. Have I had the odd bad mentor? Well, actually, no. But I’ve gone on the odd bad course. But I’m pretty good at working out who’s the right mentor to go for. And I’ll tell you how to do that in a minute. Have I made the odd bad investment? Yeah. Have I made the odd bad decision? Yes. So, it’s sometimes been there service? Yeah. Has it sometimes been me that made bad decision, bad research? Yeah. Overall, have I won more than I have lost when it comes to mentoring and courses? Yeah.

I’ve invested in more than £1.3 million in courses, mentoring, Masterminding for me and my business partner, my staff, my ongoing personal development. I have a therapist now, a mentor, a coach. That has probably led me the single biggest factor in going from being in debt to tens of millions a year turnover, not profit, by the way.

How do you find a really great mentor? How do you filter through a bad one? Do you need a mentor? Do you need a Mastermind? Or, do you need a coach? I think it’s quite simple when you look for a good mentor. You want the following criteria.

First thing, is, this is huge. And I’m saying this with respect for people, but my own truth. I would not hire a personal trainer who is not strong and is not fit. Because I believe, if I want to get strong and fit, I need to learn from someone who’s not just got the theory, but has implemented it in their life.

If you would find, if you feel they’ve got good technical knowledge, but I think if they haven’t done it themselves, they’re not a mentor. They could be a coach, but they’re not a mentor. Let’s be honest, Evan Lindell doesn’t play tennis anymore, but he’s a coach. But he’s got loads of experience. So, for me, a mentor has to have done it.

I’d like having mentors who are worth between 100 million and whatever billion. Because that’s just 100 million is a little bit, probably the next level above me. And of course, a billion is the level up and a level up from that. I like having mentors who are 60 and 65. By the way, I’d been mentored by Mark Zuckerberg all day long. And he’s what? He’s in his early 30s now. maybe, even still in his late 20s. So, it’s just about age. But I feel like I could get a lot of life experience from someone who’s sort of 20 years older than me.

Have they done it? Are they walking it and talking it? Have they done it for a long time? These are important. No. 2, can I find some proof? Company House doesn’t really tell you too much. The accounts can be really out of date. They can run their accounts to reduce the tax. That’s how we run our accounts, or we didn’t until last year. Therefore, you’re not really going to see huge amounts of profit.

But I think that a mixture of a bit of financial research. Can you get some kind of proof of their claims that they’re making? Do they look like they are legitimate, and the real deal according to where they’re supposed to be? I think you can find that out pretty easily. Can you find people who speak well of them? Have they got lots of client case studies? Is the general public opinion good?

By the way, you’re always going to find some critics. Don’t be put off by that. Don’t throw the baby out of the bathwater. Because we haven’t got critics, you’re not putting yourself out there. I think this is also really important. There are a lot of people who have made loads of money, but they have no idea how to mentor. They’re not patient. They don’t know how to get the most out of people. They don’t really have the time. They don’t value it. They don’t enjoy it.

Actually, being a very successful technician and being a great mentor, are, different. And being a great mentor or a coach-mentor, is, you’ve got to understand, and read people. You got understand their values. You’ve got to understand how to motivate them. You’ve got to be prepared to give some tough love. You’ve got to be patient with them. You’ve got to care for them. You’ve got to know when to support them, when to challenge them, and when to call them out on their shit.

Have they got a lot of experience mentoring? Just because someone is worth 100 million, it doesn’t mean they’ve got any experience in mentoring. In fact, they might be a terrible mentor even though they’re worth that money, because they may just not have the right credentials for that.

It’s not about the money. A lot of people think money first, budget first. Or, they’re trying to get it free. Or, they’re trying to blag. Or, they’re trying to get, ah, will you mentor me now, and I’ll pay you later when I’ve got results. Well, how’s that going to work? If I’m supposed to mentor everyone for free and pay on results, well, does that mean I get no money for a year or 2 until they get results? And, are they going to want to pay me in 2 years when they’ve got their results? No. How do we track that? And does that make me valuable? No. If I gave you a book for free, would you read it tonight? No, you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t. You’ll find a load of other things to do. If you’ve paid 100 quid for that book, would you read it tonight? Well, 100 quid, is, a lot for a book. So, you’d read it twice. You’d value it.

Free advice is worth every penny. We tend to value what we paid for. Now, with mentoring, it’s not binary like the more you pay, the more committed you are. Not quite, because there’s other variables. There’s your own beliefs, and fears, and lifelong experiences that hold you back. There are layers of things in your head, that stops you doing A, B and C that you get told to do.

But I have found, I have a leader board of all the clients in my company they’ve invested the most money. Like, from the top one to maybe, number 100, something like that. And it is almost binary, in that, the higher up on the leader board they are of how much they’ve invested in their courses, their training, their mentoring, their masterminding, all the different programmes we run, the better the results they’ve got. In fact, most of my top ones are millionaires now.

They aren’t many people in this industry, if any in this industry that are helping create millionaires. Are there some that become a millionaire, and don’t invest as much? Yes, there are some, but they are way less. The amount that you invest in yourself, it is intrinsically linked to the return you get, because you value what you paid for, or you don’t value what you get for free. That being said, I’m always trying to hunt out lunches, and dinners, and meetings with celebrities, and entrepreneurs, and people who are very successful, and millionaires, and billionaires. I’m also trying to do that.

I’m like a bit of a mentor hole, if that’s the right phrase. I’ll be mentored by anyone. If I can learn something from them, I’ll be mentored by them. I’ll do sideways mentoring, i.e., I’ll learn from people who are on my level. I mentored a lot of people. I think in the property and business training space, I’m probably one of the most expensive, and maybe, the most experienced, credible mentors, if you look at my track record, and my history, and my reputation.

I’ll mentor people. Also, I’d love to be mentored by people. I think it’s really wise to have people on your level, people that you’re helping up, and people that are pulling you up. I have mentors in property, in business, in personal development. I have mentors in health and fitness. I have mentors in social media, and branding, and videography. Because I just know now, that is so much quicker and easier to learn from those who’ve done it. Standing on the shoulders of the giants. Learning vicariously from other people’s experiences.

Let me ask you this. Would you rather learn about going bust, and the difficulties of cashflow, and how you’ve got to rebuild your life? Would you rather learn that by going bust yourself? Or, would you rather learn that by speaking to people, and being mentored by people who’ve been bust before, and could share with you how it is and was? Tell me. You’ve to be honest. Because I think a lot of people assumed that you need to learn by doing and getting the experience. But there’s some things I don’t want to experience. I don’t want to learn how to code. I don’t want to learn how to build my websites and design my websites. I just want someone else to do that.

Actually, you shouldn’t be doing everything yourself. You should be leveraging as many people as you can. Remember, it’s about an ROI. If I invest 5 grand or 10 grand or 20 grand or 2 grand, will I make double, triple, quadruple that. As far as I’m concern now at my level, if I don’t, that’s on me. I’ve either made a bad choice of the programme, or the mentor, or the Mastermind that I’ve joined, or, I’ve done nothing with it.

I’m in one Mastermind, The Syndicate, where pretty much, all the biggest events promoters in the country are in. And I come away usually, between 40 and 50 ideas to implement. Every single one of them will make me thousands or tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of pounds. In fact, I’ve just seen some revenue on a small change I’ve made.

In this Syndicate Group we’re in, we were talking about free events. And we’re talking about having a premium level, where someone gets a bit front row seating, some extra bonuses, and that’s a premium ticket. I thought that’s a good idea, I’ll try that. And we implemented the premium model. Last year, premium ticket holders spent nearly a million pounds with me.

There’s a million pounds more I’ve made, by just implementing the premium ticket offer. If you think about that, that’s such an obvious thing on airlines and in other places. But in my events world, I’ve not really thought about it like that. I’ve, either thought it as paid or free. So now we have different levels of tickets.

I’ve got so many examples of like that. One idea makes me a million quid. Why would I not be around people who can help me, and can overcome my challenges, and can tell me their experiences, save me the pain and save me the expense.

What’s a bad mentor? A bad mentor is someone who doesn’t care about you, doesn’t want you to win, just wants the money. Someone who has got the results, but doesn’t know how to mentor, doesn’t have the patience. Someone who’s really just trying to make money out of mentoring rather than actually doing the thing. We do nearly £20 million a year.

I’ve written dozens of books. I’ve got a really good social media following. And all of this is down to the people I’ve learned from. Yes, I’ve figured some of it as I gone on. But if I wanted, I started to launch the new stars feature. I get one of my outsourcers to go and speak to someone who’s a head higher up in Facebook about how the stars feature worked. I join the Stars Beta Facebook Group. I learn from all the other people who’ve launched their stars. I run threads. I ask them. I follow their pages. And I learn how to launch the stars feature. It’s really big and why. I’m learning from other people having done it first, and then putting my own unique spin on it as well, because that’s the me element.

I would have all kinds of mentors, free and paid, and in your peer group. My business partner loves other people to go and do the trailblazing. And then he learns afterwards. I mean, this is how much he does this, how much he believes in mentors, how much he believes in learning from others. He even said this to me. And I just thought this is just happen stance. But no, he actually did this.

He said, I waited for all my mates to have kids. Because he’s the last one of all of his mates to have kids. He’s 39 years old. He’ll be 40 in a few weeks. He waited till all of his mates had kids. And he was the last so he could watch them with their kids in travelling, and how they raised them, and learn from all of them so that when he had his kids, he had sort of the model of what to do, and the model of what not to do. And that is just how Mark works.

I used to think, ah, that’s not original. Take some risks. Blaze the trail. But actually, that’s really smart. Maybe not in raising your kids. But if you think about that mentality in business, in success, and in social media, and in your personal brand, and in your marketing, you’re going to let other people make the mistakes. You’re going to learn vicariously through them. And that’s worth an investment. It’s not an investment in the mentor. You’re never paying the mentor. You’re investing in yourself.

How to bag a great mentor (and avoid a bad one)
Written by Rob Moore

Written by Rob Moore

Rob Moore; host of "Disruptors” & a ‘disruptive' Entreprenuer:

He disrupted the property investing world, with over 1,350 property rental units managed/owned/sold
Became a millionaire by age 31
He disrupted the business world with public 3x longest speech world records
Disrupted books by being a best-selling author of 19 books on money, business & investing
14 companies &multiple 7 & 8 figure businesses
He disrupted the influencer world with his global podcast, Disruptors, with over 1,000 episodes & a community of over 3 million followers across all platforms

Rob's mission: to help as many people on the planet get better financial knowledge and help YOU make, manage and multiply more money through multiple streams of income


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