Author Archive

10 Things to Look for in a Protege

Posted by 2 April, 2009 (10) Comment

2118463691_4cf2e7c6a1_b

This is the third part of a five part series.

1. Want to Be Successful? – Get a Mentor
2. 10 Things to Look for in a Mentor
3. 10 Things to Look for in a Protege
4. 5 Steps You Need to Take in Preparation of Being a Mentor/Protege
5. World’s Greatest Mentoring Relationships

There have been many great mentor/protege relationships. At least for me, it seems a protege is typically looking for a mentor to help obtain the goals they have set out, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, in 2007 Warren Buffett announced he was looking for a successor(s). This is a bit of a different circumstance than the typical mentor/protege relationship.

In the same vein that a protege looks for qualities in a mentor, a mentor could be looking for certain qualities in a protege. He or she may be want to pass on knowledge of a particular subject. If you think about it, it makes sense in the grand scheme of things. A person lives for let’s say, 75 years. Well, that is 75 years of experience that someone is walking around with. If the mentor worked hard and obtained success in his or her career, that is a lot of knowledge that they could pass onto a younger generation and help the younger generation shave time off of a potential learning curve. For the sake of man kind and progress, this mentor has not only allowed or at least laid down the ground work to obtain the same success that he or she achieved, but helped them in getting a leg up so that they can progress past the success of the mentor and in turn help society progress (hopefully in the right direction).

So, what should a mentor be looking for in a protege?

1. Motivated – A mentor wants someone who is motivated to succeed in whatever it is that they want to pursue. A mentor more than likely values his or her time and wants to use it wisely and thus on someone who will ACT on the knowledge passed down.

2. Time – A protege needs to be able to carve out time in their schedule. If the potential protege isn’t able to commit a meaningful amount of time, it’s time to look for a different protege.

3. Positive – It’s never any fun to work with someone that isn’t positive around you. The mentor should look for happy people. The protege should look at things in the context of the "glass is half full."

4. Respectful – You want a protege that is respectful of you and your time. A lot of people pay large sums of money to be mentored on anything from blogging to real estate investing (think late night infomercials).

5. Willing to Learn – This goes along with being motivated, but you can be motivated and still not willing to learn. "An investment in knowledge pays the best dividend." – Benjamin Franklin

6. Honesty – It’s a complete waste of time if the protege isn’t honest with you. I’ll stay with Benjamin Franklin with a quote on honesty: “Trickery and treachery are the practices of fools that have not the wits enough to be honest.”

7. Communication – The protege needs to be vocal in whether concepts are clear. The protege also needs to be able to vocalize his or her thoughts and help steer their development. The protege doesn’t need to be a gifted speaker or the most opinionated, but they need to be able to carry on a conversation.

8. Confidence – This isn’t a must, but it’s probably necessary to start out with some resemblance of confidence. People, mentors included, are just naturally attracted to someone who is confident and comfortable in their skin.

9 & 10. I didn’t want to add something just to add it so I’m curious if there is anything you would add. I’d like to get your input and I’ll finish it up based on the best suggestion.

Let’s hear your suggestions for 9 and 10!

Photo by Martin Kingsley

Other Posts

10 Things to Look for in a Mentor
Want to Be Successful? – Get a Mentor
5 Reasons Why You Should Have a Store Front
5 Reasons Why You Should NOT have a Store Front
Case Study: My Adventures in Forex Trading (Update: 3/16)

Categories : Personal Development Tags : , ,

10 Things to Look for in a Mentor

Posted by 30 March, 2009 (10) Comment

3296070443_827150638a_b

This is the second part of a 5 part series.

1. Want to Be Successful? – Get a Mentor
2. 10 Things to Look for in a Mentor
3. 10 Things to Look for in a Protege
4. 5 Steps You Need to Take in Preparation of Being a Mentor/Protege
5. World’s Great Mentoring Relationships

1. Experienced – Mentors are typically older, but that is not a rule. As Bud Bilinch from Fast Company states, one of his mentors is 20 years younger than him and is teaching him the ways of the Web 2.0 world.

2. Character – Your mentor should be a person that you respect and admire. Many times a protege (mentee) patterns his or her life after the life of the mentor and thus you want to ensure you are following a person that with good moral standing.

3. Similar Goals – Find a mentor that has goals similar to yours. It can only help your chances of success if your mentor has already gone through a lot of the work you have in front of you.

4. Availability – Your mentor needs to be available for interaction. It can be great to have a really successful person mentoring you, but if they aren’t available to meet, it defeats the purpose of the arrangement.

5. Open-minded – You need a mentor that is open-minded. This will allow you to progress in a way you need to progress, not necessarily in the way the mentor would prefer.

6. Caring – We all want people to think what we’re doing is important especially our mentor. A mentor needs to care about your success just as much as you do. This is a person that should help you up when you fall and all of this starts with the mentor caring about you and your success.

7. Positive – Your mentor needs to be positive and help keep you positive. If you spend a meaningful amount of time with your mentor, and they are positive, this is bound to rub off on you. Remember, good thoughts in, good thoughts out. People want to work with other positive people. The future is bright and as Henry Ford says “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”

8. Focus – You want a mentor who is able to not only focus on you and what you would like to achieve, but also help you focus. For instance, let’s say you are new to starting a business and have a mentor who has been successful in starting many businesses over the past 30 years. Starting a business can be a daunting task. There’s a lot of things to think about and especially in the beginning, you have to wear many hats. A mentor can help direct you to what might be the most important point in terms of starting a business.

9. Believes in You – A mentor needs to believe in your potential. If they aren’t sold on you, they aren’t going to put all of their effort into the mentor-protege relationship. No one wins in this relationship and both parties are wasting their time.

10. Open and Honest – A mentor-protege relationship is most beneficial when you can both share experiences and bits of information that a normal acquaintance wouldn’t know about you. Openness and honesty also help build credibility and trust among the mentor and protege.

Remember, a mentoring relationship is only as good as the sum of it’s parts. This is only a guide line for what to look for in a mentor. You may add or subtract from this list as pertains to your situation.

Are there other qualities you look for in a mentor? How did you decide who your mentor was going to be?

Photo by: Puliarf

Other Posts

Want to Be Successful? – Get a Mentor
5 Reasons Why You Should Have a Store Front
5 Reasons Why You Should NOT have a Store Front
Case Study: My Adventures in Forex Trading (Update: 3/16)
Carnival of Personal Finance #197

Categories : Personal Development Tags : , ,

Want to Be Successful? – Get a Mentor

Posted by 26 March, 2009 (12) Comment

2691990934_6c587267f1_o

This is the first of five posts on mentoring. The other four will be posted in the coming weeks.

1. Want to Be Successful? – Get a Mentor
2. 10 Things to Look for in a Mentor
3. 10 Things to Look for in a Protege
4. 5 Things You Need to Do in Preparation of Being a Mentor/Protege
5. World’s Greatest Mentoring Relationships

You’ve heard the saying: "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Well, success is too. Success is whatever you want it to be, but "there are two ways to acquire wisdom; you can either buy it or borrow it." You should by no means take a short cut because you will only be short changing yourself, but if there is an easier way to do something, do that. Get a mentor.

What does having a mentor mean?

From Wikipedia:

One definition of the many that has been proposed, is "Mentoring is a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career, or professional development;mentoring entails informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is percieved [sic] to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less (the protege)" (Bozeman, Feeney, 2007).

Personal Story

I’ve had official and unofficial mentoring relationships. I’ll be honest that my past mentoring relationships, in my opinion, have not been that beneficial. However, I have 3 separate relationships with people that I think could evolve into a mentor – protege relationship. One of the relationships that you all are familiar with is my mentoring relationship with my FOREX mentor. I feel safe in saying that there is no way I would be where I am in my FOREX trading, and in such a short span of time, if it weren’t for her.

So, why do you need a mentor?

What are they going to offer you that you can’t find in a blog or a book?

1. A mentor offers a relationship. This is something a blog or book simply can’t offer. You might be able to have a relationship with a book or more likely a blog in 50 years through the evolution of technology, but I don’t see it changing anytime soon. Besides, having a relationship with a book just seems weird.

2. The mentor can give you advice and help guide your career. Mentors can be great sounding boards especially if you’re feeling lost or confused. Let’s see a book do that!

3. Mentors can offer encouragement especially if you are feeling discouraged, which is bound to happen when venturing into something completely new to you. Their encouragement can help you build the confidence necessary to venture out onto a new path.

4. A mentor can offer stories about their experiences that might pertain to your situation and be able to answer any questions you might have. This is especially important because a mentor’s ability to identify with you (because he/she at some point had to be where you are now to get to where they are now) enables you to envision yourself enjoying the same level of proficiency and success as he or she currently experiences.

By no means does having a mentor equal success, but it definitely can’t hurt. Some of the most successful people in the world had mentors. People are often regretful of what they did not do, not usually what they DID do.

Do you have a mentor? How has your mentoring experience gone?

This splendid photo is by: Sir Mervs

Other Posts You May Enjoy

5 Reasons Why You Should Have a Store Front
5 Reasons Why You Should NOT have a Store Front
Case Study: My Adventures in Forex Trading (Update: 3/16)
Book Review: Ready, Fire, Aim – Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat
Interview: Pledgehammer

Categories : Personal Development Tags : ,

5 Reasons Why You Should Have a Store Front

Posted by 23 March, 2009 (7) Comment

149135429_aa0a994510_o

In my previous post, I wrote about why you should not have a store front. Of course with all ideas, there are pros and cons to everything. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for you in your particular situation and different business have different needs.

1. Store fronts provide the store owner with walk in traffic – This may be more beneficial for some store owners than others. For instance, if you are next to restaurants or other businesses that receive a lot of foot traffic, you may be able to receive a portion of that traffic because of the proximity they are to your business.

Personal Story

My father’s third store was next to a hair cut establishment that provided quick hair cuts with an emphasis on catering to men and kids. I’m not sure if my father intentionally placed the store next to the hair cut business, but it paid dividends. For instance, if a family of four (mom, dad, and two kids) went into the hair salon, while one of the kids or the father was getting their hair cut, a lot of times one or both of the kids would come next door to my father’s store. Many times the parents didn’t buy anything for the kids, or if they did it was usually a small purchase, but a lot of times that short initial visit spawned subsequent visits.

2. Customer Interaction – As “connected” as we are today, nothing beats a face to face chat. If you have a website, you can call customers, e-mail, chat over Gtalk, or even chat over video, but it’s difficult to pick up on the tone of the speaker or their body language.

3. Establish Relationship and Trust – When the customer is in front of you, you are able to establish a relationship with him or her. There is an instant bit of trust involved in this connection even if it is a small. You, the business owner, allow the potential customer to put a business name with a face. If they come back, and they had a positive experience with you, they will find you. You are their connection to your business. This relationship or bit of trust can also be enhanced through your ability to tell jokes. Jokes, most often times, are difficult to convey over a website to a potential customer. It’s interactions and jokes than allow the you to build a rapport and create “raving fans.”

4. Provides Ample Selling Opportunities – It’s easy to suggest other products on a website after a customer has already committed to purchasing the initial product. A website could have “Other Customer’s Also Bought” and other suggestive links before the purchase to create additional sales. A lot of times, for me at least, that doesn’t work. When I feel like I am being pressured to buy, I do the opposite. However, if the sales person can convince me that I need it, then I might consider.

Personal Story

My wife and I were at the wireless store. She needed a new cell phone because she had lost her phone. She went and picked out the phone she wanted. We were intent on not buying any other accessories since we tend not to use them. However, when we got to the cash register, the salesman suggested we get a screen protector. My wife and I adamantly said “no.” We were fixated on NOT buying any accessories. However, the sales person made a few valid points that the screen will dull over time when placed inside of a jean pocket and scratch through the use of the touch screen. So we ended up purchasing the screen protector, but this would not have happened if we were purchasing through a website because this conversation would not have occurred.

5. Ability to see and feel the product – For instance, a speciality wedding dress shop may have a difficult time selling dresses online. Brides are usually very particular and an in-person measurement is most often times needed. Being able to see a fabric up close and feel its texture, especially for something as specialized as a wedding dress, is essential to most brides. Providing customers in a specialized market a physical shopping experience is almost always vital to making a sale. For a business selling more mundane products, like a book store, a store front is less of a necessity since a book is a product that does not necessarily need to be touched to convey worth and value.

What do you think? Do you have a store? Have you always wanted a store?

Photo by: Striatic

Other Posts You May Enjoy

5 Reasons Why You Should NOT have a Store Front
Case Study: My Adventures in Forex Trading (Update: 3/16)
Book Review: Ready, Fire, Aim – Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat
Carnival of Personal Finance 195th Edition

What Time Do You Wake Up?

Categories : Entrepreneur Tags :

5 Reasons Why You Should NOT have a Store Front

Posted by 19 March, 2009 (14) Comment

1444805520_7d7e4804cc_b

Opening a business is tough. A lot of great companies have started when the economy is down such as GE, Google, Microsoft, and Allstate. Whether times are tough or the economy is going strong, when it comes to a business, you’re only going to stay open as long as your sales exceed your expenses unless you happen to have a pile of cash to burn through. If the latter is the case, please e-mail me and I can help with that :).

Personal Story

My wife and I spoke having a store front the other day. She is interested in becoming a baker specializing in cakes and cupcakes. I hadn’t posted anything about her blog before, but you are welcome to take a look at it. If you take a look at her blog, you can see that she’s gotten pretty darn good at the art of baking and decorating cakes and cupcakes. If we were to make a pro/com list, there would surely be a good list for both, but this article will be focusing on the con portion of the list.

5 Reasons Why You Should NOT have a Store Front

1. Store Fronts are Expensive – This is a no-brainer, and the main reason why I don’t want a store front. Before you make any profit for the month, you have to make, in most cases, at least $1000 (I’m guessing on the rent) and up to $1000’s of dollars a month for nicer locations. This seems backwards to me. It seems silly that people should have to work really hard just to break even, not to mention how hard you have to work to make a few bucks on top of that. When I think of store fronts, I can’t help but think about being a sharecropper and that’s is not a positive image for me.

2. Vacations are gone – My dad had 3 different stores during his tenure as a business man. I always had a lot of fun in the last two stores (I was not born for the first store). The second store sold comics, costumes, and magic tricks. The third store sold sports cards, comics, magic the gathering cards, and Pokemon cards. Both stores were really cool as a little kid and teenager. If there was something I really wanted in there, I could talk to him about a way to work for that item. Looking back on my childhood though, there was one thing missing from our vacations: my father.

3. Time Away from Family – When you are getting a business off the ground, lots of time will be spent on the business. Most people value time with their family. If the business is located away from the home, this is more time spent away from your family. If you are able to keep your business at home, this inherently gives you more time with your family, although probably not much in terms of quality time. However, having the business at home may also allow you to avoid daycare partially or all together.

4. Less Flexibility – Here’s the deal. You have a store and it must be occupied by either yourself or an employee at all times. In the case of a bakery, hours during the week are typical and on Saturday at a minimum is required for potential customers. In addition to less flexibility in terms of time, there is also a lack of flexibility in terms of businesses’ finances. A lot of people are feeling the pain of America’s current financial state. If you have a store, and business goes down, that could certainly put your finances in a crunch. If you worked from home, you have less expenses overall and are more flexible if there is a dip in your business.

5. Added Expense – Rent is not the only cost associated with renting a space. In addition to the utilities such as electricity, cable, gas, there is also the expense of making the space as you see fit. Your landlord is more than likely not going to turn the space into what you desire. For example, my wife is interested in opening a bakery. If we were lucky enough to find a store front with a kitchen included, I think we should consider ourselves lucky. If we find a store front with a kitchen, we will need to make the kitchen to fit to the needs of a bakery. Some additional costs could be if there are repairs needed for the rented space and the cost of any potential employees.

I understand that some businesses have more of a need for a store front than others. For instance, a fast food place might rely on foot traffic for a lot of it’s revenue plus hunger is a pretty urgent need, but an online book retailer might be able to get away with not having a store front (i.e. Amazon).

What do you think about having a store front for your business?

Photo by: Any Jazz65

Other Posts You May Enjoy

Case Study: My Adventures in Forex Trading (Update: 3/16)
Interview: Pledgehammer
Book Review: Ready, Fire, Aim – Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat
What Time Do You Wake Up?
What Did The New Obama Speech About His Budget Mean to You?

Categories : Entrepreneur Tags :