The Right Mentor for the Solopreneur

I’m a firm believer that finding the right mentor is critical, especially for the solopreneur. The true solopreneur is a special case of entrepreneur and finding the right mentor is critical. I’ll show you why.

Solopreneurs are people who are in business by themselves. They’re flying solo! Yes, most businesses start of this way, but true solopreneurs intend to stay solo.

The right mentor for the solopreneur understands that solopreneurs have a mindset–aspirations for and attitudes about their business–and business practices that differ from other types of entrepreneurs. Solopreneurs are a different kind of cat. For starts, they PREFER to work alone. They don’t intend to grow the business to the point where they need to hire staff and then, rather than doing the work themselves, spend their time managing staff and promoting the business. True solopreneurs are doers, not managers. When extra hands are needed, solopreneurs prefer to outsource or subcontract the work.

The right mentor for a solopreneur “gets” this about them. They don’t try to convince the solopreneur to have a plan to grow their business to the point where the business owner has to take on staff and convert to managing the operations rather than producing the products and delivering service. It’s critical that a mentor understands this about solopreneurs.

The best strategies for mentoring a solopreneur take these truths into account. The right mentor encourages the solopreneur to take Dan Pontefract’s advice and practice Open Thinking: slow down, think creatively, and learn to make better decisions. The right mentor focuses on helping the solopreneur develop what I call the ARC: agency (the capacity to act independently and make choices), resilience (the ability to bounce back from adversity), and confidence (a feeling of self-assurance in one’s abilities and qualities).

Of course, every entrepreneur needs a dose of ARC, solopreneur or not. But the mentor needs to understand the larger context of the solopreneur and take their mindset and business practices into account. Otherwise, mentor and mentee will be working at cross-purposes, which will be frustrating and counter-productive.