Starting and running your own business is one of the key pieces of creating wealth. Most of us think that we don’t have the means to do this because we were never entrepreneurs to begin with, but the truth is that a lot of us are born entrepreneurs. Most of us have that entrepreneurial spirit that allows us to make business out of whatever skills we have – it’s just that school and various other influences train us to become employees instead.
So how should you go about reviving that entrepreneurial spirit that’s been bred out of you by school? You breed it back in, of course. The best way to do that is to use the oldest form of education – mentorship.
Mentorship has been around for so long that no one really knows how and when the practice began. The term “mentor” is derived from the character Mentor from Homer’s the Odyssey, an old man the goddess Athena disguises herself as to guide young Telemachus through difficult times. In a sense, a mentor is someone who serves as a guide for a younger, inexperienced person through giving them advice and setting a good example.
There are many methods of mentorship, each varying according to the mentor, the apprentice, and the business the mentee is being apprenticed in. Some of the popular methods include:
• Accompanying: In this method, the mentor actually joins the apprentice in the learning process like an equal. This was used by cathedral builders during the Medieval era to effectively train novice builders.
• Catalyzing: This is a more drastic method wherein the mentor drops the apprentice right into situation that is drastically different from the one the apprentice starts out in. This sudden change and the pressure that comes with it push the apprentice to change their way of thinking, their values, or even their own identity to adapt.
• Showing: Probably one of the most basic methods of mentorship. This process involves the mentor showing or demonstrating a new skill to the apprentice so that they can learn it themselves.
• Harvesting: This is usually used in conjunction with other methods, as it involves asking the apprentice key questions like “What have you learned?” after a particular learning experience. This helps reinforce what the apprentice has learned, and the knowledge that they will be “quizzed” afterward often gives them more incentive to work harder.
In the case of entrepreneurship, you should look for a more experienced and successful businessman, and enter a mentorship with them. Though there are entrepreneurs who have formal mentorship programs, even those who don’t may be open to teaching you what they know. Of course, this will most likely involve you working for them for free, but although this might seem like as step backwards because of the lack of income, bringing out your own entrepreneurial spirit is well worth the time and effort. After your apprenticeship, you’ll be able to stand on your own two feet to manage your own business, and who knows, maybe someday aspiring entrepreneurs will approach you for mentorship too.