Click here to download the PDF version of the transcript.
AMY PORTERFIELD: “If you're taking advice from more than three influencers, experts, gurus, teachers, mentors, call it what you'd like, you're stunting your business growth. Now, I'd like to clarify something: the difference between mentors and people who you admire, both online and in person A mentor has gone before you and has succeeded in a way that you aspire to succeed to. They give you tools and content that you can directly apply to your business and even your life. Conversely, people who you admire, you enjoy following them and seeing what they're up to. However, they don't necessarily align with your needs or ambition of your business.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.
AMY: Let go of that client by the ne
xt time I see you, and don’t you dare bring any excuses with you next time we meet. That’s what Marie Forleo, my mentor when I was just starting out, said to me. And yeah, it was tough to hear. I'm not going to lie. When you're in the thick of building a business, it's easy to get stuck. You've got your eye on the prize, and the last thing you want to hear is that you might not be making the best decisions or taking the best approach, or you might need to rethink something that you've been working on or that you're making excuses because you're scared. Can you relate? It's hard to hear, right? And if you're just starting out and you haven't had an experience like that yet, fair warning, that time will come.
But here's the light in that experience. Oftentimes receiving this tough love, it can be one of the best things for you and your business. For me, when Marie said all that to me, I felt a huge tinge of pain inside. And I also remember thinking, “That is so hard to hear. I'm a bit embarrassed that I needed to hear that tough love. But it's so true.” Even if I didn't want to admit it then and there, that's how I felt. After hearing this feedback and taking it to heart, things started to shift in my business. I started to see traction. I found more clarity, and my business started to grow. And that, my friend, is why I'm a big believer in having a mentor, whether you're just starting out or you've been in business for years. A mentor is someone who has been in the trenches before you, someone who has succeeded in similar ways and accomplished things that you want to accomplish, someone who has your best interests in mind and because of that, can be real and honest with you.
So today we're going to talk about mentors; why they're important at every season of your business; why you should only have one, two, maybe three mentors max; and why your business depends on it, along with the difference between working with a mentor one on one or in a mastermind or online through a course that your mentor offers. Plus, we'll talk about how to know which is best for you.
All right. Let’s get to the good stuff.
I couldn't talk about mentors without pointing out the importance of having only a few mentors, especially when it comes to business mentors. Now, I know my listeners very well. So many of you are just starting out or you're trying to figure out how to get started as an entrepreneur. Now, in that crucial time, selecting mentors can help guide you in the right direction in terms of your business, organization, and motivation. I also know that in these early stages, it's easy to follow about 100 or more people that you admire and consider them your mentors.
How do I know? Because I have done this in the past. In fact, it just recently happened to me, where I was making a really big decision in my business around hiring and firing. And I had a lot of voices in my head, with different mentors that I was consulting with, and none of the decisions I was making had to do with what I thought was right. I was taking advice from too many mentors. I recall watching all these people I admired and who I considered them mentors and then changing my direction constantly because one mentor would say this and then the other would say that, and then one would say this. And I was spinning, and it was exhausting.
You know that I'm all about a simple business and I'm all about staying the course and making minor adjustments when necessary. And I'll be the first to admit that when I had too many mentors, it was nearly impossible to keep things simple. This approach, to keep your mentors to a minimum, has proven to be the most effective way to build a successful business, for both me personally and for the business of thousands of my students. And this, my friend, is exactly why I want to challenge you to keep your mentors to a select few. I'm talking one, two, three, maybe four. But to be honest, that might even be pushing it.
When you have too many mentors, you get too many opinions, and you know it never goes well when you have too many cooks in the kitchen. Plus, what I love about identifying your top few mentors is that it allows you to build trust and also cultivate a relationship with them, even if it's just online. It allows you to be a student and begin to know and deeply understand their processes, strategies, and approaches so that you can duplicate what's worked for them and see results in your own business.
If you're taking advice from more than three influencers, experts, gurus, teachers, mentors, call it what you'd like, you're stunting your business growth. Now, I'd like to clarify something: the difference between mentors and people who you admire, both online and in person A mentor has gone before you and has succeeded in a way that you aspire to succeed to. They give you tools and content that you can directly apply to your business and even your life. Conversely, people who you admire, you enjoy following them and seeing what they're up to. However, they don't necessarily align with your needs or ambition of your business. I think the biggest distinction when it comes to a mentor is that with a mentor you take time to truly understand their values, their philosophies. You're a student of how they do business, and you feel that you're aligned with all those things. And this is something that happens over time, not necessarily right away.
For example, as you know, some of my mentors include Marie Forleo and Michael Hyatt. I continuously study and examine what they're doing in their business and why, and I use the content and the tools they offer to help me grow professionally. On the other hand, people I admire and love to follow include Oprah and Sara Blakely. These are people that I thoroughly enjoy following on social media, and I learn from them. However, I don't know enough about their processes and approaches and systems in their business, so I'm not really sure if they align with the needs of my business. Plus, they don't teach business at the level of, let's say, Michael and Marie. So it's just a different ballgame.
Now that you have a clear understanding of who a mentor is versus someone you admire, I want you to write a list of all the people you believe are your mentors and all the people you admire as well.
And by the way, I have a freebie for you, with five questions to help you identify your mentors in a noisy online world. So head on over to amyporterfield.com/309. That will take you to my show notes, and you can grab that freebie.
So, going back to that list that you're going to write out with all your mentors and people you admire, I want you to look at that list and decide who has succeeded and created a life and a business similar to what you'd like to create. And I want you to start to eliminate names off of that list. Remember, you should be left with only a few people who align with your needs and desires and goals of where you are right now in your business.
I also want you to consider, do these people that you consider your mentor, do they let you in? Online, of course; you don't have to know them personally. But do they share enough that you can learn from them about how they run their business?
That's why I always look at Oprah as someone I admire. She shares some really great insight about building her business and how she thinks about things and how she approaches things. But really how she did it, the mechanics, the specifics, the details, she doesn't share all that. So I can admire and learn so much from her, but when it comes to brass tacks, I need to learn from someone that’s going to share their marketing strategies, their business strategies, their processes, their systems, so that I could really understand and apply it to my own business. Do you see the difference there?
Now, once you have your list of potential mentors, I want you to study them; learn from them; let their guidance, their content, their tools, and courses—you know how I feel about those digital courses. Hopefully, your mentor has digital courses or a mastermind or one-on-one coaching or whatever it might be—but I want you to learn from them, study what they're doing so that you can start moving down the path to get to the success that you want.
Now, again, notice I said digital courses. I firmly believe that when you find your go-to mentor or mentors, one of the best ways to learn from them is investing in their course or, again, whatever kind of coaching or mentoring they offer. You've probably heard me talk about this before, but when I was first building my business, one of the biggest and best choices I ever made was investing in a mentorship. Back in the day—you've heard me talk about it—it was called Rich, Happy & Hot, with Marie Forleo. And it was not only a huge investment—$17,000 to be exact, that I did not have—it was also a huge stretch for me and my business. So this mastermind was all about mentoring and coaching, and it was invaluable.
Because here's the thing. When we're in our business day in and day out, it's easy to get stuck. It's easy to miss out on areas where we need to grow, and it's really easy just to hold ourselves back due to fear. So when you work with a mentor in whatever way you want to work with that mentor, oftentimes you gain a community from doing so, so people who value the different things you value in building your business and people that can give you advice and guidance.
So not only did I get great feedback from Marie, but there was a group of twenty entrepreneurial women, all at different stages of building their business, and the feedback I got was incredible. The friendships, way back ten years ago, I still am friends with those people. So that part is invaluable as well.
Okay, so, the big question I often get is, how do you know when you're ready to work with a mentor? And let me just start out by saying that you'll most likely feel like you're not ready to work with a mentor or teacher when in actuality you are. To be honest, you're ready when you make the decision to commit to your business. And by saying that, I don't mean just jump into a program or a course or a coaching group because it sounds sexy. Do your research; build that trust and those relationships with your mentors; listen to their podcast; watch their videos; follow them on social media; sign up for their freebies and put them to use within your business.
Some of my most favorite people that I get to work with inside of my communities, because you all know that I have a program called Digital Course Academy®️, and when people go through my digital-course program, I have twelve weeks of a community where I am live every single day, Monday through Thursday, on video. So I really connect with my community. And one of my most favorite things is when I get to work with people inside of that community, their brand new to Digital Course Academy®️, but they've listened to my podcast, they've watched my videos, they've downloaded my freebees, they know my content, they know my teaching style, they know my history of what I teach and how I teach it. So they already have a head start. And I really do think they get immense value from that, but I also enjoy working with them because it's almost like we speak the same language. So I can give them value even faster because we're totally on the same page. They know me well. They already trust me. That's another big factor to that.
Okay, so, once you do the research, once you really start to look into this, the great news is that you'll know in your heart who you're meant to work with, who you want to be in proximity with, who you believe will help you succeed and achieve the goals that you desire. And you'll know who is the right fit for you in your business. Trust me. If you just get quiet and you just think about it, you'll know. But don't hold yourself back by knowing and not investing.
So that's the next thing I really want to talk to you about, because one question I get often is, should I work one on one with a coach or in a group mastermind? And this is such a great question, and there are really benefits to both. And I have done both as well on my journey to building this business.
So the upside of working one on one with a coach is that you'll have the opportunity to identify tasks specific to your vision, specific to your goals, to your trajectory. Having that one-on-one attention is so beneficial. The downside of working individually with a coach is it's most often very expensive.
The first time I started to work with a one-on-one coach, it wasn't until years and years into my business. I started out with the mastermind where that was also around the exact time I started out with B-School, Marie Forleo’s digital course. So I was doing the mastermind as well as her digital course. And quite honestly, I think I got more value out of the digital course because I’m such a specific step by step kind of girl, and I wanted those strategies. Plus, I'm totally an introvert, so being in the mastermind so early on in my business, I was a nervous wreck. Ask Marie; she’ll tell you. I had zero confidence. I never wanted to speak up. I always went last when we had hot seats. I hated it. Although I would never take back that experience, I was in her mastermind for two years, and I don't think I was totally ready the first year. I think if I had gone through her digital course and then went into the mastermind, I think that I would have showed up so differently and gotten so much out of the mastermind, I would've had more confidence. So that's just my own unique experience, but just wanted to throw that out there.
But years later, I ended up working with a one-on-one coach around my business for about, I don't know, six to nine months. And that was really beneficial as well. So I often feel that hiring a one-on-one coach is most beneficial when you've gained some traction in your business.
So for a couple of reasons. One, because you have much more income to spend on a coach. So I didn't show up with this coach and every day think, “Oh my god, this is too expensive. Oh my god, this is too expensive.” You've been there, right? You've invested in something, but all you can think about is how much money it was, so you can't let go and just let yourself learn. We've all been there. So once I had enough money that I didn't have to worry about the investment, working one on one with the coach was a good experience.
And two, because you've gotten more clarity around your business, your ideal-customer avatar, the direction you want to go, working with a one-on-one coach just becomes more valuable. That clarity often leads to bigger results because you can talk to your coach about specifics. You're not confused. You're not kind of all over the place. You're not really struggling with tons of confidence issues. I think in your business when you've been at it for a while and then you hire a one-on-one coach, just a whole different ballgame.
So I tend to say do a digital course first, then look into some kind of group coaching, membership experience that feels like group coaching—like I have Momentum for my Digital Course Academy®️ students. That's like a group coaching—and then possibly a mastermind, and then, I would go into one-on-one coaching when I have more money. That’s how I would do it.
And speaking of masterminds, I have been in many, many masterminds. In fact, right now I'm in BusinessAccelerator, which is Michael Hyatt's mastermind. And I love it. It's a game changer for me. I feel like it's really high level. It's where my business is right now. And like I said, I've been in Marie’s mastermind for two years when she used to offer it. She doesn’t offer it anymore. And then I was in a mastermind with my peers as well.
So I did a lot of masterminds where I didn't pay for the mastermind. But James Wedmore and Stu McLaren and some other people, we were all in a mastermind, like a friend mastermind, together. That was probably one of the best masterminds I've ever done. But we had been in business for a few years. I had hit the million-dollar mark in my business, and it was incredibly beneficial. So there's different masterminds you could do as well. But that friend mastermind, I wouldn't necessarily look at those people as my mentor, so that was just a whole different experience. I like the idea of when you're ready of paying for it, when you have skin in the game. It's just a whole different experience.
But the part I like about a mastermind is the feedback you get, the ideas from other like-minded individuals and so much clarity as people are talking to each other and sharing ideas and sharing challenges. So I do like the masterminds, not just because you're more in proximity with your mentor, but because of the community as well. And I think that's why I offer a really amazing community inside Digital Course Academy®️ and for my membership Momentum, because I do believe it's not just all about me as their mentor; it's about the community helping each other. But like-minded people in the trenches together, that's the beauty of it.
Now, everyone is different, and at the end of the day, you have to decide what's best for you and your business. But I believe that investing in a digital course first, a digital course that has an awesome community, and then maybe moving into either group coaching or a mastermind is a highly effective formula for you to really start solidifying those big goals that you've set for yourself.
And one beautiful thing about investing in, let's say, a digital course is that you can stop wasting your time guessing and really get the answers you need from somebody that you know has gone before you with a proven roadmap. So, I mean, I'm biased. I could go on and on about the value of investing in digital courses as well as creating digital courses in your own business. It goes both ways. It's a game changer. Because if you think about it, if you invest in a digital course from someone you consider your mentor, you are getting their step-by-step system. That's what I mean by learning from people I admire versus mentors that are going to take me behind the scenes. That is a totally different experience. So if you have a mentor that has a digital course and you haven't invested in that yet, that's the first thing I want you to do.
I love this quote from one of my Digital Course Academy®️ students, Nicole Melton. Nicole, I love you. Shout out to you, girl. She's had a few five-figure launches with her online business and her course, Beauty Content Studio. And here's what she said about investing in an online course and community. She said,
“Think about the time you will save Googling until you're blue in the face, watching free YouTube videos, and trying to piece things together. I wasted too much precious time doing just that. You have a proven solution from someone who is so passionate, and a step-by-step solution that you can implement right away. You have a business, and you have to invest in your business to market, learn, and grow.”
And she was talking about Digital Course Academy®️, but I believe that goes for all the different digital courses that you can invest in from people you trust and admire and know that they're going to show you their roadmap. Why would we ever want to waste our time hunting and pecking all over the web for answers from people we don't even know have gotten results or not? They could be total liars. Unfortunately, many of them are.
And so when you do the research, when you study who your mentors are, and then you invest in them, whole different ballgame, my friends. So I highly encourage you to find your mentor or mentors—not too many—and really think about investing in them the way that feels right to you, because that's your roadmap. If you're confused, if you're stuck, if you're challenged, find your mentor and double down with those people, few people, that you really trust to show you how to do business right.
All right. Hopefully, you're feeling a little more clear about your mentors, who they are, and how you can utilize them properly to help move your business forward.
So let's recap what we talked about in this episode.
Remember the importance of only having a few mentors. If you have too many, you truly could be stunting your business growth. Now, head on over to my show notes at amyporterfield.com/309. I've got a free worksheet there that will help you to identify the right mentor for you. So go check that out. I think it will be really helpful, especially if you have no mentors or maybe too many.
And by the way, I would love to be one of your mentors. Hopefully, many of you are thinking, “Of course, Amy. You're my mentor. I tune in every single week,” or “I'm in List Builders Society®️,” or “I'm going to join Digital Course Academy®️ this year.” I hope that's what you're thinking. But if you don't know me well yet, maybe the first place to start is in my free Facebook group. It's called Online Marketing Made Easy. We created it to support this podcast. And there are so many great conversations going on, and you can just get to know my world a little bit more by joining that free Facebook group. So search for Online Marketing Made Easy and join the group and make sure to say hello.
Okay, now in addition, don't forget the difference between mentors and people you admire. Mentors are people who have accomplished what you'd like to accomplish before you, and they're willing to share behind the scenes so that you can see how it's done. If they're not sharing much of how they've built the business, you can admire them, you can even learn from them, but they wouldn't be somebody that you would be considering a mentor where then you can invest in them. Because I can't recommend enough that once you decide on your mentor or mentors, put some skin in the game. It's time to invest. I like the idea of first investing via a digital course, and then if they offer something like a membership or a group coaching, that's always a next great step, and then possibly a mastermind. And from there, if they've got a live event, buy a ticket, show up for their live event. Getting in proximity with not only them, but the people that they attract, the people that are also in the trenches with you, that community could be just as valuable as the mentor that you're following. Quite honestly, if you're feeling stuck in your business, finding your mentor and investing in whatever which way feels right for you could be the perfect next step.
All right. So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I've got a lot more coming your way, including bonus episodes. So make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss a thing.
I cannot wait to talk to you again same time, same place next week. Bye for now.