I recently wrote about how a “virtual mentor” helped me double my business in the space of just two years. Readers were astonished by how easy it can be to “hire” one. Some had already been “employing” one without realizing it!
If you haven’t yet read that post, let me explain…
An ideal mentor, as online marketing guru Amy Porterfield puts it, is…
“…someone who has been in the trenches before you…who has succeeded in similar ways and accomplished things that you want to accomplish.”
We coaches could all use a good mentor to guide us on marketing, admin best practices, business strategy, etc. Maybe you’ve hired a mentor coach or a business coach, or participated in a mastermind.
If you’ve got someone like that in your corner, Yay!
A virtual mentor is all the above who you can learn from without ever speaking to or corresponding with them. Or paying them!
For instance, the aforementioned Amy Porterfield, whose online business has generated over $30 million, was one of my virtual mentors: Just by cherry-picking advice from her podcast, closely following how she brands and markets herself, and replicating the practices that were relevant to my goals, I was able to significantly up my marketing game – and my business – without spending a nickel on her paid offerings.
So, a virtual mentor is someone you follow, continually learn from and be challenged by – 100% virtually and for free.
Broadly speaking there are two ways to go for us coaches: Latch onto another coach whose practices or business model you aspire to, or choose an influential expert whose primary business is teaching marketing/business-building.
A well-established coach can be a great virtual mentor if:
But there are two potential downsides to a coach as a virtual mentor:
First, they’re less likely to be practicing absolute best-of-the-best practices compared to an uber-successful expert.
With all due respect and love for my fellow coaches, very few employ whiz-bang branding, marketing or business-building chops – three of the most important areas a virtual mentor can mentor you in.
Second, most coaches have a “B2C” model – with their content mainly geared to consumers rather than other solopreneurs. Yes, you can take inspiration from their overall marketing and business model, but they don’t generate the tons of free business-building content (tools, blogs/videos/podcasts) that a strictly “B2B” influencer/expert does.
So, my advice is to latch on to a super-successful influencer or marketer sharing the latest best-of-the-best practices and resources on a regular basis. Specific considerations:
Two more bits of guidance in choosing…
Virtual Mentor vs Someone You Admire: My computer desktop image is a picture of Sir Richard Branson, whom I admire and, in some ways, try to emulate. But he’s not a mentor. Because he’s not a solopreneur like me. He hasn’t built a business like mine. And he doesn’t do the marketing of a solopreneur, so he’s certainly not sharing content I can directly translate into action on behalf of my businesses.
Focus on ONE Virtual Mentor at a Time: You may already have some virtual mentors – coaches and experts from whom you take inspiration and borrow ideas. But beware of “skimming” from a bunch of them.
Go deep with ONE at a time depending on what the current season of your business demands.
“If you're taking advice from [too many] influencers, experts, gurus, teachers, mentors…you're stunting your business growth.” – Amy Porterfield
Change virtual mentors as your goals change. I certainly did. Here’s how I’ve “employed” a range of virtual mentors over the years…
Gary Vee (2010) is an inspiration for all solopreneurs, and I harnessed his advice and attitude to launch ADD Crusher™, the first of my Crusher™ businesses.
Marie Forleo (2011-2013) guided me in the post-launch of ADD Crusher™ with free content on list-building and copywriting.
The Membership Guys (2015-2016) helped me launch my Crusher™TV Membership with their podcasts and plethora of free content/tools.
Amy Porterfield (2018-2019) is so good at so many things, but I mainly tapped her for creating powerful webinars and upgrading my branding and marketing.
Get the free stuff first. Remember, you don’t have to buy anything from your virtual mentor to get huge “ROI.” You can “steal” so much of value from their emails, website design, freemiums, etc.
Only buy when it’s necessary for advancing toward your intended outcome.
Virtual plus real-life mentors. A virtual mentor needn’t be to the exclusion of a real-life mentor, business coach or a seat in a paid mastermind. If you have the budget and the bandwidth to implement all that wisdom on offer, go for it!
Working hard in your business but not feeling enough traction from your efforts is a sign you could use a virtual mentor, who can give you goals to shoot for, the to-do list, the roadmap – and even the templates – to up your game on anything from motivation to social media and marketing to adding a new business scaling component.
I hope you’ll take some time soon to brainstorm on this, and in addition to those mentioned above, some other influencers/experts who might inspire you (for free!) to best practices are Jasmine Star (Instagram goddess), Stu McLaren (memberships and business strategy), Brooke Castillo (great branding and design) and Brendan Burchard (great messaging and marketing tactics).
Happy brainstorming! In the meantime, feel free to “steal” something from me!
P.S. Do you find writing new content for your blogs, videos or social media posts um, hard? You're not alone. It is indeed hard. And yet new content is critical in building your awareness and reputation.
That's why I created my 7 Hacks for Faster and Easier Writing cheat sheet, sharing some of my best writing tricks from 30 years of making a living creating content (despite a few learning disabilities – so if they work for me, they’ll work even better for YOU).
Click here to grab this indispensable cheat sheet.