Get mentors. Get mentors. Get mentors.
One of my mentors told me that they're like life's cheatcodes.
And I whole-heartedly agree.
It took me 5 years after starting my software development to start reading books and start meeting with mentors.
And the difference is night and day. I wish I had learned from mentors sooner.
Solid mentors have been right where you are and can provide you with a point of view you aren't aware of and alert you to your blindspots.
In my opinion, no one should start a business without a mentor.
Especially not when you plan to employ others.
So the big question remains, how do you find a mentor?
The simple answer is that you've got to put yourself out there and you've got to ask.
I've found my mentors by using the following strategies:
But remember, the people you'd want as your mentors are likely extremely busy, so don't waste their time.
These things make potential mentors more likely to say yes:
With all of that being said, the best way to find your mentors in my opinion is to join a startup incubator. Sometimes it costs you money to be a part of the community but it's so worth it!
Startup incubators exist for the sole purpose of helping businesses in the idea stage mature into something more.
So they have mentor networks, events, and communities that exist solely to help you grow.
You can use this search engine I built to find one. Right now, it's only for Virginia.
But ultimately, find at least a couple of mentors before you proceed. And find mentors with different specialties if you can.
If you have incubators in your area, join one!
They make everything so much easier at this phase.
But if you don't, it's OK, try and find a co-working space in your area.
You want to take a step forward and surround yourself with a supportive community.
Either way keep moving forward and find mentors using the strategies I mentioned.
Having solid mentors changes everything.
Make finding mentors a priority.