The idea of spending money on a mentor, particularly when starting out or freelancing part-time may seem like the last thing on your shopping list but it may just be the one investment that saves you the most money in your career.

Freelancers just want to get on with it. You're taken a course, finished uni, studied online or taught yourself and now it's time to pick up a bit of extra work or start landing regular clients. Simple, right? Wrong. Many freelancers run out of money in the first year of business and others doing it as a side-hustle find that they spend way too much time looking for new jobs, chasing invoices, sorting out their site or portfolio and not doing the work. 

Business mentoring is now backed by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills and is recognised as an important factor in professional development. Studies have shown that most people who succeed do so with the support and guidance of another and indeed many of history’s most influential people have had a mentor at some point in their career. With freelance support, many have found they can suddenly tackle far bigger obstacles, as they are able to draw upon the experience and wisdom of someone who has been through similar issues and succeeded. For this reason, many choose a mentor who is older or more advanced in their career than they are.

mentor meeting
When starting out in your career there will always be moments when the going gets tough, particularly in creative industries where the competition can be fierce. Mentors can provide the practical advice, inspiration, and encouragement required to believe in yourself and carry on, consistently keeping you on the path to achieving your dreams and aspirations. This is particularly important, acting as a reminder that success takes time and hard work - without a person to compare stories and difficulties with, it is easy to lose sight of your goals, which could result in giving up altogether.
Any mentor who has made their name within the industry will know what it takes to succeed, both professionally and emotionally. This freelance advice is what will become most invaluable during a mentor-mentee relationship as it enables you to learn from another’s mistakes and be inspired by their successes. This guidance is useful when you find yourself faced with difficult decisions - you can draw on the wisdom of your mentor to guide you and at the same time learn about the best way to behave in certain professional situations.
Becoming a valued professional, particularly as a freelancer where you represent yourself and your own brand, is an incredibly complex process. A mentor who has already walked that road will be able to teach you how to navigate, and get the most from situations such as networking events, building client relationships and even financial management techniques. During this initial learning process, a mentor will also act as a sounding board, listening to any anxiety you may have and helping you to work towards dispelling it.
By making mentoring a part of your professional development throughout all stages of your career, you could find you find the inspiration and confidence needed to pursue your goals. Mentoring is increasingly becoming a part of business development in large and small organisations and it is up to us as freelancers to take responsibility to introduce this successful approach in our own lives. Of course, a mentor won’t sweep in and solve all of your problems, but it could help you recognise and realise your full potential whilst saving you time, effort and money.

To find your perfect mentor, browse our directory of Freelancers and send them a message. We don't take any commission or charge any fees.