In any field, having a professional mentor has almost become a must. And why wouldn’t it? Facing business challenges without any guidance may rightly feel like re-inventing the wheel. It might take years to figure out the A-B-C of the industry and by the time you are there, the momentum will likely be lost. Building upon the vast body of mentor’s knowledge, on the contrary, is guaranteed to give the entrepreneur a valuable advantage. When chosen correctly, the mentor will help you move faster towards your professional goals and avoid known pitfalls; an expertise stemming from years of mentors’ experience as entrepreneurs themselves.
What is great about mentors is that they come in ‘all shapes and sizes’ and can help you to handle the myriad of topics that you may want to advance in. Thus, it is important to reach out to mentors who have the expertise in your specific industry or your specific business problem -e.g., marketing issue vs. technology issue- and with a proven track record.
“When choosing for a mentor, it is important to remember that it is not the mentor’s role to either ‘make you feel good’ or ‘validate what you are planning to do’. Great mentors are not cheerleaders; expect them to push you, challenge your views and expand your thinking,” commented to Business Coaching Journal celebrity photographer, journalist, PR consultant and business mentor Joe Alvarez who works with businesses and individuals in the media industry.
“When choosing for a mentor, it is important to remember that it is not the mentor’s role to either ‘make you feel good’ or ‘validate what you are planning to do’. Great mentors are not cheerleaders; expect them to push you, challenge your views and expand your thinking,”
Joe Alvarez on becoming a professional mentor and what drives mentors
Joe Alvarez is a photographer and journalist established for many years in show business. Having an uncapped charisma Joe Alvarez admitted to us that for him the ‘mentoring career’ began organically. “I am a professional who built everything from ‘zero’. I became well-known in the industry, and after various TV and media appearances, some people decided I was the right person to approach for advice and mentoring. It was never something I decided to do; it just happened. I found myself mentoring friends, colleagues and business acquaintances at showbiz events and it just grew from there.”
Commenting on what drives him as a mentor, Joe Alvarez said: “I love what I do and am passionate about how relatively ‘easy’ it is for mentees to achieve their goals if they approach ideas and concepts with passion and LESS fear.” He continued: “I see so many people bailing out on their dreams through fear, insecurity, and the short term financial gains – ‘to keep them afloat’. The most rewarding thing for me as a mentor is to see people as happy to achieve their dreams as I was when I achieved mine.”
Joe hardly exaggerates speaking of achieving his dreams. Having dreamt of a career in photojournalism since he was ten years old, Joe stayed true to his passion. He made sure to photograph every ‘hero’ and ‘celebrity’ he ever wanted to meet – from motor racing champions to fighter jet pilots, rock stars he grew up listening to and every Hollywood celebrity. Most humbling experience in Joe’s words – his byline on the front cover, centrefold or anywhere in a printed, online, publication or TV, which he has amassed many through the years.
The top tip: The Journey is The Reward
“I always say that the biggest mistake one can make is to think of the short term goal,” commented Joe Alvarez. He continued, “Nothing will happen in minutes. Dedicate yourself to your project blindly – like I did, like many other have done – and love what you do.”
Be prepared for financial hardship: “I had to scale down on many things for the initial term, – seriously, lived like a starving student when I travelled from the North of England with £35 to my name and started as a full-time photographer – that led to what I have achieved now. The main ethos is: Never Give Up, and focus on your dream. Have complete faith that your dream will come true. With this, you WILL succeed.”
According to successful entrepreneur and business mentor Joe Alvarez, great mentors won’t indulge you in ego-stroking but will hold accountable for your actions and your success will be the best reward.