(Editor's Note: Our guest post today comes from a true professional who's generously blogged for us before - welcome Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services! Learn more about Kevin at the end of the post!)
Have you ever felt alone in the industry, as if you had to forge your own path and figure things out along the way? Do you ever feel that you could use a bit of guidance to put you in the right direction? Have you hit obstacles without any clue about how to overcome them?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to start the hunt for a mentor. The wedding industry is chockfull of experienced professionals, so there’s no need to ever feel like you’re in this alone. Once you have even an inkling of the direction you’d like to take, it’s time to find someone that inspires you and can answer questions.
Where do I look?
This is a tough one – mentors are all around you, so you can really look everywhere! Attend networking events, conferences, and conventions to seek out the more established professionals and look for one that you can really connect with on a personal level. A big part of finding your mentor is just being involved in your industry and getting out there to talk to people.
What should I look for?
A mentorship is a long-term relationship, so it’s important to find someone that you not only like and connect with but who really inspires you to push the envelope. Look at their credibility and reputation to see how they’re successful they are and observe whether they portray themselves in a positive matter. You’ll also want to be sure it’s someone that is easy to communicate with, as that will form the foundation of your relationship.
I think I found ‘the one.’ Now what?
Start out by getting to know one another – you don’t want to rush to introduction process. Take your new mentor out to lunch and get to know on a personal level so you can build an aspect of trust. The business side of things will come naturally! Once you do start talking business, it may make sense to schedule regular meetings to evaluate your progress and discuss how you can continue to improve your company operations. Also, make it a goal to attend as many networking events as possible together. This will not only serve as an example of how to work the room, but you’ll also get to meet lots of industry peers and expand your professional network!
There is never a wrong time to find a mentor, so it’s better to find one before you really need the guidance. Give yourself plenty of time to meet and choose the person who best understands you before jumping in. Allow the relationship to form naturally – if there’s a true connection between you and your mentor, the friendship will be organic!
Kevin Dennis is the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the current chapter president for Silicon Valley NACE, and the immediate past national president for WIPA.