Doing Business as a Designer: Get Yourself a Mentor

Posted on June 29, 2010


Want to develop your design business faster?
Looking for new opportunity in other markets?
Is there too much competition in your area of design expertise?
Do you lack direction when it comes to starting your design business?
Do you feel lost or overwhelmed in starting your design business?
Do you want strong leadership that will propel your design business beyond your expectations?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, keep reading.

Business veterans from every industry want to help people like you. Believe me, they really do.

I have met veteran design business owners who have become mentors in schools and at the Small Business Administration (SBA) and/or SCORE; both U.S. based organizations dedicated to helping startups or small companies of all sorts. This is just one way of meeting mentors. You can also meet mentors by approaching them directly or at networking events.

Every one of these mentors wants to help you succeed. They are motivated by giving back to the community and witnessing success from mentees who give it their best effort to succeed. They have life long ambitions and work hard at it; just as you do. Remember, they where once like you; struggling for success.

Mentors will tell you what you need to do, especially for startup companies. They want to coach you; but you must also be coachable.


  • You must listen and ask questions
  • If you don’t know an answer to a question, tell them “I don’t know.”
  • Be humble; accept that you don’t know everything and you are willing to learn. Most of these mentors have more than 20 years of business experience. You are going to get “schooled”, so don’t fight them.
  • Do your homework. They will assign you research projects so you can understand your market better than your competitors. After accomplishing this, you will see opportunity that others cannot. You will also understand intimately your business, the market you serve, and your competitors.
  • Don’t waste their time. They are running a business while helping you succeed. Most have families they come home to. This is a serious opportunity so don’t waste it.
  • Be honest; tell them about your situation, your schedule, and anything else detrimental to your business and personal life. This way, they know what to expect.

The effect mentors have on your business can be very astounding. One of the biggest benefits is saving time; something that cannot be bought in large quantities.