The 5 Best Places to Find a Mentor for Your Startup

These are some of the best places you're liable to find a mentor for your startup company.

If you're starting a business for the first time, I highly advise you to seek mentorship. There's a lot about starting, running, and owning a business that business school won't teach you, and the best way to learn those lessons (other than learning from the pain of your own mistakes) is to learn them from someone who's been through them in the past.

Even if you have experience in your industry and what you believe to be a solid business plan, a mentor will help guide you, reaffirm or provide alternative perspective for your ideas, and if nothing else will serve as a great support system when you become stressed or overwhelmed.

But where do you go to find mentors? These are five of the best places:

1. Networking events. First up, there's the conventional route of networking events. It's a good way to expand your professional network and find new partnerships--so even if you don't meet a mentor, you should at least walk away with some valuable new connections.
2. Mentorship sites. There are some sites dedicated to pairing mentors with new entrepreneurs. Keep an eye out for opportunities near you or ones dedicated to your specific niche.
3. Social media. You could always scout for influencers and experienced entrepreneurs on social media; just be aware that it may be hard to attract their initial attention due to overwhelming inquiries.
4. Volunteering. Many retired entrepreneurs spend their time volunteering. It's a good way to meet people who are willing to donate some of their time to a good cause.
5. Friends and family. Don't underestimate the networking power of your own friends and family. Ask around to see if friends of friends have owned businesses in the past, or if they can make recommendations for people to talk to.

Mentors aren't as hard to find as you might think; lots of seasoned entrepreneurs are passionate about business ownership, and would be happy to lend you some of their time and experience. Be open to new opportunities, treat people with kindness and respect, and you'll find the guidance you need in due time.