How to Find a Freelance Mentor and Why You Should


You may think that as a freelancer, you don’t require the services of a mentor. After all, you’re in business for yourself. A mentor, however, wants you to succeed and is there to help you overcome whatever barriers you may face.

Though most firms have a mentor program for employees, it‘s up to you as a freelancer to find and build a connection. How do you go about finding a freelance mentor? And what qualities should you be looking for in one?

What exactly is a freelance mentor?

A freelance mentor is exactly what it sounds like: someone who understands what it takes to be a successful freelancer and is ready to share their thoughts and experiences to help you advance your freelance business.

How can a freelance mentor assist you?

In any career, it’s beneficial to learn from someone who has previously accomplished many of the same goals and encountered many of the same challenges that you have. And, in a career like freelancing, where you’re responsible for so much (from marketing to bookkeeping), having the help of a freelance mentor can benefit you on so many levels.

Provide guidance and advice

Perhaps you’re not sure how to evaluate your work or set your freelance rates. Or maybe you have an unhappy client clogging up your inbox and have no idea how to reply. These are scenarios that other freelancers have encountered. Your freelance mentor will be able to share their wisdom and experience with you in order to help you navigate those issues in a professional and productive manner.

Provides connection

Freelancing has its pros, but it also has cons, and a freelance mentor can help you navigate those cons.

Not everyone will understand the ups and downs of working as a freelancer. Having someone who can sympathize, commiserate, and celebrate with you is a crucial asset that’s sometimes overlooked.

Share encouragement

There’s no getting around it: there will be days when freelancing becomes this huge weight above your shoulders. You may be tempted to throw in the towel, call it quits, and return to the security and predictability of a typical 9-to-5 job. You need someone to talk to in those situations. And no one can do it better than a person who has had those same emotions. When you’re feeling particularly down or discouraged, freelance mentors can be a terrific source of support and encouragement.

Where can I find a freelance mentor?

Start with your network

Decide what you want to learn from a freelance mentor, and then consider who you know that would be a good fit. Keep in mind that having more than one mentor could strengthen your freelance business more than you could imagine.

If you’re looking for career advice, the manager whose thought-provoking inquiries helped you establish goals in the past might still be a good option. Getting advice from a neighbor who owns her own business may help you understand how to negotiate life as an independent contractor.

Likewise, be open to thinking outside the box. If building an online profile is one of your priorities, enlisting the help of a youthful but social-media-savvy former coworker may pay off handsomely.

Go beyond your network

If you’re not finding “mentor material” among the people you know, look elsewhere. Professional organizations, alumni associations, and community groups can connect you with a diverse range of people who may be more suitable. Similarly, there are several online options available, ranging from LinkedIn groups that can introduce you to their connections to online communities such as Freelancers Union.

Take a chance and ask

While a connection or introduction may simplify the process of finding a freelance mentor, it may be worthwhile to form a bond with someone you’re drawn to but don’t know. Take a chance and reach out to this individual, whether it’s a blogger who seems to speak your language or the director of a local nonprofit whose sense of purpose is interesting to you.

Set up a meeting or phone conversation at their convenience. Explain who you are and why you want them to be your freelance mentor. Set up another informational meeting for a set amount of time on a specific topic if there appears to be some interest. Keeping early chats focused will prevent the potential mentor from becoming overwhelmed and will allow the bond to develop gradually.

Keep trying

Finally, keep in mind that finding a suitable freelance mentor takes time. Try not to take rejection personally—the person you ask may be overburdened with other personal and professional obligations at the time. Investigate many choices until you find a good fit; the freelancer who finds an outstanding mentor is the freelancer who doesn’t give up!

Give and take

Once you’ve found a freelance mentor, remember that, while you’ll be doing most of the studying, the connection is a two-way street.

Whether you treat your freelance mentor to coffee every now and then or be there to help when needed, any good connection is a two-way street. If you do this, you’ll have a fruitful working relationship that will pay off—literally.

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I’m Imad, the content creator and online marketing strategist behind The Guemmah Freelance Hub. My mission is to help more freelancers grow themselves, their business, and their profits.

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