Why serial entrepreneur Nick Bell has 10 mentors at the one time (and why you should too)

Five-time AFR Young Rich Lister Nick Bell is the owner of 12 global digital marketing agencies and has an estimated net worth of $274 million, so he knows a thing or two about being a successful businessperson. Here, he shares how he reached these high achievements with the assistance of 10 different mentors (yeah, that’s simultaneously).

When I started out with just $350 in my pocket 14 years ago, I had a whole world of experts and possible mentors to look up to who had experiences that could shape my journey to come.

Now, running a number of businesses across the globe, the demands made of me have changed, but one thing hasn’t – my desire to learn from the best. 

My belief in the power of mentors has helped me get to where I am today, and with so much on my plate, it makes sense that I’ve got a number of mentors – 10 to be exact – for different areas of my life.

If the idea of multiple mentors surprises you, here’s an explainer on what it looks like for me – and why it could also work for you, too. 

Why it works for me

I like to look at every situation, deal or problem from as many different angles as I can.

It’s not possible to get the full picture without those perspectives, and sometimes, you need an extra set of eyes or two.

While one mentor may be able to give you great advice, multiple mentors can enable you to triangulate advice to give yourself a more valuable outlook.

No one person has all the answers – you can’t expect them to!

I have a WhatsApp group of 10 business owners who are experts at what they do, and mentor me across my personal and professional life.

I have approached my mentors not only for career advice, but also for financial advice, property advice, and more. Each area offers a different challenge suited to different mentors.

Tapping into my database of mentors not only gives me a range of perspectives that illuminate blind spots, but it takes the pressure off my mentors, too.

Generally speaking, mentors should be experts in their field who are further in their career than you may be.

Taking on a mentee can be a big commitment for these already time-poor leaders, so I never want to over-burden any of my mentors by relying on them individually.

Sharing the load between my mentors means they’re not left stressed or overworked, and I can get answers quickly.

Could it work for you?

Mentors have come and gone as my life has changed and my businesses expanded. As I mentioned, I have a range of mentors for different purposes, and you might benefit from the same.

If you’re considering multiple mentors, it can help to employ some forward thinking.

Envision what you want your career and life to look like five years from now.

What support do you currently have to reach that point, and what supports are you missing? If you already have a mentor, evaluate whether they are able to move and grow with you, or if it’s time to switch it up and pursue a new mentor who is more aligned with your future goals.

Mentorship does not have to be a fixed relationship, there are no messy breakups needed.

You’ll also need to consider what you can offer them in return. If it’s not financial remuneration for their time, what are you bringing to them to make it worth their while?

The Who, Why and How

For those just starting out with mentorship, looking for even one mentor can feel daunting.

Looking within your own company or agency can be a good place to start – from managers to colleagues with roles to which you aspire.

If you’re an industry leader, look to pioneers in your field and those with board roles. I am a huge advocate for looking outside your current speciality field, too.

I believe that mentors from different fields than yours can give open and broad-minded feedback that is independent from industry noise or bias.

Reaching out to strangers may seem scary, but LinkedIn and Business Networking Groups are generally warm crowds receptive to being approached by those who are looking to learn and develop.

Your personal network is not out of bounds, either. Think about friends and family with unique perspectives you may want to set time up with.

If all of this seems like a lot of work, don’t be intimidated. While seeking out and establishing relationships can seem like a big task, the benefits of multiple mentors will outweigh any perceived challenges you might encounter.

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