Sometimes this industry can feel so lonely — like you’re fighting an uphill battle with no one to turn to for support. While there are undoubtedly communities out there designed to support you in your journey, the truth is that sometimes you just want someone to turn to for a quick question or piece of advice. You want someone who has already achieved much of the success you hope to who can guide you in your most confusing moments.
The good news is that kind of person does exist, and they’re called a mentor. Sometimes, you’re lucky enough to find an in person mentor who can guide you through the ins and outs of your career on a regular basis — they’re available, hands on, and there to answer your questions when you get stuck.
An in-person mentor, however, isn’t always easy to find. If your search for the perfect mentor isn't turning out the way you'd hoped, here are two options for finding that person virtually.
1. Find an online mentor
In the age of the internet, finding someone who is a step above you in your career, yet still accessible, is easier than ever. They lurk in Facebook groups, interview for online summits, and post on Twitter and Instagram. In short, they’re easy to get in front of.
While in-person meet ups might not be possible, once you begin building a relationship, it’s likely you’ll be able to keep in touch through emails or frequent video chats.
When you're approaching them, make a genuine connection rather than rush in with, "Hey, wanna be my mentor and sink several hours per week into my career development?" Instead, build a genuine, peer-to-peer relationship.
As that friendship or professional conversation develops, ask if they're available for a phone call. If you don't know the person, but have a friend who does, don't be afraid to ask for an intro. You'll almost always get better results when introduced through a mutual friend.
2. Create a virtual mentor
Sometimes, you may have a deep admiration for someone, but for whatever reason, talking to them one on one just isn’t possible. This doesn’t mean there’s not a ton you can still learn from them!
By reading past interviews they’ve done, scouring their website, blogs, and free tools they’re offering online, and soaking up the knowledge they’ve already put out for the world, you can actually learn quite a lot! You can begin putting together a case study of what’s worked for them, how they conduct themselves and the paths they’ve taken.
This is perhaps one of the greatest opportunities to learn, because mentors of this (presumably) extremely high caliber are likely to have given many candid and in-depth interviews that will be ripe with valuable knowledge. It also opens up a whole new world of "historical" mentors who might not be here in the physical sense anymore but still have so much to teach us through their work.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placement on Alternative Press, Substream, New Noise, and more. She’s also the owner of music blog Infectious Magazine, as well as a PR coach. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.