We usually think of people when we think of mentors.
But that's a mistake.
Because mentors don't have to be people.
The best mentors when you're starting out are books and courses.
Why? Because people their pour time and energy into making books and courses. And you can get a lot more from reading their books and courses than from talking to the person who made the book or course.
You always want to begin with a book or a course.
Free articles can help. You can use them. But the downside of using free articles is you need to know what to learn first and what to learn next. You need to map out your own journey.
As you get more advanced, when you have questions that books, courses and even online articles don't answer, you want to ask people.
There are many ways to find people to answer your questions.
The first way I would recommend is to see if there is a community around the book or course you bought.
This community will be the best place for you to ask questions since they people in the community are learning the same things as you are learning. There is more context, and there is a high chance of getting a quality answer.
People who create courses may also hang out in the community to answer questions.
The second way to find people to help is to go to events in your area. When I say events, I mean meetups and conferences.
You can find link-minded people and you can become friends with them. It doesn't matter if these people are higher level or lower level compared to you. You can still become friends with them.
It's important to treat these people as friends and mentors. I'll talk about why its important in a second.
The third way is to talk to people you respect.
Usually, you can find these people in their blogs. You can subscribe to their email newsletters and communicate with them through email.
Sometimes you can talk to them through twitter or other social media platforms they're on.
Again treat these people like friends and mentors.
The fourth way is to post your questions on social media.
Hopefully, someone will answer, but that'll depend on how many followers you have, and whether you're lucky enough.
If you treat people as only mentors, you put them on a pedestal. It will be difficult for you to become friends with them because you feel they're always at a higher level compared to you. You feel that you have nothing to add.
If you treat people as both friends and mentors, you don't have to worry about expertise. Friends are of different levels anyway.
If you treat people only as friends, you may believe there is nothing to learn from them. And as a result, you don't learn from them.
But you do learn from people who are at a higher level and people who are at a lower level compared to you. You can learn a lot of things. Its up to you to figure out what you can learn.
They may be societies where you can get free mentorship, but they're limited. You might not be able to get in.
Free mentorship doesn't work because people value their own time. People need to be rewarded for spending their time with you.
Sometimes, this reward means money. In that case, you can pay people for a consultation. If you pay them, you're respecting their expertise, time and energy.
Getting a consultation is almost always worth it because you learn so much more than the money you paid for it. Obviously, before you get onto a consultation call, make sure you go through books and courses first.
The reward isn't always money. Sometimes it can be the relationship you built with them.
Friends don't talk money. We simply help each other out. If you have more friends, there's a higher probability that you can ask a question and people will help you out for free.