Need a mentor who "gets" it? Try looking in these 11 places

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization composed of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBrief posts by YEC.

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Q: Where can you find a mentor who's specifically dealing with the same problem you are currently facing?

1. Industry-specific conferences

Chances are if you make an effort to meet people within your industry, you will come across people who have been through the same ups and downs as you. Connect with those people, and learn from their experience so that you don't run the risk of making the same mistakes they did. -- Diana GoodwinAquaMobile

2. Online courses

I built my business on the idea of "Just In Time Learning." Whenever I encountered a problem I didn't know how to solve, I found the expert in the industry on the topic, invested in their online course, learned from their mistakes and implemented it into my business. If it's a game-changing problem a course can't solve, I focus on finding a Mastermind Group full of folks in the same industry. -- Bryan KeslerCPA Exam Guide

3. Facebook

I've met many people who are doing what I would like to do via Facebook. I've found that most of them are willing to provide tips if you ask them for help. Good places to start will be Facebook groups. For instance, if your problem is relationships, you can look at a relationships advice Facebook group. If the group is high quality, you will find someone with decades of experience in the topic. -- Alejandro RiojaFlux Chargers

4. Online forums

Follow online forums in your industry and join mentor groups. Go in and get involved in the conversations to determine who has similar thoughts and areas where you see a connection. Then, reach out to them. -- Angela RuthCalendar

5. Local entrepreneur groups

I've met a lot of people who have become friends and mentors among Vancouver's entrepreneur groups. Even smaller cities usually have good groups, and you can use apps like Meetup to find them. Make sure you make the effort to get to know the people in your group; that's how you find the ones in the same place as you. -- Adam SteeleLoganix

6. Incubator/accelerator programs

These programs often have mentors who are eagerly waiting to help someone just like you. They want to participate in solving other problems and may have the answers you are seeking. -- Murray NewlandsChattyPeople

7. Google (but don't say you need a "mentor")

First, lose the word "mentor." That's a tricky word that seems to come with a lot of baggage. Once you remove that name, it becomes much less intimidating to find one because all you are saying is, "I'm looking for a subject matter expert on X, and I want to seek your advice on a few specific items." No life-long mentor needed. Now, where do you find them? Google top players and reach out. -- Codie Sanchez, CodieSanchez.com

8. YouTube

With the advances made in streaming internet and smartphone technology, nearly everybody has the ability to make and publish videos. YouTube encouraged these people to share their videos to connect with others. Because of this, I have found videos addressing incredibly specific problems made by well-spoken individuals with clear solutions. Instead of just a Google search, try a YouTube search too. -- Bryce WelkerCPA Exam Guy

9. LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn is probably the best place to find and connect with other entrepreneurs in similar spaces. If you can’t find someone directly, you have access to thousands of groups that you can tap into to find a mentor. The best part is, everyone’s professional history is available to you. So that way you can find a mentor to your specific criteria, whether it's by industry, experience, location, etc. -- Solomon ThimothyOneIMS

10. Competitors from other markets

By chance, I met someone in the same business as me in an airport waiting for a flight. We would have been competitors in the same area, but being so far apart made it really easy to vent and have a good conversation. That relationship became a valued mentor, and I recommend talking to competitors to anyone. No one knows more about how you feel than those who are doing exactly the same thing. -- Matt DoyleExcel Builders

11. Your own existing network

The answer to many challenges you'll face in life lies in the resources of your network. Ask people whom you trust and let them introduce you as they'll know the insights into what their contacts are going through which are likely not public knowledge. -- Darrah Brusteindarrah.co