In my former HR life, I had a lot of dealings with mentoring. A colleague and I set up a mentoring program for our clients, we ran training for them on how to ensure a successful relationship, and matched applicants into suitable duos. When I became a manager, I periodically sought out mentors in different areas of the business for some of my 'high potential' employees, to help them grow and give them advice beyond what I could give. And I benefited myself from having a number of my own mentors at work over the years. Each mentor helped me learn so much - about myself, my strengths and passions, my areas for development, how to network, even what avenues existed for pursuing dreams outside of what I was presently doing in my job. I could not put a value on what I gained from each of my mentoring relationships.
So when I saw on Christine's blog, So-Called Homemaker, that sign ups were going to be opening up for another round of the 'Bigs & Littles Blogging Network,' I was excited to join. I hadn't heard of this venture before, but what I read sounded incredibly promising: smaller blogs are paired with larger blogs for 2 months, to build relationships, ask questions, learn and engage and grow. Not specifically called a mentor network, but that is certainly what it sounded like to me. And as a relative newbie on the blogosphere, I have had dozens and dozens of questions that I've been compiling in a list, in case I ever got the chance to ask another blogger, or had five minutes to myself to Google away, searching for answers.
I was absolutely delighted to find I'd been paired with Christine herself! And even more delighted when she told me to send any and all questions over. I'm not sure she anticipated the list that went her way but she was a fantastic sport.
We exchanged a number of emails. Christine pointed me towards some incredible resources, answered so many questions, and has seriously helped me SO MUCH in my desire to understand more than just the basic 'write post; then tweet' approach to blogging. We ended up talking about sponsorships and companies fishing for free marketing, SEO (& blog post descriptions!), the criticality and optimal timing of various social media platforms, analytics, scheduling, and so much more.
I found this experience to be wildly beneficial. I can't even guess at how long it would have taken me to compile all of the information that I've learned, if I had to do it on my own. Several of Christine's suggestions are things I wouldn't have thought of. And not only do I now have answers to many, many questions that I'd been wondering since I started this blog a year ago, but I also got to know Christine more. Through her mentoring, I am now thinking ten steps further down the road in my blog journey than I was previously. Thank you, Christine!!
Everyone can benefit from a mentor, whether you call it that or not. If you've never had one, I highly suggest seeking one out. Make connections. Find your bloggy soulmates. Develop your community. Jump on all the chances to grow your network. And if you didn't sign up for this round, go and sign up right now for the next round - it will open again in August!
(Psst...don't forget to enter the giveaway for $240 cash! It's only open for a few more days!)