Finding and Interacting with Mentors in the Sports Industry

by Travis Apple: general sports worldwide & theclubhouse®, author of Hustle Your Way to $ucce$$ in Sports Sales, and host of Podcast “52 Weeks of Hustle”
April 15, 2022

April 15, 2022

Throughout my career, I have often been asked about mentorship and its’ importance in the sports industry. In fact, many of the guests on “52 Weeks of Hustle” have talked about the importance of having mentors and how the right mentors have helped them with their career growth.

“If you are truly invested in your career, you should want to find multiple mentors to help navigate through your career both personally and professionally.”

In the past month since acquiring theClubhouse®, we have had many conversations with individuals that are either looking to get into the business, already in the business, or are raising their hands to become mentors. (Reminder as a PRO Member of theClubhouse® you have the ability to request two mentor calls per week). Some of the common questions that have come up in conversations are:

· “How do I find a mentor?”

· “What do I ask when I have the conversation?”

· “How should I follow up?”

These are all very common questions and very important as you embark on a career journey in this amazing business. Instead of talking through the overall process of mentorship, I figured it would be easier for everyone to digest in a quick blog post.

“How do I find a mentor?”

The beauty of technology makes it very easy for individuals to seek out mentors. Subtle plug; are you willing to invest $7 per month to gain access to theClubhouse® career development platform that includes the opportunity to engage with 170+ mentors that have raised their hand and said they want to help? It’s also very easy to look on company’s websites, LinkedIn, etc. to find individuals to reach out to. When searching for potential future mentors, it’s important to be diverse in your approach where you are engaging in dialogue with people from all different backgrounds and different roles. Remember, successful mentors help guide you personally and professionally so it doesn’t always have to be the exact job or career path that you want.

What do I ask when I have the conversation?”

I want you to challenge yourself that every time you are about to have a conversation with a mentor or future mentor, what are you doing to prepare? Would you walk into an interview or a sales meeting without doing a little bit of prep work? I hope the answer is no and you also shouldn’t go into these conversations not being prepared. Look up the individual and find likeability factors such as previous employment, schools, hobbies to engage with. Look at the company’s website and if you are talking to someone in marketing, find something that clearly the marketing department worked on. If it’s ticketing, find a ticket package to ask questions specifically about. These conversations should flow pretty easily with the right mentors as they want to provide advice but be sure to ask thought provoking questions about their career and role. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t be talking to mentors to just check the box, this should help you continue on in your career journey.

“How should I follow up?”

The follow up process with any mentor should be organic and strategic. Both the call/meetings; it’s easy to send a thank you email and card (trust me snail mail goes a long way in our world). From there, you should always think about how to stay in front of mentors whether that be a project or class that you participated in that is noteworthy to share, something you see on their website/profile that caught your attention, or just a quick “Happy Opening Day” type of messaging. Anything you do make sure there is a purpose behind it. Please do not be the person who only reaches out when you need something, that is not a good look. If you really want that individual to be a mentor to you, you should be talking to them 2-3 times per year and engaging with them every 60-75 days.

At the end of the day, some colleges will require you to interview an industry leader for a class so why not take full advantage of the opportunity and make the most of it? When you are in the business, leaders will ask you to think about mentors to be able to bounce ideas off of, and the most successful people usually have multiple mentors from inside and outside of their organization.

Mentors can help in a variety of ways:

· With your personal and professional development

· Help hold you accountable to your goals

· Help develop your leadership skills

· Can expand your network

· Open doors to future opportunities

Three key take-a-ways from as it relates to mentorship:

1. Find multiple mentors early on in your career

2. Have a plan with each interaction and follow up

3. Gain something out of each and every call to apply to your day