7 Powerful Ways Mentorship Can Boost Your Freelance Career

7 Powerful Ways Mentorship Can Boost Your Freelance Career
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Mentorship can help your career in subtle and obvious ways.  We don’t hear as much about having a mentor in the film industry as we do in other industries, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a valuable asset.

When I began working in production many years ago, my boss mentored me.  It was an unofficial mentorship, but I benefited tremendously from the experience.  The confidence and support I received were invaluable.

Here are seven ways mentorship can boost your freelance career:

  1. More confidence.

A good mentor practices active listening and gives constructive feedback. We work in an industry where there’s plenty of criticism but seldom enough constructive feedback about how we can improve. Having the guidance of an experienced mentor can help build your confidence.

My mentor gave me confidence-building praise when I did well and pointed out how I could learn from mistakes.  A good mentor knows that inevitably, you’ll make mistakes.  They aren’t tragedies, and your career won’t end because of them.  You’ll pick yourself up, learn, and move forward.

  1. Widen your network of contacts.

A mentor who’s worked for many years in the industry has a far broader network of contacts than you do.  A mentor who knows you and has confidence in your abilities can recommend you to others.  I got quite a few jobs this way early in my career before making my own contacts.

The film industry is all about having contacts, and you make those contacts by knowing people who’ll introduce you to other people.  A mentor can help speed up the process of broadening your network.

  1. Learn from someone more experienced.

I was fortunate enough to have a mentor who always seemed to have a few minutes to answer a question or show me something new I needed to learn.  I still remember when the commercial production company I worked for got their first computers in the early 1980s.  My mentor called me into his office to show me how he was now bidding on jobs using the computer.

I left the office understanding how the bidding process worked and how computers were about to change the industry forever.  Valuable information.

  1. Keep you focused.

Our industry has so many things going on that it’s easy to get distracted and lose focus.  Having a mentor can keep you pointed in the right direction.

There doesn’t always appear to be a clear path to success as a freelancer.  I found this to be a problem early in my career.  My mentor helped keep me focused on whatever steps I needed to take at the time.  It was advantageous to have that input.

  1. Share strategies for dealing with work issues.

No matter how good you are at your job, problems at work will arise that you’re not sure how to solve.  A good mentor can be invaluable in sharing strategies for solving problems.

Sometimes you’re too deeply involved in a situation to have perspective.  When it happened to me, I always called my mentor for guidance.  Sometimes there was a chain of command issue, and sometimes I needed guidance in dealing with difficult people.  My mentor always had helpful wisdom to share.

  1. Give you accountability.

Sometimes we need to be held accountable to keep us moving forward.  Getting stuck in your comfort zone is not going to help your freelance industry career.

My mentor prodded me about where I saw myself headed in the industry and made suggestions about how I could get there.  We can all benefit from someone holding us accountable for taking the necessary steps to advance.

When someone hands you a roadmap, use it.

  1. Keep you motivated.

Sometimes we work so hard yet feel we’re getting nowhere.  Everything you do early in your career has value, and you’re learning a lot, even though you may not realize it.

A mentor can keep you motivated and help you realize that you’re making progress.  Your mentor can see the progress you’re making, even if you can’t.

That’s a big motivation to keep going forward.


My mentor was invaluable to me and my career.  He was my friend, sounding board, and advisor until he passed away.

Mentorship can boost your freelance career in many ways, whether it’s a formal or informal type of mentoring.  It’s worth seeking out a mentor to help advance your career.  It’s one more tool in your arsenal for success.

Do you already have a mentor?  If so, share how your mentor is helping you in the comments section.






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