Entrepreneurship and mentorships are often seen as going hand-in-hand. Business mentors are as old as concept of entrepreneurs themselves. From Oprah and Maya Angelou to Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, famous mentorships have a powerful impact on the lives of entrepreneurs. Having a strong figure in your life to help steady you through the currents of growing your business can be a lifesaver. While many entrepreneurs aren’t in the position to have Mark Zuckerberg as a personal mentor, we asked entrepreneurs to dream big. We wanted to know which name was at the top of their “dream mentor” list.
#1 – Richard Branson
I don’t get star struck by many entrepreneurs but Richard Branson is an absolute phenomenon to me. He did what he loved and money followed. Worth billions of dollars, he started his first magazine at the age of 16 and now his Virgin brand covers everything from telecommunications to space tourism. As I’ve been building my dream for over six years, I feel like there’s so much to learn from other successful entrepreneurs. Richard Branson is one of the greatest tech & business minds of our time and I believe that even at this stage of my business, he’d have some powerful guidance and advice to potentially push us to the next level. And now that our dating app works in flight (via Bluetooth), I’ve got high hopes of partnering up with Virgin Airlines to help Cheekd users join each other’s Mile High Clubs. ; )
Thanks to Lori Cheek, Cheek'd
#2 – Gary Vaynerchuk
Definitely Gary Vaynerchuk. He is THE motivation that I need daily. So far he pushed me to my mental limits that I am able to overcome my obsession with gaming and focus ONLY on my website. I work on it for about 14 hours per day, thanks to this guy.
Thanks to Ray Radicanin, Passive Income Rocket
#3 – Elon Musk
I would be honored to have Elon Musk as a mentor. He is revolutionizing the car industry by introducing ultramodern electric cars and he is leading the space industry with his bold inventions. He is undeniably innovative and encourages people to think outside of the box. The objectives of my company parallel Musk's intentions. We are electrifying the fitness industry with cutting-edge and science-based programs and we are transforming the training protocol for Astronauts in the Space Program with our extraordinary invention.
Thanks to Daniel Nyiri, 4U Fitness Franchises
#4 – Magic Earvin Johnson
Business man – (Not only does he have investments in the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dodgers, he owns several franchises such as Starbucks, TGI Fridays, Burger Kings, etc.). Purchased a television network. In addition he owns Magic Johnson Enterprises and maintains many real estate ventures. He is well versed in business strategy and developing urban communities. He is also an author, speaker and community leader. Former top athlete – (Knows the value of discipline and good old fashion hard work). Everyone wants instant success these days but a true athlete is aware of the many hours of practice while everyone else is eating bbq and hanging out at the beach. He learned to thrive in an environment everyone is not able to survive.. He maintains a strong work ethic comprised with a spirit of excellence and a top performer. Has failed in the past but got back up – (There are some that seem to have everything, sometimes their nose is so far in the air, they will never divulge to you their struggles). His transparencies has helped myself and others know, despite what trials we face or go through, get back up and keep on believing. Man of faith – (He has learned the biggest secret of all, with God, all things is possible)! He has a relationship with God. A man of God has wisdom and strength the average person does not have. He has a rock to lean on, integrity that's not found everyday. He knows He is nothing without His maker! Charitable – (He hasn't forgotten those that are in need, the disadvantaged and the poor). He offers a catalyst to foster economic empowerment through his foundation and other resources. He continues to make a difference in hurting communities and people. Loves his wife – (Loves, cherishes and honors his wife). He didn't leave her for a younger model, remembered who has stayed by his side and supported him through thick and thin, repays the favor in a big way. He's her biggest cheerleader and supporter of her dreams and goals.
Thanks to Chantay Bridges, Real Estate Professionals World Enterprise Marketing
#5 – Ernest Shackleton
The famous entrepreneur that would top my list of dream mentors is one that I don't believe you will see on many typical entrepreneur lists: Ernest Shackleton. Shackleton was a polar explorer and a pioneer in Antarctic exploration in the early 1900's. His most famous trip was the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition which would make him and his ship, Endurance, a benchmark for disruptiveness, fortitude, teamwork, and more. This voyage is captured by Alfred Lansing's Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, and since reading it in school I have come to recommend this as the one story any fellow entrepreneur should read. To me, while he does not necessarily fit the norm when speaking of entrepreneurship, Shackleton and his achievements embody everything about being an entrepreneur. A dreamer on a mission to accomplish the impossible, Shackleton knew what he brought to the table and what he would need, and from there he set out to form the perfect team to round out his crew. He even put an ad in the paper that read: Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in case of success. After countless hours of planning and execution, the mission went awry and they spent almost two months camped on floating ice with Endurance sandwiched and rendered useless. They went through unbearable conditions and traversed unbelievable terrain to ensure the survival of nearly the entire crew. Shackleton was a true entrepreneur. In the way that founders of companies like Nike were outcasts setting out with goals most everyone found out of reach and far from sane, without knowing it Shackleton paved the way for many of us who call ourselves entrepreneurs. An early disruptor, a leader, a team builder, and a figure of unparalleled will, I can't imagine there would be any shortage of lessens to be learned from Ernest Shackleton
Thanks to Ryan Vayo, MyComPETibility
#6 – John C. Maxwell
‘Failing forward is the ability to get back up after you've been knocked down, learn from your mistake, and move forward in a better direction.' – John C. Maxwell. This influential leader pulls top of a long list when it comes to my personal inspirational entrepreneurial leaders. Like several other entrepreneurs, he is an author and a public speaker. But what sets him apart from the rest is his undeniable dedication to people, his utter determination to improve businesses, and his willingness to take his own advice. I've had the opportunity to take not only myself, but my business team to some of his leadership and entrepreneur events and have never left disappointed.
Thanks to Kornel Kurtz, Webtek
#7 – Reid Hoffman
My dream mentor would be Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn. Reid demonstrated a lot of humility and wisdom by having a very targeted corporate career, which allowed him to learn a lot of the skills and get the contacts necessary to becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our times. Moreover I love LinkedIn and I think it can grow even more. Hence why I believe he would be a very well rounded and probably personable mentor (although the latter is an assumption of mine).
Thanks to Federico Cucchi, My Beauty Matches
#8 – Arianna Huffington
There are so many people I could pick for this Richard Branson, Sarah Blakely, Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Donna Karan, etc. but I would choose Arianna Huffington. She has become a media powerhouse in both traditional and aniline outlets with books, speeches, HuffPo, TV appearances, etc. She is well respected, thoughtful, smart, opinionated, and puts her money where her mouth is. I think I could learn a lot from her. She rebranded herself in mid life post divorce and has never looked back. I am 51 years old and started a global marketing firm 15 years ago. I think she is what a lot of women aspire to today. She is clearly comfortable in her own skin and an independent thinker. She has stayed relevant and grown with the economy shifts into technology and new media. She is a force to be reckoned with and I hope I am still at the top of my game as I age too. I am sure she could teach me a few things and has some great stories to share!
Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls
#9 – Joy Mangano
Hands down, my dream mentor is Joy Mangano. Along with millions of others, I was inspired by her story in the movie “Joy.” She had the insight to create products that made the lives of women easier. More importantly, she had the grit to see her dream through the challenges. It was not an overnight success. She made mistakes, big opportunities were blown, yet that didn’t stop her. Ultimately she achieved the kind of success that many entrepreneurs strive for each day. With her as a mentor, I believe I would learn a lot about focus, perseverance, and grit.
Thanks to Stephanie Sprangers, Glamhive
#10 – Jack Ma
My dream mentor would be Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of Alibaba. Ma has overcome a huge number of challenges in his personal life and career to build Alibaba to a multi-billion dollar company.
Thanks to Daniel Bjarne, SchoolAppy