I think coaching and mentoring is generally probably an underutilized tool in most people's lives. I think that asking or seeking out coaching or mentorship inherently means you have to admit that maybe you don't know everything, which is hard for a lot of people to admit. I don't know that much about the manager influencer relationship. I've talked to amazing managers like Adahlia who I think is incredibly knowledgeable about the space. While she's repping top talent, I'm sure is helping to guide them and mentor them and make sure they're making the right steps in their career.
I've also talked to managers who are very young and don't know that much about the space and don't have that much experience. I worry about the things that they're teaching the influencers. We have influencers that we really like that we can't work with because their managers are so incompetent. I also think that sometimes in influencer management, there's an undue bravado. There's this feeling that they don't really need you, and the influencer doesn't need your business because they're so busy.
That's a pretty terrible attitude to take. If you have an experienced manager who you look up to, and you can get that person to help coach and mentor you and teach you about these things, I think that's great. Look, if I was an influencer and I was managed, my goal would be to leave that management eventually. You should be teaching yourself those skills and be able to bring it in-house. If you're going to build this into a big business and you're going to do $1 million a year, you're going to give $200,000 of that away to your management. Do you think they're going to bring 200,000 in value? Maybe, but you could also probably learn those skills, hire someone in-house for 100 grand. Now you've just made $100,000 more and you've brought these things in-house. I can promise you that increasingly brands and agencies are looking at whether people are represented and potentially working with people that aren't because it it's so much easier, so much faster and less of a hassle.
I think learning those skills and bringing them in-house is, if you're interested in coaching and mentorship, that should be the goal. The goal should be to learn from that person and eventually be able to leave and bring it in-house. It makes good business sense. Look at all the top influencers, most of them have brought those teams in-house and are doing it themselves. I think a manager can be really helpful in guiding you along that way and teaching you. If they're not letting you in and teaching you about like, "Hey, why did you answer that email that way? How did you know that you could push them for more money here? How did you learn how to read a contract effectively?" Mentorship and coaching, end of the day, it all falls on you to ask the questions and to push people.
If you've ever read How to Win Friends and Influence People, that whole book is predicated on the idea that people love to talk about themselves and if you ask them questions and say, "Hey, you're an expert, so I would love to know from you X, Y, Z," they will talk forever because it makes them feel good. It makes them feel like they're teaching someone which people love to do, but it's on you to push people.
I think if you're looking to broaden those skills, just looking to your manager is a mistake. You should certainly pull back and look at other people that you respect and try and learn things from them and push them to teach you. I think we've talked about it before but if you reach out to someone and you say, "Hey, I'd love to meet with you." You never send the email that says, "I'd love to pick your brain."
I think people in a position of power get a lot of those emails and it's not super helpful. We've talked before about when you go into those meetings, you need to have a clear agenda of exactly what you want to talk about. Keep the small talk to a minimum. The worst thing is when someone's like, "I'd love to sit down with you and pick your brain." 30 minutes into the conversation, they haven't asked you a single question of consequence and you're like, "What the fuck am I doing here? I didn't take this meeting to small talk." I know when I meet with an influencer, after two or three minutes I'm just like, "How can I help you? Why are you here? What can I do for you?" Because that person probably wants it to be helpful for you and you have to push them. They don't know how to be helpful for you, so you have to come prepared with questions.
When you reach out to someone, make sure you frame it in that way. I just sent emails like this to a bunch of sales executives that I respect where I was like, "Hey, here's a specific thing that my team is struggling with right now. I don't have an answer. I don't know what to do. I thought you might know." I framed it a little bit to give them some background and said, "I'd love to grab 10 minutes of your time to talk about this one thing and nothing else." Now, we might talk for 30 minutes and go into other things, but that's so much better for them. They're super busy. I've said, "Here's a specific thing that I think you might be able to help me with and I don't have an answer to. Can we talk for 10 minutes?" It's an infinitely better email to get than, "Hey, can I pick your brain?"
Don't be shy. The worst thing people can do is say no if you reach out. I wouldn't also reach out-- I've gotten a few of these emails in the past where people were like, "Hey, I'm looking for a mentor. Would you be interested?" That feels like a big responsibility and it's a big ask because I don't know you, or the person you're emailing doesn't know you, so to take you on as a mentor, it's like, "Who the fuck has time for that?" You have to let that relationship organically grow, and you have to know how much of someone's time you can take and how far you can push them because you don't want to come off as too needy.
You have to balance that need for you to ask the questions and to ask for what you want and to ask for people's time with knowing that it's generally a marathon not a sprint, and you should be making sure that when you are reaching out to them it is for a very specific reason, and you're not wasting too much of their time.
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