How can a mentor help you as an independent artist or producer

When you’re producing a show and encounter issues or just feel stuck, you often think it’s all on you to find a solution. To Google it, to figure something – anything – out. You don’t often see behind the scenes of anyone else’s production or business so you don’t realise someone has probably been in the exact situation you’re in. It’s easy to feel isolated and alone.

In an industry like ours, people often play their cards close to their chest. When you come up against a problem, maybe you haven’t been able to find someone to turn to who you can trust. A mentor can fill that gap.

It’s not the easiest thing to admit you need help, but it makes a difference when you have a mentor to lean on. Someone who’s been where you are, who just gets it and can give advice based on experience. And, most importantly, they’ll keep things confidential too.

There’s all kinds of situations where a mentor can come in handy. It’s not just when there’s a crisis brewing.

When you’re diving into a new project

Jumping into a new project is exciting, but it can also be scary. A mentor can provide guidance to make sure you’re on the right track. If you’re lost with where to start, they might help you make a step-by-step action plan to move forward. They can be a sounding board for your ideas or a second set of eyes to point out elements you may have overlooked.

When you’re feeling unsure about the next steps in your producing career

We all start somewhere, so it’s pretty likely the mentor you choose would have been where you are at some point in time. Setting goals is easier when there’s someone else to bounce off and you get the clarity and perspective that comes from being outside your business. It’s a great way to get back on track if you’re feeling burnt out or lacking motivation.

When you’re an artist producing your own show

Going it alone and producing your own work is something almost all artists have to do at some point, but bringing in a mentor can really help you streamline and prioritise what tasks you need to tackle.

You don’t know what you don’t know, and having a mentor can help highlight your blindspots and identify things you haven’t considered (or perhaps ignored, hoping they’d go away).

When you’re facing a sticky issue or situation

We’ve all had bumps in the road and situations where things just don’t go to plan. A mentor can be invaluable when things are going wrong (or look like they might be). Sharing experiences and an outside perspective can help take the heat off when you’re stressed. Working through solutions together and providing support as you make those tricky decisions is probably exactly what you need.

It can be intimidating to find a mentor and invite them into the inner workings of your projects. The thing is, they’re not here to judge, they’re here to guide and support you. They should help you work through things together and provide perspective from being on the outside and sharing their own experiences.

There are all kinds of reasons to bring in a mentor and you might do it at any stage of your business or career. You don’t have to be at crisis point, you might just want someone in your corner.

If you want to explore mentoring and whether it’s right for you, let’s chat. Book a free call with our Executive Producer & CEO, Laura Milke Garner, or send us a DM on Instagram @milkeproducer .