Mentorship relationships don’t always have to be formal relationships. Sometimes they can be as simple as “if I have a question, can I send you an email?” relationships.

While individually these relationships might not change your life, having a whole rolodex of these kinds of mentors can make a big difference.

So how can you increase this network of informal mentors?

Where to Meet Mentors

Getting your foot in the door to meet mentors can be tough. Here are a few different ways to do it:

First, talk to your lawyer and your accountant. Hire the best lawyers you can, even if you don’t need their legal services yet. Why? Do it for the network. The best lawyers also have high level clients. Have them do the introductions for you.

Another way you can make contact with successful individuals is through social networking. Many CEOs today run their own Twitter feeds. Retweeting their messages and @replying to them can help build a relationship so you can eventually drop them an email.

When the opportunities arise, attend conferences and trade shows. Meet influencers in person, build a connection and ask them to consider mentoring you – asking someone face to face makes a person stop and think about the request. For many it is a flattering request, especially when the request is asked by someone who is genuine and likeable.

 The Authenticity Key

The key to making a great impression on a potential mentor is through authenticity.

Imagine for a moment what the world is like from the eyes of the influential. A lot of people want your attention, but the vast majority of them want your attention so they can get something from you, and often have an ulterior motive.

Which is why successful people put up walls of resistance. The best way around these walls is to be genuine and authentic.

If you’re nervous about meeting them, say so. If you’re building a business and want their help, be upfront about it. Don’t pretend to be their friend with an ulterior motive; be 100% honest from the get-go.

What Kind of Mentorship to Ask For

Don’t go overboard with your requests. Your requests for mentorship should be relatively straightforward and shouldn’t require much of a commitment from your mentor.

Ask them if you can send them an email if you ever have a question on a specific topic. You can also ask if you could do a quick phone call with them. Find out your potential mentor’s preferred mode of communication. And honor it.

Repeat this process again and again and you’ll gradually amass a rolodex of successful people in different arenas that you can contact if you ever get stuck in your business.