I have been perusing some of the online community boards like Craig’s List and Google Groups in the area of entrepreneurship and starting a small business. People out there are hungry for information about all kinds of things, from marketing ideas for new products to instructions for obtaining a business license. Connecting with people online is a great way to get free and good advice. Many people spend lots of time responding to posts and sharing information.
I also recommend searching for someone in your field of interest that has a thriving, successful business. See if they are willing to spend some time with you so that you can find out what it really takes to grow a succesful business. For example, one guy in a Craig’s List forum wanted to start a custom motorcycle repair business and didn’t really know where to start. I referred him to my friend Pat of Pat’s Garage in San Francisco, CA. Although Pat works on cars and not motorcycles, he has set up a very wonderful and successful repair business and could share all kinds of wisdom with the aspiring motorcycle entrepreneur. If you think repair shops are all the same, you haven’t visited Pat’s Garage!
For the most part, people love to talk about themselves, so don’t be shy to ask someone you admire for a bit of their time. Hopefully you can return the favor when you become successful and famous!