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For process servers that are just starting out, the different aspects of the industry, from the evolving rules and regulation to the service-evaders, are often overwhelming. Having a professional, seasoned process server as a mentor can help you overcome the challenges associated with becoming a successful process server. While some have managed without mentors, there are numerous benefits to seeking out advice and education. Learn more about the value of mentorship and how it can advance rookie process servers to experts.
While most people know what a mentor is, many don’t understand how they differ from a coach or other training professional. Setting reasonable expectations about what your mentor can provide is important to get the most out of your mentorship experience.
A mentor is a source of wisdom, education, and encouragement for someone looking to grow in an industry or area of life. They typically do this by having conversations with their mentee, answering their questions and sharing their own experiences. A mentor is not someone who observes and critiques the daily actions of a student, and they are not always on-call. They don’t typically offer in-field training or drawn-out lessons. While a mentorship may not compare to a class in its structure, it is a real-life experience and a consistent means of answering questions and creating dialogue long into your career.
There are various skill sets that go into being a successful process server. You have to have good people skills, a solid knowledge of the law, and patience for when a job goes sideways. Plus you have to know how to maintain and market a business. A good mentor has gone through all this before and come out on the other side relatively unscathed which means they can answer your questions about working in the industry. When regulations change, they know where to look. When a defendant refuses service, they know what actions to take. When it comes time to find clients or get seen by attorneys, they know how to get their name out there. They know what licensure requirements there are in your state, what classes to take, and you can even find mentors to help you ease into another specialty. With a mentor, these resources are available at the other end of a phone call rather than buried in a Google search. Sometimes, and even though ServeNow tries to answer every industry question, correct information about the process service industry is hard to find even on the internet. A mentor provides that connection to your peers while also providing support when you make mistakes.
There are several ways to find a mentor that meets your specific needs. First, take advantage of online forums like Facebook groups, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Even experienced process servers will use these means to share information, discuss changes in regulation, and ask questions of their peers. Try out the different online communities to find what works for you.
As supportive as online communities can be, nothing can replace a face-to-face relationship with a human mentor. For this, you can ask around via the online forums or call process servers and agencies in your area. If you want to show even more initiative, you can visit businesses that have offices. Your state or regional process server association is also a good resource to contact for recommendations.
In order to get the most out of your mentorship, you need to be a good mentee. Laziness and disrespect can easily convince a mentor that sharing their wisdom is a waste of their time and energy. Create structure for the relationship at the beginning, establishing your professional goals and comparing expectations. Communication is key to any relationship and a mentor-mentee relationship is no exception. Be humble, eager, and respectful as you interact with your mentor. Remember that you’re not paying them for their time and there are plenty of other things they could be doing. Listen and act on feedback and be open to constructive criticism. Don’t be afraid to ask question after question, but remember to respect their time. It’s okay to not know everything when you’re just starting out. Finally, don’t waste your mentor’s time. If you schedule a time for a conversation, show up and don’t be late. Be faithful to appointments, even if it’s just a phone call.
For experienced process servers, mentees aren’t the only ones who benefit from mentorship. Being a mentor comes with its own advantages that make the experience worth the time and effort. The biggest benefit is that teaching is one of the best ways to reinforce your own skills. Even though your mentee knows less about the industry at large, they still have their own unique perspectives and experiences that you can learn from. They will also ask you the tough questions and, in doing so, expand your own knowledge on subjects you thought you already knew. Having a mentee can also help you cultivate your network of peers. As you help them expand their reach, yours will naturally expand along with theirs.
Remember that, as their mentor, you don’t have to hold their hand in order to be a good educator. Simply being available to answer questions and support their efforts will make a profound difference for an aspiring process server.
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