Understanding the Difference Between a Mentor and Sponsor

Many of us have  future goals we want to accomplish, so it's extremely important that we get all the help we can to achieve them. Life is full of its challenges so we can all use help when it’s available to us. That mentality also applies to the goals we aspire to achieve. 

Image: WOC in Tech chat 

Image: WOC in Tech chat 

Having support and a helping hand only inspires us more to go after what we want.That support can also come in many different forms as well, but when it comes to a side hustle and side businesses, we tend to look for help with someone who can provide advice such a mentor or sponsor. In order to help you decide which one is best for you and your business, I'm going to tell you the main difference between a mentor and sponsor.


A mentor is a person who helps or guides someone else in a certain area or topic that they have a great amount of knowledge in. Mentors are highly trusted based off their experience and are able to give advice and encouragement. A mentor supports you with their experience by guiding you with helpful tools to gain that same experience that they have. They advise you in a way to give you confidence and provide training for you to meet your goals. Mentors can be anybody whether you personally know them or not. They can be a friend, family, or even colleague. The individual just has some expert advice in order to help you with your goals.


              Related: Finding a mentor genuinely and organically


Now a sponsor is slightly different from a mentor because they aren't someone who gives you advice, but they are someone who advocates for you. While mentors are definitely advocates, they tend to give advice and guidance on important topics while sponsors are often gatekeepers to opportunities.


For example, you would normally ask your mentor for feedback on your resume, and tips for getting a specific job; but your sponsor is someone who will hand your resume off to a hiring manager. It's not wise to use your sponsor's time to ask for guidance on resumes, you should already have that perfected when you talk to your sponsor. Having a sponsor is having someone who is always willing to advocate for you, and can lend a helping hand in getting you hired or promoted, if you work in the same company. 

It's important to note that a mentor can undoubtedly double as a sponsor too and vice versa. The main difference is there are some minor things you shouldn't seek your sponsor for help with, that a mentor would be a better fit for. 


Having a mentor or a sponsor is both beneficial and essential to side hustles and goals you want to achieve. A mentor provides support through advice and guidance while a sponsor provides support through advocacy, opening doors and promoting you. They both are great to have with helping you succeed in whichever endeavor you want to achieve.


How do you feel a mentor and sponsor are different from one another?

By Jalei Hawkins: 

I'm Jalei,  a young  professional based out of northern California. I'm a graduate of the Art Institute of San Francisco with a Bachelor's Degree in interior Design that enjoys being creative. I have worked with several architectural and customer focused firms along with a select group to establish creative environments to service customers over the last few years. My modern, quirky, hip style is a burst of energy that keeps me going.  Leading the pack in my own way through writing, designing and expressing creativity by assisting others in recommending design tips and projects to uplift my peers and followers.

I'm a soft spoken person with a high energy drive for success.  This drive has lead me to create thalowerwestside.com, my personal site showcasing what I love while simultaneously keeping creativity in mind. I strive to continue this  blog journey helping others create positive environments that they can make reasonably and in style.