Daniel - great you're looking into this. There's no doubt it's advantageous to learn from someone who has already played the game you're playing. I heard Gary Vaynerchuk once say in an interview that he likes to sit next to older people on airplanes and have conversations with them. Like as many 80 or 90 yr-olds as possible. It might sound strange, but his motivation is for that same reason.
My vantage point in answering comes from a book called 'The Success Principles' by Jack Canfield. He mentions that it might seem daunting at first to contact successful people and ask for ongoing advice and assistance. However, he outlines a process that might be easier than you think to enlist mentors far above you.
David hinted at this above - be specific in what you're asking. Relationships are one part communication and one part expectation. Be clear from the start what you’re expecting. I personally have 2 mentors I speak to each month for 15-20 min. Here’s a sample of what I wrote to my mentor Doug after I briefly met him at an event:
“...I am just beginning in entrepreneurial endeavors and finding my way in the Engineering field. Doug, it's no worries either way, but I would really appreciate if you would consider being my mentor. All that would mean is spending ten minutes on the phone with me once a month, so I could ask you a few questions. Would you be open to that?...”
Jack Canfield explains this well - ‘The truth is that successful people like to share what they have learned with others. It is a human trait to want to pass on wisdom. Not everyone will take the time to mentor you, but many will if asked. You simply need to make a list of the people you would like to have as your mentor and ask them to devote a few minutes a month to you.’
I can’t even quantify how valuable my short phone conversations have been each month with Doug. He just cuts right to the heart of whatever issue I’m grappling with. And then doles out a priceless piece of advice on the spot. Just make sure you’re completely organized with questions and have your ducks in a row before each call.
Hope this helps. Feel free to reach out with any follow-up questions. Cheers, Trevor