A 32-year-old CEO who sold her startup for more than $250 million reveals her one piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs

LearnVest CEO Alexa von Tobel on AOL BUILD

Alexa von Tobel is a startup founder, a New York Times best-selling author, and a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship.

And her advice to other young entrepreneurs is simple: "Get mentors."

SEE ALSO: How this waitress went from college-dropout to the top 1 percent of millennials

Von Tobel, who remains CEO of LearnVest, the financial-planning company she sold last year for more than $250 million, told Business Insider how she found her own mentors — and how she knew they were keepers.

"How I started that process was just being really open to my environment, just paying attention," von Tobel said.

When she met someone she clicked with, she tried to make it really easy for them to agree to meeting again.

alexa von tobelGetty

She'd say something like: "Hey, do you mind if I take 15 minutes? I will bring you coffee on any schedule — I have three questions."

After getting her foot in the door, von Tobel found she could really get her mentors onboard long-term by making them fall in love with her company and the problem she was trying to solve with it.

LearnVest's mission is to make financial planning affordable and accessible, and to help the 50 million Americans in need of financial plans save money for their retirement.

"My best mentors have now become like second parents to me in many ways," she said. "They are passionate about helping us win."

But don't expect your relationships with your mentors to be all sunshine and roses. Mentors are the ones who will tell you when there's room for improvement.

"I think what you have to find is one or two or three people that are going to give it to you straight and push you harder," von Tobel said. "You have to be comfortable with people telling you that you're not doing well."

The key, she said, is being willing to take negative feedback and say, "Thank you for telling me things that I can do better because now I can actually do them better."

NOW WATCH: Meet the founder of a hot fintech startup that an old-line insurance company paid $250 million to buy

See Also:

SEE ALSO: There's one thing stopping finance startups from working with big Wall Street firms

RELATED: More notable women CEOs

Notable Women CEO's
See Gallery
A 32-year-old CEO who sold her startup for more than $250 million reveals her one piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs

Carol Meyrowitz

TJX Companies 

(Photo by Essdras M Suarez/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Ursula M. Burns


(Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

Beth Mooney, chief executive officer of KeyCorp, speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. KeyCorp, which has 1,059 branches, is targeting $150 million to $200 million of expense reductions by December 2013, the Cleveland-based lender said in a statement. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Lynn Good, president and chief executive officer of Duke Energy Corp., listens during an interview in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. Duke is moving to a lower carbon future regardless of who is in the White House, Good said. Photographer: Cassi Alexandra/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Debra Cafaro, chairman, chief executive officer of Ventas Inc., speaks during an interview in Chicago, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010. Ventas, the second-biggest U.S. health-care real estate investment trust by market value, agreed to buy Nationwide Health Properties Inc. for about $5.7 billion. Cafaro will lead the combined company. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Gracia Martore, President and CEO, Gannett Co. Inc., speaks at the UBS 40th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, December 5, 2012. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS)
Read Full Story