A mastermind group is like your own personal board of directors: a group of committed members dedicated to your success.
Essentially, a mastermind is a recurring meeting of committed members, in which each member is dedicated to the other’s success.
Here’s what a mastermind can do for you (and how I’ve benefited myself):
In this post, I’ll share how I was bombing in my online business endeavors… and how a mastermind turned everything around.
Also, as a “thank you” for reading this article, I’ve made some awesome bonuses available to help you jumpstart your mastermind, including 15 places to find mastermind members and free access to an in-depth course on how to make your mastermind.
A few years ago, I was failing epically. After writing this article, I calculated that I lost out of $30,000 of income because I did not start a mastermind earlier.
Inspired by Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast, I began to create Web sites with the hope that I would receive “passive” income. Unfortunately, I never received a dime, and then I failed at a bunch of other online experiments.
When I ran into roadblocks with my online projects, I gave up too quickly. What I lacked was accountability.
I needed to improve my perseverance and productivity. I thought a coach would help me stay accountable, but I didn’t have any extra money to pay for a coach at the time. Then I heard Dan Miller of 48 Days talk about masterminds in his 48 Days podcast.
I immediately reached out in online entrepreneur communities to find potential mastermind group members.
I formed my first mastermind group, I saw huge increases in my productivity, income, and accomplishments.
Here are a few examples:
I would not have the success I have today without my mastermind group.
You cannot do life alone. My buddy Kyle Musser says it better I could:
Thanks, Kyle. Successful people have known this since at least 1000 B.C.:
“Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.” Proverbs 24:6
Every great leader has had others to confined in.
Every U.S. president has a cabinet of advisors, made up of experts in various fields.
Businesses and nonprofits have boards of directors. Benjamin Franklin created the Junto group of local businessmen for the purpose of a “structured form of mutual improvement.”
J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis had a group called the Inklings that met weekly at a local pub to discuss their writings.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
You need to increase your average.
Let’s get started.
I mentioned Napoleon Hill at the beginning of this post. He further defines the mastermind group as “two or more people who work in perfect harmony for the attainment of a definite purpose.”
The members must be of similar standing in life/business. A millionaire businesswoman wouldn’t meet with a group of starting mommy bloggers, and an established business owner wouldn’t meet with startup bootstrappers.
But, how do you actually find potential mastermind members?
The most important consideration in forming your mastermind group is that everyone shares the same ideals.
A mastermind works best when the members are of the same mind (principles). That way, suggestions made are already aligned with values and ethics.
What might happen when a mastermind includes people who aren’t on par with the standards of the group?
Let’s imagine the mastermind meets for the first time, and one person is missing. At the next meeting, three people are missing. After a few more weeks, the mastermind only includes you.
I don’t have to imagine it.
This is exactly what happened with my very first “mastermind” (though I wouldn’t call it that now).
Curious as to what standards to set for your group?
These are from my own mastermind group:
We didn’t make these principles up. They come straight from “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
To surround yourself with the high-quality members you are looking for, consider creating your mastermind from scratch.
This gives you the best chance of finding people ready to commit to your success (as much as you commit to theirs), rather than relying on someone else to put it together.
There’s a little risk involved, of course. Every worthwhile endeavor involves risk! To reduce the chance of a false start, here’s a step-by-step formula.
There are two different ways you can find the right members.
The best way to find mastermind members is to look in communities you love. It’s likely the people who believe in the same ideals and like the same things as you are already there.
Here’s an example:
In January, I created a mastermind sign-up form where people in the Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Group on Facebook could ask to be paired with other like-minded individuals.
In the single day the form was “open,” more than sixty people signed on.
By the time I actually removed the link (whoops!) more than 130 people submitted their information.
Message received: people want to help community members.
You may just need to ask.
Check out the bonuses below for a sample questionnaire (the same as the example above).
You’d be surprised how many recommendations you may get when looking. I occasionally receive requests to join masterminds and usually it’s because someone recommended me to the group.
An easy way to ask for referrals is by befriending Facebook group admins. Start a conversation over Facebook. After you established a relationship, ask them if they know anyone who would be interested in joining a mastermind.
This process may take longer to form a mastermind. However, you’re more likely to find high quality members this route vs. posting in groups.
At the end of this article, I share 15 additional places to look for potential mastermind members.
Regardless of how you identify potential mastermind members, you’ll need see if they’re a good fit for what you have in mind.
The best way to do this is through a questionnaire.
You may feel awkward about sending a stranger a questionnaire. It may seem imposing.
Soften your approach by saying, “Use this questionnaire to indicate days of the week you could meet.”
Ask questions about their business, accomplishments, and goals. This will give you a good sense of what kind of person this member may be and whether or not you should invite them into your group.
I recently added a questionnaire testing a person’s GRIT to a mastermind coaching group and it worked very well to identify the right members.
Those who receive a high score (5 is the highest) are highly likely accomplish goals. You want 5s in your mastermind.
After the potential candidate completes the GRIT assessment, invite them to report their GRIT score on the questionnaire.
Okay, so now you have a potential list of candidates.
From that, hopefully you make the right choices and create a mastermind group that will last for at least six months.
Of all the options available to host a meeting, I recommend the one resource that’s both free and (relatively) easy to use:
Here’s a video tutorial on how to use Google Hangout for your mastermind meetings.
Mastermind Pro Tip:
Practice with Google Hangout before your first event.
Trust me. Your first meeting will be clunky (because not everyone has tried Google Hangouts). Expect your first meeting to be only a meet-and-greet.
Other hosting tools of the trade include:
This is the secret sauce of masterminds.
Productive meetings create golden opportunities and revelations worth millions. Every group is different, but here is a basic template for how a typical meeting should run:
8:00 p.m. – 8:10 p.m.
Each member reviews last week’s accomplishments and goals.
8:10 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
One member enters the hot seat and other members address his or her specific query.
8:45 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Each member states his or her goals for next week.
If your meeting is weekly, you could have two members enter the hot seat. Experiment. It’s your mastermind, so find out what you like best.
Benjamin Franklin’s Junto group asked 24 questions during the meeting.
Assign a few roles to members in order to keep your mastermind group meetings running smoothly.
Leader : Creates the mastermind group. Responsible for finding and keeping members.
Organizer : Responsible for organizing the Google Hangout and Facebook Group (if any).
Secretary : Responsible for taking the minutes of the meeting. Extremely important if you use a Facebook Group or Google Community. Notes should be posted in the group so that everyone can hold each member accountable to the goals stated in the previous meeting.
Hot Seat : This position is rotated to a new member every week. More on this role below.
In order to keep things interesting for everyone, it’s a good idea to periodically rotate roles among members.
When you’re in the hot seat, you open yourself to let your fellow mastermind members take an under-the-hood look at your business.
The more open you are with the group, the more it may hurt… and the more likely you’ll hear the advice you actually need.
This is when you sweat.
Nothing is more nerve racking than exposing your work to others, at least for the first few times you enter the hot seat. It does get easier over time, especially as trust and familiarity grow in the group.
Here’s what you can expect to be asked when you’re in the hot seat:
Obviously, more questions will spawn from these questions.
Here a few revelations I received while being GRILLED in the hot seat:
This depends on things like everyone’s availability, levels of commitment, and the number of members.
A good friend of mine masterminds with me every two weeks. It’s just me and him every Tuesday at 5:30 a.m. And I love it.
He calls me out on my crap and I inspire him to push harder. It’s a great dynamic. Two weeks works for us because we are both extremely busy with our day jobs, families, and online businesses.
This happens in nearly every mastermind. Schedules change, priorities change, life happens.
At the beginning, when you’re first vetting members, set an expectation of a minimum commitment of, for example, six months. Hopefully this discourages ineligible members before you even start.
No. People change. So should your mastermind.
As you start your first mastermind, your network will begin to grow. You’ll find other interesting people who may show interest in joining a mastermind. Always keep your “feelers” out there for awesome people to mastermind with.
Creating a successful mastermind can be challenging. You may not find enough members, or the right members for that matter.
I hope I provided you with some great info to get you started, but you probably have more questions, right?
To make this process even easier for you, I’ve got some bonus content for you.
Sound good? To get these bonuses, click the button below to sign up.