If you’ve ever worked online for a hot second, you’ve likely heard of people talking about their mastermind group.
And with good reason – the right mastermind group can be incredibly powerful. Over the past four years, I’ve been a part of paid, and then informal, mastermind groups and they’ve been critical to my sanity and my success. (A mastermind is where I bonded with Brittany and look how well that turned out!)
Maybe you’re new to masterminds, or maybe you’re looking to add one to the mix, but either way, you’re not sure where to start. You have many options, which is why I’ve created the definitive guide to masterminds. So let’s get started!
What is a Mastermind Group?
If you’re not familiar with a mastermind group, it’s a mix of accountability, support, and idea-sharing to help one another achieve success. Think of it as peer-to-peer mentoring where you work together to solve your problems.
While they are the rage in online business circles, they’ve actually been around for nearly 100 or more years. Napoleon Hill talked about this concept in his book from the 1920s, “The Law of Success”, and then in “Think and Grow Rich”.
A mastermind group is focused not just on your success, but on that of the group and bringing your best to everyone involved.
Why You Need a Mastermind
As a female entrepreneur, especially living in the middle of small town Canada, mastermind groups have been my business lifeline. Each group has provided something different, but at the end of the day, these women are the people who get “me” and what I’m going through.
If you’re not in a mastermind, it’s may be time for you to find one as it gives you a structured way to help you reach your goals! (Seriously, not even joking a little bit here, this is a huge part of my success over the last few years.)
Before you decide you’re fine without one, I want you to know there are no gold stars for doing this “entrepreneurship/business owner” thing on your own. I tried for many, many years, and I didn’t know what I was missing!
Imagine having a sounding board when you need it; a place to go when you’re stuck; and having other people you know, like and trust who can contribute to each other’s business vision and success. That’s what a mastermind is all about.
Get Clear on Your Mastermind Goal
Before you dive into a mastermind group, take the time to get clear on your intention and the ultimate goal of masterminding. You’re going to be investing your precious time and energy into masterminding, so you want to ensure it’s going to be a win-win for you.
At each stage in your business, the goal of what you’re looking for from the mastermind may be different. When I was first starting out, it was to get connected and have support with different challenges. Over time, that role evolved to one where I relied on my mastermind group to push me and call me out on my shit.
What you need may be different, so put some time into figuring out what you need in the next three, six months or even a year to support your business and personal growth. Then you’ll be in a better place to be able to seek out the right mastermind group.
Who Should You Mastermind With?
The key to a mastermind being a good fit and a valuable use of time is being with the right people. For me, that’s been with people that have business values that are aligned with mine and are at a certain stage or level of experience.
Consider who you want to mastermind with: do you want to mastermind with other people who do what you do? A variety of industries? Also, think about who you mesh with and if you’ll be a-okay with sharing the ins and outs of your business.
Don’t make the mistake of focusing purely on revenue as a measure of who to mastermind with, as it can be a poor indicator of fit. It’s only one factor to consider and I’ve personally found that their business model was more important to me than how much someone was making. (Unless they were just starting out.)
Know Your Mastermind Options
Over the years, I’ve been in several paid masterminds as well as a number of ones formed with business friends and collaborators.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both approaches, so let’s quickly walk through them.
With paid masterminds, a lot of it comes down to the leader(s) of the group and how they structure things. Is everyone at the same level, or are you going to be miles ahead or behind of everyone else? Are the challenges you’ll be bringing to the table ones that others in the group will be facing or have experience with?
Many times a paid mastermind requires a financial investment so definitely dig into all of the details before you commit.
Things I like to find out to help make my decision:
- How many people will be in the group?
- How are they screening people for fit?
- How often do we meet?
- What are the requirements for participating in the group?
- How is the group structured?
Even if it’s only a minor investment, asking these questions upfront can save you a headache later, as there’s nothing more frustrating than paying to be in a group that’s not a fit.
Maybe you’re not in the market for a paid mastermind, so a free group is always an option too. For the best results, I recommend brainstorming who you’d like to mastermind with and go from there.
Starting a new group is always easier than trying to find an existing one and then trying to get invited. People generally are pretty tight-lipped about who they mastermind with and these groups tend to be a little bit secretive. (At least in my experience, it’s like some type of online entrepreneur version of the Skulls.)
The biggest thing with an unpaid mastermind is to ensure that there are clear rules of engagement and expectations from the get-go.
Armed with this guide, you’ll be on your way to finding the right group for you and using the power of your mastermind group to help you grow and thrive in ways you didn’t think possible.