As I think back on the last year, I am most grateful for the community of people around me….
Specifically, the mastermind group that I’ve been part of.
At any given time, I can pick up the phone and call at least a few dozen people and ask for their opinion or help — and I know that their opinions will come from a genuine, caring place.
There was a time that I was terrified of sharing my goals with anyone for fear of being judged.
Through lots of self-development reading and events, I started to understand how important it was to share my ideas with and learn from other people.
When we really got focused on self-development with Millennial Empire Builders, it was amazing to see how many people felt the same way — they had goals that they were too afraid to share because they didn’t want to be judged for them.
Through our regular meetings, we all started to open up and think bigger.
I’m not talking about surrounding yourself with a bunch of ‘yes men’.
You know what I’m talking about… The people who just agree with everything you say because they’re afraid of conflict and never give you any real insight.
While the yesmen in your life might feed your ego and make your feel all warm and fuzzy, they’ll never push you to grow.
So today, I wanted to share a few tips for organizing your own mastermind group.
If you’re unfamiliar with the the idea of mastermind groups, simply put, they’re basically groups of people who get together to share ideas, push and inspire each other, and hold each other accountable.
1. Determine The Mastermind Group Intention
Let’s start here…
There are tons of mastermind groups that all serve different purposes.
Sometimes people start masterminds because they’re feeling lonely in their businesses and are just looking for a group of people to talk about business with or exchange referrals.
This type of mastermind can be as simple as hopping on a call once a month to talk about business or as formal and structured as an organization like BNI (Business Networking International).
And on the other hand, some people start masterminds to attract their perfect client and build a client base who will hire them to do done for you work.
These are generally coaching and implementation style masterminds.
Any of these can work but you’ve got to decide what kind of mastermind you want to have before you go into it.
Let’s break them down a bit.
The Accountability Mastermind
The Accountability Mastermind is perfect for peers who are looking to stay on track with their key performance indicators.
The most popular example of this type of mastermind is salespeople who are holding each other accountable to a specific number of appointments, contacts, calls or new clients between each call – but that’s not it.
Here are a few other ways accountability mastermind groups can work:
- Weight Loss
- Students Taking A Course Together
- Bloggers Looking To Grow Traffic
The Referral Mastermind
How much easier would your business be if you had a salesforce of people who are constantly looking for clients for you?
That’s what a referral mastermind group is.
The most popular version of this (as mentioned above) is BNI.
I think the biggest key to making this work is having the accountability around the referrals.
While similar to the accountability mastermind, this type of mastermind group differs because there’s generally a focus on promoting their businesses rather than the specific activities of the business.
The Board of Directors Style Mastermind
In this format of mastermind group, members open up their businesses to scrutinization and invite open feedback through a “hot seat” model.
When I’ve seen this done well, everyone learns from each other and over time, they start improving their systems and each participant gets the chance to discover their blindspots and the holes in their business that are stopping them from leveling up.
The nuance here is that this type of mastermind is focused on your business – and that means you’re going to need to incentivize the people who are on your board to want to help and this will likely be the type of mastermind that meets the least often.
The Shared Resource Mastermind
This is a new mastermind concept that I’ve been playing around with.
In this format, members get together to share resources (like a virtual assistant for example).
When you’re sharing people power (like a virtual assistant), the actual mastermind piece of it is SO important so that you don’t burn the people who are working for you out.
Think about it from their perspective – if your mastermind has six people in it, that means your VA now has six bosses who are all going to be asking for different stuff.
During the mastermind piece, your group should discuss the strategies that you’d like your VA to implement.
The key here is that most VA’s are task based – which means they’ll do exactly what you tell them to and not much else.
So, when you and your group are getting ready to implement a specific strategy, masterminding around the DETAILS of that implementation and then being able to give that to the VA will save sooooo much time, tons of back and forth and a massive amount of frustration.
If you REALLY want to be effective, bring the VA in on those mastermind meetings and treat him or her like the facilitator.
They’ll be excited to be part of the project and they’ll understand the thought that goes into what you’re asking them to do.
Other examples of shared resource masterminds are meal prep groups and herbalism groups that are focused on creating herbs.
The Implementation Mastermind
The implementation mastermind is similar to the shared resource mastermind in that it’s focused on executing on a specific topic – the only difference is that the shared resource mastermind group is often focused on the strategy.
This mastermind is generally focused on strategy for the first session and the rest of it is focused on implementation.
An added element of this mastermind group type is that there’s often a “hot seat” experience.
This experience is like show and tell – the participants show what they’ve implemented, share their stats and collect feedback from the other participants.
The implementation mastermind group is incredible for business consultants or coaches who want to offer a lower priced package to their clients that’s not exactly 1:1 but still offers a high level of service.
Making Your Decision
Any of these masterminds will work and sometimes it takes a combination of a few of them to create a transformational experience.
Just a word of advice – you probably won’t get it perfectly on the first try.
You may need to go through some trial and error but the first step is to START.
After that, you’ll need to figure out how to structure your mastermind.
2. Organize Your Mastermind Content
Next up, you’ll want to decide on the logical sequence of content that will help them get from point A to point B.
One of the mistakes that I see mastermind leaders make is that each session is focused on a completely different topic so their attendees end up getting a surface level introduction to a bunch of different topics but never actually implement anything.
Instead, dig really deep on one topic and focus on getting them a transformation of that one topic.
Take them from the beginning all the way to the end – and focus on one element per session.
If you select your topics before you select the people, you will all get more value out of the mastermind group because you’ll know that you have the right people in place.
Here are a couple of tips for you:
Use A Logical Sequence
Start at the beginning of the idea and then walk them through to the end.
For example, let’s say you were going to start a mastermind around herbalism (I know that’s random but I’ve gotten really into it lately!)
So here’s an example of an outline:
Who It’s For: Women who are interested in herbalism and are familiar with their benefits but don’t know how to start
Type Of Mastermind: Implementation – by the end of the experience, they will have created 15-20 formulations
Purpose: To create a high-end coaching program for my existing herbalism client base
(All of that is important to outline up front so that you can stick within those parameters).
Session 1: Herbs We’re Using And Creating Your Materia Medica
Session 2: Create Your Base Tinctures And Infused Oils
Session 3: Herbal Formulations For Common Colds, Flus and Coughs
Session 4: Herbal Formulations For Skin Conditions (Bites, Stings, Bruises And Muscle Soreness)
Session 5: Herbal Formulations For Sleep, Energy And Focus
Session 6: Herbal Formulations For Digestive Issues
Session 7: Herbal Formulations For Women’s Health
Session 8: Freestyling Your Formulations
Now let’s say that was the entire mastermind experience.
Was that transformational?
This type of mastermind will teach them everything they need to know to deal with all of their core conditions, get them to fall in love with herbs and make sure they’re actually using them.
So, after you’ve decided the content that will go into the experience, we’re going to deepen the outline to put some more meat on it.
Get Them Quick Wins
You have an outline now but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
You’ll want to make that experience more robust and get them quick wins after EACH session.
Using the same mastermind from above, the quick win is that during each session, they’ll walk away with prepared herbal formulations that they can take home with them and start using immediately.
Think about how your mastermind can get them that instant gratification.
Can you make sure they walk away with business referrals? Feedback on their writing?
Lastly, think about any additional tools, resources or incentives that you can give them to help their transformation.
In the herbal example, maybe you choose to provide all of the herbs and storage containers for their herbal formulations.
If it’s a business mastermind, maybe you offer the use of your team to help them implement.
What about worksheets?
Free trials to software that will help them?
An online course that you created?
Keep in mind, you don’t need to be shy about this – if you’re going to offer them these kind of resources, you SHOULD be charging them for the experience to cover your own costs.
If your goal is to help them transform, give them EVERYTHING they’ll need to get from A to B.
At this point in history, we DON’T need more tips, more information or more courses.
We need help with implementing… So help them do that!
3. Breakdown The Logistics Of Your Mastermind Group
At this point, if you did this right, you’re going to be super excited about the incredible experience you’ve designed and you’re going to want to tell the whole world.
At this point, if you start telling people right now, you’re going to give them half baked answers.
When they start asking about details, you’re not going to have the answers until you go through this step.
Forget about the people right now — you need to decide how you want this mastermind group to run.
The more structure that you can make concrete for your mastermind group, the more people can envision what it will be like and why they need to be part of it.
Don’t make them think too hard… Get the basics organized and if the group decides to change it later, that’s fine too.
Here, you’ll want to decide what format you’ll be doing your mastermind.
Is it going to be in person?
Any of these can work but they all have their pros and cons.
Obviously, being in person is the best but it has the most limitations – you can only have members that are geographically close to you and it can be inconvenient for your attendees to have to travel to you.
Video conferences are a great medium but you’re dependent on technology working and if people are in their homes, you often have to deal with distractions.
Phone calls can work but you’ll need someone to enforce everyone being present.
Timeframe, Frequency and Length
Here, you’ll want to outline the session logistics.
How long will each session be?
How often will they be held?
How long will the mastermind last?
More isn’t always better.
People have lives too so if you can get them a transformation with LESS time, you’re going to get them a better experience and your retention will stay high because the mastermind doesn’t monopolize their lives.
In my experience, 3-6 month masterminds are the most effective and doing biweekly or monthly one-hour sessions are your best bet.
That doesn’t mean you can’t try other models, I’ve just found that worked best in my groups.
Criteria For Invitation
If I can give you ANY piece of advice, it’s to be VERY clear about how you’ll select people to invite.
You need to protect the culture of your mastermind group like it’s your baby.
… and if you don’t, it’ll crash and burn.
More people doesn’t necessarily mean a better experience.
Plus, when you have a massively transformational mastermind experience, the members of it will become equally protective.
That means they will likely be closed off to outsiders, so by ensuring that the people who are being invited are going to fit in, they’ll be less clique-y.
Agenda and Attendance
The biggest killer of culture is having half a group on a regular basis.
Don’t wait until someone has missed five sessions to try to kick them out… You’ll ruin the integrity of the group and the person will likely get defensive.
Make sure the standards are clear up front and hold everyone accountable to them — including you.
You’ll want to decide what your attendance policy will be and enforce a consistent agenda so that they know what to expect during each session.
If your mastermind is going to be an hour long, how will that hour be used?
You don’t want to just leave it open to anything or you’ll never make progress.
If I can give you ANY piece of advice, it’s to start on time.
If you keep pushing off the start time while waiting for people, you’re training them that you’re going to start late so they’ll continue to show up late.
In my masterminds, we start on time and we end on time.
At first, people would stroll in late… and once they realized we actually started on time, they started showing up on time too.
At this point, you’ll need to decide if you’re going to charge for your mastermind.
I STRONGLY encourage you to – it will keep them accountable and weed out the people who are just interested in the topic.
When you’re including additional resources, PLEASE make sure that you’re accounting for those so you can cover your costs.
I’ve made the mistake multiple times of giving away resources and then walking away in the red from the experience.
Instead, account for each of those resources and then give yourself room for a profit margin.
Your time is valuable so treat it as such!
4. Recruit Your People
*Take a deep breath*
NOW is when you start recruiting your people.
Alllll of the work and planning that you’ve done up to this point will help you get more yeses rather than “I’ll think about it”.
I like to keep the masterminds around 6 people including me and I like even numbers because you can have accountability partners, which we’ll talk about in just a little bit.
The number of people that works for your mastermind will vary based on the type of mastermind you’re going to do and what you feel like makes sense for the group
Before you have your first meeting, you need to be really clear on what’s expected of them and how their lack of attendance affects the group.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but your friends may not be the best people for you to invite to the group.
Just because you like them doesn’t mean they’re the right people.
Up to this point, we’ve spent some time thinking of topics and structure so if you know that your friend is wishy-washy, isn’t coachable, can’t contribute value on the topics you’ll be talking about or is at a lower level than everyone else in the group, it’s not going to work.
You should build an ‘avatar’ or make a list of qualities that you’re looking for in participants and invite people who fit that criteria.
If your list isn’t big enough, that’s perfectly ok.
Start smaller and ask the people who do fit your criteria who else would be a good fit.
That will help you build your community and you’ll be maintaining a high standard for the group.
Never sacrifice your standards.
When you work backwards, everyone in the group will have a better experience and they will get to have their transformation.
5. Enforce Your Structure
Leading people can feel like teaching a pre-school class sometimes.
You’ll need to give constant reminders to your members about upcoming meetings and enforce your standards so that you can run an effective group.
It’s annoying but it’s necessary… People get busy and they forget.
Since we run our groups on a biweekly basis, our groups have a group chat via text so that they can keep up with each other.
The group’s leader (you) are responsible for sending out a reminder about 5 days before the call to the person who’s responsible for leading the call and to send out a reminder to the members the evening before or the morning of so that you don’t have to worry about people forgetting and then having to facilitate the call for them.
I learned a lot of this the hard way so don’t cut corners. It’s not worth it.
I hope you take this advice and run with it.
Mastermind groups are some of the best ways to build a strong mindset and build better relationships with other like-minded people.
While they’re a lot of work to put together, they’re incredibly valuable.
Happy masterminding 🙂