You’ve probably heard the term “mastermind group” before as they’ve been growing in popularity over the last few years.
But what they really are, the benefits they present to their members, and the best way to start your own may still be unclear.
Not after today! Once you read this blog, you’ll have a firm understanding of mastermind groups and why you should start one immediately.
So What Exactly is a Mastermind Group?
The term was originally coined by “Think and Grow Rich” author, Napoleon Hill, and can be defined as a collection of like-minded individuals who meet regularly and help one another navigate through the various challenges inherent with any business or life venture.
For example, you could start a very targeted mastermind group for founders of startup companies.
At meetings, you could discuss your experiences in running a new business, insights you’ve gleaned and more — and other members of the group would do the same.
Or you could start a mastermind group with a very broad theme and diverse set of personalities.
General business, investing and technology advancement are all potential topics. We’ll discuss how to choose the right topic for your mastermind group in a later section.
“Great,” you’re thinking, “a mastermind group sounds useful, but it also sounds like a lot of work to set up. What exactly will I get out of starting one?”
Great question! There are numerous benefits to starting your own group, which we’ll outline now:
In the world of business, we all have ups and downs and having a strong support group can sometimes be the difference between a wildly successful venture and a gut-wrenching failure.
Your mastermind group can help you get back on your feet when you suffer a setback and give you the encouragement you need to carry on. They can also celebrate with you when things are going well and lend advice on any next steps you should take to perpetuate your momentum.
The potential resources that may be offered to you through your mastermind group can come in the form of new, valuable ideas you hadn’t thought of before, contacts you’ve never met, and even access to physical things such as locations, facilities, and machinery that you may not have been able to use previously.
Obviously, the resources available to you will depend on the people you invite to your group (more on that in a moment), but if you choose your members wisely, you’re bound to receive something worthwhile — just as they should receive beneficial resources from you.
Overall, mastermind groups make networking and resource sharing much easier!
The right kind of accountability can keep you on a straight path towards your goals. We’ve all had those times in our lives — whether because of a hectic home life, consistent setbacks or something else — that we’re tempted to shirk our duties.
But by having a respected group of individuals check in with you regularly, you’ll be much more likely to do what needs to be done and move your career forward.
Even when it’s hard or you don’t feel like it.
After all, you don’t want to be the only one in your mastermind group who doesn’t report back at your next meeting with some kind of progress, right?
Lastly, starting and participating in a mastermind group can be a lot of fun! As people, we’re hardwired to associate and communicate with each other. Depending on the job you have and the life you lead, this may be hard to find.
If you’re a freelancer, solopreneur, or work-from-home professional who doesn’t regularly have the opportunity to interact with others, your scheduled mastermind group meetings will be an extra special treat!
But even if you do receive plenty of human interaction on a regular basis, it can still be quite enjoyable and inspiring to meet with other driven individuals who share similar goals and qualities as you.
Follow These Guidelines to Start Your Own Mastermind Group
The decision to start your own group can be a business transforming — or even life changing — one. And if you’ve decided to create your own, we applaud you! But let’s make sure your group is as successful as possible by detailing a few important considerations.
#1 Choose the Perfect Topic
As we mentioned earlier, mastermind groups can cover just about any topic. Your profession, favorite hobby, and various life pursuits (such as raising children) are all viable topics. But for the sake of this article, we’ll focus on themes that relate to your career.
The first step in choosing your topic is to decide what exactly it is you’re hoping to get out of your group.
- Do you want to network with other business owners?
- Would you like to learn from established professionals in your field?
- Maybe you need an area to vent your various career-related frustrations.
Once you understand your desire for starting a mastermind group, you’ll be better prepared to choose the appropriate topic.
For example, if you plan to start your group in order to better familiarize yourself with the various ways you can make your money work for you while you sleep, perhaps a topic of “investing” would be valuable to you.
As a quick note, the more specific your topic is, the easier it will be to start a mastermind group; especially if you’ve never started one before. So the broad topic of “investing” becomes “real estate investing” or “investing in stocks.”
#2 Invite the Right People
The success of your mastermind group largely rests on the people you ask to participate in it. While the types of individuals will vary in every group depending on the chosen topic and personality of its founder, there are a few common traits all group members should possess:
If your group is only as good as the people in it, then you need to select only those who are willing and able to commit and contribute. Make sure that the individuals you invite are excited to be there, will consistently show up, and will enjoy sharing input and advice when they have it.
- Similar Goals
This one is debatable as those with different goals may still be capable of sharing valuable insights with other members of the group. But you also don’t want to choose members who are after completely different things.
For example, if you’re the proud owner of a SaaS startup company, you’ll have a completely different outlook on business and a different set of experiences from an established restaurant chain owner.
Will you still be able to learn from somebody like that?
But you’ll probably get more out of the group if you invite people with similar business goals as you.
- A Variety of Skill Sets
One of the reasons that mastermind groups can be so beneficial is because you’ll be able to receive ideas and opinions from people with different skill sets.
Individuals who approach business and life in a different way than you do and can provide an outside perspective that’s never occurred to you before. Their insight can be invaluable!
You won’t agree with everything you receive from them. But just hearing their opinions and seeing your problem from different angles will put you in a much better position to make informed decisions.
- Problem Solving Abilities
Problem solvers are ideal for mastermind groups as they won’t be afraid to “jump in” and help you with any potential problems or roadblocks you run into. Conversely, the more problems you’re able to solve (or help solve) for other group members, the more you’ll bring to the table as well.
We highly recommend you assess a potential group member’s problem-solving skills before asking them to join your new mastermind group.
#3 Establish Rules for Your Mastermind Group
Really, we have to have rules?
Can’t we just get together and have stimulating and productive conversations without having to get so formal?
Of course you can. But a few, overarching guidelines will greatly improve the productiveness of your meetings and lead to a much more satisfying experience for all involved. The below-mentioned guidelines aren’t meant to hold you back, but rather “free up” the group.
This should be obvious, but it still needs to be said. Have a rule for your group that if someone else is talking, no one else will interrupt. Also, allow each member to have an equal amount of time to discuss what’s on their mind. This is just common courtesy, but will go a long way towards ensuring the success of your new mastermind group.
Remember what we said about only asking committed individuals to join your group? Well, why not make a rule about it?
How you enforce the rule is up to you. Perhaps you just strongly encourage group members to arrive on time and participate. Or maybe you go a step further and reserve the right to banish members for missing too many meetings or consistently arriving late.
The necessity of this rule will depend on the topic of your mastermind group and the openness of your members. But if you do plan to talk about potentially sensitive information, a confidentiality rule needs to be put in place.
Doing so will help you develop an honest and open atmosphere where people can feel comfortable sharing. And this is typically where the deepest insights are found!
Finally, establishing a rule at the very beginning for how new members will be vetted and introduced is in your best interest. Will you, the group’s founder, have final say on who is allowed to join, or will it be a group decision?
Decide now and avoid any awkwardness down the road.
#4 Set Standard Meeting Times
When, where and for how long will you meet?
This is important information people should know — ideally before they commit to join. So work this out prior to sending any invitations.
In regard to when you meet, we suggest meeting at least once a month. Any less frequent and members won’t be able to really connect on the deeper level needed to see the real benefits.
Where you meet will depend on the individuals you ask to join and how many of them there are. If you happen to all live in the same town, perhaps someone’s house, a popular restaurant or local library will suit your needs.
Online meetings through Skype, Google Hangouts or any other digital solution are also a possibility for distributed group members and can work quite well.
As for how long your group meets for each session, use a tool like Toggl to easily and accurately track your meeting times.
The recorded data can even be analyzed afterwards in order to optimize your meetings and make them more productive for everyone involved!
#5 Appoint a Facilitator — Or Don’t!
This is completely your preference. Some people like to facilitate meetings to ensure they stay on point and on track — especially if your meetings are full of busy people and don’t last very long.
But other mastermind groups favor a more free-flowing style. This approach generally works best for smaller groups where an actual facilitator might feel awkward.
Finally, some groups fit somewhere in the middle — they have a facilitator to start and end meetings, but members police themselves and each other (respectfully of course!) during the actual meeting.
Record Your Mastermind Sessions
Again, this is optional. But you and your fellow mastermind group members may find is incredibly beneficial to record your sessions for future reference.
That way members can focus on contributing to the conversation at hand rather than taking notes.
There are many ways to record your sessions. The one you choose will depend on how your group is run.
Do you all meet in person? A simple voice recorder may do the trick. Or a more in-depth audio recording set up may be needed.
Ready to Start Your Own Mastermind Group?
Mastermind groups can be incredibly beneficial for those looking to take their careers to the next level and we can’t recommend them enough!
If you do plan to start leading your own mastermind sessions in the near future, follow the tips in this article and you’ll be much more likely to start a productive, satisfying and successful group.
Have you started or participated in mastermind groups before? What was your experience like? Comment below and tell us all about it!