Starting A Mastermind Group
‘You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with’
Although this phrase was coined by motivational speaker Jim Rohn, Maeri Howard, owner at The Make & Do Studio quoted it during a conversation one day and it has stuck with me ever since. On reflection – I have to say it’s true; the people I spend most of my time with are self-employed entrepreneurs. They’ve inspired me to begin my own self-employment (solopreneur?) journey and quite honestly, I wouldn’t want to work for someone else again!
Maeri also recently suggested starting a mastermind group of a few creative entrepreneurs we know, and so it was born… I can’t tell you much about our progress as it’s currently in its infancy, but I have spent time researching how it can benefit your business and that of the like-minded entrepreneurs you connect with. Here’s what I have discovered so far:
So What Exactly Is A Mastermind Group?
A mastermind group is basically peer-to-peer accountability & mentoring. These groups are popular amongst successful people, for a number of reasons;
- Collective like-minded intelligence
- Accountability to peers
- Creative idea generation
- Honesty & encouragement
- To learn, share, & grow
Keeping group numbers fairly low (around 5 is ideal) helps to keep a flow and order to things. Much more than that and it could get confusing to keep track of progress, and you may find that not much gets addressed due to lack of time. The accountability factor present within a mastermind group is essential to keeping you focused and taking consistent actions (even if you are way out of your comfort zone… like me, and sales!) The theory goes that if you tell your group that you will do x amount of sales related tasks within a specified time frame, you’re far more likely to follow up on your plans.
How And Where To Find Mastermind Group Members
If you’re looking to join a mastermind group, you may find that there are already plenty of them in your local area. Check out local entrepreneur meet-ups, local business networking groups, your local Chamber Of Commerce, and any Facebook groups you may be a part of (these groups do not have to be local!) If you can’t find any, why not ask… Don’t be scared to reach out to people you think might be a good fit. Starting your own mastermind group can be a little daunting (especially if you don’t have a clue where to start), but it’s also a lot of fun and very rewarding!
Finding the right kind of people is paramount as you need members that are committed and have something to offer the group. Reach out to them individually, taking into consideration the demographics, personalities, and industries. Once you have a group of like-minded individuals, you’ll need to set a date & time for the first meet (whether it is in person, on Skype, or Google Hangouts etc…) A brilliant tool to help work out a mutually convenient time is Doodle.
Setting Up Ground Rules And Weeding Out The Uncommitted
Create a mission statement so that you’re all clear about why you’re meeting up and what it is you’re trying to achieve. There are plenty of examples to be found on Google! Your missions statement could include ideals such as:
- To encourage each other to exceed goals and ambitions
- To be creative and inspire your peers
- To be committed to your own success
- To be committed to your peers’ success
Creating ground rules will help keep the uncommitted away. Every member of the group should readily accept (and contribute) to these. For example:
Our members are:
- Committed (to attend and engage)
- Present (not distracted during meetings)
- Honest (to give feedback thoughtfully)
- Open (sharing fully and taking critique gracefully)
- Encouraging (to listen without interruption or judgement)
Our members are not:
- Consistently self-promoting
- Out for themselves only
- Unsupportive or judgemental
Mastermind groups only work when members attend and engage. It’s a collaboration of people committed to reaching, and indeed, smashing business goals. You may want to think about membership fees or a system whereby non-attendees pay an apology (ie. £5 per missed session) … This could be put towards a Christmas social; the possibilities are endless!
So What Does A Successful Mastermind Group look like?
Successful mastermind groups come in various forms. Some meet regularly at each other’s houses, a coffee shop, or even the local pub; all have pros and cons (family distractions at home, lack of space in your favourite coffee shop, noise (and alcohol) in a pub etc…) Other groups get together via Google Hangouts or Skype. The method of communication is not of great import, it’s the commitment and focus of the members of the group that’s pivotal to its’ success.
Successful groups have a structure to them. Everyone shows up to meetings on time and ready to start. You can go about it in two ways… firstly, members can take turns, getting an allotted amount of focus time (say 5-10 minutes), with an extra 10 minutes for feedback; it can be to share success, seek advice around pain points, or ask for a critique on a certain project you’ve been working on. If you decide to go with this option you’ll need to set a timer in order to give everyone a fair turn (you may go over that time if you’re onto something good, but it makes you aware!) If a member needs more time, it can be given through the facebook group.
Secondly, instead of splitting the time between all members of the group, each meet-up could focus on just one members’ business on a rotation. This gives you time to really get into the nitty-gritty of the member’s business and allows for more informed feedback from peers. The downside to this is that if you meet up once a month and there are 8 people in the group, you would only address each business once a year, however, if you meet up weekly this might be a viable option. Group members should agree which model works best for them.
Nominate one person to take charge of arranging the meeting dates, times, venues, and sending out reminders so that you can be consistent. You can opt to take this role in turns or have one sole (willing) administrator.
How To Keep Up The Momentum Of The Group
Create a Facebook private/secret/closed group, this way everyone can interact, catch-up, ask advice, and celebrate success as it happens.
Sharing resources is also a great idea. These could be anything from marketing strategies and email templates, to checklists and inspiration. Sending group emails may work in the short-term, but having a shared folder in Dropbox or Google Drive will make for an easy to access, organised stock of valuable resources for all.
Another idea is to introduce a business-minded book club to your group. You don’t have to spend much time on this, but it will encourage you to read up on topics you always tell yourself you will get around to at some point (this is where accountability comes in, you will feel obliged (in a good way) to do your bit!)
I hope this article inspires you to start or join a mastermind group, the benefits to your business are worth it!