I listen to the Fizzle Show podcast weekly and this summer they had an episode titled “How to Create a Fail-Proof Mastermind Group.” The episode has some great insight about some of the pitfalls that can happen with mastermind groups.
As a response to that episode I wanted to share my experience with masterminds.
I’ve been meeting with the same group of guys every Monday for two and a half years. The four of us call ourselves a mastermind, but really we’re a group of friends that are dedicated to supporting each other and also happen to run businesses.
Sometimes because of travel, illness, or paternity leave we push the meeting to another day or skip for a week. But for the most part we’ve stayed consistent and dedicated to the weekly schedule.
The longevity of our group is unique from what I’ve heard from other people. In my own experience I was part of a mastermind that lasted only a few months and can see how a group might be at the wrong time of the week, at the wrong phase of business life, or have the wrong mix of people.
All I have to say is that I’m very grateful for the guys I’ve gotten to share life and business with for the past few years.
Here’s my thoughts on setting your mastermind up for success.
1. Everyone doesn’t have to be the same
The members of my group all run WordPress businesses. We all work remotely. None of us have full time employees, but some of us hire contractors consistently. We’re very similar, but don’t compete directly with each other.
I wouldn’t say that being in the same industry is a requirement. The bonuses of being in a mastermind transcend industry and we share enough to get a good understanding of each other’s businesses.
2. Commit and stay consistent
When starting out set a schedule and stick to it. If your schedule is weekly or bi-weekly then mark that time off on your calendar and keep it sacred. Don’t get into the habit of letting business emergencies take over this time. Being consistent and honoring the group’s time will build trust and strengthen everyone’s dedication to the group.
Also, I would meet weekly at best, or bi-weekly at least. Any less frequent than that takes some real commitment. It’s probably possible, but will take
3. Share real numbers, Share real struggles
Our meeting format follows this schedule: We meet for one hour total. The first 20 minutes three people share a general update on the previous week. The next 40 minutes the fourth person is in the hot seat and shares updates on the previous month including revenue numbers, big wins, struggles, and asks questions to the group.
This is where the real value of the group comes through. I don’t have a business partner or any employees so sometimes thoughts get jammed up in my brain. Being able to vent out those thoughts to people who know my journey, know me personally, and genuinely care about me is life giving. Seriously, this is the good stuff.
The person in the hot seat rotates each week so that we can focus on one person about once per month. We require sharing real revenue numbers because it’s difficult to offer helpful advice if you don’t have a full picture of the business.
4. Change happens
Recently one of our founding members let us know he was leaving the mastermind. The rest of us understood totally. Since we had been transparent on business and personal life we knew our friend was being called to something new. We wished him well and will continue to encourage him from a different place.
It’s also good to remember that just because something ends doesn’t mean it is a failure. Everything is born, lives, then dies. Only artificial things last forever.
The remaining members approached a new member (someone we considered in the past) and he agreed it is now a good season for him to join us so we are back to four members. It’s a number that works for us.
Try out a mastermind
I don’t have a suggestion on where to find people interested in a mastermind, but if I were wanting to join one today I would either look for an existing group, or try to find other business owners then ask them to lunch or coffee.
During the discussion I’d ask them about their business journey and see what they share. After the meeting if I got a good vibe from them I’d ask if they wanted to try meeting regularly to talk about running a business and if they knew someone who would be interested.
Who knows, you might find someone you’ll meet and share life with for the next several years!