How to find a mastermind group

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If you’ve been working on building your speaker business for a while, you might be interested in learning more about ways to connect with other speakers, business owners, and leaders in your community. One way you can do that is through mastermind groups. But what is a mastermind group? What can a mastermind group do for your career? And how can you find (or start) a mastermind group? For answers to these questions and more, read on.

What is a mastermind group?

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn has been credited as saying that “you’re the average of the five people spend the most time with.” As an older book puts it, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” The basic idea of a mastermind group is that by surrounding yourself with a few smart friends (4-5 is common), you can best hone and brainstorm both your business ideas and your life plans as a whole. Rather than your ideas being all in your head for your company’s new product or initiative, you can receive feedback from people who know and understand you and your ideas best.

A number of famous names have been part of masterminds, from billionaire steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie to Benjamin Franklin to the Inklings, an authors’ group with members like C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Owen Barfield. The name for such groups comes from author Napoleon Hill and his 1937 book Think and Grow Rich. But the idea is pretty simple. As Grant Baldwin, a member of a mastermind group himself, put in in a Speaker Lab podcast on masterminds: “I would say it’s a group of guys who all have similar outlooks on life and core values and help each other with business.”

Mastermind groups are not a class. There’s no teacher for the group. They may have a group facilitator who leads the group in brainstorming and discussions of business or life issues. Nevertheless, the group is primarily a vehicle for feedback and accountability. A mastermind is a place where you can be honest with others about the problems you are facing, and get honest feedback in return. You’re there not simply to network, but to get substantial feedback from a small group of peers.

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How a mastermind can help you

It can be lonely if you’re growing a speaking business or business endeavour of any kind. This is especially true if most of your business is done online. And you can get mentally stuck in a lot of things that you wouldn’t get stuck otherwise if you were in person. A mastermind can provide camaraderie and constructive feedback in a way few other groups can.

Suppose you’re starting a business, such as a speaking business or a business selling a product online. You may have 57 great ideas to change the world but you can’t focus on any one. Or you’re struggling to pick a name for your company or product. Or you may have a huge moonshot idea that you’re ready to spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on, but you have only talked about it to one or two family members or friends.

A mastermind group can help you steer clear of bad ideas and stay laser focused on the most important thing you’re currently working on. If you’re leaving a corporate environment to start a business, it may be nice to not have to worry about the pressures of having a boss. But when the time comes that you need to start seeing revenue, you’ll appreciate having some peer pressure to really get going.

How to find (or start) a mastermind

Whether you’re starting or joining a mastermind, a good tip is to look for people who are a little bit ahead of you in their idea. You don’t want to be the smartest person in the room – then you won’t be able to learn as much! But you also don’t want to be surrounded by people whose business ideas are three or four steps ahead of you.

The personal side and the personal dynamics when starting a group are also worth considering. This will likely depend on the individual. Some people may be looking for similar cultural or religious backgrounds in the masterminds they might join. Those backgrounds and values inform their business acumen. A mastermind can help to reinforce that if it includes other people of similar backgrounds in a way that a generic mastermind might not. Other masterminds might prioritize certain approaches to business (like starting a business and simultaneously raising a family) that would benefit some people more than others.

Your mastermind peers don’t need to be in the exact same business or industry as you, by the way. In fact, it may be helpful to have people in different industries. Suppose you’re making progress on a demo for a tech product for your business. However, you have no clue about how to market or sell it. If your mastermind includes a marketer or salesperson, he or she may be able to give you insights that you would have had to spend hours Googling to find. Likewise, if you’re clueless about coding but have a kickass communications skillset, you may benefit from a mastermind with one or two Python experts.

How to find a mastermind

Online searches through Google, Linkedin, and Facebook can provide a start to finding a mastermind. But your personal networks through your work colleagues, school, friends or clients can help you find an even more personalized fit. Another source for finding existing masterminds (or starting a new one is through conferences in your area of interest.) Don’t be afraid to ask around. Keep in mind that many masterminds might not be publicly advertised, but that doesn’t mean you can’t join them!

How to create a mastermind

Can’t find a mastermind? Want to create a mastermind from scratch? A good start is to look for people in your area who you both find talented and share a similar outlook on life with. You can start by inviting them to doing a call once a month for an hour. That can involve into a mastermind over time. But don’t over complicate it. Just start with what you have, and who you know that’s kind of at a similar stage or maybe one step ahead of you. You can invite them to chat on a regular basis and just see what it evolves into.

One way to break the ice and get to know people you might be interested in having join is by asking them or sharing with them a book, resource, course, or podcast. This can serve to test and see whether someone could be a good fit.

Mastermind formats

Once you’ve found a group of people you’d like to start a mastermind with, how do you structure your meetings? A few ideas below:

  • You could work through reading a book relevant to your businesses together.
  • You can launch a 30-day challenge, and have members do 1:1 daily check ins with a partner from the group, followed by weekly check-ins with the group.
  • You can employ a “hot seat” structure” where someone gets spotlighted for 10 minutes or less to present a problem and listen to other members give feedback without directly responding.
  • You can have each member present something to the others that they have learned from their experience in their business for 20-30 minutes.

You can also employ some combination of these formats!

How often do masterminds meet?

What should meeting fora look like? How often should they be? In person meetings of your mastermind can be invaluable. But for masterminds where everyone is in different locations, Slack, Zoom or Google Hangouts may be necessary, at least whenever in person meetings are less frequent.

A combination of the two can also work. As members of Grant Baldwin’s mastermind recalled in this podcast, they held quarterly meetups with individual quarterly goals. Then each week they would post on Slack with the number one task they had each week to reach their quarterly goal. Another benefit of a Slack channel can be the ability to post about a particularly good (or bad) day, share an idea, or get feedback in real time.

What about in-person meetings or group calls? Weekly meetings may be best for some groups, every two weeks or monthly meetings for others. The bigger the group, the harder it may be to find a time that consistently works for everyone. This is an advantage of having a smaller, say 4-person group. Weekly meetings on Mondays at 7am may be feasible for everyone in the group to consistently make it.

Another option is to hold quarterly retreats. These can be more scheduled or less, depending on your preferences. The advantage to more structure is increased productivity. But the downside is that as they leave, people may feel more tired and drained from your retreat than they were before it.

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So you’ve gotten a sense of what mastermind groups can do for you. You’ve learned about how to find or to start a mastermind. But perhaps you’d still like to learn more about how to get started with a mastermind. Is that you? Check out this Speaker Lab podcast episode to learn more. Interested in building a speaking business, but still have questions about how? Satiate your desire to learn more about public speaking by checking out The Speaker Lab blog here. Happy speaking!


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