For the first year I was in business, I led what’s called a business mastermind. A mastermind is a group of business owners who get together on a regular basis, usually once a week or once every 2 weeks, to help one another with their businesses.
We held meetings across multiple countries over Skype every 2 weeks for more than a year. This mastermind was instrumental in me growing my business in the first year, a crucial time for businesses.
Lots of masterminds don’t make it this far and I must say, there were times that my fellow masterminders and I felt like we were swimming upstream. But it’s been totally worth it. The mastermind has been a huge help – not just for my business, but for my own personal growth and wellbeing.
Here are my 9 tips for helping your mastermind go the distance. I look forward to hearing more from you about what has worked for your group!
1. Have the mastermind at the same time, do or die.
If you don’t do this, it’s very hard to make the rest of these tips work. For example, if the mastermind time is always being moved around, no one is going to feel bad about moving it around to accommodate their busy schedule. We set a time when we started – Thursday mornings at 9 AM, Asia time (GMT +7), which is Wednesday nights US time, every 2 weeks – and we haven’t changed it.
If someone is unable to make that time anymore, it’s probably easier for them to find a new mastermind than for us to change the time because we have built momentum. We have 5 people in our mastermind and if we changed it every time someone had a conflict, we’d never meet. It sounds harsh, but we have to work for the longevity of the mastermind.
This also means that we turn down people who want to join but who live in a timezone that doesn’t work, like in Europe. Better to keep our momentum going than to risk losing it.
2. Set the boundaries before you confront challenges, not after.
When you set boundaries before you confront issues, you don’t make people feel as if they are being alienated or treated differently.
For example, we have a rule that there are very few reasons why people can miss a mastermind. Good excuses are flights scheduled well in advance, maybe a wedding, and that one time there was a typhoon set to hit the Philippines, but that’s basically it. As a result of respecting the time, it really hasn’t been a problem.
3. DON’T get discouraged when people leave or can’t commit any longer.
We went through 2 people who weren’t able to commit long-term to the mastermind and that’s okay! I will happily go through a few more in order to find someone who is a good fit and who is as committed to it as we are. The key is not to get discouraged, especially if you’re the leader. If you, as the leader, take it seriously and stay positive, other members will, too.
As a result of us sticking with it, we’ve found a great group. We haven’t had anyone leave or added anyone new in more than 6 months.
4. Have a mid-mastermind check-in.
This may not be necessary if you have a weekly mastermind. But if you meet once a month or every other week (we meet every other week), have a mid-mastermind check in. You can use this to have members share:
- How they are doing meeting their goals from the last mastermind.
- Any new developments since the last meeting.
- What goals they want to meet before the next meeting.
5. Start meetings on time; end meetings on time.
If the meeting time is not respected, people will start to wonder why they are making the effort to be there. If the meeting is cutting into their personal time, good luck keeping a group of busy entrepreneurs in your group. When the meeting is consistently confined to the hour(s) in which it was scheduled, people are more inclined to join and are more mentally present during that time.
6. Have a designated leader (who is a hardass).
I am that hardass who cheerfully annoys my mastermind members with email reminders, notes from previous meetings, and any other things we need to have for our upcoming meetings.
Personally, I think it’s better to have a designated leader rather than the “everyone is a leader” point of view or having 2 leaders. This is because no one has to wonder where responsibility lies or who is running the meeting. But if you can make it work without a fearless, clear leader, more power to you!
7. Consider a mastermind with members who are not in your direct niche, industry, business type, or specific education need.
I know this flies in the face of the entire concept of a mastermind, and it’s not for everyone. However, it has worked really well for us.
We have some eCommerce guys, some general marketers, content marketers, the “online course guy,” and a personal coach in our group. I’m always amazed at the range of discussion and, more importantly, the different perspectives each member is able to contribute. I know that my business has benefited from this and I wouldn’t have our mastermind any other way.
8. Let members prove their commitment to the group by offering their expertise when they miss too many meetings.
Use this sparingly or people will miss meetings and accept the penalty. But for us, if someone misses more than 2 meetings within 3 months, they have the option to do one-on-one calls with each of the other members. Those calls probably take around an hour each and they (the meeting missers) are responsible for scheduling them.
So, if they aren’t into the mastermind anymore, they probably will tell you they don’t want to do all those calls. That’s fine: no hard feelings.
9. Don’t feel obligated to strictly talk business.
A couple of months ago, something pretty cool happened: we started sharing not only what was going on in our businesses, but also in our lives.
Encouraged by our member who is a personal coach, we started to realize how many things in our personal lives were contributing to our businesses, for better or for worse. And not just lifehacking and fitness: we started talking about personal development, self-esteem, and the things we were dealing with. It really took our mastermind to a whole new level.
It’s hard to get to this point if your mastermind members are constantly changing or if you don’t meet frequently enough to feel comfortable with everyone, so keep that in mind when forming your group and setting your meeting times.
There’s certainly more than one way to run a mastermind. That’s one of the great things about masterminds! These are the things that have worked for us and I’m confident many of them will work for you, too.
Are you involved in a mastermind? Do you agree, disagree, or feel a burning rage at anything above? I’d love to hear your tips to use in my own mastermind. 🙂
Share with me in the comments!