This is a guest post by my good friend and community manager Liz Froment.
When she isn’t working on her own freelance writing business, working on marketing automation or helping me out, she’s tweeting away at @lfroment.
With that, I’ll let her get to it! Take it away, Liz…
Being the Community Manager inside Location Rebel Academy for the past few years, I’ve often been asked by new members what some of the biggest keys to success are.
Without a doubt, getting involved in a mastermind has to be one of them.
When I started trying to grow my own brand and business, let’s face it, I had no idea what I was doing.
It was hard to stay motivated when I felt a defeat, hard to explain to friends and family what I was trying to do, and hard to feel like I was getting any traction at all sometimes.
Out of pure luck (I wasn’t as smart then as I am now), I fell into a weekly mastermind with a couple of other new Location Rebels.
We pretty consistently met once a week for a few months.
It was somewhat unorganized, and sometimes we skipped talks, and other times we just gossiped a bit and didn’t touch on a ton of business. But, it was a huge game changer for me.
Suddenly, not only did I have a bunch of other people who I could relate to and were going through the same thing as me, I never wanted to show up to this call without having done anything to move my business forward.
From that accidental mastermind I realized getting into one of these groups was going to be a major key to success for me, and for anyone.
Thought so. 🙂
Let’s get into how to exactly get started with some best practices on how to get a solid mastermind up and running.
Step 1: Decide What You Want to Get Out of a Mastermind
First, determine exactly what you’re looking to get out of the group.
Are you all looking to grow your e-commerce shops?
Are you all looking to get your first clients?
It’s important to know right off the bat what the goals of everyone inside the group are, even if the goals are different.
In this stage I can’t stress enough that you really need to think about your short and long term goals. The entire point of a mastermind is to push your business forward, so you need to know exactly what you want to get out of this from the start.
You want to have a group of people that know not only where they want to go, but where you are going too, so they can help you get there, and vice versa.
This is a really important first step, so don’t skip it!
Step 2: Reach Out to Prospective Members
When it comes to masterminds, personalities matter.
You want to have two to four other people who you click with, offer honest assessments and push you forward.
This above all is is really important.
Your mastermind is a group of people that will know everything about you and your business.
They will know your struggles, your successes, your biggest weaknesses, the inner workings of your brand, the fights you had with your spouse, the major screw up you had on that last pitch.
So if you’re not 100% comfortable with your group, you aren’t going to have success.
It’s really hard to find this connection, especially out of the blue, but it will make a difference. The real true connections inside a mastermind come when all the guards are let down and you get down and dirty with each other.
Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s necessary to really build success.
Without a doubt the times I have floated through masterminds, I haven’t gotten much out of them.
But, the times when I was willing to ask for real feedback, admit defeat and be vulnerable (even though I was really uncomfortable doing it) has made all the difference.
If it takes some time to identify people who are going to be good for your group, so be it.
If you just don’t click off the bat, then move on, no harm no foul.
Same goes with people who you are friendly with you and want to be in your group. If it’s not going to be a good fit, or you feel like they aren’t striving for the same thing you are, it’s alright to not include them.
But, when you do click you are going to not only find some of your biggest cheerleaders out there, but some really good friends at the same time.
Step 3: Set Some Ground Rules
Before you even get started with your mastermind, you want to have a little bit of structure.
Every good mastermind has a leader, and since you look like leadership material to me, you want to set up a mastermind to work in a way that’s going to help move your collective businesses forward.
To do that, you need ground rules.
On your first meeting, fire up a Google Doc and write out exactly what the rules and expectations of the members of the mastermind are.
Some examples include:
- How often the group will meet
- How long the group will meet for
- Number of allowed absences
- What you must have prepared before each meeting
- Meeting format
So, for example, in my mastermind, we meet every other week and do a hot seat format.
This means in each meeting, we spend the first 10-15 minutes saying hello and giving a short overview of where we are with our businesses.
Then, the remaining time features one person talking about their business with the rest of the group offering feedback, suggestions, ideas, etc. If any time remains after the hot seat person is done, then we can look at other member’s businesses.
This works really well for us, but we came up with these guidelines collectively.
You should too.
Step 4: Follow Through (Mandatory is a Good Thing)
This is actually the hardest part.
Many masterminds start out well and the fizzle off to nothing.
I’ve seen it happen a lot, and I’ve even been involved in a few fizzles myself.
Sometimes, things don’t work out, and that’s ok. It’s much better to cut and run early than stay in something you know isn’t working.
Remember, you want people who are very committed to your mastermind, so if someone is consistently not following your ground rules, kindly let them know.
In order to really make your mastermind work, you want to adhere to your ground rules document.
Above all else, for a mastermind to really truly work, everyone has to be all in.
That means calling in when you feel like crap, or are traveling. I once jumped on my mastermind at 2am in the UK to make the call.
Blowing off your mastermind is really easy, and some weeks when you’ve had a few setbacks, you want to.
I know, I’ve been there.
But, I have never once finished a mastermind call and haven’t been really happy I was in the group, or gotten some great ideas, or felt cheered up and supported.
Step 5: Re-Evaluate the Structure and Group
It’s not a bad idea every few months to have a state of your mastermind discussion.
You might find that someone has a great idea, a modified format might work a bit better, or even sometimes people might need to meet more often or less often.
In my mastermind we had a discussion a few months ago where I really wanted to actually meet more often, to every other week instead of every month. I was a bit nervous bringing it up, but was glad I did because everyone agreed and we made the move.
Your mastermind is a living breathing thing (uh literally) so modifications are ok and sometimes needed.
If your group is getting a ton done and you don’t need as much week to week help, then move it to a monthly meeting, these things are always flexible.
Being able to freely talk with your group will make a huge difference in you approach and motivation to your business.
Finally: Get Started, Today
You can see just how important I think masterminds are, and how vital they can be for business.
The second most important thing I tell Location Rebels (after getting in a mastermind) is to just get started.
So there’s no better time to get started than today.
Think about the type of goals you want to hit in the next three months, six months, year and what kind of support you need to get to those goals.
Then, reach out to a few people you connect with who you know are going to be a good fit and want to succeed in their own business too.
Set up guidelines, and you’re good to go.
It won’t be long before you start noticing the positive effects in your business.