It’s easy to get stuck. Stuck not knowing what to do or feeling like you work hard and just spin your wheels. It’s easy to get stuck in rut, not expanding your knowledge or skills. Just doing the same thing and being the same person every day. Not only that, working for yourself and running a business can be very lonely, especially if you work at home.
A mastermind group can help with all of that and more.
What is a Mastermind group and how can it benefit you (even if you know everything)?
A mastermind is a meeting of similar minded people who meet regularly to discuss a specified topic, share knowledge and hold each other accountable for progress. The subject of the mastermind could be anything, but it’s usually used by entrepreneurs to regularly meet and discuss challenges they’re facing in their businesses.
A business mastermind is used by entrepreneurs at all levels, even if they may not call it that. It’s not just something newbies do because they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s kind of a form of networking or mentorship, but more structured and deliberate.
The format of a mastermind can take a lot of different structures, depending on what you want to get out of it. A group is usually 6-8 members who meet monthly for an hour to share their successes and challenges. Each monthly, 2 or more people shares what’s working well for them and why and ask for advice from the group on things they’re struggling with.
Everyone is good at different things, especially in business. One person may be really good at online marketing and other at legal or taxation. By keeping the group small, it’s much easier to go deep into a topic and learn the details of a skill.
Getting feedback on your business is vital. Living in a bubble can mean you don’t progress or you don’t see the blind spots and vulnerabilities that may damage your business eventually or are keeping you from advancing to the next level. Sharing your problems with a group who can look at your business from the outside with fresh eyes is one of the best ways to solve problems.
You don’t have to feel alone
As I discussed in The lonely freedom of working from home and The truth about working for yourself, running a business is difficult and can be very isolating, especially if it’s an online business. It’s so easy to just work at your computer all day in your own world. Sometimes you just need to interact with friends to share and get new perspectives.
The freedom of being the boss is amazing. You can do anything you want, which can also be a problem. Everyone struggles with discipline and time management. It’s human nature to gravitate to what you enjoy doing the most, which may mean neglecting what is most important.
In my experience, entrepreneurs have a hard time focusing because they have so many ideas and they’re tempted to chase them all. I call it The Entrepreneur’s Curse. Having people who can help keep you accountable for staying focused and accomplishing the important tasks, is very useful.
So many network events I’ve been to turn out to be a disappointment. It seems everyone is there on a sales call. They’re all there for selfish purposes – to make a sale or find that Golden Contact. Mastermind groups are different because they’re structured.
I’ve met some great business people in mastermind groups I’ve been a part of and many of them have turned into friends. Meeting as a small group is a great way to not only get to know someone’s business, but get to know great people.
Starting your own mastermind group
As I said above, there are many different formats, so pick what’s best for you. You can meet in person or online.
Meeting once a month is enough time for everyone to accomplish their tasks for the month. Once a week may be too time consuming, but it depends on how much accountability each person needs. After having several different mastermind groups, I’ve found that after a few months they seem to have run their course and become less effective.
That’s why I put a time limit on the group of 3 months. After 3 months the group disbands and all the members find or start different groups. Just like any good meeting, having a starting AND and ending time, allows the group to focus for the allotted time period, which means more concentrated, meaningful interactions. It also gives everyone the opportunity to meet and learn from new people every 3 months.
The main feature of a mastermind is the hot seat. Each person is given time on the hot seat, usually 2 people per meeting, which rotates each week. During this time the person explains what they’re working on that’s either working really well or not well at all. After the person finishes, the rest of the members can ask questions and give feedback. In a good mastermind group this turns into an insightful discussion that helps the entrepreneur solves their problem or see it in a new way. The rest of the members learn from each other – both from successes and failures.
Sharing & Feedback
It’s important to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable both giving and receiving feedback, suggestions and criticism. If you’re not open to changing or improving, then a mastermind isn’t for you. It’s natural to be defensive about decisions you’ve taken, which and turn into an argument. Openness is required for a successful group. Be willing to thoughtfully consider the feedback shared from others and consider that outside opinions may be very beneficial.
Get over yourself: self-awareness required
I’ve found it’s rare for entrepreneurs to be self-aware enough to see their blind spots and address them. This can be a big risk. A mastermind group can help you see what you can’t because you’re so close to the situation. A good group will help you learn and improve and level up in a lot of different ways.
Are you a member of a mastermind group? What have you seen work or not work? Please share your experience in the comments section below.