Mastermind. It’s almost a dirty word. You can’t poke your nose into an entrepreneur-oriented Facebook group without running into the term. All the big, successful entrepreneurs are either in one, promoting one, or offering one. They’re touted as the “thing” you need to do if you want to grow your business, streamline your processes, and break through your ceiling to reach that next level of success. And, the thing is, “they” are right… with conditions.* (If you’re too anxious to wait to learn what those are, you can scroll to the end of this article for my caveat.)
Mastermind groups are a little misunderstood. Some people think it’s group coaching, but it’s more about helping you help yourself. At its simplest, a Mastermind is a group of entrepreneurs who meet regularly to discuss their business plans, ideas, and challenges. Sometimes these groups are put together by like-minded entrepreneurs. Other times it’s a well-known business person who organizes the members. But what all Masterminds have in common is that the focus is on the participants not on the facilitator. The leader usually provides a basic agenda and keeps the meeting moving, but the conversation is generated by the participants.
“So, if it’s not coaching, and it’s entirely dependent on the attendees, why would we all pay to be there?” you may wonder. Here’s a few of the definite advantages to working with a group of your peers in a mastermind, and why it’s one of the first investments I recommend to mid-level business owners:
First things first… there’s something amazing that happens when you’re part of a collective group of people who are all working on their businesses alongside you. Magic starts to happen. Creativity goes into overdrive and ideas are bountiful and inspiring AND you’re encouraged to flesh them out and work on them right there in the moment. How many times do we have an amazing idea, and shelve it for “when we have time?” (Way more often than we’d care to admit, I bet.) A mastermind is the perfect way to treat your business like its own client.
A Mastermind group helps you set challenges for yourself and holds you to them… helping you achieve more, faster, and more reliably than you would on your own. And seeing others succeed can provide a nice little boost, either in the form of “Hey, I can do that too!” or as good old fashioned envy!
The benefit of having other entrepreneurs to support you can’t be understated either. They know exactly what you’re going through as a business owner, unlike your mom, your sister, or your partner’s second cousin who did some moonlighting that one time back in college.
You also gain the benefit of their experience in addition to your own. Running up against a difficult decision? Don’t know what to do about a client who disappeared? Need to slow down a little bit and you’re not sure how? Someone in your network is likely to have some personal experience with the same or a similar situation.
Masterminds are also the ideal place to gather neutral, third-party feedback on your ideas. Ask your questions, and you’ll get plenty of opinions on whether it’s the greatest or worst idea ever from entrepreneurs who know how to determine whether an idea is marketable or not… again, unlike your mom, who probably thinks anything you do is amazing. (No offense, Mom. I love you!)
Here’s the thing… mindset is contagious. If you feel like you’re not good enough, and you’re not sure if you can get clients, that’s exactly what you’ll experience. If you maintain a positive outlook and believe in yourself, your business will blossom. But it’s so much easier to maintain a positive mindset with others around – other entrepreneurs who know what you’re going through, can sympathize with your struggles, and will give you a boost when you need it.
“Borrowing” someone else’s mindset is also important if you’re trying to reach the next level in your business. Want to reach a new income goal? Start associating with other entrepreneurs who have already reached that level, and absorb their attitudes and philosophies about money. You probably already know that mindset is the only thing holding you back, so do yourself a favor and put yourself in a position to improve your outlook.
* Ready for those conditions? Quite frankly, the first mastermind group you try might suck… but you shouldn’t let that experience hold you back from finding the right one. Mastermind sessions are a give-and-take environment, and if you feel like you’re always helping others but not getting much value in return, it likely means that you’ve graduated to the next level. (Remember what I said about mindset and surrounding yourself with business owners who are a step or two above you?) Don’t let one bad mastermind experience turn you away. Instead, look for a seasoned Mastermind program that offers 1-on-1 sessions and accountability calls.