With Thanksgiving just a couple of days away here in the U.S., I wanted to talk about something I'm extremely thankful for—being in a mastermind group.
A mastermind group is a small group of people who regularly meet, online or offline, to talk about goals, growth and success and provide support for each other. I've talked about mastermind groups here on the blog before and just how vital being in one has been for my businesses. I absolutely know that I would not be where I'm at today if it weren't for my participation in a mastermind group. In fact, it was a member of one of my first mastermind groups (I'm actually in 3 different ones now—all online) that suggested that I publish an ebook for my first online business at GreenExamAcademy.com, which ended up changing the course of my entire life.
Today, I'm happy to share a guest post by my dear friend Jaime Tardy from Eventual Millionaire. Jaime is a business coach who is also a member of one of the mastermind groups that I'm in! She has interviewed over 70 millionaires and dissects why successful people are successful. One common theme throughout most of her interviews is the use of a mastermind group or a mentor.
Jaime fills in all the gaps that were missing in my previous posts about mastermind groups and mentorship, including downloadables for the structure of a meeting and a worksheet to help you find group members. Enjoy!
The only reason why Pat and I are good friends is because of a mastermind group. Over two years ago, I knew nothing about blogging but asked the amazing Pat Flynn to be a part of my mastermind group.
He said yes. 🙂
I always knew mastermind groups and mentors were an important part in becoming successful no mater what industry you were in. It became truly apparent when I started to interview millionaires. I've interviewed over 70 millionaires and over and over it came up again that a key mentor or a mastermind group helped their success exponentially.
Todd Tresidder a millionaire of FinancialMentor.com (who is in our mastermind group too!) said this about mastermind groups:
“A mastermind is an example of going pro where what you do is you build a structure that literally pulls your business forward. It keeps you from getting sidelined. It keeps you from getting distracted, because you’re building a support system. You have a comfort zone of success that you’re accustomed to and as you break through those thresholds, you need mechanisms to pull you through it. So that’s the help of a mastermind group.”
Ryan Blair the cofounder of ViSalus (who is worth $1,000 a MINUTE) said this about mentors:
“I’m looking for mentors every day. People think there is your one mentor that helps you. I have many. I sought mentorship from everyone—from all time winning coaches to businessmen to spiritual mentors.
I have many mentors (one of the millionaires I interviewed became a mentor!) and a mastermind group. They are critically important in reducing your learning curve and getting you on the right track.
So today, I want to break down the process. I want you to read this whole article and then go get your own mentor or mastermind group (or both!). If you don't plan on doing that, then don't waste your time reading this article.
So are you committed to taking action?
Good, let's continue.
Now, there is a pretty big difference between a mastermind group and a mentor:
A mastermind group is about four to seven people of your peers, people in the trenches just like you working on their business, learning and growing. They’re giving current resources, tactics and things that work for them plus they give you support. Usually you meet on a schedule, either weekly or biweekly.
A mentor is a trusted adviser or guide. You don't necessarily need to speak with them every week. A business mentor may help with strategy in business, raising your level of confidence, pushing you out of your comfort zone and more.
Here is one example of how a mastermind group helped millionaire Tim Hamilton, owner of Astonished Designs. He was very open in his interview and explained the huge amount of fear he experienced as a business owner. One of the catalysts that help him get past his fear was his mastermind group.
“My mastermind group was me and three other people that all wanted to grow. We all experienced some level of pain but we were separated by these forces in society that give us the information that we all have to appear totally competent, totally on top of things, totally together as if fear doesn’t factor into our lives.
There was one meeting when the four of us, in that room, decided to show each other that we were all vulnerable, struggling and scared.
That was what made all the difference in the world. We realized that if any one of us ever realized our greatest fear (which is essentially to lose everything), everyone’s couch was open to everyone else who needed to sleep on it for a night.
So I knew that at the end of the day my greatest fear of going out and living, ending out on the streets and just losing everything, it just was never going to happen.
The most important part of that experience is that I realized that security actually comes from relationships.
I thought it came from a certain amount of money, a signed contract, a verbal commitment from the next huge customer, but I think the greatest source of security comes from relationships.”
So how do you get involved in a mastermind group?
Well there are many programs that you pay for that will give you a mastermind group. Some of them will be amazing and some of them will not be the right fit.
For me personally, I like to have a big say in the formation of the group, who is in it, and when it meets. Think long term. If this group is amazing, you want to be with them for years.
You may be thinking, what if I don’t have an amazing group of successful friends to ask?
When I decided to go online I didn't know a lot about blogging. I read a lot, and tried to take it all in. But I wanted to TALK to people that knew that they were doing, that could help direct me. It's hard to know what is worth it and not worth it online.
I couldn’t just pool of friends I had because most of the friends I had didn’t have online business success. If you already have successful friends in business, think about creating a mastermind group with them.
I ended up with a stellar mastermind group of all new people by doing these things:
1. Find Your Potential Members
Invite people to the group that you think are way better than you.
There is a delicate balance in a mastermind group, but you want to get others that have what you want.
If you are thinking – If they are already awesome, why would they want to be in my mastermind group? There are a few reasons: You can connect them with other amazing people, so if you get one awesome person to say yes, it's easier to get others to join.
Also, you probably don't give yourself enough credit. Think of some of the amazing things you have done before, and list it to entice new people to join.
Make sure the group will be highly valuable (like 10x!) to them. They do not need to spend their time doing things that won't return the value multiplied.
List ten people in your extended network or peers that you don’t know yet, but would be great for your mastermind group. Then choose one on the list and craft a simple short email to them.
DOWNLOAD: If you want a worksheet that will help you do this and craft an email, download the Mentor and Masterminding Worksheet!
2. Create a structure and format, and get commitment.
Entrepreneurs usually need more structure. They need to know what is expected of them before they say yes.
Here you can download the exact structure and format I sent to the potential mastermind participants. It will also give you a format that works.
DOWNLOAD: Here is the exact pdf that I sent over two years ago when I started my mastermind group. Our structure is still the same today.
So if you want to have accountability, peer support, brainstorming, and meet amazing new people, a mastermind group would be perfect for you. Download the worksheets and get started.
Finding a mentor is somewhat similar to getting a mastermind group, except that you don't need to formally ask them to be a mentor. Many times you start to build relationships with people in such a way that you could call them a mentor, but neither one of you officially asked!
Now, a mentor is someone you don’t necessarily seek to be your best friend. Mentors are someone you can ask for advice occasionally, and they will respond. You want someone that’s very high level. They’ll give you insider knowledge for strategy and planning.
Here are a few pieces of advice on finding a mentor:
Q. How Do I find a potential mentor?
A. There are so many ways to find a mentor. It could be someone you found online like millionaire Amos Winbush.
Amos Winbush owner of CyberSynchs said,
“It’s so easy these days with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to reach out to people. I have one of the most great friendships with Jeffrey Hayzlett from Twitter who is Chief Marketing Officer of Kodak and that’s how we started talking. It’s through Jeff Hayzlett that my company started talking to Kodak and it was on Twitter so it’s definitely possible.”
My first mentor (A local business coach that sold a million dollar business) I found by emailing, and asking to sit down for a chat.
Another business owner became my mentor because he was one of the millionaires I interviewed. I asked him for a follow up chat, and he said yes.
Keep your eyes open for potential mentors in everything you do. It's easier than you think when you are specifically looking and asking often.
Q. Why would a mentor even want to work with me?
You may be telling yourself, I haven’t done anything yet! I’m not big. I don’t have money to pay them. It's not about what you have already done, and I believe you shouldn't have to pay your mentors.
When I asked Amy Applebaum a business coach and millionaire she said:
“It is about enrolling people in your vision. If they’re not enrolled in your vision, they will not participate. But most people love to help. There’s help right in front of us.
It can be a friend’s family member. It can be a friend of a friend. It can be someone who is a business associate. You just want to aim high. (Not aim high celebrity, like Oprah!)
You need a really successful person that’s more behind the scenes so that they have access and will give you time.”
You must show your commitment or strength or it will never happen. That means being committed to listening to them when they do respond.
Take action on what they say. No one wants their great advice to fall on deaf ears.
Action Item: List ten people you admire that have done exactly what you want to do and might seem a little bit out of reach.
DOWNLOAD: Download the Mentor And Mastermind Worksheet previously mentioned. It will give you an email template (from Derek Sivers, whose business mentor is Seth Godin!) on how to start contacting potential mentors.
Go Take Action Now!
So if you read this far, you've already committed to yourself. This does not take a lot of time, and once you get the support you need it will save you many hours of issues!
I want you to be able to email Pat with amazing stories of how you formed a mastermind group or gained a new mentor.
For more from Jaime, please check out her blog at Eventual Millionaire and be sure to dive into her extensive collection of incredibly inspiring and useful interviews with millionaires from all different fields and industries!