Mastermind groups provide the forum bloggers need for bouncing ideas off others who understand blogging language and have similar goals. But starting a mastermind group that works for everyone involved can be difficult.
It is a foolish blogger who thinks she can attain success without the help of others.
Sounds like an ancient proverb or something, but it was actually ME. I tried to create my own blogging success without the help of others for a couple of years and struggled with huge frustrations, bordered on burning out, and wandered aimlessly.
I was doing all the “things” but could not get traction.
Then, I opened my business up to seasoned bloggers, allowing these ladies to peek behind the scenes. As I shared my difficult emotions with my mastermind group, they opened up the wisdom vaults (their brains coupled with vast experience) and poured ideas, encouragement, and butt-kicking truths over me.
Over the last few years, my blogging business has grown tremendously in ways I never thought possible because of my blog mentors and the ladies in my mastermind group. Now, because of the time they have invested in me, I want to invest in others.
^^Click the one you need.^^
Characteristics of great mastermind groups
When I was first approached about being in a mastermind group, I was anxious because I was not sure I wanted to open myself and my business to people I barely knew. Plus, I had watched these ladies work their businesses from a distance and perceived them to be much more successful than I was. Don’t laugh but honestly… I could not fathom why I was invited to participate.
Because I was more curious about why they picked me and truly needed a group of bloggers with whom I could ask questions, I accepted.
That was the best decision I have ever made in my blogging business.
But the success of our mastermind group did not happen by accident. It was strategically planned by the two bloggers who started the group to include characteristics that would encourage growth in all the members.
Each participant in our mastermind group chose to blog as a career, meaning we were each striving to make a profit from our blogs. Having a similar goal immediately defined the purpose of our mastermind group as well as the agenda: We work together to see income growth and share our income and expense reports once a month.
Does this mean every mastermind group should be focused on monetization? No. There are many possible objectives so do not immediately dismiss the idea if your most pressing goal is something different:
- creating your first product
- writing consistently
- starting a new blog
- increase page views
- learn a new skill
Similar level of experience
In my mastermind group, our blog analytics are vastly different with a range of 20,000 page views a month to over 400,000 page views a month. However, we have each blogged for about the same amount of time.
Another similarity is our pursuit to continue our education. Each of us regularly attends conferences and purchases courses to keep learning. Although we have different personalities, we are all driven to grow and succeed and highly-motivated to help one another.
By having a similar level of experience, a mastermind group avoids relying on one person to be the expert guru, working together and not draining one person. After all, a successful mastermind group is a cooperation of all the members and not a mentorship where one person must guide the rest of the members.
Balanced with diversity
While the members of my mastermind community have similar goals and experiences, we each have different strengths and niches. This was not a planned effort but certainly became a tremendous benefit.
Should you intentionally try to find a mix of people with various expertise when starting a mastermind group? That is difficult for me to answer. I have definitely seen the asset of having various abilities in our group, but if striving for such a mix leaves you frustrated, I would skip it.
That is difficult for me to answer. I have definitely seen the asset of having various abilities in our group, but if striving for such a mix leaves you frustrated, I would skip it.
When we decided to launch our mastermind group, each of us understood that this was a commitment to share our time, energy, and knowledge.
Attendance was a MUST. And while our schedules sometimes conflict, we strive to meet twice a month except during the summer when the calendar is harder to coordinate because many of us have children.
Supportive but not counseling
As our friendship has grown, we have occasionally discussed something off-topic but these instances are very few. We are not together to provide counseling on relationships, parenting, home renovations, or anything else.
A mastermind group is not a place to provide counseling on relationships, parenting, home renovations, or anything else.
Our purpose is to support one another as we pursue blogging success. Therefore, our discussions are focused on topics related to blogging.
The majority of the ladies in my mastermind group can easily assume a leadership role but we allow one person to guide our meetings. This has kept our group amiable but on task.
By having one person as the group facilitator, you know who will start the meeting, who will prompt the group members when they stray outside of the group’s boundaries, etc.
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How to start a mastermind group
When you understand the characteristics of a healthy community, it is time to start a mastermind group. As you begin generating an interest, you need to develop guidelines for how your group will be structured including: What is the maximum number of members allowed in your group? Personally, I recommend at least four and no more than ten. Too many and you lose the trust of the members. Too few and it is hard to meet when someone must be absent. How will you gather for your meetings? Google Hangouts is an excellent option. You can keep your meeting private and even record them for playback later. Plus, it is FREE. When or how often will you meet? Setting a time for meetings is often the hardest part. Once you find a timeframe that works for everyone, stick with it. Changing the schedule often leaves members frustrated and makes the group feel unsafe. Setting a time for meetings is often the hardest part. Once you find a timeframe that works for everyone, stick with it. Changing the schedule often leaves members frustrated and makes the group feel unsafe. Some mastermind groups met weekly while others choose to meet bi-weekly. Find the frequency that works best for your group. How long will the meetings be? Bloggers are busy balancing life and family and business… and hundreds of other things. Having a length for meetings and sticking with it helps everyone plan their day. The length of your mastermind meeting will vary greatly depending on the number of people in your group. Typically, a mastermind group of five people will need at least 90 minutes for the agenda. Will you have a private group available? By creating a secret Facebook group (or another community), mastermind members can stay in touch between meetings. The private group is also convenient for meeting reminders, creating accountability, sharing files, and other correspondence.
Mastermind group rules
When starting the mastermind group’s first meeting, set the rules. No one likes the uncomfortable feeling of creating group guidelines, but neither do people enjoy being stuck in an uncomfortable situation. By setting your mastermind group rules, every participant understands what is expected and the repercussions should the terms be violated. Nondisclosure Mastermind groups must be a safe place where confidential information can be shared without fear of someone mentioning these plans and problems outside of the group. Attendance requirement How many consecutive meetings can a member miss before being asked to leave the group? How many total meetings can be missed before the absences become a problem? Setting an attendance requirement might make you feel like an elementary school kid, but a mastermind group does not work well when members regularly miss the meetings. Length of commitment Life changes. Business changes. You cannot make a commitment without understanding that you may not be able to run a mastermind group forever. Having a set time for reviewing the success of the group gives everyone a trapdoor to escape if the group is not functioning well.
Mastermind group meetings format
When people hear me say that I participate in a mastermind group, they often ask what we do during our meetings. Our agenda is loosely based on one mentioned by Pat Flynn. Review wins for the week At the beginning of each meeting, we each share our “wins” for the week. A “win” is something we accomplished and are proud of. Sharing with one another gives us a chance to celebrate even small successes. Typically, our “wins” relate to the goals we set during the previous meeting but may also include something new we learned. Each person shares for about five minutes. Hot seat For our meetings, one or two of the participants will be placed in the “hot seat.” In the hot seat, a member shares the biggest struggle she is facing and asks for feedback on the issue. Those with expertise on the topic tend to take on a primary role in the conversation but everyone shares their opinions and ideas. After our conversation, the person in the “hot seat” is likely to have a list of action items to try. Learning together When there is a topic we are all interested in mastering, we spend some time in our meeting questioning the member perceived as the expert or seek out resources to share.
Learning together heightens the level of accountability.
This would actually be a great way to review notes from a book you read as a group or an e-course you all decide to take. Learning together heightens the level of accountability. Setting goals As the meeting comes to a close, each participant sets an action-oriented goal to accomplish prior to the next meeting. And that’s it! While this mastermind agenda might sound too simple, the routine works well. Over-structuring the meeting would not allow time for us to focus on anyone who needed more time and might stifle the conversation with a feeling of being rushed. Having a basic agenda is very helpful but leave room for relationships and the current needs of the group.