Imagine a business that can make you 4, 5 or 6 figures per year, takes very little time to run and has the power to change your life in dramatic ways above and beyond the extra income. This is the crazy but true story of perhaps the best business model in the world: Running Mastermind Groups
I’m going to assume you’re an online marketer. You’ve probably got a sales funnel or you’re building one. If it’s like most sales funnels, you’ve got inexpensive products on the front end and hopefully more expensive products on the backend.
Here’s my question about your sales funnel… do you have a flagship product? Something for which you charge serious money? Something that really, truly CHANGES people’s lives for the better? And if not, then why not?
I’ve mentioned before that if you don’t have a big, expensive flagship product, then you can create one in a day by offering coaching. Some people who are new to coaching like to charge $200-$300 a month. More experienced people who are confident they can get their clients results are able to charge 10 times this amount and more.
Coaching is awesome for getting people results, and if it’s right for you, then I suggest you do as much coaching as makes you happy and prosperous. But the fact is, coaching isn’t for everyone. You might not feel comfortable coaching, or you might not want to spend the time working with people one-on-one. Or you might want something different than coaching, something that has the potential to dramatically change the lives of a group of people while taking pressure off of yourself to perform.
For you, I’d like to suggest starting one or more Mastermind Groups. Masterminds can take less of your time than coaching, require less expertise than coaching and can potentially earn you as much or even MORE than coaching.
What is a Mastermind Group?
Loosely speaking, a mastermind is a select group of people who meet regularly in person or through video conferences to share ideas, help each other overcome challenges, keep each other accountable and achieve their goals.
Napoleon Hill coined the term “Master Mind” and defined it as… “A coordination of knowledge and effort, in perfect harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”
Hill surveyed hundreds of the most successful people in the world and found that many of these people attributed their successes to being in such a group. The most notable of these people was Andrew Carnegie, who attributed his entire fortune and success to his mastermind group.
Mastermind groups aren’t just for the rich and famous, either. Almost any group of people with a common interest or niche can benefit from a mastermind group. Here are three examples, but really the possibilities are nearly endless:
Children – there could be masterminds for new parents, parents of children of a certain age, parents of children with particular challenges, new empty nesters and so forth.
Online marketers – this is a huge area including new marketers, seasoned marketers, marketers in every possible niche as well as specialties such as social media marketing.
Professionals at any stage of their career – for example think of law students, brand new lawyers and seasoned lawyers in every area of law and you’ve got a hundred possibilities for mastermind groups in a single profession.
What’s So Great About a Mastermind Group?
If your personality, knowledge and success is the average of the five people you associate with most, it just makes sense that people in a mastermind group will enjoy more success and do it faster than those who are going it alone.
I’m reminded of a certain Irish marketer who participates in a $100,000 a year Mastermind Group. He is fond of telling the story of how one idea he got from this group yielded him a multiple 7 figure income. And no doubt you’ve heard stories, too, of how mastermind groups have been the catalyst that propelled entrepreneurs from nothing to ultra-successful, sometimes even selling their businesses and retiring after just a few years.
The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings likely never would have been written if not for an English Mastermind Group of writers and poets that included CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Charles Williams and Owen Barfield.
President Theodore Roosevelt felt out of his depth when he entered office at the age of 42, the youngest age ever for an American president. He needed help working with much older and more experienced politicians, so he created a mastermind group for guidance, support and help.
No doubt you’ve heard of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, President Warren G. Harding and Harvey Firestone. But did you know they were all in the same mastermind group and called themselves, “The Vagabonds?”
It’s truly amazing what can be accomplished when you’re in a mastermind group.
What Are the Benefits of a Mastermind Group?
That’s going to depend on the particular group, but in general…
Members have a group of people who help them to succeed. How valuable is it to have a group of like-minded people cheering you on and giving you ideas to become successful? It’s no understatement to say that a mastermind often makes the difference between success and failure.
2: Resources and Connections
If a group has 10 members, and if each member has 20 powerful, knowledgeable or influential contacts, then each member of the group now has potentially 200 contacts to help their business grow. If you weren’t born into a family with vast resources and contacts, a mastermind group might be the next best thing.
They say two heads are better than one and ten are better than two. A mastermind group can give you new ideas, different perspectives and crucial feedback. And you don’t even have to be in identical businesses. For example, what’s working for one marketer in a particular niche can often be applied to many other niches as well.
A mastermind group keeps its members inspired and accountable to achieve their goals. There’s nothing like knowing your fellow members expect you to implement what you decided upon in the last session and report back your results in the next session to keep you moving forward.
Mastermind members possess skills and ideas that took years to develop, yet they can share them with you in minutes.
You may find other members in your group with complimentary businesses with which to partner on a single venture or even an ongoing basis.
How Much do People Pay to be in Mastermind Groups?
While there are no hard and fast rules, on the low end $500 a year to be in a mastermind group of beginners or non-business people is somewhat common. On the high end, I know of two Mastermind Groups for online marketers that each charge $100,000 a year. These are run by invitation only, and while the entrance fee seems high, members report the entrance fee pays for itself many times over.
It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if there are a handful of mastermind groups that charge a million dollars a year and whose members are all billionaires or aspiring billionaires.
How much you charge will depend on a variety of factors, including what kind of group it is and how much expertise your members bring to the table. And keep in mind, there is nothing stopping you from starting as many mastermind groups as you can comfortably handle.
Should You Charge Fees Monthly or Annually?
When you are starting your very first Mastermind, you might want to charge monthly. This will assure participants they can leave if they don’t see results, which will make it far easier for you to sign people up. The exception to this rule is if you are already firmly established in your niche with a great reputation. In this case, charge annually and charge big.
If you don’t have a great reputation that precedes you, and once you and/or the group is showing results, it’s time to increase the price and possibly charge annually. It’s worth noting that participants who pay annually feel much more committed to the group and tend to do better. If you do charge monthly, ask for a firm 3-4 month commitment before they evaluate if they want to stay with the group.
Planning Your Mastermind
Before you start looking for members, you might outline the basics of your mastermind as you see it. This won’t be written in stone and can change once you have members, if the group agrees to the changes. For example, your members might agree it’s easier to meet on a different day than you initially chose, or they might want the meetings to be longer or use a slightly different format.
Here are a few things you might decide ahead of time…
• How often will the group meet?
• What day of the week or month will you meet? What time? (Once per week is generally the maximum with a longer meeting once per month being the bare minimum.)
• How long will each meeting be? Once you have a length set, take care to stick to it unless the group agrees to go longer.
• What is the limit on number of members? Anything between 8 and 16 generally works well, but do what is best for your particular group.
• You will be choosing the initial members, but how and when will new members be added to the group if there is a vacancy?
• How will you evaluate new members? What is your criteria? (More on this in the next section).
• Have a clear agenda and structure for each meeting. (Again, more on this in a later section).
How Do You Build a Mastermind Group?
First, determine what sort of group you’re going to build. Who specifically is it for? You might create an avatar to help you with this.
Next, set the parameters for joining. What level of accomplishment (if any) does a person need to join the group? For example, if you’re starting a writer’s group, will you take any aspiring writer? Or do they need to have published a certain amount of posts or books to join? Fiction or non-fiction writers? What about location? Do you want people from all over the world, or just from your own country? Does age matter? Experience? What about their goals?
The better you do at setting the parameters for who you want, the easier it will be to find a group of people who can work together.
Now that you have an idea of the type of person you want in your group, it’s time to find them. You might already have an email list to draw from. Or you can use social media to put out the call or use your website or your own contacts. If your mastermind group is the flagship product of your sales funnel, then you’ll be reaching out to your buyers to find the right people.
When evaluating each person for possible membership, you might consider the following:
Can you relate to them on a personal level? Can you see yourself being friends, or at least spending time with them each week?
Do they have similar experience? This goes back to knowing who you want in your group. Trying to mesh people who just graduated college with business owners having decades of experience likely won’t work. But there’s no reason why you couldn’t have two separate mastermind groups, one for newbies and one for experienced people.
Are they competitors? You’re not going to want a dentist mastermind with 10 local competing dentists. Because they are all going after the exact same market, they’re not going to open up about what’s working in their practices. But 10 dentists from 10 different cities might work very well.
What Are the Housekeeping Rules of Your Mastermind Group?
As the person running the group, the rules concerning how the group will function will be up to you. But it is important that you do have rules and that you let prospective members know what these rules are. Make it clear that for everyone’s benefit, participation depends upon following these rules, and failure to do so will result in the member being asked to leave.
Here are some good rules to get you started:
• What happens in mastermind STAYS in mastermind. For the group to be successful, people need to be able to trust each other and know that what they share in the group will not leave the group.
• Whenever possible, share stories and not advice. This might seem counter-intuitive, but people learn best when we share stories and experiences with similar situations and challenges.
• Active participation is a must. Each member must be committed to actively participating, both in sharing their own challenges as well as helping other members.
How Do You Run a Mastermind Group Meeting?
There’s no hard and fast answer, but here’s a template you might want to use:
1: If the meeting is in person, then you might have 5-10 minutes for informal catching up. If you’re doing this online with something like Zoom, it can be difficult if there is more than one conversation happening, so I’d suggest in that case you skip informal talk and get right to the meeting.
2: Give everyone 5 minutes to update the group on where they’re at with their goals from the last session.
3: Take a deep-dive into one specific challenge of one, two or three members. You can’t do this for every member every week, but then again not every member will have a challenge each week, so it should work out.
Reserve about 30 minutes for this section. If three members want deep-dives, they only get 10 minutes each. 2 members will get 15 minutes, and if there is only one member with a challenging problem, they get the entire 30 minutes. If you don’t already know, then you’ll want to touch base with members beforehand to know who needs the deep-dive each week. An email the day before should do the trick.
The group offers actionable potential solutions to the members facing the challenges. It’s also likely that others in the group will be facing similar challenges, so while it appears that only 1 to 3 people are being helped, in reality everyone can be benefiting from these deep-dives.
4: Next, ask if any other members have major outstanding challenges. There might be time to give them some quick help, or they can reserve the deep-dive time for the following week.
5: Finally, everyone takes a turn stating their goals for what they want to accomplish over the next week. You’ll be writing these goals down and sending them out to the entire group in an email after the mastermind. This is an amazing way to hold people accountable with very little effort.
You Are The Group Leader
While it’s true that you could designate someone else to run the group, I don’t recommend it. Members are paying YOU to be the leader, and so you should act as that leader.
In the beginning you will be introducing members to each other and essentially warming the group up. It takes time for people to grow comfortable together, and during that time they will all be looking to you to move the group forward and make things as smooth as possible. Your job is to keep things on topic and flowing. If anyone gets off topic, you need to steer them back on track to respect everyone’s time and commitment to this group.
You’ll likely find that one or two of your members tend to talk too much. They may interrupt others or have trouble yielding the floor when their time is done. It is up to you to gently, politely and firmly let them know that everyone gets a fair and equal amount of time and attention.
You’ll also likely have one or two members who have difficulty speaking up. In the beginning it is important to get them talking, even if it’s initially on superficial things. Once they are able to relax and feel they fit into the group, they should feel more comfortable speaking their mind.
Here’s How You Change Your Own Life…
Yes, you can make excellent money running one or more mastermind groups, but this added income might be just the icing on the cake for you. The fact is, many successful people attribute their success to mastermind groups, and running your own mastermind group is a way for you to get PAID to be IN a mastermind group.
Plus, you can run as many mastermind groups as you’re comfortable doing, as long as the quality of the groups do not suffer. If you were participating in not just one but maybe several mastermind groups, do you think that might make you more successful?
Let’s say you’re an online marketer in the dating niche. You might run a mastermind for other non-competing marketers in the dating niche, as well as a mastermind for 6 figure online marketers in many different niches and a third mastermind group on social media marketing.
Think of the possibilities! And think of the potential partnerships, too, as well as the introductions you can get to other influential people who can help you.
“But if I’m getting PAID to run the mastermind, is it ethical for me to also participate as one of the members?”
In fact, I would point out to the group from the very beginning that you will be not just the leader, but also a participating member. For people who already know you and trust you, this will be a selling point. If anyone has a problem with it (I can’t imagine they will) or if you are uncomfortable about it, then you can volunteer to pay the same amount everyone else has paid to be there. In your case, donate the money to a worthy cause.
Remember, you are the one who is putting the group together. It is up to you to get the right people who will work well together to accomplish big things and this is valuable, indeed. You are also the one setting up the meetings, paying for any related software, running the meetings, sending out the emails and so forth.
Unlike the paying members, you have ongoing duties to the group each week to keep it running smoothly and ensuring that everyone benefits. Don’t get caught up in worrying that it’s not ‘fair’ that everyone is paying you. When done correctly, membership in a mastermind group pays for itself many, many times over. And don’t be surprised if you receive special gifts from your members when they have big successes, either, so they can show their appreciation for bringing them into your group.
Mastermind Software and Resources I Can Recommend
Initially you can use something as simple as Zoom to run your masterminds and PayPal to charge fees. When you’re ready for something a little more professional, there are services such as MightyNetworks.com that integrate with Zoom and other video meeting platforms to give you many more options and benefits.
If you’ve got the meetings handled and you’re looking for a way for members to keep in touch between sessions, you might use Slack.com.
Another resource is MastermindBetter.com which includes scheduling, goal tracking, agendas, timers and group chat.
“Sounds great, but I’m nervous about running a mastermind. How do I get started?”
If you’ve never been in a mastermind group before, I’d suggest you start one for practice. Carefully choose a small handful of people you know and trust. Tell them your reason for starting this mastermind is two-fold: You want to mastermind with them AND you want to start more masterminds.
Charge a small amount for this first one to ensure everyone takes it seriously. Yes, charge for this first one. People pay attention to what they spend their money on. If you don’t charge, they may not take it seriously.
Hold a meeting each week, work out the bugs, gain your confidence and then start your first ‘real’ paid mastermind group that charges ‘real’ money.
One more thing… give yourself deadlines. Write down your deadline for starting your first mastermind, such as 7 days from right now. Then write down your second deadline for starting your second mastermind, such as 6 weeks from right now.
And here’s where it gets really interesting… you could make your first mastermind a group of people interested in starting… wait for it…
(I know what you’re thinking! A mastermind on running masterminds is so wonderfully… Meta!)
Think about it. How could you NOT succeed if you were already in a mastermind group dedicated to starting paid mastermind groups?
In fact, anytime you want to take on something NEW and BIG, why not start a mastermind group for that very thing?It could accelerate your success like nothing else you’ve ever done before.