How to be in a Mastermind

By | May 26, 2015

What’s a mastermind?

It’s a group of people who get together on a regular basis to talk about their businesses or professional goals, get advice and encouragement from each other, share resources, celebrate wins, and keep each other accountable for what they said they would do.

Who can start a mastermind?

Anybody. You can. I did!

I started a mastermind with a friend after attending a workshop in March. The workshop was by Pat Flynn, and was held at an event called Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) in San Diego, CA.

Proof that I was at Pat Flynn's Mastermind Info Session. (Picture is from Pat's blog.)

Proof that I was at Pat Flynn’s Mastermind Info Session. (Picture is from Pat’s blog.*)

So what’s a mastermind again?

I had heard of masterminds before, but didn’t really think they were for people like me. I wasn’t far enough along in my chosen entrepreneurial career yet. I thought masterminds were just for very rich, very successful, very popular people who had already been making a lot of money for years and years. I was certainly eager to be those adjectives—rich, successful, popular—and eventually add the adverb “very” to my adjectives, but knew I wasn’t there yet.

As soon as I was, though, I, too, would be part of a mastermind. My group would meet and share amazing ideas and help each other become even richer, even more successful, and even more popular! It would be great!

But according to Pat Flynn, anyone can create a mastermind. It’s an accountability group. It’s an idea group. It’s a place to share new ideas and get genuine feedback. And it’s just as appropriate to be part of one when you’re rich and successful as when you’re just starting out and haven’t made a dime online yet.

I’d never considered creating one of my own, but Pat convinced me it was necessary and assured me that it was possible. I left the workshop inspired, wondering who might want to try this out with me.

Be inspired, and inspire others!

Be inspired, and inspire others!

Where do you find people to be in a mastermind?

That night, serendipity.

I hung out with a friend of mine in San Diego who I hadn’t seen in a couple years. Over the course of catching up on each other’s lives, he said the word, “mastermind.” I don’t even remember in what context he was speaking, but I burst out with, “Ohmygosh, I just attended a session on how to start a mastermind and I really want to start one but I don’t know how but I can tell you what I know and do you want to be in a mastermind with me?”

With an enthusiastic, “Yes!” our mastermind was born.

What do you do at a mastermind?

Two days later, I was back home in Monterey and we met online via Google Hangouts to commence our very first mastermind meeting.

The first few weeks were very informal and just the two of us. We set a few far-reaching goals, and talked about what we were looking to accomplish both through the mastermind and through our burgeoning online businesses that we were both starting. We also discussed who else we knew who might like to to join our group.

Last Tuesday, we had our first very structured mastermind meeting with all five members of the group present online.

Our Mastermind Group

Our Mastermind Group

Following Pat Flynn’s framework, the following is how our mastermind works:

We meet for one hour, once a week—every Tuesday at 8 pm Pacific Time. The mastermind is a formal commitment that we have made to each other, and we do our best to be there.

The first 10 minutes are to share the past week’s victories.

The next 40 minutes, the bulk of the meeting, are for one person to be in the “hot seat.” This is an opportunity for that person to talk about whatever they want. It’s up to them to come prepared to speak to the group. The group offers help, guidance, resources, support, feedback, and encouragement. The person from last week’s hot seat is the moderator and helps to keep the conversation flowing.

Then there are five minutes for each person to give a commitment for the upcoming week and comment on their commitment from the previous week.

The final five minutes are for any housekeeping.

How does it really work?

Naturally everything doesn’t run smoothly all the time. We are still learning, so have had a few issues with sound and connectivity and making our schedules work across three time zones. But it’s getting better and easier every week.

We use a shared Evernote Notebook to keep track of meeting minutes, goals, and resources.

We use a shared Google Drive for additional documents and files.

We use Google Hangouts or Skype to connect online for our weekly meetings.

We use email, Google chat, phone, and text messaging to communicate during the week between meetings if necessary.

Overall, I’m ridiculously excited about the whole thing! The members of our group are all motivated, interesting people who are eager to get together and share. I can’t wait to see where we all are a year from now, five years from now!

Your Turn!

Have you ever heard of masterminds? What are your thoughts or experiences? Any advice, ideas, suggestions for me, as I prepare for my hot seat on June 9?

Comment below.


* Link to Pat’s blog, where I found this picture:

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