Understanding the power of the business mastermind is HUGE.
As a business owner, you’re likely wearing many different hats.
You are the CEO, but you’re also writing your own content and trying to talk to clients. You are also the one doing your Facebook ads. You’re the bookkeeper, but also the one who serves your customers and clients.
Whether you’re a one-person show or have a small team, you may be feeling overwhelmed and may have reached your income ceiling.
So…what do you do next? How do you get out of this rut?
I recently invited my friend Jeff Sieh to do a Live with me on leveraging masterminds for business. Jeff is a Pinterest/Instagram/visual marketing expert and a pro at live video production – and actually works with us here as a part of the Kim Garst team.
He also has extensive experience with business masterminds, both free and paid. So in today’s post, I’m going to share our experiences and stories – both the good and the bad – so you can get a better idea of whether a mastermind would be of value to your business.
What is a Business Mastermind?
A business mastermind is a group of people who are dedicated to up-leveling their business and themselves. This is achieved through accountability, knowledge, and employing some big-picture thinking.A business mastermind is a group of people who are dedicated to up-leveling their business and themselves. This is achieved through accountability, knowledge, and employing some big-picture thinking.Click To Tweet
As business owners, we spend so much time in the “weeds”, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees.
But when we can align ourselves with others who are moving in the same direction, this can provide a whole lot of clarity – both personally and professionally.
Business masterminds are also really powerful for helping us shift the way we think about things. we often stand in our own way, getting stuck in certain mindsets. But when you’re part of a mastermind, there are others coming alongside you helping you challenge your mindset.
Another huge benefit of being in a mastermind is that you’re not alone. It can be lonely out there! But in a mastermind, you have a built-in group of companions and guides. You have direct access to others who are a little (or a lot) further down the road than you, or who are exactly where you want to be.
Our Experience With Free and Paid Masterminds
Both Jeff and I can directly trace opportunities and up-levels of our businesses to masterminds we’ve been part of.
Five or six years ago, Jeff drove across the country and went to Social Media Marketing World. At that time, he was getting ready to start a podcast, and Podcast Movement had a little mini-conference that he went to. It was there that he met all these other podcasters, including people like Erik Fisher, social media manager at Social Media Examiner and founder of the Beyond the To-Do List podcast.
Some of the guys from that group decided to get together and start their own business mastermind. At the time, Jeff didn’t even know what a mastermind was. But they started out meeting via Zoom. And even though they’ve lost a few members, they’re still together and continue to meet every Monday. And it was those guys who actually affirmed his decision to join my Mastermind!
As for me, I’ve also been in both free and paid masterminds.
To be honest, a lot of times with free masterminds, you don’t get the same level of commitment from members. Because they have no “skin in the game”, the level of relationships isn’t always the same, and the commitment to meeting regularly isn’t always there.
It’s not that people don’t care! It’s just that everyone is busy, and can’t always take the time to meet.
However, in a paid mastermind, members tend to be more focused on showing up and forming serious relationships with one another.
These have been amazing opportunities for me. For instance, I was in a mastermind with Ian Cleary of RazorSocial, as well as a few others, and the relationships I formed in that group are super strong. We just really connected and clicked, and I’m very honored to have friendships with them. Additionally, we frequently refer business or opportunities to each other.
However, not all of my experiences with business masterminds have been good.
I was once in another paid mastermind and made the mistake of aligning myself with the wrong leader. Through that journey, I learned a lot. It was a powerful lesson of what NOT to do!
It made me a little gun shy, but through that journey, I still managed to form some great relationships that I still value today.
Our Best Advice Regarding Choosing a Mastermind
So, what should you look for when deciding on a business mastermind to join?
The best advice Jeff ever got was to always join a mastermind where you are at a level below the leader of the group members as a whole.
When you do this, you’re basically getting your own suite of executives – your very own CFO, CMO, etc.
At times, Jeff has been cautioned not to join a mastermind where the leader or other members have a ton of money. For instance, being in a mastermind with Bill Gates probably wouldn’t be that beneficial to you, unless you too are a billionaire! He lives in a different world and has a whole different set of problems and issues.
On the other hand, if you want someone who will take you to the next level, who has been there and who has maybe had the same struggles as you, you do want someone who is ahead of you – who is more successful than you.
Another important factor for Jeff in choosing a mastermind is aligning yourself with people who are transparent. Jeff mentioned that one of the main reasons he joined my mastermind was that he saw how I was never sleazy or spammy when I sold stuff – he felt it was very organic and more like, “Hey, we have this product or service we’d like to offer”. So this was a big drawing card for him.
For me, gaining knowledge has always been a huge attraction. In my last business, BOOM Social, I got to the point that while the business was successful, I was trading time for money. I was going after bigger brands and was blessed to work with Microsoft, IBM, and other big names.
But there came a point when I couldn’t scale my time and became really burned out. I had hit my income ceiling and knew there must be a better way to generate revenue in the online space.
At the time, I joined a mastermind for knowledge – specifically, digital marketing knowledge. I needed digital marketing knowledge, fast, and knew the way to get this was to join a high-end mastermind. I didn’t even hesitate, even though the lump sum payment was scary!
It can be scary to make that investment since it’s not a direct exchange even when it’s about making more money. (i.e., it’s not guaranteed that you’ll make x amount of money).
But not only did I get the knowledge I was after, but I also got so much more. It allowed me to call myself a “hybrid marketer”, because I now have that knowledge of both the social media and digital marketing space.
It also allowed me to form some amazing relationships and gave me what I would call “street cred” – basically being at the table with some incredible, well-known people in the marketing world.
Jeff also strongly recommends finding people who have a growth mindset. In the town where he lives, he has found that even people in the local networking groups don’t really understand what he does.
But when you can find people who understand what you do, and who have a growth mindset, you’re aligning yourself with people who have a real interest in support and helping one another. There’s reciprocity and shared interests and understanding, meaning you can form real connections.
Jeff has also really benefited from being able to ask questions like, “What do you think my superpower is?”. Someone in a mastermind once told him he did a really good job of explaining things in an easy-to-understand way, without being controversial or combative. This gave him ideas for getting additional training, and he began speaking even more.
It’s easy to get blinded as you go down a certain path, having someone point out your strengths and skills can be SUPER valuable.
Even for me, I can’t just walk out my door and have a conversation with my neighbors about my work. It’s not like I can just say I’m an accountant or something. They have no clue what I do!
In fact, my world operates in the online space. The only places people really get me is in mastermind groups or in the communities I’ve built.
Another piece of advice I have is that if things haven’t been working for you, this post may be a wake-up call for you. You’ve probably heard the saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
Join a mastermind if you’ve been trying to do this on your own, and haven’t gotten where you want to be. It may be time to take a leap of faith. It can be really scary, but this is a sign that you need to do something different.
At the end of the day, I just want to encourage you to find a solution. And NOT just the solutions you’ve been presenting to yourself, or that feel safe!
The fascinating part about growth – when it comes to really level up your business – is that it usually involves pivoting. It’s about taking what you have, looking at it carefully, and then figuring out where those pivots are so that you can grow in the direction you need to grow.
But lots of times, you just can’t get there on your own.
My husband has often said, “You can’t reach your limits on your own. Somebody has to push you to get there”. This is so true within the context of business.
Take a leap of faith and push yourself, and have others push you! – as well as the internal push of being committed to growth.
What’s The Difference Between a Free Mastermind and a Paid One?
Jeff and I agree that both free and paid masterminds have their place.
I talked about this briefly before, but the level of commitment is often quite a bit lower in free masterminds. Because there is no monetary investment in the group, it’s easier for people to skip meetings or not take the group as seriously.
People tend to want to get their money’s worth in paid masterminds. People show up, contribute, and 100% commit to their own growth and the growth of their fellow group members.
An example of a free mastermind might be meeting people at a conference and forming a support network. This can be a great way to stay in touch and to support one another.
When you put some money into it, you are going to show up for those meetings. When you make a significant investment in your business and in yourself, that’s when things really start to happen.
Here’s an example: Jeff had been thinking about creating an online course for years. Jeff joined the mastermind and had “skin in the game”, and actually put his course out there.
You need to invest in yourself, meet regularly, and be held accountable, it really does make a difference. This is when the magic happens!
One of the things we always did when we left our in-person meetings was to commit to taking 3 actions over the next quarter. We would write those things down, and then right before we met for our next session, we’d get a letter in the mail with that paper where we wrote those things down.
This was a huge fire under my tush! I knew people were going to ask me if I had done those 3 things, and I didn’t want to let myself down or go back on my word.
The paid masterminds were always pivotal in helping me to stay accountable and in holding my feet to the fire. When you’re paying money and you have a meeting scheduled, you know you have to get up in front of those people and report on what you’ve done. This is SO important!
How I Structure My Masterminds
So, I’m getting ready to open the doors to our mastermind for this coming year.
We’ve recently shifted things a bit to include a combination of all the things. I’ve found it really valuable in masterminds over the years. Then I’ve tried to level up those elements to provide even more value, and to make it even better than ones I’ve been in in the past!
Here’s a quick example. I’ve got a lot of value out of were in-person meetings. We’d go to these nice luxury hotels, and have a great experience having out with everybody. So I built on that, and thought, “Let’s rent a super nice home, and everyone will have their own space. They can come, hang out, and we get a chance to spend way more time together”. It’s not like going to some windowless hotel meeting room – it’s a much more homey, intimate experience.
The other thing I’ve found missing in the past was being able to sit down and really have a one-on-one opportunity to build a plan. So I’ve set up my mastermind so we have half a day with every member of the mastermind to work out their plan for the entire year – because you can’t get where you’re going if you don’t know where that is!
We will also have a half-day VIP session where we work on your funnel – and if you don’t have a funnel, we’ll work together to figure out the pieces and parts you need to put together to create one.
I’m also really excited about our “hot seats”. If you have a core problem that you just don’t know how to fix, we’ll come alongside you and help you figure it out. Members can share their own experiences of how they solved that problem, offer suggestions, raise you up and support you, and just generally help you out of whatever mess you’re in!
It’s also super important to note that anything that happens in the mastermind, stays in the mastermind. Especially when you’re in the hot seat, things can get really vulnerable. You don’t want to look stupid, but you really need help with your business and it can be a very intimate thing.
Something Jeff brought up that I think is really important is that masterminds are like a fine wine – you need to let them mature. The stuff you talk about in the beginning is different than what you talk about later on, once you really start getting to know each other.
So you have to give a mastermind time. You need to have that vulnerability and trust, and that doesn’t happen right away. It does develop really, really quickly when you’re meeting weekly. Investing in connecting with those people on a regular basis.
Jeff mentioned that you probably don’t want to be in a mastermind with someone like Bill Gates. They’ll tend to have very different problems. I found out that they’re exactly the same problems…just bigger.
So if you think you’re the only one who has a particular problem, you’re wrong. We’ve all struggled with exactly the same things.
I’ve been in masterminds where there were literally billionaires in the room. They had the same problems, but just on a larger scale. For instance, a big problem for everyone in the group was finding good people for their team. Some people were looking for one person, while others were looking for 50. So when it comes down to it, we all struggle with the same core issues.
My mom was diagnosed with brain cancer three years ago and I took a step back from my business to spend time with her. I pivoted my business form what I have learned from the business mastermind.
If I had still been trading time for money, I would probably have had to close my doors.
Instead, I could keep my Facebook ads on and could keep selling things. It didn’t require my personal time or energy, and honestly, that saved my business.
If you’re not where you want to be in your business, don’t spend another year doing the same old things…please.
You don’t even need to join my mastermind, just do something. Get some coaching, join another mastermind. Find a resource that will allow you to make the shift you need to make so you can grow. Get some help instead of trying to do it all on your own.
If you’re wondering if my mastermind could be right for you, let’s have that conversation.
One thing I can promise you is that this is my passion project. It’s not about the sale.
It’s about helping people move forward in a way that makes sense for them. That ultimately gets them to the next level in their business.
So if you want to have that conversation, let’s do it. There will be no pressure. It will be about what’s best for you, always.
If you’re currently in a mastermind that’s not working for you, it’s okay to leave! You can still continue those friendships. Both Jeff and I have done that.
Don’t let that hold you back. If you’re not getting the results you want, then you need to start doing some different things. That probably means joining a new mastermind.
So check us out. We’re friendly people around here! And you get access to Jeff as part of the team as well, so you get to pick multiple brains. He’s introduced me to some incredible people, and the collaborations that have happened have been amazing.
As the facilitator of The Next Level Success Mastermind, I’ve formed lifelong friendships with those who have been with me over the past year. And I’m excited to see where those relationships go. I can’t wait to see what they’ll do going forward! Where will they go, and what impact will they make in the world?
PLEASE Don’t stay stuck in your business!
It’s not about me, it’s about you finding a solution.
If I’m the solution, great. And if I’m not, the solution is out there for you somewhere…you just need to find it.
Get yourself to the next level in your business. Because it’s not just about you, it’s about the impact you bring to the world…and the world needs you.
If you think I could be the solution that gets you to that next level, let’s chat.
And if not, get out there and find your solution!