Mastermind: Positive Professional Peer Pressure
When you’re sitting in a coffee shop simultaneously working on your finances, social media campaign, and editorial calendar, doing it alone can feel like too much. Your promises to your business coach last week and the week before are piling up. Your friends don’t understand. The friend who launched her business 12 years ago approaches your ideas by suggesting more costly paths than your P&L statement can handle. Your friend who got his EIN just last week spends all his time asking you structuring and tax filing questions. Your non-entrepreneurial friend wants you to slow down and not stress, constantly trying to convince you to blow off work for a spa day. (Sounds good, right?)
Question: Why not join a business accelerator or course? They’re full of entrepreneurs like you!
Answer: In an accelerator/course, the exorbitant number of participants equates to minimal support and a lack of connection and communication with other business owners.
What you need is a mastermind.
What is a Mastermind?
A mastermind is a small group of like-minded peers focused on lifting one another up in business. Rooted in group learning, a mastermind encourages collaboration, accountability, support, peer review, feedback, networking, beta planning, problem-solving, and so much more. Like a board of directors, a mastermind is group coaching with omnidirectional support. This is NOT a course.
Approaching your business as a solopreneur, you are doing so with a solid plan you have outlined and researched. You know your goals, deadlines, and product and have taken the initiative to get your voice and brand out there. As well as the business may be going, you’re running on the fumes of your own intelligence and merit. It has brought you this far, but when you are ready to inject your business with new ideas and approaches, a mastermind group is exactly what you need. In these creative, packed spaces, you can share success and failures with others and get real-time feedback on what worked and didn’t. A Mastermind group is an excellent place to allow creative juices to flow. As you hear the stories of others, you will streamline solutions that help them and help you reach your own set of goals.
Benefits of a Mastermind
Working independently, some habits may not be obvious to you. Within a group dynamic, seeing how others work and where their gaps are will allow you the opportunity to recognize those same trends and tendencies in your own operations. For instance, you might notice that a fellow mastermind member thrives on community interaction, similar to your own energy boost, catapulting away from procrastination toward productivity.
Peers in a well-vetted mastermind group will have various skills or skill levels you can learn from. These varied perspectives and lived experiences allow them to see your business, brand, product, or service differently. Feeding off each other’s strengths, mastermind collaborators can improve upon your weaknesses with a challenge, support, and inspiration.
When the mastermind group participants look around the room, they should be inspired by the clients pulled together. There should be people who have had some proven success and are eager to share their journey with others. These are bright, open-minded individuals who are eager to pool resources. They know their experience got them in the room, making them eager to contribute at a high level.
How to tell if a mastermind is right for you
There are several factors to consider when choosing a mastermind group:
- Group size – Some might think that more people will mean more ideas or a greater volume of feedback. These two “benefits” could hinder progress. Ever heard the saying, “Too many cooks in the kitchen”? Try to find a Mastermind group that is around 10 people. Too many more and you can become overwhelmed by opinions or lost in the shuffle of everyone else’s goals. The point of a mastermind is for the greater whole to serve each individual.
- Group members – Be aware of the group you choose. A mastermind group allows you to pick the minds of your mentors and other business gurus and cultivate a plan that charges your business ahead. You want a mix of mentors, mentees, and peers.
- Cost – Masterminds can range from $200 – $1000 per month or as much as $20K annually. Do you have the capital to invest in such an endeavor? Measure the benefit of such an investment.
- Time – Do you have 3-7 hours per month to dedicate to a mastermind for about 10 weeks? In addition to meetings, you will likely be asked to hold a fellow member accountable, attend touch base calls, or participate in challenges. How long can you and your business maintain such a schedule? Be aware of the time commitment required for the mastermind that piques your interest.
- Openness – Are you willing to accept constructive criticism? Do you have the skills to reciprocate the same? Peer brainstorming and feedback are a large part of mastermind meetings. Be willing to open yourself up to criticism (hopefully thoughtful but tough) and do the same for others.
- Venue – Do you learn better online or in person? Pay attention to how/where a mastermind is being offered before you commit.
Where to find Mastermind groups
Mastermind groups can be created/cultivated from one’s own network or by joining an existing program. We have two mastermind groups at High Tides: Side Hustle Intensive and the Afro Business Cookhouse. Other places to peruse: Google, Meetup, Facebook, and LinkedIn. These platforms allow you to search the term “mastermind groups” with a staggering number of results.
A mastermind is an opportunity for elevation. Surround yourself with passionate people invested in their success and yours.