Six months ago, I had never even heard of a mastermind, but now it’s one of the most important parts of my working life. A mastermind is a group of people who meet (in person or digitally) regularly to discuss specific topics and to help brainstorm solutions to any problems. You can technically have a Mastermind group about anything, but business is probably one of the most common topics. My Mastermind group of young female entrepreneurs is where I go to vent frustrations, get feedback on work that I’m doing, and talk through plans for my business and it is so insanely valuable.
I don’t care if your side hustle is just a hobby with no plans to turn it into a business or if you’ve already left your full-time job to become self-employed, joining or starting a Mastermind group is the right move.
There are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to a Mastermind:
Pick a focus or topic.
Before you can start or join a Mastermind, you should think about what you want to get out of it. Are you looking for people to hold you accountable? Are you starting a new business and hoping to get advice from people who have been there before? Or do you want a group with different strengths that can complement each other? Once you decide what your hopes and goals are for your Mastermind, you’ll know what to look for.
Join one or start one.
By the time I heard of masterminds and decided I wanted to join one, it seemed like everyone I asked was already in one and they weren’t looking for new members. So, I got together with a couple of other Fempreneurs I knew and we decided to start our own. If you’ve never been in a Mastermind before, I would suggest joining a couple of active Facebook groups for your niche and ask around about open spots in existing Masterminds. And if it’s just not happening, start asking around to see if there are others not in one already who want to start one. This might be tough for anyone who is shy or doesn’t like networking but it’s a great opportunity to get to know fellow hustlers. I would recommend finding or founding a Mastermind of no more than 6 people. Smaller than 4 and it might start to feel stagnant after a while, but bigger than 6 and you might feel like you’re not getting g quality time and attention. There are of course masterminds with 2 people and some with hundreds of people. I would suggest thinking about how you want it to look and function and that will help guide you to the right number of members.
Decide how often you’ll meet.
Scheduling can make or break a Mastermind. You might find a great group to join but if their meeting schedule doesn’t work for you, it’s destined for failure. I’ve heard of masterminds meeting every week, bi-weekly, monthly, or even only a few times per year. For the Mastermind I’m in, we’ve found that bi-weekly works best for us. This way we have enough time to work through projects and focus on the bigger picture. Weekly meetings can get lost in the specific tasks you’re working on which might be too specific and might not examine the bigger picture of your business. While meetings less often than once per month might not be too useful if you’re feeling stuck or uninspired. You’ll also need to decide how and when you meet. Will you meet in person? Well, that definitely narrows down the possible members of your Mastermind. We use Google Hangouts and it works great for us! Then there is when you’ll meet. Finding a consistent day and time that works for all members can be a challenge! But I highly recommend finding a consistent day and time to meet, it helps everyone to work their schedule around that recurring meeting and prevent people from missing the meeting.
Set group expectations.
Setting expectations up front is also very important. We set some ground rules around how many meetings everyone can miss (no more than 1 per quarter). All of our members also agreed that anyone can leave the group with no judgment but it needs to be at the end of a quarter. That way we never need to deal with unexpectedly being short a member. If we ever feel a member isn’t pulling their weight or isn’t committed, we can ask them to leave at the end of the quarter as well. If we ever want to add another member, that would happen at the beginning of a quarter. It’s also important to set expectations for engagement. If you’re not doing any work or you’re not engaged during our meetings, that’s a problem. You definitely notice when someone isn’t pulling their weight and they aren’t participating as much as they should.
You get out of it what you put into it.
When every member in a Mastermind is focused and working hard, it is pure hustle magic. After every meeting with my Mastermind group, I feel totally fired up and inspired. Knowing that I have a supportive group of women to turn to when I’m struggling and to share my successes with is a great feeling!
Want to learn more about the lady bosses in my Mastermind group? Check out the Hustle Profiles on Kayla and Jaye. Plus I’ll have a Hustle Profile on the amazing Shawna of Boss Essentials Co soon!