I’ve always wanted to learn more and to develop myself more. But, at the same time, I’ve always thought that learning is an individual process. Therefore, when I was learning something, I was doing it by myself.
I quit school two times because of its bad system and promised myself I’ll never go back. I quit my (first) 4-months job because I didn’t fit in a place where people were lazy, mean, and kinda dumb and promised myself I’ll never be employed again.
So, I’ve always been a one-person team. Since I discovered masterminds. Because that was the moment when I started to realize how great it can be to learn things with someone else.
How I started thinking about mastermind groups
It was the summer of 2016 and I wanted to change some things at my mindset and also improve my skills. Especially, my marketing skills.
I didn’t know where to start but I had this mentor that was guiding me. After talking a bit with him and ask for some guidance he says: “Hey, David. It happens that I know a guy that’s at the same level as you are. Don’t you wanna have some Skype meetings with him and grow together?”
I was a little bit skeptical, but I went for it. What could go wrong?
My mentor asks the other person if he would be interested in the same thing and he agrees. The funny thing is that I happen to interact with that person before, when I searched for blogs where I could write guest-posts.
Therefore, we exchanged some ideas and we established some important ground rules about how this “thing” should go on. We didn’t know how a mastermind should be. We just liked the idea of a mastermind.
How our mastermind sessions are structured
Every Tuesday, at 10:00, we have our Skype call. We both live in the same country, but different cities. We never saw each other, but only through our webcams.
At every mastermind session, we have 5 topics that we discuss:
1. One thing about ourselves
We both say one thing about ourselves in order to know each other better and to connect better.
2. What are we working at
We both say what are we working in the present week. This helps us keep track of our own tasks.
3. What we’ve learned last week
It helps us learn from each other mistakes.
4. Where do we need help
This is only about feedback and brainstorming – never about doing work for the other person.
5. Weekly/monthly exercises
Here are two types of exercises: one that we establish with one week in advance, and a second one that we establish one month in advance.
Every week we set an exercise that we both have to do for the next week. It’s something that concerns at least one of us and it’s around marketing. Here is some stuff about we talked about until now: e-mail marketing, how to write better, how to grow a community, how to sell better, and so on.
But once a month we are talking about something else.
Once a month we are talking about a book that we both agree on reading. After we read the book, we share ideas and conclusions. It’s amazing – like having two brains instead of one. Pure brainstorming! Pure learning!
We also read something on the mastermind topic too.
We were looking to find more information about how a mastermind session should be structured and how we could get as much as we can from this activity.
After we did some research, we didn’t found any qualitative book about mastermind and how to do it in order to get something specific. The book we read is called Mastermind Dinners: Build Lifelong Relationships by Connecting Experts, Influencers, and Linchpins and it’s more about how to connect with people.
I bet there are masterminds of $20.000 a year, but who needs them?
If you are a millionaire entrepreneur, then you may want a different kind of mastermind, where you surround yourself with people that are at your level.
But me? I’m making my first steps in the world of entrepreneurship and maybe I can’t afford to be part of that type of mastermind.
So, it brings up this powerful question: how do I find people that are at the same as level I am?
Here are few steps:
1. Create your “letter of proposal”
Think about why you want to be part of a mastermind and how do you want the sessions to be structured. You can use my model if it fits your needs.
In my example, I wanted to learn more about marketing. So, here’s a letter of proposal that I would develop:
My name is David from davidtheoptimist.com and I’m interested in finding people that are looking to learn more about marketing, especially email marketing and copywriting.
If you want to be part of this, here’s a structure that I’ve been thinking about in the last weeks that would fit my needs (and maybe yours):
[INSERT STRUCTURE HERE]
If you think this is a cool thing to do, reply to this email and tell me your thoughts.
Thanks for taking the time of reading this.
Have an amazing day,
Also, you can include your interests in the field that you are willing to learn more (email marketing is the above example) and your passions. This way, the person you are contacting will know a little bit more about you and will be able to connect at a deeper level with you.
2. How to find the right people
Well, first of all, you need to look into your list.
Yes, I know you have your own list of people that you’re following. Maybe it’s a blogger that you like how he writes or the topics he covers. Maybe it’s a social entrepreneur that is helping his local community.
Contact them with your proposal.
Second, you should start thinking about big communities, like Reddit, Quora or Pinterest. There are lots of small groups of people that are willing to learn more. You can find there the right people.
3. The Internet is not everything
If you are that type of person who is going to conferences or workshops, then you should keep your eyes wide open for people like you.
In this type of situation, you already have something in common with the people who are attending the same event. And that’s in the name of the event.
If the conference is about building paper planes, then you know you will find people interested in building paper planes at that event. And you can start from there.
What you should avoid doing
If you are thinking about starting your own mastermind group, then there’s one thing that you should definitely avoid.
I’ve tried (and still trying) to implement the same above structure in a group of bloggers. This group has 5 to 10 active bloggers that are always showing up at meetings. Yes, we are doing the mastermind sessions offline because we are all from the same city.
But because they have different interests (and they are also kinda lazy) I’m not able to find the right structure that could work with this many people. It’s really hard to find 3 people that have the exact same interests, but what should I expect from 5 or more.
This idea was validated recently when I started another group (again with only one other person) and, at first, I wanted to add this person to the first group. But I’m glad I didn’t.
This time I only set the fact that I wanted to learn more – not from a specific domain, but in general. If I would add this new person to the first group, then I would’ve messed up some things. Because now, in this new group, instead of focusing on internet marketing, I’m focusing on personal and spiritual growth.
- Start your mastermind group if you want to learn more, but not only by yourself;
- Don’t search to invest money in a mastermind group, but invest time in searching the right people for this activity;
- Create yourself a structure and a letter of proposal, in order to know what you have to do and to anchor people to your mastermind sessions;
- Avoid creating mastermind groups of more than two people (you and someone else) because it’s hard to find people with exactly the same interests.