How to Run a Successful Mastermind Group

How to Be an Evil Mastermind … I mean, How to Run a Successful Mastermind.

Working on a business or new project can be lonely. Your family and friends support your efforts, but they don’t really understand the details of what you are trying to do or what exactly you are going through. Projects are difficult and the long hours can make you feel isolated, frustrated or overwhelmed - but don’t let that kill your morale or progress.

What if you found a small group of people that knew what you were going through?

People on a similar similar path and with similar successes who understand where you are, where you are going and what you are struggling with. You could meet regularly, either virtually or in real life, to discuss your goals, challenges and recent “wins” and “fails”. Since they’ve been through it or are facing it themselves, they could offer real advice, not just platitudes.

This is a mastermind group.

“A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.” - Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Masterminds can be extremely useful for any project or endeavor such as a business, learning a new skill, or self improvement (for example, going to the gym). The benefits include:

I am currently starting a mastermind for a startup software business, and will use the rest of the article to describe some of the issues and questions I’ve tackled in the process, assuming that you are doing the same.

They should be open to accepting advice and be able to give kind, considerate, and honest advice in a way that can be accepted by others and not be perceived as an attack. Of course, you yourself should be open to criticism and accept it as positive input.

It can be useful if the other group members are running somewhat similar businesses but a variety of niches can improve diversity and minimize competition.

Also, be prepared to discuss the rules you expect the group to operate by. For example, decide what to do if a member starts missing meetings or is not participating. It is especially important to discuss the expectation of confidentiality. What is said in the group stays in the group.

There are also services like MastermindJam that can help match you up with others looking to form a mastermind.

If you can’t find one, don’t waste too much time: just start one yourself. Leading the group is not that difficult. It may mean that you need to do a little bit more work, but it will be worth it to build a healthy, successful group.

First off, you’re probably looking for 3–5 people total in the group. A two-person conversation can be really useful but there may not be enough variety and experience. More than five people can be hard to coordinate, and members won’t get enough attention unless the meetings are extra long.

Since you’ve already thought about the purpose of the group and the type of members you’d like to see, start asking people who might be a good fit. Then, as you find others, you can refine:

However, monthly may not be frequent enough to keep momentum and continuity. There seems to be a sweet spot at every other week, every three weeks or twice a month.

Plus you can always be in more than one mastermind, maybe a local in-person one with good people who are not a perfect fit and a virtual one with people from all over the world who are your ideal members.

Sample questions / agenda items

Let me know if you have any questions or if there is anyway I can help.

  • A No-BS Framework to Having an Effective Mastermind Group
  • Create a “Mastermind Group” to Help Your Career
  • Startups For The Rest Of Us - Episode 167: How to Organize & Run a Startup Mastermind
  • Startups For The Rest Of Us - Episode 277: Five Ways to Structure Your Startup Mastermind
  • How To Run A Successful Mastermind
  • How To Start and Run a Mastermind Group
  • How to Build a Winning Mastermind Group (Webinar Replay) - SPI TV, Ep. 12
  • Masterminds: Gasoline on the Entrepreneurial Fire
  • The Giant Robots Smashing into Other Giant Robots mastermind format starts in Jan 2016
  • The Unofficial Shopify Podcast: Masterminds: The Entrepreneur’s Secret Weapon
  • Why a Mastermind Group Can Accelerate Your Success (And How to Form One)
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