If you run a business, you’ve likely been introduced to the idea of business masterminds. Being an entrepreneur is an extremely rewarding experience as it allows you the freedom and ability to make a living all your own. However, the freedom that comes with being an entrepreneur is a double-edged sword. The move from having a structured employment schedule to being 100% in charge of your every day can be a gift or a curse. The choice to become your own boss and create your own brand means you are now in charge of everything! You will quickly learn that you must make each hat fit! This can lead to feeling very isolated and alone from the others in your life.
Enter business masterminds. Humans, by default, are very social creatures. It does not matter if you are more comfortable behind a webcam or love to go out and shmooz with potential clients, you are now part of the business owners club and you will need liked minded support to grow and flourish. Learning how to transition from the role of employee to boss and being able to manage your productivity when you are the only master of your time is key.
Trust me when I say having a support system where you can bounce your ideas around and pull from the collective experience will give you a whole new drive to push forward.
However, you need to do your research. Not all business masterminds are the same and before investing your time you want to make sure what is being offered is the right fit for you. When looking for the right mastermind for you there are factors you need to keep in mind.
1# The right to try it on before taking the plunge.
Any mastermind worth its weight stands by its value should allow you a test period before committing. Often people will take word of mouth as fact but what might be right for one person does not mean that it’s the best place for you.
In the mastermind sphere there are accelerators, networking groups, masterminds, etc. Different groups will focus on different aspects of the business journey. Some groups are intended for rubbing elbows, where others may offer structured support or learning.
Maybe you struggle with time management, depending on WHY you struggle, how you resolve it will change. Maybe you are in control of your productivity though feeling stagnant in client enrollment or sales.
No matter what it is that you’re looking for, there is a place out there for you, and if you want to ensure a pleasant group experience, you’ll try on the fit before committing your time and energy. The right group can greatly accelerate your journey and the wrong one can seriously hinder it. Nothing is worse than giving your all and getting less than what you expect in return.
#2 Freedom of speech.
One thing you never want to hear in a business mastermind is “what happens in the groups stays in the group.” Groups with this type of mentality are bad news. There is nothing that ever happens in mastermind that you should not be able to talk about and discuss apart from trade secrets.
You need to know that what you’re saying is heard and that there is an accountability piece to the group. Without it, you can end up in a toxic situation where members are shunned, ostracized and their business is targeted and disrupted. I was in a rather expensive US based mastermind which opened my eyes to how damaging this can be. I’ve seen what happens when a leader shuns a member in a group where “what happens in the group stays in the group” and it’s not pretty. You need to know that you’re investment is safe and your ROI is as guaranteed as it can be.
Speaking of ROI, part of the reason you want to check out the group dynamics and the way they interact is that ROI piece. Louisa Dahl* of www.interactiveminds.com says when she is looking for members for her mastermind she looks for people that have “similar level of experience so that mutual value can be exchanged. They don’t need to be in similar businesses but should have enough experience to contribute to the conversations.” It’s important that we are selecting groups that will help us move forward and that we can benefit from as much as we can give benefit too.
#3 Business masterminds should be a safe place.
Being an entrepreneur is all about pushing yourself, overcoming overwhelm and never giving up. They’re going to be times when you feel alone, exhausted and out of spoons. This is when you should be able to freely say “I feel comfortable bringing up any issues and concerns to my group”.
Your mastermind group should never make you feel like you, A) You don’t feel like participating because of a toxic or abrasive environment and B) like there is going to be any backlash from expressing constructive criticism or concerns. Your Mastermind group should be able to provide a positive and driven environment in which you feel you can thrive.
Tim Kerin** of Leaders of the Roundtable shares why having a safe space with other business owners is so crucial. “Being a husband and wife business for 28 years we made the wrong decisions that cost us close to a million dollars in revenue missed opportunities. We also trusted attorneys, bankers and CPA’s that contributed to those wrong decisions. Being in a group of peers that can live and drink entrepreneurship is an excellent way to dig deep into those challenges and contribute to others.”
#4 If the shoe does not fit, don’t cut off your heel.
Irena Bee*** the owner of http://www.44playbook.com/ wrote in and recanted her story of moving to Brisbane from Melbourne. She badly wanted to find a mastermind Brisbane.
“[I] googled and found someone who claimed to run them [a business mastermind] in Brisbane… which was true to a point – he did organise a meeting where people turned up and spoke about their businesses and charged us all $50 for the privilege – but there were no masters and barely any mind.
The upside was that I met Cathie, who like me was indeed the owner of a masterful mind and looking for a supportive group.”
Not every mastermind is going to be the right fit for you, some may not offer the value you need, others might run poorly. Do not force yourself to fit in to a place where you feel undervalued or unsafe. The good news is that every day has the potential to be a great day, and you never know what might happen. Irena was able to find that silver lining in Cathie. She goes on to say…
“Thanks to Cathie, a talented and gorgeous soul who is deeply rooted in Brisbane, we now have a thriving mastermind that is informal and has been going for about 2 years. I’d even go so far as to consider these women all dear friends (a big plus for adults).”
The lesson? When the shoe does not fit, don’t cut your heels off to make it fit. Rather take the time find a new shoe or even better make your own.
#5 Talk to and analyze the leadership.
A group is only as strong as its leadership. The quality and substance of the group will depend on if you have a passionate leader/leadership team. You want to look for leadership that is driven towards running a healthy community. One that looks after its own and works proactively to better the whole.
A good leader should always look out for the best interests of its members, they should be available and willing to help individuals of there tribe as needed.
I should know.
I run Sassy Lasses and after I experienced a group that broke most of these staples, I started an entrepreneurial empowerment group, and EEG, called The Empowerment Pride. I know that true value comes from helping others reach there potential and overcome the road blocks they perceive.
For any business owner/entrepreneur in search of that safe place where all other members are driven, liked-minded people with diverse life experiences and a wealth of business knowledge, I encourage you to join us. My number one goal is to provide a place that does all these things, and that ANY business owner can come and find support. I feel I’ve done that, so all we need now is you.
The first month is free, so we can make sure it’s a good fit for you AND our group. Don’t go it alone – click here to lion up.
Louisa Dahl is the Founder and CEO of Interactive Minds, a business that provides events and programs for the digital marketing industry. She is also the author of The Deliberate Digital Marketer and a speaker.
Louisa has worked as a digital marketing and business professional for over 18 years. Throughout her career, Louisa has worked in a number of roles including:
Client-side marketing roles for the Rememory.com, Qld Government and ourbrisbane.com
Agency side at Patts Digital in Brisbane and Sydney
Run digital marketing courses at ADMA
Co-founded Agency Fusion, a digital agency in Sydney
Worked as the Qld General Manager at Blue Freeway.
Following these roles, Louisa started Interactive Minds in 2008 to help digital marketers to connect, share and learn from each other.
Louisa has since grown Interactive Minds from its Brisbane base to include events in Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle. In 2013 the annual Interactive Minds Digital Summit was launched for over 600 Digital Marketers.
***ABOUT IRENA BEE:
Originally from the Ukraine via Melbourne – I run a training business and consultancy which is successful because of the support of this group. You can find out more on my website at http://www.44playbook.com/