After years of hearing how motivating and professionally beneficial having a tightly recruited Mastermind Group can be, I finally pulled the plug and rounded up an excellent collection of digital media entrepreneurs for a weekly meeting of the minds! If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, the idea is simply to gather between 5 and 8 of the smartest people in your industry for a weekly (or bi-weekly) hangout session. After everyone becomes a little familiar with one another, you basically sit around and share ideas, concepts, contacts, give feedback and help everyone remain accountable for the things that they are working on.
The higher quality and more diverse group of people you include, the better the outcome will be for all involved.
To be clear, a Mastermind Group is not about networking, but rather to have each member walk away knowing (or feeling) something new and beneficial to their professional lives. It could be as little as knowing a new marketing trick, or as substantial as getting pivotal feedback on something they’re working on. The sharing of contacts and potential opportunities will be inevitable when a group of similar-minded people get together, but that is far from the point of it all.
Mastermind Groups are the regularly scheduled, loosely kept secrets of some of the world’s most successful business and political icons. These gatherings are alleged to trace back in American history to the likes of Ben Franklin, FDR, Andrew Carnegie and more recently to most anyone you can think of.
The Result Of Ours?
We’re only a couple of weeks into doing this, but I can already see what the hype is all about. In planning mine, I had three simple rules. 1) Everyone had to currently own a successful digital media company (or have recently had one), 2) They needed to be comfortable sharing freely, and 3) most importantly, I wanted to be the dumbest one at the table.
And if you’re wondering how easy it is to do, you’d be surprised how eager and willing other entrepreneurs are to participate in something like this. No one hesitates. Not only did everyone say yes to it, they did so within minutes of me asking.
We scheduled ours to run about an hour and 15 minutes each week, with no real rules or formats other than everyone around the table at one point having the opportunity to briefly talk about anything they want to, ask any questions they have or contribute anything they feel is helpful. When recruiting everyone, I tried to keep a similar yet completely diverse background. We’ve got people who have had successful IPOs, manage databases in the millions, who are in the midst of new startups (hey! that’s me!) and everything in between.
The sessions open with a quick going around the table and then turn into whatever they will for the night. Not surprisingly, everyone leaves with pages of notes and a reinvigorated entrepreneurial wheel spinning in their heads. I actually woke up at 4AM thinking about what someone said and spent the next 5 hours revamping a project I’m working on. Hopefully some of them did the same!