Mastermind Groups 101: How to Join and What to Expect
If you’re looking for a dose of motivation and mentoring, a mastermind group might be the solution for you.
Everyone wants to be more successful. Whether we want to improve our skills, advance our careers, or run a thriving business, we all have aspirations we’re hoping to reach.
But if you’ve been working on these goals for any length of time, you already know that often, there are roadblocks along the way. Sometimes it might feel like you’ll never reach your long-term goals and that all of your projects are doomed to fail.
That is why mastermind groups are becoming so popular – because they get results and people succeed.
Let’s break down the basics of a mastermind group, how you can join one, and what to expect once you’re in the group.
What Is A Mastermind Group?
A mastermind group utilizes peer mentoring to help you meet your goals.
In a mastermind group, you attend regular meetings (either virtually or in-person) and brainstorm ways to solve your problems and become successful.
The mastermind concept is unique because you’re meeting with people who are in the same career stage as you. This peer-to-peer mentoring model can be highly successful as you connect with people who motivate you to reach your goals.
Mastermind Group Basics
The purpose of a mastermind group coaching program is to help you succeed and reach your goals. Mastermind groups do this by creating an environment with plenty of peer support and troubleshooting any problems along the way.
Some groups are virtual, while some happen at physical meeting places. Most mastermind groups meet regularly for a set amount of time — such as twice a month for six months — and include time for instruction and discussion.
During mastermind meetings, we talk about helpful topics related to entrepreneurship and marketing. We allow time for questions and answers, too, so you can get any specific questions answered.
Napoleon Hill’s Mastermind Alliance
Believe it or not, the concept of a mastermind group has actually been around since 1937 — over 80 years!
Napoleon Hill, a well-known self-help author, pioneered the idea in his books The Law of Success, The Magic Ladder to Success, and Think and Grow Rich.
Hill originally called mastermind groups “mastermind alliance” — the term evolved over time.
He said that when two people got together to brainstorm ideas and support each other in their goals, a third mind (the Master Mind) was formed. Hill’s explanations were largely based on his analysis of American companies that utilized a mastermind model.
Hill also described the concept of a mastermind alliance, or group, like this. When someone connects several batteries to one wire, the amount of power that wire can transmit increases thanks to the many batteries attached.
The mastermind principle works the same way. Each person’s mind stimulates the other minds in the room. Hill viewed a mastermind group as a method of organizing useful information and putting it all in one place so people who needed it could benefit.
Types of Mastermind Groups
There are a few different types of mastermind groups.
Let’s break down each type and discuss the benefits that mastermind group coaching can provide.
Mastermind Group Based on Industry
Many of the best mastermind groups focus on a certain industry. For example, you’ll find a group that’s meant for people who work in marketing, or technology, or in life coaching. This model can be hugely helpful because you can take away specific knowledge that is directly relevant to your industry.
In any mastermind group, you’re already surrounded by like-minded people — but by joining a business mastermind group that’s based on industry, you’ll be able to connect with those peers even more.
No matter what industry you’re in, it’s essential to continue learning about that industry so you can become better and better at your job. My mastermind group coaching is geared for people who want to make money on the internet — in other words, entrepreneurs.
When you meet with others in a small-group setting, you’ll be able to learn from peers who are in the same industry as you. Industry masterminds are some of the best mastermind groups because they’re more niched down.
Mastermind Groups Based on Occupation
Some mastermind groups are based on occupation. These groups are even more narrow, meaning that you can learn highly relevant information and immediately put it into action.
For instance, a mastermind group that’s sorted by industry might focus on the broader marketing industry, while a group meant for a specific occupation could be meant for social media managers.
By immersing yourself side-by-side with people who do the same thing as you, you can come away with fresh perspectives on your job.
Online vs. In-Person Mastermind Groups
Many mastermind groups, meet online using an interactive video platform such as Zoom. Others meet at a brick-and-mortar location. Both types of groups have benefits.
In-person meetings have a lot of benefits, too. Networking is easier and people are more engaged — you’ll be less tempted to zone out and multi-task. And in today’s world of social media, it’s a very powerful thing to make tangible connections with others.
If you’re trying to find a mastermind group, try running a simple Google search for “mastermind group near me.”
On the other hand, online mastermind groups are often easier to fit into your schedule, which allows my mastermind member to meet 6-times per month.
You’re also able to connect with amazing people who live all over the world, not just in your city.
Benefits of Mastermind Groups
A mastermind community carries a lot of benefits as you start and continue growing your career.
Here are the top three benefits you’ll find in a mastermind group.
A mastermind group is a great place to share skills. By joining a mastermind group, you’ll be exposed to all sorts of different people — many of whom might have more experience than you or be further down the road.
Most likely, these people have already faced the challenges you’re facing now, and they can give you advice as you navigate your career from the ground up.
It’s also beneficial to spend time with people from different backgrounds because they have a unique perspective that can help broaden your mind.
On the flip side of things, there may be people in your mastermind group who have less experience than you rather than more. This is a golden opportunity for you to act as a mentor and answer any questions those people might have.
A mastermind group is a perfect place to share skills and advice — learning from others and then turning around and teaching others, too.
One of the biggest benefits offered by a mastermind group is accountability. Accountability is important because it helps people take responsibility for themselves and their choices.
When you have a group of people holding you accountable, you’re more likely to make good decisions and work hard as you try to grow your career.
Think about it: Wouldn’t you be much more likely to work hard and produce results if you knew that ten people would be asking for your progress report each week?
A mastermind group can help you understand that you’re accountable for the decisions you make. Having this accountability can help you reach your goals. As you watch your peers work hard and achieve their goals, you’ll feel motivated to “catch up” and reach your goals, too.
In addition to adding accountability, mastermind groups also offer a sense of community. You’re surrounded by like-minded people who are working toward some of the same goals as you, and that’s a very powerful thing.
Have you ever heard the saying “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future?”
It’s true! By surrounding yourself with people who have the same values and goals that you do, you’re creating the ideal environment for your career to prosper.
Finally, mastermind groups can help kickstart your career because you make important connections within these groups. Networking is absolutely essential to the growth of any career, and a mastermind group is a perfect place to start.
Think about it: You’re surrounded by people who, just like you, are launching their careers. It’s the perfect place to form relationships, and down the road, those people might be able to help you out with finding a job or other opportunities — and likewise, you might be able to help them.
Often, networking might seem like a chore.
The thought of going to happy hours, meetings, or always keeping your business cards on hand can be time-consuming. With a mastermind group, however, you have an easy, built-in way to network. Networking within a mastermind group is natural and organic, even after the group ends.
Use your mastermind group to forge relationships.
Connect with your fellow attendees on social media and get to know each other outside the group. Not only will you be making friends who can encourage and support you, but one day sooner than you think, they might be able to help your career.
What to Expect From Your Mastermind Group
You might feel skeptical about a mastermind group. What if the group isn’t all it was cracked up to be? Or you might feel intimidated to do something new.
To relieve those fears, let’s look at exactly what you can expect and how the mastermind process works.
If you meet with a virtual group, expect the group to meet on a regular basis, such as once a week.
In-person masterminds are often limited to once a month since they’re harder to fit into everyone’s schedule.
My mastermind group is virtual and offers six monthly calls — two with me, two with digital marketing experts, and two with guest coaches.
You might be wondering what exactly happens in a mastermind meeting. A virtual meeting will most likely take place over a platform such as Skype, GoToMeeting, Zoom, or Google Hangouts.
Most of these tools are free, so you shouldn’t have to worry about hidden expenses. Some groups even use a teleconference system where you dial in from your cell phone — this is handy because you can “attend” the meeting even if you’re on the go.
Most mastermind meetings last for an hour.
Often, the first 10 to 15 minutes are reserved for members to share wins. You’ll go around and listen to each person share a success they had within the past week. Hearing everyone’s wins starts the meeting off on the right foot and can help you feel motivated.
It’s also a way to tie the meetings together and review last week’s material because peoples’ wins will often directly relate to the previous meeting’s problem-solving.
Next, meetings will typically move into a “hot seat” model. Each week, one person will be in the hot seat.
They’ll discuss a problem they’re dealing with or an idea they had and get feedback from the rest of the group. If you’re in the hot seat of a mastermind, be prepared for others to be brutally honest with you! It might not feel good, but down the road, you’ll probably be grateful that you took the advice of your peers.
When someone else is in the hot seat and you’re the one giving feedback, be honest for them just like you’d want them to be for you. It can be hard to work on your business when you’re in your business.
Getting an outside perspective can be hugely helpful.
At the end of a hot seat session, the group will generally discuss goals or next steps to achieve by the following week. This wraps up the 10-40-10 model that many masterminds utilize — 10 minutes to discuss wins from the week, a 40-minute hot seat, and then 10 minutes to finish up and set weekly goals.
One person will be the “leader” of each call and keep an eye on the time to make sure the group stays on track. Some virtual mastermind groups will either record the call so anyone who missed it can watch the video, or email out some basic notes recapping the meeting.
Mastermind groups aren’t limited to one hour a week.
Nearly every mastermind group you’ll find offers a way for members to continue connecting throughout the week.
Many groups use a platform such as Facebook, Slack, or Basecamp to offer members a private space to share.
Mastermind members can share wins throughout the week, notify the other members if they won’t be able to attend the next meeting or ask small questions that wouldn’t be worth the full 40-minute hot seat.
My own mastermind group accomplishes this goal by offering an exclusive Facebook group. There, you can chat with other experts and entrepreneurs 24/7, even outside the specified meeting times.
3 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Mastermind Group
It’s one thing to join a group, but it’s another thing to thrive in a group. Making the decision to join a mastermind group is a big commitment.
You owe it to your peers to fully participate in the group — and you also owe it to yourself. Working hard in the group is important because you’ll get a good return on the investment you made.
So how can you get the most out of your mastermind group? Here are a few tips.
Optimize Your Time in the Hot Seat
First, when your turn for the hot seat comes around, you need to be ready. This is an extremely valuable time for you to get feedback from your peers that can help your career — so don’t take this lightly, and don’t wing it!
Carefully choose the topic you’re going to present. If you’re like me, you probably have multiple plates in the air at a time.
Select the idea that will make the biggest impact on your business. By doing this, you can ensure you aren’t wasting your time in the hot seat.
Once you’ve nailed down your topic, it’s time to rehearse it. Make some notecards if you need to prompt yourself and then practice in front of a mirror. Work on what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.
Close with a call to action, or CTA, where you explain specifically how you want the other members to help you.
When it’s time for the mastermind meeting, make sure you’re in a quiet location with fast Wi-fi (if the meeting is virtual). Check the webcam and microphone on your computer ahead of time, and check that the background behind you is uncluttered. It can also help put you in the right mindset to present if you dress professionally.
Finally, if everyone else is okay with it, record the meeting so you can keep the advice you receive on hand.
Be Thorough and Specific
When you ask the other group members for advice, be specific.
Don’t just say, “What do you think?” This won’t produce feedback that’s very helpful.
Instead, zero in on one or two main questions that you can ask to get specific feedback. For example, you might say, “If you were me, how much would you price this product?” That can help you get a concrete direction moving forward.
Be thorough, too. Sometimes in mastermind meetings, you’ll find that one or two people answer every question while others prefer to sit back and listen. But those quiet people have a valuable perspective, too!
When you’re in the hot seat, don’t be afraid to go around and call people out by name, explaining that you want advice from every single person present.
At the end of the hot seat when you define goals and next steps for the week, ask for advice on setting realistic goals — and then ask your fellow group members to hold you accountable.
This is an important step: after all, there’s no point in getting their advice if you’re not going to take it to heart.
Make sure to actually follow through and work toward the goals you set! Being thorough and setting [concrete] next steps is an excellent way to get the most out of your mastermind group.
Take Advantage of Every Resource
Most mastermind groups give you resources beyond each group call, and there’s a reason for that — those resources support the topics you discuss and learn about in each meeting.
In my mastermind group, students receive several resources beyond the monthly calls. You get access to free courses, both digital and physical; a free quarterly book; and an Inner Circle workbook, in addition to the private Facebook group. It’s important to go all-in and use each of these resources.
They’ll help you learn, grow, and get as much good as possible out of your mastermind group.
I have met so many incredible people through mastermind groups, including incredible coaches. This is why I have introduced coaching sessions where you can schedule a free 30-minute call with one of my certified coaches.
They will help you tackle the tough questions and create an actionable, easy-to-follow roadmap for your future and help connect you with mastermind groups and other people in their network.
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.