Mastermind groups have become some of the most popular online communities to start and join in recent years. Why? It’s simple. They combine the best of online communities while paring everything down so that groups are more focused and productive.
Successful entrepreneurs have sworn by these groups for years, and for a good reason. However, mastermind groups have spread beyond the business realm, and you can now find groups dedicated to wellness, art, and just about anything else you could imagine.
If you’re here, then odds are you’ve thought about starting a mastermind group. Let’s get into it and explore how to start a mastermind group and what you can expect once everything is set up.
What Is A Mastermind Group?
Simply put, a mastermind group is an online community of like-minded experts who get together to share ideas, experiences, and feedback. But this isn’t new. The term actually dates back to 1925, when author Napoleon Hill wrote a book called The Law of Success. (He later went on to write another book, Think and Grow Rich, fleshing out the idea in more detail).
Hill grew curious after seeing a pattern in the conversations he was having with people like Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford. They all credited a large portion of their success to conversations they were having with one another.
Basically, he noticed that some of the brightest minds in business at the time were communicating, bouncing ideas off each other, and asking for advice.
Today, communication is much easier, and that might be one of the reasons for the recent rise in mastermind groups. It’s never been easier to set up an online community with a select group of people all working towards the success of one another.
Why Start A Mastermind Group?
Starting a mastermind group usually comes down to one simple goal. You want a place that gives you the best chance at improving and succeeding in an area of life. This could be in a career or in your personal life.
And handpicking a group of people with the same goal and different experiences is the best way of doing this. It’s sort of like starting an exclusive club, but the sole purpose of the club is to better yourself and those within the group.
It also doesn’t hurt that mastermind groups open up a world of possibility when it comes to collaboration and networking.
How To Start A Mastermind Group
Starting a mastermind group is relatively simple, but there are some important rules to follow if you want the best chances for success.
Figure out your purpose
Before anything can get started, you need to figure out the group’s goal. This can be as broad or as narrow as you look. For example, you might want to bring together a group of like-minded entrepreneurs to share experiences about their businesses.
Goals can also be narrow. For example, a mastermind group could focus on how to scale a business or find and expand a team of employees.
It’s also worth outlining how these goals will be reached. For example, will there be a portion of meetings devoted to feedback? Will there be penalties for not hitting self-imposed goals? Is the community going to be more focused on problem-solving? Of course, a community could include all of these things, but it’s still a good exercise to think about these things beforehand.
Most members will be joining for different reasons. They don’t all have to align. If you’re having trouble coming up with a stated goal, try talking with a couple of potential members and figure out what they’d like to see and get out of a mastermind community.
Lastly, figure out if the community will be indefinite or if it’ll end. If the community is temporary, set specific start and stop dates. This will also give you a timeline to work with if you want to structure topics or goals.
Choose the right members
Picking the right members for your community is one of the most important steps in starting a mastermind group. You want people who are just as excited to be there as you are and willing to learn and share.
It’s also important that members all share something in common in relation to the group. By this, we mean that members in a group dedicated to achieving managerial success should all probably be managers. The same goes if you’re starting a group for CEOs. Basically, you want to establish a baseline. It’s nice to have people with experience, but you want community members to benefit from that experience and for the experience to be relevant for almost everyone.
Group size is also something to think about. How large do you want your mastermind group to be? Generally speaking, the smaller the group, the better, but there is also something to be said for having more minds brainstorming an idea and offering feedback.
With that said, here are some other important qualities to keep in mind when thinking about potential members:
- Diversity. While it’s essential that everyone can relate to one another, you also want enough diversity among participants that new ideas are shared, and members can benefit from different perspectives.
- Experience. This one kind of goes without saying, but you want people who have knowledge in whatever field the community was formed around.
- Drive and participation. A member’s drive and potential participation are also important factors to consider. You want people who want to be there and want to benefit from the group. This helps make sure that they’re giving just as much as they’re putting in, which in turn makes the entire group better.
Set some ground rules
Like any online community (or any community for that matter), you’ll need to set some ground rules. Nothing too serious, but just rules to make sure members are actually getting the most out of the community.
Rules around punctuality and attendance are probably among the most important. It’s easy to start something and just lose interest halfway through. It’s human nature. However, mastermind groups are specifically formed to create results, which requires dedication. Most mastermind groups have rules around attendance and punctuality so that everyone has an equal opportunity to speak and get feedback.
You also want to make sure that there aren’t any interruptions. Everyone should have the opportunity to express their thoughts, or problems, thoroughly before suggestions are offered.
How To Run A Mastermind Group
After starting a mastermind group, your next step is to start meeting. It might be difficult to find a time that works for everyone, but remember that meetings can be once a week, once every other week, or even once a month.
Also, keep in mind that these are just guidelines; there’s no right or wrong way to format meetings for a mastermind group. It just comes down to what works best for you and the members.
Be punctual and consistent
We know we keep driving this one home, but punctuality really is key. Try to start meetings on time and when scheduled. Having a regular schedule is also important to give the group structure.
Keep introductions short & sweet
When you first start, you’ll want to have a short period of time dedicated to introductions. This will give the members time to meet everyone else and tell them a little bit about their background.
This shouldn’t take too long, but it can be a good starting point for members to explain what they hope to get out of the group and then jump straight into conversations.
Keep conversations focused
It’s important to keep conversations tight and on topic. Many mastermind groups do this by giving members a certain amount of time to speak. For example, depending on how long your session will last, you can give members 20 minutes to speak and then allow a couple of minutes for back and forth. Of course, it’s all about what works best for the group. You might want to dedicate more time to feedback.
However, try to have these durations laid out beforehand, and members will usually do their best to stick to them without having to be reminded.
If you’re at a loss as to what to discuss, a good topic for discussion during the first meeting might be to have members explore a problem they’re facing or something they’ve been thinking about achieving. This also brings us to our next point.
Track members’ progress
Try to have members commit to some of the ideas they have. After all, everyone in a mastermind group is there because they want to achieve something, and they hope joining the group will help them do that.
It’s also a good idea to track members’ goals and follow up with them during a meeting if they committed to achieving something by a set date. Hosts can do this by keeping a simple word document or an excel sheet. The best mastermind groups are those that keep each other to account and help each other grow and thrive.
Close out meeting and get feedback
After conversations are over, you might find yourself with a little bit of time to spare. If so, try and conduct some closing exercises or get group feedback (especially in the beginning).
You can ask members if the format is working for them or if they want more time dedicated to something else. If you like for the meetings to be a bit more focused, this might also be a good time to brainstorm some topic ideas for the next meeting.
Mastermind groups are amazing for both personal and career development. However, there is one step we left out. You’ll need to pick a platform before you get started. You could go with something like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, but these are basically just video conference tools.
If you want something that gives your community members structure and easy access to one another, then Nas has you covered. With Nas, hosts and their communities have access to live meetings with experts, pdf resources, and some of the most popular Nas Academy classes to make sure they have everything they need to thrive.