We’re going to talk about why you should not just have one mastermind group, but multiple entrepreneur mastermind groups.
When I was an ambitious 25-year-old, I spoke with a guy who was growing a successful agency in New York City. Somehow I got a phone call with him on for 30 minutes…I don’t know why he took my call, but he did!
When we spoke, he told me: “The one thing that really changed my life was that I joined this group called Entrepreneurs’ Organization.”
Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a worldwide group of entrepreneurs with over 13,000 members:
In order to join, your business has to make over $1 million in revenue a year and be referred into the group. After you move to the next round, you interview to join so that they confirm you’re qualified.
Two years later, when I bought Single Grain (for $2, but that’s another story), I was able to use my cofounder status to get into EO.
And what that guy told me was true: EO has been a life-changer for me.
I joined a forum, or a group, that you meet with every month. Everyone else in it was new to EO as well.
Each forum is around 8-10 people, and they become your brothers and sisters. These are the people that you will share the 5% of things you’ll never share with your spouse, friends or family. These are the really deep things: Sometimes people talk about an employee embezzling money, or business failures, or if they’re feeling down or helpless in their business, while putting on a brave front for their employees.
Because I had no experience and was only 27, I felt like I had no value to add to this group. The person closest to my age was 33; the others were in their 40s and 50s.
When joining the forum, you too may get the feeling of imposter syndrome:
But I’ll be the first to tell you that you don’t need to feel that way because each and every one of you has something that’s unique to you that only you can bring to a group.
The forum meets every single month. First, we go around the table and give the others a 3-minute update: “Hey, here’s what’s going on with my personal life, my business life, here’s how I feel, last month I was feeling like an 8 out of 10 in business, 8 out of 10 personal.”
You talk about business but also your family or friends…which provides that intimacy and holistic picture of what’s going on with your fellow entrepreneurs.
We then do a one-word open on how you feel right now: happy, energized, deflated, etc.
After that, we go around the group and present. You bring your problems to the group, then one person talks for an hour or so. We sometimes bring in subject matter experts. Our meetings generally go from 2-7 p.m. or so. Afterwards, we spend around two hours at dinner, and dinner is mandatory for all members.
Now you might be saying, “Eric, that sounds really good, but my business revenues are not at $1 million right now.”
Or, “I’m still working for someone else right now.”
That’s totally fine!
A couple years ago, following the EO format, I put together a marketers’ group. We would meet at my home and share tactics. We’d put people in the hot seat where they would talk about their current issues, and others might offer: “Well have you thought about it this way? Have you thought about it that way? I’ve tried it this way. I’ve seen that working.”
Sometimes, you just can’t do it alone. You’re banging your head against a wall because you aren’t able to think about your issue in another way. That’s where each group members’ individual expertise comes in.
The key thing when you’re putting together a group like this is that the members must be on the same level, at the same phase in their business.
If you put together a group of billionaires and you have a millionaire in the group, the billionaires are talking about things completely unrelatable to the millionaire. The millionaires have their own problems, and need to be around fellow millionaires going through the same thing.
On the other hand, if I put together a marketer’s group, I’m going to put together a group of expert marketers. In the group I mentioned above, I included a CMO, a CEO who was good at marketing, and some people who are amazing SEOs or marketers. We had a really diverse set of people — they’re not at a common financial level the way an EO group would be, but because it’s a marketers’ group, we need people at the same level of marketing domain knowledge.
Either way, it’s crucial to curate the group so that everyone is at the same place in their career or expertise.
I’m not only in EO; I started the marketers’ group and joined another business forum, too.
In the marketers’ group we focus on learning tactics from each other. Some people are really good at YouTube, some people are really good at SEO, some people are really good at affiliate marketing.
And the marketers’ group is fun, but it’s still not the same vibe as my EO family. The EO members are like my brothers and my sisters – we’ll talk about anything personal – while I keep it much lighter with the marketers.
Different groups for different sets of potential issues, right?
My EO group is a very diverse set of people who have founded different types of companies, so they might have different needs. For instance, if I’m having trouble with marketing, I might not bring it to EO — I’d bring it to the marketing group.
I also joined a tech group which meets up at tech conferences. So every aspect of my business has forum potential. If you’re heavily involved in sales, then you might join a sales group to bring those issues to. Because I’m able to do that, I’m able to see different perspectives from different areas.
For instance, Single Grain’s cofounder Sujan Patel and I were discussing how the two of us are able to use groups to straddle the line between tech and Internet marketing. If you go too Internet markety, it becomes a little slimy. But when you’re able to strike the balance between tech groups and Internet marketing, you get all the cool tactics from marketing, layer them with tech, and bring both to your groups and career.
Jim Rohn says:
Since I’ve worked with so many people through my forums, I’ve been able to build my expertise in tech, marketing, and entrepreneurship in my business. From there, I built a personal brand which isn’t just about marketing — alongside Marketing School, I use Growth Everywhere to focus on entrepreneurship.
And I stay flexible. I have my circle of 5, but then we might shift someone in, shift someone out…that way I’m constantly adapting. I’m aware of what things are going on in different industries.
I’m in another mastermind group called Digital Marketers War Room. How is that different from the marketing group I founded? War Room members come from more diverse industries and multiple verticals. Being in two marketing groups gives me that much more perspective.
And you may think Young Entrepreneurs Council is similar to EO. You need to have the $1M qualification (and you have to be under 40), but I consider that my online mastermind.
And again, feel free to put together your own group. Go hiking, host dinner parties, maybe organize a group trip. We often go to Cabo, rent a beautiful house, ATV, talk tactics…. Try curating a group of people and mixing to the point where you can spend three days learning from each other.
If you can’t join a higher level mastermind group, figure out what you need and then start your own mastermind group. Do I need to be around more entrepreneurs? Do I need to be around more business people?
Once you determine your core needs, you’ll be able to curate the right group. Find people who are a little better than you, and then invite those who are at your level that you know will be attracted to the subject matter expert you pulled. That’s going to attract them to join. But always…
Start with mastermind guidelines!
Getting a group together is one thing; creating a mastermind is another. People have to commit to meeting and sharing. They have to take the forum seriously.
So make group rules. For instance:
“Everyone arrives at this time. If you’re late, you’re going to buy us all drinks or you pay $100 fee. You can only miss up to three meetings a year or you’re kicked out.”
If you don’t have guidelines, people don’t commit. Entrepreneurs are busy all the time, and I’ve seen that without guidelines people start making excuses. And we’ve actually had to kick people out of groups before because they couldn’t meet the guidelines. Look, if nine other people can commit and you can’t, that’s saying something about you and how much you will truly add to the group.
If you’re putting together the group, you’re going to have a lot more say over these guidelines. Personally, that’s why I like putting together the group — because I get to define how I want it to be so I can get maximum value out of it.
You may be thinking, what’s the ROI of the time you spend meeting up with your forum and the investment in dues, etc.
The ROI is infinite. It’s not just one direct sale. You’ll get sales opportunities, you’ll get partnership opportunities. But more importantly, you’re building long-term relationships, which are invaluable. That’s worth more than going to a conference and getting a bunch of cards, right? You never know when someone in your network will help you with a huge challenge, or support you through a business issue, or bring someone into your life that ends up being an employee or client.
Don’t focus on monetary ROI; focus on bringing value to the group, not what you get out of it.
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