Hey there! Welcome back to Focus on your Small Business. I’m Dachia, your host. And a fellow small business owner.

Some years ago… more like decades, really, I was introduced to the concept of masterminds. I don’t remember if it was through Napoleon Hill first or if I read him afterward, but he is or was a key to me learning more about it.

And I have to say that the concept of a mastermind has always played a part in my success in just about every way imaginable… not just business.

I want to first tell you what a mastermind is in case this is a new thing for you.

A mastermind is a group of peer-to-peer mentoring. So, a group of people with the same general goals or purpose. Masterminds are used to help members solve their problems with input and advice from the other group members. For our discussion here, a mastermind would be a small group of small business owners… sole proprietors or often called solopreneurs who support each other and seek advice or give advice on issues with which they have experience.

The concept was coined in 1925 by author Napoleon Hill in his book The Law of Success, and described in more detail in his 1937 book, Think and Grow Rich.

He advocated the use of mastermind groups as a way of taking your personal and professional life to the next level.

Over the years, I’ve been a member of several masterminds and have created a few when I needed one and couldn’t find the right fit.

Currently I am in a very loosely formed mastermind that has a home on facebook in a group.

Hill originally said that when two people got together, a third mind, the Master Mind, was created. To him, it was a separate force in the conversation.

I have found that most if not all of my best ideas or clarity has come from very personal and intimate masterminds where I meet with one person.

I meet with a good friend sporadically when I need some brainstorming, thoughts, guidance, clarity… what have you…

We meet on the phone. Generally, I have an idea I need to work out and so I will outline it in a text message of facebook message to my friend. And he will respond with, “lets talk..” and give me a time. And then one of us calls the other.

This particular mastermind partner is a friend from high school. We’ve known each other over 30 years. There is certain built in trust there.

You need to trust your mastermind to be honest with you. Not just say. “oh, that’s great idea.”… if it isn’t. You want them to think and visualize what you are saying and add thoughts and ideas and share experiences thy’ve had themselves. Similar ideas that they’ve tried and what worked and what didn’t.

Everybody in a mastermind must want everybody else to be successful.

A mastermind is the best single tool or resource I have ever found or created.

But what does this mean for you?

I believe that becoming a member of a mastermind could help you get clarity on your project.

So… how to find or create a mastermind.

First, you need to have a pretty good idea what sort of people you want to work with… what are their interests and experiences… maybe you want to narrow it down by sex or age… figure that out, but I will also say that sometimes you don’t know how you would like to narrow down the parameters of the group until you join a group and get a feel for who you click with and who you don’t. 

I was in group that had a couple of younger people in it. Early 20’s. Great people. Loved their energy. But obviously they didn’t have the same worldly experience or cultural experience that I did. When I was talking about my marketing and referencing commercials or practices from the 90’s this was not something they could chime in on.

So, I sought out an additional group where the age was a minimum of 45 or 50… and I had a guy respond to me and say that I was being discriminatory and not giving young people a chance. etc etc..

This is not a job interview. You can be as specific as you need to be. This group is going to be a handful of people. You want this group to be as helpful as possible all around. You need to speak the same language.

What I’ve also tried to do is have some of my perfect customer avatar in the group so I can ask them how some piece of marketing connects with them.

So, if my ICA, ideal customer avatar were middle age men who work construction, then Ii’d like to have a few of those in my group. If my ICA is millennials, then I’d want a few of them.

You need to figure out who your ICA is, and who you could click with and that’s who you want in your mastermind.

Look at from another perspective. Let’s say you design, build and sell high end briefcases. And you are invited into a mastermind that includes a taxi driver who is thinking of starting his own franchise, a police officer who has a side business of firearm training, a recent high school graduate who wants to create a competitive swim team and potter with a side gig of dog sitting.

Now… you can get some great ideas and feedback from anybody in this group. But imagine if you are invited into a group that includes a financial planner for people who make over $250,000 a year, a high end home security company owner, a personal image adviser and a private pilot.

In the first group, I know that I could get some great ideas and give some advice, but if the swimmer asked what platform was best to reach his target audience, I don’t know that I could answer him. I might… but if he were in a group of other 20 year old jocks, some of them with a year or more of experience reaching the same audience the swimmer is seeking, I’m gonna bet they can give him better suggestions than I can.

You might be a middle-aged guy with a sneaker you want to market to 20 somethings… then that first group is likely a better fit for you than the second. It’s not about just age or sex or education or culture… it’s about fit.

One thing that I’ve done that has worked… is go into one or a few of the groups I’m in on facebook and just post that I’m seeking to create or join a mastermind and then describe what that mastermind would be like. And invite people to ether respond with a group already in existence that fits the description… or to DM me if that group sounds like a good fit for them and they’d like to join the one I create.

I will do another show, maybe next week… on how to develop and run a mastermind. This one is just to put that bug in your ear. Go find a mastermind. If you can’t find one, create one. And a mastermind could be just you and one other person.

Until next week.

And remember that if you are a single entrepreneur, a solopreneur… you can find more white space in the membership site. A convenient single spot to find the resources you need right now, without having to sort through all the ones you don’t.

Go check it out at dachia.com/membership

Meet me back here next week. Make is a great one. It’s all up to you with just a little bit of me.