A mastermind group can help you improve your business, your school experience, your health, your personal finances, and just about anything else. If you don’t follow some basic rules when setting up your mastermind, it probably won’t get off the ground. Then, once your mastermind is up and running, every member should follow some rules that you all agree on to get the best mastermind group results.
Rules for starting a mastermind group
If you want to get into a mastermind group, congrats! It is a wonderful step that can improve your life in so many ways. I’ve been a part of mastermind groups since 2011, and they have played a huge role in growing my side hustle into a six-figure income that let me quit my old cubicle day job.
I was lucky to have my future good friend Jeff take the helm and put our group together. He held the role of our “administrative leader” for about four years while this group helped us thrive in our online businesses revolving around personal finance blogging. In the handful of groups I’ve been a part of, these common rules emerged as essential to the group’s success:
1. Find the right group members
Before you can get into the rules of your mastermind, you have to find the right members to form your group. Don’t rush and invite your best friend. Take some time to think through the right makeup of a successful mastermind group to align with your goals.
The best masterminds in my experience started with acquaintances who had similar goals and business models, but a unique industry or focus compared to what I am working on. Finding people with similar goals and industries can help bring fresh ideas and suggestions to anything you’re working on.
Don’t obsess about only bringing in successful members from your industry. The best groups include beginners all the way to veterans. You never know what unique insights a newbie can bring to the table!
2. Elect a group administrative leader
A mastermind is a democracy, so no one is technically “in charge” of the group. However, it does help to have an administrative “leader” to make sure everyone knows the schedule, has access to shared resources, and helps moderate should a dispute arise. The leader often takes the helm and kicks off meetings, makes sure they end on time, and helps coordinate taking a week off for a holiday.
If you don’t know who the administrative leader is for your group, it’s you! Volunteer to send out an occasional email and make sure your meeting schedule is accurate in the Mastermind Hunt group.
3. Agree on goals and structure
When you get on a call, what are you going to do? Do you want a round-robin style meeting or a hotseat mastermind? I’m partial to the hotseat meeting style myself, but there is no wrong way to run a mastermind.
Your meeting format and structure should help you achieve your group’s shared goals. Whether it is starting and building side hustles, growing a business you’re already a part of, expanding your career, or adding new skills, a mastermind is perfect for that!
The most common mastermind group focus is entrepreneurship, but that doesn’t have to be the focus. A group of full-time software developers, for example, could have a rotating hot seat where members critique code and offer new resources. Anything win-win is fair game!
4. Set a meeting schedule
Now that you know why you are meeting, who you are meeting, and how you are trying to accomplish your goals, it’s time to set a schedule. Most mastermind groups meet for an hour one every week, but there’s no rule saying you can’t meet for 30 minutes or monthly. Again, it’s about finding what works for your mastermind group members.
Once you establish a group in the Mastermind Hunt app, you can chat with your group members to find a time that works for everyone. Worst case, you can use a tool like Doodle to find a common meeting time.
5. Create your mastermind group rules
In your first meetings, set some ground rules for how you want things to go. Those should include attendance requirements, a codified meeting structure, and participation guidelines. In the next section, we will outline some possible group rules and a basic structure to follow when forming your mastermind group rules.
Setting the rules for your mastermind group
Now that you’ve followed the steps to start your new mastermind group, it’s time to set the mastermind group rules. Consider creating a shared Google Doc file that everyone can edit. At Mastermind Hunt, we suggest including at minimum the following the following topics in your mastermind group rules document:
- Meeting structure – When members call in, what are they going to do? Explain the meeting structure. All meetings might follow the same hot seat or round robin format, but you may also want to mix things up. I’m in one group that includes a “goals update” after each hot seat cycle. We also hold an annual series of goal planning calls at the end of each year.
- Membership requirements – What does someone have to do to become a new member of your group? Is there a maximum member requirement, if you want to grow at all? You may want to change this in the future, but start with some commonly agreed on guidelines so there is no doubt on plans to add new members.
- Attendance requirements – Just like there are rules to join the group, there are rules to remain a member. I once heard about a mastermind group that would kick out anyone who missed two meetings in a row. Others are more relaxed. Find what works for you.
- Participation – Someone who calls in and spends the hour dealing with their email or browsing Facebook isn’t doing the rest of the group justice. You want others to focus and give you attention during your time. Set rules on participation, or include guidelines on participation in a separate meeting outline document.
- FrienDA – It should go without saying that what happens in the mastermind stays in the mastermind. But it doesn’t always go without saying for everyone, so put it in writing. We like to call this group trust your “FrienDA.” (Like an NDA with your friends)
- Accountability – If someone commits to doing something, whether it is for their own projects or helping others in the group, they need to be held accountable to that commitment. We built an accountability tracker into Mastermind Hunt, but your group should also have rules on what happens if people don’t follow through. One mastermind I’m in now does an annual in-person retreat. If someone doesn’t follow through with a commitment, they have to put cash into a fund for next year’s event. So far, I’m in for $10 for next year already and it’s only the beginning of the year!
Stay in touch throughout the week
To build the deepest relationships and get the most out of your mastermind experience, it’s best to keep in regular contact throughout the week. That’s why we build a chat feature into Mastermind Hunt. You can talk about any issue where you need help, even if it isn’t your turn on the hot seat. You can also help others reach their best success throughout the week.
That success requires a foundation and mutually agreed upon rules for your mastermind group. Get them hammered out early on so you can quickly move to the good stuff: helping each other reach your biggest and most important goals!