This is part 3 of a series all about masterminds! So far we’ve talked about the benefits of joining a mastermind in part 1 and how to join or start your own mastermind in part 2. Now it’s time to talk about how you actually run a mastermind once you’ve joined or created one. We’ll be talking all about the importance of establishing group norms, how to run your meetings, possible topics to discuss, and more!
Get to Know Each Other
This is the most important step of operating a mastermind group. Remember you want everyone to know and trust each other in order to allow for some deep conversations and growth. So don’t skimp on getting to know each other! Start with the basics like names, where you’re from, how long you’ve been doing TpT, etc. It’s also a great time to share contact information like store links, where to find each other on social media, etc. We set up a contact spreadsheet in our mastermind group that everyone can access. It was super helpful early on when we were still learning each other’s store names and everything.
Consider a Game
Make sure your getting to know each other phase doesn’t just stop at superficial details though. Consider playing a game or ice breaker to help people go a little deeper with the information they share about themselves. In our mastermind, we played a game where everyone submitted 3 unusual facts about themselves. I would read one person’s facts at the beginning of each meeting and everyone in the group would try to guess who the facts were about. It was a really fun way to get to know each other. And I loved that the game lasted for multiple weeks so that we didn’t just focus on getting to know each other once. Not only was it fun, but it helped make everyone feel more comfortable in the group.
Make the Most of Social Media
I wanted to get to know our mastermind as quickly as possible, so I made sure to follow everyone on social media. This included everyone’s business accounts, some personal accounts, and even a few social media accounts for pets. Those were and still are my favorites, not gonna lie. I also started to like and interact with everyone’s posts to not only support and be a cheerleader for the group, but also so the algorithms would know I was interested. Even though we’re just a few months shy of our two year anniversary, most of us are still engaging and interacting with each other on social media everyday!
Gather Some Resources About Masterminds
One thing our mastermind group did that was really helpful was learn about masterminds in general before we started meeting together. My own mastermind’s fearless leaders (shoutout to Adrienne and Chandra!) shared a podcast and some other materials so that the rest of us could learn about how masterminds work and what we could expect. It was really helpful to have some information and think through things beforehand so that we could all contribute as we established our group norms, which I’ll talk about next.
Discuss Group Norms Together
After you’ve all introduced yourselves and have gotten to know each other a bit, take some time before or during your first meeting to discuss group norms and expectations. You don’t have to establish formal written rules or anything like that, but establish a few norms that will help inform future decisions about day to day operations of the mastermind. I think it’s helpful to start with broad topics like these:
- How often and where will we meet?
- How will we communicate outside of meetings?
- Will meetings be recorded or documented in some way?
- Who will lead the meetings? Will the responsibility of hosting rotate?
- Is there an expected time commitment to the group?
- Is it okay to skip meetings? Do we need to contact anyone if we aren’t going to make it?
Confidentiality and Money
Another topic that everyone should discuss beforehand is the issue of confidentiality. You’ll likely be sharing lots of details with each other, not only about your businesses but also your personal lives. In our mastermind, we’ve talked about everything from new products we’re thinking about, to business ventures, VAs we would or would not hire again, family drama, other TpT sellers, and everything in between. Take the time to talk about which information should be kept confidential and which things can be shared outside the group.
Now is also a great time to talk about whether you want to share monetary details within your mastermind. Some people are very motivated by hearing actual numbers, but other sellers might hate it. Talk about a policy for sharing details that everyone feels comfortable with. In our mastermind, we let anyone share whatever they’re comfortable with sharing. Some of us talk about money and some of us don’t, and that’s completely okay!
Once you have your overall norms established, it can be helpful to establish a routine for meetings too. By now you should have already decided when and where you’ll meet and how you’ll decide who is hosting. Now it’s time to talk about some other details like whether you want to establish other roles for people. For example, you might have a time keeper and a note taker. Also consider other questions like will there be homework between meetings? How will you hold each other accountable?
What should we talk about?
It’s also a great time to create a schedule for your meetings. You can decide topics together beforehand, or you could have each member be responsible for a specific week. It’s up to your group to decide what you want to learn about, but here are some possible topics to get you started:
- Product creation
- Facebook ads
- Facebook groups
- IG Reels
- Video Preview
- Using data
- Email lists
- Personal website stores
- Writing copy
- Sitewide sale prep
What does a typical meeting look like?
Now that you have a list of topics, how will you actually discuss them? There are a few options! One way to do it is to let everyone choose a specific topic they feel comfortable talking about. They can either teach the group about that topic if they feel like they know enough. Or they can just be a facilitator for the topic while everyone shares what they know.
In our mastermind group, we typically have one person facilitate the meeting and everyone shares. For example, if the topic was Pinterest, we would each take turns sharing our overall Pinterest strategy, what’s working, what’s not going so well, and any questions we have for the group. As each person shares, the other members listen, give feedback, and brainstorm possible solutions. And of course we always do our best to answer each other’s questions and share resources that have been helpful. Because we have such a large group, we usually discuss a topic for at least two weeks just to make sure everyone has a chance to share.
(P.S. We have a Trello board template for Mastermind Planning and Organization that would be really helpful for getting started!)
If possible, it’s super helpful to include an accountability piece in your meetings too. Encourage each other to take a minute to decide how they’ll use the information they learned in each meeting. Another idea is to have everyone share how they put the knowledge into practice in a future meeting.
We care about accountability so much in our mastermind that my friend Nicole even posts a weekly thread in our private Facebook group. In this thread, anyone can comment anything they want to accomplish that week. And then at the end of the week, Nicole checks in and asks if you accomplished your goal. I would rather die than disappoint Nicole, so I only ever use the thread sparingly when I know I *HAVE* to get something accomplished. But other people use it every week and love it!
Other Meeting Ideas
Consider having special meetings a few times a year to keep things fresh in your mastermind. The longer you are together, the more routine things will become. Conversations will get more casual and maybe you won’t spend as much time talking about TpT as you used to. That’s perfectly fine!
It can be hard to keep everyone engaged as time goes on, especially if all of your meetings are similar. If this is something your group is struggling with, think about special events that will keep people motivated and excited to be in the group. Here are a few of my favorites:
What’s a hot seat? It’s where one person (or more) shares a piece of content and everyone else gives feedback. This can be done live in a meeting, or it can be done outside of your meeting times. For example, our mastermind has done hot seats about thumbnails and previews during our meetings. But we’ve also done a much deeper dive by conducting store audits on each other’s stores over the course of several weeks.
Sometimes it’s helpful to just hear from someone else! Not only does it switch things up, but having a guest speaker who is really knowledgeable about a specific topic can be super helpful for the group. Is there a topic no one really feels confident teaching about? Look for another seller who might be willing to join you for a week as a guest to talk about the topic instead!
Remember that not all of your meetings have to be about TpT topics. Our mastermind does a gift exchange for Christmas every year. So a couple of our meetings are just dedicated to everyone sharing their gifts and celebrating together.
Take a Course Together
Masterminds that learn together stay together. Okay I just made that up but it feels right. One thing that I love about our mastermind is that we all love learning. That means I usually have at least a friend or two to join me for any TpT related course I want to take. There’s just something about learning alongside people you know, so I consider it a big perk of the group!
I love the idea of doing a book study in a mastermind. You already have a small group eager to learn about growing their small businesses, so it just makes sense! There are a ton of business books out there to choose from, but if you don’t know where to start, I wrote this handy list of the best business books for TpT sellers. We haven’t done this in our mastermind yet, but I’d love to do it someday!
Plan for Change
My last bit of advice about running a mastermind group is that you should expect change. Sometimes life circumstances get in the way and people have to leave the group temporarily or for good. Members might come and go, and that’s to be expected! One thing you can do to make change easier on everyone is to make it a norm to reassess membership every so often. For example, you might have a check-in each quarter, every January, when summer begins, and/or at the start of the school year since these times are when a lot of changes in schedules happen.
During these check-ins, talk about how the mastermind is going overall, what everyone would like more of, what everyone would like less of, whether the meeting time and structure are still working for everyone, etc. Encourage each group member to ask themselves whether they’re still benefiting from the mastermind, what could be improved, and if they still want to participate. Some people might decide to take a break, and others might decide a mastermind group isn’t for them after all. All of these things are perfectly normal, and no one should feel bad if someone decides to leave!
I hope by now you’ve learned a ton about running your own TpT mastermind group. But please make sure to let me know what questions you have in the comments below! And don’t forget to join us for the ultimate TpT mastermind, SOS Ignite. Although it’s not technically a mastermind, it operates a lot like one and is the only work club for TpT sellers. Check it out here to see if it’s a good fit for you!