You’ve read about the benefits of masterminds for your TpT business, and now you’re ready to join one or start your own. But how do you find people? And how do you make sure they’re the right people for you? Where do you even start? You’ve come to the right place because I’ll be answering these questions and more in this post. So settle in and let’s talk TpT masterminds!
How to Join an Existing TpT Mastermind
Most TpT masterminds exist in private groups rather than the main public TpT seller Facebook groups. This makes sense because they’re typically small groups of people discussing information they wouldn’t want everyone to see. But it also makes it harder for you to join a mastermind or even know it exists in the first place. Unless you get a personal invite from someone in the group, you’ll either have to wait for an opportunity or create your own.
One way to create your own opportunity is to just start asking around. Ask other TpT sellers you know if they’re in a mastermind and whether they have any openings in their group. If not, maybe they at least know of another group that is looking for more people. You could also ask in the School of Sellers group if anyone knows of an open spot. Occasionally, you might see a post in a Facebook group from a mastermind looking to add a few members, so make sure you keep an eye out!
Starting Your Own TpT Mastermind
Although it’s not impossible to join an existing group, I honestly think it’s probably easier to either start your own or join up with a group that is just forming. Every year following the TpT conference in July, masterminds become somewhat of a hot topic in the seller groups. Motivation levels are high after learning so much at the conference, and people are looking for accountability to help achieve their goals. So July is a great time to think about joining a group if you can. But ultimately you may end up just needing to start your own.
How to Start Your Own TpT Mastermind Group
Determine Your Goals
Before you start asking people to join, it’s important to think about your goals first. Why do you want to start a mastermind? What are you hoping to get out of it? How do you think it will impact your business? Determining your goals first might help you think through other decisions. If you’re brand new to masterminds and aren’t quite sure what your goals should be, it might be helpful to delay this step until you’ve found at least 1-2 other people who want to join you. Then you can discuss and determine your goals together! We’ll talk more about determining goals as a group further down in this post when I talk about creating a survey form to find members, so keep reading!
Choosing People for Your Mastermind Group
Your first instinct might be to create an open invitation so anyone interested can join your group. That works for some people, but not everyone. Here are a few factors you might want to think about as you’re deciding who should be in your group.
How many people do you want in your group?
Most masterminds have ~4-6 people, but it’s completely up to you how many you want in your group. I think the ideal goal should be that the group is small enough that everyone can contribute and feel like a part of the conversation. But you also want it to be big enough that 1 or 2 people could miss a meeting and there would still be enough people for a good discussion. We started out with 15 (!) people in our mastermind. Over the past couple of years since we started it, though, some people have dropped out. We’re now down to 12 official members, but not everyone comes to every meeting.
Where should members be on their TpT journey?
Although masterminds can be beneficial to all sellers no matter when you started, it’s helpful that members of a mastermind are at a similar place in terms of earnings, time spent working on TpT, and a few other crucial factors.
Unless the purpose of your mastermind is to have one leader teaching a small group of other sellers (there are masterminds like this too!), you want everyone to be able to contribute and collaborate. But in most cases, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to have sellers who are just learning the basics of TpT in a group with people who have passed the third milestone. It will be harder for mastermind members to relate to one another, and the content they’re interested in learning about will be vastly different.
What about niches?
There is some debate about this, but I think it makes the most sense to try to have a variety of niches represented in your group. Not only will this create more diversity in terms of ideas and strategies, but it also ensures there won’t be competition among group members. You want to be able to support and cheer on your fellow masterminders, and that’s just a lot easier when you’re not cheering for a direct competitor. Plus it makes it a lot easier to talk about product ideas, marketing strategies, etc. when you know everyone will be adapting what they learn for different niches.
So I recommend considering a variety of factors such as grade levels, subject areas, and even roles within a school. Although most sellers are traditional classroom teachers, don’t forget there are also SLPs, paraprofessionals, clip artists, administrators, school counselors, instructional coaches, and more on TpT!
I did want to mention that it’s totally possible to lead a successful mastermind with sellers in the same niche. It just requires more communication, openness, and honesty in my opinion. Since our mastermind is so big, we definitely have some overlapping niches. In fact, some of us even have very similar audiences and products in our store. But we like and respect one another enough that we haven’t run into any issues!
Think about diversity when choosing members
In part 1 of this series, we talked about the benefits of joining a mastermind. Remember one of the best benefits is that you get access to everyone else’s knowledge and skills. So it makes a ton of sense to make sure there is diversity in that knowledge and those skills. This goes beyond race, although I’m a firm believer that should be considered as well. In addition to racial and ethnic backgrounds, consider other forms of diversity such as age, geographic location, gender, and more!
And don’t forget about the diversity of knowledge and skills either. We’ll talk about surveying potential members later in this post, but spend some time thinking about the various topics TpT sellers need to know about (Pinterest, blogging, product photography, email lists, etc. just to name a few). No seller is an expert at everything, so think about what gaps in your own knowledge can be filled. And also think about the skills and knowledge YOU can offer the group.
Something you might not have considered is the importance of time zones. It’s easier if everyone lives within a few nearby time zones. Coordinating meetings around different people’s schedules is already hard enough, but doing it when one member is 6 hours ahead or behind can make things really difficult!
Do you have chemistry?
The most successful masterminds will be made up of people who genuinely like and respect one another. It helps to have stuff in common other than TeachersPayTeachers if you want to form a really solid foundation for your group. I’ll admit this is really hard to predict, so you may not know what kind of chemistry your group has until you actually start meeting. Just know that’s totally fine and to be expected!
How can you get to know potential mastermind members?
Now that you’ve thought about the kinds of people you want in your group, it’s time to figure out who meets the specific qualifications you’re looking for. And for this step, I highly recommend creating a survey to help you narrow down results. The idea of rejecting some people for your mastermind can be weird, but I encourage you to do it anyway. I know it sucks, but it’s honestly in everyone’s best interest to make sure you’re choosing only those people who would be a great fit for the group. If you feel bad about having to reject some people, you can always ask if they’d like to have their information shared so they can form a group of their own. Don’t worry, it’s happened to me before and I quickly got over it!
You can easily create a survey using Google Forms or even Airtable. The important part is to brainstorm some questions that will help you figure out what you need to know about potential candidates. Remember that these questions should definitely align with the overall goals you have for your mastermind. Here are some questions I came up with to help get you started:
Questions to Ask Your Potential Mastermind Members
- Store link
- Social media links
- Time zone
- What is your current teaching situation?
- How long have you been selling on TpT?
- How would you describe your niche?
- Where do you see your business 1 year from now?
- 5 years from now?
- 10 years from now?
- What is a goal you’re currently working toward in your TpT business right now?
- How many hours a week on average do you work on your business?
- What are you hoping to get out of this mastermind?
- Which specific topics are you most interested in learning about?
- What are your strengths when it comes to running your TpT business?
- Which topics would you be interested in helping teach others about?
- What are your thoughts and giving and receiving feedback from other sellers?
- How often would you like to meet?
- What days and times would work well for you?
Where To Find People for Your TpT Mastermind
Okay so you’ve decided to start a mastermind and you’ve thought about the kinds of people you’d like to have join you. But now how do you find those people? Where are some good places to look?
Friends and Acquaintances
I think it makes the most sense to start with the people you know. You might already have 1-2 sellers you chat with casually about TpT. Or maybe you don’t chat with anyone but you’ve noticed certain sellers posting in groups and you feel like you might be friends with them for whatever reason. Starting with people you kinda know or are at least familiar with might make things a lot easier as you’re going through the steps of creating a mastermind.
Facebook Groups & Other Social Media
There is a thriving TpT seller community on Facebook, so I think seller groups make the most sense for reaching out! You’re always welcome to post in School of Sellers or School of Sellers 101 to let people know you’re looking for or starting a new group.
I think a really fun way to ask people to join you would be to record a quick video sharing a little about yourself and why you want to start a group. People will love the personal touch and I bet you’ll get a lot of other sellers who are interested! Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook would all be perfect platforms for this!
TpT Sellers’ Forum
You might not spend a lot of time in the TpT sellers’ forum, but a lot of sellers actually do. There’s a specific section of the forum called “Conference, Meet-Ups, Get-Togethers, and More” that can be used to post about a mastermind group. You could also search “mastermind” in the forum to see what others have posted about the topic.
Look Outside the TpT World
Another option to consider is forming a mastermind with other small business owners outside of the TpT world. This can be a great option if you’re worried about seller competition or just want a broader perspective on marketing and running a business. For example, you might try to find other teachers who are running a different educator business such as an Etsy shop, subscription box, T-shirt shop, etc.
Many of the topics like building an audience on social media, tracking business finances, etc. will overlap, but you won’t have to worry about stepping on each others’ toes since you’ll all be doing different things. Working with other business owners who share a similar audience (but don’t compete with you) could be magical when it comes to learning, collaborating, and growing!
Hopefully by now you’ve learned everything you need to know about joining or starting your own TpT mastermind group. Remember to always keep your goals in mind. And you can always revisit part 1 of this series to determine if joining a mastermind is right for you. And make sure you check out part 3 where we’re going to talk all about how to run a mastermind group now that you’ve found your people. Let me know what questions you have in the comments below!