March 24, 2024

When I joined my first mastermind group in 2009, it was called “The $25,000 Group” …which seemed odd at the time (i.e. naming a group by its price tag).

But looking back, it was Genius.

In 2010, there were far fewer high-priced masterminds…$25,000 was at the highest end…and its founder (my good friend and brother in all things marketing, Joe Polish) knew that.

This is clearly the exception to the rule of “if your differentiator is price, you are a commodity.”

Joe’s group…which became Genius Network (the largest mastermind for heart-centered entrepreneurs in the world) …is anything but a commoditized mastermind.

And as the “mastermind industry” morphed into various flavors, especially with coaching elements and more “done with you” models, accountability became the buzz word.

Masterminds with no accountability are soooo 2010. 🙂

I’m happy to say that I hopped on the accountability bus early, because once discovering the world of masterminding, I came up with many different variations…including launching my new business, Titans Marketing, with one of those accountability masterminds in 2015.

I used a “descension model” rather than an ascension model—that is, my first “product” was a $20,000 mastermind rather than starting with a lower priced entry point.

I didn’t need to “work up” to anything and I’ve spent the last 9 years “working down.”

I didn’t invent the descension model…but it made sense since I already had 35 years invested in the industry (with hard earned relationship capital to spare) …and it took me many years to go “low ticket” …of which I am embracing big time now…and loving it:

Selling timeless masterpieces (like Breakthrough Advertising) …killer swipe files from master copywriters like Jim Rutz and Bill Jayme…and conducting low price/high value “Bootcamps” like the one I am in the middle of right now.

I can reach so many more people now with lower prices while still overdelivering in a big way.

The beauty of descension.

I am proud that I descended into lower prices with more accessibility.

Why not? At 65 years old, squeezing every dollar out of every student is just not what gets me up in the morning.

Sharing wisdom from the greats and my career is what does.

And that brings me to “The $25 Group” …which was a 4-man accountability group I was part of for a few years in the years preceding (and then starting) my business in 2015…and through subsequent years.

Basing it on the price tag made it even more worthwhile, proving that “high ticket” is in the eye of the beholder.

This one was worth as much as any mastermind I’ve ever joined (even at 1000X the price).

The $25 refers to the price of breakfast for each meeting (paid by each of the 4 members on a rotating basis) …to cover bagels, cream cheese…and if someone chose to go “over budget,” maybe some whitefish salad…and on special occasions, a half pound of lox (which would be $25 on its own). 🙂

The point is not what was served or what was spent…although over our years together, we got so much smarter marketing-wise, emotionally…and we even became more health conscious, turning to gluten-free bagels.

That’s another indication it wasn’t about the food…if you ever had a gluten-free bagel (which is more like eating cardboard with poppy seeds), you know what I’m talking about.

Why am I telling you all about my early masterminding history, from paying $25,000 for my first one, to launching one at $20,000 and organizing one for a $25 breakfast?

Because you can mastermind anywhere and with anyone…and it’s the best way to learn…and grow (but don’t eat too many bagels to grow in the wrong way) …and stay accountable to your dreams, goals, and everything you want to accomplish.

I even “showed off” my $25 Group at the event I hosted in 2014, Titans of Direct Response, by inviting my three comrades in arms to join me on stage, Michael Fishman, Jim Kwik and Ryan Lee (more about Ryan in the P.S.’s).

Click on the play button inside the screen shot above to watch the entire presentation from Titans of Direct Response.

I also wrote a post some years later on a variation of The $25 Group entitled “Making Oprah Proud,” which talks about the process of turning a “book club” into an accountability mastermind.

Both by me and by two of my Titans Xcelerator members as well.

There’s also an article inside that post that appeared in Forbes.com interviewing me on the subject.

It’s all quick reading…check out the Forbes article here.

And “Making Oprah Proud” here.

There’s a lot to learn when you pay $25,000 to be part of a mastermind…or $25.

Dare I say Genius. 🙂



P.S. Ryan Lee is the quintessential ADHD marketing entrepreneur…and I say that as a compliment…because without ADHD in the world, there wouldn’t be entrepreneurs…and the world would be far more boring.

Hanging out with my buddy Ryan is never boring.

On the contrary, it is always instructional, mind-bending…and fun.

That’s why I chose him as one of the first ten episodes for my new podcast, Timeless Marketing.

The title of the episode is “Thriving in Digital Marketing” but frankly, a better title would have been, “Perpetual Reinvention.”

To thrive as he has, he first needed to survive…and there is no one better to discuss the survive-to-thrive journey than Ryan Lee.

Ryan could have invented the now overused word “pivot” …and in fact, when he and I were part of the “$25 Group,” Ryan had a new business idea (or even a new business) every month.

It was both exhausting and exhilarating.

But the lessons Ryan learned by never letting go of a good idea has served him well.

I have to say, however, that he needed the $25 Group to help him categorize those ideas into “Now” and “Not Now.” 🙂

In this episode of Timeless Marketing, Ryan is talking about his latest business (at the time, shortly after the pandemic), Rewind (a marketer of health products with a nostalgic spin) …and the fact that he is already on to his next business, with the same principles and fundamentals behind it, is instructional…and why I wanted to feature him today.

He begins the podcast with, “No one gives a sh*t about you” …which then becomes the window into building a career and a life you love.

That life is all about “play.”

And…play he does.

You can change the game…but you can’t change the person…and whether it’s Rewind…or his new business, Freedym (more on that in the P.P.S.) …the parallels are uncanny.

Click here to watch and listen to this episode of Timeless Marketing.

You will be richer (by a magnitude of $25) when you do.

P.P.S. In the spirit of Ryan never letting go of a good idea, he launched something called Freedym a few years ago…sold it when he launched Rewind…then began missing his life’s purpose of serving “solopreneurs” …helping them find “freedym” in everything they do… and he’s back working in his true passion.

There are only a few emails I subscribe to–and Ryan Lee’s Freedym is one of them.

His advice in the newsletter is about building a one-person empire, all actionable content, and there’s no one better on the planet to teach this than him.

I highly recommend that you subscribe today–I promise you’ll love it—both for the entertainment value and as a utility.

And it’s free…which is consistent with my mission of offering low price and high value…and there is no price less than free (unless we pay you to subscribe).

There is no one I’ve ever met in the marketing world…or any world…that is 100% consistent in everything he does…and that’s why I love Ryan Lee so much. 🙂

I encourage you to get on the Ryan train by subscribing to his newsletter here:


About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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