A friend of mine once told me that your true, lasting, and most reliable business colleagues can be judged by one thing:
Do they have your back when you are on your back?
I wasn’t on my back when I left my beloved Boardroom in 2015…my future was bright…but I was technically “unemployed.”
I also wanted to structure my new unemployed status to be in sync with a retirement plan (which paradoxically would involve working full time) where I could retire from things I didn’t like to do, retire from things I didn’t do well, and retire from people I preferred not to hang around with anymore.
Enter “The Wizards.”
Shortly after I resigned from Boardroom, I got a call from Robin Robins, the Queen of IT entrepreneurs and one of Dan Kennedy’s most prized and successful students, asking me to consult with her company.
I’ve written about Robin before…how she outsold everyone at a Kennedy conference without trying (and I turned that story into a post about Thanksgiving gratefulness)…and also when she grilled me during an interview on her podcast, “Great Minds Drink Alike” (which I titled in a blog post, “It’s 5:00 somewhere”).
Since Robin is someone who would have my back if I was struggling, I asked her if this was “real consulting” or “charity consulting” (which she appropriately scolded me for). 🙁
I went to her offices in Nashville and spent a day helping her with her “done for you newsletter business” (which is a service she offers to the IT companies she works with) and realized that my experience creating and marketing newsletters for over 30 years was something she could use…and it proved that this was not charity consulting. Thank goodness. 🙂
Robin also had a neat idea while planning for my visit: She said (and I am paraphrasing), “Why don’t we invite all of our friends from ‘The Dan Kennedy institute of Marketing’ (shorthand for the best-of-the-best from Planet Dan) and have a pop up mastermind the day after you consult?”
I don’t think she called it a mastermind…simply a get together to “talk about marketing stuff.” 🙂
And did we ever. There were hot seats, updates and breakthroughs from some of the most dynamic businesses in our industry…and deep discussions about the state of said industry.
That led to quarterly meetings of a group we named “The Wizards” …which included bringing in special guests on occasion like Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank and Dan Kennedy himself.
Robin supplied the location—she has a spectacular meeting room—we all chipped in if the speakers charged something—and we all agreed to give a generous donation to Robin’s favorite charity (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital).
From informal get together to powerful mastermind…all it took was a desire to get together with fellow marketing rock stars who are always eager to share successes, disappointments, resources and anything else in a confidential, safe room.
Pop up mastermind indeed.
I got much more than charity during my first few months of unemployment and retirement from my consulting gig with Robin…I got clarity…and a new family that I didn’t know I had.
Why am I telling you about this today?
Because I just got back from the most recent “Wizards Mastermind” (this one was in Atlanta) hosted by membership marketing expert, Scott Whittaker, who took the baton from Robin and is now running with it…almost 9 years later.
Paid masterminds rarely last that long…and free masterminds lose steam even sooner (“you gotta pay to play”) …but with the right leadership and makeup, they can also last forever.
I got my head handed to me at this latest Wizards meeting…for being too complacent about my business and my mission…and I came home energized and ready to do more.
That is one of the hallmarks of a good mastermind: Tell the truth…hear the truth…with love never leaving the room.
Another hallmark: Everyone hugs each other going in and going out. 🙂
I also wanted to share the origin story of this mastermind to emphasize the importance of masterminding…getting together with like-minded people (in this case marketers, copywriters and entrepreneurs) …to prevent isolation and to get a more expansive view of what is going on in the universe you work in.
It takes the theory of “management by walking around” (coined by David Packard of Hewlett-Packard and made universally popular by Tom Peters) much further…and encourages “marketing and copywriting by walking around.”
In the case of marketing and copywriting, sitting around in the right room is also OK. 🙂
And even in parallel universes you don’t work in.
And even if you are not a “mastermind junkie” like me. 🙂
Masterminds come in all shapes and sizes…
I remember when marketer and connector extraordinaire, Joe Polish, formed his Genius Network Mastermind, he also referred to it as “$25K” (since it cost $25,000 a year to join).
There are many other groups like Joe’s—high-priced/high-value—but that is not a prerequisite.
I formed (with three other friends/entrepreneurs, Michael Fishman, Jim Kwik and Ryan Lee), the “$25 Group” (yes, that’s 25 dollars, not 25,000 dollars) …and frankly, this four-man accountability group was as effective as any mastermind I paid a lot more to join.
The $25 covered the bagels and coffee for those meetings…paid by the rotating host.
Whether I paid $25,000 or $25, it didn’t reflect on how much I paid attention. I know that’s not true for everyone.
Although when you have skin in the game (e.g., real money and not just bagels), it’s usually to everyone’s benefit.
And it doesn’t matter if a mastermind is all “hot seats” (solving problems for members), guest speakers, open discussions on chosen topics, specific instruction on one topic…or a combination of any or all of these things.
It always works because everyone in the room is making everyone smarter, sharing their particular genius, and coming for the information, and staying for the inspiration.
The interactions within and outside the group make them powerful and portable…which is something I love about masterminds too.
Forming partnerships with other members or appearing at each other’s meetings or on each other’s podcasts etc., keep the information and inspiration flowing before and after the meetings and not just during the meetings.
I recall that at the Wizards meeting with Kevin O’Leary, Wizards member Kim Walsh Phillips (a social media marketing expert among other things) got an offer to run Kevin’s social media for many of his Shark Tank companies.
Not too shabby as a new “gig.”
On a smaller scale, Kim created a “Live Cast” (online in real time) where she asked 30 different marketers (mostly from the masterminds where she is a member and friends of those members) one question:
“How do you use social media in your business?”
I answered the question this way:
Just like I use masterminds to romance me. 🙂
Through new friends (now brothers and sisters) I’ve met at various masterminds, I’ve had the privilege of speaking live in France, Italy, Hungary, Germany…and on video in Japan, The Netherlands and elsewhere.
Not to mention the partnerships that have been created.
In summary, masterminding can be used for fun and profit in a variety of ways…inspired by events…or “situations” …with some you pay for and some you don’t…all of which are valid.
You can create content for your business…and/or get hired…and/or create a highly visible, high paying gig…and/or create strategic partnerships…and/or for career pivots…and/or participate in speaking engagements…and/or to educate yourself…and always to make new friends.
Check out the P.S. for a mastermind that can help you with all of the above.
You can even “Mastermind at the Pentagon” or be interviewed by Forbes (about a mastermind that was created from an “Accelerated Learning Group” that became a glorified “Oprah Reading Group”).
Click on either or both of those two links above for the full story.
I’m sure you can think of many other ways to mastermind as well.
Enjoy the romance.
P.S. Shortly after the first “Wizards Mastermind,” I launched my own Titans Mastermind, which also launched my second career of teaching all I had done.
And after almost nine years of three live events a year, I recently folded it into my Titans Xcelerator Mastermind, so I could teach and reach more people at a much lower price point.
Titans Xcelerator is approximately one-tenth of the price but equally powerful…and romantic (in a marketing sense, that is).
And if you reply to me from this post, I can open a seat for you at an additional discount just for reading this P.S.
It’s the best value in masterminds anywhere at any price.
And I say that as a mastermind junkie and as its host. 🙂