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Looking for a mastermind group? Early idea extraction/custdev phase


#1

I’m looking for a small group of 3 to 4 people in the early idea extraction/customer dev phase of their journey to bounce ideas off and keep us all motivated.

I am in IT infrastructure by day and by night have a very small cashflow-positive info product that I want to improve this year. I’ve actually done nothing with it for a couple of years, I’m surprised it’s still making money! I’m learning Ruby on the side and want to develop my site into a SAAS product related to my current audience; probably not expecting to have the skills to implement my own commercial site, but I’m enjoying the ride.

You’re likely starting out doing this on the side, having weekends and an hour or two each evening, and having a revenue of $0 to $1000 per month… ish? (Your monthly revenue isn’t important to me, but it might be to you if you’re taking tens of thousands/month for example)

Give me a shout if you’re interested in regular structured online meet-ups to discuss ideas, support and keep each other accountable for our personal goals.

I’m in the GMT timezone, so if you’re way out in a timezone far away this might not work out for us.

Thanks,
Tim


#2

I could be potentially interested in this!


#3

I’d potentially be interested in this as well, though I am not working on a SaaS of my own at the time.

(I’ve been working with SaaS companies but not in my own ATM)


#4

Hi guys, great to hear you’re interested. I should probably have mentioned that I’m in the GMT timezone, so this might not work for us if you’re both in timezones way out. I’ll amend my original post for this.

There are many guides on how to run successful small masterminds so we’ll have to pick out some standard protocols and also make sure what we all want to get out of the meets are aligned.

Let me know your thoughts.

Cheers,
Tim


#5

I’m in the EST timezone which is GMT - 5.

I haven’t read that much about masterminds, but I’d be open to learning/figuring out how to get this to work.

In the past I’ve gotten lots of value out of groups done via email (5-10 people), but I can definitely see the benefits of doing it other ways… especially for smaller numbers of people.


#6

This might be of use:


#7

Yep, Slack would work, especially for the asynchronous comms. I’ve used Google Hangouts in the past for this also; great for several users. Google Drive for shared docs and real-time collaboration works well too.

Tell you what guys, let’s take a look at some of the how-to’s for masterminds, pick out the advice/ideas/rules that you like the sound of and post back in a few days. If we’re on the same page, let’s do something.

My thoughts on what I want to get out of it…

  • Share ideas and help others
  • Discuss what others are doing and what’s working/not working, share highs and lows
  • Force me to get some results and get the ball rolling again: accountability
  • Gain clarity on my goals and what I want to achieve
  • Feel part of a group of like-minded people (“you are the average of the 5 people you spend time with”) My gf is not entrepreneurial in the slightest!

#8

I’m in the same boat as you OP and I’m on board. It would be ideal if everyone is at the same stage so we can level each other up as opposed to playing catch up or feeling too far ahead.


#9

Hey guys,

I did some research and everyone’s saying that a razor-sharp unity of purpose is important. I love SaaS but I currently don’t own one – so I think that might disqualify me.

Regardless, I’ll share a few things I came across that I liked.

During the meeting, as you go around the circle, ask each person:

  1. What are you working on?
  2. What did you learn?
  3. What do you need help with?

Also suggested:
Have a Google doc that people can update realtime as they work.

I found this URL was different enough from the other articles that it was worthwhile for contrasts’ sake:


#10

@Cheez: Excellent, that makes four of us so far!


#11

Here is the criteria for members into the group I’d like to see:

  1. An existing commercial product. SaaS, informational, downloadable
  2. Making more than $500 but less than $5000 per month on average (USD)
  3. Talk about failures as well as successes.
  4. Spending less than (say) 20 hours per month
  5. Want to turn it full-time.

Anything less than this (or more, $$$ wise), I would not be interested.


#12

Here’s some of the ideas that I like the sound of…

At the first meeting, schedule at LEAST three months of meetings in advance. A few weeks before the last of these meetings, schedule a “Review Meeting” – and during that meeting, schedule out the next three months, as well as check in about changes to format, etc.

When you schedule your meetings in advance, you are not counting on “inspiration” and whim. Face it. You sometimes won’t “feel” like going to your group meetings – but those are often the BEST times to go. And when they’re in your calendar, then you’re more likely to show up.

Meet Regularly And Precisely. Keep to a regularly scheduled time, ensure all members are punctual – and end on time. 60 min once per week or once every two weeks. You may require more or less time.

Don’t Interrupt. One person at a time, and keep in mind the purpose of the meeting is to give everyone a chance – it’s not always about you. Hold all comments until the person speaking has a chance to speak. We generally do not jump in at all unless someone has a specific question.

Decide if you need an agenda. My mastermind groups typically have a conversation topic (often decided at the meeting prior), but no explicit agenda. I previously have run groups that had more explicit items on the agenda for accountability and progress reports – try it out and decide what works best for you.

Decide on whether to have a facilitator. In my groups, I start the calls, and act as a very loose facilitator – I point out who is going to go first. That’s it – everyone polices themselves. Perhaps your group will need a facilitator who is more active – keeping people on target for time, and moving you from one items on the agenda to the next.

Make sure you capture what happened at each meeting – lessons and triumphs, goals, and items you want to keep each other accountable to. I like to use Google Documents. Google doc storage with real-time access to the same docs so that we could ALL update regularly throughout the course of the session – we ended up with pages and pages of notes, links and ideas shared – and everyone contributed to it.

Slack for asynchronous comms, maybe after the first few sessions?

No worries if anyone decides it’s not for them and wants to leave the group. The point of the group is that all gain value from it, so no value, no point in being in the group.

What is a Mastermind group?

  1. Mastermind groups offer a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability and support in a group setting to sharpen your business and personal skills. A mastermind group helps you and your mastermind group members achieve success. Participants challenge each other to set powerful goals, and more importantly, to accomplish them. The group requires commitment, confidentiality, willingness to both give and receive advice and ideas, and support each other with total honesty, respect and compassion. A Mastermind group helps overcome the resistance that is holding us back. Mastermind group members act as catalysts for growth, devil’s advocates and supportive colleagues. This is the essence and value of mastermind groups.

Here are 7 reasons why a mastermind might be right for you:

  1. You’ll be part of an exclusive community. Joining a mastermind typically involves you being invited by the members or going through an application process. The other members need you just as much as you need them, so quality of experience and knowledge is crucial to all involved.

  2. Advisement. Once you are involved in a mastermind, that feeling of “being alone” while running your business is gone. The other members of the group turn into business advisors of sorts and vice versa.

  3. Collaboration is the name of the game. You may find someone in the group that is a perfect fit to work on a project with you. Or, you may be the perfect person to help another member as well. The group works together collaboratively, to achieve more together.

  4. Extend your network. Joining a mastermind expands your network exponentially and rapidly. If you are in business, you know how important your network is. By joining a mastermind, you instantly add to your network and typically gain the networks of those in the group with you.

  5. New learning. Everyone in the mastermind is unique in skill, experience and connections. By interacting and sharing your challenges, it’s almost certain that someone in your mastermind will have a solution for you and you may also be able to offer a solution, connection or tactic to help another in the group.

  6. Cross-promotion. When you join a mastermind, you will most likely find ways to help each other by utilizing cross promotion. Finding ways to help each other through promoting to your respective networks.

  7. Think bigger. Being in a mastermind will truly give you a Master Mind! You can’t help but think bigger and stretch beyond your boundaries when surrounded by amazing people doing amazing things.

Masterminds are incredible and can do wonders for your business as well as for you, personally. Growing in a group is not only more effective, it’s quite a bit more fun!

What a Mastermind Group is NOT

  1. It’s not a class. While your group can vote to bring in guest speakers and teachers occasionally, the main focus of a mastermind group is the brainstorming and accountability support among the group members.
  2. It’s not group coaching. Mastermind groups are about the MEMBERS sharing with each other, not about the Facilitator coaching individuals in a group setting. You get everyone’s feedback, advice and support. Yes, if the Facilitator is an expert on the topic, by all means chime in. But keep the conversation balanced between all members.
  3. It’s not a networking group. While you may share leads and resources with each other, it is not the main focus of the meetings. However, through your connections with other members, you will find plenty of joint venture opportunities, lead sharing, and professional networking.

#13

Hi Cheez,

That’s OK, I’ll catch up with you when I/we fall into your $ range. I’m not far from your bottom range and I’ve put literally 10 hours or less in combined for the last 2 years (it’s still selling), so I don’t think it will take me long to hit that now that I’ve set my mind back to it. You can be my target!

I’ll catch you in the forum here I’m sure.

Cheers,

Tim.


#14

Hey Tim,

If it wasn’t clear, the lower bound is less important to me than the upper bound. If you’re making something, letting it sit around on the Internet, and want to make more, that’s what I’d be looking for.


#15

Sweet, sounds good then.


#16

I’ll PM you guys so we can swap contact details and we’ll take this to Google Hangouts next week if it works timezone wise.

I’m expecting that it may need to be a weekend if you’re all GMT-5hrs or more.

Let’s have a trial and see how it goes before committing to anything; that way it’s easier if any of us want to back out; it may turn out we’re not a good fit for each other! Who knows?!


#17

Hi guys,

It looks like a week day 14:00 your time works for both of you. I’m GMT so that’s +5 from you which is 19:00. Perfect for me.

How does this Monday at 14:00 sound to you?

Garrison, you’re welcome if you’re around, but we understand if you’re not available for a while yet.

Also, are you OK for me to put your email addresses on the Gdoc to share? We can take this conversation offline and stop bugging the forum users; it’s probably getting annoying… sorry everyone!

Cheers,

Tim.


#18

So I never got this message. Not sure what happened. I would have been up for today. Is there some reason email didn’t work?


#19

Timh,

I can see you thought a lot about this. You made some great suggestions (like making it very focused).

I’d be interested. I’m a little further along but that might be helpful (for both me and everyone else).

I’ve been a boostrapper for 20 years. However, I have a new product (released last year). And my primary focus no is marketing (for existing and new product), so I’m experimenting with some new things (like a newsletter, webinars, etc.) that I think lend themselves to a new bootstrapper.

My mature product is Windows Desktop software, available for purchase or by subscription.
My new product is for the same market, and is web-based.
I’m in EST (New York time)

If you think I’d be a good fit, PM me.

-Clay


#20

You’re very welcome Clay. We’re having a first Google Hangout meet this coming Monday at 19:00 GMT, which I believe is 14:00 your time. I’ll PM you with my details and I’ll add you to the invite.

Cheers,

Tim.