One of the best things I’ve ever done

Another question from the back-logged mailbag today.

Chris writes:

You mentioned in one of your emails that one of the most helpful things you did to get started was to join a mastermind group. I am looking to join/create one, but I'm not quite sure how to go about it. Did you join an existing one or create one yourself? Was it local or online? Can you share any other suggestions on how to get started or how best to participate in one?

Well you're really testing my memory here Chris, because this was at least a year ago now, I'd guess — and when you get to be nearly 30, the past starts to get foggy a lot quicker.

But as I recall, I was invited to an existing mastermind group. It is run largely through Google Groups by a chap named Dov Gordon, and is comprised of some of the top entrepreneurs around the world. You would probably recognize some of their names.

Why they invited me is quite unclear :)

In terms of creating a group versus joining one, I'd say it depends a lot on whether it's paid or free.

If it's a paid group, you might be better off joining one. For one thing, it's a lot less work for you. Someone else deals with keeping it running. For another, unless you have a good customer base already, starting a group like that can be a case of pushing the brown stuff up hill. You need a critical mass, or it will be a miserable flop, and people will be cross at you for wasting their money.

But if you have the customer base to do it, and you're willing to deal with the administration, it's a smart way to strengthen your relationships with your customers and really get to know them, while simultaneously giving them exponentially more value than you could by your lonesome.

(Plus recurring revenue = win.)

For free, invite-only groups, joining one is still the better choice — IF you know of one and they want you — because of the established connections you can benefit from.

But if you're not in a position to join one, why NOT start your own? Even two heads are a lot better than one. So you only need to know one other person who enjoys sharing experience and expertise to get a group going, and you'd be surprised at the benefit of it.

Btw, I've been thinking about starting a paid mastermind group for subscribers to the Shirtsleeves Marketing Communiqué —

So far I've held off because I'd like to grow the subscriber base a little more — to be sure of that critical mass. Plus there are some kinks to figure out in terms of how it will all work. But it is definitely coming.

Talk soon,