mastermind

4 Tips to Successfully Launch a Mastermind Group (or High Level Program)

Alexia Coaching, Public Speaking Leave a Comment

For the last two weeks I’ve had the awesome opportunity (and responsibility) of interviewing prospective candidates for the inaugural Spotlight Speakers Collective. Because the idea for the Collective has been baking for a number of years, I was able (even in the first iteration) to be as intentional with how I curate my rock star group as I am with defining and showcasing the experience participants will embark on over 10 months with me.

I can’t ultimately brag about the success of my recruitment process until this first cohort finishes the experience. But, because I’ve been asked a lot how I made this all work without selling from a stage, procuring affiliates or spending a dollar on Facebook ads or any other social advertising (and I’ve hit my enrollment goal and I’m almost to my cap!), I do feel comfortable showing some of my most “successful moves” and the reasoning behind them.

Lesson #1: Participate in a high-level mastermind at or above the investment you are asking for yours.

I’ve seen countless colleagues and friends “do all the right things” when seeking to launch a mastermind (many with double my list size). And, when they have never done what they are asking others to do, they don’t enjoy the results they seek. Call it an integrity issue or the universe simply not providing what you haven’t energized for yourself, but failing to participate in a mastermind before launching your own is a recipe for disappointment. In addition to thwarting the realization of your vision, it will also prevent you from experiencing another leader’s mastermind teaching and facilitation style and you won’t be able to see what does and does not work for hot seats – two of the most important pieces of mastermind leadership.

Prior to launching the Collective I picked the brains of two of my coaches/mentors who had launched their own groups, and they generously shared lessons they learned the hard way during their first mastermind launches.

Lesson #2: If creating an intimate experience, ask prospects to apply – and capture their information before they do.

When you limit an experience to 10, as I did, it’s vital to ensure you have the right make-up of participants. What’s much trickier, however, is knowing exactly what to look for in candidates and developing a structure that supports discovering it.

I spent a lot of time selecting the questions that I asked in my online application, and the application process took my prospects a minimum of 30 minutes, in some cases closer to two hours, to answer. A few well-intentioned folks told me, “Lex, this application is going to freak people out. You should shorten it.”

For me, that was a good thing. If someone isn’t willing to invest two or even three hours submitting an application for a 10 month life changing program, they aren’t going to give their all to the experience (and to fellow members) and therefore aren’t a good fit for me.

On the flipside, the rigor of the application also meant that most people who filled it out (including existing private clients), had epiphanies simply as a result of answering my questions. And many of the Collective members told me the level of detail I put into the application showed them this was going to be unlike any other mastermind they had seen or considered.

In terms of the content of my questions, I made sure to ask about people’s future vision as well as their present reality. From their current revenue sources and past and present earnings to their 10 month and 5 year visions, and where they feel good and where the feel resistance or even shame, I strived to excavate the good, the bad and the ugly. It can feel impolite asking such personal questions in an application, and yet without them it’s close to impossible to understand the inner workings of someone’s business to determine if and where you can support. Some of my other most useful questions were on what bugs people about their industries, how they operate when they are stressed or experience resistance and how many hours per week they are working (versus how many they want to be working).

On the technical side, my application page was an optin that asked candidates to provide their names and email addresses before accessing the full application page. (Disclaimer: My coach recommended this so I can’t take credit for it.) This gave me a way to know who was interested and send those people an automated follow-up reminder sequence. Because I promoted the Collective opportunity to my full list, did not do webinars and again, didn’t run any ads, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t crowd the inboxes of my tribe members who weren’t interested in the Collective with excessive promotional emails. And as you hopefully experienced, the promotional emails that I did send were chock full of stories and teaching.

Lesson #3: Facilitate individual interviews with ALL prospective members and DON’T ask for commitment on the call.

Each woman who I determined could be a fit for the Collective I invited to join me for a 45-minute Skype interview call. And based on the level of investment women made in the application process detailed in lesson number two, I wasn’t surprised that every person who was offered an interview scheduled one.

During the interview I dove further into each candidate’s business make-up and speaking goals, explored more deeply where her resistance comes from, shared where I thought I could most help her and when there was chemistry on both sides, invited her to open a private web page detailing the particulars of the Collective and investment options.

While I checked in with my women at the end of the calls to discover what they were thinking and feeling, I gave each woman five days to get back to me with her response. Many told me on the call that they were a ‘yes’, a few needed to consult partners and workout the financial details, and most responded without me needing to follow-up.

Do you get more follow through when you require people to make an instant decision? Yes, but only sort of. For you run the risk of people changing their minds a day or two later – or worse, in my opinion – not being able to honor their commitment if it was made from emotion rather than logic. When I make a significant financial decision I always sleep on it and talk it over with my husband – even when I know in my bones ‘I’m in’. Why would I not extend this same courtesy to people who I want to work with?

Lesson #4: Create ways to meaningfully engage your dream participants before you start recruitment – and let them know your mastermind/program is coming.

One of my biggest mistakes with previous launches is not talking enough about my program that’s coming and the dates for enrollment.  During my most recent launch of Your Spotlight Talk I had approximately 10 people enroll after the cart closed (despite what felt like a TON of promotional emails) from people who said, “I didn’t realize registration had ended.”

While I did not make an offer for the Spotlight Speakers Collective at The Spotlight MasterTreat this year, I mentioned (in all of about 2 minutes) that in 6 weeks I would be opening applications for my premier coaching program and how it would pick up from where we ended the weekend and go much, much, much deeper. During that weekend I identified who would be a great fit for the Collective based on mutual connection and ambitious speaking and business development goals, and when those people inevitably asked for more details on the Collective, I gave them. One person even requested she be considered before the Collective website was launched because she wanted to dive right into private coaching. It was awesome having one spot filled so early!

My intention was not to fill the Collective solely with MasterTreat women. I knew there were women who had completed Your Spotlight Talk who would be a perfect fit. As well as some women who I had never worked directly with because they already had refined their talks/keynotes – or were participating in intensive programs with other coaches and mentors.

I put the names of my dream Collective members on a list I carried in my phone and I looked at it each day during the recruitment process. Each time somebody applied or enrolled, I wrote a gratitude note and placed it in my gratitude box. And every day during the launch period (and as I fill the last couple of spots I’m still doing this), I recite the following mantra in meditation a few times a day:

The Spotlight Speakers Collective is wildly profitable.

The perfect participants have applied.

And they are on their way to enrolling.

Mindset is SO important in business, particularly when launching. I had about 30 seconds of self-doubt when someone who verbally told me ‘yes’ changed her mind, but aside from that I’ve never been so full bodied in my knowing that this experience is going to be life changing for my women – and for me. I hung out my shingle over 9 years ago as a coach and I’ve been paid to speak since I was 19 years old, almost half my lifetime ago. I am ready for this, and having a mantra to remind me of my “readiness” has been so beneficial in my sense of self and the success this entire process has been.

Is one of your short or long-term goals to launch a mastermind or high-level, group training program?

What ideas are percolating as a result of this post for how to recruit your dream team?

I’d love to read and respond to your questions and musings in the comments below.

Announcements

  1. Are you inspired by women who are disrupting their industries and creating their own paradigms for leadership?

Through my Influencer Academy I’m hosting an evening of TED-style talks and provocative conversations at the intersections of women’s leadership, gender issues, career development, starting up (and starting over), community development, social justice and philanthropy.

Join me and up to 100 women on June 28th at the Inspire Theatre in Downtown Las Vegas. Tickets are just $25. Learn more and reserve your seats here.

  1. I had a blast gabbing with Michael Carbone on the Unleash Yourself Podcast. We chatted about how to be a transformational speaker, how to bust the number one limiting belief that holds speakers back, how to position yourself even if there are a lot of so-called “experts” in your space, and what it takes to cultivate (and sustain) your sense of worthiness amidst all of the ups and downs of being on stage and in the public eye. You can listen to the interview here.
  1. I made my Facebook Live debut last week, and I’m loooooooooving it!

I’m excited to use the platform to share more about the mindset and moves I’ve cultivated to empower business and speaking success and of course answer questions and connect.

Are there topics you’d like to see me cover? Please let me know over in my Facebook group, the Spotlight Speakers Salon.