4 Tips on How to Start a Mastermind Group

How to Start a Mastermind Group (or High-Ticket Coaching Program)

Alexia Coaching, Public Speaking Leave a Comment

Since 2016, I’ve led a high-ticket coaching program, the Spotlight Speakers Collective. A 9-month mastermind for female entrepreneurs and change makers who want to use speaking and live events to grow their businesses and advance their thought leadership, the Spotlight Speakers Collective is unlike anything else in the marketplace. Fusing individual and group coaching, copywriting clinics, support with backend systems and operations, and multiple in-person retreats (which include the creation of a speaker reel and the opportunity to co-lead an event for 50+ entrepreneurs, I know the design of this one-of-kind high-touch experience is a key reason why past program participants rave about it. Not to mention, I’m a pretty amazeballs speaking and business coach and mastermind facilitator!

I also know the program has been successful because I am so darn intentional about how I curate the group and interview prospective members.

Here are some of my boss moves for filling a high-ticket coaching program and the reasoning behind them.

Here’s 4 tips on how to start a mastermind group:

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 or high-ticket coaching program (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 or high-ticket coaching program 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 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. I used all this information when I decided how to start a mastermind group of my own.

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

When you limit an experience to 15 or less participants, as I do, 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. This is an easily overlooked step to consider when deciding how to start a mastermind group.

I spent a lot of time selecting the questions that I asked in my online application, and the application process takes my prospects a minimum of 30 minutes, in some cases closer to one hour, to answer. A few well-intentioned folks told me year obe, “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 9-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 means that most people who fill it out (including existing private clients), have had epiphanies simply as a result of answering my questions. And many of my Collective members tell me the level of detail I put into the application showed them this was going to be unlike any other mastermind or high-ticket coaching program they had seen or considered.

In terms of the content of my questions, I ask about people’s future vision as well as their present reality. From their current revenue sources and past and present earnings to their 9-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 are 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).

Consider what is important for you to know about potential participants when you consider how to start a mastermind group for your business.

On the technical side, my application page is an optin that asks 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 lets me know who is interested so I can send those people an automated follow-up reminder sequence.

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 Zoom interview call. And based on the level of investment women make in the application process detailed in lesson number two,  I am not surprised that I have almost a 100 percent scheduling and show-up rate.

During the interview I dive further into each candidate’s business make-up and speaking goals, explore more deeply where her resistance comes from, share where I think I can most help her and when there is chemistry on both sides, invite her to open a private web page detailing the particulars of the Collective and investment options.

While I check in with my women at the end of the calls to discover what they are thinking and feeling, I give each woman seven days to get back to me with her response. Many have told me on the call that they were a ‘yes’, a few have needed to consult partners and work out the financial details, and most respond 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? It was important to me to honor my integrity and preferences when I focused on how to start a mastermind group in my business.

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

One of my biggest mistakes with previous launches was not talking enough about my program that’s coming and the dates for enrollment.

While I did not make a full offer for the Spotlight Speakers Collective at The Spotlight MasterTreat, my annual, three-day event, I do mention the program there and usually, about half of the Collective is filled by people who have worked with me live.

However, my intention is not to fill the Collective solely with MasterTreat women. Relying on only one way to fill a mastermind or high-ticket coaching program is a big mistake. My past participants have been women in my online programs, VIP Day clients, professional colleagues, and even women who have interviewed me on their podcasts (or, in a few cases, never worked with me before but read my book or been referred by a fellow member). Consider all the varied ways you can find participants when you are building out your wishlist for your high-ticket coaching program or mastermind group.

I also put the names of my dream Collective members on a list I place on my desk and look at each day during the recruitment process each year. And every day during the launch period, 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. In fact, it’s one of my secret weapons when I was deciding how to start a mastermind group for my business.  

I hung out my shingle in 2007 as a coach, and I’ve been paid to speak since I was 19 years old, over half my lifetime ago. I am born and prepared for this work, and having a mantra to remind me of my “readiness” has been so beneficial in my sense of self and the success my mastermind has been.

Is one of your short or long-term goals to launch a mastermind or high-ticket coaching 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 about how to start a mastermind group or high-ticket coaching program in the comments below.