I just got back from a quarterly mastermind event I am a part of. It was awesome.
Trust me, I'm one of the biggest skeptics of stuff that claims to be “the most valuable business investment you can make” but this stuff really does make a huge difference.
We all pay a LOT of money, probably more than any other single investment we make each year. I can't divulge much more information about who the people are or what we talk about specifically, but I can assure you that these are heavy hitters.
I wanted to share the 9 most important lessons this event taught me. If you've been to a really incredible mastermind, you get it. If you haven't, you're missing out on one of the greatest gifts in business.
You'll learn to see problems in a new way and to get out of your own head. Talking to other people that are WAY smarter than you are is like having gasoline poured down your throat. Electricity.
At the very least, I hope this gets you inspired to join or create your own group.
The biggest takeaways were…
1. Think long term.
As I spoke to countless members, I heard about “where we're going.” Coming from the app world, this is a big shift.
We're all guilty of this (myself included). Ever notice that we all talk about “here's how much money I'm making RIGHT NOW” or “I made $XXX,XXX last month” or whatever.
But we don't often talk about “here's my 3 year plan” or what we're excited about down the road.
A lot of this is the nature of the app business. We've convinced ourselves that it's all about “flash trends” and that the money is in beating the app store vs creating awesome products.
That has to change if we ever want to get to the next level.
This was a huge realization for me. When you hang out with really successful people, especially marketers, you notice that everyone talks about the future in terms of how today is simply a way to make the future better.
There is less urgency, better quality and vastly more money in this mindset.
Think of this as an “investment” mindset vs a “immediate returns” mindset.
2. Being first is imperative to extreme wealth creation…but only if you have systems in place to capitalize.
Let me be clear: being first is not imperative to making money.
But it is a pre-requisite for making a LOT of money quickly. That's just how markets work.
At the event, we talk about what's working for each other and how we can all capitalize on the tests we're all independently doing. That way we can all kill it on some new opportunity.
But, the key is that you MUST have a system in place to handle these new opportunities.
If you wake up and realize that “holy sh*t, the Chinese Android stores are a total goldmine!” but you don't have the ability to effectively capitalize on it, you're never going to go big.
Build an amazing team, systematize everything and then pivot when you see something big on the horizon.
3. Drop your ego.
It's easy to think we're hot shit.
Maybe that's not a good way to put it: it's easy to think we're RIGHT.
“People think the things that they think are true, just because they thought them.” – Roland Frasier
If you're reading this article, I can almost guarantee that you're smart and you've read lots of blog posts and books related to marketing.
While you're still a “student” of marketing, you probably think you know what you're doing by now.
Guess what? You don't.
Even the guys making $5M+ a year don't…and they freely admit it. They're always looking to get better and to get smarter.
It's a commitment to excellence.
We did an exercise where people go around a table and say what their biggest problem is…then the rest of the group tries to answer it.
I got SERVED. And it stung.
Then I realized they were right.
And that by implementing what these super smart, objective people said, I'd completely lift my business.
The trick is to remember that everyone there has your back. These people WANT you to succeed. Open yourself to that energy.
4. Share everything. Seriously.
Don't hold back your best information. If you think people are going to steal your idea and you're screwed, it wasn't a business to begin with – it was a short term win.
In the app world, this is one of the primary reasons people don't accelerate. They're terrified that if they share their “best” secrets, hundreds of other people will copy them and they'll lose out on all that money.
Think about this for a second – if the things you are sharing are not long term, you're not really building a business anyway are you? You're simply riding one wave to the next, hoping the algorithm doesn't change before you squeeze out every dollar possible.
For myself, I often think about what would happen if I never shared my story on this website. “What if I kept this reskinning thing to myself and just kept all the money to myself?”
While that may have been true, I also would have never been able to connect with millions of people and opened up an entirely new business. I would be sitting behind a computer, scared to death that Apple would reject my apps and people would find out what I was doing and “steal” my business.
Psychologically, by holding back, you also start to subconsciously assume everyone else is holding back. That kind of defeats the entire purpose of mastermind groups, yeah?
Tell people everything you possibly can…and they will do the same. You will all benefit and you will open yourself up to way more opportunity that you think you are giving up.
5. The richest people in the room were also the hardest working.
Maybe shocking, maybe not. But the people who were absolutely crushing it were the ones who worked incredibly hard, no matter what their “brand” said.
While I think the Four Hour Workweek is an amazing book and message, you need to realize that there is a big difference between a “lifestyle” business and getting rich.
It's all about what you want in your own life, but I know for myself I was floored to see some of the top internet marketers in the world who I thought were on auto-pilot were actually the people who work 70 hours a week, who design their own landing pages, who write all their own copy and everything in between.
People making $3M a year on their own….working harder than anyone else. Personally responding to emails, managing their own social media. It was a real eye opener.
Action > Education. They just get it done, every time. It's not perfect, they just get it done.
When you go to a mastermind you realize WHY certain people are at the top…and you realize how little “luck” has to do with it. It's humbling and inspiring.
Something to keep in mind.
NOTE: this video has very bad language 🙂
6. It's not necessarily about working “on” your business…it's about finding leverage.
“Don't work IN your business…work ON your business.”
Sound familiar? I've heard that more times than I can count.
But what I realized after talking to people who are at the top of their game is that it's less about working ON your business and more about finding opportunities FOR your business.
In other words, focus on how you can turn what you have into “hockey stick” opportunities vs “linear” opportunities.
Selling your portfolio for 10x earnings is a hockey stick opportunity.
Growing your portfolios 5% each month is a linear opportunity.
Of course, you need to make sure your business is running smoothly and operating in a profitable way…but most people end up just managing all that.
Instead, start to think about your business as a tool in itself.
“I have a reskin business” does not mean you need to manage that reskin business all the time. It means that your reskin business may become an Enterprise reskin business…or a reskin development firm…or something else.
Stop being COO and start being CEO.
7. Know your stuff, be valuable to others.
Personalities aside, about 50% of the people at the event didn't say much.
When asked a question, they gave one word answers or said something that wasn't that unique and interesting.
This is absolutely not a bad thing (listening is just as important as contributing), but it made me realize:
The more you have awesome information to contribute, the more value you are providing to the group.
And the more people will turn to you as an authority.
Walk into a mastermind event with a LOT of stuff to share and go out of your way to help people. Do not list the things you want solved and spend 100% of your time finding someone who can solve them. It's all a balance.
8. Being unique is a good strategy for a brand…but not a good strategy for your business.
It's a common occurrence (especially in San Francisco) to see businesses that create highly unique offerings.
Products and services alike, the companies are doing something that's never been done before.
One big issue, however, is that that mentality transcends down through the operations of the company.
Instead of following boring, proven methods, companies will go by “gut feelings” or not put any thought into something like accounting.
At masterminds, you start to realize that the common theme between successful businesses is usually in their ability to operate efficiently. The product or selling propositions are always different, but the hiring process, reporting, book keeping, and customer service are usually the same.
As you create your business, understand that certain things just…work. You might hate it and think it's boring, but that's business.
Be creative in the path, but not in the model.
9. The most successful people I met are highly polarizing.
If you want to make a lot of money, you need people to love you.
You also need people to hate you.
Case in point, read the comments on my How I made $200,000 blog post. Pure hatred….but also admiration.
The people I met at the event who were doing BIG money were the ones who were completely unique. They were the people who you “didn't forget” after the event was over.
If you're having a hard time figuring out what it is you're doing in business ask yourself who you want to be your biggest fans. Then ask who you want to be your biggest haters.
You don't necessarily need to communicate to the haters…but keep them in mind while appealing to your core audience.
NOTE: This video is NSFW (not safe for work)
Take Action, Share With Others, Work Hard
There aren't shortcuts and there aren't hacks to get to the top.
But there are better paths that you can take.
“There is someone out there who has an answer to every question you have. When you realize this, you start to accept the power of sharing information with others and with connecting with the people around you.” – Ryan Deiss
Masterminds and elite groups of smart people can break your routine and self-created perceptions.
Napoleon Hill was right:
Ever been to a mastermind? Leave a comment below and share your biggest takeaway.