The Power of Mastermind Roundtable Call
Mark: I want to ask this question first of Pat. I know that we’re in a mastermind group and I’ve talked on my show about what that is and you’ve talked about how important that is. I wonder if you could think back to when you were getting started and I wonder if you could talk about how you feel about the importance of masterminds and what action you would take if you could talk to the younger you with regard to masterminds.
Pat: If I could take the Delorean back and find myself I would begin to talk about just how important it is to connect with other people. If you go back to my younger self, I was the type of young adult I was reactionary, I just waited for things to happen to me, and as a result of that nothing really happened until I finally got let go.
In terms of a mastermind group, I didn’t even know what it was at first. When I started to get into this online business world I started to realize what happened when I connected with other people. It was joining a course that both you and I were in, Mark, and connecting with the other people who were part of that course that really made things open up for me. It was direct advice from those people that actually helped me moving forward.
I was the kind of person in school to never raise his hand to answer a question, I had the same set of friends the whole time. Now I’ve learned that you have to connect with and try to provide value to as many people as you can because you never know, that next person you talk to could be that person who really fills that hole you have in terms of the knowledge you need to move forward and progress.
I can directly attribute certain milestones in my business to specific advice that I’ve gotten from different people – from this group that we’re in right now, from another group that I’m in, and I’m in a third group as well that has been extremely helpful. They all range with different kinds of people doing different kinds of things, but we all share the same value. Because of that I’m driven and I’m motivated. When I get down and I don’t feel like working I go to these people or they see it before I even do and they call me out and give me brutally honest advice.
The thing is if you know that there is something else beyond where you’re at now, you need to get with people who are going there, too, or who are there already to help guide you. The worst thing you could do is live life looking back saying, “I wish I had done that,” or, “what if this…” That would drive me insane.
It’s hard because you have to try and reach out and be vulnerable and connect with other people, but so many amazing things have happened as a result of doing that. The final tip I would give myself is to think about this question whenever you’re coming across that voice in your head that tells you, “Maybe you shouldn’t do this,” or, “I wonder what they say about,” and that question is, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
Oftentimes we think these ridiculous scenarios that aren’t true or would never happen, but when you really think about the answer to that question it’s not that bad and rewards far outweigh the risks.
Mark: I love that answer. Mike, let me turn to you. When we added you to this group my recollection was that you were excited to be invited but I got the impression that maybe you weren’t exactly sure what to expect. I wonder if you were to describe the benefits of this mastermind to you specifically, and maybe masterminds in general, personally what would you say about that?
Mike: If there are any lone rangers out there listening to this podcast, then I’m like you. I don’t tend to ask others for help, I tend to do things myself and I tend to think I don’t need anyone else’s help. The idea of entering into a mastermind group and asking for help was kind of going to China and expecting that I would understand the language.
I took a different tactic and said I wanted to come to the mastermind group and share and help people, because that’s kind of at the core of who I am. In the process of actually pouring myself into the guys that are part of this group, for me, first of all, it was very rewarding. Eventually I got to the point, but I still struggle with this two and a half years into this, coming to this group and saying, “Hey, I need help in this area.” But I still get a lot out of it.
The reason why I think it’s important for anyone who is so unbelievable self-sufficient and doesn’t like working with others necessarily or doesn’t like feeling like they have to work with others, just come into a group and being there as a voice, sharing your thoughts, I don’t know what it is but it gives me great energy and it gives me great reward to see that some of the things that I bring to a mastermind group actually help others.
Frankly, I’m not part of this mastermind group because I want help; I’m here to help others. I don’t get a chance to do that very often. That’s really why I’m here. The rewards that come from that are pretty monumental. When I get a chance to hear the struggles that other people are going through, or the rewards, or ideas, or challenges that they’re going through, for me it’s like, “I like that idea, I’m going to pick that one and put that in my arsenal.” I actually discover lots of things and interesting ideas just in the process to serve.
I know that there are people out there like me. I still struggle to this day trying to figure out what I’m going to ask when it’s my turn to be in the hot seat, but I just love being part of this group.
Mark: That’s an awesome answer. I love that because I think the best mastermind groups have some element of that, all of the people have that help other people mindset.
Cliff, you recently talked about this kind of idea from the stage. You were talking in the context of podcasting, but I think the basis of a successful business. Your business is much more than podcasting, we’ve talked about that in this mastermind group, you help people way beyond that initial point of contact around podcasting. Can you talk a little bit about the importance of this servant mentality in business, even if it’s a tiny small business or a huge business? How important is that and is that a difference maker?
Cliff: It makes all the difference in the world. I think one of the most influential things for me to read was a book called Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. One of the things that he talks about in the book is he says that money is nothing more than certificates of appreciation. He says that oftentimes – not always, there are some exceptions – you can judge a person’s usefulness to other people and the amount of value that they bring to other people’s lives by their bank account.
Of course for business we’re looking for profitability, to think about money and financial gain in those terms, how do I gain more profit for my business, how do I move the needle in financial income. When I think of it as I’m not trying to get people to buy stuff from me, I’m actually trying to earn their appreciation. That was a radical mind shift for me because it became I don’t necessarily have to sell products and services to gain income, all I need to do is add value to people’s lives.
One of the things that I talked about from the stage is this idea of getting to know the people that you serve or the people that follow you. Once you get to know them and you learn personal information about their lives, the more information you know the more access you have to connect them to other resources or to be a resource for meeting the needs of other people.
Let me give you an example of that. If I know somebody who is in my audience who has created a podcast devoted to supporting people who have parents who were just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, that’s a very specific niche and it’s certainly going to meet the needs of somebody who needs help and connection to other people who are experienced in this new season of life that they happen to be going through and it’s cool to connect them. If I just realized that this client or friend of mine has a podcast about this and I don’t keep that information, I don’t care about it, I don’t think about it, it’s in one ear and out the other thinking, “I don’t know anybody with Alzheimer’s so that doesn’t apply to me, I’ll just go on with my day.”
But by keeping that information, by learning about each and every one of my clients who launch a podcast, what they’re podcasting about, what their hobbies are, what their day jobs are, what their expertise is in, what they want to be known for, what kind of things are their goals, learning all of this information when I meet somebody – for example, I was just at Podcast Movement and I met all of these people who came up to me saying all these great things about me, but as soon as I had any opportunity I wanted to stop that flow of the conversation and say, “Tell me about you, tell me about your podcast. Do you have a podcast? If you had a podcast what would you podcast about? What is your greatest obstacle? What are your goals for the next year?”
Once I learned that about each of the people that I stood in front of every ounce of me tried to say, “I know somebody that you should connect with. You need to go over to this website and talk to this person, tell them that I sent you over there. I think if the two of you got together and networked and brainstormed you could both move the needle forward faster.” Oftentimes I said, “I know somebody that I want you to connect with, I can’t think of their name or their podcast right now, but I know that I could find it if I had access to my computer. Will you email me as soon as you get back to your hotel room and remind me to look up that podcast about _____? I want to connect you to that person.”
It’s by connecting all of these people to all of these resources that I’ve gotten to know because I have that relationship with my audience, because I took the time to get to know them. I’ve had the opportunity to add value to people’s lives just by knowing who people are, knowing what their goals are, knowing information about them. What I can tell you is that many times I give all this value and give all this advice to people who may never pay me a single penny for any of my products or services, but that doesn’t matter. Because I’ve made a difference in their lives those people are going to be looking for ways to return value to me and any time my brand comes up or the products and services that I offer, which are currently mostly around podcasts and how to launch a podcast, whenever that topic comes up in conversation the thousands of people that I’ve helped are going to talk about me even if they’ve never bought my products and services themselves, even if they don’t listen to my podcast anymore.
From that point forward, because I’ve gone out of my way to use what I know to connect them things of value in their lives, they’re going to be a constant source of future connection to me, my brand, and my business. I’ve found that is what has really helped propel my business forward in a very big way.
Mark: What you have to say about helping people and what Mike has to say, this all seems to keep coming back to a sense of purpose, an idea about what you as a business owner are really about, which means my listeners figuring out what they’re really about. When it comes to that kind of conversation I always think about Ray.
Ray, I know your podcast inspires me personally because it broadly touches on not just these topics of business but the spiritual topics as well as tech tips, it’s a very interesting things. I put the question to you, how important is it when you’re starting out in business or as you develop your business to align what you’re about with what your business is about? Is that required or is it just a high leverage thing? You’ve coached a lot of people. Tell me a bit about that kind of introspection and how valuable it is in business.
Ray: I think it’s essential to reach the maximum potential of yourself, of your business, and of the service that you render to your customers to have that alignment. If you don’t, I think that’s where most of the dissatisfaction, the lack of fulfillment, the frustration, the friction, and the desire to quit comes from when there’s not that alignment.
When things are going well we are often willing to do things that are not necessarily in alignment with our view system, but when things begin to go not so well we are more apt to just throw up our hands and say, “I quit.” I think that comes back to our sense of purpose and our clarity about what we’re here to do.
That comes down to purpose, mission, vision, and goals. Those are often used interchangeably, but they mean different things. Your purpose is why are you here on the planet. Your mission is what are you supposed to do, what is your specific assignment within that realm of why you’re here on the planet. Your vision is what it looks like. You might have the same mission as somebody else, but the way you go about accomplishing it might be through writing books, whereas the next guy or lady might go about it through building a huge business or by being a professional services provider. Goals are just the specific targets that you’re aiming for, giving yourself accountability.
That circles back to being part of a group. I think we were created to be in community. In fact, I talk about the value of mastermind groups as the five Cs; community, clarity, confidence, commitment, and consistency. All those things begin with the recognition of what’s your purpose, what’s important to you, what are your core values. That’s how you look for a group of peers to surround yourself with, who will help you be in community with people with similar values, have clarity about what your purpose, mission, vision, and goals, have the confidence that you can achieve them, develop the commitment muscle, because commitment is a skill that you can learn and increase, not something you’re just born with, and then have the accountability that keeps you consistent in doing those things.
Mark: One of the great things about our mastermind group is with regard to values we all have a lot of simile values. I don’t know if everyone can hear, but you may hear some children in the background here. My kids are here, I’m in Mr. Mom mode today. I know that a lot of us have small kids, some of us are kids are grown up. I recently had the opportunity to have lunch with Leslie’s son Noah, he’s delightful. I’m totally going to offend Pat and April here, but probably the cutest kid that we all have is Noah.
Leslie, when it comes to balancing all of that kid stuff, I know you’re a super involved dad, you’re very focused on your marriage, you have a strong family value, until very recently you were holding down a day job and doing this Become a Blogger thing and many other things. Can you talk a little bit about how you make that balance work when your values extend beyond your business, how do you handle the balancing act?
Leslie: It’s a tricky thing, I must say. It’s a big part of the reason why I am no longer teaching. When I say teaching I mean I was a university professor and I left that behind. One of the big reasons for that was I felt myself running in so many different directions, doing what so many people that I know are doing.
For me it came to point where I felt like, “This isn’t right. I say that my priority is my family, but if you look at the amount of time I spend with my family you’d have to question that.” Not just the amount of time, but the quality of time because the little time that I did spend I was just so spent. I knew that something had to change, I needed my actions to be in alignment much more so with the things that I say are important to me.
We spoke about mastermind groups. I know this mastermind groups was a big part of helping me to make the decision to leave my job and do this full time. Now that I’m doing it full time it’s still kind of a challenge. If you’re growing a business, if this is the sole income you and your family have, how do you balance spending that time with family and doing what you know is going to pay off for many years in terms of the time that you’re investing with the fact that you have to grow your business, be able to pay the bills, be able to do all these different things. It’s an ongoing challenge.
For me, I’ve realized that a lot of times we tell ourselves that we don’t have the time to do the things that are important and because of that we have to do all of these other things. I’ve realized that it’s just a matter of making that decision, about making that commitment to say my family is important to me, they are the most important people in my life. Yes, they are why I do my business, they are a big part of why I do what I do on a day to day basis, I need to invest that time with them.
For me, over the last few months especially, it has just been a joy to be able to spend that time with my son, to go to the park and run around and act like a child. I use him as my excuse to act like a child. It’s extremely rewarding to be able to have a little more of that balance today than I ever did before. I know he is enjoying it, I’m enjoying it, and it makes life much more worth living.
I speak to a lot of people and ask them how they are doing and it’s always, “Things aren’t going very well,” and they don’t seem like they are living a fulfilled life. The other day I had a conversation with someone and he asked me how I was doing and I told, “I’m fantastic,” and he was taken aback. We had to talk about that a little bit and I realized that I feel so much more energetic because I feel as if I’m living life according to my purpose. I’m spending time with my family, I’m enjoying those relationships, and I’m working on building my business. Having that not perfect balance but striving for that balance continually changed the game for me.
Mark: There’s that P word again.
Ray, I’m putting you on notice, we may have to have you come on the show to talk about the P word. I’m going to anoint you as the local expert on the purpose word.
That’s a lot of outstanding high level advice and I hope people take that to heart. I’d like to move now to what I’m going to call the lightning round. We have about 10 minutes remaining. If we go back to thinking about this avatar, we’ve given them some high level big roadmap advice. What I’d like to do is boil down to a one or two minute single must-do from each you.
My avatar, this person who is getting started in internet business, online business, probably trying to do it on the side, probably has a little family or is thinking about starting one. What’s the one thing you would say if you could tell them one thing they have to do, one thing they have to keep in mind, one thing they have to think about, one sort of key insight encapsulated in a minute, kind of the elevator pitch of tips, what would that be?
Pat, I’m going to put you on the spot here and make you go first. I apologize, because none of this is prepped in advance, you guys didn’t know what I was going to do. Pat, what’s your one thing, what are you going to tell somebody in my listening audience that they really need to consider?
Pat: Sure. I’m sort of known as the crash test dummy of online business, but I think that’s why I figured a lot of this out, because I figured out what does and doesn’t work. I think the big thing is don’t worry about failing. Failing and making mistakes is completely a part of this process.
I know growing up we’re sort of conditioned or trained that failure is bad, you get that F on that scorecard and you feel terrible. Whenever I come across an F in my business and I’ve failed at something I like it, I love it. I don’t try for it, but when it happens I know that’s not what I’m supposed to do anymore. I figure out what went wrong and I keep moving forward.
I think failure and mistakes hold a lot of people back. The more you fail, the more likely you’re going to eventually get to that point where you don’t. As long as you keep falling forward you’re going to absolutely get to your destination.
That brings me back to one other point I want to make. You have to know what that destination is. If you’re working on the side or late at night and you do want to quit your job, what does it look like when you do? How much money do you need to make? What is that number? Then you can literally reverse engineer from there to figure out this is how many customers I need, or this is how many clients I need to have, how many coaching students in order to get there. It makes everything much more tangible.
Start with a goal and know that when you’re on your way that it’s okay to fail and you will make mistakes. The only true failure is when you get to that hurdle and turn back around and go back to where you were.
Mark: Totally awesome advice. Thank you so much for that.
Ray Edwards, personal friend of mine, we come to you next. What’s the one thing that you would want to tell my avatar about success in internet business?
Ray: Take 100% responsibility for everything in your life, including especially your business. Sometimes this puts people off, they think it’s some kind of machismo or something, but it’s not a tough guy sort of attitude. It’s a realization that we are 100% responsible for how we respond to life. We can’t control everything that happens to us, so you are going to make mistakes in your business and you’re going to have to fix those mistakes. Be okay with that ahead of time, take 100% responsibility for it.
There are things that are going to happen to you as you start your business and as you grow your business that are not your fault, you didn’t cause them, you didn’t fail to predict them when you could have, but through no fault of your own some external force has exerted a negative influence on your business, on your family, on your health – something will happen. You might say, “How can I take responsibility for that?” I didn’t ask you to take responsibility for everything that happens in the universe, I said take 100% responsibility for your life, and your life consists of not only what happens to you but however it happened.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is something that Michael J. Fox said. He said, “Our challenges don’t define us, our actions do.” That kind of attitude means that whatever comes your way you’re willing to say this happened and it doesn’t feel good, or it feels great, whichever it is, and to respond to that by saying, “What am I going to do about it?” If you can take that attitude it will keep you from getting too full of yourself when you’re on top of things and it will also keep you from despair when things are not going so well.
Mark: That’s awesome, thank you so much.
Michael Stelzner, you’re kind of a serial entrepreneur on a large scale and you have created some large things. When you’re at the beginning of these things what is the one piece of advice that you would give?
Mike: You have to understand that to build a successful business you have to have an audience. In order to get an audience you have to either buy it or you have to build it. When I say you have to buy that means you have to buy it from someone who already has the audience, like Google or Facebook. When I say build it, it’s a slower process of freeing yourself from having to buy anything.
If you are thinking about getting yourself free from your work of your day job and going into a new work that you will love that will become your business, then you have to start thinking now about how you can build your audience.
Content is the key to that. You can start a podcast, you can start doing videos on whatever channel you care about, you can start a blog. Whatever you do to build that audience, make sure there is a tie back to email. When you build your audience on someone else’s platform, in the end the control is in their hands, not yours.
Start with a content strategy. Start figuring out I’m going to create a blog post once a week, or I’m going to create one podcast once a week. Begin getting yourself into the mind of by doing this content I’m going to be refining my craft, I’m going to be sharpening my sword. You’re going to begin to see that you’re building an audience, you’re going to grow an email list. Eventually you’ll be able to sell something to them.
The key to everything is the audience. If you don’t have the audience then you’re not going to be successful in your business.
Mark: Excellent. Thank you very much. I especially resonate with the email part of that message. That’s something that I’ve hit on many times myself.
Leslie Samuel, looking back, what would you say to young Leslie who was another one of the people of this mastermind group very much like my avatar?
Leslie: I think a lot of what I would say would be in line with what Mike was just saying. Once you know what value you want to provide to the world, whether you’re solving a specific problem for a specific target person, like you just described about your audience, you need to be creating content regularly, consistently, to provide that value to that person. That’s how you grow that audience. I know it sounds redundant, but I think it’s so important.
I have two blogs, I have a biology blog and I have a blog where I talk about these types of concepts. With the biology blog I was making YouTube videos, every week I was putting out content with that, and that grew an audience. With Become a Blogger I am posting articles, my podcast episodes, and my videos.
What you’re doing is putting more value out there into the world for that specific person and giving them more chances to stumble onto that content, whether someone shares it on Facebook, whether they’re doing a Google search, or whatever the case might be, that content piece is such a crucial part of the equation if you want to build an audience, if you want to become known for something in particular and then build a business around that. For me, that’s huge, so I just want to re-emphasize that point.
Mark: Thank you very much, sir. I appreciate that.
That leaves the last word in the hands of The Podcast Answer Man who helps people with so much more, Cliff Ravenscraft. You did this, you were an insurance guy and you did the side gig thing, you lost sleep at night, you cheated on your employer, you were so into it you were answering fan mail at work. You’ve been down this road. What do you have to say, Cliff?
Cliff: Become an expert at saying no. It may sound a little contrary to what I was saying earlier, but it’s not, I promise. What I mean by this is what I have found is that when you take the time to deliberately and intentionally decide ahead of time what your priorities are and thereby deciding and even writing down what you will choose to say yes to with your time, effort, energy, and schedule, when you know in detail what you will say yes to, and even on that list of what you are going to say yes to the order of importance of one versus the other on that list, then it becomes very easy for you, for the very first time in your life, to say no to all sorts of other good opportunities that would distract from the great work that you are called to do in your life.
The greatest example of this is a story from the Bible. When Jesus had spent some time in the home of his disciples and they had a large town full of people come and line up at the door and all evening long Jesus healed everyone that had come, that evening they went to bed, and of course everybody that had been healed went out and told everyone else. Guess what? The next morning there was an entire group of people out there waiting for Jesus to wake up so that they could do a whole new round. You would imagine that Jesus would be there to help anybody and everybody that would come to the door the next day, right? No. Early that morning before it was light, the Bible says that Jesus got up and went to a solitary place to pray. After many hours the disciples finally found him and they said, “What are you doing? There’s an entire group of people waiting for you.” He says, “No, that’s not what I’ve come to do. I’m going on to the next place. I’ll meet you there.” So even Jesus was an expert at saying no.
That’s one of the things that I have learned is it’s about priorities. There are great books on this. One of them is called Essentialism. It’s deciding ahead of time what it is that you want to be focusing on. As a brand new entrepreneur starting out, one of the things that I really struggled with was there were so many opportunities, there were so many new things that I could do, I found myself trying to do everything. When I started to decide ahead of time what I would say yes to and realizing every time I said yes to something I actually would have to say no to other things. That’s what I would give as my number one piece of advice, become an expert at saying no.
How does that not contradict all of those things where I say take a lot of time and build relationship and all those things? One of the caveats that I’ve learned, and this comes from a man named Andy Stanley who originally said this, at some point when you reach a level of success, the more successful you become the less accessible you’ll have to become. Somebody asked him “how do you deal with that” and he said, “I try to do for some what I wish I could do for everyone.”
My key piece of advice is to become an expert at saying no by knowing ahead of time and intentionally deciding what you’ll say yes to.
Mark: That’s excellent. I really resonate with that. One of the key traps that I see people falling into is getting distracted by other opportunities. It’s that “look, squirrel” kind of mentality. I know what you’re talking about is even broader than that, but I love that advice regarding focus and the willingness to say no to things.
Guys, this is the best 100th episode that I could possibly imagine having put together. I just want to say thank you very much. I know this will be of value to my listening audience and I really appreciate it. I can’t wait to talk to you guys at this same time next week.
Wrapping Things Up…
I hope you enjoyed that. If you did, reach out to these guys and let them know how much you appreciate it, they would love that. Give them a shout out and let them know you heard them on the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast. I really appreciated their time that day and I hope you did to.
Until next time, I hope you have an absolutely fantastic week.