master the mastermind

Mastermind groups have been essential to my success as a real estate investor.

They've given me the perfect opportunity to collaborate with other like-minded entrepreneurs in an environment that encourages us to grow, encourage one another, and share our wisdom.

Whether you're a business owner, corporate CEO, investor, or someone looking to achieve personal or professional goals, joining or creating a mastermind group can offer incredible insight that will make a big difference in your business and life.

However, the effectiveness of a mastermind group depends on the proper organization, commitment, and alignment of each member.

In this blog post, I'll talk about some of the mechanics required to create and sustain a mastermind group that thrives. Everything from structuring your meetings to dealing with common challenges, these are the most important things I can offer from my years of experience in various mastermind groups.

The Power of Collaboration: Creating and Running a Mastermind Group

If you're looking for a reliable format for your mastermind group meetings, here's a model that has worked well in some of the groups I've been part of.

Part 1: Around the Room

To start each meeting, each person spends 5 to 10 minutes updating the group on what they've been doing since the last meeting (highs, lows, new developments, struggles, lessons learned, etc.). Discuss the areas where you've fallen short of your goals but celebrate what went well.

Part 2: Hot Seat

Most of the meeting is spent with one person on the “hot seat.” This individual either teaches something they know to the group or delves into an issue they're dealing with in their business that they need help or advice with.

Alternatively, if nobody has the desire or ability to teach about anything or wants deep insights into their issues, they can spend 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the meeting's length) doing their “around the room” report.

Part 3: Commitments

The meeting ends with each member stating OUT LOUD (and preferably, putting it in writing where everyone can see) a specific task or goal they intend to complete (or at least progress toward) before the group meets again.

Part 4: Staying Connected

Most successful groups stay in touch between meetings, usually with free communication tools like Slack or a private Facebook Group. This connection allows each member to get feedback and cheer each other on.

Meeting Length and Frequency

A mastermind meeting can be as long as needed, provided the timing works for everyone. If there are more people in your group, you'll probably need to do at least one of the following:

  • Meet more frequently.
  • Fit more people into the hot seat at each meeting.
  • Make each meeting longer.

Remember, it needs to work with everyone's schedule. Pick the options that work best with your group's limitations.

Group Size

Most mastermind groups consist of 3 to 6 people, but there are some exceptions to this rule.

Some groups can be as large as 10 to 20 people, but when a group gets this big, it's crucial to have good moderation.  Everyone in the group needs to stay focused and avoid unnecessarily dominating the conversation because the larger a group gets, the more difficult it becomes to know anyone.

With larger mastermind groups, scheduling longer meetings that meet less frequently may make sense too. Try meetings that take a half day, a full day, or even a weekend once or twice per year, even quarterly.

Also, remember that sometimes a smaller group can work better for certain individuals. A “group” could technically be as few as two people as long as both members bring value to each other.

90-Day Increments

Every 90 days (or whatever length of time everyone agrees on), each group member should have the opportunity to leave the group.

Why is this important?

Because without a clear opportunity to leave, some groups can stay together long after they should end.

I've experienced this first-hand, where some people can feel “stuck” in a group they should move on from. But without a clear opportunity to exit, this need to leave turns into an awkward conversation or situation.

Some less-effective mastermind groups can last for a long time and still not provide value to all. Make sure everyone understands and agrees with the group's purpose so you can identify whether you're progressing and seeing the desired outcome.

4 Common Issues in a Mastermind Group

Unless all participants share equal commitment to keeping the group alive and well, several challenges may arise that can cause some members to lose interest. Here are some of the most common issues that need addressing:

Lack of Structure

Every meeting needs to follow a clear agenda.

Perhaps more importantly, someone in the group must be responsible for keeping the group conversations on track and ensuring each meeting serves its intended purpose.

This person doesn't need to be a “group leader” nor should they rigidly dictate every minute of each session. Instead, they should be an “organizer” or “secretary” of sorts, responsible for ensuring each meeting stays mostly on track.

When there's no clear hand-off from one person to another, certain personalities can unintentionally (or intentionally) control the conversation at every meeting. This is why it's imperative that someone keeps track of time and ensures each meeting moves forward and covers all the right bases.

The Wrong People in the Room

One of the trickiest but (unfortunately) most common reasons for a failed mastermind group is assembling the wrong mix of characters. Even when a group comprises people who like and respect each other, that doesn't necessarily make for the best cast of a mastermind group.

While there are no surefire guarantees that a chosen group will gel the right way, some fundamental criteria can increase the odds of people meshing well together.

One way to know for sure is when participants are at a similar stage of maturity in their business. Group members will rarely be in the exact same place, but everyone should be at least in the same ballpark with at least one or two  of these metrics:

  • Has everyone been working diligently on their business for a similar length of time?
  • Has each person done a similar volume of deals?
  • Is each person generating a similar amount of revenue?
  • Does each person have a new area of specialty or sub-niche of expertise they can help others understand?

If one person is way behind or ahead of the rest of the group, they might feel like they're coming from a position that's too elementary or acting more like a mentor rather than a peer, respectively. This isn't necessarily a deal-breaker, but it can sometimes cause issues.

It's also important to acknowledge that everyone is a teacher, regardless of age, income, or experience. Even if one person doesn't have the same level of experience in the same business model, they will almost always have relevant experience in other aspects of business or life. Their insights can easily be applied to the subject matter, so don't lose track of this as well.

Lack of Accountability

Many mastermind groups fail because of a simple lack of accountability.

If the purpose of a mastermind group is to help each member identify areas of improvement, then it's essential that each person clearly defines what they're after AND takes intentional steps to pursue those goals.

For anyone to get better, there needs to be a commitment. At the end of each meeting, each person should say OUT LOUD (and preferably, post it somewhere in writing, like in a Slack or Facebook Group) what they hope to accomplish before the next meeting. Later, they can then report on whether they got it done.


When a group fails to meet at regular intervals, or more commonly, if one or more group members choose to skip meetings, show up late, or leave early regularly, it can discourage the rest of the group.

If a group member cannot commit to showing up on time, it's okay to leave the group. Ideally, they shouldn't join the group in the first place. Even though this can be a difficult choice, it's far better than staying half-engaged and hindering the progress of other group members who are serious about improving their businesses and lives.

Mastermind Groups Are Fun!

This is important for me to say because many people (myself included) tend to focus on the logistics and forget how enjoyable mastermind groups can be.

Ultimately, a mastermind group is about FAR more than accountability and business. Don't lose sight of the fact that you stand to gain lifelong friends from your mastermind group, people you will genuinely admire and enjoy spending time with.

The purpose of this group is to help you accomplish things you would never otherwise do.

I genuinely hope your mastermind group takes you far beyond your highest hopes and aspirations—because that's exactly what it helped me do!

About the author

Seth Williams is the Founder of - an online community that offers real-world guidance for real estate investors.

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