The Mastermind concept can be a powerful means of support and accountability for success-minded individuals. Additional benefits include peer feedback, collective intelligence, an expanded network, and certainly inspiration and motivation. 

The downside is that it's not always easy to find a Mastermind group comprised of like-minded people who are at a similar, or more advanced, level of growth. If you find this to be true, there may be a solution: build a group of your own. You can hand-pick your members, all of whom pay a monthly fee for an unlimited length of time.

Aaron Walker began his journey into Masterminds over two decades ago when his good friend, financial guru Dave Ramsey, invited him to join his group. In Walker's experience, the Mastermind provided a safe, judgment-free environment where he felt free to express his ideas and thoughts to an unbiased group of entrepreneurs. "This was a transformational experience in my life," he says.

Today, Walker is the creator and leader of 15 groups worldwide. Iron Sharpens Iron Masterminds are for businessmen seeking camaraderie, growth, and support in their lives and businesses. Recently, Walker published his 11-step Playbook, which provides all the tools necessary for others to design and operate their own successful Mastermind(s).

I asked Walker these questions so you can evaluate if it's this solution is something you'd like to consider.

Who should consider building a Mastermind?

If you seek lasting impact on the lives of those around you, or you know you have something to give but just don't know how to implement such influence, you might consider building a Mastermind of your own.  It offers a solution to those who value personal and business development whose current sphere of influence doesn't offer the impact, accountability, and relationships they seek. 

What are the benefits of running your own group(s)?

With a Mastermind, you can leverage your skills to create a platform that would greatly impact the lives of others, all while building recurring revenue that could last in perpetuity. The Mastermind can maximize your exposure while limiting the exchange for your time.

For someone who's running a core business is it realistic to go down this path? 

The beauty of the Mastermind experience is that once you establish your group(s) and develop a platform, you can leverage your time and energy by replicating it. There are significant investments of time and energy as you implement the steps to launch, but the long-term impact is far-reaching with minimal requirements as you scale. 

What skills does it take to facilitate a group? What would be my main responsibilities?

The facilitator's role is to prepare for each session, keep the meeting going forward and hold everyone to the process all the while participating themselves. It's a powerful exchange of accountability, relationships, and influence that yields transformative results. There are other touchpoints (with minimal time investment) suggested throughout the week that we outline in The Mastermind Playbook to help facilitators easily engage their tribe and ensure maximum output in the process.

What experience do I need to bring to a group when I launch one? 

If you have experience in business or a specific industry, have a message to share, and seek to make an impact in the lives of others, you likely are a fantastic candidate to launch a Mastermind. 

How would I find members?

Although the recruitment process can initially feel daunting, I can guarantee any new leader that their first Mastermind is much closer than you realize. Your first Mastermind is likely made up of those in your current contact list. The key is to identify your niche, then communicate that to those you know. There is a process for recruitment through your network as well as online lead generation to fill your recruitment pipeline for the long term. 

Are virtual meetings as effective as in-person Masterminds? 

Our weekly conference calls are held via video conferencing. The virtual setting does not minimize the impact; if anything, it allows for open exchange and higher levels of transparency through the process.

Why should people pay to belong to a Mastermind?

You value what you invest in. When members are required to invest in the Mastermind experience, they are more apt to prioritize the weekly calls, stay fully engaged with the experience, and give the best of themselves. 

How much does it typically cost to belong to a Mastermind?

Typically, the cost to participate in a Mastermind experience is anywhere from $300-$600 per month per member. The cost may include up to two free live events per year (travel excluded), one book per month.

How can I make sure that people get the value they are looking for?

Thoughtful preparation is key. This includes an annual plan and a bit of attentive preparation for each weekly call, (all of which is outlined in Walker's Playbook).

It is also essential to communicate expectations to your group from the very beginning. This will ensure that those who join the tribe are confident about the opportunity, fully committed, fully engaged, and will not short-change the experience.

What are common mistakes when assembling a Mastermind?

Failure to properly vet members is the number one mistake in the process of assembling a Mastermind group. Your ability to grow, be successful, and have a lasting impact will be significantly determined by those within your tribe. 

Another common mistake is to focus on the wrong goal. While financial gains and long-term income stability will undoubtedly result from your Mastermind, this is not the ultimate goal. The core success to be achieved is the transformation that will take place in the lives of your tribe. When you focus on this transformation process, the rest will follow.

How often do groups meet and long do they run? 

Mastermind groups typically meet once per week for one hour in a virtual conference setting. We ask for a minimum commitment of six months to fully engage the Mastermind experience and for relationships to form, yet due to the high level of accountability and their transformative nature, these groups often continue indefinitely.

Are mixed-gender groups as effective? 

Due to the high levels of transparency and relational interaction in the Mastermind experience, it is not typically an environment best suited for mixed-gender groups. Having said that, given the professional nature of the Mastermind experience and appropriate parameters in place, it is not impossible for a mixed-gender group to be effective.