7 Real-Life Tips for Creating a Successful Mastermind Group - Christine Kane

My recent article about mastermind circles generated lots of response.  I got emails, Facebook comments, and some direct Twitter messages, asking me how to create a Mastermind.

I Googled around but found very little useful advice on the internet. Most of it was nice in theory – but not at all true to what my real-life experiences have taught me.

So, in honor of my trip to Texas today to meet with my mastermind – here are a few tips based on my experiences, both as a creator of – and participant in – mastermind groups.

Create a Mastermind Tip #1:

Let Desire Trump Ego.

If you want to create a successful mastermind group, the first thing you have to do is let go of the fear of looking like an idiot to people who don’t know you.

I’ve created two mastermind groups from scratch in my life and both times I had to suck it up, and put the word out there. I had to be the one to make it happen.

Most people aren’t willing to step out and tell the world they want to create a success circle. Because, after all, if you’re so great, why aren’t people just showing up and forming a circle around you?

The first group I created was a Life Makeover Group – at the encouragement of Cheryl Richardson.  At the time, I was already successful as a performer and musician. Only problem? I was tired of the isolation.  People can clap at you all day long – but you still need people to listen to your ideas, to support you in your growth, and to pick you up when you get a bad review.

So, I swallowed my rock-star pride and posted signs all over my town.  On the sign, I wrote down EXACTLY what I wanted. I wrote down the kind of people, what we would focus on, and of course, my phone number.  I thought they’d come beating down my door because I loved this idea so much. But, after several weeks, only two women joined me.

It was perfect.

We made it last a longer time than most impromptu groups like this. They were both proud of me for getting over myself and making the group happen! (Me too!)

Create a Mastermind Tip #2:

Get Seriously Clear.

Before you create the mastermind, get clear about what you’d like it to be. You’ll want to do this at the first meeting, of course. But it helps if you see yourself as the creator.  As such, you have to get some of the details in order.

Here are some things you’ll want to get clear about:

– How often will you meet and for how long?   (My recommendation is once  a month, or every other week. And I’d keep it to two hours tops.)

–  How many people will be in the circle? (My recommendation is no less than 3. No more than six.)

–  Do you want a core focus for the group?  (Creating a new business, work/life balance, creating wealth – you can choose!)

–  Other things to consider: How long will each person have to speak and share? Will there be a whining limit? (Yes, you can set a timer – and let the speaker have at it!) Will there be food? Who will bring the food?  Will you meet at houses of the members? Or at a café?

Create a Mastermind Tip #3:

Give it a Name.

Clarity wins.  Not just some of the time. ALL of the time.

Consider if someone approaches you and says, “Hey, I’m thinking of putting together some people to get together and talk about, you know, being more successful. I got the idea from this chick whose blog I read.”

Then, think about this:  “Hey!  I’ve begun an exclusive success circle called “The Big and Bold Creative Success Mastermind.” I’m in the process of choosing members who are go-getters and really want to commit to making big shifts in their lives and living more positively. Wanna come to the first meeting?”

You will also be able to pre-qualify people with your clarity.  If your clarity and your purpose threatens people (believe me, it will), then they will run far away from you. Let them go (and revisit #1). You’ll find the perfect people in time. Just stick with your clarity.

Create a Mastermind Tip #4:

Schedule meetings in advance.

At the first meeting, schedule at LEAST three months of meetings in advance.  A few weeks before the last of these meetings, schedule a “Review Meeting” – and during that meeting, schedule out the next three months, as well as check in about changes to format, etc.

When you schedule your meetings in advance, you are not counting on “inspiration” and whim.  Face it. You sometimes won’t “feel” like going to your group meetings – but those are often the BEST times to go. And when they’re in your calendar, then you’re more likely to show up.

Create a Mastermind Tip #5:

Allow for Fun, too.

Mix it up a bit. Every now and then, have a dinner meeting and do some fun sharing activities.  I discovered Vision Boards because one of the two women in my mastermind had us both over to her house to do one. She had just learned about them and gotten great results.  We played music, chatted, and just enjoyed each other’s company. It’s easy to get all strung out by your goal-oriented thinking. But you need to connect and enjoy the people in your group on occasion, too.

Create a Mastermind Tip #6:

Don’t fear variety.

There’s a temptation to seek out people exactly like you. For instance, artists often think that they have to be in masterminds with other artists.

Here’s the problem:  Other artists may not be able to see beyond your issues into the solutions because they are living the exact same paradigm and have similar challenges. So, you might just end up sitting around complaining to each other. (I’ve heard from several artists that they’ve dropped out of masterminds for this very reason.)

When you’re in a group with different types of people in different professions, you get different success stories and different perspectives. Don’t get caught up in the ego-trap of thinking that everyone has to think just like you do.  Too many people go nowhere because they stay stuck in their judgment of everyone else’s choices in life.

Create a Mastermind Tip #7:

Shut Up and Lead.

When I write about my Conscious Creative Platinum Coaching and Mastermind Circle (or, “Platinum Group”), I’m referring to a coaching program I created. It’s a year-long investment, and each participant is paying for one-on-one coaching and in-person masterminding three times during the year.  I participate in a similar mastermind with MY coach, Sheri McConnell.

These models are so effective because each person has invested, not only her energy, but her money.   Let’s face it.  Monetary investment is quite an ass-kicking motivation.  You’re less likely to blow off appointments and meetings if you’ve got some serious cash in the pot.

That being said, my experience with many free masterminds is that most people don’t sustain their motivation for very long. They give up easily.  They let life and all of its to-do’s get in the way.  And pretty soon, your mastermind crumbles.

If you want to start a mastermind, then you need to be brave, and step into the leadership role.  Check in, call people to remind them of meetings, set up a Facebook group, etc. You have to be very willing to be a motivator, an inspirer, a leader.

And this takes us back to Create a Mastermind Tip #1.  You might have to try a few times to get the right members and the right kind of people for mastermind success. So, if you can do that and not take it personally and get a solid group together, then you will NOT be sorry. The rewards are huge.


Leave a comment below if you’d like to let this community know about a mastermind group you’d like to start!! (Or leave a comment below if you plain old just feel like leaving a comment!)

  • Nathaniell

    Do you think masterminds are effective with just two people? I’ve heard that there’s an upper limit to how many people should be in a group just for time effectiveness, but what do you think about the opposite side…I mean, is two people masterminding just two people talking about their business?

    • Patricia

      Nathaniell, I can tell you this much. I sent out a call to a host of professionals that I am familiar with in LinkedIn and Facebook to create a mastermind group a few weeks ago and was very specific on what it took to get in. I wanted to work with the most top of their game Virtual Assistants in the business and we would meet *virtually* once a week via Google Hangouts to discuss our topics. That way no one was limited due to region. Anyway, didn’t happen yet – very few responses.

      However, in answer to you question, I happened to link up with another virtual professional in a Facebook group (unrelated to Virtual Assistants) and in the last month with her and I brainstorming and collaborating almost every day by phone, I have accomplished more than I have in the last 3 months alone.

      So even though I am looking forward to eventually creating my own small group where we have specific objectives, etc., I have found that if you are specific with your one-person team you can really get re-motivated and energized when you find that you’re both vibing off the ideas you’re coming up with together and putting them into action. Seriously, the last month has been a whirlwind but it’s been so worth it. I created a database I needed, revamped my CRM, created a drip campaign email course for prospects and even uncovered some new tools to make collaborating with my clients more efficient.

      As long as the two of you separate friend/playtime from real grind work, you can see results. I look forward to meeting my one-person mastermind buddy someday when I’m in her state.

      Patricia Nixon
      Nixon Virtual Strategies

      The Power of Delegation
      recognized by Forbes

      • Sam Fung

        I had the opportunity to take over the infrastructure of a meetup group called ‘When business come together and grow’ summer of 2015 in southern Oregon and I turn it into a business mastermind group. It has been running great with average of 8 persons weekly for one hour. I start another chapter in the City of Ashland Oregon once a month starting Jan 2016 and 9 persons showed up on the first meeting! I use ‘meetup.com’ and FB business page for meeting announcement etc!

  • Jewel

    Thank you so much for this post. I’m now getting into the idea of a Mastermind Group and this article gave me some great guidance

  • Jody Guido

    Thanks for the excellent article! Just beginning to pull together a mastermind and was looking for some good tips to get it off on the right foot.

    Much appreciated!


  • Ingrid Holm

    This is great information! I am working on creating my first mastermind group and will definitely put these tips to use. Thanks for the great ideas and the enthusiasm, I’ve never been so excited to get this going!!

  • Paul Sohn

    Question: What did Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin C.S. Lewis, Andrew Carnegie have in common?
    Answer: All members of a different Mastermind group!

    In January 2013, I joined my first Mastermind group which happened to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in my personal and professional growth. I wrote about my experience here: http://paulsohn.org/iron-sharpens-iron-how-mastermind-groups-will-change-your-life/

  • Zuzana

    Wow! This is the best article about mastermind group I came accros with. Thank you so much. Very detailed and very usefull.

  • Ravi

    Hi Christine

    I know this is an old post and I came across it when I googles how to set up a mastermind group. You have given some of the best tips on this topic.

    I have one question. How effective is a mastermind group if members cannot meet in person due to distance and what is the best way to get the most out of such a mastermind group?

    I appreciate your time in answering this question.

    Kind Regards.


  • Steven

    I know this response is a bit delayed, but great tips Christine! Love the framework you’ve drawn out and especially the first point about letting desire trump ego, that’s extremely important. I’d encourage readers to check out VocalTap. We take care of all the logistics and infrastructure around forming mastermind groups. We match, schedule, and moderate regular video chats where peers can learn from one another and hold each other accountable to goals. You just have to commit to showing up and growing. Anyone interested just go here to learn more: VocalTap

  • Amit

    m goona be mad with my all day long class and surroundings.
    plz help.

  • Charlie Slack

    Hi…thanks for the post…although it was years ago…question is I am going to start a paid mastermind for business owners – the topic is about marketing. do you have any suggestions for what is a good price point?


  • Dana

    Hello Christine, Those are some great tips on how to create a mastermind. I created a free skype mastermind and I have some great people in there. However, my next step is creating paid mastermind calls. I will keep in mind some of your tips you have shared. Well done!

  • Susan Carey

    I’m in the midst of starting a group… my mentor who is an experienced Leadership Coach and a fellow coach who graduated about the same time as I- recently- are up for being part of it.
    one lives an hours drive away and one lives in another country.Will teleconferencing work? Will the difference in experience matter.Should I form 2 groups? help!

  • Dan du Bois

    Thanks for the advice Christine! i am looking to start a mastermind group in Denver centered around the liquor business. You have given me some good things to think about. So if anyone reads this and is interested, please let me know. Thanks so much!

  • Sam

    Honestly, this is the first thing I’ve heard about Mastermind groups and I’m already hooked. It seems like such a great way to encourage myself and others to do all those “someday” things we talk about all the time. I will definitely be looking into this more. Thanks Christine!

  • Nella Ureno

    Great post and I seriously like the instructions as well.

  • Alexis

    I’m curious, why do mastermind groups suggest to be limited to no more then 6 people or just a small group? I was thinking about doing a mastermind group of 20.

  • Pat

    Christine, I recently relocated to Bend, Oregon and found that no one here had even heard about Master Mind….so started a great group of about 12 women and had a very successful 6 months. We stopped for the summer because of kids, vacations and the playing that happens here in Central Oregon (me included) and will begin again in September.
    My group followed my area of expertise, real estate, and so all the women were somehow effected by the turn of events in the current market – agents, appraisers, window coverings company, custom home builder, lender, etc…..we had great synergy and at the end of the 6 months the review they gave me brought tears to my eyes.
    Well, here I am getting ready to start again and wondering where to go. We did vision boards, daily affirmations, marketing displays, customer service issues/voice mail, social networking and now where do I go? I am a trainer by trade so my want is to bring good solid training to the 2nd hour of our sessions. We meet once/month for 2 hours. The first hour is conversations – What’s happening, what’s good, what’s bad, how can we help, brainstorming, and then training. Any suggestions?

  • Mary

    This is a timely message for me as well. I am definitely wanting to start a group in the Boulder, Denver, Colorado area. Anybody out there?

    Thanks Christine!

  • linni

    I started a group 2 years ago…my vision was definitely not theirs..the other women were still very happy to continue and meet monthly, on which i just set the dates…and attended.

    Sometimes others just need someone brave to start something off like this to get them to start doing things. It’s so true what Christine says about being the energy… be clear about your intentions or why and how come you are starting this…

    and then…just do it!

  • Stacey

    Great post and very timely – I’m creating my very own Mastermind group in Asheville!

    In the Women’s Wisdom Circle you learn to listen to your life. You will create the conditions to achieve your goals and dreams. If you’ve ever been interested in a Mastermind group, this is for you.

    You can find out more here:

    Thanks so much for your inspiration!

  • sue

    LOVE the mastermind! 🙂

  • kathreen

    Bravo, Christine! Synchronicity took a huge part in this and sent one original and vital member of our group to vacation back here in Toronto so we can begin again. We are beginning again. This time on Goals Setting Part 2. LovE,Love,LOVEYOU for spreading the Word and All The Best to those starting now. 😉 You’re gonna have a blast!

  • Patricia

    Woo hoo! Excellent timing. I’m meeting this weekend with two artists who are interested in starting a mastermind group. We’re looking for support and accounability, and your post will surely get us started! Thank you so much.

  • Mary Miller

    Great post! Thanks Christine for the tips on getting started, ahhhh…now to act upon them. Is there anybody in the central Ohio, or anywhere in Ohio for that matter, interested?

  • Christine Kane

    Hi Mimi – i direct tweeted u on this. I’m honestly not sure. One word that stands out in this is “SHOULD.” With a mastermind group – everyone’s contribution or lack thereof actually mostly is about them and their own success – not about any SHOULD. It sounds like you’re trying to start something that’s not really a mastermind… but more like a project. Since it’s your vision, it’s going to be your energy that sustains it and gets it going, etc. I think you’ll find that you have to be the primary motivator – and THE one who is MOST excited about it regardless of what others are doing. So – go find new people!

  • Mindful Mimi

    I have gotten 2 people together to start up this charity I have been thinking about. So far we have gotten clearer on what to focus on. But lately things are trailing off a bit and people are not delivering the things they should. I want this to move faster and am not getting satisfaction. So right now I am dithering on whether this is because I have not stated my intentions and expectations correctly or whether they are the wrong people and I should look for someone else. How/when do you make that decision?

  • Julie

    Hi Megg – I am just south of Swindon and would be happy to do this.

  • megg

    If there is anyone reading this who lives in the south of England (I’m near Bristol) who would like to talk seriously about doing this – please get in touch!!

  • John of Celtic Ways

    Great ground rules, an essential reminder, a terrific blog post. Many, many thanks

  • Elan Chalford

    My mastermind group is only three people. Often, only two of us show up Tuesday morning. It’s still good.

    Purpose: 1. Brainstorming, 2. Support, 3. Accountability, 4. the overmind, or Mastermind working behind the scenes.

    Don’t forget Meet and Grow Rich by Joe Vitale and Bill Hibbler, an excellent resource.

  • Lu

    How timely is this message? Just yesterday I was thinking I would like to start a group for female creatives in my immediate community. Then I thought why have it be so small? Why am I thinking small? Are there not other kindred spirits who are in need of support and inspiration? I can not sit around and wait for things to happen, then jump on board. You want to see change, then be the change. Your call to be a leader really spoke to me. Great message and I am going to get started today.

  • Jenn

    Ok. This may not be the place to do this because mostly this post was about bucking up and starting a dang tootin mastermind group already…however, at my current place in life, i am working on taking on LESS leadership/responsibility roles and would actually like to try and enjoy a bit of following someone else’s lead (though of course, still be a willing/active participant).

    Anyone thinking of starting a group in the seattle area? I would love more info if you are!

  • Lance

    Hi Christine,
    I’m on the verge. Or at least I think I am. I’m ready to take that next step. I’d like to start a mastermind group around writing a book. This is starting to become a reality – I’ve hired a life coach to help (she’s excellent!). I’ve read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill recently (he talks much about this concept of mastermind groups). I’m on the verge, and yet held back because of tip #1 above. I have not yet let desire trump my ego. I think there’s this fear of others saying “no”, or laughing off the idea of a mastermind group. And I know…it shouldn’t matter what others think. Still…getting over this one is a key sticking point for me.

    This post is awesome Christine. You’ve really laid out some great concepts – and it has me thinking about how to make this a reality. Thank you!!

  • Pia f. Walker

    I’ve been thinking about reaching out to my community and either 1. joining an existing mastermind group or 2. starting one.
    These tips are exactly what I needed to read, and it’s a great way to start off to my week.
    Thank you for posting these.