We started our Biz Success Series a few days ago with:
Today we’re going to move onto a brilliant way to market you + your business:
With online networking & masterminding!
You can also listen to the companion podcast episode for this blog post:
Click play above, or or subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, PocketCast (or wherever else you listen to podcasts!)
Oh hallowed territory.
This is one of my favourite things in the world. Can you tell? I’ve been a big fan of online networking and masterminding since ye olden days.
Again, you need to be aware there are two purposes here, with two very different places to fill the need.
- Connecting with your target market
- Masterminding with other business owners.
Networking and Finding Your Target Market Online
You want to connect with your target market. People who will want the thing you offer.
You need to find where they are hanging out and hang out there too.
How To Be An Online Networking Pro
Be strategic with your time
Make sure the people you are networking with ARE actually your ideal target market.
- Do they show interest in your offering?
- Do they have the cashola to spend or are they looking only for free stuff?
- Have they already made a purchase which would mean they aren’t going to purchase a similar product (i.e. yours?)
Behind-The-Scenes: How I’ve Used Online Networking In My Own Business With Success:
- I’ve hung out in both paid and free membership sites and forums where my target market is hanging out. I make sure they are people who would be interested in what I’m offering (whether it was artwork, spirituality e-courses or business coaching).
- I share my story authentically, share photos from my life, share what I’m creating at the moment. Basically, I turn up and participate like they are friends. Because they are. And I’m a part of the community.
- I answer other people’s posts, am supportive, encouraging and helpful. I help with answering specific questions as much as I can. My mottowhen I’m in networking mode is to turn up and answer 3 people’s questions or problems as brilliantly as I can – really dig inside me to brainstorm a solution or what needs to be said.
- I sometimes offer Q&A sessions – I let them know or remind them what my experience is, and say I can answer questions on certain topics for the next hour if anyone needs help. I’ve filled three retreats in the space of just a couple of days JUST from networking on one forum. They were high-end priced retreats too!
On top of getting in front of your idea clients, you also want to connect with other business owners and mastermind together. Help each other brainstorm and grow each other’s businesses, support each other with advice and kindness during business challenges, and learn new solutions for use in your own business. A business mastermind can be a wealth of knowledge that you can access 24/7. They are ding dang indispensable!
Here’s just some of the things we’ve discussed in my mastermind:
- Accounting software that totally kicks my old software’s butt
- A grant my company could apply for that will end up being worth tens of thousands of dollars (!!!)
- Hiring and firing advice (and emotional support when it’s difficult! And muchos sharing of “This happened to me!” stories which make you feel much less alone in the world.)
- How to decrease refund requests
- How to firm up legal policies and boundaries in business
- Advice on which live conferences are great to go to, and which ones totally suck balls
- Launch strategies that work
- Referrals for who are good contractors to work with (i.e. VA’s, coaches, graphic designers, website coders, accountants, lawyers, grant application officers)
- Exactly what systems and software we use with the best results in our businesses
- Planning to run a live event with all our mastermind members as speakers
- Advice and feedback on each other’s sales pages, websites and launch procedures
Are you starting to gather just how crazy useful and prosperous a good mastermind is? How much money it can make you and save you? How much crazy it can save you from?
How To Find Your Own Mastermind:
You can find an existing free mastermind
There are an increasing number of mastermind groups that you can find for free online. They are usually large and available for anyone to read.
They can be helpful in dipping your foot in the mastermind water, or getting the answer to one question you have.
However, you may not necessarily find that the response rate to questions is fantastic, that you can easily form connections, that you feel safe enough to discuss business issues in a super public (and Google-a-ble) way. And free masterminds can be a bit of a pitch-a-thon where everyone is just trying to sell their thang.
There are plenty springing up as social media groups, as well as old school forums.
You can ask to be invited into one if you know of one
If you know of someone in a free, private mastermind you can ask if you can score an invite. You may not get a yes, but it’s always worth a try!
You can find a paid membership mastermind
This is where I started out doing online masterminds. I joined a paid membership mastermind about five years ago for $400 for the year. At the time, it seemed like a huge investment for me and my business. But it was definitely a massive turning point for my business. I learned so much from hanging out online with other business owners. I challenged myself to try and brainstorm with and answer at least three questions a day – not because I always found it easy to come up with the answers and not because I was an expert – but because I wanted to help other business owners, try and see if I could stretch my brain to come up with a possible solution, and really grow my business muscles through practice. I’m no longer in that mastermind, but five years on I still have dear friends, contractors, clients and referrals that I met through there! I still get so many people say “Oh! I know you from that mastermind!”
I’ve regularly invested in other online masterminds – up to $7500 for a year – just to be around business owners who have the same level of business success as me or more. Learning from people who know more than you do is the only way to grow!
You can create one of your own
I’ve also been a part of free, private masterminds over the years as well. These are usually people I’ve met through paid masterminds, or heard about through other online business friends. They tend to be smaller (i.e. under 15 people) than other masterminds, and not advertised in any way – their genesis is through existing connections.
It’s fairly easy to set up a group for it – you can use group messages or a forum. It’s important to set up rules and guidelines for how much people should participate; i.e., if any promotion is allowed, what kind of confidentiality you agree to, etc. And always get members to agree to it before joining. Sometimes these groups work awesomely, sometimes they fall flat. Sometimes they work awesomely for a time, and then end up dying a natural death.
How To Be A Mastermind Pro:
Give more than you take
Don’t be a pitch-a-thon. Don’t just show up to ask questions and never help anyone else. Don’t be there just to promote your shiz. It’s really, really obvious. It’ll score you no points, and you’ll lose out on the whole benefit of masterminding. When the whole ecology of a mastermind is nourished, everyone within it thrives.
Take note of guidelines
Whether you are in a free, paid or private mastermind, take note of any rules or guidelines that have been set up for the space. It doesn’t matter if you agree with them or not – the container has been set for that space. And it’s up to you to turn up and behave appropriately.
Build your brainstorming muscles
Make it a daily habit to go into your mastermind, and try and help three other people. Spend time on your answers! You will learn SO much from the experience. You’ll learn how to empathise with people. Really listen to what they are saying. Imagine yourself in that situation. Communicate compassionately. And give them whatever advice, guidance or support you can offer up to help them through it.
They will remember what you do for them. And you will be deeply changed in the most wonderful of ways from the act of helping others.
Help other people with the best of yourself. And they’ll be able to help you with the best of themselves when you need it.
Here’s the miraculous results of good online networking & masterminding:
- I still have fans/readers/students/friends from a message board I was on… in 2002. Nearly TWENTY YEARS ON.
- In 2008 I was in a mastermind that created various business benefits. I ended up launching a course with a mastermind partner that brought in tens of thousands of dollars, I found a mentor who I went on to work with for 10 years and had many of the mastermind members become long-term students.
- In 2012 I filled 3 private coaching retreats (over $40,000 in revenue) from one forum.
- I’ve brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars more from ideas I’ve had because of masterminds!
Networking & masterminding can bring miracles…
AS LONG as you are intentional with how you spend your time, don’t let it swallow up your day, and provide real value to other humans!
Hope this is useful! Please do share this along with any business buddies who might need this!
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