It’s a New Year – Time to Scale Up

As we step forward into 2019, many photographers – small business owners and solopreneurs – are looking for new ways to become more productive and efficient. They’re looking for ways to run their business more effectively and to find new avenues to accelerate business growth. They’re looking for that extra time to work ON their business rather than IN their business. In other words, they’re looking for ways to scale up.

Easy to say, less easy to put into practice. Where do you start? Where do you find the answers and what are the right question to be asking?

How about if you had a group of “business best friends” to help you? And, what if those same friends kept you motivated and accountable to reaching your business goals, brainstormed new ideas with you, and helped you make big decisions?

What if you had the opportunity to tap into a community of like-minded others to provide a sounding board for your ideas, thoughts and challenges?

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

A mastermind group could be your solution.

The Local Café

There’s a small cozy eatery in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada where a group of photographers gathers every Friday morning at 9 am.

An organically grown group of like-minded photographers, or perhaps better stated as a happy accident, began because photographer Thomas Abrahamsson (www.rapidwinder.com), used to frequently hang out there. Close to Thomas’ home, it was a great place for breakfast and coffee with photography friends.

What started out 30 years ago as a convenient breakfast meeting place, evolved into a weekly gathering of other photographer friends – and eventually their photographer friends too – getting together to trade industry stories, talk about the latest equipment, share wins and challenges and most significantly, share their passion around their craft. No sign up was needed. Just showing up and being present was the only requirement of “membership”.

The best part was that once the gathering became a regular thing, it addressed one of the many challenges of being a solopreneur in a “solitary by nature” industry – it provided this group of photographers regular access to a dynamic sounding board for their profession. It offered them that group of “business best friends”. It presented them with a weekly opportunity to tap into a community of like-minded others. As the stories flowed and advice changed hands so much was learned from simply being together.

The group grew over the years and although Thomas has passed away, Friday morning’s gathering of photographers continues.

Now, wouldn’t it be great would it be to tap into a community like the group who meets at the Vancouver Cafe, to be a part of a “Mastermind” group of your own?

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “mastermind”, let’s describe the concept in more detail.

The Evolution of Masterminds

The concept of Masterminds was formally introduced by Napoleon Hill in the early 1900’s. In his book, “Think and Grow Rich” Hill wrote about the Mastermind principle as:

“The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony. No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.”

Put simply, a Mastermind group’s purpose is to establish a group of committed business owners who agree to meet and help each other grow. Everything shared in the group is agreed to be kept confidential and commitment to attend the meetings regularly is a fundamental requirement.

Being in a Mastermind is like having your own board of directors. The other members are committed to holding you accountable to the goals you share, brainstorming with you, sharing your wins and successes, and advising and supporting you through tough decisions and difficult circumstances.

Famous Mastermind Groups

Did you know many of your favorite Disney moments from the 1930-1970s were birthed from a mastermind group of animators? Walt Disney referred to them as “Nine Old Men.”

While still in their twenties and thirties, when Walt Disney first coined the phrase, this mastermind group brought to the world such classics as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, and many others.

Here are a few other famous masterminds from history:

The Inklings—a group of successful writers and poets which included C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams.

The Junto—a group of twelve members created by Benjamin Franklin which would later establish the first U.S. lending library and form the academic team for the University of Pennsylvania.

Sunday Night Supper — a mastermind group which was largely responsible for guiding the U.S. through the Cold War. Group members included Robert Lovett, Averell Harriman, George Kennan, Chip Bohlen, Joe and Stewart Alsop, Frank Wiser, and George Kennan.

Andrew Carnegie — after examining the success habits of Andrew Carnegie, Napoleon Hill of Think and Grow Rich fame became convinced that mastermind groups were the essential success factor for Carnegie’s success.

How Masterminds work

Meeting regularly, mastermind groups offer a mixture of brainstorming, peer accountability, and encouragement and allow members to expand their network and sharpen business and personal skills. Success stories are applauded, and problems solved through the collective and creative thinking of the group.

A group facilitator ensures that the conversations are deep and balanced, that all voices are heard and that all group meeting agenda items are covered in the time allotted.

What do you talk about at a Mastermind?

During the monthly or bi-monthly mastermind meetings, you talk about whatever is going on in your business: victories, learns, fears and struggles. You bounce ideas off other professionals who will give you suggestions based on their own experience, ideas that you may not have considered.

The best part: your fellow members completely understand what you’re going through! They’re small business owners too so it’s likely that someone will know a solution or have suggestions for any initiatives or problems you have.

Benefits of a Mastermind Group

Research tells us that creative entrepreneurs benefit from relationships with other creative entrepreneurs.
  • A group with whom you can generate new ideas and have people to discuss them with and not be alone anymore;
  • Be a part of an accountability group with a formal structure to help propel you to the next level;
  • Increase sales with greater ease as you learn, collaborate and receive feedback in a way that is often difficult to find in a competitive creative industry.
It doesn’t matter what the medium is — having contact with other creative individuals is inspiring, motivating, and truly necessary. This is because whether you’re a hobbyist painter or a professional photographer, there is the common element of isolation and it can be difficult to remain artistically stimulated and motivated in that isolation.

Imagine having your own support group, meeting on a regular basis, celebrating your accomplishments, stimulating your muse, exchanges ideas, and experiences, and helping you develop your potential! Just like the Vancouver Cafe.

Guest post by Glorie Averbach – myCEO.ca

Masterminds for Creative Entrepreneurs.

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