Hi! I’m Danilo, founder of Quest. I'm a location-independent consultant with over 8 years of experience, including business process design, operations and strategy.
Working remotely can be very tough if you are not part of a team. Freelancers and entrepreneurs work most of their time by themselves, and often have to deal with the feeling of loneliness and isolation that comes from the lack of social activities.
Even when it's not the case, they still struggle to run their businesses by themselves - the problem is not executing work, but knowing which decisions to make. They don't have colleagues or mentors to discuss their challenges with, and end up stuck in terms of growth.
Executive coaching is clearly an alternative, but not for everyone. Despite the recent growth in popularity and number of professionals, direct access to high-quality coaching still demands an investment that many, specially at the beginning of their career, cannot bare.
For those, the solution might be in joining a mastermind group - it is much more accessible than direct coaching, while also offering massive value and a number of advantages to members.
Want more details? You can read them here:
What is a mastermind group?
A mastermind is, in simplest terms, a group of people coming together regularly who are dedicated to mutual growth and improvement. Members meet to discuss what they’re working on and what problems they’re facing, and support each other as they execute towards their goals. It is a simple idea, but one that can become one of your most valuable resources to grow professionally.
Investing in building strong relationships might be the most important thing remote professionals need to live and work better. You communicate and share with other members regularly, take part on highly interactive video meetings, and brainstorm and discuss professional challenges as a team, with a big focus on support and accountability. Mastermind groups, unlike open and public social groups, provide a safe environment that allows yourself to be more open and vulnerable with your peers.
Group size can vary, with small groups consisting of 3 people and large ones even 15 to 20 members. Some held weekly meetings, others monthly. Although there are no fixed rules for setting up a mastermind group, it works better if it has some structure. Here are some of the guidelines that we use on our groups, for example:
The group consists of 3-5 people. In a small group you have more time to focus on the issues each individual member is facing. You can also meet more frequently and it’s much easier to coordinate the best time for everyone to meet.
The members should have similar experience levels and share common challenges, but also have different skills so they can both ask and give support to each other. The goal is to have a diverse group of people.
As for the meeting frequency, our group commits to a 1-hour talk every week. As soon as the admission of all of the members is confirmed, we poll the group to determine which day of the week and time works best for everyone, and then stick to it.
Everything discussed during a mastermind session is private. Members must feel comfortable to share everything, from numbers to strategy.
The group keeps an agenda that remains pretty much the same every time we talk. Structure and order create habit and it’s also conducive to getting things done.
There is a group facilitator, that in our case is a Quest's coach. He is the opening and closing speaker and responsible for running the meetings, and helps to respect the time and keep the discussions focused.
How does it work?
Once you’ve joined a mastermind group, a first meeting will be schedule to ensure that everyone knows what to expect, and what they should commit to. Some of the objectives here is to communicate the group guidelines and agenda to their members, present the facilitator and find a fixed meeting date. You should also go through some recommended practices to make the best out of the meetings, such as:
All members are expected to contribute and participate equally in both receiving and adding value.
Criticism should be constructive and positive.
Talk to the group when you feel like you’re not getting what you want out of your meetings.
Celebrate the milestones of your members.
Be vulnerable and encourage your members to be the same way.
Don't expect the group to do all of the work for you, take full responsibility for what you execute during the week and share on each meeting.
Have Fun: Sometimes you just need to have a good time. Focus is important, but burnout is a fact of life and you don’t want it happening to your group.
From then on, the group will keep a regular schedule of meetings. A typical meeting will change from group to group, but usually the facilitator starts out with any relevant information and then allow the members to give an update on their previous week initiatives and results. After the open discussion between the group, members will share their goals and commitments for the next week.
A common practice is to select one of the members to sit in the "hot seat": this person will be the focus of the meeting, having time to present in-depth their biggest challenge. The other members can then ask questions and share their experience and ideas to solve the issue, turning the meeting into a collaborative and learning environment. The member in the "hot seat" alternates every meeting, so that everyone has a chance to be coached.
It is important to always try to provide value to the other members. If they are working on something you have experience with, you might say, “I tried that a couple of months ago, and I'd be happy to tell you how it went and what I learned.” If someone mentions that they have a marketing issue, you could serve as a resource and say, “I have a friend who's a campaign expert. I’ll give him a call to see if he can help and introduce you.”
Why to join a mastermind group?
Freelancers and entrepreneurs are part of a group that can greatly benefit from mastermind groups. Below we list some of those advantages, and how they can be valuable to grow your business and improve the quality of your professional life:
Improved accountability: During each mastermind meeting, members share the initiatives they want to accomplish during the week, and that is the first thing they review at the next meeting - you don’t want to be the one missing their goals. It’s a great incentive to not only make sure you’re setting the right goals, but also making time in your schedule to work on them.
Valuable network of professionals: The intimate and collaborative environment is far more powerful to ask for advice and evaluate ideas than in forums or online chats, from people you never met who can only offer generic advice (that may or may not be useful). Over time, the members will learn more about each other and their business, and will be able to offer honest and valuable feedback.
Space and time to reflect and learn: As freelancers or business owners, we have a never-ending list of tasks and initiatives to work on, and often forget that being busy does not mean being productive. Regular mastermind meetings are a great way of breaking this habit and encourage you to question your priorities and how to do more with less. You will look at the big picture, brainstorm and evaluate ideas with members and solve problems faster and better.
Encourage and motivation: Working for yourself is difficult, and we all had our moments of struggle to keep a positive mindset and push forward. From sharing small wins to receiving encouragement from other members, being in a mastermind group will certainly make you feel in a team where everyone wants you to succeed. Members often come out of our weekly meetings excited about what they need to work next.
The people that work with us usually ask themselves:
“How can I build systems and processes to grow my business and get more results with less work?”
“How can I transition to remote (or start a remote project) and have the freedom to work from anywhere?”
"How can I become more effective, making smart decisions and avoiding bad ones?"
Excited about it? Check our guidelines and join the waiting list!
The Quest Mastermind group is a 6-month professional development program that helps driven professionals network, collaborate and achieve their goals. It provides the dynamic environment to focus on what’s important to grow your business.
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