I knew that joining a mastermind group would help keep me accountable in achieving my blogging goals, but I never thought the group would actually save it. I formed a three-person mastermind in the wake of FinCon13, when I was introduced to the concept.
It’s a simple idea: Meet with similarly-minded people to discuss professional goals and achievements, and do it in a professional style.
My mastermind group consists of two other bloggers whose blogs support their small business of providing professional services. We established a once-a-month meeting schedule and a two-part agenda.
First, we each discuss developments in our blogs and businesses and, second, we discuss our goals for the next month. Organically, these two segments of our meetings developed into sharing expertise and learning from each other on very relevant issues, as well as receiving encouragement and accountability to keep moving ahead with our blogs and businesses.
In the course of our check-in discussion, usually one or both of the people who are listening have a particular expertise or knowledge to add to a business development—whether it’s substantive knowledge about an area the person needs to know more about, referrals to others who can help, or an offer to help the person overcome a particular hurdle.
Establishing our goals on a monthly basis helps us break down big picture items, like writing an eBook, into simpler steps. Saying those goals out loud not only keeps us accountable but also can generate a problem-solving discussion about a particular hurdle the blogger hasn’t yet resolved.
My Mastermind Success Story
A few months ago, I received the welcome news that I was pregnant with my second child. The news was accompanied by the usual symptoms that make it difficult to keep up with a typical day, and something had to give. It was my blog.
My blog focuses on living a frugal lifestyle to pay off student loan debt. In addition to debt-payoff and budget-slashing stories, I publish my picks for the best deals at Staples that week. When something in my life had to be sacrificed, I sacrificed the time-consuming personal finance posts and only wrote about the weekly Staples deals.
My readership plummeted.
At our next mastermind meeting, I shared the happy news of my pregnancy with the depressing news about my blogging progress. I suggested that focusing on the weekly Staples deals was a stopgap measure during the pregnancy, but my mastermind had different ideas.
They also read my blog, and told me that the posts they loved most were those that didn’t have all the answers. Those posts showed my vulnerability and raised the questions that kept me awake at night. There are also easier posts to publish. I listened to them, and my readership bounced back.
My mastermind group’s encouragement and feedback at a low point in my blogging career saved my blog in more ways than one. By encouraging me to continue, they changed the tone of my blog. Stapler Confessions changed from something that had been geared towards SEO and dispensing advice to a blog that provides a framework for resolving burning financial questions in a very real context. Analytics tells me that those are the posts that keep my readers coming back.
Lawyer by day and couponer by night, Rebecca blogs about her journey to pay off over $200,000 in student loans with entrepreneurship and frugality while raising a family. Stop by Stapler Confessions to follow the journey and never pay for printer paper again.