A couple years back I ran a giveaway that surpassed my wildest expectations — 187,991 new email subscribers in 11 days.
What I don't talk much about is how I almost pulled the plug on the whole thing.
I was totally stressed out. My server crashed. People were trying to hack into WordPress. The traffic was crushing my site and causing random errors—which triggered angry emails from would-be contestants.
I decided I was going to end the contest 9 days early.
Even went in and changed the settings in the KingSumo Giveaways plugin.
If I'd gone through with it, I'd have missed out on thousands and thousands of new subscribers.
What pulled me back from the brink?
The guys in my mastermind group. They told me I was crazy, that I just needed to sweat it out.
This is just one reason why every entrepreneur needs a mastermind group.
My coaching student Felix recently asked me about this:
Are you a part of any masterminds? Any recommendations on how to find and join one?
I feel like it would be a good idea to have a group of peers help me focus and filter down all the things I'm always getting distracted with.
My mastermind group is the Entreprogrammers. We're a little bit weird because we record our calls and publish them as a podcast.
Here are some guidelines to help you form your own mastermind:
1. Keep it intimate.
You want have a small group—3-6 people is a good number.
Bigger “mastermind” groups are more like forums. They can still be valuable, but it's not the same thing.
2. Keep the bar high.
Look for people who are at or above your level, and who have different strengths and skills. That way you can push each other.
3. Find people with similar values.
The best way to find people that you're going to click with is to join a few communities and start participating.
Communities have personalities and tend to attract certain types of people.
For me, I find I've fit in best in Perry Marshall's community, which is full of people with an analytical, reflective bent.
I also like Ben Settle's Facebook groups.
Paid communities have a better quality of participant than free ones.
4. Have the right expectations.
If you're mainly looking for help staying focused, you might be better off hiring a coach or finding an accountability partner.
For me, mastermind groups are more about asking different questions, hearing about new ideas and getting a fresh look at the problems you're tackling.
Oh, and grabbing you by the shirt collar before you hurl yourself into the abyss.
And don't we all need that once in a while?