Last week I wrapped up the 6 month mastermind I’ve been doing with Kate Toon. It was an amazing experience, but now I’m done with masterminds.
In this blog, I’m going to share the reasons why, and they mightn’t be what you’d expect.
A reluctant mastermind participant
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I was initially dubious about doing a mastermind with Kate.
- been a member of both the Clever Copywriting School and Digital Marketing Collective for 4 years
- done Kate’s Recipe for SEO Success and Sales page courses
- attended 2 copywriting conferences and a small group coaching event
- been part of Kate’s team for a couple of years.
The woman might be brilliant, but was there really anything she could say that I hadn’t heard before?
What got me over the line?
Why didn’t I just find someone else?
The answer is simple.
To take my business where I wanted it, I knew I needed someone:
- with serious digital marketing savvy
- who understood the copywriting business, and
- who knew me and where I’d come from.
I didn’t want to start from scratch with someone who didn’t really understand what I wanted from the business.
And I definitely didn’t want a coach telling me to start my days at 5am with a green smoothie and yoga.
Kate understood my strengths and weaknesses, and I was confident she’d be brutally honest with me.
Doing the 2-week coached Sales page course definitely had an impact. I realised how much I enjoyed that small group coaching environment. Between that the initial chat with Kate, I decided I’d take the leap.
It was an enormous investment in both money and time. But 6 months working on my business with weekly input from Kate was too good an opportunity to pass up.
I found out the other night (from Kate) that I was the last to sign up. I can’t say I was surprised, but I hate to think I might have missed out.
Before we started, I didn’t know who else had signed up. I was a little nervous because we’d be sharing a lot about ourselves and our business. But I trusted Kate would attract the same type of exceptional people that are in the TCCS and DMC memberships.
It was a bit like going on an overseas posting or exchange. You mightn’t know the people at the start, but some of my closest friends are from my time living overseas. I think there’s something about friendships born out of a unique experience where you’re thrown together and quickly become friends.
That’s how I feel about the mastermind. Spending every Monday with my pod — Wendy, Elise and Natasha, plus Kate has been a bonding experience. We’ve shared business highs and lows, and had to dig deep to decide who we are and what we want our business to be. We’ve had our copy scrutinised and gotten real about our to do lists. Along the way, we’ve all had been health and family issues.
There were tears during our final group call. Perhaps because it was an intense process, but maybe we were just sad our Monday morning chats were over.
We’ve decided to keep up our calls, and while the regular calls mightn’t last forever, I think our friendship will. And I’m sure we’ll continue to be accountability partners and cheerleaders to ensure we implement all we learned.
A superstar line-up of collaborators
Obviously, joining a mastermind is so much more than making friends.
Sure, having great business buddies is important, but the mastermind has delivered so much more. I’m excited to know such an amazing group of collaborators who can work on:
- Website development and design
- Graphic design
- SEO and paid ads
- eCommerce Branding and copywriting
- Digital Marketing
We also had an eCommerce business. Watching how they developed 2 businesses and set up a membership will help me support future ecommerce clients.
Clear picture of my business and brand
While connections and friendships are important, my business needed much more.
The mastermind was an opportunity to get really clear on my values, to work out who I want to work with and the work I want to do. Kate helped me see that my experience as a diplomat has given me a unique skill set. My collaboration and negotiation skills, and the ability to communicate clearly to a range of audiences make me a great copywriter.
One practical outcome from the mastermind was my new About page, which gives potential clients a much better idea of who I am.
Money isn’t a dirty word
One thing I’ve always loved about Kate is her honesty around money. In her new book, Six Figures in School Hours, Kate shares loads of tips around money and some of her early mistakes. She’s always very transparent about the cost of running the Toon empire.
Thanks to Kate, since starting my business, I’ve:
- implemented Profit First,
- set up separate bank accounts for profit, tax and expenses
- been ruthless about cutting unnecessary expenses.
One of the first exercises we did was working out how much money we needed to contribute to our family budgets. This was a lightbulb moment for me and came at an important time. Moving back into our renovated house with a big mortgage and monthly interest rate rises, I needed to control our finances.
In the past, I’d ranted that “business wasn’t always 6 figures and staff”. But I quickly realised that without 6 figures in revenue, I wasn’t making enough to meet my financial goals. The other option – to get a job didn’t appeal, so it was time to cut expenses and starting growing my business.
Being ruthless with my expenses, even the small ones, has been an interesting exercise. I realised how much money I’d spent on things in the past just to convince myself I was a legitimate business owner.
I’ve now cut a lot of subscriptions, including a few I’d forgotten about.
If I need anything new (like Calendly for my new Pick my brains service), I’ll sign up by the month. It might work out to be more expensive. But seeing that monthly charge in my bank account reminds me it. And if I don’t keep using it, stopping the subscription will actually be a saving.
If you haven’t done it recently, I’d encourage you to go through your expenses line by line.
What do you really need to run your business? What have you bought (or are you still paying for) because of imposter syndrome?
I am in charge
My biggest lesson from the whole mastermind process? It’s that not only am I the boss, but I want to be the only one in charge. Sure, I needed help to work out what I wanted my business to look like. But ultimately, I’m the captain of the ship. And a captain with all the skills and tools I need to get where I want to go.
Yes, there will be days when I’d quite like someone to give me a prod to stop me procrasti-faffing (a brilliant Toonism). But that’s outweighed by the fact that one of the reasons I have a business is to decide when and how I work.
An incredible experience
My mastermind experience was amazing.
Kate has always been incredibly generous, and the mastermind was no different. There were extra sessions, loads of personal reviews, and advice. The fact Kate (in her words) “met us where we were” meant she probably felt like she was running 8 masterminds.
Despite all this, I’m done with masterminds.
The last 6 months have been life and business changing. I can’t imagine finding another mastermind experience that would come close to the experience.
But that’s not the only reason I’m done with masterminds.
I now realise I possess all the skills and tools I need to build my business, now and in the future.
But I’m done with procrasti-learning (definitely another Toonism). If I have one regret about my copywriting career, it’s that I spent so long lining up all the ducks. I thought I needed to learn everything before I could start. What I really needed to do was jump in, start doing and learning as I went.
I’ll still attend conferences (like the upcoming Digital Marketing Collective Conference) and events when I think there is something interesting on the agenda. But I suspect the chance to network will present the greatest appeal.
But investing in expensive coaching. No thanks.
So what’s next?
It’s time to use my knowledge and renewed confidence to achieve my goals. My website is looking good, with only sales page copy packages and email sequences to add. And my marketing plan is in place.
I’m also excited to be working with my pod buddies. Elise (from Elise Doyle Design), Wendy Brown (The Digital Spork) and I are updating Natasha Sutton’s First Impressions Media website. I really hope this is the first of many collaborative projects. So if you want a “one stop shop” for website design, copywriting, SEO and digital marketing, please get in touch.
And if you’re wondering how that will work, and why working with a collaborative team is important, keep an eye out for next month’s blog.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog, and I’d love to hear what you think.
If you know someone else that would enjoy it, please share it.