How I Found My Business BFF & Created My Own Mastermind Group
I wrote a post on tips for finding business friends recently. If you’re new to networking I recommend you read that post as well! Read post here How to Find Your Business BFF Part 1: Finding Your Pack
Networking is one of those icky words that’s pretty vague and doesn’t sound very fun but today I’m going to show you how I found my business bff and created my own two-person mastermind group. If you ask anyone who’s close to me they’ll tell you that I am constantly going to different events and workshops. It’s easy to meet like-minded people at these events but maintaining a relationship with these busy girl bosses is a different story.
Creating a network is no different from developing friends. The three main factors that determine a friendship are: proximity, repeated encounters (both formal and informal), and the opportunity to genuinely connect and share personal feelings. These three factors played a huge factor into how my network has developed. It’s not enough that you meet someone at an event that you click with and then simply exchange business cards. You have to invest the time it takes to develop a relationship just like you do with your friends and romantic relationships.
Picture this scenario: I go to an event, meet a fabulous girl boss, have a great conversation, exchange business cards and then never hear from her again. Or I meet someone fabulous, go on a coffee date and then that’s it. This was what my networking looked like and it was disappointing. I started to feel like I was going on a lot of first dates and having the same conversation over and over again: “My name is Aimee, I started Little Trailer Studio, etc etc.” No one is to blame in these one-off encounters; what was missing from these encounters was repetition. When you start to see people over and over that allows you to take the conversation from small talk to something deeper. The next step after repetition is commitment. Commit to those relationships you’d like to maintain. Repetition and commitment are two key things that helped me go from acquaintance to business bff.
It all Started with Coffee
My business bff, Rachel, and I first met at a Being Boss meet up here in LA. We were already Facebook friends but this was the first time we met in person. After that meet up we began to engage with each other a little more on social media until finally one day she asked to meet for coffee. Our coffee meeting was not atypical of your usual coffee meeting. She asked how I started Little Trailer Studio, I asked what her dreams and aspirations were with Process/Progress. I try to be as transparent and open with whomever asks about my business but you simply cannot get into the nitty gritty in just one sitting over coffee. What made this coffee date different is that we started texting each other shortly after. With most of my other coffee dates we would continue the relationship over email and social media but that’s about it. I attribute it to our assumption that people are too busy. Rachel would text me little questions here and there or advice on one of her upcoming projects. After seeing that we were both interested in continuing the conversation I asked if she’d be interested in doing a working meeting where we could both focus on an aspect we wanted to improve on and get feedback from each other.
Action Tip: Is there someone in your network with whom you’d like to be more than acquantainces? Repetition is key so start with coffee but don’t stop there. Consider going to events together and even meeting up before the event for some one-on-one time.
Our First Working Meeting
During our first working meeting we were able to get down to the details of my business and the details of her side hustle. Our goal for this meeting was for me to streamline my on-boarding process and overall design process and for her to narrow down her design services. I completely laid out my client on-boarding process and we brainstormed on how it could be improved. We evaluated past projects and figured out what could be improved for next time. We discussed what we’re currently charging and what we’d like to be charging. She shared really good tips on scouting clients and I helped her hone in on what type of services she could offer once she officially took her side hustle to full time hustle. We both went home with to-do lists and next steps on how to improve our business. Remember the three things I mentioned that it takes to create a friendship? One of them is the opportunity to genuinely connect and share personal feelings. Our working meeting allowed us to go from coffee date chatter to get personal on what’s going on with our business. Shared adversity can lead to bonding and that’s exactly what’s happened. By sharing our successes and frustrations we’ve been able to connect on a deeper level.
Action Tip: Plan ahead, create an agenda and objective for the meeting. I created an agenda with every single item I wanted to cover in the meeting and we actually accomplished everything on that agenda. Another good tip is to take advantage of what your strengths are and what your business buddy’s strengths are. Is there something that she is good at that you could use help with? What are some findings you’ve come across in your business that your business bff could also benefit from? The more you share with each other the better the working meeting will be and you’ll start to start to establish trust with one another. Remember, this isn’t the time for those vague answers you tell people during small talk. So dive deep, get vulnerable, and don’t be shy!
After that first meeting we were both super motivated and started texting each other small victories and things we’ve crossed off our to-do lists. It didn’t take long to realize that it would be beneficial to take those conversations onto a productivity app so we started an Asana project called “Boss Babe Accountability Club.” Within this project is a section for each of our to-do lists, a section for resources, a section for ongoing conversations, and much more.
Action Tip: Rather than emailing or texting back and forth, start a Slack group or an Asana project. It’ll help you stay on track and will serve as a place to house all your resources that you’re sharing with each other.
What Rachel and I have created has been so beneficial for my business and it’s so nice to have someone I can turn to for feedback. It’s even made the business stuff a little more fun. Your business or side hustle will always have an endless to-do list, goals to accomplish, and issues to fix but you should be having fun with your mastermind group. Meet up for drinks every now and then or do little activities that can take your mind off the business side of things.
What has your experience been with networking and meeting other creative entrepreneurs? Do you have any tips for maintaining these relationships? Comment below, I’d love to hear about it! And if you want to find out more about Rachel’s creative studio, Proccess/Progress, follower her on Instagram or check out her website. Rachel works with spirit-preneurs so if that’s you I’d definitely consider booking her for a branding session!