Update: I wrote this post and went to this mastermind session almost 2 years ago. Even as I re-read it today, the powerful impact that this one day and this community has had on my business is immeasurable. I've learned so much about my business and helping others from this one day alone, that it's allowed me to be able to be at home while my son takes his first steps.
I share my experience in this post with you about a WP Elevation Mastermind I attended to share with you my experience and my struggles to show that we are not in this alone. Full disclosure: You will find affiliate links to WP Elevation in this post as well. But it's not why this post is here. I've since completed the course shortly after this post was published 2 years ago and I'm an active member of the community.
This past weekend I went to a WP Elevation Mastermind group that had a meetup here in New York City. For those of you who don't know, WP Elevation is a WordPress business accelerator program. Honestly, going there I wasn't sure what to expect mainly because I was asked by Troy Dean to contribute to the course by way of an educational webinar. So I hadn’t gone through the course like most of the group had.
I felt almost uneasy, not knowing if this day would entail lots of questions around the course, materials within the course, folks talking in groups about the course, and if everyone in the group already knew each other because of the course.
Nonetheless, I had spoken to Troy many times before. Been on his podcast, hosted his podcast, and he’s been a bit of an unofficial mentor of mine and my business. So I figured that since he’s half way around the planet from me living in Australia, the very least I could do was take a subway to meet him.
This Mastermind group was just over 30 people. It was hosted and facilitated by Troy and Kristina Romero of WP Elevation. For those of you who don’t know, WP Elevation is an accelerator program for WordPress consultants to build a better business. Maybe the best part of this program is the community within it.
You Are Not Alone
As a freelancer we tend to isolate ourselves from everyone. Often not necessarily done intentionally either. We get involved with projects, stay heads down, and don’t come up for air for weeks sometimes. But the best thing we can do is get out from behind the desk and behind the keyboard and network with our “competitors”.
Yes I put quotes around competitors because we often think of folks doing what we do as competitors, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. What we need to do is not look at other people in our space as competitors but as colleagues.
Being a freelancer is a much different mindset than being an employee sitting at someone else’s desk. Wearing many hats that you didn’t even realize when you first started out means that you are doing many different things that you are not good at. There’s many parts of the business that you learn as you go. Being able to leverage other people’s knowledge and experience in the same space helps in building your business.
You Mean I’m Not The Only One?
The day centered around hearing the problems, issues, questions and concerns that everyone have within their businesses. Each of us were able to voice our biggest pain points within our own business and hear the thoughts and ideas from 30 other people.
Now, as a self-proclaimed introvert, really getting out and being open and honest with other folks, of who I have never meet in person before, was something that I was uncomfortable with at least initially. But knowing that it was a safe place where everyone was there for the same reason and be supportive of everyone else there, made it very comfortable and easy.
In looking around the room, there were obviously folks at different stages of their businesses. Some were solopreneurs, some had teams, some were developers, some were designers, some were sales folks, it was a mixed bag. This was a great thing because what I was struggling with, there was a few others there that had already figured it out. And what was their hurdle, I had jumped over it.
That feedback loop was the absolute priceless gem of the day.
That feedback loop was the absolute priceless gem of the day.
[Tweet "The business owner feedback loop is absolutely priceless."]
I did say that twice because it truly was. And still is.
As a freelancer you are not just someone who can code, design, write, take photographs, etc. You are a business owner!
Which means there are a lot of aspects of your business that you don't have the skills, knowledge and experience to be successful at.
Things like sales, generating leads, growing a team, marketing, time management, focus, building products are all things that came up in the conversations that we had.
Find Your Goose
The best thing any freelancer can do is find at least one trusted person that owns a business and maybe has even been down that road a little further than they have.
Mastermind groups are great for finding these sorts of environments to feel safe in and be able to express your concerns and issues in.
The biggest benefits from a group of that nature is constructive criticism, honest feedback, and sometimes a kick in the ass.
You are going to doubt yourself at times as a freelancer. There are also going to be times of great joy. The best thing you can do as a freelancer is remain steady and even keel throughout all of that. Celebrate the wins and allow yourself to be bummed about the losses. But try to remain as close to the middle as possible.
Being a part of a mastermind group or a small group of business owners that really understand your business and the road that you're on with help you in keeping that emotional balance.
Building the Ultimate Network
The other side of the coin is that in these groups you find skills in other folks have that you don't have. As well as skills that you have that they don't.
Just in case you are wondering, this is called networking.
When you get out from behind the desk and you network with people you find bigger and better opportunities as a freelancer. Those opportunities usually come at the time that you're least expecting.
See in WP Elevation everyone is a WordPress consultant. However everyone is not a developer or designer or a marketer or a CEO or a financial expert. However everyone is running a business with a tool called WordPress. The tool is just an avenue to talk about the new and shiny object. But since we are all like-minded in choosing what we want to use and work with for our business, we find out where we can fit within each other businesses as well. Where we can help out in making someone else’s business a success and vice versa.
The all day Mastermind group went from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It was one of the most intense days that I've had as a business owner. (Maybe because it was close to 100 degrees outside and by the time the afternoon sun was beating on the building it was probably well over 80 inside.) Being able to openly communicate issues that we all have within our businesses with other business owners is a scary and emotional moment. Being able to digest them and offer your best ideas and suggestions is also quite scary too.
Being able to openly communicate your issues that you have within your business with other business owners is probably the best thing you can do as a freelancer for your business.
After the all-day session we went out for dinner and drinks afterwards. Had some fun, laughs, and learn more about who we are as people. Those relationships that I have built just in that single day I know will be long-lasting relationships into the future and make me and my business better in the long run.
If you are a WordPress consultant, and feel a bit isolated, seriously have a look at WP Elevation and the community. They are a great bunch of folks. I've met some amazong people, built long lasting friendships, and, oh yeah, made my business better in the process.