As I write this, a soft breeze is rustling the palm fronds, and a small pod of dolphins repeatedly breaks the surface of Blackwater Sound with their dorsal fins. The solitude of this beautiful spot on the bay side of Key Largo has become a favorite weekend escape for my family and me.
At the end of a week filled with the realities of daily life ¬– bills, taxes, car repairs, chaperoning the kid’s field trip and trouble-shooting the hum in my left studio monitor – sitting on this dock, watching the day go by and reeling in the occasional mangrove snapper is just what I need to prepare for the week ahead.
Solitude can be good. Solitude can be great. But when it comes to a business that involves as much networking as voiceovers, solitude can be very isolating.
Remember Waiting Rooms?
For years, one of my favorite parts of working in this industry was the time spent at recording studios, while not in the booth: the schmoozing, the chatting, the plain old hanging out with people who do what we do day in and day out. (The free bagels were a nice perk too.) Back then, recording studios had waiting rooms, where the 5-10 talent who were auditioning for any one gig would share war stories, water cooler chat, and recent successes, both personal and professional. (Little did we know how blessed we were to be auditioning against so few talent. But that’s a story for an entirely different article.)
The camaraderie and support were fun and beneficial, and many of the friendships forged are still in place.
Another great advantage of going to recording studios was the time spent talking to studio owners, engineers, advertising agency personnel and clients, which often led to new leads and opportunities.
These days, with more and more of our work being done from home/remote studios, the opportunities to rub elbows with fellow voiceover talent are hard to come by.
One easy way around this problem is to create those opportunities. For a group of us here in South Florida, the answer was a Mastermind Group. A Mastermind Group is generally defined as a small group of like-minded people who meet regularly to support each other’s growth. A group’s members may have similar or very different goals. The common thread is that each member accepts responsibility for supporting, advising, and challenging other members in pursuit of their goals.
My brother had formed one for his industry (advertising) years ago and I’d heard enough about the benefits of his group to know that it could work for us, too. But first, a little research.
In the early 1900s, Napolean Hill introduced the Mastermind Group concept, describing it as “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”
“Spirit of Harmony”
For me, while the idea of a ‘coordinated effort’ is obviously important to the success of a Mastermind Group, the key lies in the ‘spirit of harmony.’
Keep that in mind as you consider who to invite to join your group. Starting with a strong foundation, and filling the group with supportive, generous members will go a long way towards ensuring your success.
Who to Invite
Google “Start a Mastermind Group,” and you’ll get more than 636,000 results, many with conflicting recommendations. I can’t help you deal with that kind of information overload, except to tell you what’s worked for us:
When selecting potential members, make sure that they:
Are committed – to the meetings, to the process and to growing their business
Are good communicators who understand two-way sharing – the best members will ask for help and offer help
Are innovators who are willing to explore new ways of doing business
Are not competitive by nature, but are team players
Have similar experience levels – otherwise, more experienced members get little benefit and may quit out of frustration
Have a high level of integrity; trust and authenticity are vital to your group’s success
Have a good sense of humor (This is more important than you think it is.)
Part 2 of this post will discuss the action steps you’ll need to get your group going.