I recently remembered a coaching call I had with a woman who had been an executive for a long time and then started her own business.

We talked about her challenge with the huge difference between working in corporate and constantly having people around her, compared to starting out on her own and having nobody around her.

That’s something many new business owners deal with and it’s something I have been struggling with heavily during the first 6 months of my business.

However, there is a great solution that helps you gather a highly supportive team of people around you without having to pay them a salary.


Leaving the Corporate Structure

If you have been working in corporate for any amount of time, you almost always had people around you.

In my corporate career, I was constantly surrounded by people. My boss, my peers and my team members. They were not always highly supportive but at least, they were around.

When I left corporate and started my own business, I felt like a lonely warrior on the battlefield of survival. I did not know any other entrepreneurs at that time.

All my friends were employees and I never felt “normal” as an entrepreneur around them. For them, it did not matter much if they were engaged most of the time or just merely showed up for work. After all, they had a stable salary no matter what.

During my 7 years in corporate, I always thought that my job was my identity. Every company I worked for, I attached my identity to.

I only realized that my identity had nothing to do with a business but only with myself when I left corporate. It was very hard at first. During the first 6 months, I did not feel the pride of being a business owner. After all, there was not much I owned except for a pile of credit card debt.


The Average of the Five People

It’s a quote from Jim Rohn that I quote over and over again because it changed my life. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.

One day during my first 6 months in business, I realized that I was surrounded by people who did absolutely not understand what I was up to. Most of them worked for a paycheck and had no other ambitions except to have an average to good life.

There was a clear mis-alignment between their idea of a great life and mine.

My idea of a great life has always been to do what I love, when I want, where I want and with whom I want to. It’s all about freedom. I’m all about freedom.

However, freedom has a price. As an entrepreneur, that means constantly being out of my comfort zone, failing most of the time, swimming against the stream and walking the path less traveled.

I knew, something had to change. I decided that I had to get to know new people and find the ones with a similar spirit.


The People Who Never Let You Fail

I deep down believe that most of my success is directly related to having the people in my life that never let me fail. People like my wonderful fiancee and my entrepreneurial friends.

Once I made the decision to surround myself with people who never let me fail, everything changed.

My mindset changed and I started to feel like an entrepreneur. Confidence, clarity and financial success were some of the results.

It’s also when I realized that I have to change first, before my business or financial situation can change. My personal growth is in direct correlation with my income.

Just like Tony Robbins said “You are making exactly as much money as you have to and nothing more”.

It was late 2013 when I decided to join a mentoring program and start a mastermind group. At that time, I only heard about the mastermind concept from Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich. However, there is a massive difference between knowing something and applying it.

To this date, my mastermind groups and mentoring program is the most valuable support structure I have ever experienced. I have built wonderful friendships with amazing people and never felt “abnormal” when being around them because we are all in the same boat.


The Mastermind Concept

The very first mastermind group I ever joined was through Live Off Your Passion from Scott Dinsmore. I got together with a 21 year old Swedish visionary and a Russian entrepreneur living in China at that time. We quickly forged strong relationships and helped each other out in any way possible. The connections, ideas, gained confidence and motivation that came out of this collaboration are a major reason why I’m still in business.

If anyone tells you the first year in business is easy, they are lying to you. Starting your own business is tough as hell but at the same time extremely rewarding. Never in my entire life did I personally grow as much as I did in the past 3 years.

Early 2014, I joined another mastermind group through my mentoring program. Another invaluable experience that brought amazing friendships, ideas, feedback and accountability.

I meet a lot of business owners all the time and some of them ask me for advice on how to take their business to the next level. Usually, they want to her some fancy tactic or brilliant idea.

I have to disappoint you because the most impactful ideas tend to be simple and profound.

Join or start your own mastermind group this week and measure your progress in the next 6-12 months. Make sure you keep a diary to see your progress and be able to compare your business today and in 12 months. Make sure you’re never the smartest person in the room.

Here are three things you can do right now to get started.


1.Define Your People

It’s one thing to define your ideal clients. It’s at least as important to define your ideal friends.

What characteristics and qualities do they have?

What do they talk about?

Who do they surround themselves with?

What do they value most?


2. Find Them

Once you know who they are, you need to find them. Maybe you already know them or maybe you need to find them outside of your current circles.

Where do people like that hang out?

What groups, associations, organizations, clubs or events do they belong to?

You get the most value out of this if you get together with people who are one or a few pages ahead in the book of business. Make sure you are never the smartest person in the room.


3. Form Your Mastermind Group

Go to a few places where these people hang out. Get to know them. Learn about their goals, challenges, and personality.

Then decide who you want to surround yourself with and pick the 3-4 people you enjoying being around the most.

Ask them to be part of your mastermind group.


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