162: The Power of Masterminds with Andy Traub

Welcome to episode 162 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork chats with Andy Traub about masterminds.

Last week on the podcast, we interviewed Ben Sutton from Mazuma about bookkeeping and taxes for bloggers. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

The Power of Masterminds

A “mastermind group” might be one of those “buzz-terms” for influencers, but they can be a powerful way to build a community, collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs, and even contribute to your income stream.

Andy is here today to chat about how to acquire committed members to your mastermind group, how to provide what your group needs, and how to develop deep and meaningful relationships with your group. Plus, he’s sharing the details about his new mastermind course and podcast!

In this episode, Andy shares:

  • Why he’s a “Spock”
  • Why you shouldn’t fit in others’ stories
  • What two things every person in a mastermind must have
  • What a mastermind group actually is
  • How mastermind groups work
  • How to figure out how much to charge for your mastermind group

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Bjork Ostrom: In this episode, I talk about generous shopping, and then we talk to my friend Andy about masterminds.

Hey there, everybody. This is Bjork Ostrom, and you’re listening to the Food Blogger Pro podcast brought to you by WP Tasty, which is a site for you if you run a WordPress blog. If you run a WordPress blog, you know what a plugin is and how important some plugins are to the success of your site, and we found that very early on with Pinch of Yum that it’s really important to have certain plugins, especially if you’re in a certain niche like a food blog, but we also found that it’s really important that you have plugins that are up to date, that are maintained, and that are continually evolving. That was the really hard thing with adding plugins to our site is we didn’t know if they’d be kept up to date. That’s why we started WP Tasty. This is the place where we are using these plugins, we are creating plugins that we want to use, but then we also offer them to other people who have WordPress blogs.

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WP Tasty sponsors the podcast. It is our own company. We talk a little bit about WP Tasty and the plugins, but we also do what’s called the Tasty Tip. Today’s Tasty Tip is about Amazon. A lot of us think about Amazon as affiliates, but actually, what I wanted to do a little quick tip today was using Amazon to give back, to be generous, and to be generous while you are shopping, and specifically, to do that through this program called Amazon Smile. If you go to smile.amazon.com, what will happen is you will see a prompt to pick a nonprofit where a portion of every purchase that you make through Amazon will be donated to that nonprofit.

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Now, here’s the bonus tip that goes along with that. Usually, you have to remember to go to smile.amazon.com before you make a purchase, but there is an, if you use Chrome, there is an extension, something that you can add on to Chrome that allows you to always be redirected to the Smile URL, smile.amazon.com, and it’s called Smile Always, so if you search Smile Always Chrome, you will see a link to that extension where you add that, and that will allow you to always be redirected to the URL where you will donate after you purchase through Amazon to the nonprofit of your choice.

The Tasty Tip today doesn’t exactly have to do with optimizing your site to earn more, it doesn’t have to do with showing up higher or getting more traffic. It has to do with giving back, and a lot of us purchase through Amazon, and I know a lot of us want to figure out ways that we can be effective in giving back and being generous, and so that is the Tasty Tip today. I hope you’re able to implement that and to give back to your favorite charity.

All right, on today’s podcast, we are talking to Andy Traub. He is a good friend of mine and somebody that describes himself, or I described him as kind of a Robin, Batman and Robin. He said, “Well, not exactly. That’s not exactly how it goes. I would use a different character to describe how I think of myself and how I operate in the online space.”

He’s going to talk about what that character is, but then he’s going to go deep into talking about masterminds, what those are, why they’re important, how you can go about setting those up, and what that looks like structurally in terms of the tools that you can use for it and the structure that you use for it and the questions that you should ask. He’s also going to talk about how you can even use that as a potential revenue source if you act as the facilitator, the manager, the organizer of masterminds. It’s going to be a great interview and I think going to be some really cool perspectives. Let’s go ahead and jump in. Andy, welcome to the podcast.

Andy Traub: Lovely to be with you again, my friend.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure. It is fun to have on a friend who is also somebody that is in the industry. We go way back, and we have actually done a podcast episode before, but a fun fact for you, when I was looking for podcasts to listen to, I was searching, I can still imagine where I am standing in our New Brighton, Minnesota condo and, the kitchen, and I was in a corner there, and I was searching for Seth Godin, Godin, I don’t know how do you say his last name, but-

Andy Traub: Godin. Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Godin. Seth Godin, and I came across this podcast called the Linchpin podcast, and I was like, “Wait a minute. That’s my friend Andy,” which is so funny to know that our paths eventually crossed here online as well. Are you still doing the podcast? Is that something that’s still a part-

Andy Traub: No, I haven’t-

Bjork Ostrom: … of what you do?

Andy Traub: … done a Linchpin podcast in a long time, but for a long time, Seth has his own podcast now, which is great. It’s very Seth.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes.

Andy Traub: Everything is very Seth, but no, that served me very well for a while, and Seth was very, very generous to let me use the name in a book cover. It was … He’s just, he is a miracle worker when it comes to empowering people.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. He’s-

Andy Traub: It was good for a long time that anyone, any time when someone would type in Seth Godin in iTunes, I came up.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, which is I think that’s probably what happened is I was listening to a couple of his books, and I was like, “Andy? Wait a minute. How did this happen?” I confirm what you’re saying about Seth. He’s just this incredible person. I actually, this was maybe a year, two years ago, I should revisit this, but I asked him on the podcast, and he emailed back within like 15 minutes and said, “Hey, thanks so much for reaching out. Not doing as many podcast interviews right now, but best of luck.” It was the two people that have done that, Seth Godin and Mark Cuban. Both times when I emailed them, they emailed back within the day. I was like, “Oh, my gosh. You guys must get so much email.” It’s so incredible that they are responding like that.

Anyways, so you did a podcast for a while, and one of the interesting things I know during that time was you were doing your own podcast, but you also were helping some other people with their podcast as well. That’s actually a good little transition here into something that I think about a lot that you had talked about, and I brought this up as we were chatting before the interview started, I said this idea of Batman versus Robin and how you say you’re kind of a Robin, and you’re like, “Well, I don’t like to say Robin. I like to say Spock.”

Can you explain the thinking behind that, and then why Spock over Robin.

Andy Traub: Well, let’s just be really clear that if you’re in a fight, no one’s picking Robin over Spock. Spock’s a stud, and I just don’t want anyone picturing me wearing tights. That’s not a good thing, so. No, the idea though is that I have fought for 10-plus years of my self-appointed life. I fought against internally and sometimes externally this idea that I was supposed to be the man, and the reality I think, this is going to sound like a rhyme, in reality, I think there’s some duality to everyone that serves other people, and that is that you have to be capable enough to actually help people, but a lot of people just aren’t meant to be the front person.

Spock was very capable of running. Captain Kirk would leave, and he’d say, “The bridge is yours,” and Spock, no one went, “Oh, my gosh, why are we leaving Spock in charge?” Well, Spock knew what he was doing, right? The first part is you have to be really capable, but also, Spock just didn’t, he didn’t have his own ship, like he wasn’t a captain. That doesn’t mean that he was worthless. I think that because there’s so much hero worship, whether they’re worshiping Gary V. or your local pastor, that you just, people forget that there’s a lot more people that aren’t the man or the woman, and that there’s a lot of space for and that God made a lot of people that aren’t supposed to be standing in the spotlight. Maybe we’re supposed to be just off to the side a little bit.

That’s kind of where I found myself. I’m okay on stage. I love being on stage. I love that, but I am working to really embrace the fact that it’s okay to just make a living helping people.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, whatever that looks like.

Andy Traub: No, or it not being about me, necessarily, and I’m not dissing those who make it about them. Whatever, good for them, but I just … The other part is, I found myself in the past going, “I never want to ask myself a question, and I have in the past, before I post something about my kids or a belief that I have, like ‘what will my people think?’” I don’t want to ask that question. That’s not a healthy question.

It’s “what do I think, what will my family think, if not, what does my tribe or my following or my whatever, subscribers.” That, to me, is just a really unhealthy thing, so that’s why I, maybe I self-sabotage some of my personal brand, but my personal brand is that I help other people that are bigger than me, in large part because I’ve seen what comes with that sometimes, and you don’t want it.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, the realities of what comes with being a figure, whatever that might mean.

Andy Traub: No, like you can’t say anything of substance where people get mad at you. It’s just, yuck, so I’m comfortable being a Spock, and I have kind of weird pointy ears, so it works out well.

Bjork Ostrom: Which that’s actually the main reason, and you buried the lead on that one.

Andy Traub: …that your nice way of saying I have big ears? Very smooth.

Bjork Ostrom: No, I think that my intent in having that conversation and bringing that up is I think what can happen a lot of times, especially online, is that we can look at people and see things, and we can immediately, or oftentimes, what we do is we then put ourselves in that position and say, “If I want this, it needs to look like that. If I want work that I enjoy and has freedom around how it’s done, I need to replicate this other person that I see doing that.”

The thing is with Spock, somebody who is playing that pivotal role of working alongside the Captain Kirk is that you don’t, it’s … This is maybe where the analogy falls apart a little bit because Spock was very visible.

Andy Traub: I promise. I’ll make it work.

Bjork Ostrom: The Spocks aren’t as visible, and so therefore, you don’t hear from them or see them, and yet, for many people, you can develop a thriving, successful job, career, path that’s a perfect fit for you that you really enjoy but we don’t see it as much because the Spocks aren’t the people that you are seeing as much.

Can you take that analogy and apply it to the Spock. Does that work?

Andy Traub: Well, I just think it’s … The question is, how much room is there at the top? The other question is, the answer is not that much. Number two is, is that really the best business plan because there’s not that much room at the top. Is that really the best to go, “I’m going to build a brand.” Maybe you’re just not supposed to be the brand, and that’s okay.

I know our moms told us we’re all special snowflakes, and we are, but I just don’t feel really comfortable telling everybody that you should build your own personal brand. Now, that being said, I have a personal brand, and it’s as a helper, but it’s … I just don’t want to live my life saying, “You should live your life just like me. You should do your business just like me.” Now, there’s some things I know, and we’ll talk about that today as we talk about masterminds, but I just get really uneasy with this idea that “I should hustle just like this person, I should have affiliate income just like this person, I should be a speaker like this person.” That’s just a lot of runaround trying to fit in other people’s skin, and that only works well in the movies.

Bjork Ostrom: I think the important thing here is that you have built your own career, you are self-employed, and yet, you have this mindset and mentality in doing it. I think the thing that people would say is then is, “Okay, what does that actually look like in a practical way?” and that’s maybe the transition into masterminds and a really good example of how you’ve implemented that as somebody who is building businesses online and having success with that in this role of person that is the supporter and teammate alongside other people.

Can you talk about the role that you had with Dan and his mastermind group and how that’s an example of this idea of Spock?

Andy Traub: Yeah, so a mastermind is a group of people that are committed to each other’s personal and professional growth. Not either, but both, but we do that through a consistent feedback and shared experiences. It’s more than going out and having coffee because there’s some structure to it, but it’s also not this program that you put people through. That’s like coaching. That’s like a course. It’s very relational. It’s very purposeful. It’s personal. It’s also professional, and also, it’s huge spectrum of what that looks like, what a mastermind is, but it’s not hero worship, it’s not, “Oh, my gosh, I want to be in so-and-so’s mastermind because I just want to sit at their feet and learn.” You should feel that way about most people in your mastermind, and they should feel that way about you.

At its core, masterminds have people that have two things. Every person in a mastermind has to have two things. They have to have gifts, they have to have things that they can offer: expertise, wisdom, and they have to have needs. If you just have gifts, then you don’t let people speak into your life, then that’s like putting a lid on a cup and trying to put water in it. It’s not like their cup is full. Everyone has needs, but some people aren’t wanting to accept help, so you don’t want to have people that have no needs because they’re not going to accept feedback. You don’t want people that are all need because they don’t have anything to offer you.

A mastermind is a group of people that are committed to each other’s personal-professional growth through consistent feedback and shared experiences. My friend Dan Miller who wrote a book called 48 Days to the Work You Love; another one, No More Mondays; Wisdom Meets Passion is another one, his brain is around the 48 days, and this idea that you can go find work you love and it takes 48 days, and he’s not all about self-employment, he’s about finding work that you love, he’s been doing that for a long time. And he invited me to start a mastermind with him, and it’s a pretty large mastermind, numbers-wise. He actually left a mastermind he was in with Dave Ramsey and a few other really successful folks, and he started his own mastermind. He said, “I want to balance the leadership, so I’d like for you to help me out and I’ll give you a percentage.” I said, “Absolutely.”

And this is while I was still living in South Dakota at the time, and one of the things I said was “Well we were thinking about moving to Tennessee” he said, “That would really help with you working in this mastermind.” And I went home and immediately told my wife, “Dan said we have to move.” Didn’t say direct lie, but it worked. So yeah, part of my income, and it’s like less than my mortgage, but it’s still part of my income, has been helping facilitate and lead the 48 days mastermind, which now we call it the Ego-preneurs, and so I help lead that. We helped choose the new members, we helped some administrative stuff, and we helped with organizing in person events, and just really try to keep the mastermind healthy.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. And two things that you did in that, which were great, one was defining this idea of masterminds, which we’re going to talk more about, and then second was talking about this idea of how you played the role, not as the person up front and center, but as the person supporting and helping in this process of building up this mastermind. I feel like that is a good segue to then focus in on masterminds. Kind of the two things that I want to focus on in this podcast, giving time, energy, and space to this idea of hey, what does it look like to be somebody who’s playing that role of Spock, and then the second idea, which we can spend some more time on now, what is a mastermind and how can we apply those to what we’re doing?

And kind of looking at it from two angles, number one, defining what it is, which we spent some time doing, talking about your experience with that, and then talking about how we can use these as creators and business owners. There’s also a way that you can use this as a strategy for creating income for your business. Let’s talk first about, you defined this idea of mastermind being something where people get together, they talk about the gifts, they use their gifts to help people that have certain needs, and everybody has gifts and everybody has needs in a successful mastermind, and those combined together are really helpful, so what does that look like in terms of a mastermind? How do you get started with one? Kind of all the questions that exist around it, and maybe you can start by talking about some that you’ve been a part of and how those are structured.

Andy Traub: Well let me tell you what bad masterminds look like, I’ll show you the train wrecks.

Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Andy Traub: For instance, a bad mastermind is like a networking group because the currency in a networking group is, “I need you to give me business, and I’m going to give you business.” But here’s the missing piece, well two missing pieces. One, none of it’s personal, you don’t really know should I trust this person, right? And the other is that they haven’t earned my trust, so I don’t know them personally, and I don’t know if they’re good or not. And so the currency in a networking group, and I’ve been to them like Business Networking International, BNI stuff, and there’s probably good ones out there, but they put you in a room, and there’s one realtor and there’s one house painter and there’s one plumber and there’s one whatever and I’m supposed to give that plumber my business even though I don’t know him personally, nor do I know if he’s a good plumber, right? But that’s the currency.

It’s not encouragement, it’s not let me help you because your logo is crap, you know? It’s just the only currency is leads. Leads, leads leads, right? So that’s one end, that’s not a mastermind group because a mastermind group is both professional and personal, it’s structured, but it’s not so structured that it’s like a networking group, where literally you get in trouble if you don’t give out seven leads a week. Right?

So on the other end, you have no structure at all and it’s just people getting together hanging out at McDonald’s at 6:30 on Wednesday mornings and they’re just kind of blowing smoke. That’s not productive.

So on a really practical level, we meet very consistently, once a week for a Zoom call, it’s an hour, starts on time, ends on time, we meet three times a year in person, and we have members within the group lead calls, we invite in authors, other business people, other experts, we had a patent attorney on a few months ago, which I thought was going to be super boring, it was super fascinating. And then we just have shared experiences together. We’ll go through books together, we’ll go to events together, and we’re passing through town and we’ll hang out with each other and it is people that you go, “Hey, if I could do life with anybody, I’d want to do life with them.” And you’re not going to talk to me as if my personal and professional life are separate. They’re not.

Have the biggest fight you’ve ever had with your spouse and go to work and try to have a good day, good luck with that, right? Or have a great marriage, but your business just blows, I mean it’s just crap, just horrible. You hate your work, is that going to affect your marriage? Yeah. Right? One of your kids is having a horrible day, and you’ve got to go into work and they call you at lunch or they get in trouble, they never were meant to be separate. And so masterminds really allow us to be our full selves with each other.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it, and the important part of that being that you are able to be who you are personally, while also bringing to the table the business problems that you have, and so it’s people that you trust, that you can speak openly with that you can be transparent with and also not friends, strictly friends in the sense that you can also talk about business problems. So one of the questions that I have, mastermind, what is that, it sounds like-

Andy Traub: It sounds weird.

Bjork Ostrom: … well it sounds like that cartoon movie with the guy that has a big blue head, what is that?

Andy Traub: Yup, that’s it, yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Andy Traub: There’s a board meeting called mastermind, yeah, it’s a weird term, but you know it’s not like a fellowship group, it’s not a bible study, it’s not a networking group, it’s a unique thing. And yeah, it’s a little nebulous, it’s a little foo foo. But at the end of the day, it’s unique from a coaching group, it’s unique from some paid coaching program, right? Because everyone there is an equal.

Now I make money from our mastermind. I teach other people how to make money from running a mastermind, but when you sit down at the table, when I get on that call today with my mastermind members, my seat is the same size, right? It’s a round table, it’s not a big, long table and I sit at the top of it, at the head of it. It’s a round table, we are allowed to challenge each other, we are encouraged to challenge each other. I led a mastermind call for another mastermind that I helped lead and this is all I did. I said, “Tell me what you believe about these things.” And then we just hammered each other about those beliefs. So we were just pushing each other, “Why do you believe this?” “Why do you believe that?” “Well who told you that?” They were like, “This was so great.”

It was so hard and so awkward, but this one person was like, “Hey, I believe that we shouldn’t get what we want.” And I was like, “What?” You know? But we heard them out and they explained themselves and we spoke into that, but it’s like how often do you get into conversations about what do you really believe and why do you believe it? And you don’t, right? And it wasn’t all theological, some of it was about money. Someone was like, “What’d your parents believe about that?” And sure enough, I mean it had something to do with the parents, so masterminds go where we usually don’t go, which is really a powerful thing.

And so what I teach people is there is tremendous value in facilitating that relationship and choosing what people get in the group and so that’s how I teach people to make money running a mastermind. That’s why … I have a podcast coming out, I’m going to drop an episode a day for 21 days, and it’s called Start Your Mastermind. It’s about just helping people start a mastermind, 21 different episodes about how to start a mastermind.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Andy Traub: I’ve got a program on how to start and run a healthy mastermind, and some people are going to go “Great, I don’t want to charge people.” That’s fine, but I think that there’s real value in charging people because we recently, gosh, probably a year and a half ago now, we left a church we were attending. Bunch of bad, weird stuff happened with leadership, and we left, and it was really easy to leave because we weren’t that invested.

Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Andy Traub: Right? We just weren’t that plugged in. And so if you want to have a great mastermind group, I think people should pay. And if you benefit from that, it’s because you’re doing the work, you’re providing value. Right?

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, let’s talk a little bit about that-

Andy Traub: Go there. Go there, let’s talk about it.

Bjork Ostrom: … we can do kind of a-

Andy Traub: I want you to ask more questions.

Bjork Ostrom: We can do a rapid fire round here, specific questions around a mastermind and what it looks like.

Andy Traub: Cool.

Bjork Ostrom: First of all, is there always a facilitator? Is there one person who is the head of the group?

Andy Traub: On any given call, the answer should be yes. Is there always a leader of the mastermind? No, you can have eight people that sort of get together, right?

Bjork Ostrom: Got it, so one person is-

Andy Traub: On this call today, my friend Mark is presenting the information, and I’ll be sort of there as the sidekick, asking clarifying questions.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool. So there’s a facilitator. Is there a set structure for every call and what would your recommendation be for somebody who’s just starting out in terms of what that structure should be?

Andy Traub: Start on time, end on time. Respect people’s time. Don’t spend 15 minutes saying, “How’s the weather in Texas today?” Just google it, okay. Get to the point, respect people’s time, push each other, tell people what you’re going to talk about before you show up so they can come prepared mentally for what’s going to happen. And structure is I think that you should go from having members teach things to people from outside of the group teaching things. I love the idea of going through books. I love the idea of let’s say you’ve got an online course and you went through it and you’re like, “Here’s the five things I learned from that course.” That could be a call. That could be one call with your mastermind. I read this book, I’m going to teach everybody about the five things I learned from this book.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And I’ve heard different ways that people structure a mastermind where some will say hey, every time we do 15 minutes of a quick round where everybody gives a two minute update.

Andy Traub: Yup, what’s your biggest win of the week, absolutely, you can do those things.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it and so-

Andy Traub: What I’ve found to be difficult though is when you say, “What’s going on this week?” And you get to Bob and Bob’s like, “Well, filed for divorce.” And you’re like, “Whoa.” Suddenly the call changes, right? And my point is I like to do those things at the end of like, “Hey, let’s wrap with what’s going on, what’s going well.” But yeah, we have a check in sometimes, and we’ll say, “Everybody bring your biggest pain point today.” And we’ll get through as many as we can. So a lot of different ways to slice in.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it, and so what I’m hearing from you is that there isn’t necessarily a set rule for like if you’re doing a mastermind, here’s exactly how it has to be set up-

Andy Traub: No, there are masterminds like that, there are people that will tell you here’s how you teach kids. Every kid learns this way, and we all know that’s bull, right? So I don’t think there’s a way, there’s no mastermind council of the world that says you’ve got to do it this way.

Bjork Ostrom: And yet, there are things that I would assume you’ve picked up and learned after doing it enough where you’d say okay, these are the general guiding principles that I have for my groups, and for some people let’s say who’s starting out who’s never done it before, what would your top one or two recommendations be? We can do top three, number one being start on time, end on time, and then maybe one to two other things you would say hey, these are the critical things if you’re going to have success with your mastermind that you need to consider and implement.

Andy Traub: Don’t wing it. Respect people enough to be prepared and come prepared and ask them to be prepared. I don’t want to be a part of … I’ve never really loved anything that’s never asked anything of me, right? Like I want to know that other people showed up and they were prepared, and so if we’re supposed to read a chapter, we should read the chapter. If we’re supposed to bring our biggest pain point, bring your biggest pain point. It’s not noble to go, “Oh I don’t want to bother you.” Okay, if everyone says that, then we don’t have anything to talk about. Again, you have to have needs and you have to have gifts.

I would say that you just have to have good facilitators. Really important, you’ve got to be willing to say people’s first names. Like if people don’t remember anything, remember this: the best way to interrupt anyone is to say their first name. If I’m talking right now and you say, “Andy.” I will stop talking.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Andy Traub: Why? ’Cause that’s just a trigger. Someone says your name, you just stop talking, right?

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Andy Traub: And by that, I just mean you have to have people to go, “Okay, thank you Bob, moving on.” And Bob’s not offended by that, but Bob’s a little long-winded. I just despise that we let people waste other people’s times because the facilitators aren’t strong willed enough to say, “We’ve got it, thanks Bob.”

Bjork Ostrom: Yup, and that makes sense when you talk about the need for somebody playing the role of facilitator, because if not then things can quickly get off course. And I’m guessing that that’s one of the things you talk about. You’ve talked about your mastermind program, I’m guessing that’s one of the things you talk about is how you can be that facilitator and keep people accountable and don’t have to go too far into that, but I feel like it’s worth bring up and important and worth acknowledging that’s why there needs to be a facilitator, keep things on track to clip things when they’re getting a little bit long-winded and to make sure they follow along.

Andy Traub: Absolutely. I think we have this very utopian idea like oh, everybody be on the same level and they are with their ideas, you need to run the meeting. I don’t have … I wish I had four hours just to hang out with all these people but I don’t. I got … Some kid’s going to be banging on my door saying, “Dad I need you to wipe my bottom” or “Dad, I’m hungry.” Or “Dad the dog ate something.” I have a life. And so let’s just respect each other’s time and then let’s really be generous with our ideas and our criticism and our encouragement, all those things. That’s very, very, very important. Very important.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. So continuing in our semi-quick fire question round, tools and resources that you can use for mastermind or maybe we’ll just focus in on tools. Let’s say you’re remote, you’re not in the same place, what do you need in order to make this happen where you can all get together virtually in the same spot?

Andy Traub: I think you need two things, one is Zoom, which we’re using to talk, most people are familiar with Zoom.us really has come out of nowhere, three, four years ago and dominated the virtual meeting place, so use that tool, get the paid version, it’ll cost you like $12 a month but it’ll be much more stable and you can have unique meeting rooms for different events and such. And you can record them, and I would save them and then I would save them in your second tool, which would be Dropbox. So we have three years of recordings of our meetings that we just upload to Dropbox. They’re not even on our computer. We upload them to Dropbox, we don’t sync those folders with our computer. So you want to go back and listen, you can. Someone misses a meeting, you can go back and get to it. But Zoom records the video and the audio and the text chat. So between Zoom and Dropbox and if you’re going to take payments, there’s 5,000 different ways to collect payments online. We just use a PayPal recurring monthly charge for that.

Bjork Ostrom: Yep. And let’s talk about that. So we’ve talked about some of the logistical things that are involved with a mastermind. Maybe one last thing is, how often would you be doing this? Is it once a week? Once a month? Once a quarter?

Andy Traub: So the problem with doing it every other week is if you miss, you don’t talk for a month. You go, wow, once a week’s a lot, well then do it for 45 minutes or do it for 30 minutes if it’s that much. And also, I don’t go to every meeting. I probably go to five out of six, right? But yeah, I think once a week is fine as a check in. It’s totally acceptable.

Another question that people are probably nagging in the back of their mind is, how much should I charge? How much should I expect to pay, all those things? And the bottom line is you can do a free one. I help some people run thousand dollar a month masterminds or you can pay $10,000 at once and save two grand. You know, there’s a huge range. And I was just talking to one of my program clients today and he said, “I want to expand our mastermind.” I said, “Well okay, what are the deliverables?” He said, “I don’t really have them written down.” I said, “Well then you need to.”

People are going to pay you money for like foo foo and hopes and dreams? No. I want to know, what am I going to get out of this mastermind? And so that’s where the value comes in. The value is, I’m going to let the right people in and I’m going to facilitate this so we get the most out of it. That’s valuable. The key to a great nightclub of which you and I have probably never been to a nightclub, I never have.

Bjork Ostrom: I haven’t either. So yeah, we’re right there together.

Andy Traub: It’s probably a good bouncer. Right? What’s the rule? But instead of like, you’re not pretty enough because both of us would definitely be pretty enough because you’re super attractive and I could just be your date, but it’s sort of like an intellectual and attitude bouncer? Like that’s the role of the mastermind facilitator. That’s what I do for the 40 days mastermind.

That’s what I teach my clients to do, is I say, “Listen, the value you’re providing is you’re this intellectual and emotional bouncer,” where you go, listen, if you don’t have the right attitude, if you don’t have the right mindset, if you’re business plan stinks, then no, we don’t want you to be in the group because you’re going to lean on us too much. And again, this is the hard part. You want really healthy people that are doing good things. That’s the giftedness, right? But still express need. And most of us kind of are afraid to share those things. But man, when you find people like that, it is glorious.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Andy Traub: And so you can charge $50 a month to be in a group. You can charge $500 a month, you can charge a thousand dollars, whatever, and you can keep some of that. I encourage you to spend 10 to 20 percent on the group itself with gifts and resources. Like when people come for our events, the event doesn’t cost anything. They just have to get themselves here, right? For our three times a year we meet in person.

Bjork Ostrom: Yep. It’s interesting. I like to think of analogies or comparables in the world and I think of things like a yoga class where people pay to have access to somebody who’s facilitating a class a little bit different in that it’s led by one person, but the idea is you are paying maybe for the space, you are paying for the person to organize it, to put it together, to have things prepared, to have a plan. I think that crosses over into this world in that it’s kind of like a yoga class for your business mind.

Andy Traub: Absolutely. There’s this thing called YouTube and I’m pretty sure it has yoga videos. Why isn’t everybody just sitting at home doing yoga videos? Right? At the same time, people, I’m sure you could go hire someone to come to your house and do yoga for you or go to some special retreat in Colorado and do yoga there. There’s this range, right? And what masterminds can do, and this is why I teach people where to start your mastermind is like, if you don’t have a mastermind, guess what? You can start one. You. Well, I’m not the smartest person in the room. Good.

Bjork Ostrom: Yep.

Andy Traub: That means there are people smarter than you, but like one of the obstacles is people say like, “Well, I don’t know enough people.” You have to know like five people. And the other thing is a mastermind is not a marriage. Like you don’t have to stay in it forever. I was in a mastermind and I quit because they were too focused on business and they weren’t … I couldn’t be honest about having a bad day.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Andy Traub: It was like they were like, everything’s great all the time. And I’m like, well then I don’t belong here because not everything’s great all the time for me. You know?

Bjork Ostrom: Yep. It’s-

Andy Traub: You have to find the right kind of group. Another group I was in, I had to quit because it got like super inappropriate. The group I run now, help Dan run, is we have men and women in the group, but there’s boundaries there where I’m not going to come to the group and go, “Man, hey everybody, I need some marriage advice today.” Right? Because there’s men and women there, and people can disagree with this, but I’m going to find a few men in the group and say, “Guys, I need some marriage advice here.” Well, I was in a group, I just visited. Someone invited me just to visit and sit in on a call once and this guy was talking about like really inappropriate stuff about his personal life. I’m like, “Dude, there are women in the room.”

My point is like, if it’s too much business, no bueno, and if it’s too personal, no bueno. You want to find that balance where people can be vulnerable and say, “I need help because my cash flow is low.” I mean, I had this call with my mastermind, gosh, six months ago. I lost a bunch of clients, things were not good. And I literally sent a message to my mastermind, said, “If you were me and needed to make $10,000, what would you do?” It was not a hypothetical question. I was asking them, what do I need to do to earn $10,000? Because I’m stuck in my own self right now. I need your help.

You know what no one said? No one said, “Traub, you suck. You’re pathetic. You’re the leader of the group and you’re asking us that question? Who are you to be leading?” No one said that. They just gave me great ideas. Some people said, “Thank you for posting that. Things are hard for me too.” You know? So you have to have some vulnerability and some strength.

Bjork Ostrom: Yep.

Andy Traub: It’s the gift and needs balance, and that’s what I teach people.

Bjork Ostrom: Yep. That’s great. It reminds me of a podcast episode we did. It was podcast episode 108. If you go to foodbloggerpro.com/108, and Natalie, who runs bizchix.com, talked about using masterminds and facilitating groups as the single catalyst for going from her struggling podcast in business into having some success and some traction. I think there’s huge opportunities for it and yet, it’s something that’s kind of intimidating and a little bit scary. There are really important pieces that are a part of the puzzle, and we got to scratch the surface a little bit.

One of the things that we didn’t get as far into as I would’ve liked, but I think there is a chance to talk about it a little bit here at the end, and then also would love for you, Andy, to talk about your course and what’s involved with that, is how it works to play the role of facilitator and to be the person that isn’t necessarily the influencer but you are a facilitator of a mastermind and using that as a way to create an income by organizing it and being kind of the analogous to the yoga yogi leader, whatever you call them. So if you can talk about that.

Andy Traub: So if you’ve seen the greatest movie over the last year, which was The Greatest Showman, according to my family, Hugh Jackman is the ring master, but he wasn’t the bearded lady, he wasn’t Zendaya, he wasn’t the trapeze artists. He wasn’t as handsome as Zac Efron, but his role was to get all these people together and he benefited from that. There was great value in picking the right people.

And so the role is not that weird. People don’t question, why are you making money from this group? People will pay for value and so you just have to be competent enough to say, “Listen, I’m going to charge $50 a month, $100 a month, $200 a month, $250 a month, five, whatever it is, but here’s what you’re gonna get from that.” And you’re gonna have to be able to communicate the value of what you’re providing, but also understand that I’m just another member. I’m a paying member. I’ve been a paying member of my mastermind that I run since the beginning. I think that was the first paying member, actually.

I get some money back from that, and you need to be able to say with confidence, this is the service that I provide, and do you want to be part of the group or not? This is how much it costs. Then you have to be able to list that out. So the 21 episodes of the Start Your Mastermind podcast that I’m putting out, the shortest is like six minutes and the longest is like 14 minutes. So they’re not real long. It’s just little shots about here’s seven tips to run a good mastermind meeting and five reasons you should quit your mastermind, because sometimes you should quit.

Then the Start Your Mastermind program, it walks you through, what are the standards, what are the threads, what are the consistencies of my mastermind group? Who are the people that I might want to have in it? What are the questions I need to ask them? How do I onboard them? What information do they need? How do we choose the topics? I have a giveaway on startyourmastermind.com. It says, “Here’s how to have one mastermind meeting and get six months of content for your group from one meeting.”

So how do you find the people? What are you going to talk about? How do you run your meetings? How do you have affordable in person meetings? I put all that stuff in there and I talk a lot about it, frankly, on my podcast. So if people can’t afford the program, I get that. Just check out the podcast, get the downloads. There’s a couple of guides I made on how to create that content for six months, how to find your first members. There’s lots of free stuff people can do. Uh, but I, I hope that I’ve earned some trust, some credibility today, that people would check out the program. If they have other questions, they can always just email me. Just my first and last name @gmail.com. [email protected].

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. Yeah, and we’ll link to all that in the show notes as well. Really appreciate you coming on, Andy. One of the things that we are constantly trying to do with the podcast is expose our listeners to other potential areas that they can pursue their goals and reach their goals, oftentimes, which revolve around building something online that allows them the freedom and the flexibility that they desire for whatever reason that is, and knowing that this is one of the ways that people can do that. So I think we accomplished that goal and then also gave some people some places to go after that if they want to continue and are interested in learning more about it. So if people want to follow along with you, Andy, where can they go to check out what you’re up to?

Andy Traub: Well, if you want to see me hanging out with my son and we play a lot of baseball, he’s 10.

Bjork Ostrom: Nice.

Andy Traub: I love Instagram because it doesn’t allow me to be wordy, I just post pictures. So my Instagram’s @andytraub. Yeah. Find me to takepermission.com. I don’t post there a lot, honestly. But yeah, go to startyourmastermind.com and that’s where you’ll see those downloads or just look for the podcast, Start Your Mastermind podcast and you can get all those episodes. I’m releasing one a day for 21 days, so whenever this comes out they’ll probably all be out.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. Andy, thanks so much for coming on. Really appreciate it.

Andy Traub: Appreciate you bro. Let’s talk soon, okay?

Bjork Ostrom: Sounds good.

Alexa Peduzzi: Hey, wonderful listeners. Alexa here. I hope you are having a fabulous week. I’m here today to bring you the reviewer of the week and this one comes from our good friend Ben at ramshacklepantry.com. Ben actually has an adorable St. Bernard little puppy named Kate Winslet and it’s adorable, so definitely worth checking him out on Instagram to see if you can catch a glimpse of that cute little pup. But his review says, “I really like all of the content that Food Blogger Pro and Pinch of Yum puts out. I look to Food Blogger Pro and this podcast as one of my main sources of authority and expertise in the niche of food blogging. Such a good team with a kind and helpful attitude. Would recommend 10 out of 10…er… five out of five” because iTunes only allows five stars.

Thank you so much Ben. We really appreciate it, and we love that we are one of your main sources of expertise and knowledge in food blogging. That makes us so happy to hear. A lot of the content that we put out here on the podcast and on Food Blogger Pro, our membership site, is shaped from the experiences of not only Bjork and Lindsay over at Pinch of Yum, but also the experiences of the team. We have people who are experts in video, and social media, and development, and it’s so great to be able to put all of those minds together to help others start and grow their own blogs. So thank you so much. We really appreciate it. I think that’s all from us this week. Thank you guys so much for tuning in. From all of us here at FBP HQ, make it a great week.

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