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How to Start a Paid Mastermind Group

Creating a paid mastermind group adds new revenue for course creators, delivering knowledge, support, and access to an elite group of experts.

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by James Mulvey

Jan 1

You need to get four things right to build a phenomenal paid mastermind group. You need to nail your pricing, format, frequency, and think ahead to avoid fatigue that will kill your group retention.

Let’s go through each one with techniques we’ve seen work for our Mighty Pro customers running high-profile CEO masterminds, entrepreneurial support groups, and advanced leadership and personal development communities.

Nailing your mastermind price

For paid mastermind groups—ones that you can charge $2000 to $10,000 per year for—you’ll need to start with a specific and in-demand skill or expertise.

Just offering a marketing mastermind or ecommerce mastermind isn’t specific enough. You need a big idea. And a crisp idea of the target member, often focused on a particular professional stage (such as new founders trying to go from $10M to $20M) and specialized area of expertise where it’s difficult to find resources and training outside of your community.

In general, we see most paid masterminds hit around the $2,000 range for professional development communities for a yearly membership which often includes access to a private network, a vault of video training, and an online community.

More specialized topics are in the above $10,000 range, providing both mastermind groups and access to a private community with exceptional opportunities for networking.

And the high-end programs—which often package up masterminds and personalized business coaching programs—are in the $10,000 to $20,0000 range.

Nailing your mastermind format

With coaches and course creators, the mastermind group is often used interchangeably with group coaching or advanced workshops.

A true mastermind format involves a small group of 5-10 members. The members need to be similar in job title or experience-level and all be interested in achieving a similar professional or personal growth goal.
One of our customers, for example, restricts their mastermind group to a maximum of five CEOs.

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The CEOs are all in the same industry and geography, making the discussions extremely valuable. The membership is $2500 per year, with the mastermind group being the core value in addition to some regular community events and networking.

Setting ground rules help to keep the energy up and value high for your elite members. The key thing to remember about finding the right format is that it isn’t about you, your expertise, or your philosophy.

You—as the Host—play a vital role. You're the facilitator, you can contribute your own expertise to discussions, but you also need to shift from being the one teaching to creating an environment where your members contribute and teach each other.

A mastermind group needs to be about the participants. It’s about their experiences, the lessons they’ve learned, and the outside perspectives they can bring to each other’s challenges.

Here’s a format for your mastermind groups that you can adapt. Notice the specific ways that we ensure that people contribute, not consume content during the session.

  • Round-table introductions: make everyone introduce themselves which sets the expectation of contribution, not camera-off consumption. With a smaller group (5-8 people), you can easily go around for introductions without it being a chore. With a larger group (10+ people), doing introductions will take 15 minutes and annoy senior leaders or seasoned entrepreneurs who value time above everything else. This is why smaller groups work best as it instantly sets the energy and tone.

  • Speed round: everyone in the group shares an inspiring example, a recent win in their business, or something they’ve learned.

  • Solve session: one member presents a challenge they’re working on and the group offers their expertise. Act as a Host here, calling on members that you know might have similar experiences. You need to balance driving the bus and keeping the session focused while allowing organic conversations to emerge.

  • Hot seat: you can also do a hot seat where you ask a member in advance to share a challenge they’re trying to solve, with the moderator doing live coaching. After you do live coaching, you open it up to other members.

Whatever format you come up with, remember that from the first introduction to the last recap, you need to guide the group towards the core value of a mastermind: getting other people’s brains into your business to help you see your challenge from a new perspective.

Nailing your mastermind frequency

The frequency—how often you hold your masterminds—can kill a mastermind group. If you’re running a high-ticket program, your members are going to be successful entrepreneurs and busy professionals.

Weekly commitments will get trampled by the day-to-day operations of their businesses. Hosting quarterly mastermind meetings can work well but if you host a bad session with little value, enrollment in your next one will suffer.

Here are a few benchmarks to help you decide on what works for you. We’ve pulled some real examples from successful mastermind groups that are hosted by Mighty Pro customers, offering an example of different types of members served.

A CEO mastermind group format

One of our Mighty Pro customers holds quarterly mastermind groups and limits the sessions to five total members. The sessions are virtual, hosted inside their branded apps. Their membership offers benefits beyond mastermind groups including on-demand resources and networking. This fills in the space between these quarterly sessions and allows the members to fluctuate between the sessions, adding variety.

An entrepreneur mastermind group format

Another one of our Mighty Pro customers delivers a much different type of mastermind group. Unlike the one above, their members are in a different stage of their careers, trying to scale their first or second business. As a result, they have a much bigger demand for insights, feedback on their strategy, and the assurance of other entrepreneurs building at a similar scale.

The mastermind groups are structured in intensive six-month programs. The mastermind groups meet monthly with additional sessions and coaching delivered on a weekly basis. This works as here, the members are actively trying to improve their skills and so will make more time for this critical education and peer-to-peer intelligence that they can immediately go out and apply to their brand and product strategies.

A personal development mastermind group format

For personal development, members will be willing to devote more time to attend sessions. Our customers have found success with bi-weekly mastermind sessions. Your price point is likely lower as people are paying with their own wallets rather than their company’s money, so you’ll have a larger group of people which allows for more frequent sessions.

A professional development mastermind group format

If your mastermind group is aimed at mid-career professionals, you can host a monthly group and see fantastic attendance. As you’re probably charging in the $1000-$2000 range for a yearly membership, running a group of five to eight people won’t make financial sense.

One tactic we’ve seen work well for professional development communities is to run a monthly mastermind with a larger group (10-20 people) but also enroll every member in a specific cohort.

For example, you might have 10 individual groups with five members. These groups will go through your programs together and during the mastermind sessions, you can use these as default breakout groups. One of our customers—which runs a mastermind group and membership for marketing and sales leaders—uses this format to great success, plus they run bi-weekly group coaching calls with the dedicated groups.

Nailing your member retention

Once you’ve run your mastermind group for a few months, you’ll see predictable stumbling blocks. The format gets stale, with a few members dominating the conversation and repeating advice.

Your highest value members can’t seem to make the sessions fit into their schedules. And you find yourself calling on the same participants, again and again, to keep the conversation going.

To avoid these problems, start thinking about how you can add variety to your mastermind sessions before format fatigue arrives.

Three effective ways to add variety to your mastermind sessions:

Create a variety of perspectives

Once in a while, bring in someone from your network to do live coaching during the mastermind group. A famous industry figure works best such as a well-known author or powerhouse in your industry, especially if you use the hot seat format from above.

Get a member to nominate themselves for the hot seat and announce the session in your online community to build excitement. If you’re charging a premium for your mastermind sessions, you can build a budget in from the start to hire an industry expert for an hour. Having this format occur every quarter is a good cadence and will reactivate members who might have gone dormant halfway through the year.

Go formal for a change

Running the same format—introductions, speed round, hot seat—can also reduce retention if it becomes too predictable.

Mix it up by presenting a short deck with formal knowledge such as industry data, a strategic framework, or detailed how-to presentation. This breaks you out of the predictable group conversations. A good format is five to seven minutes of formal knowledge sharing, introducing a big idea that will frame the exchange for the rest of the hour.

Another option is breaking people into groups of two and having at least half the hour dedicated to deep working. For example, each member presents their challenge and gets coaching and ideas from the other member. This allows a deeper connection between two members and is much more engaging than a polite group discussion.

Call on a member to share

A final format we’ve seen well is when you call upon an individual member to take the spotlight and teach the group how they approach a problem or situation in their business. Perhaps a member walks the group through a day-in-their-life. Or takes them through a difficult situation they had to solve.

In all of these formats, it’s important to keep the spirit of the mastermind format, making sure any formal presentations or member spotlights open back up to the perspectives of the minds gathered. For example, at the end of a member spotlight, you can encourage other members to walk through how they might have responded differently in the moment.

Mastermind groups can take your online course business to the next level in yearly revenue, taking you from selling individual courses to creating high-value networks and incredible peer-to-peer exchanges that can dramatically change how your members run their businesses.

And by packaging up your mastermind groups alongside your courses, on-demand video training, and private groups for different customer segments, you’ll create a range of offerings for members at different stages in their learning journeys, compounding your customer base with each new program.

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