Dan Moyle 0:08
Ready to spend 15 minutes with the experts you admire need strategy sessions from thought leaders brought directly to your ears. Welcome to the sprocket talk 15 minute strategy podcast where every week George B Thomas uncovers the challenges that sales, marketing and service professionals face and of course, the strategies to help them overcome their biggest hurdles. So sit back and set your sights on growth with these bite sized conversations build your strategy goals. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 15 minute strategy podcast
George Thomas 0:37
Sprockets here's It's your boy George B. Thomas back and I'm super excited because we have the man the myth, the legend Aaron Walker. And I'm also excited because this episode we're going to talk about strategy that for many of you listening is going to be out of the box something that you may not have thought of, or if you thought of it may have scared the crap out of you when you thought about it. And so you haven't done anything yet. But before we get into the deep end of the pool, Aaron Walker if there are people listening who don't know you who haven't heard of you, can you let them know who you are, what you do and where you do it?
Aaron Walker 1:08
Yeah, thanks, George. I don't know about all that myth and legend stuff that you were speaking about earlier. But I'm a native nashvillian. We've owned 14 businesses over the course of 41 years. I retired about eight years ago, I thought, my wife said, I'm working harder today than I've ever worked in our 40 year marriage. But today, I get to help ordinary men become extraordinary and all they do. And the way we do that is through masterminds. started coaching two gentlemen about six years ago and started doing some podcast interviews, and God just blew up our business. It was amazing. I said, I can't coach that many people individually. And so we started iron sharpens iron mastermind, and today we have 150 men and 15 groups in six different countries around the world. Learning to how to be better how to grow personally and professionally.
George Thomas 2:02
And listeners viewers if that sounds familiar, it's probably because when you listen to Dan Moyles episode, and he used Aaron Walker as an example of podcasting interviews as a business strategy, well, now we're bringing it full circle. And we're gonna talk about what that led to. So Aaron, when you mentioned the word mastermind, because people might think they know what it is, but they really might not understand, like, what has to be in place what happens during the session, so maybe just start by unpacking, when you say mastermind, what exactly is happening? Or would somebody have to get set up to use this as a business strategy?
Aaron Walker 2:39
You know, George, I could give you Webster's definition of a mastermind, but let me just tell you what it's meant to me personally. So decades ago, Dave Ramsey came to me and invited me to join his mastermind that he was starting here in Nashville. And I said, Dave, I don't even know what a mastermind is like, what does that even mean? And he said, Listen, trust me in this he and I've been friends a long time. Trust me in the US come to my office Wednesday morning, seven o'clock, I'll introduce you to the guys that we've invited to join. So I went, I was very apprehensive. And I was even nervous George, I said, like, like, I don't know what we're gonna do. So we get in the room. So week after week, the guys started sharing. And I'm like, man, they're really I didn't know this part to some successful people existed, right? I thought just I was dealing with these problems. And as we went around the table like Ken Abraham and Dan Miller and Dave Ramsey, and Jeff Mosley, and all these guys started sharing troubles that they were having with their wife or their children or in their business, and they needed input and feedback from the other guys. And to summarize that, more than a decade experience with Dave, is that it really allowed me to become vulnerable and transparent to a group of trusted advisors that were non biased, it were people that their life aren't impacted as a result of the the input that they get Gave me and it helped me make better decisions. And so really, I summarized it as saying it's your own trusted advisors, your own board of directors that don't have anything to gain or lose. And they help propel your life to levels that you didn't see pause.
George Thomas 4:16
See, I love this because, you know, it's it's funny, we're going at this as a business strategy, but this might be a life strategy, because you did list things like yeah, it's it's business, but it's also family. It's kids. It's all of these things. And really what i what i want to dive into is the power of being able to have a safe place to be vulnerable, a place to help push yourself and by pushing yourself helping others to push themselves as well. So maybe talk from the perspective because you were using Dave Ramsey and you being part of one, but now move into the mode of the ones that you lead as far as being the leader. Have that mastermind, like, how does that feed you on a daily basis? And I don't mean like actual food but like, your soul, like how does the facilitator or the catalyst of change, feed your soul as far as this this mastermind, and also, like maybe success stories that you've seen come out of this? You know, amazing thing that's happening.
Aaron Walker 5:29
Yeah, great question. You know, when I first started these mastermind groups, I thought we were going to have one group. That's what I was going to do, coach, a couple of guys helped them to grow and then have a mastermind group. It's different than group coaching. A lot of people think and equate mastermind to group coaching. The facilitator is guardrails. They're just there to help keep things on track, keep the ball moving down the field, and they're an equal participant in the group and so it's not group coaching, first of all, second of all, it is a very lucrative model five Eventually, I mean, this is a very, very good, you know, two groups of 10 persons in a group can be a six figure business. And it requires, you know, a few hours a week of your time in order to do it. But the life transformational experience from my seat is unbelievable. It's unprecedented to anything I've seen, because guys come into the group, first of all, thinking that we're just going to grow professionally. And then what they realize is, is that we need to work on ourselves individually, right? I don't want men to grow professionally. And then come home one day with a pocket full of money to a house full of strangers. And that's almost what happened to me decades ago is I was so focused on making money. I did it at the expense of my family, and I had to go back and repair some things that were damaged. Well, what we do in these mastermind groups is we help you establish boundaries in your life. We help you do accountability, like you've never done it. There's a digital tool that we fill out. That keeps you hyper focused on 10 main areas of your Life. And we really pay attention to that we post those results in your private Facebook group. So every person in the group has access to your results. So it holds you accountable. We study, we read books, we do conferences together twice a year, I bring everybody together. We just finished last weekend 150 members, we had 125 from six different countries that came in for three days, we had a mastermind on steroids, to where we get together and we really take your personal life to the next level. But for me, monetarily, it's great. But the transformational experience makes it more than worthwhile. We have to have a purpose and meaning in our individual lives. And for me, George, it's why I get up every day to see that level of transformational experience. You asked to give an example of some life change for some guys. And there was one guy that His name's David, he lives in Ontario, and he came into the group and he called me everybody calls me big a he's a big guy. I don't really have The money to do this. He said the dues for your mastermind at that time was like $425. And he said, That's 25% of my income. And he said, I really can't afford to do it. And I said, David, you can't afford not to do it. 36 months later, his income was $300,000 a year. And he attributes all of that to the mastermind group. And the reason is, is that he didn't have a plan. He didn't have a mission, vision or values. He didn't have a strategy. He didn't have any accountability in his life. And he personally got straightened out because many things that he was participating in as an individual. He no longer did the things that he was supposed to do from a professional level he started doing and he was rewarded exponentially for those efforts. And I can tell you, dozens of stories like that were designed yours to be in community. Isolation is the enemy to excellence. And if we're going to go to the next level We have to have people around us to help take us there.
George Thomas 9:03
listeners, viewers rewind that there's so much good, right? There's so many nuggets of value like Aaron you listed off like, he didn't have this, this, this, this listeners go back and like, do you got a checklist right in that section of like, do you have all those things in place? If not, that is a beautiful place to start. Aaron, I do want to get into like the time investment and the money because at the end of the day, if they're going to use this as a business strategy that has to make sense. But before we get there, which by the way, I'm kind of just leading you into knowing that that's what we're going to talk about here in a hot minute. I want to help enable the folks the ladies, the gentlemen that are sitting here and they're like yeah, this sounds awesome. I want to be part of transformation. I want to start my thing but but they battle with Who am I? Right? I'm not an expert. I'm not a thought leader like this whole mentality of why Should I be the leader of this? What would you say to them if they're battling with this, just not understanding who they are or the perception of who they are, or the need to even be who they think they need to be to do this thing?
Aaron Walker 10:15
Well, here's the thing is the biggest myth that you've got to have all the answers and the thought leader, that that's what you've got to get out of your mind. you're providing a platform, you're providing a framework, you're providing a place for all persons to come where you are participating equally. You just happen to be the facilitator. As I said earlier, the guardrails. You don't have to have all the answers I can promise you, George, I learned as much in these groups, as the participants do each and every week. And we have 15 groups meeting I facilitate seven of those groups. We have facilitators that I've trained to lead the other groups, and that's the reason we created the mastermind playbook. It is so we teach you how to Start, grow and scale your own mastermind group and we give you the framework by which you lay it out. We teach you the questions to ask the themes to ask. We teach you how to do the reading assignments. We provide all that two and a half years worth of material in the mastermind playbook we provide. So you don't have to create all the content. We teach you how to do live events. We teach you how to enlist the participants, we walk you through every step of the way. See, here's what people miss. They just don't know the framework. They don't know how to lay it out. They don't know how to contact the persons to enlist them to be in their mastermind group. The magic happens, George, when you assemble the people, the magic doesn't happen from top down. The magic happens from the assimilation of all these incredible people. That's why they call it the mastermind is the collective energy of the group, not from the facilitator or the leader.
George Thomas 11:59
I love that the magic moments are from getting those people together, taking multiple brains and putting into one mastermind to help you all move forward in a smart way. So you're you're sitting here you're thinking, I want to start a mastermind, I don't need to be a thought leader. I just need to be a facilitator. How do I go about figuring out how much time I should invest in it? How do I go about figuring out what I should structure as far as how much to charge? Like, Aaron, you had to go through this? Like, what what battles did your brain go through when you're figuring out time investment and cost for people to be part of your groups?
Aaron Walker 12:37
Yeah, I want to always be straightforward with your listeners. I don't want to ever mislead them in any way. It takes time. And if it's going to be good, you're going to have to invest in the energy you can't just start something and all of a sudden the money starts pouring in. You know, I know Tim Ferriss intentions with his four hour workweek, but the truth is, it takes a lot of time to do something good. As I said earlier, In the introduction, we've owned 14 businesses. in the initial stages, it takes a lot of reps, right? We got to do a lot of work in the beginning to get it set up. Hopefully this mastermind playbook will less than that, because you don't have to create all the things that I've created for years. And that's the reason we put this into the playbook to less than that time. As far as your initial time, you've got to recruit the members, obviously, some people just want one group and that it's very easy to get you've got enough contacts in your Rolodex or on your smartphone to get one group field. We even have written the letters that you send out the emails that you send out to enlist people, we walk you through how to get the people in. So once they're in, let's just hypothetically say we're at day one, starting your group, we're ready to go. You know, we have Facebook groups for every one of our groups so they can communicate. We have one Facebook group for all the groups to communicate. It's like a bunch of Puranas They're feeding on information giving ideas. And see that's what's cool is once you get the participants moving, you can back out a little bit as the facilitator, you've got to get that momentum, you got to get to critical mass. But once you get the critical mass, and once you get that momentum, the facilitator can step back a little because there's so much energy that is going on amongst the members. But it does take time to start that I don't ever want to mislead people, I want you to know it takes effort and energy to get it going. But now you facilitate you lead for an hour, every single week. So your particular group meets on say Monday at 10am, you lead for an hour, I'm always communicating in the Facebook, I'm saying hey, use this resource, connect them to this person. The members are allowed to go into the groups and leverage the audiences of the other members. See that's the other advantage of being in community, you can now leverage the audience of the other members and so The longer the group mates, the less time it requires of you individually. But I think it would be safe to say that if you invested five hours a week into your group now, that lessens as you scale. And the reason it does is you're able to do it multiple groups using the same amount of time. But George, let's talk through this for a second. The group's historically charged four to $500 a month per member, and that seems like a lot was five grand right that the members are paying. I promise you the 10 x return that they receive as a result of being in the group is a no brainer for the participants. And so now you've got, you know, 10 people $500 that 60,000 annually at five hours a week, you can do the math, it's a pretty good return. Now we have two groups we have $120,000 a year with 20 people that you're going to invest seven or eight hours a week with I don't know of many six figure jobs out there that are paying our jobs that are paying six figures for seven hours a week. So it's a really good revenue model. And today, we have 15 groups. And so it just doesn't require that much of your time once you're up and going.
George Thomas 16:19
So listeners, viewers, I hope you see the value in getting past your own mind becoming a facilitator in the thing that you do. You're already in a niche area. For instance, I may start a HubSpot mastermind group after this interview. I do Aaron want to dive in on the last question, because you've mentioned a couple times the importance, the need, the fact that there is this framework, can you kind of give us a little bit of information around a framework that you'll want to put in place for the facilitation of these mastermind group sessions.
Aaron Walker 16:56
You know, a lot of people are scared because they don't know what to do once they assemble the people. like, Okay, I get it, I can get a virtual room with 10 people in it. Now what do we do? So we walk you through that. And we do what's called man in the middle is kind of the hot seat, right. And we make an assignment at the beginning of the month. And we know when George Thomas is going to be man in the middle. And you can see that in the directory that we've established. So you can see and we change the rotation schedule. And so you've got 10 people, and you know that you're going to have to so every fifth week, Georgia is going to be man in the middle again, we also in Georgia love this. We also assign each person to facilitate the group that is participating in the group. So every 10 weeks, you're leading the group. So now you've radically diminished the obligation and responsibility of the person starting it, because you're not leading every week George is coming prepared to lead. We have two other persons that are going to be in the hot seat. We have a theme every month in our mastermind group. We order a book that coincides with the theme. And in the directory, we have established the reading assignment and the two questions that we're going to talk about to kick start the meeting. So if the theme, for example is on human connection, there will be a reading assignment for that week, maybe two chapters in a particular book. And then we will say these are the two questions that we're going to ask to prompt the conversation. After we do that for about a 10 minute period of time. We will go through the accountability tool, the tool I told you earlier, the 10 things that we're paying most attention to in our lives, we rank ourself, one to 10 in those 10 areas, like are you saving money? Are you watching the appropriate things online or your TV that you should? Are you dieting, are you exercising? Are you being the husband or wife to your spouse that you should be? Are you being the mom or the dad to your children that you should be? These are all these 10 questions and it keeps you hyper focused on the top 10 areas of your life that we need to focus on. And once we complete that, we call it a full cup. We say, Hey, who's got something to bring to the group who's got something that it's a hack or tip or a trick or a resource? Who's got a connection that you could make this week? Could you connect George and Billy, could you connect Susie and Tommy, they need to know each other. And so we spend a lot of effort and energy being givers and not takers. And when you do that, the reciprocity is they always want to help you back. And so now you've got resources and relationships and encouragement and edification from within the group and you get off the call. It's like, man, we don't want to end the call. Let's, let's go another hour. That's the way you feel. And then you've got your marching orders. You've got your assignment. You come back next week and you report again, when you think about that level of accountability. You can't help but be successful. When you don't have that in your life, you don't have the resources, the tips, the tricks, the hacks, the introductions, the connections, the accountability, you're going to punt, you're going to push the ball out and you're going to go I'll do it next week. You're not allowed to do it next week in these groups. And because of that, you're successful. I'm Aaron Walker,
George Thomas 20:19
my goodness viewers, listeners, I hope the two things that hit your brain at least my brain where Wow, that sounds really simple. And Whoo, we that sounds powerful. Aaron, if people want to reach out to you if they have questions about starting a mastermind, if they want to just pick your brain give you a high five digitally, where do you want to send them?
Aaron Walker 20:40
Yeah, the best place to go is view from the top calm but if you're interested in learning more about the mastermind playbook, I would go to V mastermind playbook calm and it walks you through exactly what we're doing how you can get involved in YouTube can be extremely successful with your own money. mastermind group.
George Thomas 21:01
So think out the box, start a mastermind. And hey, we'll see you on the next episode.
Dan Moyle 21:08
Did you enjoy this episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast, we'd love to know. leave a rating and written review wherever you listen to your favorite shows and keep that learning going by visiting sprocket talk comm sign up for your free membership. And in that membership area, you can find bundled episodes where we combine like strategies to help you grow better make the world better and share this episode with your friends and co workers who may be battling this same obstacle. You can always reach out to George B. Thomas on Twitter with questions or guest suggestions or just to talk about your favorite Marvel superhero. Go out into the world and leverage this strategy for your success. And we'll see you on the next episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast.
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About the Expert
Aaron values his time spent with family and friends. Sharing the past 37 years with his lovely wife Robin has been nothing short of spectacular. His two fantastic daughters and champion son-in-law have given Aaron & Robin five beautiful grandchildren. When time allows, Aaron enjoys hunting, fishing, golf, and is an avid reader.
Through his participation in personal accountability groups, Aaron mentors 11 individuals weekly now and has for over five years. The Eagles Group, a collection of Nashville's most respected leaders met weekly for over a decade. At his local church, Aaron is an active member, team leader, Deacon, and teacher.
Dan Moyle 0:08