Insights From Last Season's Mastermind Sessions

My fellow admin in the Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group at LinkedIn prompted us for insights from last season's private mastermind sessions. "List one thing you applied using the feedback you received and the results you witnessed after putting it into practice," writes Tara Agacayak. "If you did not have the opportunity to present your case study, you are welcome to list one thing you applied that you learned in the process of this mastermind that has brought you results."

My response:

My mastermind question was about monetizing expat+HAREM (and I got tons of great suggestions and debate from you all!). The most impactful thing that emerged was that regardless of what my people will tell me they want (when I send out the survey!), my success will hinge on the idea of partnering with people who have related yet different businesses and have high-quality, appropriate products and services to offer.

I may know something is valuable in my arena when I see it -- but that doesn't mean I have the time or energy to create it from scratch myself. I can be a conduit for that product or service, and in partnering with others I can co-brand the thing. And over time, I can grow my community based on those offerings rather than the free ones -- "a small band of givers rather than a lot of takers".

An example of where you see that impact today is in the "Build Your Global Niche" program I am creating with Tara, the mastermind demo we did this month for the International Pro Women of Istanbul and the tutorial mailing list we started. They are early steps to a larger plan for eH, which is about preparing expat+HAREM readers to be a cohesive, actualized community putting a creative entrepreneur web platform to use in their location (and monoculture?) independent lives. To solve their problems with the very tools that are solving ours. To give them access to the people who ring our bells...and in turn to give those bell-ringers access to an appropriate community for their offerings. Win-win.

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Among the other enlightening, and empowering results reported:

"I have integrated the main social media tools with my website and I have added posterous to the main tools to work with."  (To this I say: that's some integration that not only makes you more visible but also saves you energy in the syndication of content!)

"I re-organized my twitter, creating more strategic and useful lists. I started tweeting other things besides news." (To this I say: I felt your presence on Twitter so much more recently. Kudos for finding a Twitter third party service that lets you do things your way.)

"With your suggestions and guidance I simplified my offerings into two categories - Free and Premium."

"By creating a website for purely professional purposes I ended up getting a great deal more interest in my services on eLance. By redoing the header on my site I find that people spend more time on the website than they had been doing." (To this I say: great you're able to point to those concrete, quantifiable results from the advances you've made (email responses, view time on site).)

"I had a fairly fixed idea of how I wanted my site to be before the session. Afterwards I was questioning every single aspect of it! It really helped to have other people's input, to see where they thought I should head and how to arrange the site. That's the beauty of this group, positive criticism that can change how you approach things." (To this I say: can't wait to see how your site turns out with those added dimensions in the process of creating it!)

"My biggest win has been creating a cohesive visual hub. From that unity, I've been able to start weaving a very colorful picture in images, not just words. Using fun tools like Picasa/Picnik, Animoto (my new fav way to tell stories, which you'll be seeing with my Kickstarter relaunch this month) and taking new photos of our product on Etsy as well as new portraits of our main product - us! - have changed the site dramatically and increased Etsy sales. So, pulling together the visuals our brand projects to the world has been key, thanks to all of you!"