If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I was recently in New York at a Women’s Money Mastermind retreat. This was put together by Statement (brainchild of Stefanie O’Connel and Emma Pattee) and it was a sort of beta group for future events. I received lots of DMs and comments with questions about it so I thought I’d do a quick recap.
Obviously, it was a mastermind so I can’t divulge everything that was said. I can totally still give you the gist of it though. I’m also only going to share my takeaways and aha moments because that’s all I can really speak to.
What is a mastermind retreat?
A mastermind is when a group of like-minded individuals come together for brainstorming. This is usually in relation to business and career topics.
Sometimes they have very specific objectives and sometimes they don’t. For example, I went to one in Puerto Rico last year with one of my mentors. I walked out of that retreat with very specific content. In this case, it was more brainstorming and getting feedback on our businesses.
A mastermind essentially helps with a few things:
- Being around people who freakin’ get you. Entrepreneurship – and especially online business – can be isolating so it’s good to hang out with your people. In this case, we all also came from the personal finance world.
- In this case, we were all also women. I don’t want to get into gender wars here, but I will say that gender affects the way we see money. Men and women handle money and business very differently and we each have unique challenges. Women need their own safe space to talk about money with other women. I’m sure men sometimes need to talk about money with other men too. Then we can all learn from each other (some of my best teachers have actually been men)
- Other people can see your blind spots in business whereas you can’t because you’re too close to it. They can also (lovingly) call you out on your shit which is very helpful.
- You get away from the minutiae of everyday life. Sometimes you literally need to go away to focus on your own business. We get so caught up with living and responsibilities that we put our own businesses on the backburner. A change of scene also helps the creative juices flow.
- You get expert opinions from people who are way better at certain skills than you are. And vice versa. Several of the ladies attending have expertise in areas I needed help with and I have expertise in areas they need help with. It’s a win-win.
- Fun! Masterminds can be very mentally intensive so you need to balance it out with some fun activities. We went hiking and had dinner at a beautiful lodge in the Catskills. In the past, I’ve attended masterminds where we go salsa dancing. (Side note: I had no idea that New York had such a beautiful countryside!)
So that’s a mastermind retreat in a nutshell. Now let’s get into my experience at this particular mastermind.
Last year I went to a mastermind in the Caribbean, this year I ended up in the mountains. More specifically, I ended up in a beautiful home in the Catskills mountain range – complete with a lake in the backyard! It was absolutely beautiful, and as someone who has spent her entire life in Florida, it’s cool to see mountains every once in a while.
We did go hiking one of the days which was pretty cool. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard, but it was also only the second hike I’ve done in my entire life. I did also have this moment where I was like, “Yup, I’m hiking in the middle of the week while people are stuck at offices.” Because, believe it or not, I sometimes feel bad about it. I know people see me as a role model and that’s really cool, but I definitely have moments in my personal life where I’m afraid of coming off as if I’m one-upping people, so I stay quiet. My business life is totally different because I don’t care and know that self-promotion is a part of the game. This is a personal aha moment I had while on this trip and I’m currently sitting with it.
(Ironically, I remember the friend who turned me on to a different way of living had the same freakin’ problem. Funny how things come full circle, no?)
At the same time, I also know I deserve to live the way I do. I’ve worked very hard for this. I knew I wanted location independence and I put in the hours to make it happen. I also made the choices necessary to be able to have the business and life that I have today. These things don’t happen magically, they take work and time, and every woman who attended this retreat has definitely paid her dues.
As I already mentioned, sometimes you need a change of scene in order to get the creative juices flowing. The last few months have been really hectic – mostly in a good way. There’s been lots of growth but with that also comes a lot of work. And, as I’ve mentioned in previous income reports, I was also going through some stuff in my personal life (it has since been resolved) so I was definitely feeling a bit of mental and emotional burnout. In other words, I really needed to get away from my daily life for a while and the countryside is the best place to do it. Mission accomplished.
Okay so now let’s talk about the actual mastermind part of the mastermind. There were 17 women in personal finance who were in attendance and each of us got our chance to sit in the hot seat. During the hot seat, we talked about our businesses and shared out current challenges. Everyone else would then brainstorm – sometimes amongst themselves and sometimes with you – about different ideas or solutions to the challenges.
I decided to take my hot seat to talk about the podcast. Right now money is good and my income streams are diversified between freelance, business coaching/consulting and brand partnerships. One of my income streams – my Persuade to Profit group coaching program – is also super scalable and all the sales systems are already built and working well sans a few quick tweaks. That was my big focus in 2017 and it’s paying off. The downside is my podcast – which I did enjoy and I’ve gotten great feedback for – fell to the wayside due to projects that were a higher priority, constant travel, moving and Hurricane Irma.
Basically, I have the conundrum many entrepreneurs face at some point – money is good and you have tons of clients but your own marketing isn’t a priority. Additionally, you don’t have time to do things you actually enjoy doing and there’s this thing called life you need to deal with. I knew it wasn’t just bad marketing, but I literally didn’t have a creative outlet like I used to and was therefore not feeling very passionate about anything.
Oh and let’s not forget I get totally in my head when it comes to creating processes and structure. I’m naturally creative and can come with content in the blink of an eye, but I suck at details and executing. I usually have to seek out help when it comes to creating systems and focusing on one thing at a time, so that’s why I was like “Might as well use the hot seat for this!”
It’s a good thing I did because I got exactly what I needed. I know where the podcast is fitting in my overall marketing strategy (I didn’t have an actual offering when I started it whereas now I do) and I was able to brainstorm some ideas and map out a structure. I also have people already wanting to be guests. Now it’s just a matter of doing it, so I’ve given myself a deadline of July to start getting episodes out on a consistent basis. Since I just told the whole world I’m doing it, I guess now I don’t have a choice haha.
Insightful conversations with brands
Part of being an expert and influencer in your field is you get to help brands actually cater to the needs of the market. Basically, us bloggers hear from our readers all the time. We know what you guys are going through. This means we’re able to report back to brands who are trying to create solutions to meet your specific needs. With that information, they can create amazing products that actually help you with your finances.
We also get to report to you which brands are doing a good job in catering to your needs. In other words, we’re middlemen between consumers and companies. (P.S. From a business perspective, this is a damn good position for a blogger to be in. You can get started building your own expert status with my free webinar that teaches you how to build your influence online!)
We had the opportunity to do this over food and drinks with a couple of brands and we had some very insightful conversations. Some of the things we covered were minorities, gender, politics, digital currency, investing, marketing, socioeconomics and way more. We ran the gamut but that’s kind of what happens when you get a bunch of money nerds in one room.
At the end of the day, money isn’t just money, it’s literally at the core of our everyday lives because we need it for our own survival, so any conversation about money inevitably turns into a conversation about all the things.
My 3 Main Takeaways
I know this is getting pretty wordy so let me break down my takeaways for you.
- Now that I know what the actual point of my podcast is, I will be bringing it back. I know many of you will be pleased because you were bummed when I temporarily put it on ice at the beginning of this year.
- Budgets! For the first time ever, I know exactly how much money I should be spending on my marketing efforts in relation to my revenue. This was freakin’ revolutionary! I also got an ad up and running before I left and it’s converting, so I feel accomplished.
- There is a specific phrase I heard several times throughout the event that really struck a chord with me. I can’t remember who said it or in what context, but on more than one occasion I heard “Life is long.” I needed to hear this. I’m naturally very impatient and it’s gotten worse since a friend of mine passed away in 2016. I’ve had this constant anxiety like I don’t have time to do the things I want to do, so I have to rush. The reality is I do have time and I can’t control when my time is up anyway so why worry about it?
I’d say those are my three main takeaways from the event. And, of course, I feel closer to these women after having candid conversations in the mountains. You can expect to find out about all of them in upcoming episodes of the podcast. Because, obviously, you all need to know who these women are. Also, stay tuned for a recap of my time in New York City and an AirBnB review!