Several of my girlfriends and I get together once a month or so just to have a talk-fest and keep our friendships vibrant and on-track. It usually starts with a phone call from one of us (there are usually five of us who get together) saying we need a “girls’ night”. Now we are all grown women but we are secure enough not to bristle at the word girls. If you are having trouble with it, get over it.
We get together and eat food that is bad for us and drink champagne and wine in good stemware and just talk. We talk for anywhere from seven to nine hours (we may have gone ten hours one night – we don’t really keep track). And by and large we talk about business. Although last night a good fifteen minutes was spent on hair removal techniques. Hey, we’re girls.
Our common ground is real estate investing. We met each other through our local real estate investors association and we have formed an alliance that sometimes includes doing real estate transactions with each other but more often does not. We did not come together to form a business alliance – an old girls’ network as opposed to an old boys’ network. We work well with men on a daily basis and some of us are partnered in business with men. But what we have done is form a friendship that has become a brain trust of sorts, a small band of smart businesswomen who came together for social reasons and evolved into a mastermind group.
Last night turned into a kind of “hot seat” workshop where one by one we discussed the problems facing us and our businesses and got input from each other as to what direction we should take. The downturn in the real estate market created some tight situations for us and we discussed the various exit strategies for a few loser properties as well as ways to capitalize on the current market.
Several of us do internet marketing. Usually our talks on that center around driving traffic to our sites. (That seems to be the uncrackable egg in internet marketing, doesn’t it? No matter what anyone promises in their sales letters.) Last night we focused on offline methods of generating additional revenue from our clients, from putting advertisements for other related vendors in our packages to referral messages to capitalizing on local festivals. These are all methods that people in business know that they should be employing. There is no rocket science going on here. But even though we know we should be doing certain things in business, especially things like following up with current clients for retention and up-selling purposes, we don’t always get to it. A session with the girls where steps are laid out for you to implement will be followed up at the next session with the question, “Did you implement those steps?”
But the beautiful thing about being reminded of what you need to do is that it usually comes with an offer of help. For instance, I need to book some speaking engagements. My friend Ayla, who is in touch with hundreds of groups, has offered to help me get the word out. In concrete ways. She does this for another speaker and she has the skill to do it. I am working a tradeshow booth for her next month because she has an event going on in another location. But the tradeshow booth I am working will also benefit me because it will put me in front of more real estate investors. My friend Bobbie, who imports goods from Germany (www.mydirndl.com) will be working an Oktoberfest next month. A couple of us will pitch in for a few hours to help her get everything organized and man the booth (okay, woman the booth). Allison doesn’t know it yet, but I will be tapping her to help out with an Auction Event of a house I will be doing in her town. The fifth member of our group, Nancy, who couldn’t make it last night, is a wall of positive reinforcement. Whenever one of us feels like we are the world’s biggest screw up, we talk to Nancy and she pumps us up with her complete and utter belief that we will all be huge successes. And she is right.
Women love to talk and we love to discuss problems and situations ad nauseum. However, if you can find yourself a group of friends who will chew on a subject and use it as a jumping off point for brainstorming and out-of-the-box thinking, you will be light-years ahead of your competition. Not just because of the ideas that will come to light, but because you will have a group of friends who will help you with your project and who will kick your butt if you slack off.
I am very fortunate to have a group of friends who want to discuss concrete ways of making our lives and businesses better. Most importantly, they are willing to act on their ideas. Who do you have in your life who helps motivate you to achieve more? Who do you know that is actively working towards success by attending seminars, reading books, trying new ways to market or hatching new ideas to increase the bottom line? If you want to live an extraordinary life, you need to seek out these people and actively make them a part of your life. They are out there. And they are looking for you, too.