🎙️ Episode #1

Collaboration Unleashed: Exploring the Impact of Mastermind Groups with Katie Keith

Katie Keith - Barn2Plugins

Show Notes

Katie Keith is the CEO and co-founder of Barn2 Plugins, a small but powerful WordPress and WooCommerce plugin company that she runs from Majorca, Spain, with her husband, Andy. Thanks to her entrepreneurial journey of running a successful company remotely, she is highly regarded as an authority in business development and marketing.

Instrumental to Katie’s success is the fact that she’s been part of a mastermind group for more than four years. Mastermind groups are peer-to-peer collectives where members pool their experience and advice to help each other solve problems and overcome obstacles. 

In this episode, we’ll look at mastermind group benefits in light of how Katie’s group has helped her solve entrepreneurial challenges and impacted her personal and business growth. We’ll also discuss how you can set out to find the right members for your mastermind group, establish an effective structure, and make sure that everyone’s committed to providing value.


Thanks to Katie for joining us and providing such valuable insights into mastermind groups. Join us next week with South African web designer and entrepreneur Rob Hope to learn how using clever growth hacking can stretch limited resources to ensure maximum growth.

plugin.fm is brought to you by Freemius, your all-in-one eCommerce partner for selling software, plugins, themes, and SaaS. If you enjoyed this episode, head over to plugin.fm to check out previous episodes.


Episode Contributors:

Katie Keith — Guest

Patrick Rauland — Host

Vova Feldman — Content quality control

Scott Murcott — Content research and preparation

Zee Hazan — Audio and video quality control

Emiliano Pioli — Audio and video editing

Chapters & Episode Notes

00:00 – Intro

01:25 – Joining a Mastermind Group: Transforming Business Growth and Connections

04:27 – Evolution of Camaraderie: How Katie Keith’s Mastermind Group Transcended Professional Support

08:12 – Mastermind Success: What’s the Ideal Group Size? Unveiling the Magic Number!

09:00 – Mastermind Solutions: Practical, Personal, and Life-Changing Challenges Explored

14:11 – From Rookie Mistakes to Accelerated Growth: How Can a Mastermind Group Fast-Forward Your Learning?

15: 35 – Mastermind Commitments: How Much Time & Engagement Is Needed for Success?

19:55 – Unlocking Untapped Potential: Masterminds for Team Members

22:50 – Mastermind Group Do’s and Don’ts: Pitfalls, Lessons, and Mistakes

24:40 – The Accountability Factor: How Masterminds Keep Business Owners on Track

26:15 – Is Joining Multiple Masterminds and Alternative Communities the Key to Accelerated Growth?

30:33 – Mastermind Joining Strategies: A Must-Have Priority for Plugin Creators

33:30 – Outro


Katie: Should I hire another developer? And I’ve actually shared, “This is what I make each month after all the taxes and everything. This is what I would make if I hired this developer. Is that cutting it too close?” Getting their opinion, if you’re not open with that sort of thing, even if it’s a bit uncomfortable, how can they give you the right advice?

Patrick: Hello everyone and welcome to the plugin.fm podcast, brought to you by Freemius. On plugin.fm, we sit down with influential makers, bootstrappers, and entrepreneurs to explore the strategies and practices that have helped them succeed on their business journey. We hope that you’ll take away actionable tips and tactics and apply them to your own business for product success. 

My name is Patrick Rauland, and today I have the pleasure of hosting Katie Keith, the CEO and co-founder of Barn2 Plugins. With her deep expertise in the day-to-day of running a company, Katie has established herself as an authority in business development and marketing. Katie has been a part of a mastermind group for over four years and has found it invaluable to tackle business challenges, spark ideas, and hack growth. 

In this episode, Katie shares how her Mastermind group has impacted her personal and business growth, as well as how to find the right members, establish a structure that works for you, and the commitment required to ensure it’s valuable for everyone. Get ready to be inspired, entertained, and educated as we uncover the immeasurable benefits and collective wisdom of Katie Keith. Welcome, Katie!

Katie: Hi, thanks for having me.

Patrick: Lovely. So, let’s go ahead and get started. The question is, why would anyone go to join a mastermind group? But specifically, what was going on with your business and your life that you wanted to join a mastermind group? 

Katie: Well, it was 2019 at the time. I’d been running my plugin company for three years at that point, and I was doing fine. It was growing rapidly. I was starting to hire a team in the very early days of that, and I’d started also doing some interviews and things on high-profile WordPress sites like WP Tavern and even things like the Easy Digital Downloads blog. And so, my name was just beginning to get out there a bit in terms of telling my story.

And then, out of the blue, I got an email from the owner of another WordPress plugin company saying that they were setting up a mastermind of plugin companies that were at a similar stage on their journey, and would I be interested in joining? And I didn’t think too much about it, to be honest. I didn’t think, “Oh wow, this is the best thing ever,” but it sounded interesting and like a new opportunity. And so, I said yes. 

Patrick: Awesome. And this is the same group that you’re in four years later?

Katie: Yes.

Patrick: Fantastic. So, you didn’t actually find it, so you didn’t go out searching for a mastermind. They sort of invited you in, and then you found out all the benefits.

Katie Keith: Yeah, they never said where they heard about me, but I suspect it was an article, an interview, or something that they’d read. And I did discuss things like revenue and some of those, and they said in the email they were looking for people with similar revenue levels because that would indicate a similar level of experience and staging in their business. So, I’ve never actually asked them, but I suspected that’s where they got hold of me from. And so they obviously were going out and researching and thinking, “Who have I seen that I think I could learn from?” and so on, and reached out to various people. And we ended up with six in the group initially.

Patrick: Great, I was going to ask you. So, my next question was going to ask how you found or like how you found the group, but they found you. So, did you have to, how about this, have any of the members left and you had to find new members? 

Katie: Nobody’s ever left. We did have a new member, a seventh member, join last year to mix it up a bit, really. It was somebody very good with a lot of experience. And so, we’ve had one new one join, but nobody’s ever left.

Patrick: Wow, fantastic! Well, excellent. So, I will skip the question on finding new members, but it’s really great to hear that you’ve had such a cohesive group. I’ll share this with the listeners. I’ve had two masterminds, and one lasted for a really long time, maybe three years, and then my business changed and we pivoted. But the other one only lasted a year because I think we had different goals. 

So, let me ask you, how has your Mastermind group evolved and changed over four years? Because I’m guessing, I’m guessing you’ve changed the format or I’m guessing how often you meet, or what has happened in four years?

Katie: Strangely, the physical format hasn’t changed. The format is that we have calls every two weeks, but they were an hour, and now they’re an hour and a half because we’ve got a seventh member. But that’s the only change. And we always take it in turns. We have a dynamic wheel which tells us whose turn it is so that the same people don’t always end up going first. And then each person gets like 10 to 15 minutes in which, first of all, they say what their highs were for the last two weeks, and then they share any lows, negatives that have happened in the last two weeks. And then they have the opportunity for a hot seat where they discuss with the group anything that they feel they could get something out of. And we can talk more about examples of that later. 

So, that’s the format of the calls which has never changed. And in addition, we have a mastermind Slack group in which we just talk in between whenever something comes up. So, while the format hasn’t changed, the group has because of the relationships evolving. So, at the beginning, nobody really knew each other particularly well, so it was a more professional, I suppose, matter-of-fact group with the calls in which we thought there were fewer kinds of jokes and things like that. It was more functional. And then over the years, we’ve got to know each other better and formed real friendships where we’re a lot closer and have shared history and know a lot about each other both personally and our businesses. And we’ve supported each other through some changes in our lives and businesses and things. So, well, the format hasn’t changed, the dynamic has because we’ve gotten closer.

Patrick Rauland: Very cool! I didn’t expect that answer. I love hearing that there’s, because I think also in a mastermind group, you talk with other business owners and you learn a lot of, “Oh, we had trouble hiring,” or, “We had trouble increasing prices.” You learn these technical things or these processes that they’ve gone through. I didn’t expect to hear that there’s like an emotional connection. You’ve become friends, and because I think, you know, life is intertwined with business, and it’s great to have someone who understands your business and how your life might affect your business and vice versa. So, I think that’s a benefit that I wasn’t even imagining when we started this conversation. 

Katie: I don’t know what other groups are like, but after it takes time, eventually, those things, I suppose, would naturally evolve if you put the time into it. And I know you want to talk about that a bit later about how much you need to invest in it, so it’s part of that.

Patrick: Very cool. One of the things that worked for me was, one of my Mastermind groups a little while back, we had very short intros, like five to ten minutes each, and then a long, it was almost like an hour-long Hot Seat. Is your hot seat shorter? Like, is it only like 10 minutes for you to dig into a problem, or is it longer than that?

Katie:  Yeah, it’s 10 to 15 minutes. Sometimes it will go on for a bit longer, but we’re aware and respect each other’s time and each other’s need to have that input as well. There was one time where somebody had a particular crisis in their business, and everybody mutually agreed that the whole meeting would be dedicated to him and what to do about this situation. But generally, everybody has a hot seat, therefore we have to limit the time.

Patrick: Got it, fantastic! Love this. This is super interesting. So, let me ask about how many members a group should have. I know yours has six and then seven. Is there an ideal group size? Do you see benefits of going down to four? My groups are both four people. Or is there benefits to going up to like 10, or is seven the magic number?

Katie: I think that four to six is the magic number. Since we’ve got seven, it’s been really great to have someone new in the group, and he’s brought a lot in and a fresh perspective as well. And it’s been really good to learn about a different business because I already knew the others so well. But if I was choosing a number, then I think seven is a bit much. For example, we could have hour-long meetings before with 10 minutes each, and now we’ve expanded it, and it’s just that bit long. So, I’d say keep it four to six because you wouldn’t want to go too much less than four because you want that breadth of experience. I know that the one person in my Mastermind group is in a two-person Mastermind for somebody else. But that’s not really a mastermind in the same way. I suppose they’re sharing ideas, but I think it’s useful to have multiple perspectives.

Patrick: Oh yes, absolutely. Having a wide range of perspectives is good. I’m guessing that does tap out at like seven, whereas I’m sure with four people, you still get a bunch of perspectives. Cool. So, can you give me an example of what is a topic or a problem or a challenge that has come up in the Mastermind that you are able to help each other with? Are there any specific stories, either you or one of the members?

Katie: I’ll give you three different examples if that works because they show the different sorts of things you can get out of it practically. So, the most common thing is day-to-day business decisions. We have had consultations on a design for a new pricing table, for example. Several members have had their designer create something, and then they’ve screencast it during the call, and we’ve provided feedback about what about this, what about that. It’s interesting with the different personalities because people have different angles on it. There’s one person in the group that is very much a theorist, and he’ll have a business theory for everything, which is really nice. So, he’ll come up with something about, I forgot what you call it, a decoy pricing, and things like that. And other people will be more design-led. So, it’s interesting getting those different views on the practical things because we’ve all had to think about our pricing tables, for example, and so we can share what we’ve learned and so on. And other little things like that, like the wording of job ads as well, we’ve shared that. And people, even the process, like one person in the group came up with a really innovative way of hiring marketers and writers, in which they kind of had to prove themselves during the application through the way that they were submitting information and how creative they had to be, and so on. And so, others in the group have adopted that same method. So, that’s the kind of first example, which is day-to-day business decisions that we make all the time, and just getting another perspective on that. Another one is dilemmas regarding things like staffing. You can’t consult your team about if you’re thinking of firing somebody, for example, something difficult like that, disciplinary issues, how to motivate a particular team member, and things like that. So, I’ve got two examples of that. One is when I was thinking of whether to end the contract with a team member, and I really wasn’t sure what to do, and they gave me some really useful advice, right down to helping me think over several months whether to do that, to the wording that I would use when the time came. And a more positive example is a mastermind group yesterday where I’ve just had a team WP do a survey of our team, and I’ve recently this week had the results, and one thing that came out was that there were a couple of areas within the team that felt a bit isolated. So, I talked to my mastermind group about their ideas for how to make a remote team feel more like a team and things like that. So, they gave me some practical ideas and advice there. And the third area is the really big, kind of more life-changing business decisions, which has come up at least twice in the few years we’ve been talking to each other.

So, one of our group was acquired, and we supported him and advised, and that was the really interesting process, seeing it from start to finish. And other people have thought about either acquiring companies or being acquired, and we’ve talked about the pros and cons and helped them also. Because we know each other quite well, we’ve helped them more like emotionally think about what you want from your life and how this decision fits into it. And because we have that knowledge of each other, we can kind of almost challenge sometimes and say, “Is that really what you want? What are the benefits?” And so on. And actually, two people in our group actually invested in the other as well, so they are now working together as a result of the group. So, you can kind of see how these things can work out just through the shared experience and knowledge.

Patrick: Yeah, I mean, so all levels of decisions, from pricing tables, hiring new people, and the wording on the job applications, up to, “Oh my God, how do we let this person go?” which is a big decision. And then really big decisions, like being acquired or selling your business, that type of stuff. So, you’re covering literally everything. Are there like topic days, you know, where it’s like, “Hey, in two weeks, I really want to talk about this big thing,” and sort of people focus on that? Or is it just literally whatever’s come up that week?

Katie: The only time that has happened is Black Friday because that’s the shared thing that we’re all focusing on all at once. So, we will typically have a pre-Black Friday planning call where we might share the things we’ve learned from the previous year and share the designs of our landing pages and things like that.

Patrick: That’s awesome! That’s good. I like it. Makes sense when all of you are doing the same similar things. Are you all, and let me ask you this, are you all like plugin businesses or something similar to that? 

Katie: Yeah, all plugin businesses, yeah. Mostly non-competing, although there are some exceptions.

Patrick: Got it, great. Yeah, I’m sure that shared experience adds a lot and prevents a lot of rookie mistakes.I don’t know about you, but the way I learn is by making every mistake once and then going, “Oh, I shouldn’t do that again,” and then after a long time, you’ve literally done every mistake, and then you start doing the right thing. And I think a mastermind group fast-forwards that. Is that the right way to think about that?

Katie: Hopefully, yeah, obviously the trick is to listen. You don’t have to blindly do what you’re advised, as in any area of life, but you need to know when to listen and implement what people are saying as well. 

Patrick: Fantastic! So let me ask you about commitments. Because I would say, so the first mastermind group that I was in, I think the commitment sort of waned, and then, you know, instead of getting four people on a call, we’d get two people, and that doesn’t feel very good. And so eventually, that group sort of fizzled out, and the next one will be in much better equipment. So, what level of commitment do you think, like how committed to a mastermind should someone be in terms of, do you show up every single time? Do you show up 95% of the time? How do you make sure that people are giving and receiving value?

Katie: To get it off to a good start and make it work, you have to commit to the group, both to the calls and if you have a Slack group (which you should), then to actually be on that as well. And I’ll give an example of how it can not work, which is similar to what you’ve just said, which is that in my annual year in review, I always mention my mastermind group, and I always get emails from other plugin companies afterwards saying, “Can I join? It sounds amazing.” And one year, a group of, I kind of decided to put them in touch with each other with their permission, and so some other groups were formed on the back of that, because as we just talked about, you can only have so many people in one group. And my husband, Andy, who is my business partner, joined a group with five, I think it was other WordPress product people, and they had some calls and things, but the group never really took off. I can’t speak for the other group members, but I know that Andy kind of likes to focus on what he’s working on and wasn’t particularly open to going into Slack constantly and chatting with them and sharing ideas, and didn’t have that attitude of working together. Whereas I think in my group, we’ve almost seen it as like a kind of co-managed management team, really, that we’ve got people to consult with all the time. And so we were actively in Slack. And admittedly, some of the group members are more available than others, particularly on Slack, because some people compartmentalize their time and plan their calendars and they don’t cope well with distractions. Other people are multitaskers and are okay with dipping in and out of conversations throughout the day and so on. So not everybody’s the same availability, but generally, everybody has committed to the calls, and that’s made a big difference. And there’s at least four of us that are very committed to the Slack group throughout the day, really, just like I am with the Barn2 team, who I have to be available for on Slack.

Patrick: Have you ever had to have a tough conversation? You know, I mean, you can discipline team members on your Barn2 team, but you can’t discipline your mastermind group because… But is there, do you ever have to have a conversation with them that says, “Hey, you haven’t shown up for the last three masterminds. We really want you to show up for the next one.”

Katie: We kind of just accept it, and if somebody doesn’t, then there’s a reason. For example, one person whose company has been acquired is now part of a wider group and has similar masterminds with them. So the other group members have been understanding of the fact that he often has clashing calls, and also, he does get something similar from his new colleagues as well. So we haven’t been funny about that, especially that we still got that relationship that we’ve built over several years. And he was open about, “I don’t know how many of the calls I can go to anymore. It’s not really as useful for me as it used to be, but I still want to be on slack and so on.” But we don’t see each other as controlling one another. Like, I mean, you shouldn’t control your team members, but there is that hierarchy, whereas for us, it’s voluntary in the Mastermind group.

Patrick:  Do you see any? So, Masterminds are very common for business owners. When I go to conferences, I hear from lots of people that they’re in at least one Mastermind, sometimes more. But they don’t seem popular for team members, right? Like, it’s not that they don’t exist, they definitely do. I’m in an SEO group right now. But they just don’t seem like they’re common, and I don’t know why that is. Would you ever encourage a team member on Barn2 to join an SEO group or a developers group or a new managers group or something like that?

Katie: Yes, I have recently done that. So, my video producer is a lot more, let’s say, social than a lot of my team members, like a different personality type. And I felt that he needed more than what he’s getting from the team Slack and so on. Also, being the only video person on our team, he wasn’t, as well as the kind of social element, he wasn’t getting the practical experience of learning from other video people because there aren’t any within the team, which is fair enough. And so, I encouraged him to form a Mastermind group of fellow YouTubers. And I believe that your colleague Z is joining Sam’s group at the moment, so that’s really good. And they’ve got a group of four or five, I think, really good video people in the WordPress space, and they’re just about to have their first call, I think. But I agree with you, it’s not something you think of for team members, and it’s the first time that it even crossed my mind. So now you’ve said it, I’m thinking, “Oh, what other team members might benefit from this?”

Patrick: It just seems so valuable to learn from other people rather than to make all the mistakes yourself. Like, you know, if a boss wants to pay me to make all the mistakes myself, sure, I’ll do that, but it’s a waste of time. And I know I wouldn’t like it. It’s like, if I commit what is an hour and a half a week every two weeks—I can’t do that math—it’s something like, is that 40 hours a year or something? Yeah, I guess that is one workweek. But if you spend one workweek over the course of a year doing these Mastermind calls with other people, I’m pretty sure you would get more value out of that than by making a mistake and having to redo a project that takes eight hours, you know? Some like, I think one or if you can prevent one or two big problems a year with a Mastermind, it seems like it would pay for itself and be worth it for the company.

Katie: Yeah, it’s also about things like support and moral support, which can help with motivation, prevent burnout, and this is a bit cynical, but I could sometimes actually think, “Shall I bother my husband Andy or shall I bother my Mastermind group?” And I value their time a bit differently because I’m not like paying, you know, it’s a different sort of arrangement, isn’t it? This voluntary thing versus somebody that could be working on something that builds my business if I didn’t bother them. So, there is a bit of a selfish thing that we can all do to each other, of course, instead of asking a colleague who we’re paying or who could be making his money, we ask each other. Although that’s only a small part of the decision, the main bit is who is the best person to give you that advice.

Patrick: Of course, fascinating! I love that little detour, so thank you for going on that detour with me. I did want to ask, what are the best ways to participate in a mastermind group? Are there any pitfalls or lessons? Are there any mistakes that you’ve made while participating in the group? 

Katie: I’m not sure, particularly. I think the mistake is thinking that you can do it without putting much effort in. It has happened with my husband in his Mastermind group where it’s like it needs to build to a certain level of support and trust, and so on. And it needs to be a safe space where everybody feels they can share information. For example, I don’t share profit numbers within the community more widely, but everybody in the Mastermind group knows how each other is doing and so on. So, one mistake could be not being open and sharing. Because if you don’t have a full picture of each other, you can’t fully advise. So, for example, I have been quite open when thinking, “Should I hire another developer?” And I’ve actually shared, “This is what I make each month after all the taxes and everything. This is what I would make if I hired this developer. Is that cutting it too close?” And getting their opinion. If you’re not open with that sort of thing, even if it’s a bit uncomfortable, how can they give you the right advice?

Patrick: Right, yeah. I can definitely see the benefits. I’ve always shared my actual business numbers in my Mastermind groups, and I find that very helpful. To be like, I think people have called me out, like in a good way, of like, “Patrick, you’ve shared the numbers and you’re not making that much money from this product. You should drop this product.” And it’s very hard to hear that, but it’s the right advice at the right time. So, really sharing those numbers. Let me add, so we have some extra time here, which is great. Let me ask you a couple follow-ups here. So, number one, how much is part of the benefit of a mastermind holding the business owner accountable? And by that, I mean, as a business owner you can make sure your writer’s writing, who makes your developers writing code or fixing bugs. You can make sure your support people are answering tickets. But sometimes, you’re not holding yourself accountable in running the profit-loss spreadsheets every month or you haven’t really looked at, “Wow, is the marketing actually returning value?” Like, you haven’t done those higher-level jobs. Is part of the benefit of a mastermind holding a business owner accountable?

Katie: Yeah, I’m absolutely sorry, I’m just looking away because I’m looking at what somebody said yesterday on the Slack. So, every at the end of every call, we set goals for the next two weeks so that we don’t, like, force each other. Nothing happens if we haven’t done it, but it does create that. I think there’s a whole theory of intention where if you publicly say you intend to do something, you are more likely to do it. So, we set what goals that we’re intending to do. And, like, yesterday somebody put on an hour before the call, “I have one hour to write some pictures.” So, he’s just like, right, I’ve got my goal to do, I’m gonna start it now. So, that’s a—it’s not meant to be last minute, but you could see that he was being motivated by having said that he would do something. And because, as you say, when you’re the company owner, nobody is really holding you accountable like you might hold your team accountable, so it does have that element.

Patrick: Got it. Have you thought about multiple masterminds? Is there a benefit to, you know, you’re in… So, I tried one where… So, the one successful mastermind I was in, we all did very similar things. We were all course creators, and we all shared knowledge about how to create courses. All that stuff was really good. I mean, slightly different topic areas. The other one that didn’t do so well was we all used WooCommerce, but it was like one person ran a store, one person sold software, I created courses on it, like there was all these… We had a topic here, and that one, I think, just fizzled. But have you thought about, is there a different angle of a mastermind you might join for a second one? Or is there no desire to start or join a second one?

Katie: I have wondered that, mainly after my year in review posts when people start reaching out, and some really great people who I really respect reach out and say, “Can I join?” I think, well, my group doesn’t want to be any bigger, but I could join a group with this person. And I’m like, that’s a big commitment because, like I said, you need to put the time in. But interestingly, I’m very slow. I only joined Twitter like six months ago, but I’m actually getting a lot of the benefits out of the Twitter community that I have had from my Mastermind group. And there’s an interesting analogy to be drawn between what you can get from a more wide sort of place like Twitter. I will often put something on Twitter now instead of my Mastermind slack and say, “What do you think about this?” or maybe a draft of something or other that someone’s designed and get feedback from the WordPress community on Twitter. And while you don’t have the obviously confidential space, and you don’t have the same relationship building element of it, you do have the benefit of a wider breadth of experience. So, that’s a way to kind of have a sort of semi-Mastermind, some of the benefits as well as the main one.

Patrick: Yeah, I guess what’s the phrase? It’s like the wisdom of the crowds, and there is some wisdom in crowds for sure. And especially if you’ve, and I’ve seen you on Twitter a lot in the last six months, so I don’t know how you grew that Twitter following engagement so quickly, but well done. But you ask really good questions there, and I see really good responses to your questions. So there is definitely a lot of value in, I’m thinking about, you know, or I think I saw one about hiring, “I’m thinking about this role, what are important things to consider?” You can still get a ton of valuable insight from Twitter, and they don’t need to know your financials. Whereas I think the fight for confidential information is helpful, it gives a little bit more context, but you don’t always need that context.

Katie: Yeah, and with the Mastermind group, for example, I think Barn2 were probably the second biggest team within the group. So there isn’t that much experience of growing certain roles like marketing roles and things like that. Whereas on Twitter, there are a lot of people in the WordPress community that follow me who have hired lots of marketing roles and can speak to that. So a lot of the questions I previously put on my Mastermind group will go on Twitter either instead or in a more anonymized form, I suppose, to get that wider type of feedback. So it’s interesting thinking about the relationship and the best place to ask each question. 

Patrick:  So obviously, when you’re starting a mastermind, the intent, you know, I’m sure your intention, if you’re starting a new one, is like, “We’re gonna eventually grow together. We’re maybe strangers or professional colleagues, but we’re going to grow together. We’re going to have this bond, this trust, and maybe even friendship in a while,” which sounds incredible. But, you know, from day one, I would feel a little bit nervous sharing my numbers with someone. So do you have any confidentiality agreements, like anything written down in, like, a contract, or is that not necessary?

Katie: In our case, I would say it’s verbal. We haven’t written anything down. I can’t remember how long it was before we started sharing numbers more openly or anything. I don’t really remember that, but there’s a trust element.

Patrick: Fantastic, very cool. There’s a lot of really good stuff here. So let me just ask you this sort of last question here: What advice would you give other plugin creators about joining a mastermind? Is it like a level-one priority? Is it like whatever convenience? Like, what advice would you give someone who’s now after listening to this episode considering joining a mastermind?

Katie: I say it’s a pretty high priority because you can get so much out of it. We work in such a fragmented industry. Most people work from home, a lot of plugin companies are very small, and even if you have a team, which many plugin companies have not built, a team, then you may not have that expertise to help your company grow, especially with the more strategic, business owner level. So I’d say it’s very important and that you can get something out of it, but you, it is only worth doing if you’re going to put the time into supporting those. You have to give back; you can’t just take, of course, and you have to be able to put the time into that and really put the investment of that time and effort and commitment. One thing that I think people struggle with is how to find people to join their mastermind. This is why people are reaching out to me after I publish information about my group because they don’t know who else is looking for a mastermind. The whole point, really, of them not being in one yet is likely that they are building their business largely in isolation without those people that they’re in constant contact with. So I’d say there are quite a few ways to find people. You might have partnered with other female plugin companies, for example. A lot of founders are generally emailing between themselves about integrations between their products and cross-marketing opportunities, guest posting, all that kind of thing. So think about who you’ve already had contact with. There are networks like Twitter and Post Status where you could even say, “Does anybody want to join a mastermind?” But if you’re advertising it widely like that, I’d say you might end up with less relevant people in your group. So I think it needs to be a bit hand-picked, which sounds really bad, but like if you’re at a certain level, there’s no point being in a group with somebody that’s ridiculously more successful than you or that you’ve done a certain amount of success. You don’t want somebody that’s just starting out either because you’re not really going to learn anything. So I think it is important to be vaguely in the same place, and therefore, there does need to be an element of hand-picking based on what you know about companies. Another idea is you could go on a website like WP Founders and read about people’s stories and then reach out to them if you think that might be a good fit. And of course, there are WordCamps, which is the best opportunity to meet fellow product founders.

Patrick: Love it! That is fantastic advice. Love hearing that. Thanks, Katie, and thank you to all of the listeners for joining us on the plugin.fm podcast where we sit down with inspirational, impactful makers who share their unique stories and actual tips and strategies to help you succeed in your own entrepreneurial journey. If you enjoyed this episode, head over to plugin.fm for more and share this episode with your friends. Of course, plugin.fm is brought to you by Freemius, your all-in-one eCommerce partner for selling software, plugins, themes, and software as a service. If you’re struggling to grow your plugin revenue, send a note to [email protected] to get free advice from the Freemius monetization experts.

My name is Patrick Rauland, and until next time, happy working on your business. Bye.

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