This Site is Secure

Mark Malatesta

Photo of former literary agent Mark Malatesta wearing black blazer

Mark Malatesta is a former literary agent who’s delivered keynotes and other presentations at more than 100 venues, including well-known writers’ conferences. He’s written articles for the Publishers Weekly Book Publishing Almanac and the Guide to Literary Agents, as well as a column for

Mark is now a literacy advocate and author coach/consultant who’s helped more than three hundred authors get literary agents. His writers have been on the New York Times bestseller list, gotten six-figure book deals, and been published with house such as Harper Collins, Hay House, and Thomas Nelson.

Mark has worked with authors such as Leslie Lehr (A Boob’s Life, now being developed by Salma Hayek for HBO Max); Scott LeRette (The Unbreakable Boy, published by Thomas Nelson and adapted for feature film with Lionsgate starring Zachary Levi, Amy Acker, and Patricia Heaton); and Nelson Johnson (Boardwalk Empire, adapted for HBO and produced by Martin Scorsese).

Click here to learn more about Mark Malatesta and click here to see Mark Malatesta Reviews.

The Power of Mastermind

Mark Malatesta: Hi everyone, this is Mark Malatesta and I’ll be your co-host for this training call, along with Ingrid Elfver the founder of Born Celebrity. Ingrid will be joining us in just a moment. The title of this training is, “The Secret Power of Mastermind.” If you’re not sure what a Mastermind Group is, or if you already think you know, this interview is for you. This interview is also for you if you are an entrepreneur, author, speaker, coach or consultant or any other type of expert who wants to reach your goals faster and easier without being alone, guessing all the time about the important decisions you’re making.

Here’s what you’re going to discover during this call: What a Mastermind Group really is, what it isn’t and what it can do for you: How different Mastermind Groups are structured and set up, along with the pros and cons of each different way of doing it. Where the idea of Mastermind Groups came from, and it’s not Napoleon Hill. How to find the best Mastermind Group for you. Some of our best and worst experiences with Mastermind Groups we’ve participated in, and others from groups we’ve actually run. And tips to help you get more out of your time in a Mastermind Group.

So, with that, let me bring Ingrid on the call and see what she has to say about all this. Are you there Ingrid?

Ingrid Elfver: I am, and welcome, all you gorgeous superstars! It’s an honor to have you on this call. I want to get you into this place of excitement because this is an exciting topic. I don’t know if I’m more passionate about anything else. I have a big passion for Masterminds.

Mark Malatesta: I love it, and we should talk about why we’re doing this interview about Mastermind. First, we all increase our chances of greater success and wealth by ten times or more when we surround ourselves with people just as smart as us, sometimes smarter, with knowledge we don’t have, experience we don’t have, resources we don’t have and connections we don’t have. This is one of the easiest principles to forget, the idea that no one ever achieved greatness without help. Of course you can be successful without help, but you’re never going to discover your ultimate worth and create your ultimate wealth unless you consciously surround yourself with people who have your best interests at heart, people that also have the ability to help you reach your goals.

The other reason we’re offering this training is that although you and I and Ingrid are brilliant at some things, we’re simply not brilliant at everything. I hope you can admit that about yourself because this is critical. You don’t need to be great at everything, by the way. It’s not possible. And there are other people who can help you in the areas where you are weak. Now whether you believe that it’s just a cosmic joke or part of a divine plan, you know and we know that human beings aren’t designed to be completely independent or antisocial. We need each other. So, the sooner you can admit you’re good at some things and not so good at others, the sooner you can discover your ultimate worth and create your ultimate wealth.

Ingrid Elfver: Exactly…

Mark Malatesta Interview with Ingrid Elfver – Mastermind – Pt 2

Mark Malatesta: One of the best things I ever did, even though it caused Ingrid and I to have a fight about it (she says disagreement) was ask her, “What do you think you do better than me, and what do you think I do better than you?” It was many years ago, and we were, ironically, in the car driving to a Mastermind Group we were part of at the time. I’d been working with Ingrid for years at that point, but it was mostly in the background, as a silent partner. I was trying to work more with Ingrid publicly, and since we were both going to be “out there promoting the business and ourselves,” I didn’t want us to be clones. If I were to say the same exact things as her, I didn’t think I’d be adding value. So I wanted to get clear on her best parts and my best parts so I could help people see that together.

As a team, we’re twice as powerful and can help our clients and customers achieve twice as much. Make sense? Okay. Here is your first exercise, and then I’m going to bring Ingrid on the call. I want you to make two lists. One list is things you’re brilliant at, things you do without effort, things you do naturally because you love them and/or they come easy to you. Then I want you to make a list of things you suck at. To help you with that, I’m going to share a few things that Ingrid and I are good at and not so good at to give you ideas for your list and so you can get to know us a little better. Is there anything you think I left out, Ingrid? I always like to kind of check in with you at this point.

Ingrid Elfver: Well, yes. You said we had a huge fight or disagreement. We didn’t have a fight or disagreement. We had a discussion.

Mark Malatesta: Oh, “discussion.” [Laughter] I got it wrong.

Ingrid Elfver: I really mean that, with energy, having a discussion is more, even though you can be fired up, it’s beautiful. But anyway, I’m just having fun. [Laughter]

Mark Malatesta: I love that because it was such a moment for…

Ingrid Elfver: It was a big moment, yes.

Mark Malatesta: Yes. We all take pride in certain things we’re good at, and it’s tricky when someone there with you is saying they think they do something better than you, and that’s something you think you’re good at too. That’s hard. But together we make a stronger team and can help each other get to our goals. We’ve got to be clear on what we’re really great at and what we’re not as great at. That’s what allows us to surround ourselves with the right team, and really do what we do best.

Ingrid Elfver: Clarity is invaluable, and I think most people don’t want to have clarity, don’t want to hurt each other’s feelings or don’t want to say they are best at something. I think we have to figure that out because that’s the only way we’re going to thrive, shine, and prosper. I don’t think there’s any other way to really get productive and get to our message and who we are.

Mark Malatesta: Yes, and for those who don’t know you Ingrid, you’re like a hummingbird socially, like people are flowers and you’re kind of flitting around, flying around from person to person. I’m a bit more antisocial. Now I can turn it on at events and I enjoy people, but she could do it 24/7. Me, not so much. Another way we’re different is she loves to go huge in a way that’s massive in business and in life. I like to go big too, but she’s always stretching me that way. My big is ten percent of her big. Ingrid also has experience coaching A-list celebrities. She used to live in Beverly Hills and Malibu and has been surrounded by celebrities.

I grew up sheltered, small world. I’ve spent more time with ordinary people who haven’t lived a big life. I can pretty much relate to absolutely anybody, anywhere, anytime. Ingrid is a huge believer in wealth and success and that’s a stretch for me because I didn’t grow up in that environment or get exposed to some of the things she did that helped stretch her that way. So, I hope this is helping you guys come up with some things for your own lists.

Mark Malatesta Interview with Ingrid Elfver – Mastermind – Pt 3

Ingrid Elfver: That one discussion we had, not fight, in the car [laughter] was one of the most productive but uncomfortable ones at first until we really started figuring it out.

Mark Malatesta: For me, too. Another thing that came up is that you love variety, and this comes in a lot with our coaching clients. I like patterns, and structured repetition. So, it’s like figure out one type of person, create a system for that and go, go, go. It works for everybody. You like new, different situations constantly. You’re spontaneous one. I’m the organizer and planner. You’re brilliant on video and I’m not. My strength is writing, with my background in publishing. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a former literary agent who now helps authors get book deals and I still do that now with

What else? Ingrid likes to take risks; I like to play it safe. She’s 100 percent focused on and believing she and we and you can always enjoy the journey in what we’re doing. Of course I want to do that too, but I’m more focused on being willing and able to grind it out and work harder, whereas she’s always focused on working smarter. Those are just a few things. This is critical for starting to get clearer on what you’re really good at, and what you’re not so good at. This ties into what we’re going to be talking about.

Ingrid Elfver: Yes. Everything is more effortless now, and that’s what we’re going to talk about.

Mark Malatesta: Mm-hmm, and I left out the list of things we’re both really good at. [laughter] It’s not important but you know, like branding and marketing and other things. Now I don’t want to throw you off, Ingrid, but this is perfect timing, do you have that quote about people telling you the truth and seeing those things?

Ingrid Elfver: Oh, I have it, yes…

Mark Malatesta: Can you look that up?

Ingrid Elfver: Oh yes, I keep thinking about this quote. It’s by Napoleon Hill. I don’t know if it’s from his book Think and Grow Rich or not, but he wrote Think and Grow Rich in 1929. If you haven’t read it, please read it. But here is the quote, “Seek the counsel of those who will tell you the truth about yourself, even if it hurts you to hear it. Mere commendation will not bring the improvement you need.” That stings, right? We’re sometimes so afraid to hear the truth. I think part of me when we were having that discussion in the car thought, “Well, what kind of value do I really bring? Is it that different or valuable enough?” I really think that having someone tell you the truth about yourself is probably the most liberating because it takes that sting out. You learn to become more of yourself instead of being a carbon copy of somebody else.

Mark Malatesta: And really scary in the beginning because, like you said, we wonder if we’re really good at anything and good enough. But when we start to see what we’re really good at and see that value, then, boy, we get to relax and be more confident because we know what it is.

Ingrid Elfver: Yes, because we also have a conception about who we are, so you have to break that bubble. [laughter] At first it hurts, like oh, no, who am I then if I’m not that? But it really is important. So, I also want to set the energy for this call. Can I do that, Mark?

Mark Malatesta: Yep.

Mark Malatesta Interview with Ingrid Elfver – Mastermind – Pt 4

Ingrid Elfver: Okay, close your eyes for a moment. Envision being part of an amazing group there to help you thrive, prosper. and shine in who you are in your business, in your projects, in whatever you’re doing. This is what they’re for. Imagine sitting around this beautiful boardroom with a long table, in a leather chair with amazing people. They’re doing different things than you, but when you ask them for help they turn their mind and eye toward you.

They look at you and think how they can help you one hundred percent. They give you support, ideas, and secrets to their success and how they could potentially do that for you. They give you friends for life, some of these groups, and accountability. These are people who want you to thrive, which is beautiful. The most powerful part is that in this group you’re able to see more of your own value because you have these people helping you mirror yourself so you can see more of what you actually do.

How does that feel? This boardroom is at the top of the hotel, and your view is the Rocky Mountains. You feel a powerful energy. You’re going to be with these people every month., and  you’re going to do your utmost to help them as well. It’s not just you receiving, but also giving your ideas, wisdom, and your knowledge. Even though at first that can feel intimidating, I want you to see how powerful this energy and synergy happens in everybody’s mind and around this table, and how connected you all are. Not just on an idea level with minds and knowledge, but also another type of energy and synergy that’s even more powerful and different.

That’s really important. I’m going to give you another Napoleon Hill quote, which is funny: “No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.” I want you to tune into that energy and start feeling how you can actually have true support. Alright, I think we’ve set the energy. What do you think, Mark?

Mark Malatesta: I think so, and you half-answered the next question I was going ask, which will make this easier for you. For those who don’t know, what I was describing before about that discussion we had, not a fight but a discussion, and the way you and I worked together and our relationship and working life, that’s a Mastermind. If you kind to define Mastermind, is there anything else you would add to what we’ve said already?

Ingrid Elfver: Just understanding it’s a group of people there to exchange ideas, with the sole goal of helping each other be more successful. That’s important. I think we’ll get into misconception things later. I don’t want to touch those yet. Mastermind can be either virtual or physical meetings. If they’re physical meeting, there are usually 6 to 10 people. It depends on the group, and they meet once a month for a minimum of four hours. That’s the average. Some Mastermind groups meet once a week, others meet quarterly. That can differ.

Mark Malatesta: But what’s the goal of these groups?

Ingrid Elfver: Wanting everyone in the group to thrive. Being open and generous with your knowledge. You and all the members know that it will help them move forward. It’s really about advancing themselves with each other.

Mark Malatesta: So, it might be business, it might not. There might be financial goals, there might not.

Ingrid Elfver: A true Mastermind is about financial goals. It’s about business or a project you’re doing. Some of them, we’ve had non-profits, but it’s still about money because non-profits have to raise money.

Mark Malatesta: Right.

Mark Malatesta Interview with Ingrid Elfver – Mastermind – Pt 5

Ingrid Elfver: My goal is that people make at least twenty-five percent more after they’ve been part of a Mastermind. It’s advancing financially because that’s a good goal, but it’s really about advancing mentally, in your soul, and in your heart. Spiritually, whatever you believe that way, and at the same time in your business and personal life. Mastermind touches everything. You can’t just do one thing in Mastermind. You end up doing it all. Someone might break down during a Mastermind and say, “I can’t do all of this. I feel so disconnected from my family because I’m working so hard on my business.”

When then spend time trying to give ideas to this person to have more time with their family. So, it is all one thing. In Mastermind you touch so many different things, including accountability and secrets on how people are successful. You get to see how somebody else does something, and it can give you an idea of how you should do something. It’s endless, really powerful.

Joe Vitali says, in the book Meet and Grow Rich, “A Mastermind is a group of people, usually about six in number, and usually in non-competing businesses. They meet to help each other achieve their goals.” If a Mastermind business or spiritual? Joe says it’s a combination. On one level, it’s an obvious support group. Each person brings his own skillset, background, business experience to the table and everyone learns from their perspective. It’s interesting though. I’ve read a lot of Mastermind books and sometimes people slightly disagree what a Mastermind is.

For me, a Mastermind is about creating an ultimate harmony. Everything is possible and everybody in the group joins together to make it reality. So whatever idea and dream you have, you’re going to get ways to do it, even though everybody around you and everybody else outside the Mastermind group will tell you you’re crazy. This is the only group that will tell you that you can do it, and they’ll help you get there. It’s invaluable to have a group of people on your side in such a deep way.

Mark Malatesta: I love it. So, Like Alcoholics Anonymous. Some people would say that’s a Mastermind, but not really because that’s more like a support group. There’s not this clear big goal that the group is setting out to achieve in success and the same thing, like a country club or a private club. Some things like that. I mean, yes, networking happens and kind of success connections happen, but it’s not a formal thing where it’s really organized, and everybody shares big goals and sets out to help each other achieve them. Thinking back in history, like the history of Mastermind, I think about the founding fathers and secret societies and things like that. What other things can people relate to that you would say are Masterminds?

Ingrid Elfver: There have been lots of Masterminds and it goes back to Greek time. Some say Andrew Carnegie created Mastermind. He’s the one who helped Napoleon Hill become successful and write his book, Think and Grow Rich. Carnegie had what was called a Big Six Group in Chicago in the 1920s. Carnegie was in there and was, I think, the first billionaire in America. The founder of Wrigley gum was part of it, the owner of Yellow Cab, and other successful people. It’s pretty amazing what you can do if you are in the right Mastermind group. Also, Ben Franklin, he founded something called the Leather Apron Club that was later dubbed The Junto Club. The group lasted for over forty years, and later became the American Philosophical Society. Have you heard of it?

Mark Malatesta: I haven’t.

Ingrid Elfver: What’s really powerful to see is that Ben Franklin’s group was founded with just regular people. He didn’t want people who were too successful. He wanted average people. But what these people did in Mastermind was opened the first library, the first public hospital, and the first police department. They paved streets and created the University of Pennsylvania. It shows what can happen when a group of people get together, you know? And here’s another quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” It’s by Margaret Mead. I think that’s beautiful.

Mark Malatesta: The great thing, I mean, I think everybody secretly knows and fears, that things are easier and you can go bigger with the right connections.

Ingrid Elfver: It’s true.

Mark Malatesta Interview with Ingrid Elfver – Mastermind – Pt 6

Mark Malatesta: The good news is you can seek it out. You don’t have to be born into it. You can go out and become part of it.

Ingrid Elfver: That’s part of what Mastermind is. It’s not a secret society because it’s open, but it has the power of a secret society where you join with other members who are going to show up to these meetings. No excuses. They’re going to be there.

Mark Malatesta: Because they know the value.

Ingrid Elfver: We’ve never missed Mastermind, ever. I never missed because I knew if I wasn’t there the group would hurt, and being a flake isn’t good. I have another Mastermind I want to share so everybody can see how big it really is. P.T. Barnum, founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, was part of a Mastermind group, with the most famous intellectual writers, editors, celebrities, clergymen and literary figures of its time. And Socrates.

Mark Malatesta: Socrates?

Ingrid Elfver: He had Masterminds too, and if you really want to get into it, they say if you think about Jesus and his apostles…that was considered a Mastermind too.

Mark Malatesta: Oh, I was going to say earlier, there is a Bible scripture says the same thing as that Napoleon Hill quote, about where two or more people gather in my name, I will be with them. There is an extra thing that happens, an extra force.

Ingrid Elfver: I know when you and I are gathered, right, and we sit there and say, “Okay, what can we do to make each other more successful? How can we do this? I have an idea and you have an idea and then we merge this idea and it rocks. It’s amazing, but it has to have incredible harmony. You have to believe in each other and have synergy.

Mark Malatesta: And trust.

Ingrid Elfver: It’s really important, and harmony is really important. I think most people don’t understand that secret. I really recommend Think and Grow Rich and what it says about Mastermind. Look it up.

Mark Malatesta: Is there a leader of a Mastermind group. And, along those lines, how is Mastermind different from group coaching, because there’s confusion out there about that.

Ingrid Elfver: You always have someone who leads. They keep everything on time and make sure everybody answers questions. You have to make sure everyone gives things and contributes. So when somebody has a question, everybody in the Mastermind needs to answer. The person who hosts the Mastermind has to take care of a lot of things.

Mark Malatesta: We didn’t talk about the way it works. You have the six to ten people in the group, and that four hours or more of time is divided pretty much evenly among the people so they can spend a good fifteen to twenty minutes putting out their biggest goals and issues. And then it’s not the leader of the group but everyone in the group taking turns and sharing ideas and support to help them meet those goals. Not the leader of the group coaching each person one at a time. They’re trying to facilitate everybody helping.

Mark Malatesta Interview with Ingrid Elfver – Mastermind – Pt 7

Ingrid Elfver: That’s my favorite part when I hold Mastermind: making sure everybody is equal in their energy and sharing, that one person doesn’t take over the group, keeping everything on time, and being everybody’s brilliance out. I really enjoy that part, but it’s not easy holding the boundaries and the time and all that. Group coaching is led by a coach or a set of coaches, and the people in the group are only coached by that coach individually. There is no interaction or exchange of ideas from everyone else.

Mastermind also has a more tangible synergy between each Mastermind member. It’s a sense of camaraderie, where group coaching, if it’s too big, you don’t always feel that sense of camaraderie. With Mastermind you have a common goal of helping, even if you work virtual Mastermind or if you’re in an in-person Mastermind, everybody’s goal is to help each other become more successful. In group coaching that’s a more slippery slope. I don’t think everybody has the same goal. But Mastermind in its true form, that is the sole goal.

Mark Malatesta: So, let’s talk about how Mastermind groups are structured or set up. You mentioned earlier that you know there can be in-person versions and online versions. Is there anything you’d say except that the online versions are usually shorter meetings because by phone or on the web it is a little harder to do four hours.

Ingrid Elfver: Yes, I mean we’ve done all of it. If they’re too long on the phone you get tired, even if it’s video. It’s shorter but as effective. The in-person format is longer because it’s easier when you’re in a room, have lunch, and…

Mark Malatesta: Have eye contact.

Ingrid Elfver: You have eye contact. You’re right, there’s an energy in the room and then it’s easier to do it longer.

Mark Malatesta: You said the amount of people in a group it ranges from six to ten, and you don’t want to do more than that.

Ingrid Elfver: Yes, but online Mastermind groups can be very different. In-person is generally six to ten people. Some squeeze in twelve. It depends on the group, what the goal is.

Mark Malatesta: And the reason for that number is you can’t have too many people to make sure everybody has the chance to share and get help.

Ingrid Elfver: Yes, and my favorite part of Mastermind is that you’ll sometimes get the best ideas from hearing somebody else’s question or solution. You can then swipe and deploy that strategy for your own business or project.

Mark Malatesta: Can you tie that in to what you said earlier about Mastermind usually consisting of s people in different industries? Like I know most people are thinking, “Well, that doesn’t make sense. It would be more powerful if I’m a coach or I’m an author and I’m in a room with ten other coaches or ten other authors.” Can you explain why that’s not the case?

Ingrid Elfver: It’s more powerful to have people from different industries because, or somewhat different, with different outcomes or goals for different type of clients or niches. You get bored out of your mind if you sit in a room with everybody saying the same thing, with the same problems. They’re not always going to have the solution. When you have a group of people who do different things they come with different experiences, life experience, business perspective.

Their marketing, their concept of accountability or how they get productive in their business. All this stuff. It’s the most beautiful thing when you have different types of people in a room giving you ideas. Suddenly you’re forced to look at yourself and your business and everything you’re doing in a whole different way. And, like I said, your ideas can come from anywhere because everyone is so different. You wonder, “Why haven’t I thought of that? I never thought of it that way, and that’s powerful.”

Mark Malatesta Interview with Ingrid Elfver – Mastermind – Pt 8

Mark Malatesta: One of the greatest Mastermind secrets is tied into what you just said: We all assume whatever our niche or industry is, when we want to be more successful, that what we should do is study people in our niche or industry. But it should be the exact opposite because everyone is doing the same thing. So, if you’re an author go study what the dog-walker does, or the pet-sitter, or whatever the funeral home director, what he or she is doing to market their business because then all of a sudden you get this really unique idea, no one else is doing it in your industry and it lets you differentiate yourself, market yourself in a different way, and you can have ten times greater success than everyone else.

Ingrid Elfver: I don’t want to pick on coaches, but imagine you’re in a group full of coaches. I’ve been to these meetings and spoken in these places where there are only coaches. It’s like the blind leading the blind with everyone struggling. Nobody is thriving and I just felt like I didn’t want to be part of that. I’d rather be part of groups with people who will challenge me and make me think different, with different experience. They’re going to tell me like it is and go, “I don’t know why you keep being stuck here. Why is that? Here is a fantastic idea for you to shift.” That’s so honest and productive. And yes, you have to challenge yourself every day. You cannot be around like-minded people. Unfortunately, most of us are, so we need to force ourselves. That’s why Mastermind is so powerful.

Mark Malatesta: I also want to make sure everyone understands how to choose a good Mastermind group. You want to consciously choose one where you’re going to have different types of people, not necessarily everyone the same. And another one, Ingrid, you can talk about this, I hope…is how and why there should be different people in the group at different levels of success. Not just all successful people, but some who aren’t as far along. Why is that important?

Ingrid Elfver: I always try to ask the most stupid questions. Sometimes we get too smart for ourselves, and we think we know it all. Sometimes when there are a few people or one person in the Mastermind group not as far along, they’ll often ask the really hard or “stupid” questions that nobody dares to ask, but everyone wants to ask. Because you know the truth is sometimes some things we just don’t know it and we think we know it and then somebody goes well, “What about this?” And we all go, “Oh, right, yeah! Why haven’t we thought about that?” It’s so obvious afterwards, but not so obvious at first because we get too smart. And so, we need to have different types of industries and people at different levels of success.

Mark Malatesta: I have one more question for you about this, Ingrid. You mentioned earlier that most Mastermind groups meet monthly. I was challenging you on this the other day when we were setting up the structure for Mastermind groups we’re going to be doing. I was like, “Why don’t we do some that are weekly or every two weeks? You had a very good answer. Will you share that with everyone?

Ingrid Elfver: People need time to implement everything that comes up in Mastermind. It takes time to process the ideas. Then you have to figure out how you’re going to implement them. And you might need to have a team member or other people around you help. Then you have to get your own rear in gear, so by the time of the next Mastermind meeting you’ve been able to to make the ideas reality. That’s the best part. I always get so much done right before Mastermind. That’s why monthly or quarterly is better.

Mark Malatesta Interview with Ingrid Elfver – Mastermind – Pt 9

Mark Malatesta: Like every three months they meet.

Ingrid Elfver: Right, every three months they meet for two or three days. The monthly one is a good start because then you can kind of get used to it. You need to build up to quarterly and have your business on a whole other level to do that. Meeting more often also helps with accountability. A month is good because it’s like you say, you get ideas from everybody, and you have time to implement. I wasn’t going there to say I hadn’t done something. I hate that. I can’t promise something and not follow through. It’s frustrating when someone hasn’t done what they talked about. It’s embarrassing for them.

Mark Malatesta: Absolutely, and that’s one of the reasons we put ourselves.

Ingrid Elfver: Yes, yes.

Mark Malatesta: I know we talked about a couple of misconceptions about Masterminds already, but I have a couple I want to share and then see if you have anything to say about them, or if you have others. A lot of times people think that Mastermind is free, but not necessarily, especially if there’s a facilitator or someone organizing it. If you create your own Mastermind and you bring people in, it can be free. But usually, or often, if you participate in one somebody else holds, there’s a fee. And when you see the value that comes out of Mastermind, it’s a no-brainer. Another one is that it is always local. But some of those quarterly Masterminds are the kind of thing where people fly in from around the country or the world to meet every few months.

Ingrid Elfver: Some take place in Bahamas, and other different parts of the world. People flying quarterly to different things, and some are a Mastermind and an experience. There are many different types.

Mark Malatesta: Is there anything else people perceive or think about Mastermind that’s not true?

Ingrid Elfver: Well, I want to go back to the thing about free because the truth is partly why you should charge for Mastermind and why you should invest in it. It’s because A, it will hold you accountable. It will make you show up and, if it’s a good investment every month, you’re not wasting that money, so you’re going to put yourself there and get there to that meeting on time and you’re going to show up. So, it’s worth an investment, and you can make money from it.

Mark Malatesta: Well, yes, especially if there’s a wealth and success goal, like you want to join the Mastermind to help grow your finances, like twenty percent or more or something like that, then the fee is is a no-brainer.

Ingrid Elfver: The other misconception in this is that it’s just networking, a little networking group that’s competitive where you try to steal each other’s ideas, with bad energy, drama, and no rules.

Mark Malatesta: Some of them are like that, absolutely.

Ingrid Elfver: And hard to be part of. And some people who are part of Masterminds go there thinking they’re going to make the other people attending their clients and customers.

Mark Malatesta: [Laughter]

Ingrid Elfver: They’re there to milk everybody. That’s not Mastermind. The other misconception is that Mastermind is only for people who are already successful. I disagree. Whoever you are, Mastermind will make you more successful. If you’re already successful, you’ll become more successful. But it’s also for people who want to be successful.

Mark Malatesta: Another huge one, it’s not so much a misconception but a mis-focus, is that most of the time people go to Mastermind solely focused on getting something. You should try to focus more on what you can contribute to the group. When everyone in the group has that focus, everybody gets more out of it.

Ingrid Elfver: Yes. Here’s another great Napoleon Hill quote: “Coordination of knowledge and effort in the spirit of harmony between two or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose.” That’s really what a Mastermind is.

Mark Malatesta: Everyone wants everyone to succeed.

Ingrid Elfver: Yes, yes, yes.

Mark Malatesta Interview with Ingrid Elfver – Mastermind – Pt 10

Mark Malatesta: Alright, now let’s talk about our experience with Mastermind. I mean we’ve participated in a lot, and what’s interesting, again, is how everyone is different. You and I are different when we talked about this preparing for this call. And the reasons that we’re attracted to Mastermind, to participate in one but not necessarily lead one. Will you share a few things that made you want to be part of your very first Mastermind group, and why today you still want to be part of them?

Ingrid Elfver: I crave having the highest partners in Masterminds to support me and think how they can help me thrive, prosper and shine. Having that team and people around me and not feeling weak because I’m getting that help. The other part is it really helped me. Mastermind helped me see myself more, and leveraged my value. That’s one thing I always want to get out of Mastermind. And getting help in the marketing sequences or how to make everything better.

Mastermind has also helped me get unstuck and see blind spots. Another thing is I really want that synergy and harmony. I know I keep talking about that, but I really want that synergy and harmony with everyone in the group, so it creates that flow for everybody. And to be one hundred percent and generally help everyone in the Mastermind and really help them increase their business. So, it feels like an exchange. That’s my thought.

Mark Malatesta: I love this for a couple of reasons. One is that your reasons are totally different than mine. Although some of those things you said obviously are there for me too. But my main list is very different. I also love that you and I are sharing here about Mastermind because a lot of people, like our coaching clients, they often say, “I’m kind of envious of your working relationship, your personal relationship.” They think that’s the magic bullet. If they just had that, they’d be set. But you and I still attend Mastermind. Why? Because you know the same way that I’m not enough for me, you’re not enough for me either. The more people we’re around at a high level, we get more stimulated, and we grow more.

Ingrid Elfver: Absolutely.

Mark Malatesta: So, what attracts me to Mastermind? I don’t know if it’s ego or accountability, but I like going to those meetings and sharing how I’ve been performing. And on the flip side, it’s stimulating to see other people performing and reaching their goals. It makes you want to go bigger and faster. I also go in looking for joint venture partners. I want to connect with other people not just for friendship and information, but some of those people have big lists. Some of those people have an audience, especially if they’re not competitive, but might be related.

There are also speaking opportunities and other exposure opportunities that can come out of Mastermind, and other types of leads and referrals. That’s not the main reason you go, but you’ll get business out of going to a Mastermind one way or another. And access to resources since people invest in different books and information products. You’re going get at least a sneak peek at stuff and see what might be a good investment and ask people, “Have you used this software, have you done this?” You can save thousands of dollars when someone says, “Don’t use that, that’s junk.”

Ingrid Elfver: Yes, and they could invest in some trainings together that everybody participated and took part of.

Mark Malatesta Interview with Ingrid Elfver – Mastermind – Pt 11

Mark Malatesta: Let’s talk now about the good and bad experiences. Do you want to start with the good or the bad?

Ingrid Elfver: Let’s talk about the good first.

Mark Malatesta: Okay.

Ingrid Elfver: I got speaking engagements that were incredible that led me to do really big speaking engagements. I got ten existing clients through referrals, though I wasn’t looking for that, it just happened. If you do it the right way these things will just naturally happen. I also got marketing ideas and campaigns, a sales funnel. Feedback about my brand and marketing material, and the loving camaraderie of everyone was really powerful too. Those are just some of the things.

Mark Malatesta: I don’t have a whole lot to add. One thing different for me is that I hadn’t yet started my author coaching business. It was just an idea at that stage. We went to the first Mastermind together to focus on your business. But being in that Mastermind environment is gave me some of the clarity and confidence to do my thing.

Ingrid Elfver: Mastermind activates you in so many different ways. The groups I’ve been part of have affected me deeply in every part of my life and business. They’ve been a seed for so many things I’m doing today, and successfully. That’s important. A lot of times we underestimate it or don’t see how much a Mastermind really affected us, but it’s affected every part of my business in a positive way.

Mark Malatesta: Absolutely. Now let’s talk about some of the bad experiences, without naming names or mentioning timeframes. What are some of the things that have bugged you, and again this what we’re saying here indirectly is these are some things to look for, red flags to try and avoid in a group. If you’re in a Mastermind group like this, get out and join one that doesn’t have this stuff. But what are some of the things that drive you crazy in groups like that, Ingrid?

Ingrid Elfver: The list is so long! It’s good to be part of bad Masterminds too, to learn what makes a good one. Mastermind is not take, take, take and that personality Mastermind. I’ve been in those and it’s heartwrenching to sit there. You feel like you’re being sucked dry of your knowledge, your wisdom, and they just take, take, take and can’t even give credit for your ideas. It’s important to be really generous giving credit, or when you get an idea from somebody you mention that you got that idea from this person. It’s really powerful. For example, Mark came up with this amazing idea for an author who…

Mark Malatesta: Don’t say what it is though.

Ingrid Elfver: The author wanted to launch a book and Mark came up with this amazing marketing way to make the idea their own. The author pretended the idea was their own. That kind of thing is frustrating. If you have a great idea, of course you want it to be appreciated and get some credit for that. The other one is someone in the room holding back their info and saying, “I can share that secret but I’ll have to charge you a lot of money for that help.” That creates disharmony and a weird energy of everybody holding back. That’s not a real Mastermind. The other one is a lack of boundaries. If it gets too much drama or you know if people, if there is too much crying and…

Mark Malatesta: That’s a great one! It’s not a support group that way.

Mark Malatesta Interview with Ingrid Elfver – Mastermind – Pt 12

Ingrid Elfver: Right, like a therapy session. That’s not Mastermind either. And the final part is if the person who holds the meeting lets one person speak more than anyone else. That’s really bad. And when the leader keeps criticizing the people in the group in an undermining way. These are the things that can happen if the person leading the Mastermind don’t understand what a Mastermind is, or they don’t have the right rules for the group. Do you have any others?

Mark Malatesta: Yes, I think you know that the leader of the group has to be strict and kick people out that aren’t a good fit. Either you know they’re not contributing enough or they’re not behaving. Like people who are too honest and take pride in that. They say things that are cutting and rude instead of supportive and empowering. And a huge one for me is people on their computers and texting. I hate that.

Ingrid Elfver: I was going to say that.

Mark Malatesta: People hide behind their laptops, browsing the Internet and checking email. If you have ideas, write them down. That way everybody can be present and focused on each other, not just paying attention when it’s their turn, you know?

Ingrid Elfver: That’s the other thing. Some people only care when they’re asking questions about their problems. They didn’t care about anyone else. I always want Mastermind to be active, where everybody is generous, willing to show up for each other whether you always get their problem or feel like you have a solution. You never know if what you share might help someone have an important shift, that also create group harmony and synergy, and the sense that everybody is willing to be fully present the whole time. It’s honoring.

Mark Malatesta: Yes, and I’m going to give an example. I remember, it was so out there, but we were in a Mastermind and I had a marketing idea for a photographer in the group. It was so out there that I almost didn’t say it. I didn’t want people to think I was a jerk or offensive. But the photographer shared this story about how he did family portraits, and he took this portrait of a family and one of the family members died a couple weeks later, the grandmother. I was like, “That’s a great marketing story! You need to tell that story because that’s what family portraits are about, creating and capturing those memories while you still can. I know it might sound shocking, but if you tell that story right and get the family’s permission, what a beautiful and powerful and inspiring thing.” I didn’t want people to think badly of me for saying that, but sometimes you have to just put things out there. Alright, Ingrid, let’s talk about how people find Mastermind groups. I just say to get online and Google and ask around in your network. Is there anything else you want to add?

Ingrid Elfver: Just to find people that seem to really understand Mastermind. There are a lot of coaches out there, consultants, distance coaches that hold Mastermind groups. You can find GKIC if you go to, they have different Masterminds. There are a lot of different types out there. Some are really expensive, so you just have to figure out what fits you. Once you decide you’re going to be part of a Mastermind, you’ll find one. That’s a real secret in that things often don’t happen until we decide.

Mark Malatesta: For people already be in a Mastermind, and for those who are going to join one, do you have other tips to help them get more out of it?

Ingrid Elfver: Trust that you have knowledge to share, and be willing to share it, even if what you say might sound outrageous or different.

Mark Malatesta: Mm-hmm.

Mark Malatesta Interview with Ingrid Elfver – Mastermind – Pt 13

Ingrid Elfver: And be open and patient. It takes some getting used to, learning how to be in synergy and harmony, raising your vibration and your perspective on yourself and your business. Listen and learn, don’t just speak. Know there is knowledge in the Mastermind that’s really going to change you. Keep visualizing everyone in the group succeeding and thriving. Talk about good will and energy, like you really want the best. You’re there for that. Honor and respect everybody, and be fully present. Then you’ll get the most out of it.

Mark Malatesta: Alright. I have a couple final thoughts before we go, but first do you have anything else you want to share?

Ingrid Elfver: Well, I mean to me it’s like the goal in Mastermind, at least from my perspective, is that we really give you tools to have the most amazing success. So, and I want the same for me and I want the same for you. Once we join that mission together it’s really beautiful and powerful. And again, my goal for every group Mastermind we do is that every member grows by twenty-five percent, minimum. They can grow a lot more than that, and I sure did when I was in Mastermind. It’s amazing how much we thrived financially from that. So I want that intention for everyone. Getting used to the idea of joining a Mastermind that you are always going to be doing that. You can still have a coach and consultants, do trainings, and other things. You can still read every book there is, but you’re going to be part of at least two, or even three Masterminds, you know potentially. Start with one first.

Mark Malatesta: I love that, and I don’t want to say too much about the ones we’re going to be launching because we’re still figuring some stuff out, but I think at least we can say we’re going to be doing monthly local or an in-person Mastermind and something online. Is there anything else you want to say about that?

Ingrid Elfver: No, it’s just exciting and I mean, yes, look for an invitation. Anything we do with Mastermind will be by application only.

Mark Malatesta: We’re going to protect the group.

Ingrid Elfver: Yes. We’re looking at building synergy. So, if you might not be a fit for one, you might be a fit for another.

Mark Malatesta: Okay, so that’s it for now. This is Mark Malatesta with Ingrid Elfver, signing off.

Ingrid Elfver: Thank you, gorgeous superstar!


Resources Provided by Mark Malatesta