Aaron Walker | Masterminding with Dave Ramsey and Why Everyone Should Belong to a Mastermind

Aaron Walker has founded more than a dozen companies over the past 41 years of his entrepreneurial career. He attributes much of his success to surrounding himself with mastermind counterparts and he has spent a decade meeting weekly with Dave Ramsey, Dan Miller, Ken Abraham, and other amazing entrepreneurs. He is the founder of Iron Sharpens Iron Mastermind which hosts 19 groups with national and international members around the globe. He is an author and the creator of View from the Top, which provides content around how to live a life of success and significance. Aaron is the founder of The Mastermind Playbook which is an incredible resource for starting, running, and scaling masterminds.

Aaron Walker, Founder and President of Iron Sharpens Iron Mastermind, is John Corcoran’s guest in this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where he talks about the benefits of business people being members of mastermind groups. Aaron shares details of his background as a coach, how he met and started working with Dave Ramsey and Dan Miller, and the challenges he faced in growing his own mastermind group.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • The experience from 2001 that shaped and changed Aaron Walker’s life
  • How Aaron became a coach and why he started a mastermind group
  • The challenges Aaron faced while starting and growing his mastermind and how he overcame them
  • Aaron discusses how he evaluates people who are planning to join his mastermind groups and how the groups’ framework looks like
  • Aaron explains how he met and started working with Dave Ramsey
  • The mistakes Aaron made after joining his first mastermind group and his top tips on how group organizers can make members open up
  • What differentiates Aaron‘s mastermind groups from others 
  • Why Aaron decided to train facilitators from other mastermind groups
  • The people Aaron acknowledges for his success and achievements
  • Where to learn more about Aaron Walker and his mastermind group

Resources Mentioned:

Sponsor: Rise25

Today’s episode is sponsored by Rise25 Media, where our mission is to connect you with your best referral partners, clients, and strategic partners. We do this through our done for you business podcast solution and content marketing. 

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If you do it right, a podcast is like a “Swiss Army Knife” – it is a tool that accomplishes many things at once. It can and will lead to great ROI, great clients, referrals, strategic partnerships, and more. It is networking and business development; and it is personal and professional development which doubles as content marketing

A podcast is the highest and best use of your time and will save you time by connecting you to higher caliber people to uplevel your network. 

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:14  

Welcome to the Revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, where we asked today’s most successful entrepreneur to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.

 

John Corcoran  0:40  

All right. Welcome, everyone. John Corcoran, here. I’m the host of the Smart Business Revolution podcast where every week I get to talk with smart CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs of companies and organizations like YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, LendingTree, Open Table, x software many more. I’m also the co-founder of Rise25, where we help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. And I want to give a quick shout out to my friend Dov Gordon of the a mastermind that I belonged to for many years, he brought me together with today’s guests who I’d known and been connected with on Facebook for many years, but we never actually took the time to get to know each other like we are here today through this podcast interview. So I just want to thank Dov for that. 

And I’m excited because my guest is Aaron Walker, Aaron has founded more than a dozen companies over the past 41 years of entrepreneurship. And he attributes much of his success to surrounding himself with mastermind counterparts, and he spent a decade meeting weekly with Dave Ramsey. And maybe you heard of Dan Miller, Ken Abraham, five other amazing entrepreneurs. He’s the founder of Iron Sharpens Iron Mastermind that hosts 19 groups with national international men members around the globe. He’s also author and creator of View From the Top, which provides content around how to live a life of success and significance. He is also the founder of the Mastermind Playbook, which is an incredible resource for starting running and scaling masterminds, which is primarily what we’re gonna be focusing on in this interview. And before we get into that, this episode is brought to you by Rise25 media. So Rise25 helps b2b businesses to get clients referrals and strategic partnerships. We’ve done a few podcasts and content marketing, you’re listening to a podcast right now. And so maybe you’ve even thought, should I start a podcast? Well, I say absolutely, yes. One of the best things I’ve ever done from my business and personally. And so if you want to know more, you can go to rise25media.com, or email us at [email protected] All right, Aaron, it’s a pleasure to have you on the podcast after knowing of you for many years. And I’m really curious to know about some of the different businesses that you’ve built, over the years over a dozen different businesses in a variety of different niches. But I’d like to start with a very significant experience you had back in 2001, which really shaped and changed the trajectory of your life. Tell us about that.

 

Aaron Walker  3:03  

Yeah, thanks, John, for having me on. First of all, you and Jeremy do a great job. I want to give a shout out myself to Rise25 and what an amazing job you have done. And I also want to give a shout out for podcasting, if people are going to start a podcast just the way we’ve grown our business. So over the course of seven years, literally on the backs of podcasts, and so it’s an amazing resource and an amazing tool. And I know you guys do an amazing job. So I just want to commend you, and that audience was able to accomplish it. 

Yeah, let’s go back to 2001. Things were really good for me at that time. I was a young entrepreneur, starting my first business at 18 years old and was able to sell out to a fortune 500 at 27 years old and I thought man, life is good, you know, go from broker to convict to being able to retire is the American dream and got fat and lazy and took about a year and a half off. And my wife suggested I go back before I gained any more weight and went back and bought the company I started with when I was 18 years old. And we grew it about four times the size. It was over a 10 year period. But I had left our church on a Wednesday morning I’d been with some buddies of mine there and it’s about 730 in the morning, and I was about a mile from my office and there was a elderly gentleman crossing the street to catch a bus and john, he just didn’t look my way didn’t see me coming and it was a busy four lane highway and he ran out in front of me to catch the bus and unfortunately ran over that gentleman that day. And he didn’t make it. He lived three days in the Vanderbilt trauma unit and they called me on a Saturday morning and they said I’m sorry to inform you Mr. Walker. He didn’t make it. A john. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a traumatic experience or not. But it’s like everything slows down in slow motion. It’s like you’re watching a video and you get all these questions like, why is this happening? I can’t believe this is true. This is really not me. This is a dream. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a dream and I couldn’t handle the stress and ended up selling the business that I had built over the past 10 years and took five years off. I didn’t do anything Robin and I traveled around the world, we built a new home, I was grateful that I had the resources to be able to do that. But it was a very, very traumatic experience for me to go through what I discovered in that is how fragile life is. I discovered that we’re not promised tomorrow, and that any of us could be confronted with a devastation like that at any moment. It really started making me think, you know, if that had been made that day had been killed, I was 40 years old at the time, what would my legacy have been? And I started thinking through that, and I thought, well, my legacy would have been a poor kid from Nashville, Tennessee making enough money to retire at age 27. And nobody cares. And I thought, Man, that is not what I want my legacy to be, I want my legacy to be, hey, John’s life is better as a result of having known me. And I couldn’t say that all the things that we had all the resources for, we had vacation homes, the big house, two cars, it wasn’t important to anybody but our family. And I said, you know, if I get another opportunity to do business differently, I’m gonna focus outward and not inward. And you’re like, yeah, yeah, I get that. I get that. But the truth is, I was very selfish. I was really focused on building wealth and things and buying, you know, tangible possessions. And it didn’t really scratch the itch. Like I thought it was going to no matter how many businesses no matter how big the house, no matter how many vacation spots that we had, it didn’t scratch the itch, like I thought it was going to it was always on to the next thing, and on to the next thing. Now the store has a little bit more money, and don’t get me wrong, I like to make money. There’s nothing wrong with making money, I think we need to make money. And I just don’t want money to be my primary focus. I don’t want it to be God of my life. So I started thinking through that, and I said, You know, I don’t know what I’m going to do. So I was at the Mercy May concert here in Nashville at the curb center, and a buddy of mine was sitting in front of me, I didn’t even know he was there. He got up Dave Ramsey, and he walked by me and he said, Hey, how’s it going? I said, it’s good. And I’ve been sponsoring his show since the early 90s. He had enlisted me to sponsor his new radio show when he first started. And we spent 21 years sponsoring his show, and we developed quite the friendship. And so once that happened, I went to Dave and Dan and some of those guys in the mastermind and walked through some of these things. And I retired shortly thereafter, for the third and final time, and they said, What are you going to do now? And I said, Nothing. I said, I’m going to go down to the Caribbean, probably to St. John’s Island and buy a place and relax and rock myself into oblivion. And Dan Miller looked at me and he didn’t laugh. And I did. I laughed when I said, and he leaned over the table, and he pointed his finger at me. And he said, that’s the most selfish thing I’ve ever heard you say, last? What do you mean? I said, I’ve been working since I was eight years old, like I’m 50 now and I’m ready to retire. And I’m like done. Because I had had another business in that interim period, we had owned a construction company. And Dan said, I run you’ve been married now over 30 years, you and Robbins had a very successful marriage. You’ve got two beautiful children. You have grandchildren. He said, you’ve owned over a dozen businesses. He said, Why don’t you coach and I said, I don’t want a coach. I’m not coaching anybody. He said, Now I really think you should consider it. And Dave Ramsey said, Hey, come do entree leadership mastery series. I’ll give it to you. And let’s just see if you like it. Well, john, I fell in love with it. It was unbelievable how much I enjoyed it. And two guys there met me and they hired me to be their coach. And I said, Man, I don’t know if I want to be your coach or not. They said, Hey, why don’t you really consider it? So I went to innovate out at the sanctuary with Dan Miller and did a coaching program and I just fell in love with the process. And so I started coaching and someone suggested I do a podcast interview and there was a new guy on the blog called John Lee Dumas, Entrepreneur on Fire. And they said, Why don’t you get on his show? And I did. And my business ignited, literally ignited. And I had more people than I could coach. And so I said, I’ll start a mastermind group. And so I started a mastermind because I’ve been doing it with Dave so long and knew how to do it. And continue to do podcast interviews. And Fast Forward seven years. Here we are 19 mastermind groups and growing and national and international members. And I’m probably having more fun today, John, than ever in my life. And the reason being is that I’m helping other people achieve their goals and dreams. The other businesses were just about me, it was about me making money. Having more possessions, and this is about what other people know, don’t get me wrong. We’re making as much money as I’ve ever made. But the transformational experiences that I’m seeing and all the people that we’re coaching all the people that are in the mastermind groups is really what gets me up every day to hear people say, hey, these relationships, I’m building these connections, my business is better than it’s ever been, I’m a better Dad, I’m a better husband, I’m better in my community, there’s old habits, I don’t do anymore. And there’s new habits that I’m implementing each and every day. And to just see the success, so rampant as a result of having non biased trusted advisors to get around you and give you that accountability. It’s just been a real delight to be able to experience that. Yeah,

 

John Corcoran  10:30  

you know, I’ve participated in various different forums and mastermind groups over the years and run them ourselves when we were doing events, which we aren’t anymore. But you know, that it’s, it’s such an amazing, magical thing, when you have smart people in a room exchanging ideas. Let’s talk about some of the challenges for putting that sort of thing together. Because oftentimes, for people who are considering doing them, they, you know, they will say, like, well, I only want to be in the room with other people who are more advanced than me, right? While my response is always well, mathematically, that’s impossible. There’s always gonna be someone. And also like, everyone has different areas of expertise. So you might be advanced in one area and another person advanced enough. So what do you say to people who, who, you know, make that criticism?

 

Aaron Walker  11:17  

Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s a concern, we do things a little bit differently. And a lot of people use the term mastermind in a context that considers it group coaching, not masterminds. For me, the host is simply providing the framework and the platform, the value is from all the people that are participating, not just from the host, it’d be like, you invited me to dinner, and we come to dinner with five other couples, and you answer all the questions, that wouldn’t be a lot of fun, right. And so the value would really come from the interaction. A lot of people do that. And they only go to masterminds to see what they can gain from it. If you change the concept of what can I bring to the mastermind, now you’ve got a group of givers not takers, in the natural reciprocity you’re going to get all you want. And so it’s a mindset shift, that has to take place in order to really do this long term. For me, I almost lost my family in the pursuit of more gain. And I came home with a pocket full of money to a house full of strangers. And I thought, this is not going to serve me well, long, I’ll come home one day, and my family will be gone. And I’ll die rich Oh, guy with no relationships. And so I’m really encouraging people today to not sacrifice their family, on the altar of just making money. And so we do it in its entirety. It’s about 60%, professional, about 30%, personal, and about 10% spiritual. So we cover every facet of your life, and we really get into the weeds and help you become successful financially, but also personal development, we really help you hone your skills, and how you can interact with your family and your peers and your colleagues and your children. Because what’s the point, John, if you gain the whole world, you know, and you don’t have family and you don’t have relationships for us, the relationships are paramount, it’s the most important asset that we possess. And we teach people how to build solid relationships. And as a result of that, you’re going to gain all the business that you want. And all the while keep your family intact. And so I think that there’s many other questions that you need to ask not just, I want to be with somebody that’s smarter than me, well, we have a guy in our group right now, that’s amazing. There’s over a million dollars a week in top line revenue. But his family suffered as a result of some of his aspirations. Well, there’s another gentleman in the room that makes a fraction of what he does a year, but he solid foundationally from the principles of his family and his faith, and he’s able to share with this guy and really help him grow. In return, this gentleman helps him grow financially. And so there’s different areas where we have strengths, we all have superpowers, but we all have Achilles heel, and we all have blind spots. And oftentimes, the blind spots are what really catches us. And a lot of people will come and join the group. And they may be smart, professionally, but they’re very egotistical, or they have a very condemning spirit. There’s many ways that we need to grow and it’s not strictly just financial.

 

John Corcoran  14:26  

I want to ask about that about you know, sometimes you get people who join who, who join a community like that, and you as an organizer are not quite sure. Is this the right person? Is this going to ruin the dynamic? So how do you make that decision about who’s a good cultural fit and who you shouldn’t

 

Aaron Walker  14:43  

do? I do that every day. And we’ve had literally hundreds and hundreds go through our program and the vast majority of the people with us stay over three years. We have many, many people that are six and seven years old now meeting in the same group and the reason they stay so long is So that we make it understood in the beginning, this is not a mastermind, you come and suck everybody for what they’re worth. And then you move on. This is a mastermind that is a very extensive interview process that I personally interview each person and vet them. Understanding your objections, your, your responsibilities in the meeting, there’s high expectations, we really tell you exactly what’s expected of you, we meet weekly on a video conference. And so it’s not for the faint of heart. We’re very big on authenticity and transparency and vulnerability. And if you can’t do that, then we don’t want you to join the group. If you can’t make the meetings weekly, in your sporadically there, we don’t want you in the group. This is a very, very serious group. It’s not a coffee club. It’s not somewhere we talk about the biggest fish who called her the best round of golf. This is about really getting it done in your life, we do an exercise called come as you will be in 2023 is what it is this year. And we really forecast in the top areas of your life that you really need to focus on like your personal and spiritual, relational, professional, and financial, and we establish goals in all those areas. Then we take Brian Moran’s 12 week year, and we overlay on top of that the task that you’ve got to do every single week, in order to obtain your goal 36 months from now, we’ve had huge success as a result of following this because it’s very strategic. It’s very focused, we have accountability that’s tied to this program, so that every week you’re held accountable. So we read all the time, we’re reading great books every single month and expert interviews and we meet in person twice a year. So it’s a very involved group. It’s not just casually calm, this is something that takes intense focus in order to participate. Because let’s face it, we want you to be successful. Otherwise, what’s the point of being in the group?

 

John Corcoran  16:56  

Walk me through what this framework looks like? You know, if I were attending one of your masterminds? What does this look like? You know, is it a day long? Is it a half a day? Do you have any? Are they hot seats? Is there an exercise? Do you break it up? Yeah. Are you one of these? You know, sometimes you have really iron fisted facilitators who make sure that everything stops within 10 seconds of the deadline, and you have people that are, you know, will let it flow a little further.

 

Aaron Walker  17:25  

Yeah, well, you know, there’s different personality styles, and we have a framework by which we run all the groups. But let me just be honest with you, we want to use good human traits and qualities to discern what’s important, what’s not important in light of the circumstance. So John, for example, if you were to come, and you and your wife were having a challenge, Tom, right now related to something, well, we couldn’t just say, Hey, your time is over, let’s go to the book. That would be disrespectful, it would be very important, we would push the other things aside and say, Now, this is something that’s very important. If it’s not, if it’s just mundane things or redundancy, things that you can deal with, things you can cut off, then certainly we have a framework to go by, because there’s 10 people involved. So we want to be sure everyone in that group has adequate airtime, we have found that eight to 12 are good numbers to have 10 seems to be the magical number for us. Because if there’s more people in that group, you really don’t get airtime. If there’s less people than that you don’t have energy in the room. And so we have found over the years that 10 people in the group seems to be a good fit. So we do the hot seat, you know, you rotate through every five weeks, you’re what we call man in the middle. And we ask you to post the questions in our private Facebook group for each group. so that people can think about it for a couple of days and do research, if they need to get resources, whatever the case may be. And then when you come, we’re prepared, they’re prepared, we discuss the problems at hand. If people continually share the same thing over and over, there’s more of the iron fist. It’s like, Hey, why are you paying this money? Why are you in here? We’re talking about the same thing, day in day out, like, are you serious, you’re going to get this done? Or are you not? The other thing is, if we don’t allow people to stay that are not committed, we don’t allow people to just pay their dues and show up 30% of the time, or 50% of the time I ask people to leave. Because the person that’s paying is getting cheated. If you’re not there. They’re paying to hear your wisdom. They’re paying to hear your knowledge, to have your encouragement to have your accountability. And if you’re not there, certainly you can’t add to the conversation. So we’re very regimented. When it comes to attendance, oftentimes, sickness happens or travel or business comes up and I get that I’m not saying that you can’t miss. I’m saying that if it’s the pattern, we ask people to leave. The other thing that people stay for is because we are regimented because we have guidelines and expectations of the members. And when you do pay a fee monthly, you want to gain an ROI. And so you can’t do that if it’s, I’m not calm, we’ll figure it out kind of guy. It’s like, No, we’ve got a structure, but we can set it aside if we need to. So we just use good judgment. We’ve been doing this so long. We know the times to set things aside. We know the times to push, we find out what works best for you. And we tried to integrate that into helping you be successful, because my reputation depends on it. And your success and longevity depends on it. So we want you

 

John Corcoran  20:34  

winning. Take me back to that conversation you had with Dave Ramsey. Presumably he was already known at that time, not as well known as today. But well, yeah, I had a radio show. It sounded like Yeah, he

 

Aaron Walker  20:45  

had just started in the early 90s. And I met Dave at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast, he was speaking about starting a radio show. Okay. I introduced myself to him. And I said, Hey, why don’t you come down the street? I’ve just opened a new retail store up, I want you to check it out. So he did and he said, Man, this is great. Would you advertise with me? And I said, No, I don’t even know you. I never even heard of you. You’re just now getting started. He said, I’ll give you a free week to try me. I mean, like there was nobody on staff. But Dave and two other people. You had a secretary. And at another person, there were just three people he’s on one station just started. We both live here in Nashville, Tennessee. And so I agreed to a week free and three days in, I called him and I said these people are drinking the Kool Aid. I don’t know what you’re serving, but I’m interested in signing up and he said, Well, if you sign up with me, you’ve got to sign an annual contract. And I said, Man, You teased me this week for free. And I think he still I think he was bluffing with me that day. But I agreed to it, john. And it was amazing. It transformed our business. It was incredible what it did for us. And we went 21 consecutive years sponsoring his show. Well, this was shortly thereafter, I met him and he was starting a mastermind he didn’t even have mine up and going. It wasn’t even learning it and when you joined we started, okay. He invited me to join. There were three of them. It was Dan Miller and Ron dole and Dave Ramsey. They had been in a Bible study together, okay, for two years, and they wanted to continue. And so they said they wanted to start a mastermind. So each of the three persons invited a couple of people to come. So 10 of us showed up at Dave’s office. And then we spent the next dozen years meeting every Wednesday morning for about an hour and a half. We were called the Eagles every week, Wednesday morning, for an hour and a half. The name of our group was the Eagles. Dave References The Eagles pretty often if you listen to his show, and we challenge each other I mean, we go in, we read books, we’d study, we pray together, we would encourage one another, we would hear each other’s ideas. We would share resources, ideas, relationships, connections, we just did life together. And we would vacation together. You know, we ate together, we’ve spent time together, Dave’s got a lake house and we go to his lake house and spend a lot of time there. There’s a group and we just did live together. And still today, some of my best friends, you know, for decades now. And that’s the reason I’m so passionate about masterminds is because everybody says, Oh, yeah, I’d love to be in a mastermind with Dave Ramsey, and Dan builder, but they weren’t the people then that they are now. Right. Dan Miller had just started 48 days of the work you love, you know, during that time, and it’s because of that constant accountability, Abraham’s in the group. And today, he’s written over 100 books, and he’s one of the most prolific authors on the planet today. And anybody that’s anybody, he’s written their book for them. And he didn’t at that time, but it’s through that constant Association, that accountability, that showing up and sharing and encouraging one another, pushed each other along to be successful in their businesses. So

 

John Corcoran  23:49  

So what were some mistakes that you made early on, either in that group or other common mistakes that you see masterminds make early on?

 

Aaron Walker  24:00  

Yeah, at first, I didn’t want to do it. When he first invited me I didn’t want to do it because I knew Dave was a hard charger, and I knew we were going to get down to business. He wasn’t going to allow me to hide. And I didn’t want to go. And the reason I didn’t want to go is because I didn’t have every area of my life figured out. There were challenges in relationships, and there were financial challenges. And that, you know, just challenges that you and I and everybody else deals with, but I didn’t want to talk about it. I’m like, I’m Oh, man, I can do this. I can figure this out. And so I was pretty quiet. For the first three or four months. I was like, sitting in the corner, kind of, you know, metaphorically speaking, and I didn’t really come out but then the guy started mentioning problems with their wives and their children and other people, you know, with grandchildren problems and then cash flow problems, and I’m like, dang, they got the same problems I’ve gotten. So I started sharing it as a safe place because we had a code there that, hey, this is confidential. We don’t discuss this outside of this group. So I left that veil down, I let the facade down and I started saying, Hey, you know, Robin, and I’ve had some challenges, and I’ve had cash flow problems to my business, and I’ve got teenage kids that I want to punch sometimes. And how do I deal with these things, and when they’re non biased, trusted advisors, and they don’t have anything to gain or lose as a result of what they tell you, why would they not tell you the truth, something that would help you people that are biased, or they’ve got a dog in the hunt, then naturally, they’re gonna lean towards, you know what’s best for them, but none of these people did. And so they gave me great advice, they really worked me through some dark, dark days, and I’ve had some dark times in my career, you know, when you been an entrepreneur 42 years, you’re going to have some dark moments, or if you hadn’t had any Hang on, because you’re going to, and I don’t want to handle those things alone. So for 21 years, now, every week, I’ve been in a mastermind group without fail every single week, sometimes multiple groups for extended years and years and years. And isolation is the enemy to excellence. And if you really want to grow to the level that you need God designed us to be in community, he didn’t design us to be alone, because different perspectives are the most valuable asset in a mastermind. Because we don’t know what we don’t know. And when somebody shares with us an idea or a concept, or they challenge you, not only that, but there’s so many other things that add great value, like access relationships, you know, accountability, pointing out blind spots, the affirmation that goes along with it, there’s spiritual development that can grow through these groups, it just covers so many areas of your life. Why would anybody want to go it alone? I think of the COVID thing that we’re going through right now, think of the decisions that have to be made in your business every single day. None of us have ever been through this. Can you only imagine making those decisions on your own? I can’t, I mean, it changes hourly, sometimes. And I’m like, we’re running a large organization now. And I need help and support. I need people to help me. And oftentimes, I don’t know about you, john, maybe you don’t do this. But I get down. Sometimes I’m like, Man, it’s hard. I mean, the people that you have to deal with the challenges that we’re facing, and these people can edify you, you have that camaraderie, you have locked arms you like come on big a, we can do this, I know you’ve got it, you need to talk to this person, you need to go here, here’s a resource for you. And I’m like, I didn’t even know that existed. And so it’s just a way to help you garner the support that you need, in troubling times. And it’s a time to celebrate wins and good times.

 

John Corcoran  27:40  

You know, I’m sure you’ve been in groups like this where there isn’t immediately that openness, there isn’t that vulnerability, people are struggling with being transparent. What can the facilitator do? Or what can the group do in order to encourage that? That

 

Aaron Walker  27:58  

it’s a great question, and it’s a real concern, and it’s real for everybody. And the thing is, the people in the organization have to gain your trust. And I would suggest to anybody, do not go into your first meeting and share all your dirty laundry, you need to be sure that that person earns the trust. So you dole out small increments. I’m a long term thinker, John, I’m not the guy that thinks about Friday or the end of next week or the end of next month. I mean, I started saving for retirement when I was 18. Okay, so I’m a long term thinker. Same way with these mastermind groups. It’s not like get in, you’re in for six months or a year and you get out to me, that’s just pointless. I just don’t see the need and do that. I want to get into where I know, when I come and share a dynamic that’s going on in my life. They know about Robin, they know about my two daughters, they know about my grandchildren, they would know about my past history, then they can help me make a decision. They can’t help me make a decision. If they don’t know my history, they can’t help me know, make a decision. If they don’t know my personality. They can’t help me make a decision if they don’t know the financial situation I’m in. There’s not a blanket answer for everybody. You can’t just say, Oh, this is what you need to do. Well, that may be true for that person. But it may not be true for someone else. And the only way that you can help, honestly is if you Garner this much support, and you have this experience or the background or the overlay of their history. Some people you know, have situations with their wives, it would be good for this guy, but with them in light of their circumstances. Their wife may not be on board, you understand that there’s so many factors that go into making a decision. And it’s very difficult for me for somebody to walk into a room and just lay it out without having the background information to help you make a long term decision. That’s the reason you need to be in these groups long term so they can help you see where you want to go, see where you’ve been and give you a good Answer. And so I would just suggest going slow. Really take your time just like I did with the group. It was months and months and months before I was willing to come out. I was like, these guys are real. They’re being authentic. They’re being transparent. They’re vulnerable. There’s no BS in the room. I mean, what they’re saying. Makes sense. And I feel like I can trust them a little. And then I would give them a little something. And we would wait a few weeks or a few months, and I would see how that goes. And I would say, okay, so it got to a point after a number of years, john, that we could have these conversations and you didn’t have to say, and you can’t tell anybody this or you can’t share this with anybody. It was understood, because they had earned the trust.

 

John Corcoran  30:42  

Now, there are other companies out there, this edge, EO, YPO, there’s different regional, we’re all

 

Aaron Walker  30:49  

doing great jobs that do similar things.

 

John Corcoran  30:51  

What made you feel like I needed to go and create an alternative? And what do you envision your company being different from those other companies that are doing similar? Thank you.

 

Aaron Walker  31:02  

Those companies that you’ve mentioned, are doing great jobs, and there’s great places for what they do. I wanted something that was all encompassing. I didn’t want to do just business, because just business got me in trouble. Right? No one was asking me, how’s your family? How’s Robin? How’s the kids? Or do you have boundaries? You know, are you working too much? Are you a person of faith? If so, are you exercising your faith? Are you doing things you shouldn’t be doing? Do you have relationships that you shouldn’t have? Are you watching things that you shouldn’t watch? Are you drinking things you shouldn’t drink? Nobody was asking those questions. And so therefore, when you’ve got somebody young, and they’re arrogant, and they can be condescending, and they have no schedule, and they have plenty of money, that’s a recipe for disaster. And so no accountability, nothing. And so as a result that almost got in bad trouble. And I thought, there’s so many other business people out there today that don’t have accountability. They don’t have people asking hard questions. They don’t ask, are you treating your wife oil? Are you home to take Little Billy to ball practice? Are you at home, you know, sitting there doing another email, and he’s wanting to pitch a ball, like this could go down a whole different path, but I’ll keep it concise. Your business does not have a memory. But your family does. I can make money, I can start more businesses, I can create more income, but I only got one shot with my family. And I don’t want to mess it up. I don’t want to lay there on my deathbed and go I should have been at home more. I should have played ball with Billy when he wanted to. I should have been at Susie’s piano recital. I got up before they got up, I got home after they were in bed, I never ate dinner with my family. Listen, there’s so many problems as a result of absentee dads in the world today. And I want to really encourage people to take a look at what they’re doing. See, money is a tool that we use to live our life. I’m trying to get people to stop making money, the only reason that they’re working to buy more tangible possessions. Nothing wrong with it. And I hate it when people with money go. Money’s not important. It is important. I like to make money, I want to make more money. But I want to control the money, I don’t want the money to control me, I want to use it as a tool to give it away to help people to have a sense of security for my family to leave an inheritance for my children. I want to do all those things as well. But John, the honest truth is we’ve got it confused today, we don’t have time to build those personal relationships with our family, because we’re trying to pay for things that we probably shouldn’t have bought to begin with. We’ve mortgaged ourselves to a point that we are slaves to working 18 hours a day to pay for things that really at the end of the day is not going to mean anything to you to begin with. So that’s why we’re different. That’s why we started this organization. And I can’t tell you now, the advocates for the spouses to be in our organization, because they say my spouse is a different person now. And so that’s why we started it a little differently.

 

John Corcoran  34:08  

That’s a great answer. Thank you for that. We’re running a little short on time. But I want to ask you about, you know, you made the difficult not easy decision to take this beyond yourself to train facilitators to have other mastermind groups that are not run by you. And that’s not an easy thing to do. So talk to me a little bit about some of the challenges or, you know, your approach to how you trained other facilitators to replicate yourself.

 

Aaron Walker  34:34  

Yeah. When I first started, I told you, I didn’t even want to coach and then after I started coaching, doing interviews, I couldn’t scale one on one because no disrespect to coaching but coaching is not a business. Coaching is a high paying job. And I didn’t want something that some day that I couldn’t sell. And I wanted to build equity in something that I could sell someday and you know, coaching when I go on vacation, I have to cancel clients. And so it costs me the loss of revenue plus the vacation. So it costs me double to go on vacation with a mastermind group. So I said, I want to be able to leave and have as much money or more when I get back then when I left, and that’s what we’re able to do, because masterminds are a business. And then I started training facilitators, they’ve got to be under my leadership for a year historically. They know our culture, our core values, our mission statement, they know everything about us. And so I train them the way to do this, then we do revenue share, we give them a high percentage of the income, they want to stick around, because it’s, you know, an easy thing to them to do not not easy in terms of not difficult, but it’s I do everything else, we have a team that does all the admin work, they show up and lead the groups, we fill the groups. And so it’s a really good opportunity for our facilitators. And they do an amazing job. They’re all very successful businessmen that have done well in their own right. And they just love pouring back. They love giving. And so we’ve developed a course that we teach how to develop facilitators. And so thought leaders all around the world started calling me saying how are you scaling masterminds, because you can only do so many yourself. And I facilitate seven groups personally every week. And then the remainder of the groups, the facilitators lead, and we just train them, we have the framework established. And that’s why I created the mastermind playbook. It’s a very extensive 11 step program, there’s 34 professional videos and over 100, worksheets, tools, templates, swap files, you name it, we can help you start your own mastermind group. Now, a lot of podcast host coaches are reaching out because they see that with two groups that pay them $500 to be in a mastermind group. It’s a six figure business with 20 people. So they’re operating at a couple hours a week. And they can add six figures. Plus, you know, we’ve made it into a seven figure business as a result of just growing it. So we’ve created the framework, it’s amazing how people are taking this now and implementing it into their business. Some people are using it as their sole primary income. Others are just doing, you know, six figures, mid six figures, with having 234 or five mastermind groups, we just created the framework, the scary part is not knowing what to do. And that’s what we’ve eliminated, we’ve created the framework that walks you hand in hand. Plus, it comes with a three month coaching program that’s attached to it, where I walk you through to teach you to do it. So yeah, that’s the reason that we are so adamant about teaching the facilitators and we want them we just don’t go hire somebody and say, Hey, run this group. They’ve got another culture, what we stand for, in all of our core values. Right, right. Well, this

 

John Corcoran  37:45  

has been great. Aaron, I’m going to wrap things up with the question I always ask, which is, let’s pretend we’re at an awards banquet, much like the Oscars or the Emmys, and you are receiving an award for lifetime achievement for everything you’ve done up until this point. And what we all want to know is who do you think this family and friends know? Who are the mentors or the coaches? Who are the mastermind members? Who would you acknowledge?

 

Aaron Walker  38:06  

Yeah, if I could acknowledge a few people that would be great if it’s all right. I don’t know if you’re singling it out. Or, you know, I’m a Christian by faith. So first and foremost, God, God has really directed me and led me and I give all of my success, the credit to him. Second would be Robin, we just celebrated 40 years of marriage last month. And we got married two weeks out of high school, and she’s been there and been my advocate. And to me, and primarily Bob Warren and David Landreth. They were two men that mentored me for two decades. And then there’s many other people as the Eagles mastermind, Dave Ramsey is one of my best friends and has been for almost 30 years, Dan Miller has been a personal mentor of mine for over 20 years. And so I have a number of people like that, that I’ve built really strong relationships with. And you know, it’s kind of ironic, the vast majority of them have come out of these mastermind settings. And it can do the same for your listeners, if they’re willing to invest the time and the energy to circle themselves with non biased, trusted advisors, you can live a very fruitful and productive life.

 

John Corcoran  39:13  

That’s great. Where can people go learn more about you and learn more about this mastermind playbook and any other ways they can connect with you?

 

Aaron Walker  39:20  

Yeah, the easiest way, John, is viewfromthetop.com. It’s pretty easy to find all my connections and social media platforms there. If you’re interested in masterminds, I’d love to help you.

 

John Corcoran  39:31  

Excellent. All right. Thanks so much.

 

Outro  39:34  

Thanks, john. We’ll see buddy. Thank you for listening to the Smart Business Revolution podcast with John Corcoran. Find out more at smartbusinessrevolution.com. And while you’re there, sign up for our email list and join the Revolution Revolution Revolution Revolution, and be listening for the next episode of the Smart Business Revolution podcast.