“For the first time in six years of being self-employed, I finally feel like I’m creating a business – the business I was meant to run.” – Rebecca Undem
Sara: Hey everybody, I’m so happy that you are here back at The Mastermind Podcast and this is Sara Christensen your host. Well, we do have a special guest today and I don’t think I have done a case study on the Podcast, and I don’t think I’ve ever even just had a conversation with two people.
Usually we do our format of Hot Seats, but this is going to be fun because Rebecca and I are friends and she is one of our Kickass Members and we’re going to talk about what it’s really like to be in a Kickass Mastermind because right now we are accepting applications at JoinKickass.com so I wanted to share from Rebecca’s perspective what it’s like to be in a Kickass Mastermind.
I haven’t told her to say anything specific, this is going to be an honest off the cuff conversation and I probably will ask her the good the bad the ugly the awesome about Kickass so you guys will have that insight into it.
So without further ado, welcome Rebecca. And for those of you that don’t know Rebecca, yet she is at RebeccaUndem.com and Rebecca is a champion for ambitious women who live in small towns. She lives in a small town in North Dakota called Oaks, North Dakota population of 1,800. Which, I can relate to because I grew up in a town of 2,400.
Rebecca is a speaker and author, and she is also the executive director of a new nonprofit called Growing Small Towns.
So tell us a little more about that, Rebecca. I’ve had a front-row seat to seeing Growing Small Towns get birthed because it has been part of your what you’ve been working on and getting support from inside Kickass. So tell us a little more about that, and how that developed and how that how your Mastermind supported you through that.
Rebecca: It all started for me with a desire to own this main street building on Main Street in my small town. And I wanted to renovate this space to be, as crazy as it sounds: co-working. And I think there’s a cool opportunity to feature people that are makers of things and do short term, like pop up shops, but have a physical set location right on Main Street, that we would help market those people. So I started to have this whole plan for what I would put in this building, which happened to be a building that my grandparents ran a Ben Franklin craft store from when I was a little girl.
It’s all this connection and love for the building. So I started thinking about that and then started thinking about all I’m trying to accomplish. What am I trying to do with this? I want to help small towns grow. So you know, I think sometimes ideas come to us, and we aren’t ready for them. When this first came to me, I wasn’t ready for it, and some of it has evolved.
For me, it was a bit on our chamber presidents of our local Chamber of Commerce. They sat on our economic development board, and I sit on our foundation board. So I was in discussions with these people where I was starting to see, you know, the challenges of kind of our traditional approaches to how we grow.
How do we grow our small town? Well, we’re not going to like recruit thousands of people to move here, that’s just not going to happen. So what does sustainability for my community look like? Given my entire professional background, how am I positioned to solve that? That’s where growing small towns as a nonprofit came forward because I think it opens up a beautiful opportunity for partnerships of other people, and organizations and companies that care about the sustainability of small towns.
Sara: It’s really exciting. You mentioned this idea that didn’t go away, right? It came to you, you couldn’t sleep, and there’s all this stuff happening in your life that was saying “pay attention to this, pay attention to this!” because I think we all get those signs and signals. What do you do with that? Do you wrestle with it yourself? Do you bury it?
Rebecca: It’s funny, Sara, I wouldn’t say that I’ve been impacted the most out of anybody that’s a member in Kickass Masterminds. But I will say, I was sitting with our accountant laying out the vision for growing small towns in the building, and she said, “Where do these ideas come from?” Without even hesitating, I’m like, “Well, I’m surrounded by a group of people that constantly challenge the way that I think about things.”
I couldn’t get that kind of support locally. The people here are, they’re beautiful, and they’re amazing. But I think this is for any of us. It’s like an echo chamber and happens in big cities, too. Because you kind of hunker down with your people, and you don’t ever get challenged, you know, against the prevailing thoughts of your crew, whoever those people are. So that has been the biggest thing.
And I knew that I could that you would hold that for me, like my group, I knew that all of you would, you would challenge me to what I was missing, and you’re still doing that, as this whole thing has evolved. But you also believe in me in a way that you’re you’re not holding all the fears that my family holds? You know, my family, my mom, my dad, they’re like: what? What the hell? Why do you want to do it?
I could probably go without another business. Sure. But, again, that doesn’t suit that feeling when I’m lying in bed at night thinking about it, and feeling like I’ve somehow been entrusted with this. If I bring the fears up, you honor them, and you let me sit there with them. But you also help me move through them. And you would never let me make all my decisions based on them. You guys just allow me to be expansive in a way that locally, I wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
And that’s so important being an entrepreneur, right? Because we’re innovators were people who have big thoughts, and want to change the world want to create financial stability. It is difficult to always be in an environment where there’s more caution because normally we are surrounded by our friends and family and a lot of us aren’t surrounded by a lot of other entrepreneurs that are like, yeah, that’s amazing, go for it!
Those different perspectives is so important because we’re the engines of our businesses, right? We’re the engine that creates all the energy and we power it forward. We need to be poured into and encouraged inspired to keep that energy high, and it sounds like that’s one of the main things that you get out of the mastermind.
It’s huge for me, and when you use the idea of an engine, I love to just close my eyes and picture that all of you are in the engine with me, you are helping. I’m the one, you know, driving the direction forward, but I don’t feel alone.
There are days and moments where I still feel alone, I think all of us probably go through that. But when I’m having that feeling I can come straight into voxer and break down meltdown, vent struggle, struggle through it, but I can struggle through it out loud with you guys. And you’re always right there.
Businesses is lonely without a crew of people that get it.
Sara: It is, it is. We just had our in-person retreat and Mastermind LIVE! and something that I heard from so many of the people at Mastermind LIVE! who are not yet members (some of them have joined already) they didn’t realize how lonely and alone they were until they were in that group in that room with 40 other entrepreneurs for three days. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t have until you experience it. I mean, I’ve heard some of you guys say I don’t want to do business without this anymore because now it’s such a critical support component to how I operate my business.
Rebecca: Right? Well, and I don’t normally come at you with stats, but I heard this stat that I think is interesting. This was right out of NDSU in their research on entrepreneurship. 4 out of 1000 people are entrepreneurs statistically in the state of North Dakota, and honestly, you know, kind of regionally, it’s maybe not that different. The job of the other 996 is to support the crazy ones that are.
The majority of people are not entrepreneurs, nor should they be. You can’t have a conversation with those people about those things, because they’re living their lives by a different set of values. And they aren’t wrong, and they aren’t bad.
Sara: So, and I think it’s a lot to ask of them to try and understand and support us. Yeah, Scott always talks about not going to a hardware store when you want to buy an orange or an apple, right? Like, don’t go to for that kind of support to people who just aren’t equipped to do that. I think it’s too much that we asked from them. So having that group of people around you that get you that understand you that care about you.
I see people going into, like random Facebook groups and asking questions a lot and looking for advice. And while there are a lot of well-meaning people in there, they don’t know you, they don’t know your business, they don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish. They don’t have a context. And while they might be great and find people, they don’t care about the outcome, which is such a different experience than you have with your crew, right?
Rebecca: The amount of money that I’ve saved, by not pursuing bad solutions for me is crazy. My investment in being in Kickass Masterminds has paid off in spades on that alone.
When you go into these random groups, there’s always an angle for sometimes the advice that you get back from people. Now I don’t ask anybody anything except I come to you guys first.
The best thing about it is you’ve got six other brains that have either seen it or have interfaced with it, or they know somebody that has. I have turned down things because of you guys weighing in and saying, “You know, you don’t need that.”
Sara: I get this all the time is “what is the ROI of people being a Kickass Member?” I’m just going to say, our mastermind is premium. I mean, it’s $10,000 a year, but it’s not anywhere near what I think most of the premium masterminds are. $20,000, $25,000 and $100,000 a year.
Good people are paying that much money for things I don’t think they’re getting a return on investment on. I want people coming back year after year and staying and Kickass because the experience is so rich. And honestly, I think the results speak for themselves because a lot of our competitors have very low retention, around 10 to 20% of their people renew from year to year. We have a 95% retention rate – and I think that that speaks volumes.
Rebecca: I just want to reiterate something you just said that this is a premium offering. Premium is so much more than price, so the other $30,000 Masterminds, I would never categorize them as premium. They are just a premium price. So for $30,000 I’m in a room with let’s say 100 people because some of them are just out of control in terms of numbers. How do you get to know any of those people? How do I develop a relationship with any of those people in a way that I feel nurtured, cared for, supported and loved? And then all of that also applies to my business. You don’t nurture others that in a mastermind that’s facilitated like that. So I don’t even see them as the same thing.
Sara: I’ve been doing this for 10 years and iterating our masterminds and figuring out what people really need. What do small business owners need to grow their businesses? What kind of support do they need? And that’s really what it comes down to.
So for us, it’s about the members. It’s not about me, I’m always clear, it’s not about me, it’s not about us, it is about making sure that you guys are getting the value out of it.
Rebecca: Well, I said this kind of what I think all of us to some degree have to fight against the bullshit about what our business either looks like or what we think it’s supposed to look like or the perception of it. Because we’re that’s what marketing looks like right now. There is a real, potentially a shit show going on behind the scenes for those businesses since if nothing else, there’s a whole lot of reality that’s never discussed.
And you know, it’s no wonder that we’re constantly posturing. Questioning what is your business about, but you get to decide, and it doesn’t have to be $10 million. It could be $100,000. You get to decide what that looks like.
I think that’s one of the coolest things is that each of us even in our mastermind. We all have very specific visions of what success looks like for a business. All the shiny, slick, sleazy marketing, it doesn’t even matter, because we know what’s not for us.
So I just think you are doing you’re doing this particular service in a way that’s authentic, and meaningful. It’s genuine, it’s heartfelt, which I think I think the whole world in business in general corporate to could use a hell of a lot more heart. You’re making an actual difference in our lives and our businesses.
Having people support you in that challenge you in that hold you accountable and ask those questions, “your big vision is this, how does that fit into that? How does chasing this thing fit into that?” I feel like that’s a lot of the questions that we ask is just keeping people honest when they want to chase things that might not be in their best interest.
I even have to say, my husband is a business owner, and yet, we aren’t the same person. He doesn’t even fully understand the role that you all play in my life. I can’t articulate it in a way that he gets, because he’s not me. I just think that’s the other thing too like even in your own house, We can’t expect our spouse to hold that kind of space for you either. That’s not fair. It’s too much to put on them. And I think the other thing is that no two people run their business the same way and you allow for that. It’s not like this is the way to do business, and if you don’t do it this way, you’re going to fail.
If people want that, which some people might then seek out a coach that has their specific branded strategy for how they’re going to tell you to do it, even if that doesn’t feel good, because that’s what you’re going to get. There’s not a magic bullet, there’s not a one way there’s not a single path to creating the business that you want.
Sara: Some people want to know, here’s step one, do this. Here’s step two, do that. So a mastermind is not the right fit for somebody who wants a prescription and to be told what to do.
Now we dig into stuff and we share frameworks and all that kind of stuff. But I always say if this works for you, awesome, use it. And if it doesn’t, do it your own way. Whether we’re talking about KPI’s or customer journey, or the quarterly business planning sessions that we do, we always provide you with the framework.
And it’s not our framework, I never think of it as is like proprietary, but it’s business, right? There are some fundamentals abilities that every business considers. But I respect you guys and our members so much. I’m never going to tell you how to do it. I’m going to give you tools and resources, but you guys know better than anybody else how to grow your business and what kind of help you need, and that’s what we’re there for.
Rebecca: The other thing we haven’t talked about this is what I love about Kickass. I have been in masterminds before. I have been in a peer-led one. I have been in one that was provided by a company as an extension of an offer that a membership that I was a part of. I can tell you one of the biggest things is knowing that when our call is coming up, the way that you track our accountabilities, the way that you track our hot seat topics, the way that you get us to thoughtfully prepare prior to the meeting.
And the way you facilitate the discussions like they are facilitated, they are so much more than keeping time. Anybody can hit a timer on their phone. That’s not what this is. It’s making the balance of feedback given that everybody kind of weighs in that the person on the hot seat gets what they came for. When I need feedback from something from you guys, you guys are on it. I don’t wait for you to come back and tell me what you think. It’s on-demand. Out of the group, somebody probably will be able to get back to you right away and give you some ideas or feedback.
Sara: Sometimes you just need one person to ask you the right question and you are off and running.
Rebecca: The other reason I think that Kickass speeds up our progress is that the more we get to know each other, the more spot on our feedback is for each other. And that just comes with time invested in one another. Like we get better our businesses, and we get better and our connection to each other. It gets better the longer we spend time together.
Sara: I did not intend for us to talk for this long, but it just kind of flowed. So thanks for your feedback, I appreciate it. Any last thing you want to leave about your experience in Kickass, and like how it’s affected your business?
Rebecca: I think the biggest thing I would say right now, is for the first time in six years, I feel like I am finally creating a business, the business that I was meant to run.
You know, where the focus is clear who I’m serving is clear. The fact that I can say that, and I’m not freaking out… I can’t express the clear progress that I’ve made as a person as a business owner. And I would not have gotten to this point without the support of my mastermind.
And so to the people that are listening, have a conversation with Sara about joining Kickass Masterminds.
Sara: And really, a conversation is what’s part of starting to get to know people so that we can curate them in the right groups, and make sure that they’re right. I don’t want short term money to harm our long term growth. So if this isn’t a good fit for someone, I will tell them that it’s not a good fit for them.
That’s one thing I hear from people all the time: “Am I ready?” “Am I going to be able to contribute?” And if I don’t think you’re ready, if I don’t think you’re going to get it, I’ll tell you that, because nobody in the group wins if you’re not ready.
Well, thank you for listening, my friends. I’m so happy that Rebecca was with us today and we do have an enrollment open to join Kickass Masterminds through August 31, 2019. You can go to JoinKickass.com for all of the details. And we would love to see you inside want to Kickass Masterminds so I’ll talk to y’all soon. Bye Bye.
ABOUT REBECCA UNDEM:
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