Who is in your inner circle?

by Michele on December 27, 2012

Who is in your inner circle?In the last year, I’ve begun using the concept of an inner circle for my business.  It’s been a huge contributor to the success I’ve had this year so I wanted to share the idea with you.

As solopreneurs, we tend to work mostly alone.  This is true even if you have outsourced help, partner with others sometimes or attend live events.  Couple that with working from home (also mostly alone), and you’ve got a recipe for isolation in your business.

What’s the problem with working alone?  Well, nothing if you do it right.  I happen to love the solopreneur model and think it can be a good fit for a lot of people.  The problem is when you try to work without ever having anyone to run things by before you do them.  You might spend way too much time on an unworkable idea that one other pair of eyes could have spotted.  The opposite can also happen – you might dismiss a great idea.  It’s not necessary to discuss every move you make, but having a sounding board for the big ideas is a big help.

There are lots of ways to make sure you don’t overdo it on working alone, and one of those ways is to create an inner circle for yourself.  If you ever had a regular job, you had coworkers.  In a startup or non-profit, you might have a board of directors.  Your inner circle a close group of advisers you create for yourself to fill the role your coworkers or board might play.

You inner circle should push, challenge, uplift and question you.  They help you get unstuck.  They are your sounding board.  This is the first line of defense a new idea has to get past before too much work goes into it.  They know you and your hot buttons and will call you out when you aren’t working up to your potential.

Your inner circle doesn’t take the place of learning and getting help in your business.  Your inner circle might be more like your coworkers whereas your coach or teacher might be more like a boss or outside consultant.  Both are important to success, but they fill different roles.

I created my inner circle by getting into a peer mastermind.  After trying a few different formats, we got settled into a routine and now I plan many of my projects around this group.  I get their feedback on big projects at each step of the way and commit to meet my deadlines during our meetings.  You better believe I meet those deadlines too!

Do you have an inner circle?  Who is in it?  Are they the right people?  Tell me about it in the comments.


  1. Erin Love says:

    Hello! I’ve been trying to get a mastermind group up and running in my area. I would love your input about the routine you guys have and your format, if you don’t mind sharing!

    1. Michele says:

      Hi Erin,

      That’s an interesting question because it took us a while to come up with our format. There are 4 of us including me and we met through an in-person workshop last May. We meet by phone (recorded teleconference line, free) because we don’t live close enough to meet in person. We have our meeting one weeknight per month at 7:30 pm, and we interact more regularly through a private Facebook group. I hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions. Happy New Year! Michele

  2. Don says:

    Great topic Michele. A group like you describe, would have been helpful to me in the beginning, as it may have saved me valuable time. The market who most needs me, can’t afford to pay me. I decided to focus more on those who can. A peer to peer group, may have saved me valuable time and frustration by advising me to avoid trying to get the message out to a market which can’t afford my services.

    1. Michele says:

      Thanks Don! My mastermind group has been a big help in making sure I focus on things that at least have a chance of success. It’s so easy for me to get carried away with an idea I love that may not have potential for sales.

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