The Inc. Magazine Mastermind

I recently attended a Mastermind Meeting at the headquarters of Inc. Magazine in New York City.

What impressed me most about this meeting was the level of sharing that took place.

But before I go any further, it's probably worth defining what a “Mastermind Meeting” really is.

The term “Mastermind” was popularized by Napoleon Hill, who wrote the book, Think and Grow Rich. In Hill's own words, a Mastermind meeting is: “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”

So what is with the weird terminology? Nothing weird. Hill says…

“No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.”

In other words, two heads are better than one.

As these overachieving entrepreneurs came together in Inc. Magazine's boardroom, each person shared for 15 minutes or so. We all brought our best distinctions about creating membership sites and online communities.

As far as I could tell, no one held anything back. I was impressed by their generosity, their commitment to giving their very best, and the level at which they are each playing the game.

I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to my new friends, many of whom I met for the very first time at this gathering.

Business Winners To Watch

That silhouette standing at the head of the table is me.

Here are the extraordinary people I spent the day with last week in New York City.

Stu McLaren. Stu was our lead host for this event, and he is the co-founder of Wishlist Products, which produces the WordPress plugin Wishlist Member. Stu organized the meeting, brought together the participants, and also provided some of the most compelling content of the entire day.

Amy McLaren. Yes, Amy and Stu are related (they're married.) Amy heads up the charity World Teacher Aid. All the participants of the mastermind contributed to World Teacher Aid, which builds schools in Africa. An amazing woman, Amy managed not only to pull together the details of the event, to represent her charity well, but also to be a gracious hostess for the meeting.

Lewis Schiff. One of our co-hosts,  and also the leader of the Inc. Business Owners Council. Lewis is the author of acclaimed books on self-made wealth and investing, including The Middle-Class Millionaire and The Armchair Millionaire, and his work has been praised by The Wall Street Journal and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Michael Hyatt.  Readers of this blog already know my high regard for Michael.  It was a true pleasure to get to know him in New York.  He may have had the best-prepared session of any of our mastermind members, and he shared every detail of how he drove his book, Platform,  onto the New York Times best-seller list.  Engaging, inspiring, and a positive thinker, I highly recommend you follow Michael's blog.

Derek Halpern.  Derek has a deep understanding of the psychological underpinnings of why we make decisions, why our customers buy, and how to use that knowledge to grow our businesses.  Steeped in the science of persuasion and psychology, Derek is someone to learn from. His blog, Social Triggers, is on my “must read” list.

Carrie Wilkerson. I have known Carrie for a few years, and was extremely pleased when the “Barefoot Executive” published her book by the same name. She empowers people to live out the life they really want, leveraging the technology of the Internet to do so. She is one of those people who is the same whether she's on a stage talking to thousands, or sitting across the table from you at lunch.

Ramit Sethi. Ramit is the author of the New York Times best selling book “I Will Teach You to Be Rich”. He is a remarkable man, extremely intelligent, extraordinarily intense, and (surprisingly) somewhat reserved in person. Ramit is a deep student of human psychology and marketing, and committed to producing quality materials for his students. I was quite impressed with him.

Chris Farrell.  Chris is a coach and trainer for people who want to have their own online business. He is generous in his teachings, and ultra committed to the success of his students.  His marketing is brilliant.  He has built a very large and successful business in a very short period of time.

Paul Evans.  Paul is a true serial entrepreneur, with many different ventures under his belt.  He shared some incredible insights about pricing structures and business systems. His current project is a site called Teen Life Ministries, which is a resource for youth pastors. A brilliant idea that allows Paul to do well by doing good.

Jose Espana.  Jose is not extremely well-known in the United States, but in Latin America, he is a celebrity.  He is a thought leader in the areas of personal finance, investing, and self-development. Think of a combination of Jim Kramer and Tony Robbins, and you have something of a thumbnail sketch of Jose Espana.  His commitment to quality, and serving his students, is truly extraordinary.

Marie Forleo.  She helps encourage women to step into the fullness of their destiny.  Her online training resources are inspiring, solid, and professional… and her students tell remarkable success stories. Her web sites are elegant and professional.  Her online videos are remarkably well produced, able to stand toe to toe with network television production standards. Marie is the epitome of professionalism and entrepreneurial success.

Armand Morin.  Armand has been a good friend of mine for many years.  His business has evolved and grown with time, and he runs a remarkably profitable company with only a few employees.  He shared some of his insights about growing one's business by bringing in new customers using unconventional methods.  As always, Armand's genius lies in the fact that he is busy doing the things he teaches.  He is not an armchair academic.  He is an active entrepreneur.

James Wedmore.  James teaches other business owners how to generate traffic for their websites using the power of video.  His methods are ingenious, relatively simple, and deadly effective. He has a great free training resource available at his website. It's worth getting.

Chris Guerriero.  Chris is an entrepreneurial juggernaut.  Involved in many different facets of business with multiple web sites, and a dynamic speaking career, just being around Chris is inspiring.  Then, he opens his mouth… and brilliance pours out.

Robert Plank. Robert is a teacher at heart. I think of him as the Leonardo da Vinci of the “do-it-yourself” marketing community. He has taught hundreds of entrepreneurs how to solve their technical challenges online, how to systemize their businesses. He is a great systems thinker, highly recommended.

Bill Harrison. One of the co-founders of the Radio-Television Interview Report, and of the National Publicity Summit. Bill is a friendly and unassuming marketing genius. Sitting together at dinner, I was amazed at how insightful, knowledgeable, and forthcoming Bill is.

Ryan Lee. Ryan is a plain spoken marketer who is on a crusade to squash hype and scam artists on the Internet. At the same time, he freely shares his own insights, methods, and techniques for creating a successful online business.

Elliott Hulse. I was delighted by Elliott's presentation at this meeting. He was perhaps the most unlike all of the other people in the room. I knew this when he began to explain how his marketing is “more like poetry than marketing.” He's funny, driven, and intense. He's also very successful, and worth watching.

Kevin Wilke. Kevin is in the business of teaching people how to be marketing consultants for local mom and pop businesses. For instance, if you wanted to be the local “Internet marketing agency” for your town, helping mom and pop stores develop websites, mobile apps, etc., Kevin would be the guy to talk to. He's one of the most effective marketers I know.

Noah Fleming. Noah is a specialist in the art of retaining customers. If you've ever heard the phrase “retention is the new acquisition” you'll begin to understand the importance of Noah's work. Getting clients is one thing. Keeping them is another thing. Noah specializes in both. He's also one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.

Lewis Howes. Lewis is an expert on leveraging the power of LinkedIn to produce traffic for your websites and webinars. He particularly has some interesting strategies for reaching out to people by building LinkedIn groups. But more than this, he teaches you how to “Live the Dream” on your own terms. Smart guy!

What To Do With This List

So how can you take this list, and turn it into something more than just a few interesting comments?

Simple. Click through the links, read some of what these folks have to offer. Watch their videos.

Any of them that “resonate” with you… subscribe to their email newsletters. Put their RSS feed into your Google reader (or whatever RSS reader use). Learn from them. Grow.

Just because you weren't at the meeting in New York, doesn't mean you can't have any or all of these amazing entrepreneurs as part of your own virtual “mastermind group”.

Question for you: who are some amazing people that I should know about, but might not? Post your responses below.


Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • Neal

    Hi Ray, that is a great list of special people that are truly making a difference on this planet and not just  in the business or online realm. And you are on it.
    Someone I just found as I was researching a certain product is a blogger named Pat Flynn at I am very impressed with his site and business philosophy.
    He recently past the 50,000 subscriber mark by filling in what he saw missing with excellent content: in depth articles, podcasts and transcripts. I like what I see of his character and heart as well.
    I have a idea that Pat is going to be joining lists similar to the one you just gave us.
    Thank you for sharing more about this trip. I know it was an exciting and stretching time for you.
    Have a great week!

  • rjmetras

    It comes as no surprise that I think @armandmorin and @rayedwards are master teachers and this list is very good. I add a few from the non internet marketing world to mine. Try following @NeilPatel,  CEO of Kissmetrics and publisher of; @dannybrown  of;@ambermac  @MGIMedia and columnist for Fast Company;  @mitchjoel of Twist Image and last but not least @avinashkaushik of Occam’sRazor&MarketMotive ,the analytics evangelist for Google and one of the most  funny and understandable testing dudes on the planet

    •  @rjmetras  @armandmorin  @rayedwards  @dannybrown  @ambermac  @MGIMedia  @mitchjoel  @avinashkaushik Thanks Rob – great shares!

  • shelhorowitz

    I know several of these folks–a good list indeed. You asked if my (and your other readers’) blogs should be on this list. I’d love to nominate my Green And Profitable blog, published since 2004 and covering the intersections of  sustainability, politics, ethics, media and marketing. Oddly enough, I think you and @Ryan Lee I’ve actually met in person.

    •  @shelhorowitz  Shel, I think your <a href=””>Green and Profitable blog</a> is fantastic, and highly recommend it! Thanks for stopping by.

      • shelhorowitz

         @RayEdwards Thanks, Ray. the full blog URL is

  • KenMcArthur

    Looks like an amazing group @RayEdwards!  So close by too, I wish that I could have been there!  @CarrieWilkerson is always a joy to be around.  I enjoyed seeing @billharrison  at his event with @jackcanfield I’m looking forward to seeing you and Robert Plank  at jvAlert Live San Diego this month.  We need to get Stu McLaren down there and it’s been too long since I’ve seen @KevnWilke too.  Just bring the group with you Ray!

    •  @KenMcArthur  Robert Plank  Stu McLaren  @CarrieWilkerson  @KevnWilke But can I fit them all in my carry-on?

  • StuMcLaren

    It had been too long since we last saw each other and frankly, I wish we had more time to catchup!
    Glad you enjoyed the day… we all enjoyed your presentation @RayEdwards .

    •  @StuMcLaren I am so grateful to you and Amy for putting that together. And for the work you are doing in both the world of business and in the lives of those young people in Africa!

  • noahfleming

    Thanks for this Ray! I would have to agree, I am one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. 🙂
    It was awesome to meet you.

    •  @noahfleming LOL it’s good to know we agree!

  • Sounds like a fantastic meeting of the minds. There is nothing like a brainstorming session to get the creative and inspirational juices flowing.

  • This is truly a remarkable list of people. I have subscribed to the RSS feed, and get emails from a some of these, and other remarkable people who have a lot to offer, including you. The challenge, however, is to stick to my 30″ email time limit, and get the full benefit of what’s offered when there’s so much! I certainly agree, though, collaboration has huge potential, especially in a group like this.

    • So much great information, and so little time… I empathize.

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