The Photography Instructor Mastermind

Just today I saw on twitter a discussion of how every photographer hurt by the current economic woes was starting to teach workshops. In a sense the market is getting flooded with new photography instructors, which is causing a flood of supply. So I started thinking, how can we give ourselves an edge in a market flooded with competition?

It made me think of another market I’m part of as a consumer. The “internet marketing” niche. Everyone who has ever read a biz-opt book wants to start selling their own how to make money on the internet product. How do the people who lead that market – the guys making huge money – succeed when others don’t? And how can we apply that to our market?

All of them say they are selling the secret. Cooler launches, better sales copy, wizbang video products. But I think I’ve figured out what their real secret is and now want to do that same thing in our photography instruction market.

Who Am I?

I’m Ron Davis, the guy behind the Photographer and Model blog, podcast and academy. I teach in the specific photography niche of photographing models. I’ve also got an online course teaching Pinup Photography.

This is my personal blog, where I talk about all kinds of things, including my business and trying to make a living teaching photography online. If you got invited to read this, it is on my personal blog because I don’t talk about the business of Photographer And Model on, my model photography instruction site.

What is a Mastermind Group?

The most successful people are part of a Mastermind group. The term was coined by Napoleon Hill in the classic “Think and Grow Rich”. He studied industry leaders like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Charles M. Schwab and found one of the things they had in common was they were part of a mastermind.

A mastermind group is a group of people dedicated to accomplishing one purpose. There are two kinds, one where you are trying to do one particular thing – like corner the steel market. The other is a group of like minded people all working toward a similar goal – like making a living teaching photography online.

I’m trying to form a group of like minded photography instructors to work together to help all of us accomplish our goals to make money teaching online.


There are lots of advantages to being part of a mastermind.

Encouragement. It is tough trying to do this on your own. You need friends and colleagues who understand what you are going through.

Accountability. They can also hold you accountable to your own goals. Giving you that kick in the seat of the pants that helps you get things done. And they can tell you when you are producing crap and need to step it up.

Learning from each other. We all know different things. Some people are excellent bloggers, some great with video, others understand email marketing. By getting together we can all bring our strengths together and increase each other’s success. Also it is sometimes good to just get another perspective on what we are doing.

Social proof networking. Image you are in a new city looking for somewhere to eat. You see two restaurants, one has a bunch of cars in front of it and one’s parking lot is empty. More than likely you are going to pick the one with lots of cars because it indicates that one is good. This is social proof. If everyone is talking about something then it must be good. Our mastermind members can coordinate talking about each other products to create social proof as well.

How It Would Work

So how does an online mastermind work? Details will have to be worked out and tested, but here’s my plan to start.

A monthly conference call.
We need a deadline and a monthly call is a good place to start. A call also is a higher bandwidth exercise than just email. On this call each member would be asked three questions:

What have you done since last month?
What is you biggest struggle we can help you with?
What are you going to do before next month?

This would accomplish all the benefits of the mastermind as succinctly as possible.

A email discussion list. Between meetings we’d still be able to toss around questions, problems and new things we’ve learned via email.

There is no cost to be part of this mastermind. Some masterminds have a charge to make more advanced people be willing to be part of it. We’re all in this together with no one getting paid to be there. Other groups have a monthly charge to make the members take it seriously. Hopefully we won’t need that.

Call to Action

To qualify for the group you need to have the following:

A website dedicated to your photography teaching.
A willingness to do and not just talk.

and at least one of the following.

An email list with over 100 people on it.
A twitter account with over 1000 followers.
A facebook page with over 100 followers.
100 subscribers to your RSS feed for your blog.

If you are qualified and interested in being part of the mastermind group send me an email (mastermind at telling me about what you are trying to do with your online teaching business.

I’m thinking we’d have our first call in early January.

Feel free to leave questions in the comments as well.