JV Insider Gayle Nowak with Milana LeshinskyNow I know what it means to mastermind.

Like-minded achievers + a hot topic + one expert facilitator = FIREWORKS.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into the Embassy Suites in Baltimore last week for my very first mastermind experience. If you’ve never done a mastermind and you have the opportunity – take it!

Essentially it’s one big brainstorm, but not the kind where you sit holed up in a conference room jotting down ideas on a flip chart or white board. While we did have a flip chart the majority of the day revolved around open conversation, table discussions and hot seats while our expert facilitator Milana Leshinsky, the MEGA Coach of the coaching industry, masterfully kept 40 of us from the JV Insiders Circle productive and on track.

Our hot topic? Successful joint ventures (or JVs).

When done right, a JV is a powerful way for coaches and service professionals to build your list, attract clients and get massive exposure quickly. It’s when two people come together to mutually support the growth of their individual businesses, or create an entirely new program (like Stage Ready Brand Bootcamp my JV program with Heather Poduska . . . or Milana and Rich German’s JV Insiders Circle).

Creating JV partnerships is an advanced marketing strategy, and it can lead to disappointing results without the right approach.

When you’ve got 40 potential JV partners in one room, Milana asked the one question we all wanted to know about each other . . .

“What’s the most important thing that would get me to JV with you?”

Imagine getting 40 people in one sitting telling you exactly what you can do to be JV sexy!

And the good news?

You don’t need to be a hot shot Internet marketer with a massive email list to create lasting and rewarding strategic partnerships.

The “Insiders” answers varied, so I’ve summed them up into five major categories:

  1. The most important thing for me is personal connection with a potential partner. Amazingly, I was the first person to specifically say “personal connection” even though about 2/3 of the group went before me. That’s not to say it’s not important for them, but I also think it’s one of those things we take for granted. Don’t!
  2. Have a hot product that will make me a hero to my tribe. I need to feel confident that my community will get value from your product. It also needs to compliment my offerings and align with my market, values and my business objectives.
  3. Let me take a test drive. If it’s a new relationship and I don’t know your work, a carrot like this can make the difference. Give me a chance to review the quality of your product first so I’ll feel confident in endorsing it (and you) to my community. If I have the opportunity to test your product and get results in my own business, you’ll be sure to get a more personal endorsement too.
  4. Tell me what’s in it for me. This deserves extra attention if you working with a small list and you’re approaching a bigger partner. Ideas to sweeten the deal ranged from offering exposure to a new and desired market, making it easy by providing all the promotional content, even offering 100% commission on an entry level product (especially if you’re main strategy is building your list).
  5. Help me connect with my dream partners. Even if I have a bigger list than you, if you have a connection to a “long-shot” partner . . . you’ll get my attention fast. Even better if you can give me some insight into what that person is looking for in a partner.

(Check out Breaking the JV Code: Top 12 Reasons Joint Venture Partners Will NEVER Promote You! to get more road-tested JV strategies for coaches, consultants, and experts.)

What makes you JV sexy? Tell us in the comments below.


  1. Eliane Sainte-Marie on July 17, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Awesome article Gayle! I got lots of ideas that I’ll implement soon. Thank you!!!

    • storystylist on July 17, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      Wonderful! Glad you found it helpful Eliane. Let me know what works for you.

  2. Deb Coman on July 18, 2014 at 3:57 am

    I’m not surprised at all that “personal connection” was your response, nor (sadly) am I surprised that you were the first with that response after two-thirds of the group had answered. I seem to find a clear division between those that genuinely value connection and those who don’t (even though many say that they do.) It becomes a case of actions speaking louder – whether it’s in their communication (or lack thereof), their tone (even in writing) or their overall follow-through. One really positive note is that it quickly narrows down the choices to a more select group whose philosophy and approach more closely aligns with your own. You couldn’t ask for a better JV partner than that.

    • storystylist on July 21, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      Hi Deb,
      It was interesting to me that no one said personal connection earlier because I witnessed lots of personal connection happening before, during and after the event. This is definitely a group based on the whole concept of connecting, so it’s likely it was considered “a given”. People have different top motivators and that’s OK. For me, I need chemistry . . . no matter what the situation is. I know you do too ;).

  3. Dr. Simone Ravicz on July 18, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Gayle, what a helpful article! Clear and concise. I’m with you about the central import of personal connections! I’m going to “borrow” some of your ideas.

    • storystylist on July 18, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks Dr.Simone. Glad you got some inspiration. I’m looking forward to supporting you & seeing your success.

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