How to Create Your Own Private Cartel

How to Create Your Own Private Cartel

You see it all the time. The same big names promoting each other; from the outside it looks like a conspiracy or coalition designed to support a mutual interest.

Maybe you thought it was arrogant or elitist. Or… maybe you secretly wanted a cartel of your own. A group of diehard comrades that have your back in all settings — whenever you release a project, they show up without hesitation to ensure its success.

If you need trusted feedback on a new idea, they’re there to listen and give you a candid response. When you’re down and questioning yourself, they’re by your side giving you words of encouragement.

Starting to sound not so bad, isn’t it?

Creating your own cartel is simple, but it takes careful planning and scrupulousness. These are a few guidelines I’ve found useful to follow:

  1. Find strategic partners (in crime). You want the people in your cartel to have a similar vision and values as you do. But you also don’t want to surround yourself with virtual clones. While five incredible marketers in your circle would make for an impressive powerhouse, it doesn’t make for much variety (and it’s not very strategic). Try to find people that excel in areas that you don’t. This way you bring a unique value to the table, and create an advisory board of people with skill sets that complement your own.
  2. Choose your cohorts wisely. In many ways, you are the sum of the closest five people around you. Do they represent the type of person you want to be like? Being deliberate about who you bring close to you sets you up for positive reinforcement.
  3. Be a resource, and a lighthouse. What unique talents and resources do you bring to those you want to partner with? What can you contribute that no one (or only a few) can? Show up offering your help — look for ways you can tactfully offer assistance and you’ll go far. Be someone encouraging; a lighthouse that illuminates the way and inspires others to shine more brightly. The more uplifting and inspired, the more others will naturally gravitate toward you and want to orbit around your field of awesomeness.
  4. Go big deep. We want our cartel to be tight knit and unwavering. It’s hard to accomplish that when you have a large force to mobilize. Keeping our circle small, we stay agile. And that way we’re able to give our best selves to the others in the group. It’s hard to be there for 20 people in a really meaningful way. Five, however, is a more manageable number. How many people do you want in your crew? How can you make the connections deep and keep camaraderie high?
  5. A cartel is different than a tribe. You may be sitting here thinking that you want more than five people in your tribe. As you should. Your tribe is a larger group of people that congregate around similar interests and values. It may be large or relatively small, and your level of connection will vary with the people in your tribe. Your cartel, however, is something you keep intentionally small for maximum effect.
  6. Share your evil plans. How can your cartel know how to best help you unless you share your plans with them? If we want to create a strong brother and sisterhood, we need to not expect help, but be willing to ask for it. This also means regularly checking in with your circle to ask what you can do to help. What’s most important or urgent for them right now? You may also consider creating a shared calendar for your group to see when your people are launching or holding events, so you can all be coordinated and ready to help.
  7. Pool your resources. “We’re stronger together than apart.” A wise adage I’ve found true on my path. Within your cartel you always want to be thinking about how you can augment each other’s strengths to create something better than you could apart. Whenever you’re formulating a plan or releasing a project into the world, think about how you can involve your council members to help you create something more powerful than you could on your own.

Do you know any rising stars you can invite to join your private cartel? Who can complement and enhance your unique genius?

The purpose of creating your own inner circle is to create a trusted group of allies that help each other succeed. But have as much fun with this as you’d like. Should each member have their own secret superpower? Are you the Fantastic Four, or the Three Stooges?

Also, remember that while your cartel should be going for depth, it shouldn’t be high-seated or overly exclusive. You can leverage your network to help others and build community. And while building a tight social network can build you up, it can also be pretty damn boring if you never connect beyond it.

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61 Comments on "How to Create Your Own Private Cartel"

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Jeff Goins
Guest

Great post and interesting offer. I’m sending you an email.

Cedric
Admin

Nice to meet you Jeff, thanks for stopping by.

Jeff Goins
Guest

Thanks, Jonathan. Looking forward to talking.

David William
Guest

I appreciate that you have a call to arms and an open invite to connect. I will certainly keep this in mind. For now, I’m trying to build up my own vision and worth so when I do hope to connect, I have something valuable and desirable to offer. :)

Cedric
Admin

Sounds good David. Keep in mind, it’s never too early to start building your network and advisory board. Who knows, you may make some interesting friendships with people that will be bestselling authors in a few years.

David William
Guest

Yes! I like it. I am connecting more now. I sort of already do, but now I am inspired to push harder! Thanks Jonathan.

Ev`Yan
Guest

This is such a power message; one of your best yet. I would be honored to be included inside of your private cartel.

You’re already in mine.

Cedric
Admin

Of course you have an automatic backstage pass. :)

Nora
Guest

Love it! I’ve been saying this since – forever, except I called it a mafia (Well, I am from NJ) and this is always the source of power as far as I can tell – in politics, in economics, in families, in business, and yet, finding that chemical mix is a battle, sometimes lifelong. Now, I know what to write on my personal ad…Seeking cartel…

Cedric
Admin

Mafia sounds even more badass. I wish I could pull that off. :)

Joel Zaslofsky
Guest

Great post and a great open invitation for your community to engage with you. I’ve always appreciated your willingness to interact with those who value the message you put out there.
I’ve been conscious of creating the bonds that will form the basis of an awesome cartel down the road. I would love people to pool resources with and it’s huge with me since I’m all about enlightened resource management.
Although I can’t think of something to engage you on at this point (that would be worth your time) I’d love to do this in the future.

Cedric
Admin

Sounds good Joel. Even if you’re not ready yet it’s something good to be thinking about.

Matthew Bailey
Guest

Great Post! It’s so true that a close group of people (a cartel) can achieve far great success than doing it alone. I’ll send an email as well.

Cedric
Admin

It’s amazing what we can accomplish together. It always surprises me in a delightful way.

Jennifer
Guest

Sigh. I’d love a cartel. It’s time to stop whining that I can’t have one just because I’m in a small town.

Brooke
Guest

Jennifer–
I feel like I’m in a small town! I have two big project ideas that need refining, and my friends could help me with that (market research, etc). However… too many of them just tell me how “wonderful my ideas are” and don’t give me meaningful feedback, while they still work their 9-5’s. (I try to tell them… they can do it, too! There’s more to life!)
Time for me to find a virtual cartel, I guess. Any takers in the fitness/food realm? :)

Cedric
Admin

Awesome to see you guys reaching out to each other! Creating a cartel takes initiative. It’s great to see you stepping up.

Joseph Rice
Guest

hey brooke – –

i have some experience in the fitness and food realm, plus some editorial experience. feel free to contact me if you need some feedback.

joseph

Daniel Richman
Guest
Your help is an amazing offer, but I am fine. I’ve watched power-people such as you and our friend Mike Roberts go through some awesome life altering missions. It’s a help to me just to witness the amazement through your email campaigns, blog posts, and social media updates. The inspiration I receive is irreplaceable with currency alone. You guys are what I dream to be if I ever retire from self-employment. Someone who loves a challenge (and eats them for breakfast), and someone who cares with 10,000% of their being about the world around them. I continue to live vicariously… Read more »
Cedric
Admin

This is one of the best compliments ever. Thank you Daniel.

kelly
Guest

I have read this entry three times today. This afternoon in a meeting with a trusted friend I said – “We need to start a cartel!” And we are! Such an awesome post :)

Cedric
Admin

Do it! It will change your life.

Brian Tomlinson
Guest

Great post Johnathan. Taking this from the level of a Tribe to more of a private mastermind is great and I love the concept of the cartel. We have very similar paths so would love to connect and see how we could better each other’s lives.
Thanks for this.

Cedric
Admin

You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by Brian.

TAllagash
Guest

“you are the sum of the closest five people around you.”

even more concise and accurate than “you are the company you keep”

Angela Artemis
Guest

Great idea Jonathan. What tactics would you suggest that the cartel follow? Tweeting/sharing on FB/supporting product launches/commenting? Are there other ways of supporting and helping each other grow?
Thank you!

Annie Andre
Guest

Great question! I would love to know the answer.
I’m new to the idea of joining forces. But here’s what I just did.

I’m starting with everyone here who commented on this article and clicking through to their blogs and tweeting about the articles i like. I’m also sending out a request to those I think might align best with me and vice versa to connect.

It’s very scary to do that. My biggest fear is rejection.

Cedric
Admin

Here are a few ideas Angela:

– Joint webinars where you promote each others products to your respective lists

– Include a “teaser” copy of each others products when someone purchases either (like half the ebook/product for free)

– Weekly mastermind meetings with feedback and accountability

– A shared calendar to coordinate promotion on launches

– A google group to notify each other when you release your best free content (blog posts, manifestos, free guides, etc.)

Angela Artemis
Guest

Jonathan,
Thank you so much for sharing these brilliant ideas with us!

Barak Rosenbloom
Guest
Jonathan, This is so timely for me! I had lunch yesterday with a woman developing fantastic programs and products for women turning 50, which is a great partnership for the work I’m doing around curiosity, play and, specifically, how we can live more naturally with time. We even came up with some great websites to act as an umbrella for our work and others. My partners and I recently finished our free ebook (which is definitely not a dead one!) and are creating video and other material. I think our work will resonate very much with your readers, and I… Read more »
Cedric
Admin

Hey Barak, nice to meet you. Sounds like you’re working on some interesting stuff.

And yep, that link was supposed to go to my newsletter. We have an amazing community of over 7,000 trailblazers there. :)

Barak Rosenbloom
Guest

Thanks — and I’ll check it out.

Barak

Tony
Guest

Haha, what a great concept. I never really thought about it like that. But, now I Know what I’m focus on next in my blogging career. Thanks for sharing.

Cedric
Admin

Glad you found it useful and amusing. Business and blogging should be fun. :)

Annie Andre
Guest
Jonathan, I’ve been doing a lot of lurking since i started my personal goal to escape the 9 to 5 conventional thinking. The more I lurk, the more afraid I’ve become to reach out to others because of the exact thing you say in this article. “The same big names promoting each other; from the outside it looks like a conspiracy or coalition designed to support a mutual interest.” It really is intimidating because everyone in my niche seems to have it all figured out. They all seem to know what the heck they are talking about. While, i’m here… Read more »
Cedric
Admin

You’d be surprised how many of them are winging it too. Most of us are just stumbling along, making mistakes and figuring this stuff out as we go. Myself included.

I’m glad you took the courage to reach out! The more you push your comfort zone, the more you know you’re growing.

kelly
Guest

Annie,

I think most are “winging it” – trying to find a place in this life that doesn’t suck. I think the key is to “do it afraid”

I wish you great success!

Jen
Guest

Holy hell…that was amazing! I have totally felt like the same people promote each other and not sure how to create that experience for myself and others. I love the cartel concept. I’ll have to reread this for sure.

Cedric
Admin

Thanks Jen! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Justin | Mazzastick
Guest

Cartel sounds like a good idea similar to a mastermind group. I have several people in mine and am always looking to add more people to my posse.

It’s easy for our brains to get fried so it’s a good idea to have others to rely on.

Cedric
Admin

It is similar to a mastermind group, but I think it’s taken a step further. The cartel kind of transcends and includes the mastermind.

mike
Guest

Too bad cartels are illegal

Cedric
Admin

I don’t think that’s the kind we’re talking about here Mike. :)

Craig
Guest

Love the idea of a private cartel. My wife and I right now are going through a total revamp and I’d like to send you an email with our plans….very cool stuff here

Derek
Guest

Hey Jonathan,
I think Napoleon Hill in Think And Grow Rich placed a high value on creating a mastermind group. Robert Kiyosaki talks about creating a team all the time.
I have always been solo, maverick type of guy, but I’m more and more convinced that a few brains are possibly better than one.
I have experience in fitness, rental real estate and personal development.
Derek

Erlinda
Guest
My “epic plan” is to build an online business through selling, affiliates and advertising. I am a mommy blogger, and in the process, I want to help other moms choose to stay home and work if they want to. On a grander scale, my three biggest pet peeves are: human trafficking, cancer and the education system. When I am successful, I want to focus on eliminating the problems of these three issues. Right now, I am beginning again, restarting from a failed business venture and not ashamed at all. However, I humbly come to this site to learn and ask… Read more »
amy
Guest

I have read this post 5 times now. I’m both energized and frustrated. My “real life” cartel has been a disappointment; an encouragement in the wrong direction at best. My plan is to stay open to meeting people with a cooperative, supportive focus. You’ve given me a lot to think about and a definition to work with. Thanks!

Mike Radivis
Guest

Excellent mind-food! How do you get those great ideas?

I feel having an own cartel is a high priority for me now that I’m on the way to create a new personal development blog. I’ve already started to reach out a bit, but your post motivates me to take the process to the next level! :)

Benny
Guest

I definitely agree with surrounding yourself with great people in order to be successful. If you’re an eagle but surrounded by chickens, you’ll think you’re a chicken.

As a beginning blogger trying to get out of my 9-5 job don’t have any epic plans now but when I do, I hope to get some feedback from you.

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[…] Jonathan needs no introduction; actually he gave me one: he pretty much introduced me to the blogosphere and continues to connect me with great people and opportunities. So appreciate his continued support. Check out: How To Create Your Own Private Cartel. […]

Milo
Guest

Thanks for this Jonathan. It was through being a part of Paid to Exist that I was able to do a similar thing by keeping in touch with some of the other members, and their support since doing the course has been a great way of keeping motivated.

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[…] spend most of your focused time with (For more on this idea…click here and here and here and here and […]

collectivechng
Guest

What happens if you can’t pay or compensate your cartel. After all, if it’s not their original idea they want to know that they’re getting paid, in one way or another. I run into this problem all the time, people come and go because they can’t stay around with simple promises?

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[…] How to Create Your Own Private Cartel | Illuminated MindApr 27, 2011 … Or… maybe you secretly wanted a cartel of your own. A group of diehard comrades that …. Thanks for the motivational article. share flag … […]

GilesOj
Guest
This is a very important topic. Without a cartel, a mastermind group, or a crew; it’ll be almost impossible to achieve anything great. Study every great organization, and you’ll notice that there is a “cartel” behind its success. Napoleon Hill also stressed how important having a mastermind group is, but the only challenging thing here is finding and admitting the right people into your mastermind group. They have to be committed, serious, and have similar values. People in a group don’t always have to expect monetary benefits for being together; they just have to provide consistent support for each other-… Read more »
YaelGrauer
Guest

The hard part I have with cartels is when it smacks of insincerity: people who will promote each other’s products even if they’re not very good. 

SystemsThinker
Guest

Jonathan,
I just came across this and we are thinking along some very similar lines in a lot of ways.
I wrote this piece many years ago. It takes on a very related topic but goes into even more depth about it. I hope you don’t mind me posting a link.
<a href=”http://www.systemsthinker.com/blog/2007/09/my-scheme-team-dream/”>My Scheme Team Dream: Partners Wanted for Shaping and Changing The World</a>
Finding those partners can be very difficult. But one has to continue to keep their eyes open.

SystemsThinker
Guest

Jonathan,
I just came across this and we are thinking along some very similar lines in a lot of ways.
I wrote this piece many years ago. It takes on a very related topic but goes into even more depth about it. I hope you don’t mind me posting a link.
It’s called My Scheme Team Dream: Partners Wanted for Shaping and Changing The World
http://www.systemsthinker.com/blog/2007/09/my-scheme-team-dream/
Finding those partners can be very difficult. But one has to continue to keep their eyes open.

Catherine Kerton-Johnson
Guest

Ah, yes. A cartel. I have a question – would the people in the cartel be expected to work with you on projects, or would they be more of a support team, in terms of personal advice and growth as you work. I already have a close team of creative partners, but they are also my management staff. Should I be looking for partners who are more personally objective?

Mark Ball
Guest

Hi,

Is this like, a good guy Cartel?

Cedric
Admin

Yep :)

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