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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
bigdeep. 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.