Build a Community & Grow Your Standout Business

 

Lesson Info

Create Your Community Story

This is really your opportunity to apply a lot of what we've talked about in the foundations sessions, because some of what I've talked about, maybe all of what I've talked about earlier on, was sounding kind of conceptual. It's like, yeah Tara, this is very inspirational. I see the opportunity and also what do I do now, right? Well, hopefully you've started to see what your next steps are going to be, but a huge part of what your next step is, is actually starting to craft your story. The more you can build a story behind this community, behind this brand, the easier it's going to be to explain what it actually does, right? Because that's the dreaded question when you have a community. What is it that you do? Well, how is it that you can help me? It's like, well, that depends on you. That's a terrible answer to that question, right? And I have dealt with that for the last year and it still makes my stomach turn. I'm getting a little anxiety, tension in my chest right now just thinking...

of, like, all the terrible answers I've given, to like, 'Well, what does CoCommercial do?' or 'How can it help me?', because literally, the answer to that question is, it depends on you. What are dealing with right now? Oh, okay, yeah. We can help you with that. That is not a strong story. So you have to have another story that you can tell about it, and the more you can tell that story, the better you can tell that story, the easier it's going to be to get that buy-in from new members, and the easier it's going to be for them to see how they can belong in your community. That brings me back to what Chris said about the next big thing being small, because there's... Not only is he predicting that the next big thing is small, here, but what he is also saying is there is a significant change happening in the market place. Ten years ago, the significant change was that we were building these behemoth social media platforms. Now behemoth social media platforms are normal, and it's one of the reasons why we have such a hard time getting our heads around getting off of a Facebook group, right? Like, if you would have asked me that question ten year... Well, you wouldn't have asked me that question ten years ago, right? No one would have said, 'Oh I've got, you know, people on Facebook, and I don't want to go someplace other than Facebook'. You wouldn't have said that 10 years ago. One, it wasn't true, two, people were all over the internet 10 years ago. They were in so many different places. Heck, there was community building in comments, on blogs. That's how we used to talk about community building, online, right? You'd talk about the community that you are building in your comments section, I know. I talked about it, not 10 years ago, nine years ago. Um, but now it's very very different. What Chris is really saying here, is that something is changing. There is something very very big and fundamental changing in the market, right now, that allows the next big thing to be small. I would say that, that is true in literally every single industry. There is something changing right now. Now, I can say that with full certainty, because we live in a time where the market is constantly changing. Where there is always a new opportunity, where there is always something that can be done differently. We tend to think of that as kind of overwhelming, and frustrating, but it doesn't have to be like that. It can be exciting, and it can be what you base your community on, and that's what I'm going to ask you to do, as you think through what your community story is. So, earlier I told you why this was the right time for your community, but now, I want you to tell me back, why this is the right time for your community. What is changing in your industry, or what should be changing in your industry that makes this the right time for your community? I will demonstrate and then you can play along. It's the right time for CoCommercial, because people are tired of spending $2, on an online course that they don't get access to anyone who knows what they're doing, they're not doing the coursework, they are tired of information being gated, feeling like they've always got to be on the lookout for the next big thing, constantly having that fomo. They're tired of it. If I can provide, if my company can provide access to people who know those same things, who've learned them the hard way, who have struggled, who have succeeded, who have overcome challenges, and who are willing to say, "Hey, don't do that, that way, try it this way," or "Here's what I did, here's what worked for me." People are here for it. They are tired of the gatekeeper model. They just want access. That's what's changing in my market. It's what's changing in a lot of markets, but that's what makes it the right time for my community. My bet, and it is a bet, is that the $2,000 online course, gatekeeper model, is quickly coming to an end, and that we're going to find new ways to get the information that we need and access to the people that we need, and I want to be the person that provides that. So why is this the right time for your community, Alice? Yeah, I love this question because I feel like that's actually what's just like inspiring everything about the community I'm building around my big mission, which is, creating an ethical marketing standard. Um, and the reason why it's the right time, right now, is because instant gratification, culture, buying and selling, and the relationship between buyers and sellers. Like, rampant manipulation, everywhere, um is just sort of, this is the point, and also, like, the political climate that's, you know pervasive, um, not just here, but also where I'm from in Europe, but I mean we've... Anyway, I don't need to get into that. But it's just there's just so many places where people are getting fed-up with the system, or how things work, and I think we're looking for that sort of shift and how can we actually do something to make a difference in the world when we're trapped in this, like, hamster wheel of how it's done. And, so for me, it's almost the right time to, like, let's actually have this conversation about manipulation because it's so pervasive. We don't even understand it. Yeah, and really, going back to the markets or conversation idea, people are having that conversation, but they're not connected to each other. Perfect, Denise? Well, I'm with you there on the $2000 market or product, because I've avoided those my whole career. And I think that it's the right time because people have invested in those programs and products, but haven't implemented them, and so, or they've consumed them and haven't done the work. So, they know they have the knowledge, now they need to put it into action so that they're looking for the support and accountability to safely do that without spending, you know, another 2,000 or 10,000 or $50,000. Amen to that, yeah, Angie. Um, well I have, you know, more than one overpriced graduate degree programs that don't allow me to actually do anything, but one of the main benefits from those is actually the network the community of artists you connect with. So, right now, I feel like there's a great opportunity for artists to break their isolation because, like entrepreneurs, they often get isolated and siloed from other artists or other resources. So right now, watching that change, as fewer people are taking on those expensive grad programs, as fewer people are taking on those expensive, $2000 arts programs, having a community of people, wherever they are, to continue to and again, the charter member piece is so critical to make that work, but yeah. Awesome awesome, yeah. Um, I have a micro and a macro. Okay. Great. My market and my community, um, is pretty much, hasn't reached the point where they can benefit from expensive coaching, because their business hasn't grown enough yet, to be ready for the type of expensive, the type of results you get from expensive coaching. But yet, they feel like they had to do that in order to grow their business, so they invested, they didn't get the results and now they're broke, and they don't know what to do. So now they're kinda doing that freebie chasing thing, because they spent the money, they can't pay off that credit card that they spent that money, and now they don't have the answers, they don't have the results, so what they need is something that's kind of a one stop shop for the kinds of answers they need, and the kind of support they need, when they need it. And that's the community that I've built, is very affordable for whatever, um, place you are in your business and also, like, you know, if you need skills, I have D.I.Y. paths. If you get down that D.I.Y. path and you feel like you can't do the answer on your own, here book a coaching call. And it's like, it's a flat rate, it's, invest as you. Sorry, it's a flat rate to begin with, but then it's like, if you need more support, invest in more support, but it's not thousands of dollars every single month. You're not paying more for your coach than you are for your rent. Great tag line. Thank you, the macro is that I feel like that, I mean, my mission is very similar to yours. I feel like we're in a place where small businesses can subvert the greedy corporations that are destroying our planet and are destroying our societies, and that if small businesses can succeed, we can take that power back, you know. We can dismantle the big corporations, replace them small community based businesses, and that we can truly make a difference in the world when we work together. So it's that whole, like, when the people work together we can rise above any challenge that our world faces. Yeah, totally. Alright, I'm gonna move on. I know, I'm very excited how excited you guys about this. This is making me very happy, because I was a little nervous about this lesson. A different way to approach this question is simply, what is changing that creates the opportunity your community is going to seize, what's changing? So, look out into your industry. Look out into the market as a whole. This is why we started with those trends because those trends are impacting every single market, every single industry, every single field. Where are you feeling those trends most, or which of those trends are you feeling most in your industry, or maybe something else in your industry is changing, as well. Where is that change happening and how is your community seizing that opportunity? That's sort of the seed of your story because when you start talking about that with someone who gets it, just like, you know, when I started talking about, like the $2000 online course thing, and please don't get me wrong, a lot of those courses are excellent. This is not a dig on that, it's me saying, something is changing, okay. So, you know, when I start talking about that, you all are nodding, you're like yeah, that's a problem, right? And so, you get the immediate buy in when you start talking about what's changing in the market, or a problem that you see in the market that should be changing, you get an immediate buy in from your audience, okay. That is something that you can put out into the world in content, in a video, it's a message you can say over and over and over again, and every time you say it, people are like, "Yeah, what she said, what he said." And so, you create this virality in this story telling aspect of it, that then opens people to hearing more about what you're creating to change something about that. I wrote a blog post on Medium, months ago now, about the shift away from the gatekeeper model and into an access driven model, and into a kind of collective intelligence idea, and that's been one of the most successful pieces I have ever written, and it was all about the change that we were taking advantage of in the market. It was a, just like Gina said, "That was a heck of a commercial for your bread." Like yeah, that was a completely self-serving piece, but also, it was true and people recognize that truth, and they share it, and they like it, and they clap it, and they talk to their friends about it, and then there's these conversations that go on, and every time that gets shared, Every time someone has a conversation, every time someone says, "Yeah, I'm feeling it, too," I'm one step closer to bringing them into our community. So that's why that community story starts with the change that's happening. This leads us back to that other thing that I keep talking about where communities can upend traditional paradigms and power structures. So, again, if you're feeling called, if you're feeling that your mission is to do things differently, to disrupt the way things have been done before, to create a distribution model that's never been done before, that makes things easier for people to access, that builds value through connection, community is the way to do it, and that's what your story is going to be about, as well. And I would argue that, probably, just about any community, this is an element of their story, whether it's one they choose to highlight or not. It's still an aspect of that story. Let's go back to that Aptiv example, right, and I'm not gonna dig on the personal training industry, now, but right? Like, I can hire a personal trainer, and I will hire a personal trainer for certain things, absolutely, I mean a climbing, strength training regimen, and I'm going to need a personal trainer for that. But I don't have to have a personal trainer to work out with a personal trainer every day. That's what Aptiv says, right. Like, hire the personal trainer, do the thing, get the expensive equipment, do whatever, but you don't want to have to do that every day, or you don't have to. Like, you can also have this other thing on the side. That's disruption, that's upending a power structure, that's upending the way things have been done in the past. Alright so, a couple of other examples of this and how it works. My friend, Cory Huff, has a trade association now, called The Abundant Artist and it's a community of artists who want to figure out how to sell online, to sell independently. Speaking of power structures, the art world is a power structure, right. There's the gallery system, there's the representation system that is all involved in getting your art sold, and how to break into that and how to do this thing and that thing. Well, Cory is all about empowering artists to create their own markets, to create systems, in which they can sell their art on their own, and the Abundant Artists community is one way he helps them do that, and he connects artists together so that when one figures something out or when one tries something new and it works, they can tell everybody else in the community about it. So, no more do they have to wait on getting into a gallery, or finding an agent that's going to represent them. They can get that information at their fingertips. Another one is my friend, Shawn Fink. She has a community called, The Abundant Mama of Peace Circle. It's built off of her Abundant Mama project, which has been an incredibly successful course, for many years now, and here's, she's kind of I'm gonna argue, I think she would approve of this, that she's kind of, like battling the patriarchy with this community, right. Where she's, you know, she's really empowering mothers to create families that operate differently. To create, to re access their own relationship with being a mother, and that is really kind of subversive thing to do in our society. And that's part of the story she's telling, as well, is that being a mom doesn't have to look like the way your mom did it, or the way your grandmother did it. Things are changing, you have more opportunities as a mother today, let's talk about it. And so, that's what they do in the Abundant Mama Peace Circle. Another way to kind of approach this, is to ask yourself, what will members be able to do now that's been hard or impossible in the past. It was hard for moms to talk about the kinds of things that moms talk about in the Abundant Mama Peace Circle before she created that, and before lots of the amazing motherhood communities that exist, were created. I think the internet has been very kind to moms. It's also created a lot of problems, but it's also created a lot of opportunities. It was really hard to find out what kind of Facebook strategies were working for life coaches, before CoCommercial made it easy for a life coach to come in, and literally say, this Facebook ad campaign worked, maybe you should try it, too. Or if you try it, let me know, I'd love to hear, right. So what has been hard or impossible that your community is going to make much much easier? That's another question that you can kind of answer to get this story started. In the time that we have remaining, for this particular last set, I want to do a bit of a hot seat here, and kind of work through some of these questions all in sequence with one person so you can kind of see how we can start to build this out.

When you have a small business, you’re always on the lookout for your next customer. They might pop up at a networking event, they could subscribe to your email list, they might fill out the contact form on your website.

Too often, knowing where your next customer is going to come from seems unpredictable at best and, at worst, like a huge gamble.

Luckily, there’s a way to ensure you always know where your next customer is coming from—and that your existing customers purchase from you more often—and that’s by building a community.

All sorts of businesses can benefit from making community-building part of their growth strategy and many can benefit from making it part of their business model, too. Whether it’s an informal community (like an email list or Instagram hashtag), a brand-driven community (like a free Facebook group that brings together people in love with the same brand and values), or a dedicated community (like a local group, interest-based social network, or a support group, your business can cultivate deeper connections with existing and potential customers.

Of course, an engaged community doesn’t just happen. If you want to reap the benefits of community-building for your business, you need a plan.

In Build a Community & Grow Your Standout Business, Tara Gentile, the founder of the small business support & social network CoCommercial, will share the must-dos, nice-to-haves, and compelling extras you need to make the most of the community you build around your business. By the end of this class, you’ll have a plan for making community-building an integral part of your marketing strategy—and always knowing where your next customer will come from.

Tara will cover:

  • Simple ways to generate community without a group or forum
  • Why and how to level up into a dedicated space for your business’s community
  • How to create a clear reason Why for joining or participating in your community
  • The systems and procedures you’ll need to manage the workload
  • How to avoid community management burnout
  • How to plan to earn more through your community—whether that’s through charging for membership, selling add-on offers, or generating more word of mouth marketing

Stop waiting for your next customer to come to you and start building a community that brings new business your way every day. 

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • This class was exactly what I needed. It clarified, confirmed, and connected SO MANY more of the remaining dots for me. Tara, as always, is brilliant, energetic and a general joy to watch as she shares her immense knowledge and helps others get to "the nitty gritty" - thank you Tara, and thank you Creative Live!!
  • Like I said on air... "Wow!" I've been building an online community for about 4 years now, based on what I thought I wanted to my business to be. Now I realize the value of creating a community around my VISION, then building the business based around the community needs and values. What I thought: 1) What people needed from me was my expertise. 2) Members will naturally bond with and engage with one another based on their shared interests and needs. What I learned from Tara: 1) Members rely on me to FACILITATE conversation and sharing. 2) It's my role to be the a connector and mediator. Tara has an amazing presence on stage and is super skilled at drawing out your vision as a business owner/entrepreneur. She makes community building easy to understand. I'll definitely be watching more of her courses. This one alone has changed the way I think about my business and my plan for building in monetization and community building.
  • I went from a vague idea of wanting to build a community to having a clear path to take to start building it. I appreciated the focus on the member vs the business model. Tara presented a clear path for creating the plan first, from vision and purpose to creating the experience for community members, to helping members take the journey to how to monetize in many different ways. My brain is full and I'm excited to take action and launch a community that consolidates my current varied business offers. The presentation was thoughtful and well presented. Excellent and highly recommended.