Hot Seat with Mollie Fagan
Tell us who you are, what you do, and where we can find you online.
My name is Mollie Fagan, and my business is called Real To Ideal. I'm the founder of The Real To Ideal Movement for Evolving Businesses and Revolutionary Leaders.
You can find me at realtoideal.com and that community that I just mentioned is one I'm launching this month. It's called the Real To Ideal Revolution.
Awesome, high five, yes! Okay, so what makes this the right time for your community? You told us a little bit before, but tell us again.
Yeah, definitely I see the market shifting when it comes to expensive coaching, not just for small business owners, but I mean, you've seen like, the coaching industry is about to blow up, and you know, are we ever gonna be regulated, and I think there's definitely, you know, people are tired of feeling like they've been scammed by expensive coaching that didn't get results. When really it was probably just the mismatch, but nonetheless, that's how people ...
are feeling. Ripped off.
All right, perfect, yes. All right, what will members be able to do now that's been hard or impossible in the past?
I feel like the way that I have set my community up, with the membership program and, like we've been talking about, the network opportunities, is that they can get the kind of support and the kind of answers they need when they need them. So like, you know, on a daily basis they can check in, get motivation, get inspiration, and just stay excited about what they're doing, and connect with other like-minded people. On a more long-term basis, it's like as I'm working through my business, and I run into an obstacle, where do I go for that answer? Do I have to, like, go Google for it, do I have to find a freebie and download it, and then even that's only like a piece of the answer. Do I have to hire this person or buy their courses to get the full answer? No, you can go through these pathways in the community, DIY it, if you need additional help, there'll be definitely me, like you can book an appointment, book a coaching session. There's gonna be group sessions, there's gonna be virtual work parties where they can work together. I have a Zoom room set up so that it's like at any point in time, they can connect in Zoom, and have a virtual work party to hold each other accountable or help each other out, or you know, just work with each other.
Excellent! That was very easy, you did a great job! Yeah, do you have any questions, are you anticipating any challenges with telling a story?
Well definitely some of the same things we've been talking about, is like, how do you get the word out there when you have a small list, or something like that? I'm very lucky that I have a very diehard following who's been kind of like, waiting for me to offer something they can afford.
So I definitely have my charter members lined up. But the biggest question that I had during Gina's presentation was, when we're talking about a closed community, especially something, like in this case, it's gonna be a paid community, and I'm advertising this as a safe and sacred place to ask questions without worrying about your online reputation being ruined, without worrying about Ideal clients seeing you ask this question and be like, oh she doesn't actually know what she's doing, kind of thing. When I advertise it as a safe and sacred space, how do we then get members to share on social, or how do we share client results in order to bring new members in?
Yeah, totally, so one thing is identify the kinds of things you want people to be sharing. So ideally, the thing you want people to be sharing is victories, right? So you want people, when they pose a hard question to the community, maybe something they think they should know the answer to, or maybe just an obstacle that they've run into, they get help, they try something out, and it works. When they share that it works, you want to actually go in there, private message them, leave a comment, whatever, email them, whatever it might be, and say, hey, I'd love for you to share about that victory online, or on social, or email somebody who you know is struggling with something similar and invite them into the community, and here's a couple of different ways to do it. You can tell people what actually happened, like I had this problem, I found out about this person's experience, 'cause we, not advice, right, like Gina said. (laughs) And I did it, and it worked, and here's what the result. So they can tell the whole story, or they can just say, you know, I was dealing with a really tough obstacle in my business recently and I got really brave and I actually told people about it, and it's not like me, and I don't normally share these kinds of things, but I'm in this space that makes me feel really comfortable about doing it. Here's what the result was. Give the result, and then that's what they can share. So that's one way to do it, but you want to really actively manage it. That's one thing that I would say don't try and unworkload that piece of it. Really actively manage asking people to share about the successes that they've had in your community. And then another thing that you can do is just ask for a testimonial from that as well. So even if they're not willing to share it with their network, maybe you can get a testimonial out of it, because testimonials go a very long way in making people feel comfortable about joining. Yeah, and then even just sharing victories internally actually helps people feel more comfortable with sharing in the community, too, or get more excited about it. So the more you can actively manage that as well, and say, okay maybe you don't want to share this publicly, but you could share it with the community. Make sure you follow up. I'm constantly telling people at CoCommercial, follow up with us, let us know how this goes. And anytime someone has a follow up, whether it's in a new post, or a new comment, maybe they share it during a Mastermind call or whatever, that generates a huge amount of excitement and people get really inspired, and shares happen after that, so it's a process. Yes, it's easier in an open community or a free community or a public community where you can literally share a comment thread or something, yes, that's easier. But there are ways around it, too.
Okay, cool thanks.
Yeah, awesome. Well you've got your story down, that was a great hot seat because it went very smoothly.
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.