How I went from a bored lawyer, sitting in an office all day, to an entrepreneur, speaking at events around the world, becoming an author of a book about membership sites, teaching thousands of students how to engage with their ideal clients through free tools such as Facebook groups and podcasts and then being asked by Facebook themselves , “ so how do you build community? We’d love to learn from you!"
Sounds crazy but it’s all true, let me explain a little bit more…
Screwdrivers, Car Parks & Mishaps
I don’t think my Dad has actually yet forgiven me for giving up the law. Years of training and then a trip to London for the weekend changed my life.
My partner at the time, persuaded me to watch a YouTube video one Tuesday evening, some guy called Simon Coulson, apparently he had made millions online. I wasn’t convinced, well for a few minutes at least ….
3 weeks later we were off to London, to his 3 day marketing course. I wouldn’t get out of the car in the hotel car park, convinced it was too dangerous … ( since then I”ve travelled to events solo across the world from Bali to Palm Springs.)
The rest is history. A lot of history. Heartache. Struggle. Determination. Fun. Fear. Oh and everything in between, including the time I spent weeks creating a website called the “Spirits of Halloween” forgetting it’s a 1 day event …
Don’t worry I’ve not forgotten about the screwdriver …
EVERYONE CARED ABOUT THE ‘SCREWDRIVER” AND IT WAS DRIVING ME CRAZY!
This was back in 2013 and following the course every part of me was drawn towards this amazing business model Simon Coulson, founder of the Internet Business School had taught me about a business asset called a membership site.
Wow, this was a tool that gave business owners the opportunity to not just build a one time relationship with their customers but it was an opportunity to build an ongoing relationship. Yes, sell something not once but month after month.
Determined as I was, I learnt everything possible about them, started my business book obsession of reading everything in sight, signed up for my two first business mentors, wrote and published a book about them called “ How to Make Money from Membership Sites”, ran a couple of seminars as joint ventures with Simon and the Internet Business School, created an online course which was sold to thousands of people but still, I kept being asked the same damn question …
“WHAT SCREWDRIVER IS BEST?”
I then read a book called “How to Become a Key Person of Influence” written by the incredible Entrepreneur and co-founder of Dent Global, Daniel Priestley
I’ll cut to the chase but reading this book led me to the stage at his Pitchfest event in 2016, ( I think this is still on YouTube to view, although I’d be so embarrassed now!) winning second prize pitching my business idea to a crowd of successful business leaders and entrepreneurs and in 2018, Daniel Priestley approached me personally to ask if I’d run his prestigious client community.
The screwdriver was finally losing it’s grip …
Every month that passed, I uncovered more and dug deeper and as I continued to invest in the world’s best mentors, one day I struck gold and had a massive epiphany:
“If you think it’s about membership sites, you are missing the point, it’s about connection and community.”
YES …. COMMUNITY IS WHAT MATTERS!
YOU SEE, EVERYONE CARES TOO MUCH ABOUT THE DAMN PLATFORM AND NOT ENOUGH ABOUT WHY THEY WANT TO BUILD A COMMUNITY
Too many people are saying the same thing...
“I want to build an engaged community, so I must open up a Facebook Group/start a Podcast/create a membership site/ join Clubhouse ..."
STOP RIGHT THERE!
So before I finish up, as my story is long and you have other things to do I’m sure, let me share an analogy with you that I thought of some years ago …
My Analogy on What You Need To Build a Community
If one day you woke up and decided you wanted to redesign your kitchen, what would be your why?
I’m guessing as one of the central rooms to any home, you’d want to do it because you have a vision of creating a space for your family and friends to spend time together in.
A safe space, with places to sit and chat, over good food & drinks, a place where memories can be made and the people in that room feel like they belong.
You may picture in your head the conversations that might take place in your new kitchen, those deep conversations and relationships that form with those you choose to allow into your home. Your people. You have shared interests. Shared identities. You want to spend time with them.
The more time you spend in that kitchen, the deeper the connections, the more meaningful the conversations.
This is what matters. This is all that matters.
This is community.
Yes, you need a space to hang out but there are lots of places to hang out together both online and offline.
Take a moment to consider this...
As you designed your new kitchen, when did you ever give a thought to the screwdriver that would be used to put it all together. Probably not once. Yes it’s essential and important but the screwdriver does not make a home.
THAT’s WHY I’D GET SO FRUSTRATED…
Back when I started teaching about membership sites, everyone wanted to know the magic x-factor platform that would make their communities a success … everyone asked me first about the “screwdriver”, by that I mean, they were primarily concerned with the “how”, they put the platform choice ahead of everything else.
A platform itself does not build a successful engaged community.
Not every business needs a Facebook Group.
The platform is the least of your worries.
I’ll leave it there for now but I do urge you to remember this :-
If you want to build a community, the best time to start was yesterday and the next best time is today.
I’ve spent 9 years focussed on community building. If you need help, do follow me on social media, listen to my podcast, message me. I’ve learnt the hard way, I can help.
Now, more than ever, is the moment for community. It gives your business the competitive edge. It makes a difference to people’s lives and who doesn’t want to feel more connected or that they belong? No one.
Forget the platform for now. The only thing that matters, is you start.
Take care and build community.