By now you must have seen a million (ok maybe more like a hundred) Facebook groups for Entrepreneurs, Instagrammers, influencers, bloggers, mommers and a truck load of other cliques, and you’re thinking, what’s the POINT? Are communities worth it, and how should you go about this community thing?
We’ve got a few tips for you so read on and get ready for a whole lot of actionable ideas that will help you to find, establish and grow a community of awesome people, wherever you’re from.
Back it up… what’s this community rage all about?
If you’re still connecting with a dial up modem (haai shame!) and you’ve never encountered the awesomeness that is the Online Community- then let me guide your sheltered little mind into territory undiscovered.
Since the advent of the information age, people have been connecting with other folks online to chat about things they have in common. Facebook, Reddit and other social media platforms allow total strangers to make connections and go “Wow, me too!”. The rising global trend of the freelancer economy and entrepreneur-based business is creating a perfect storm allowing people to learn from others in their industries, no matter how small the niche!
Ok, so why do I need to be in a community?
Uhm, reread the section above… I’ll wait.
Back so soon? Ok! The main reason we need community (on a sociological level) is that humans are designed like that. Being in a community teaches us about the world, how to be safe in dangerous situations and how to care for others so the whole community becomes stronger. I’m not Bloodhound Gang-ing it and saying you’re no more than a mammal, but even as evolved and complicated as we modern humans are, we still need to find our tribe/ fam/ gang (insert hip lingo here).
When addressing the issue of freelancing or working from home, or being a solo business owner, community becomes even more important to stop us from falling into a deep dark depression while losing track of the world outside. Even the most introverted of persons will need interaction and guidance somewhere down the line and communities are perfect forums to be social and learn from your peers.
Other than keeping us from dying alone, huddled under our desks, communities are also fantastic for learning (mostly for free).
When people share information freely, it flows from one person to the next, and we learn from each other’s mistakes which gives us more free time to MESS UP in our own special ways! If you’re low on extra income, and you need to know stuff, communities are often a great place to be.
You’re right, communities are the best thing since sliced bread! How do I join or create one?
We’ve got a to do list to help you grow (in) a community of awesome people, and it all starts with an idea (See item number 1 on the list).
Then go forth and conquer:
1. Decide what your community focus will be (your niche, belief, need etc.)
2. Find people who share this focus, niche or need (Use Google, Facebook, Pinterest, ask your friends, stalk random people on the street- ok, no just kidding DON’T do that!)
3. If you can’t find a community to serve your needs, then create one! Start a Facebook group or Subreddit, and repeat item number 2 while sharing YOUR community
4. Connect with these people online or in person
5. Respect these people, always! When you start out making connections, it can be easy to be SUPER passionate about something, which is cool, but don’t be THAT person! Don’t encroach on people’s space, time and privacy, even if you have things in common. Don’t be clingy (see item number 2 on NOT being a stalker) and don’t share information that can make you vulnerable to weirdos
6. Share and serve each other. This is the basis of any community. Be sure to check and set expectations on sharing and taking part. I shall compare community interaction to skinny dipping: it’s no fun if you’re the only one in the pool without your clothes on. Don’t be the weirdo who just lurks, be a part of the action!
7. Be yourself at all times. You might feel pressured to project a certain image… but don’t do it! If this community is going to get your best, they need to handle your “normal” and “worst” too
8. Be a cool human. You don’t need to go buy a leather jacket and Ray Bans, you just need to be lekker to spend time with. Be positive, support others and don’t bicker about small inconsequential stuff. If criticism is all you’re bringing to a community, you need to leave quietly and let others party on without you
9. Invest in the community but always guard your heart (and your own backside) from people who have evil intentions
10. Evaluate your investment in a community and calculate your return on that investment so you can see if you’re serving and being served equally. If not, GET OUT and start again (See item number 1)
Let us know if you’ve found an awesome community (especially if you’re into some really niche topics) and we’ll share our favourite communities with you soon. Don’t forget to follow us on social media and leave a comment if you enjoyed this post!
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