This is the second post in a new Sunday series by our Yellow Collective project manager Lauren Caselli about finding, creating, and growing a community of people who have your back. Whether it’s online or in-person, free or paid, having a community of people who understand and support you can move you toward your goals faster than ever. To read the first post in this series, click here.
In this series’ first post, you’ll remember that I mentioned making a list of the people that you want to be a part of your company’s/life’s steering committee. A steering committee is another word for an advisory board, but another way to think about it is to choose the people that you would want to bounce ideas off of, and who would have a good perspective on issues you may be facing.
So now that you have a list of amazing people that you’d love to be in community with, here’s what you should do next to actually get them in a room with you.
Decide if you prefer an in-person community or an online community.
I’m a BIG fan of in-person communities, especially as an online entrepreneur, because I work at home and I live alone, and I’m an extrovert. Having a group of people that I can get together with once a month in-person, and then have supplementary, 1:1 meetings with throughout the month if I need more support, is crucial to my own sanity.
Plus, expanding into a local market, getting to know other creatives in my town, and getting a lens on what other people are doing to make their businesses work locally is super important for my own marketing and growth efforts.But maybe you like never having to exit your house and the thought of braving public transportation or after-work traffic gives you hives. Or, maybe just the thought of getting out of yoga pants is not in your business plan. Plus, you live in a rural community that doesn’t have many people doing what you’re doing OR you don’t live in an epicenter of creativity and innovation, and want outside perspectives. A digital community with people from all over the world may be for you.
There are positives and negatives to both types of groups, but once you decide which you prefer, it’s important that you as the organizer commit to being the driving force behind your gatherings.
Choose about 5 - 6 people from your list that you know that don’t really know each other.
One of the best ways to actually get buy-in for a community is to specifically invite people with the promise that they’ll meet other, vetted, equally-cool people.
I always see on Facebook or in groups people saying _“Anyone want to join a mastermind with me? Email for details!” _That’s not a great way of forming a strong community of supporters. You want an A-Team, and while some people that respond to a call like that may be on the A-Team, wouldn’t it be better if you hand-picked your A-Team instead?
Plus, you know what makes people jump on board to something even faster than you can invite them? A personalized invitation that says they’ve been specifically chosen. AND that they will expand their contacts, since they won’t really know anyone else in the group.
Send them an email, detailing your goals and the outcomes you’d like to achieve.
I even wrote you a script to make this easier! (P.S. Make sure you send these emails individually instead of in a blast format. It’s always better to show a little TLC to people, and it will create even more goodwill and excitement around joining your community)…
How are you? I’ve been watching your adventures on (Instagram/Facebook/in the local paper/your blog), and it seems like you’ve been doing some amazing things! I’m so impressed with you, and inspired by the awesome change you’re making.
I’m emailing you because I admire the work you’re doing in our community of (insert community here, either digital or in-person), and I’d love for you to be a part of a group of creatives that I’m forming. This group will be made up of a small group of other change-making creatives and we’ll be meeting monthly to discuss (insert the discussion goals of your group).
I’d love for you to be a part of it because I think you have amazing (insert qualities that make this specific person a perfect fit), and we need a perspective like that in this group.
If you’re interested, please respond no later than (pick a date and time). Our first meeting will be XX, XX, 2016, where we’ll get to know each other and talk about our expectations.
So looking forward to having you as a part of this group!
Note: If only 3 people respond to this email, feel free to reach out to 2 or 3 more. I recommend a group of 6-7 to start with, as those groups are a great size for conversations that may require a “tree of trust.” Any bigger than 10, and it starts becoming difficult to have productive conversations where everyone gets a spotlight (don’t worry, we’ll talk about growing your community in a future post, and deciding how to structure meetings/events/hangouts so that it speaks to everyone).
What to do if someone says no or never responds:
Don’t take it personally! We are all busy, and sometimes people need different communities at different times in their lives. However, I suspect, if you follow this model, not many people will say no (which is why I only recommend asking 5 -6 people to start with).Psst…Yellow Co. is so invested in having a community of amazing people around us that we’re launching something extra special at our conference on August 25th. Want to be the first to know about it? Sign up for our first-to-know email list here (or if you’d rather be there in person for the big reveal, snag one of the final spots at Yellow Conference).
Photos by Karen Marie Co.