I’m going to be honest with you, there’s a lot more to building a community than I can fit into a blog post but it is a question I get asked about a lot. How do you build a community? What’s the magic glue that holds it together?
People to people first
I believe in people to people (P2P) relationships. Everyone who runs a business is a person. Yes we’re business owners, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, employers. But ignore the labels. We are people. We all have our interests, personalities, hopes, dreams and fears.
Being a Youpreneur is not about doing it all on your own. Quite the opposite in fact! One of the reasons I created the Youpreneur Community was to counter the loneliness of running your own business.
Being a Youpreneur is about playing to your strengths, creating a successful business based on your unique personality and experience. People are attracted to you and want to work with you because your character traits and interests dovetail with their own.
You are building a community who gets what you do and how you do it. Get to know your customers and your audience. Find out what makes them tick. Not just why they bought from you in the first place, although that’s a very useful piece of information, but what else is happening in their life.
No-one starts out with a huge community. We all begin from zero. But whether you realise it or not, you are creating a community through your work and how you interact with other people. By knowing you, people will meet other people who share the same vibe. We all want to feel connection, whether its with people who support the same team as us, who work in the same industry or love the same show on Netflix.
Get to know people, let them get to know you. The power of that connection is incredible. People don’t read your blogs or watch your videos or join your community just because of the content.
They do it because they like you. They want more of you. And they want to meet other people who share the same interest and the same values as you. They will introduce new people to your community who like the sound of what you do and your way of doing it.
Embrace your community. Make it a part of your brand. If people want to belong to something you are creating, make that a strength. Steve Kamb from Nerd Fitness calls their members rebels. How cool is that? Youpreneurs are Youpies. And I’m proud to be one.No-one starts out with a huge community, we all begin at zero. But whether you realise it or not, you are creating a community through your work and how you interact with other people. Get to know people, let them get to know you. #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
Make people happy
What is a community? It’s a group of people who have something in common and feel they belong together. You can’t force people to be part of a community. They have to get it. They self-select. But there are things you can do to encourage this.
You’ve got to care. Care about the people you are there to serve. Care about the quality of the products and services you are providing. Care about the problems they are facing and how you can help solve them. Care about all the little extra details that make your community the place people who dig your vibe want to be.
When you’re starting out, you’re not necessarily going to know exactly what people’s needs are. But as you build your business and start to build that community, people will open up to you. Listen to what they’re telling you. The wonderful Jadah Sellner spoke at last year’s Youpreneur Summit about the importance of putting your community first.
Where are they on their journey? What are they not getting from other people in your niche? Where can you make a difference?
Why do we turn to communities? Because we want support. We want to be with people who will lift us up.
One way to engage your community, and to bring other people into it, is by running challenges. You can make this as fun and inspiring as you like. Pick a mission you know your community needs to go on and guide them on the way.
People will follow you step-by-step to reach whatever goal you have set. They are making a commitment to you, the community you’re a part of and themselves. You’re providing accountability and showing them that together, you can achieve things that they haven’t been able to do on their own. That’s huge.
Use challenges to help people move forward. Find out what is next for them. Keep solving their problems.
Building a community is an honor and a privilege. It takes time and effort but it’s also very rewarding. You get to spend time with people who are into the same things you are. You’ll learn from each other, support each other, and have a lot of fun along the way.
Chris founded Youpreneur® in 2015. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker and author of the bestselling books “Virtual Freedom” and “Rise of the Youpreneur”. He hosts our podcast, live events and coaches our clients inside the Youpreneur Incubator. Chris is based in Cambridge, UK.