If there’s one thing I’m known for online (besides my undying love for hot chocolate) it’s my community. Even before launching #createlounge at beginning of 2015, I was creating the community that I wanted and quite frankly needed as a creative side hustler at the time.
Through hosting weekly Twitter chats, creating podcast episodes, and teaming up for 100+ collaborations, I've seen the true power of community firsthand. I want to share some of the things I’ve learned while building this thriving online tribe of creatives.
To be a good community leader, you must be a good community member
I wouldn’t be the community leader I am today if I didn’t start out as a member of other communities. Through being a participant of various Twitter chats, Facebook groups, Slack channels, and beyond, I was able to connect with like-minded people while discovering what I liked and areas of opportunity. These opportunities led me to explore how I might create a space that includes what’s missing from some of the other communities.
In order to be great at what you do, you have to study it. If you’re a writer, you read voraciously. If you’re a designer, you flip through magazines and photographs for inspiration. The same is true for leading communities.
You may utilize different platforms but they all feed into one true community
I may interact with some community members on Instagram while others hang out on Twitter, but the heart of each platform is the same because my core message and values stay the same. It doesn’t matter if I’m replying to a newsletter or sharing a resource in a Facebook group; I want each conversation to speak to my brand and help my audience experience the same community on all channels.
Making room at the table is good for everyone
I’m a big believer in dropping the “cool kids table” mentality. We had enough of that in high school, right? It’s important to make room for everyone to have a seat at the table. There’s nothing more fulfilling than creating a space where everyone is welcomed, seen, heard, and above all, valued.
When we share our creative work, we’re all showing up in a big way. That’s something to be celebrated! Opening a seat at the table for your neighbor is what builds a community rather than a clique.
You have to be willing to experiment and try new things
If you told me a year ago that #createlounge would expand into a podcast, I would have looked at you terrified. Yet here I am a year later doing just that. If there’s a new medium your community is dying to connect with you on, by all means try it out. What have you got to lose?
There will come a time when you’ll see ‘I’ transform into ‘we’
This is something I realized about four months into hosting my #createlounge Twitter chat. The more the chat became a collective of regular creative attendees, the more I started to using the word ‘we’ because I wasn’t just speaking for myself anymore. I was speaking on behalf of the collective. This mental shift was a big game changer for me in the early days of growing #createlounge.
The best kind of growth is slow and intentional
One-on-one, personal connections are the strongest relationships you can have when building your brand but they take time. This is where the real growth happens but some lack the patience to see their community flourish alongside their business.
Sometimes it can seem like you’re running the same race as your neighbor but at a much slower pace. Try not to compare your “start” to someone else’s middle.
What I mean is that everything is relative. I’ve had business owners look at me and say, “Wow, she was able to leap from her job the first month she launched her business!” but that’s only a small part of the story. What they don’t see are the years I spent blogging and building my community base while juggling college, jobs, and internships and started daily writing practices way before that. Overnight successes are a myth.
Ready to invest in your community?
Join me and friends to learn more about how to attract your ideal clients and buyers, understanding your brand vision, and creating the best platforms for building long-lasting connections with my new course, Crickets to Community. Join us today!