Building A Community

Someone wrote me a private message on Facebook the other day that kind of got me thinking, they said, “Where is the one place I can go to interact with other members of #PlanetSean?”

Not kidding he used the hashtag and everything.

I was momentarily stunned because while I could stand to lose a few pounds, I didn’t think I’d become a planet with my own gravity – that hurt.  I jest, I’m buff and sexy, I know that.

Once I got over that little synaptic meltdown I started thinking, my first response was to say, “Hey man, you’re on the email list, you hear from me every single day” but then I realized that wasn’t quite was this person was asking for.  He wanted to “interact” with myself and other people who are interested in what I have to say and share.

I’ve been pretty open about the fact that I like forum and community marketing, but I’ve also said I’ve never been keen on the idea of running something like that.  I’d looked into it a few times and moved away from it because it’s a pretty big commitment of time and effort.

Lately though, I’ve been reconsidering it for a few reasons I’d like to share.

First of all, my monstrous ego.  The idea that hundreds and perhaps thousands of random people would join a group that I run makes me realize just how genuinely important I really am in this world.  My pontifications spreading out into the newsfeed of thousands of people seems like a natural extension.

Second and more seriously, I have been struggling to figure out how to share more stuff that kind of falls into a bit of a gap with everything I’m doing now.  Like today I posted about some a strategic and tactical change that Google is making to their search results.  That doesn’t really fit what I’m doing with my daily emails, it’s not really a “newsletter” type thing and I don’t want to start blogging about stuff like that.

That kind of stuff is important though for people who are building their side hustle business as Casual Marketers.  They need some tactical help and guidance – these are things that I actually know a lot about, have experience with and can easily help people by sharing that knowledge somewhere.

Third, some people like to be part of a community where they’re on the same journey as other people and having a central theme or figure (ie. Me) is a coalescing factor that brings people together.  I’m pretty good in communities, I like having online conversations so it is something of a natural fit.

Fourth is slightly related.  Some people have told me that they want to have a place where they can hang out and shoot the breeze with me on occasion.  That kind of boggles my mind a little bit to be honest, but it goes back to that whole #PlanetSean thing.  While I find it odd, I suppose I can understand it – if someone is sending you emails every day and you like the content, it’s probably pretty natural that you want to chat back in a way that’s more interactive than via email.

My fifth thing is purely selfish.  I have thousands of Udemy students that have taken my courses on that platform and I find that slightly amazing and a bit surreal.  I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had total strangers come up to me on the street and tell me that they’ve taken one of my Udemy courses.  With that said, I really have almost no relationship with those people and communication is sparse, so I figure this is a good way to give them something of higher value beyond just the course content and ideally pull them into my world a bit more.

And finally, I enjoy participating in groups and the idea of setting the tone and agenda for a larger one has started to interest me.  I’m not sure when this change happened, but recently I’ve found myself saying, “If this were my group…” or “In my community, I would do this instead…”  So I figured why not start one.

I think the thing that’s important to remember in all of this is that creating a community is actually really hard.  It takes a bunch of effort to get off the ground in a meaningful way and that’s just the beginning, the real work is in keeping it going.

If your intention is to start a community then it really pays to have an existing audience – if I had to do this from scratch, I probably wouldn’t if we were being honest.  I think it is imperative that you find a way to get some people into your community straightaway and seed the conversation.  You then have to just keep working at it.

I’ve decided to make that commitment and have started putting a Facebook Group together that I’m going to invite you to join more formally in the next day or so.  I had intended to do it today, but the email system I use to send out broader announcements to you had some technical issues, so that will happen in the next day or so.  If you can’t wait to join the group then simply go to:

Once you ask to join, I’ll approve you shortly.  I look forward to participating in more conversation with you inside the group.

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