Launch sooner, energize members, and build your next revenue stream. This practical workbook takes you through the process, step by step.
If you’re feeling defeated as you build an online community, you’re not alone. Most new community builders have big ideas, but they struggle to launch. Tech options are overwhelming, approaching your audience takes courage, and scaling a business doesn’t come easily. Meanwhile, you may be missing out on income you could earn by launching faster, growing sooner, and creating transformation for your members.
Hi, I’m Deb Schell. I started my community to solve a problem I’d once struggled with myself. (Sound familiar?) For me that problem was the anxiety and frustration I experienced when I launched my first community . . . to the silence of crickets. It felt like a failure.
Now, I run an online community and consultancy for purpose-driven community builders. Together, we find calm in the process of building, launching, and growing their own online communities.
But my clients aren’t just here to turn a quick buck. They have a solution their people need, and they’re committed to making a real difference in their lives. Bringing these leaders together is my mission, which evolved from my 20-year career as a writer, creator, and designer.
Who Is The Book For?
At Find Calm Here, we work with small business owners, community leaders, organizations, and non-profits who want to bring their clients, customers, or prospects together inside an online community.
Many clients we work with have a purpose-driven community concept and aim to provide value to these members with content, peer-to-peer support, resources, and the ability to share experiences that benefit the organization while empowering the members to share how their life has been benefited from the content, programs, or education within the online community.
Why You Need It BEFORE you build your online community
The business owners, leaders, and teams I serve inspire me every day. As purpose-driven changemakers, they’re the last people who should be wasting time. Launching their first online community shouldn’t be guesswork, and neither should yours.
If you’re like most of my clients, you’ve been dreaming of your community for awhile. Maybe you’ve taken first steps, then gotten overwhelmed by all the details.
But you know your people, and they keep coming to you. They’re seeking the knowledge and wisdom you’ve gained professionally and personally, often through experiencing some sort of pain yourself.
You’ve been yearning to bring them together. You know deep down what a difference it could make–for them, for you, and for the powerful ideas running in your head.
Transformation doesn’t happen when we’re alone. It happens in community.
- It’s time to bring your people together, so they can exchange ideas, encourage each other, and learn from you.
- It’s time to build a consistent income stream that can keep your work going, well into the future. And with consistency, comes flexibility in how you spend your time and energy.
- It’s time to stop letting obstacles get in the way. It’s time to get started!
What is this book about?
I designed this guide to help you take action, launch sooner, and create an additional revenue stream for your business. Let it be your trusty companion over the coming days, weeks, and months as you move through the steps, one by one. Let it help you save time, and–hopefully–find some calm, joy, and ease along the way.
Its worksheets, templates, and resources provide a structure for organizing your many ideas with a process that’s as seamless as possible. Though your community will bring your unique solution to the world, you don’t have to reinvent the architecture of what makes an online community successful.
Use the book’s tools to build a strategy that invites your members to connect authentically, no matter where in the world they live and work. Let it support you as you distill your creativity into a design that works for them. From live events to asynchronous discussions, the book will prompt you to design a format that meets their needs.
After all, it’s the members who participate fully who keep coming back, and ultimately, become your biggest advocates.
What This Book Isn’t
If you’re looking for get-rich quick advice, this isn’t the book for you. Building a community isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But it can be one of the most rewarding ways to spend your precious time, and you can leverage it as a tool to exit the treadmill of working on someone else’s time frame.
The problem this book helps solve
The online community industry is still relatively new. Not only that, but it’s evolving in real time. New platforms are emerging constantly, and it can be tough to know where to start.
Business owners, leaders, and hear the buzzword community, but many don’t know how a community could bring new and repeat business.
So many founders are stuck in the “shiny new thing” that they can’t seem to move forward with developing a strategy for launching an online community.
The struggle for new community builders:
- Bombarded by platform options and tech details
- Feel overwhelmed by planning and promoting a launch
- Have no idea how to onboard and engage new members
- Question whether community will provide return on investment
- Launch so quickly that strategy gets ignored
An affordable solution for creators who want to build an online community
This book takes the guesswork out of community building by offering a strategic approach to developing it, from concept to growth.
Any online community must start with purpose. After getting clear on yours, you’ll validate your concept by inviting potential ideal members into a conversation. Using surveys and other tools, you will set the foundation of your community’s concept and structure.
Validating before building is key! It provides valuable feedback that can save you thousands of dollars and months of time wasted on a model that needs tweaking.
Many of my clients start by thinking they need tons of content. But more often than not, people don’t need more to read or consume; instead, they need connection and accountability! Deb’s guide helps you think through the balance of content and engagement that’s right for your audience.
Not only that, but you don’t have to spend hours and hours, locked in front of your computer, creating “perfect” content. Instead, you can free yourself to consider new, curated ideas that save time and involve your community. Work through the exercises to find what works for you.
You can create curated content from interviews with community stakeholders, focus groups, and virtual surveys. Once it exists, you can save even more time by repurposing it! Use it to promote your community to clients, email subscribers, and social media followers.
And here’s a hint: There’s no such thing as perfect, anyway! According to the leaders in my own community, letting go of perfection is key to success. People don’t collaborate with one another because they want or need perfect experiences. And they don’t join communities because of a shiny new tech gadget.
Instead, the guide will help you focus on building a safe space where your people feel seen, valued, and heard.
Section 1. Community Purpose, Strategy, Structure
Section 2. Ideal Members, Validation, Planning
Section 3. Building, Launching, Onboarding
Section 4. Retention, Growth, Maintenance
Why Find Calm Here?
As a community builder, leader of the Find Calm Here community, and Host of the Community Strategy Podcast, Deb Schell has spoken with more than 85 community leaders to learn how they’ve been successful in building, launching, and growing online communities.
Thanks to her 20 years of experience as a reporter and writer, she knew how to ask the right questions. These explorations, along with her own experience as a community leader, led to this book. Her insights, gleaned from those who’ve been there before you, can save you time and bring confidence to your own plans.
Deb’s desire to empower others to feel seen, heard, and valued is central to her work. It’s vital to her role as a community builder, and it took the lead in her previous jobs as a community manager for startups and established organizations.
As you use this guide, you’ll encounter Deb’s relentless commitment to both empowerment and strategy. She’ll guide you to set up a direct feedback loop that will provide metrics to inform your unique decisions. With an eye to what works for your business, she’ll provide tools to keep you focused, informed, and calm as you move from creator to community builder.
CSP Episode 85: Community Structures that engage members
On this episode of the Community Strategy Podcast, Allegra Stein joins the Find Calm Here Community Members for a conversation about aligning strengths with a community strategy.
Allegra is a YouMap® Certified Coach who leads Misfits to Maverick, an online mentorship community for coaches who want to start taking simple, creative, and transformative steps forward in their coaching practice. During this episode, you’ll learn about Allegra’s journey being a coach and leading a coaching program. Thoughts on the challenges community leaders face, and if our passion needs to lead to profits.
Read more articles, and interviews
Pamela is seeing a trend that business owners are looking to go deep and shift in the marketplace. She shares that a big audience isn’t necessarily what so many are seeking right now, it’s actually about working more deeply with fewer clients.
In this episode of the Community Strategy Podcast, host Deb Schell shares her notes and thoughts from the recent CMX Summit which she attended virtually on September 14th and 15th and attended several sessions in addition to networking with the world’s largest group of community builders.
“Community is the earth, water, air, and sunshine for our sense of belonging and purpose. It is the ecosystem – the set of people, places, structures, organizations, resources, and behaviors – that allow us to feel like we are seen, heard, understood, and valued, and where we find the tools to reach our goals.”
During this episode of the Community Strategy Podcast, Elisha Goldstein shares why he decided to open up the collective, how his experience has been as a leader of a global community with over 7,000 members, and much more!
As a community builder, the most important aspect of creating an online community is establishing the purpose and reasons why it is important.
Support the new book: Creator to Community Builder, help me make this book a reality!