As a community leader, I’ve felt overwhelmed from time to time in the process of building, launching, and growing a network. I know the experience could be easier with someone there to guide the process, so I set out to do just that. I help my clients avoid these feelings of frustration by keeping community strategy, structure, and content as simple as possible.
Simple isn’t easy, but continuing to try to find easier ways to communicate is essential, not just to our success but to our health. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I’d like to share some strategies that I use and that I recommend to fellow community leaders to help you find calm.
Burnout and overwhelm can seem inevitable with the sheer amount of content creation required to maintain an active community. I can relate to those feelings. I’ve been feeling the exhaustion myself over the last couple of months.
Four things that I've changed to help me find calm as a community leader
1. Create an SOP – Standard Operating Procedure
One of my main goals in Q1 of 2022 was to create a standard operating procedure for myself and my team. Let me start by saying I didn’t have a “team” yet, but this practice made it much easier to onboard them when the time arose. And it did arise—I was lucky to have someone reach out to me when they noticed a social media post I had made listing all the things I was doing as an entrepreneur.. (Thank you, Callisa!) An SOP is a simple, step-by-step written process of how to do things. You can put it together within a day,
Tasks that I have captured in SOPs include scheduling a social media post, editing a podcast episode, and creating written content for a blog. These are all part of my regular output as a content creator, community leader, consultant, and podcaster.
Upleveling from being an independent entrepreneur to running a successful team can be simply a matter of recording the steps to your processes and training other people in them. I didn’t know this a year ago, but that is how you create supportive partnerships.
2. If your focus is profit, figure out how to get the biggest "band for your buck"
I had to realize that I was spending hours creating “pretty” presentations, writing elaborate blog posts, and committing a ridiculous amount of time to offer customer support. I was still trying to build my authority after already having consistently demonstrated my value proposition.
Focusing on these kinds of tasks was important when I was starting out, but now I’m in a place where I am attracting a higher level of clients. In order to manage that, I need to be more removed from the day-to-day community management of the FCH Community.
I’ve learned that my time is better spent focused on how I work with clients. This then benefits the community as I bring case studies and examples of client work to share with them.
3. Use a tracking system for goals
I read the book The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington in 2020.
I picked it back up at the beginning of 2022 to refocus my efforts. I wanted to be accountable for the goals I set for myself and my business. I recommend reading it or listening to the audio version if you have the chance.
The book’s method helps you identify goals that you want to complete in 90 days. It then guides you in tracking them over the three months to ensure success.
Working with this book helped me get really structured with my systems. In my “12 Week Year” were two business goals: to make an average of $5K per month with my business and to create an SOP for my business.
Both were accomplished in my set timeframe, but it wasn’t without doubt, uncertainty, and hard work. To meet my revenue goals, I had to meet the marketing goal of streamlining my client experience. I created packages on my website to do this, a process that took months to complete and one which I continue to tweak, fix, and adjust every day.
4. When all else fails, delegate
If I had to do it over again, I’d hire someone to do all of the website building. I can do it well, but I don’t enjoy it.
The third goal was prioritizing personal care. Did I lose that 20 lbs? NO. Did I gain weight in the past few months? YES. Is that OK? YES. I just need to make sure I am showing up for myself the same way I do for my business.
Did I learn a lot during the past few months? YES. What was the biggest takeaway? DELEGATE.
It’s funny, but my business coach, Mary made a good point. She told me “Deb, I know as creators it seems easier to create an event, system, or program instead of sending emails and calling clients, but that is what makes it a business. It is a part of the business; you have to sell.”
I came from almost five years in tech sales, and I know how to sell. Working for myself? I’d rather write blog posts, create marketing pieces, and plan elaborate events than create a “leads list,” but once I stopped creating and started calling, the clients arrived.
So I share this with you to tell you that sometimes you have to do things differently. Creating an online community is just one of the many ways I generate revenue through my business. But it isn’t the main focus two years in. Find Calm Here is a living thing that continues to evolve.
Read our blog
In this episode of the Community Strategy Podcast, you’ll hear a recording of an interview with Sarah Hines, the Host of Leading while Healing Network, who shares her community-building journey.