Are you building a community?

Back in June @channing wrote about the business model of communities.

2020 appears to be the year of communities, it feels like the hot trend is not dying out just yet.

So, who is building community?
How are you building it?
And how is it going?

  1. 3

    I am!

    In June or so, I started creating a private community by inviting subscribers from my newsletter who I was having interesting conversations with or gave helpful feedback on my email course.

    Today it's about 100 people, including people who've applied via a form. By the end of the month I'll be launching it as a paid community. My big mental question mark is whether I should keep the application process, once it's paid.

    I think it's going well, I really like the people who are there!

    I'm currently doing some techy bits to glue together some members-only website pages with Circle to make it a smooth experience.

    But next I will be creating the Community (Digital) Garden inspired by the Rosie.land newsletter 😁 Excited about that!

    1. 1

      I think you can keep the application process. That way you can get a sense of why members are joining your community and it adds a little friction to the process.

      What's a digital garden btw? Is it like a virtual playground? lol

      Looking forward to it.

    2. 1

      Oh, yay to community digital garden 😇

  2. 2

    Yep. I’m building:

    Folyo - which is a web design referral community for freelancers and agencies.

    In terms of growing the community, I’ve tried several marketing channels. Here are what’s worked best:

    • SEO - Write posts about stuff that people who might be interested in my community are searching. Offer them a high-quality carrot that will get them into my sales funnel.
      Pros: Repeatable and scalable. Cons: Takes long time.
    • Partnerships - Email a friend with a big list and offer to give them a split of the revenue brought in by promoting my product to their list. Pros: fast. Cons: Can result in some duds.

    I initially launched to about $3,000 MRR in the first month, which told me to keep going. At one point I got it up to $14,000 MRR. But churn is a real thing when it comes to communities.

    That's part of the reason I'm building Inter now - baking the lessons I've learned building my community into the app.

    1. 2

      Oh, wow, painful churn! 😭

  3. 2

    I'm building Local SEO Community on Circle :) www.localseocommunity.com

  4. 2

    Building join.coulf.com - a private community for indie product makers, founders and internet entrepreneurs.

    So far so good. The launch is near and I'm building a few things at the back. The waitlist has got 30+ signups just from ih alone. The plan is the stay small and strong so I'm quite satisfied with the number 😊.

    I'm just a bit nervous about this - will people like my plans for the community, will someone buy the idea behind this community, and a few more questions I'm still searching answers for...

    1. 1

      Hi @Dinakar, what has your experience with Circle.so been like? I will be looking at building a sharing community for users of my product in a few months time and was wondering if it should be on a platform like Circle or simply a Slack group. What's your suggestion based on your experience so far?

      1. 1

        Hey, Circle helps me offer a premium community experience for my members. I highly recommend them if you want a clean, organized, and well-designed space for your members. And this is coming from me unbiased too. I have used the backend for my community and am a part of other communities built on Circle, I like the experience overall.

        Slack on the other hand is great if your audience hangout there pretty often and doesn't want to visit another website/app. Working men and women over 25 kinda prefer to be on Slack than Discord and others. I've planned to write more about my findings here this week.

        Personally, I have issues keeping up on Slack networks I'm part of. Some Slack communities feel like chatrooms, like version 2 of Telegram group or something. I mean Slack is meant for work and not communities. They won't be shifting focus from that which is a huge -ve for me.

        1. 1

          Good point. I have to keep logging out of Slack communities that I don't actively participate in. The thing I'm a bit worried about is to keep traction going on a separate website—since our main business is the product and the community is a way to encourage a core group of users to share best practices and tips/tricks about our product, I am skeptical about trying to promote the community engagement in addition to the product.

          I'd love to hear from you about your learnings a month or so from now! :)

  5. 2

    i'm building a small community (the #yeniverse) of creators and builders who care a lot about building meaningful products and serving their communities well.

  6. 2

    I'm working on a newsletter for men and their mental health. There are many people out in the world fighting for the well-being of our minorities, and that's all well and good, but who is still looking out for our men? Especially our boys, who are constantly bombarded by messages telling them they're no good.

    Jordan Peterson is the only big player out there who still tells men that they have value, who offers them tools to cope with their feelings, and I appreciate him for that, but he's also a religious nutter with a tenuous grasp on reality and a vocal cult following; he's not the kind of role model I want for our boys and men.

    I believe that many men, and especially male adolescents, feel left behind. Perhaps that's why we're seeing an uptick in men holding conservative values. The old world made sense to these men. A world with a clear role for men and women. A world in which men had value. The new world makes them feel hated and "not good enough".

    I'd like to help them make sense of the new world, and offer tools to help build their self-esteem.

    As for how it's going?

    I've got 1 subscriber since last week. That's not much to go on, but I haven't shown my blog to anyone yet. We just happened to start talking on Discord. One thing led to another. Essays were born. He shared them with a friend and were well received. A newsletter was introduced.

    And so it goes.

    I think there's a market for this, and would like to validate that idea ASAP. Finding the right tools to offer a paid subscription to my newsletter has been a pain. I don't exactly know where to find my audience either. Twitter? Reddit? I'll try both.

    I took a look at Memberful earlier today, but I would have to pay them to integrate with MailChimp. I'd rather not, but I may pull the trigger anyway.

    I tried Substack a few weeks ago, but I strongly dislike their interface.

    If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

    (I'm a web-developer with two years of experience, but I would rather not code any custom solutions if I don't have to.)

    1. 1

      Hey, I'm not quite getting it.

      So is it a blog/newsletter? A discord server? Or both?

      There are many platforms to start your members-only newsletter, this issue from @dru_riley might be good place to start. Look at "Platforms", since you dislike Substack, you've got Ghost (open-source, self-hosted and $0-transaction fees), Buttondown, Revue and more.

      You don't need a membership solution (like Memberful) for the softwares I mentioned above.

      And. You should start sharing your blog more. I wanted to look at it but couldn't find any link here or in your profile.

      1. 1

        Hey, I'm not quite getting it.
        So is it a blog/newsletter? A discord server? Or both?

        I'm not sure myself. I don't really understand how people make money from a newsletter. Looking into that.

        I do want to get into the publishing game based on the feedback I got from a small number of readers of my essays.

        I've been talking to my readers about what they liked and didn't like and got even more requests to write about things they're curious about.

        That's a good sign.

        I checked out Ghost earlier today. I love it. Suits my needs and skill-set. Thanks. If gated content or a paid newsletter is what I want then Ghost is what I'll use.

        And. You should start sharing your blog more. I wanted to look at it but couldn't find any link here or in your profile.

        Can't add a link to the blog on my profile just yet. It said I need 50 points to do that. I did just link to my freshly made Twitter account. It has a link to my blog.

        Here is a direct link.

  7. 1

    I am building a community!


    I am working on an interest-based social networking platform where like-minded individuals can come together and help each other through content, news, blogs, hiring and funding opportunities, AMA sessions and much more.

    How are we building it?

    • I made a list of startup enthusiasts who I knew are curious, like-minded and have similar goals.
    • Reached out to them and had deep conversations about the world of startups.
    • Asked them if they want to join my WhatsApp group where we can share latest startup news, tools, resources and blogs for collective growth.
    • We shared startup ideas by randomly picking out any sector. For eg. we picked news/media, and talked about how we can create a platform where news can be explained in the form of memes, haha!
    • I transferred these people from WhatsApp to Discord, we made rooms, watched startups/business movies together and analyzed them.
    • I built my foundation of 200+ loyal and dedicated startup enthusiasts and we connected over a common purpose.

    How is it going?

    • We created an app and now it is going nuts!
    • We have more than 10k active users and we ae growing at the rate of 10% w-o-w!
    • The journey has been nothing but enlightening!

    Building a community is a slow and consistent process. Trust the process and contribute as much as you can.
    Results will stay with you forever.

  8. 1

    Hi @rosiesherry!

    1. I am
    2. Event-based and with online tools
    3. It's a very early stage startup so I have still in the building stage.

    But I would love to hear your thoughts on the idea and what a potential business model could be for the community if you have a couple of minutes? :)

  9. 1

    Building an aggregation of communities Noomi where people can find their tribe and have conversations about their interests.

    We are building it right now by curating users ourselves. We had a landing page about getting waitlisted users, and invited them once we launched a beta. The landing page gets traffic through us posting about it, or just the network. Some traffic organically as well.

    link: https://app.getnoomi.com

    you guys can sign up too: https://forms.gle/rnjJ71AcxjpBGmor9

  10. 1

    Hey Rosie!

    I'm currentely building getlearningstory.com - community for people who learn in public. Apart from the community itself I want to add productivity features to the platform like streaks and goals. So it could help people not only communicate about similar ideas but also be productive.

    Looking forward to launch it at the end of the month!

  11. 1

    I'm trying to start a community...

    I kickstarted my podcast 4 months ago and YouTube 2 weeks ago.

    As the audience grows, I'd direct them to a forum.

    I'd love to chat with folks in the same journey. Hit me up.

  12. 1

    Hey, Rosie!

    I am also trying my best to build a community of learners and futurists who like learning new technologies like AR, VR and AI.

    Those enthuasiasts and people who take "Shiny-object-syndrome" in a positive way! I started by building a curated resource of resources to learn new technologies.

    Because the site is called learningin.tech, I am calling it #LITCommunity .

  13. 1

    Hey, thanks for your post.
    We are building an engine for creating communities, and the first community built on top of it will be the web-community for IT startup founders. The main difference from IH is it will be focused on the progress, and will have (we hope) a really structured content to never lose useful information.

  14. 1

    I'm building a development community currently which works quite like stackoverflow. But with a modern, easy on the eye, distraction free and attractive UI. - Desktop site anD PWA enabled

    React, Node, strapi & postgresql and SASS.

    Going good but not ready to show anything yet until I'm happy with what I can show🙊. Inspiration from IH, devto, Instagram and ofc stackoverflow


  15. 1

    Just start a newsletter for JavaScript developers who want to stay ahead of the curve.

    Pleasantly surprised I managed to get 10 signups in the first day (My target was 10 in the first week)

    In terms of how. Im leaning heavily on Substack right now. You can check it here https://rephrased.substack.com/

  16. 1

    I'm currently in the process of writing the post to launch it here on Indie Hackers actually! It's called Tech Culture Club and it's for people interested in the cultural, social, ethical and historical aspects of technology. I'm planning on organizing it around a monthly book club and it will be free, at least for the start.

    If that sounds like something you'd enjoy, I would love to have you as our first member and either way I of course would love your input!

    Here's the link: https://launchpass.com/tech-culture-club

  17. 1

    Building a community for web scraping enthusiasts on top of slack here;


    This has been easily one of the most rewarding things I've done this year, the people I've met have just blown me away.

    I've Noticed there was a big hole in the IH groups for web scraping as well so also building that out;


  18. 1

    Trying, but starting with building an audience atm as the tweet in @channingallen's post suggested.

  19. 1

    I tried once on Spectrum but got few members. Have any tips?

    1. 2

      Start with a vision that people believe in.

      1. 1

        I like that - I’ll dwell on this :D

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