“Don’t be shy to monetize!” is what I always tell community entrepreneurs I mentor in their journey to monetize their community.
When I founded Comonetize, I thought I was just launching a platform. But it was far from just that.
Community management is not a standard business. It’s social; it’s about people and it’s based on trust. Community leaders may feel that introducing a business model into their community is a daunting task.
But community leaders also need to make a living, and, regrettably, trust and social connections don’t pay the bills. This is why leaders that want their community to keep growing and thriving must work out a sustainable business model.
I launched my own community platform in 2006 before Facebook was even introduced into our part of the world.
I created a professional index with a job board, which was exactly what our TV production industry needed. People started spreading the word, tipping their friends and colleagues about it, and using it on a regular basis. The community grew on this platform and it was free for everyone.
I was a producer back then. I had a day job, and all my free time was invested in the community.
To cut a long story short, two years later I got married, had a baby, and realized that the concept of "free time" no longer existed for me. If I wanted to make a living and spend time with my daughter, I couldn’t afford to spend hours on voluntary community-leading.
I had to make a choice — either let the community die or find a way to turn it into my day job.
What I know now, after working with many community leaders, is that every community evolves at its own pace and rhythm.
But for your community to be significant, it has to follow a process focused on three essential elements:
When the community offers a value that can be quantified — for part or all of its members — it’s time to work out the business model.
These were the questions I asked myself:
Then I had to ask myself what that thing was that people wanted most in this small “marketplace” I had created. The answer in my case was “to work in TV productions”.
The market balance was such that many people were looking for opportunities, but there weren’t that many of them (because of the market size in Israel). The business model that I selected was letting premium members exclusively apply for these jobs in the first few days.
It worked, and still works to this day.
We now have more than 100K members, and over the years we’ve published about 50K job ads.
That was the business model that worked for me.
After years of advising community entrepreneurs, I've decided to take my expertise and launch a white-label solution.
I've launched my product, Comonetize, two years ago.
Comonetize offers community entrepreneurs tools and walks them through a similar process, helping them create a flexible business model that is the perfect fit for their community.
Not long ago, even Vimeo launched a marketplace of talent based on their community of creators. I think that every leader that runs a community of professionals or jobs should realize that there’s a huge social capital that can be turned easily into real capital by using the right tool.