The Community Strategy Podcast: The nexus where online community strategy meets intentionality

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Episode 53: Find Calm helping others do good with Dale Wilkinson

by Deb Schell
September 26th 2021

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On this episode of the Find Calm Here Podcast, I chat with Dale Wilkinso... More

Okay. Mhm Hi all and welcome to the final column here podcast. I'm your host. Deb Shell on this podcast. I share conversations I have with community builders who offer tips on what's worked for them and resources that have helped them find calm in the community building process. If you are a community builder or just considering a community to bring your clients customers or audience together, but you don't know how or what to do, I'd be happy to help you gain clarity during a discovery call. There will be a link in the show notes for you to schedule that call, so feel free to check that out as you are listening to this episode. Um you can also sign up for our calm community newsletter every month I put out what's going on inside the mind, calm your community as well as other projects and resources and things that I'm working on. So feel free to subscribe to that. Uh if you need support and accountability with a group of community builders, I'd love to invite you to join the fun. Come here community, you'll receive support tools and resources to help you have a successful launch, grow your membership and tackle any challenges with the support of peers and a safe space.

It's affordable and enjoyable. Got tons of awesome things happening in the fine calm your community. Uh namely one, The com guides, super awesome resource that I've been putting together. Co creating basically with are members of fine comb here and there's a calm guide to launching your community. There's a calm guides Onboarding and calm guided tech integration that I'm going to have a workshop coming up in october so lots of stuff that's happening. I also just to say this is, we're recording this on september 9th, september 15th, this will probably be after this event, but we're having a cool thing called a pitch party. And so if anybody's interested in learning what the pitch party is or what, how it went and maybe you'll have more let me know, but it's basically about pitching your community to each other to get feedback around, like if you have clarity on who you bring together why and what the purpose is. So I just want to throw that in there. Um so, but I'll get right to it because we want to get going here with Dale. So I'm excited to introduce today's guest Dale Wilkinson. He's uh on a mission to help people do work that matters.

He's the founder of Good gigs, a platform for purpose driven professionals to access career opportunities, of course courses on social issues and ethical business practices and a community of change makers. Good gigs is a, is building an ethical and empathic workforce to help companies lead with purpose and create social impact Dale also hosts the Good makers podcast, so he's a podcaster as well, fellow podcaster where he interviews social entrepreneurs and thought leaders to help listeners learn live a more purposeful life. So welcome dale to the Fine come here podcast. Deb What festival? Hello, Welcome. Thank you so much for having me on the show. I'm kind of blown away because I'm so impressed of how you did that. Like you said, I I have my own podcast, I don't do that intro when I do the interviews because I know I I stuff it up so but you just did that live. So all listeners that listen to this podcast Deb just did that live and I'm just over here.

Gobsmacked. That's dope. Thank you. I do have a little like prompter kind of situation over here on my screen that like helps guide me through that. So do I, when I do like, when I record my interest after the interview, I also write the script for that, but I still take three or 4 takes to do it. You're a one take wonder? Well, I've been practicing it a little bit, so we just surpassed 50 episodes. Congratulations. That's a massive milestone. Yeah, so I'm not here to talk about me though, we're here to talk about you. So tell me and all the people listening, who you are, what's going on with you in the Good makers world? Yeah, well we, we can talk about you because you are part of the good gigs community and you know, we're talking about, we're talking about community and what I'm building over at good gigs. So it is you did such a good job of introducing it, but good gigs is a career platform for mission driven companies to connect with folks who want to use their skills for good.

And in this last year there's so many people coming up to two years with Covid, with the George Floyd protests with everything that's been happening in the workplaces, so many people want to be able to have a career that is purposeful, that gives them meaning, and good gigs is that platform, and that's what I'm building over here, being able to champion mission driven companies that are doing the work in all these different social issue areas, LGBTQ rights, climate, women's rights, and connecting them with people that wanting to do good work. So that's what I've been working on for the last couple of years, I think I've two years into it. Yeah, I think that's how I met you initially, because you had a job opening and I was applying for on good gigs. Yeah, yeah, the community, Yeah, yeah, the community community manager, uh and the community part has come just this year, so, you know, with any startup, you pivot, it evolves initially good gigs.

Was more of a freelancer marketplace, like up work or fiber with a social impact spin to it, but it's evolved to more of a career platform, Allah, kind of like the muse or built in and I didn't start the community platform, so I've I've I've got a community going on circle at the moment. I'm using circle for our community and that didn't come to earlier this year, so I'm probably like six months into it now, five months, 6 months into it. And before that I couldn't really say that I had a community, I had an email list, we had job seekers that were signing up and, and you know, getting these job alerts, but I had no space for them, I didn't have an area that we could communicate, you know, I'd get a response to one of the weekly emails every now and then, or that would hit me up on, on twitter or linkedin, but we didn't have a dedicated spot where we could actually just chat and and helps. That's why I went and started the community aspect and I'm so glad I did, because it just, the conversations I get to have and to be able to connect deeply with the job seekers on the platform and and hear their pain points and what they're going through, it's just, it's, it's been, it's been really cool, I'm so glad I did it.

Yeah, that's so awesome to hear, I think, well I love just, first of all the mission and that's why I was drawn to good gigs in the beginning was just this mission of wanting to, like, get the word out and announce these companies that are doing great things and I think that people, You know, not necessarily in the past, but now if you're in, if you're between the ages of, I want to say like 20 to 40 or 50, you really want to work for partner with companies that you said that you believe in, that you align with their values. And I think that that's something, you know, people, I don't think that a lot of maybe choices and there weren't companies out there that were, you know, doing these kinds of things and we live in this great time period where this kind of stuff is important and people are making it a priority as far as like who they want to work for and the companies are making choices around what are our values and what we stand for and how does this make us different but not just product or service wise, but to personally like as our company values.

And I think that that is a significant change in like just the world I guess. I don't know how else to describe it, you know, I feel like that's so cool that it's, it's it's a new thing. Yeah. And and and the trajectory of it as well with new startups, like you can't build a new startup that doesn't have some impact, focus to it. What are you doing? Two people in the in the planet? Like how are you actually helping because the need for it is there from customers from employees from investors they expected. So we're just going to see more and more of it, which is really cool. Yeah. And it's it's so exciting. So you've got people looking for work and you've got also employ employers and I think you you you and you have your podcast and so you're interviewing, I know you are interviewing some people who are company owners and I think you're also interviewing people that our employees look you know as well in the process.

Is that, am I getting that right? Yeah. I haven't interviewed too many employees I think when when it comes to Good Makers the podcast, I do predominantly interview the social entrepreneurs themselves, the C. E. O. S of the companies, but also thought leaders within the space and experts in professional and personal development because I believe, you know with this ethos of to be able to help other people, you've got to be able to help yourself as well. You know, you've got to make sure that you're in a good place, that you know that you uh mentally and physically in a in a good place. So I mix it up a little with the social entrepreneurs and talking about their company, what their mission is, what type of job employees, Team members they're looking for as well as interviewing some folks that can help you build your own professional brand. How do you get in, you know, the right head space? I've had my partner on there who is a tv host.

So you know we we did an episode around how to use your voice for impact and that's also kind of what we're going to see, start seeing more in the community around courses as well as how to kind of build your professional brand, how to lead with empathy courses around social issues as well, but for the most part has predominantly been the ceos of these mission driven companies. Yeah, I got you, yeah, so you just started really um it sounds like in the last what six months that you opened up the community and you decided on circle and I wanted to ask you a little bit about circle um so if you could tell me like what brought you to that platform and decided that made you have that decision that that was going to be the place for you to bring people together for any startup owner, for any entrepreneur, I think where you spend so much time is evaluating different platforms, right?

Whether it's with your community, whether it's with your social media scheduling, there's so many tools and options for every single one, so, and you can just go down this rabbit hole of just trying to kind of work out, you know, which is the best platform to use and I always go down that rabbit hole and and do the work because I want to like if you're going to commit, especially to a community platform where you're bringing these people ah and it is going to be a bit of work to then, you know, move them to different places if you do switch, I made sure that I kind of, I did my due diligence and had a look at all the different kind of platforms around their circle being kind of, I would say probably the newest uh you know, in the in the in the space, I heard some really good things about them, most of all I think what kind of attracted me to it was that the people that were using at the community builders that we're using it, we're like, these founders are like launching new features constantly every week, they're listening to the feedback, they have this kind of road map of everything that they're bringing out and they're moving really quickly on it, and that was kind of like, okay, cool, so if, if there's anything missing right now, which this week, as we speak, it's september 9th this week they announced like 3, 4 new features, pay walls live streaming, which, you know, some other platforms already do that, so we've been kind of waiting for circle to do that, so pay walls, live streaming Member Directory, and mhm.

There is a 4th and I've forgotten it, I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna hang on, I'm gonna pull it up right now, I'm not going to leave you hanging, but it was, it was like all of these, what's new, here we go, they were just also dope and and events, so you don't have to, so with circle when I kind of first started and I did do some live events, you'd have to, you know, connect mix really, I think I was using and you had all these kind of different plug ins to try and kind of make it work. So we've been waiting for this circle to be able to have these features natively, which is really don't, I haven't been able to play around with it yet, they've just kind of made the announcement this week and they're opening it up for um beta, so hopefully next week I get to play around with it, but the reason that was predominantly it that they were just kind of launching these features really quickly since being in there Deb is a different story, I think this is kind of the first community, I've managed good gigs prior to that, we didn't really, we had a facebook group and a linkedin group, but it wasn't really active and this is why I was looking for a part time community manager when kind of launching good gigs and unfortunately, you know, as soon as not with us anymore, she's alive, she's not with good gigs anymore.

Just to clarify that uh and it to be honest, it's coasted a bit the good gigs community, you know, I think we're circle and and the feedback that you're getting from a few different other community builders as well, that the engagement is not as good as you get on slack or something that was a little more, you know, chat chat chat based and I think that has been the issue, but also with me, I've kind of let it coast for a bit, the good gigs community and that is something that I need to work on, work out adding some more programming around that. But Deb it's hard being a solo founder community is just one part of, I don't know anything about that. I mean, I feel like it's easy, you know? Yeah, you heard sarcasm, hopefully in my voice there, but yeah, I bet generally I love circle that being said, I haven't experimented without any other platform.

There's Geneva, I think I'm involved with that through another, a community that I'm a member of, a member of multiple communities that are encircled as well, so, and, but, and I'm not, wow, I am the, what they call it, the lurker, right? That like 90% of your community members are lurkers, they're not going to they're not going to engage, they're not going to create content. I'm a lurker in other people's communities. Like I'm I'm rarely active in other communities because I'm just kind of focusing on the good gigs community, but as a community builder, I can acknowledge that I have been a lurker in a lot of places mostly for research and to understand if this is a place where I want to spend time or not because I'm a member of so many communities and I'm a community builder and I have my own community that I manage and I also now have clients where I'm managing their communities. So, um, there's just a lot, yeah, time bandwidth, you know, you don't have, you know, you can't really be in all of that all the time.

And I think it's really helpful to just see is there a forum for circle for if you're somebody who's building a circle or however they call that as a host has their own community on circle. So any, any customer of circle, you do have to be on the paid plan. I think they all have paid plans, but you have to be on a paid plan to get into the circle community and that is legit, their community in terms of their help spaces, Q and A, all that kind of stuff that the ah, the road map and all the ideas that they've got coming out. That is pretty cool. So I do, like, if I wanted to try something or if I didn't know if the platform could do a particular thing, I would go to their community and just someone's already asked it right. Yeah, yeah. Very cool. It's kind of like Mighty Networks because the networks has a community called Mighty, They changed, it used to be a Mighty host, but now it's called muddy community, they just rebranded, um, this past week and it's basically for them to ask, you know, product questions and answer basically customer service support area.

And um, I spent a lot of time in there, um, when I was first building my community and I also spent a lot of time in there is now as a consultant because a lot of my clients I meet in that space and, and then we connect and decided to work together later. So I think it's a good space and I think that's, I mean if, if that platform didn't have that space, it would, wouldn't work because people would just be like, what's going on. So it's great that they have that for you, a tip for any entrepreneur, whatever tools that you're using, whatever platform that you're building on, whether it's community, whether it's your building a web app on no code, look for the forum, look for the community within that space because you get so much intel, you save so much time. And I know this from experience from both building a community, but I built good gigs on a no code tool on bubble and that was my first time building a no code web app and it's pretty extensive in terms of what you can do, but it's also a steep learning curve and I in the beginning, wasted so much time trying to figure something out on my own and it could have been the most stupidest thing, like how does this button connect with this data and and then I would spend hours trying to work it out myself kind of like IKEA furniture, you're trying to you know put it together before actually looking at the map and then I would go to the forum, type in my query and right there, my answer is there and I sold it in five minutes.

So I think if you're a builder, if you're a creator, if you're a a community builder, an entrepreneur go to the forums, go to google, go to Youtube or whatever, you're trying to learn. The answer is already there, that's such a great tip. And I we it it came up on another podcast, episode two because I was talking about how I was stuck in a situation with my Macbook and I went to the Apple community and 9 99% of the time if you have a problem you put it in google and you get a forum um because the best, the best advice doesn't always or feedback or support doesn't necessarily always come from the company. Sometimes it comes from like the guy who's like oh this is the work around, you know like here's the workaround to this issue because they didn't fix this problem yet on the platform. So those are those are that's and that's a good point to say like where do you spend your time and like if you have these like bookmarks kind of things. So, you know, as soon as I have a problem with some, you know, this apple, then I go to this place and there's probably an answer. So it's like saving you time, but also having you have the ability to have a connection to a community to help you in that as far as like products and things like that.

100%. Like you hit the nail on the head there, like, predominantly the answers are not from the company itself and that is then also good advice to entrepreneurs that are building products and building, you know, user guide for their products and and such, build that forum, build that community space where your users and where your community members can share that kind of information and just make it really easy for you customers. Yeah. And I it's funny because people are like, well they should know like nobody knows, don't assume they know assume that nobody knows anything that they can barely read english and that you should just or whatever the language is and just like type it very, very, very clearly and it's because of that as well, because you may not know that someone is using your product in a particular way, your product or service in a particular way. And because you have this space, you get that feedback as the builder, as the owner.

I would never have thought of that, that someone is using it like that and then you're able to, you know, move forward and put something, put a fix on the road map or you know, put a new feature on the roadmap. So what was your launch plan? Like did you have a launch plan? Did you have expectations around, like how many people you wanted to be in there with the community? So soo kim who came on as a part time community manager is incredible. I'm, I'm I'm so upset, I lost her, I just, I was only able to offer a part time role and and you know, unfortunately had to get a full time position, but she put together a really awesome extensive 30 60 90 day plan and just what that would look like. How do we do outreach? How do we ah and and and initially it was more around cohort based kind of letting folks in in a kind of cohort fashion. So you invite 20 people, you know, kind of bring them in initially and just get some activity within the community, get that happening, getting people kind of engaging with each other and just connecting and not being too ah rigid in terms of having the program set because you just don't know until folks are in there and how they're going to use it and then just kind of keep on doing that to a point.

So that's how we, that's how we launched, we experimented with live programming and doing kind of live events that were relevant to the community, so you know how to use your voice for impact, um how to, how to have difficult conversations, we had these kind of events to varying success and I think something that I still need to work on and what I've heard from other community builders that are pros in this space is that don't give up too early, especially when you're just starting and you've got a small community that maybe one or two people are going to show up, you know, and and then you think ship that didn't work and you don't do it again, but maybe it just needs consistency and you just show up every single week for 23 months before it before it starts and we know that from podcasting right, U- 50 episodes in which is awesome, I'm like about to hit 60 episodes, it's about consistency and just kind of showing up and doing it.

So that is also, you know, a tip as well, if you're building that community, if you're going to try something at least stick it out for a month or two months and just see how it is, like for example, another thing that we kind of evolved and I'm still doing now, which is the office hours every thursday and that started where it was like, hey we're just opening this up to everyone, I will be here in this live room, anyone can drop in or drop out and just talk about any issues that they're having with their job search and I will be here too, be a sounding board, provide any tips that I can, so we started doing that initially and we had some people drop in and it was great and then maybe three or four kind of weeks into it, it kind of slow down and then I just realized and this was after talking to Rosie Sherry, talking about O. G. S in the community space, Rosie who was a community manager at indie hackers and she suggested, hey maybe just to office hours one on ones instead, you know, and so I evolved the office hours from a one hour live group session on a thursday too, one on 1:30 minutes with the job seekers with the community members and that completely changed it and I'm still doing that now and I get, I am able to have deep conversations just with one community member at a time and I expanded it to, you know, two hours of my time on a thursday morning, but let me tell you, it is my favorite time of the week, we spoke a few weeks back, it is my favorite time of the week, I get to have these really awesome conversations with awesome people who down with the mission, right with good gigs, it is my people, they want a meaningful career, they care about impact and I'm able to have these conversations and share some experience of mind, maybe share some tips or just be a sounding board to them, you know, if they're frustrated if they just need someone to listen to, so I've been doing that ever since and sure it's not, it's not necessarily scalable, but selfishly, it's my favorite part of the week and I don't know if I'm gonna change that, just do these one on ones.

No, but you don't have to and that's such a great um, awareness piece that, you know, you had to go through and learn like what's working and you might go back to the group thing because now you've built a relationship with the people 1 to 1 and what you, what you kind of describing to me in a round about way is like you're offering them the support, but you're also offering the ability for them to give you feedback and so what I call the Discovery ideal member interviews is something we do in the very beginning of community building to validate, like what we're going to build, why we're going to bring people together, what we're gonna do inside when you talked about earlier was the beta, So I always recommend a 5, 10, maybe no more than 20 people that you invite in for your first group, um, you have a structure, building a habit, so whether it's like an event or it's like, here's every week, there's, this is the piece of content and then I have office hours or some kind of structure, whether it's a mastermind group or something like that. Um with a small group of people that can give you feedback immediately, you can fix all of the, like any issues that come up and you can also get feedback on like, what do they want to do in this space?

One of the people I talked to on the podcast was like, oh, I thought I had to have all this content and do all this stuff and show up on all these events. Um and you know, I didn't have to do that or he said, he said, and then the one thing he was trying to do, he was only going to do it once a month, these office hours because he was like, well nobody's going to need this and then everybody was like, if you do it, we want that. So then you, like, increased it to once a week. So I think it just varies on what works for you and even if it's not scalable, the one, the one obviously isn't scalable, it'll get to a great place because now you've established these relationships with people that now value you and the experience they're having and then it's just a matter of connecting them to each other, which is, which is a challenge in itself, but I think it's, it's something where you just, I'm starting to do that with fine calm here like fine come here. A lot of people came because of me, right, they all came because of me. However, I think it's so beneficial to connect with other people from different perspectives and different journey parts of your journey. So whether you're a new community builder or an advanced community builder, you can also offer each other amazing exp life experiences and experiences as a community builder, anything that goes the same for like these job seekers because they're like, oh this is what worked for me, here's what worked for me and it's just a matter of like connecting those and saying like hey, because I'm in your community so you can say, hey Deb, you know Jan has this thing that she just did and she just scored this awesome position and so like check out like maybe you want to get with her and see what works for her, that kind of stuff is like awesome.

Another thing to make it easier for yourself with that activity of being able to connect members to each other is create a spreadsheet, a crm file of your members. So circle does have a member directory, but I created an air table, I used air table, I put all my members in there when they introduced themselves in the community, I note down particular characteristics or what, what type of jobs they're looking for, what they're interested in, where they at what city, so that when we do have someone new come in and they introduce themselves, it makes it really kind of easy to then go, hey, you need to speak to Deb, you know, you guys live in the same city or you're looking for, you both care about climate and such, so that's a really easy activity to do and it will make it easier for you to be able to connect everyone together. That's a great point. I do use uh I use bonzai for a lot of things and that's part of my, my content.

It's a, it's a platform for lee free dancers and it does a lot of things that it has, um your contact management in there, you can have a task assignments, you can do, um invoices, billing, accounting, all that stuff, there's a lot that goes into bonds, I there's a lot of features and it's really great and I I've been using it for I guess almost nine months now, so it's been really helpful. But yeah, I do recommend whether they have a platform that they use or um I always recommend the clients to have some kind of an organizational system as far as like you're you're your members and in my networks, there's a member directory and there's also location indicators, so you can find out like who's closest to you and there's search ability in mighty networks for that and then there's also search ability as to what interests people have. So if I have the same interests as somebody else then I can look at that area and say oh I have the same interests as Delta. Is that I should connect with him. So there's a lot of those features that are really integrated into the money networks and they've been doing a lot of launches and there's a lot they just got $60 million dollars of funding from investors to improve their platform.

So like you're talking about circle with all those things, there's a lot of things like in the same respect that money networks is either done or is doing that's going to be really cool coming up. But yeah just yeah having away and that talks about your on boarding plan then you're also discussing like here's how we onboard people so that when you do have a community manager you can say here's how we onboard people and we get this from them first and then here we look at this, you know, Maybe they felt a survey and then we get the results of the survey and then we put them in the crm and and then we can follow up and set task reminders to like follow up with making sure that person like you know maybe in 30 days or two weeks from then is still like in there and connecting back with them to make sure they're like they got everything they need definitely definitely. I know we got cut off, but I do have to run because I have another call right after this, it's been fun. We can talk for like a lot longer, so, but we'll we'll cap it for their for now. Maybe I'll have you come back on later and we'll talk more about community.

Um just for everybody who's listening, tell everybody where they can find you if they want to learn more about the gig. Yeah, for sure you can go to good gigs dot ap P to find full time freelance, remote jobs with mission driven companies doing some really cool stuff. Uh and you can search for good makers podcast on any platform. You listen to your podcast Yeah and your podcast is awesome. It's very informative and I love the episode on twitter because I learned a lot about twitter from you for that episode. So um yeah, awesome. Alright well everybody listening, I hope you learned a little bit from today's episode. I hope you're finding calm in this day, evening, um morning, afternoon, wherever it is, whatever time it is, wherever you are, I hope you're finding calm until the next time. Take care and talk to you later. Bye. Okay.

Episode 53: Find Calm helping others do good with Dale Wilkinson
Episode 53: Find Calm helping others do good with Dale Wilkinson
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