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

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Episode 85: Community Structures that engage members in an online community

by Deb Schell
September 4th 2022

On this episode of the Community Strategy Podcast, Allegra Stein joins the Find Calm Here Community Members for a conversation about aligning strengths w... More

Hi there and welcome back to the community podcast. My name is Deb Schell. I'm a creator turned community builder. After launching my online community in 2020 I have a passion for online events and bringing people together. I now consult business owners and leaders just like yourself who have a message, their life's work or a vision for helping others transform through their online courses, cohorts or memberships on this interview style podcast. You'll hear conversations with community leaders, passion for bringing people together online. Our goal is to provide you with interesting conversations to inspire you to build, launch and grow an online community with energy, confidence and purpose. Let's get started. Hey, this is Deb just popping in to give you a heads up on this episode. So this episode I talked with Allegra, she is the host of misfits to maverick and she's a coach and she also has a group for coaches.

Her community is on muddy networks. We talked about her strength for later activator idea to maximize her and adaptability. She realized that has helped guide her journey as a community leader and decide on the next steps for her community building journey. She talked a lot about strengths and the map program. So if you're not familiar with the map assessments a short uh for assessments all in one to help career seekers, job seekers and uh entrepreneurs to identify their ideal members, figure out the right role or position for them to go. Um I shared a few things about engagement. We talked a lot about engagement and how that can help you like just a couple of key factors of getting people engaged? Um and also the differences around like as a host, how it feels like when not everybody is engaged and the challenges around that. We also talked about alignment with, you know, the industry of the community, industry has talked a lot about this build and they will come and that is as the recipe to disaster from what I have experienced.

So we talk a lot about how, you know, being a community leader is a big choice and sometimes maybe it's not about money. And so we talked a little bit about this concept that our passion doesn't have to be our profit, not always, and sometimes it's really great just to connect with people in a meaningful and purposeful way online in an island community without it being without there being transactional things happening. So that's what we talked about. I hope you listen this episode. I'm psyched that you're here. Please let me know how your takeaways were. I'm excited to hear from you. Take care and welcome Allegra. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. It's been a little while since I've done a podcast interview and and it's nice to be back in the room a room with awesome people with people a while since I've done a group interview. I did have one conversation very recently, but seeing multiple faces is always really nice.

It is right, Allegra tell me a little bit about your background, How did you get into, I know you've been leading the community for a minute now, how did you get into the community building? Um I had my, my more recent background is I've been coaching, I don't know how recent it is, but I started coaching in 2012 and so I've been navigating the world of being a coach and more specifically having my own coaching practice, they're kind of two separate things, there's being a coach and then there's running a coaching practice which is totally separate project. So I have both been a coach and been running my own coaching practice for over a decade and I've done a lot, I've run a lot of different experiments. I've tried all kinds of marketing strategies. I've delivered coaching in many different ways and shown up in person and virtually, and like I just have a lot of random experience in this world and a couple of years ago I started talking with other coaches, I had become certified in the map.

I had some pretty significant insights about my own work and how I, my experience had been shaped by my strengths without me realizing it and I just really wanted to bring that to other coaches. I was like, I wish I had known this when I had started and so I started having more conversations with coaches who were in the first years of their practice and it just kind of unlocked this very strong point of view that I have about the coaching industry, it connected me with awesome people who um really want to do amazing work, you know, helping others and that just started this cascade of programming, I was doing small group stuff and I created a course and like all these things just emerged very quickly and it got to a point where I thought I'd like more people to have access to this stuff in these ideas. So um what if I created a community space? What if I created a membership space and that really inspired the next experiment in my work which was opening up misfit to maverick, which is a and has been for the past couple of years, a community for coaches who are looking for connection but also um permission to kind of do things in a different way and to the unlearn some of the more unhelpful messages of what I call the coaching industrial complex and play and experiment and um so okay, so I gotta, I gotta pull out two things you just said from that.

So you said twice, I want to make sure we highlight it even more. So experimenting. It sounds like you did a lot of experimenting and I love that concept, I've had that brought to me a couple of times and phrased in that way of um when we do that, it's not like we're gonna fail, it's just, this is an experiment and then we decide, we have time period where we kind of like try something and then we take a break and we say how did that go and then we review and then we decide another whatever direction is next and we can take it in the scenario of an experiment and it's not so much a I think what my thought was is when I first launched a community, I was like I failed, this is horrible. Now I'm like oh no there's experiments. But I also wanted to go a little diver in deep dive into you map because you and I know about actually I just recently got certified in you and I got I got my you map earlier in the year working with marina who went through my map and I know my top strengths but tell us a little bit about you, map what got you into that and explain that a little bit for people listening.

So I was introduced to you map by a woman named Carrie Twig whose incredible around she does career development because at the time I was actually back in 2019 I was like I think I just want to get a job, how do I write a resume? And I'm getting way off track carry twig was like you should check out you map. So um I ended up getting that certification and what it is. It's it's quite simply a collection of four different assessments, a strength assessment of values assessment, a skills assessment and a personality based interest assessment. So it's four assessments in one that's like that's it. But what's really cool about it is that each one of the results of each one of those assessments allows you to look at your career path, your relationships, your next steps from a different angle. So what makes it really cool is that it's very holistic, it's very actionable, It's very intuitive, you don't get it and be like I have no idea, it's more like you get it and it reflects back all these things that you kind of knew about yourself, you just didn't have the language to express.

And so I learned it was created by christian sherry and she still leads certifications. She also now has teachers that do certifications for her and it's just, it kind of kick started a path for me around career passing and career coaching and working with women who were eager to maybe find a different direction but didn't quite know what was going to be a fit and a big part of the map that really stuck with me as a coach was understanding my strengths and really leaning into my values and because of the insights I had about my own decade of at that point it was like seven or eight years of coaching. Um I wanted to bring all of that self awareness to new coaches. I wanted to be like, don't don't wait until your seventh or eighth year of coaching to learn these things about yourself, because they will inform how you move forward and in a way that feels a lot better for who you are and how you work, and so I love um I love leading people through their maps in particular, I love talking about strengths, especially in the space of coaching and running your coaching practice.

Um So yeah, I'm a big fan of view map and the strengths assessment. It's a it's just a it's a it's a really cool tool and there you map coaches out there, so you can, you can get your map on your own and just have it the report in front of you, but I find like any tool, it's just really helpful to have someone help you understand it. Um So it doesn't just gather dust on the shelf, like it's really helpful to have someone sit down and say, so like, here are your strengths. So what I certainly have seen plenty of people get their results and then, like, not them, what are your top strengths? I am my drivers that were later, so I really am driven by relationships and getting to know people, which if we circle back to the community question was just an interesting thing. Um so I'm very driven by relationships and getting to know people one on one. Um I'm also very high in activator an idea later, so I love ideas, I love brainstorming, I love helping find options that weren't like considered previously, so I love when I'm talking with something, like I don't know what to do next, that's just where I'm like, oh we can come up with some really fun ideas, but I'm also an activator, which is an influencing strength.

I really enjoy helping people to take action, and I'm very lit up when people take action, like as a coach, I am most energized by clients who like, we talk and then they go out and actually try the thing or do the thing, it's just so rewarding for me, so I'm definitely an activator, um but I'm I'm also maximize er maximize er means I'm always like, cool, what can we do next? But what, this is awesome now, what? And I'm very high and adaptability, adaptability is kind of always in the background for me, I'm very, I'm very easy going, I am not ruffled by, you know, if things don't work out, I was like, that's okay or um I like change, I like trying new things, so those are my, that's how in a tiny nutshell, how my top five show up, I love that, and so like going into our conversation about structures, um you and I worked together earlier in the year to do, help you think through a challenge, you know?

Um you did that and you've done memberships, what did you identify based on what you just told us about you? Like how did you may be navigated through those different changes or is it that you just kind of experimented and then came to different conclusions along the way based on your experiences? I don't know how much strength played into those decisions around how you want to work with people because challenges are different than memberships and memberships are different than live events and live events are different than um you know, group coaching for example. Yeah. So kinda circling back to what I was saying before about I have um To relating strengths in my top five store later and adaptability and going into building a community. I knew that was going to be tested because prior to leading a membership space, I had worked with people either one on one or in groups of three. I did do a group of 10, but it ended up being like two groups of five and I also love teaching, I have a background in teaching, I love facilitating workshops but I like, like right now I can see everyone's faces.

I'm like, I wonder what they're thinking, Like do they have questions, Is there anything I can do to help you Christy? And Mark and Missy and Alyssa, that's my re later is wanting every like to know and to help and have a conversation with the people in the room which when you run a community where part of the idea is building membership, reaching a certain size, I was just always aware of um were people engaged like engagements? It was a big thing for me, it is a big thing for me, and it was actually, can you tell me what engagement means to you showing up? Like, people showing up live, like, on the video, be live, or I mean when they showed up live, I just loved it because I was like, oh my gosh, hi, like I would I do in my space and I'm kind of on hiatus right now with my group, but you know, I would show up every week for an open coaching call and I just would love when people would hop on, oh my God, like, I just would be so happy to see the faces, but I would be equally as happy to see that they posted a comment on someone's post or that they had replied to one of my posts and and not seeing that as a, like, I just felt that because I just wanted to, I want to have relationships with people and if they're not engaging with the architecture of the community in some way, it was like, I don't know, it was the shadow side of being a re later.

The metaphor I used was, you know, you think of a gym owner who's trying to get members to join that gym owner may or may not care if the member ever comes to the gym so long as they just keep their membership, no judgment about that, like, whatever. The moment I was like, why? Where are they? I want your like, why? Ok, great. You've joined now, where are you? Where'd you go? Where'd you go? Why aren't you more again? I I 100% understand that for some people, the value for them is in being more on the edges, being more of a lurker and getting value through just watching and consuming but not being as engaged again, that I have no judgment about that, I just recognized how it, like, how it pinned into different ways on what my strengths were and challenges of that, and for those of you here, and anyone watching your relationship to having a community is likely going to feel different depending on how you want to be showing up with all of them versus how they're showing up in the room.

I hope this is making sense. No, it's it's so great that you're pointing out these key things because I think a lot of the trigger, you know, the trigger, whereas people here are like, I want more engagement and I want to have a community that has lots of members and they're all going to be talking and what I've learned from my experience is that it takes 6 to 9 months just for members to feel that they're safe in, in a space for them to be able to really connect if it's like a monthly ongoing membership, you get really quicker results when you have something more, like more active where they're like live sessions than you're being able to expedite that relationship more um that you're building with them, like the course or live program or challenge or something like that, you're able to activate them a little bit faster instead that they are more than feel they get in that comfort zone faster, but it does take time. And I think also what you're saying is some people don't care, you know, they just want the people to pay the monthly thing and they don't really necessarily care, but I think if you have passion and intention, most of us talk about having um intentionality and and wanting to make a change and and help people transform, that's pretty much everybody in the room here at some point and some level, and and if you feel like they're not getting the value out of it, then you're like, just like you and I talked when you were in the community when it was paid and then you were like, you know, I'm just not able to get the value because I'm just, there's other things in my life happening, and I think we take that personally as hosts were like, you know, unless we have that conversation with somebody and they're not showing up or like, do they not like my content?

Like it's a it's a sometimes we get in this headspace of like, is it my fault like that they're not showing up or is it them or what's happening? And I think we can like neglect to think about there's life, like people have kids, there's, you know, people have jobs, people are doing things and so it takes a lot of really priority setting to show up inside an online community. And and that goes back to like how you structure the community, how you set it up and what the intentionality is around that and the purpose. And one of the things that you mentioned was just engagement and and that led you to say, well, is that a decision, that's something that experience did that lead you then to change directions? I know you you were talking a little bit about different things you've tried, but where where is that kind of landed you right now? Um Also I want to just acknowledge missy, I saw a couple of questions. Should I do? We can't go to her questions. Well, I was going to do that, but I thought about something else to say no, I just want to I just want to acknowledge mrs questions and we will definitely get to them because I want to make sure I answer them for you.

We will uh let's see, I I I have experimented in many different ways over the past few years with how to facilitate engagement, how to encourage people to revisit the space and participate, participation. That's the engagement and participation could be maybe interchange, how can I get people to participate even in a tiny little way. And one of them was, let's say through a challenge that I set up. I every sunday I would send out a weekly digest, I would write it out myself and converted. It wasn't a program once through mining networks, it was just me, hey, here's a new post, Here's a new post. I would link it. I would try and make it incredibly easy for members to open that email up and just find, you know, one or two things that they could open and just just, I would talk a lot about the ideas of give ask and share, you know, give, give your attention and time to someone who's posted a question, ask, post your ask and share what you've learned.

So I would try and like talk about and repeat these principles over and over and over again. And it was and I realized over time with a community or a membership and I actually would welcome people's thoughts on this and Deb, I would love your thoughts on it too. It's almost like there were two mm two moments of selling right there selling someone on the idea and by selling, I mean like the good feeling version of selling like that. I mean like, hey come and participate one, it's just selling someone on the idea of joining the community is the first thing, hey come and join, come be a part of it. Here's what's all this awesome stuff that's happening here. But then there's this ongoing selling of participating in it of like how can I help people feel inspired? I have this little acronym in front of me of what's in it for them and everything.

It's just, it's just sitting in front of me because every time I would, let's say create a workshop or put of course up or ask someone to come in. For some reason, I'd be like, why do they want to come in? What is in it for them to think of like to wake up in the morning and to get their coffee and to open my community up instead of opening up something else like, right, what's in it for them? And I think it's just a really valuable question to ask ourselves because we love our spaces, right? We know what's in it for us, yeah, what's in it for that person. And I think there's a couple of things, they're like two years ago when I started this journey, there was the message being portrayed that build it and they will come, I know there there's whole industry was, you know, really pushing creators and coaches and leave to say build this, this is the greatest place, everybody's going to love it.

It's different than social media come here, as soon as you open the doors, everybody's gonna come and that's just not true. Those are literally not true statements because if anything, it's the opposite. If if you haven't been asked by this is the number one thing that I learned, if somebody did not ask you to do something or you have not gotten the validation and the fact that this space is needed, not just wanted, but needed by people, that's the heart, that then it's going to be much more harder for you to convince them of your community concept. It's gonna be hard for you to convince them of this thing that you want them to be a part of and why it's important for them. That what's in it for them can be, can be used for community building, can be used for business building, for products, for services, for anything because the more we think about the end user and what they're going to get out of this and that end result, that's gonna help us as a creator and a builder and a marketer promote this place because then we're actually basing it on what we've been told by those specific people.

That's why I feel like membership ideal interview, audio, member interviews and discovery and and validating before you launch it eliminates the problems that come later around this engagement around the challenges of keeping people in instead of fighting the whole, how do I keep them engaged in stuff. It's not about how you keep them engaged, about how do I make them, you know, how do they want to join to get excited about it? And I think that's creating the bonds and the relationships when you first start. So I love that you said that I have clients right now, that I'm like, okay, but what's in it for them? But they tell me all these pretty lovely things that they wanted to do and I'm like, yeah, great, this is great. Really? It is. But what's in it for that? Like why are they going to show up? Because it's, we're busy every day, no matter what job you have or if you don't have a job or if you work it no matter where you are in life, somehow your Probably most likely busy and last year like retired and, and kicking your feet up on a recliner or your 12 and enjoying life, like everybody's got something happening.

And so it's just a matter, we only have, we all have the same amount of time. We all have 24 hours of the day. And some of us, you know, eight of those 9, 10 of those are sleeping. So really we only have to capture people's attentions, you know, like eight or nine hours that they even have to give us their attention. And so it really comes down to making each moment matter. But yeah, I'm going to pause here and open up to convert to questions and I know you wanted to answer mrs first so um let's go to some questions. Yes. So I just want so missy asked do you feel like it would be helpful for new college graduates trying to pinpoint what kinds of jobs they want? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Have your high school college age students, kids friends, colleagues take an assessment. Like you map and sit down with someone who can like help them apply the results because again you can take the assessment and be like cool these are my strengths and my values and my skills and interests. So what now what what do I do with it? And that's where it's helpful to have someone who can help you then take all of that and you can take that map and turn it into a resume.

You can use that map and turn it into a job search. You can use that you map, it links up to there's some really cool career databases that actually filter based on your skills and your interests. Um And it spits back like check out these careers because these careers aligned to these particular skills and interests. And so um I think it's a very valuable tool and there are coaches doing specifically high school college um Yeah I'm actually working with a best friend of mine now that I've got my certification, it's not official certification yet so I'm not promoting it quite yet. Um but I'm doing work with with a friend of mine who wants to change careers and they have different pathways, right? So they have um pathways where you can just work with people who are entrepreneurs, but they also have pathways that are career focused for people who are either new to the workforce or wanting to change their career field and trying to figure out like how do I get aligned my, you know, applications for jobs and resumes with positions and apply for positions that are actually what I wanna do instead of like just, you know, the kitchen, the kitchen counter guy or whatever, you know, like um getting things done more aligned, So I think that's a great question and Christy asked about strength.

Find, yeah, it's actually based on the Clifton's strength so that you do the Clifton strengths assessment first, um you get your five top strengths and then it actually branches that improves that, I don't know if there's more, you can say on that Allegra as far as, you know, differentiations or reasons why they do that, they use the strengths, well, strength is one of the pillars of you map, So it's like, you know, let's find out what your top five are and start there, but then it's cool because then it says, well what if we bring your values into it because you could get a job using all your strength and still not enjoy it? That's the point is that people like, oh no, your strength and get a job that uses your strengths, but if you have a job that uses your strengths, but it's totally out of alignment with your values, you won't like it, and if you have a job that uses your strengths and is aligned to your values, but you're spending your time doing skills that burn you out, you won't like it. So it what's so cool about it is that it's it's giving you four dimensions to job satisfaction and not just one, but one of those is the Clifton strengths finder assessment.

Um Missy also, I find it's hard for me because I know how powerful being part of a community is. I know it is possible, but members don't necessarily realize that and therefore don't get in the habit of engaging. Yeah, I kind of miss you what we were saying about like, well what's Mhm. That it takes a kind of moment of like, well why should they even come? What is it? What's And I know because we think it's so awesome and it is and it's so important that we throw a party that we really want to go to, So we have to love it, but we also have to be like, well why should they come here instead of instead of spending 15 minutes there, or instead of doing an hour here, I it's helped me, I don't know if it'll help any of you, like whenever I create something in my community that will require time or attention, right time or attention, you know, read this post that will take time and attention come to this call time. And attention is I like to think about that unit of creativity or that idea as a little tool in a toolbox and I'd like to say, what will this tool help that person do when they hang up.

Because if I can explain that to myself and explain them to them, like come to this call so that you can blank take like post on this post so that you can blank just being able to answer that and remind them consistently. And like here's why it's a tool, how can you use it kind of connects things in a deeper level than just, oh shoot, I gotta go sign into the, you know, I've always said to my members and like if this feels like something on your to do list, it's not right because I wanted to feel useful. I don't come use it, don't just like, I feel like it's taking up other valuable time you want to be spending missy. I see you nodding. Yeah. And I think um my experience is that when people come in, they're happy they came in. My experience is also that things like instagram and facebook and all of those that, you know, twitter and Tiktok, you know, those are the habits that people are in.

So that's what's on their home screen when they pick up their phone and they're like transitioning between activities. They're like, I've got five minutes, you know, they boom go to instagram right when they were fighting against that too, right? So you and I know that if they boom took that five minutes to come to the community, the benefit of that could still, it could serve some of the same needs, which is a break, taking a break, you know, getting inspired whatever, but getting them to even make that move. Um you know short of sitting with them in the moment and saying, okay, now, open your mind, the network app, I think um 11 thing I've learned is I get excited every day to jump into the community that I was a member in for 2.5 years because the people were there and they weren't other places and relationship I felt was there, it wasn't an instant, I built relationships with people on instagram. I built relationships, people in location entity which is the community I was in. Yeah, and get them to get to that point.

Absolutely, I mean there's a group that I'm involved in on facebook and we've talked about moving it over to mighty networks and and I know there's whatever, the 20% rule or whatever that only 20% of your members are really going to engage consistently, we see that in this group, but there are probably 20 people in this group who they're they're almost every day. But it's become a habit. Like it took a little while to get that habit and then just buy, I love what you said, Allegra about what did you say share? Give ask share. That's exactly what this group does. And so, you know, there was a period of time where even in the beginning we had to say we almost assigned people days. We were like, okay, your day is Tuesday and on Tuesday you go respond to anything that gets posted in there once people got in the habit of that, then they were there, that group has been going for three years now solid and every single day There at least, you know, 10, 15 posts in there. But it took a little while to get the habit going. So, and because my network is not, you know, an automatic with people, I think that that is a challenge.

And I love that give ask share. I think that's a great contribution. I'm glad if it helped any other any other questions or anything from anything. I mean, I'm I'm I'm an open book. So Deb if there are the directions you want to learn about what your next adventure is. So I don't know if if you can tell me a little bit about like, you know, we kind of did around it, but I just really want to know like what's what was your, what is your takeaway from your community experience and where you're sitting right now as as far as like leading an online community, cause I know you said you were kind of thinking of your own applause is what I'm hearing from you. Yeah, I decided to sew another kind of, it's both get all of your strengths, have both a light side and a shadow sack everything. Everything we do tell me where you struggle the most and I will tell you what your strengths are because they go hand in hand. I say it's your superpower and it's your kryptonite. So my my top strengths being idea later and activator and adaptability mean that I like trying new things a lot.

I love being in a place where I can just have an idea and go for it and run with it and uh huh If you end up taking your, your strengths assessment, you can, you can get your full 30 for strength. So another thing I've learned about myself is that things like consistency and discipline and focus art don't come as naturally to me and it's less where I'm moving in my I can do those things and I've been doing those things for the past couple of years and in my coaching practice generally for a decade. Um but I I am not a big like marketing and sales person, I bring it down to brass tacks of marketing and sales just is not a role that I'm lit up by and yet when you are running your own coaching practice, when I'm running my own gig, whether it is a community space or one on one coaching or small group programs or any of the myriad ways that I love to deliver my work.

Um The business side of it has never been what truly lights me up. And I have been thinking in depth, saw this on linkedin. Like if any of you on linkedin, you can find me there. I've been thinking about like, what would it look like to find an internal roll somewhere, What would it look like to find to not have to to continue to be able to do this work that I love, which is coaching and mentoring and teaching and bringing people together in small group conversations like this one um but not have to think about kind of the business side of it anymore. So one of the ways as I again, this could all change in a week by the time this gets released, who knows, maybe I'll be, I'll be, I'll be just back to um I'm not shutting off my own coaching practice, I have stuff coming up in the fall, but one of the changes to your question is that I um in july I actually pauses everyone's fees um all my members, I just paused their fees to give myself some space to feel like I could get really creative and change things up again.

Um I wanted to honor their expectations as members and I was like, I'm just gonna pause everyone so that I can really open up and see what's gonna come next and you know, going into the fall alongside this, this idea, I maybe have to try and find a job, like a role somewhere that could be a fit. Um I'm experimenting with making the community element financially free and shifting back into one on one work and uh maybe drop in like a membership for the, drop in weekly coaching calls that I loved doing. Um so I'm just playing with my business model a little bit, which is, which is so this is really great. And honestly, this is exactly what I just did in a way, um differently but similar that I celebrate two years of leading this fine calm here community and I was struggling and it was like, you know, I want to just enjoy this again, so how can I get back to enjoying this again?

Okay, I can enjoy it again. If I don't make it stressful by expecting people to pay to come and join and collaborate and participate and engage. So now I find home here free, my I put some things behind the wall. So the people who are already members, they're still going to have access to certain content, but there's it's hidden for new people. So they don't have access to these guides that I spent two years building. They don't have access to some of that stuff because that's going to be in the book that I'm writing, so I'm ready and and that's and so my focus to your point is I really, my top strengths, our communication, visionary or futuristic, um winning others over uh the community. What is it? Communication, positivity, winning others over futuristic and restorative and restorative is my driver. So What's not in there is me wanting to sell all the time either, and I when you're trying to run a business and you're looking at the bottom line and like what is really going to move the needle here?

Well, it's not the $47 or $97 membership from like five people That's not going to pay my rent tomorrow, but what is going to pay my rent is consultant clients that are going to pay me thousands of dollars, not $47 or $97. And so that was reality for me that I just needed. If I if there's a way for me to continue to do what I'm doing, it's not this method right now, it's the biggest lesson I learned was that I didn't have an audience. And this whole concept that you can build a community without an audience is rubbish basically can't figure a better word out, but it's rubbish, it's just not true, every single um Person that I've talked to that is really successful in the space of having a paid membership is because they've been building on the business for 10 years, or they've got email lists, or they've got this following or things are because people have validated, it.

they've purchased their programs, they bought their books, they've read there, you know, memoir, they listen to a podcast, like, they've got an audience. And so I also, this is the message that I was saying for a year and a half, and in the, in the last couple of months, I'm like, this is just not true, because it's not my experience, and they started to feel really out of alignment, and I was like, okay, great, now I've got to change, that's a jig and make a decision, and that was the decision that I made and said, okay, so now we're gonna have some fun and finding calm here, we're gonna do whatever that is, we're gonna have the live interviews every other week, and that's the content and that just took a whole lot of pressure off of me now, that just means now Deb can go back to being a creative at doing the things that she enjoys doing and writing a blog, because when she feels like it, I also combined the content, so the same thing, it's on the blog is not is in the community. So I'm not, you know, I'm like, repurposing content everywhere and having a structure where I decided, okay, this month, our theme is structure. So that's what we're gonna talk about.

So now that's what I write about, I just simplified everything for myself instead of the last six months of like, what should I write about this week? Oh, here's what I want to write about, Here's, you know, I just went off into these deep dives, right? And I made it really complicated for myself, which is guilty of, like, there's a quote, this is my favorite quote, that's um There's 1 2 people and one person says, Why do you always take the hard road? And the other person says, Why do you assume I see two Roads? Oh wow, that's great. It always feels like so resident with me, because I just see the path of, like, the most, even I'm writing this book and I met with a book designer this week and he goes, um, oh, so you're gonna do a workbook? Oh, those are really complex and challenging, much more so than, like, a novel. I'm like, yeah, because Deb takes the but anyway, just to your point of saying, thank you for for just sharing and being open with that, because they think that's what we're experiencing as creators and coaches right now is just like, what really is in alignment with what I what I'm experiencing, how I want to feel like, I think a lot my clients, you know have this concept of, I want to lead a community, I'm like, but do you really want to leave a, like, does that six months from now, a year from now, are you gonna feel like super excited or is it gonna be like dreadful for you to like do this thing?

Yeah, well, because there's so the interesting thing in the coaching space and forgive me if this is going a little off track, but in the coaching space, I think there is a very, very blurry blurry line between becoming a coach and like running a coaching practice and they are seen as synonymous and I have heard from multiple coaches who thought, I thought I just had to finish my certification right? Because and and it's happening now to a kind of on the other end of things where I'll say to people like, you know what I'm thinking about getting a job and let's say, oh you don't want to coach anymore, right? And it's like, oh no, no, I love coaching, I love my work, I love what I do, I love this, I love small group stuff with my own community, I love talking about things and teaching and all of it, so it's not that I don't want to be coaching, it's that i it's that running a business, running a coaching practice is a totally separate skill set and job, it's like me, it's like having a double major when you thought you were just gonna show up and do one thing and it's the same.

I think with running a community is it's like I want to run a community like yes, I love it and making it profitable, making it a business is a separate kind of thing that I don't think has talked about enough. I don't, I think these in this industry, it's positioned. I do, I think it is sold and positioned as and marketed as a like this. I don't know, it's a, it's a, there's a lot of kind of, no, that's that's okay, but there's a lot of conversations that I've heard from people about what coaching means. And I think even in one of our calls recently our book study, this even came up recently about coaching and what it needs to be a coach. And do people have to have a certification? Can people just coach other people and they don't have certifications. What's, what's the process to becoming a coach if you're a life coach or a business coach or what, you know, what do those things mean?

And what, there's no, because there's no like clear blind, here's what it means to be a coach, like if you were to just google what, like what is the definition of a life coach or what is the definition of a business coach. I don't know that there's one clear definition for that, there could be some descriptions or descriptor words, but I think a lot of people define it differently. And I think what you're talking about is passion, making your your passion into into your career, you know, making your passion, making profit for you, you know, driving profit from your passion. And I think I've struggled with that as a creator for my entire life because I went to school for photojournalism. I studied to be a reporter and a photographer. I thought true, True story. I thought I wasn't smart enough to be a writer. So I became a photographer and so then I couldn't even get a job as a photographer. So I ended up getting a job as a reporter and a writer. And then 20 years later I'm writing a book, it's about community building.

And what's so fascinating is that through the years I have up and down with regards to do I do I want to make a living with this thing that I've, like tried, that I said that I loved and I stopped photography for a while because it became a business that I hated. Um, and that's kind of like, I'm in the mo two of now. I'm kind of like, well, what is do I really, what lights me up in this in this space and I think what I've learned is it's not designed like I've had a lot of people that want me to build a course and build their community and design things and the like literally setting things up and that doesn't like me, I can do that but that doesn't light me up. What lights me up is to like interact with people and help them get clear on their structure, their community, concept their structure and their strategy and then like give them actionable steps and so that's kind of what you talked about earlier with communities. I like when people take action, so I think and Mark, Mark was in here for like a minute and he laughed but Mark is the host of the podcast Savants and he his whole slogan is action taking and he I saw him at podcast, he gave me a backpack that says like action taker because I'm in his community but what's really funny is that he does his, you know, his brands, us marketing and promotion for podcasters and so I think when you're talking about you know yes, you have to sell yourself as a, as a coach or consultant or something, but you also can hire people to help you do those things and if it's not something that is your strength or it's like winning others over is my strength however sales and marketing and looking at the actual dollars and numbers and figuring out logistically how to price myself and all of that that I needed support with.

So there's some comments I was just gonna share really quickly about Christy creators and business people check out a book called Rocket fuel because what the, that is the closest I have come to understanding why the difference in roles and how most most successful things are usually the result of too, like there's a visionary and then there's an integrator and integrator is the person who loves all of this. You know, it's just a fascinating way of breaking things down. And when we're doing things on our own solo preneurs, we're having to wear all the hats and it can be very, very overwhelming. That's such a good point. And actually one of the things that, that kelly and I talked about during the book Club is exactly this, um, that the difference between a community host and a community manager and a community leader and what those roles are and what that means to be different and the community host is the person who sets the vision and says, here's what I see for this space and here's what I feel like this needs to be or do based on the community feedback that they get, you know, discovery and then talking with members and then just being flexible and saying, what do you want to do?

Like showing up and then asking members, But the community managers on the operations and on the back side is is implementing like the tech, the setup, the design, like those are the people who are like implementer Zvi versus people who are visionaries. And I think that's what that whole they have like a test that kelly was recently pointing me to and I think this comes up consistently in the creator space because creators are really great at envisioning, But they have a hard time with the implementation um depending on how they rate on that scale that he has on the test. Um I'm actually like a 56, or something like I'm like right in the middle because I like the details and I like to help people like put a strategic framework to go that they can like tactically and physically like hold and see. But I also like the concept of let's talk about the future and let's talk about what you actually want to do and what lights you up as a host because the last thing you wanna do is like build an online community and then realized that's really not what you wanted to do it.

All right. Uh Cool, anybody else have any last questions? I didn't see any in here, but I wanted to make sure we got to everybody. Um, but thank you so much alike and no problem just waiting. I'm curious. I was like, um I was a as a teacher, I learned early on that when I always say are there questions I just have to wait because usually one surfaces and the silence. So I'm very comfortable with kind of silence and waiting. So um, but no, it's been truly a pleasure. Thank you for. I feel like this has been very wide range. If there's anything I can answer just from my own experience. I mean I've I've been I've been out in this landscape for a long time and have a just a lot of a lot of stories to share if they would be helpful in any way. So one thing I did want to ask you was do you feel like the conversation that I started with you on the on the linkedin post was really about our conversation I had with my business coach yesterday and it was about the fact that she's in a place in her life where she has a huge body of work.

There's a lot of things that she's done and now it's about putting those things in into some kind of order and and you know maybe using those in some different ways. So what you were talking about is is this a transition or time um how can you use all of this amazing experience that you've had and how is that going to be positioned into maybe a position or you know, how do you put that on a resume or how do you explain that to people of like why haven't you worked in corporate America for seven years? You know or whatever. It's been um what are your thoughts as far as like what do you think it looks like for you? Oh I don't if I don't know if I had an answer to that, That's the stuff I'm thinking about that all day these days. Just this, you know, because the, the idea to look for an internal role is very young. It's really, it's just like a few weeks, someone said something a few weeks ago and it was like this light bulb went off and I just went what it would look like if I, I like just win in that direction. And so even just being on linkedin, even just considering the project of like finding a job or is, has brought up a lot of those same questions of how do how do I capture all of this?

It's a language question, you know, how do I capture all of this stuff that I've done and created and and have experience with and and really good at in a format, usually in the form of some language, right? Like written sentences or resume a statement something so that someone else might see it and connect the dots and say like what it is you do would be perfect for this thing I have over here. And it's, it's if you ever want somebody to work workshop with you, I would love to be on the call, just you and I and we could just workshop it out because I love putting, I love putting words to paper and words are my jam. That's that it's now now, it's one of my because I'm gonna be like, you should do that, how it's one of my secret strikes that I'm learning about is that people put their, like, big purpose and then I rewrite it and they're like, oh my goodness. Yeah, but that's like, perfect way better than I could, like, 10.

It took me like 10 hours to write my big purpose and you just rewrote it in three minutes and it's way better or something. I'm not I'm not saying that I'm the best writer ever there, for sure. What I'm saying is is I have the ability and the strength that I learned recently to listen to understand, to ask questions and then to be able to put those um assumptions and x what I understand from what I learned into an order. That makes sense. That people can then say, oh, that's what I actually meant, and that's my communication strength, right? But that was over time because I was a reporter and I had a lot of editors tell me I it was a really horrible reporter and a really bad writer and criticized me for a very long time. It took me a long time to get to the place where I felt confident as a writer and I really still don't even, it's like mind blowing, that I'm writing her. But but what, but what I'll say is um it goes back to your strengths. Yeah, it really just get back to your strengths and your map, because you can use what lights you up, What are the those are the jobs or the positions that you would lean towards or what lights you up and what gets you excited, the way you put it together would be like based on all of the amazing highlights that fit with that, that thing.

So, like I did this and that's why I'm great for this role and I did this and that's why I'm very for this role. And then really positioning that I've considered, I'm struggling. I mean, being in the first two years of a business as a consultant are hard and I'm trying to figure it out and trying to and thankfully I've had a small group of other fellow consultants that I brought together that we meet every month. And one of those consultants reached out to me and said, I have an abundance of work, are you interested in partnering with me? And he started working with, I started working with him, I'm rewriting rewriting some of his playbooks for his clients were putting together marketing plans and content creation strategies for them and now I actually feel super valued and needed because what I'm doing is I'm looking at his content and saying and asking lots of questions when there's holes that I'm kind of like poking those holes. I'm like, well this doesn't really make sense. And you know, what does this really mean?

Um and the first time I sent him, like, a whole bunch of edits, I said, I hope you don't hate me. And he goes, this is the best thing ever done, because now I actually have somebody that kind of can give me the real deal of like, what am I missing? What is this saying and why is it fit or not fit for this audience? And he was putting together some articles and thoughts, thoughts, studies around building online communities. And he's been in space for 10 years. So he's got a lot more of a network, but just to say that like leading on people who you might consider your competitors in a way and actually building a bridge where you collaborate with them can actually be a key. And then I mentioned that I'm still struggling with finding clients and I said this in this, in our august session and another person said, Hey, Deb, I really could use your help since you're such great at writing. I really have a hard time finding good great writers. So she wanted to work with me.

So it's just a matter of for me, I was like, well I hope that I can continue to do this and we'll see how the next six months ago. But I think it's a good point to what I know for myself is that I really don't want to work for anyone else. The hardest job that I've ever had is to work for myself. It has been the hardest job I've ever had. However, I would rather answer to myself every day than to build somebody else's dream and build somebody else's vision. I'd rather build mine. There you go. So that's to me. I'm in it until I burned the crash to the ground and the bill collectors decided to take all my stuff. I know, I know, but anyway, okay, well we are at time, thank you so much everybody for joining in. I'm super excited um that this will come out in the committee strategy podcast recording is going to be out there. We are going to start putting things on youtube.

So that's a new thing that we're going to start to work on doing so I will be there as well for people to watch the actual see our faces and watch the recording until if anybody else has questions for Allegra, please feel free to reach out later. Uh, if anybody wants to reach out to you a legal where's the best place to put my email, You can just send me a note. Allegra, Allegra stein dot com and I'm Allegra stein on linkedin Kind of, I've been spending more time there recently just exploring this new possibility. My website to Christine dot com but emails super reliable. Cool. All right, well thank you so much for having me. It's always a pleasure to speak with you. I'm excited to see what comes up for you next to you and you and I are getting the call and we're going to work with some, some, some words I am happy to if someone wants to just listen to me verbally process all this stuff and like figure out how to capture it. I know right, well I'd like to connect. The other thing you mentioned about was like what's nice about zoom and things technologies, we can record the session, you can actually get the transcript and then that is where you start with words.

That's like, it's just a matter of work ship. I know that I know you can do that. Everyone's like you should get transcripts but that's where we are now and I know myself well enough to know like I know I just never do that side of it. Anyway, thank you again for having me Christy. I would love to connect. So I'll see you over there. Thank you very much. Everybody have a I hope you're finding home in this day, evening, moment, afternoon, wherever it is. Whatever it's time for you. Find calm until the next time. We'll see you again on the community strategy podcast. Please subscribe and maybe think about reading us a review that would be fantastic. Uh enjoy the rest of your day and find come, take care, bye bye. Hey, this is Deb Shell and I am super so psyched to let you know I am writing a book. Big deal. I know maybe it's not for you, but for me it's a big deal and guess what I'm writing this book for you because honestly, as a new community builder two years ago in 2020 I had no idea what I was doing and I really got really confused easily.

So I'm going to simplify things for you. But what I need from you right now is to actually help me make this book possible and so you can support me with a crowdfunding campaign that I'm running through. I fund woman, I'm going to have a link in the show notes, please support me this. This is running from September one through the end of october. So I'm really hoping to reach my goal to be able to write this work style book. It's gonna have worksheets, it's going to have templates, it's going to be something that you can actually use today. It's not a course that you have to take for four weeks. It's not a big book that's not going to give you actionable steps, You're going to be able to take action the same day that you read the book. I'm super excited about this. I've had lots of feedback from clients that this is what they want, this is what they need. So I'm putting it together and I hope you can support me with it and I hope I hope it's going to help you. So let me know please check out the show notes for that link to the I.

Fund Woman crowdfunding campaign for the new book I'm writing. It's called creator to community builder. I'm so excited, thanks for helping me if you've already donated.

Episode 85: Community Structures that engage members in an online community
Episode 85: Community Structures that engage members in an online community
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