This past weekend, Maya Elious and I hosted a live workshop all about building a profitable online presence (the replay has expired but if you want to hear us talk all things business you can in our episode of Make It Happen here) and the idea for this workshop came from a conversation we were having around the struggles we see many of our coaching clients go through when they’re trying to make big and beautiful things happen online.
Here’s the thing: you can create all of the courses, eBooks, paid-for workshops and services in the world, but if you don’t have a community who is invested in your brand, who cares about your message and your voice, and are ready and waiting to dive into working with you, you’re going to struggle to build something profitable and sustainable along the way.
Creating the products is the fun part. Packaging up your services and products and thinking how much money you could make and how that could change your life is a daydream every budding online entrepreneur finds themselves lost in from time to time, but sometimes you can get too lost in the dreaming and scheming stage and forget to focus on building the core foundations that your online business needs to survive and thrive.
You need a game changing online community if you want to build a profitable and sustainable online business.
Maya and I talked through the five core foundations we think every online presence needs to be profitable and purposeful along the way:
- A community
- A profesional website
- Expertise & credibility
- A solid business plan
- Game changing content
And it all starts with that game changing community. A creative online business needs authentic human connections, lifelong brand ambassadors, and clients and customers to-be. And what I’ve seen is that if you forget to build your game changing online community first, you’ll find yourself with awesome products and services that no one knows about and no one cares about.
1. It’s Purposeful
There has to be a reason why you’re building this community, and there has to be a reason why people become a part of it. It’s got to be rooted in something deeper than just making an income if it’s going to be game changing along the way. Why do you care about cultivating this community? And why will people care about being a part of it?
2. You Focus On Giving Value First & Foremost
If the only way you communicate with your audience is by trying to sell them something, you’re community is limited in how effective it can be. A game changing online community focuses so much more on being of service and of value, and gives so much more than it takes. This way when you sell it’s just another way of being of value to your audience as you’re offering them a way to go deeper into your work and expertise, but when you sell straight away you’re not giving your community the chance to build a deeper relationship with you and your brand and to feel more like someone you actually care about instead of just a potential paycheque.
3. It’s A Two Way Relationship
A community doesn’t work with just one voice leading the way. The best kind of game changing online communities cultivate a two-way relationship. A profitable online presence is way less about us and so much more about our community and how it is we can be of service to them. We need to have conversations, to listen more than we speak, and to give our community a voice and a place to share their ideas, thoughts, and insights too.
4. It’s Profitable
For an online community to be game changing for your creative business, it of course needs to be profitable along the way too. There’s no point building up high social media followings and a big email list if it’s not actually a profitable and engaged audience that aligns with your business goals and needs. The secret here is to be super, super intentional with your content and your brand messaging every step of the way as you build your audience and your list.
And the thing about building a game changing online community?
It doesn’t happen overnight. Trust and an authentic human connection takes time to build. Your expertise and credibility needs to be established over and over again for a potential customer or client to invest in you. It’s very rare that someone will just show up on your website and decide to leap into working with you straight away; a game changing community needs time to grow.
So here’s my challenge for you...
Take a step back, just for a minute, from scheming and dreaming about the products and services you want to create a sell and ask yourself honestly: have I built a game changing community yet? Is it purposeful? Am I giving value over and over again? Is it engaged? Am I cultivating two-way relationships? Is it profitable? Have I attracted the right people for my business and brand?
And if the answer is no, if you don’t have a community yet who are crazy connected with what it is you do and the value you’re sharing with the world, it’s time to go back to basics and focus on cultivating a game changing online community for you and your brand. This way when you launch it won't be to crickets but to an engaged and viable audience instead.
And if you’re not sure where to start? Don’t worry as I have a free resource just for you coming soon...