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How to build a supportive online community

Today’s episode of the podcast is a solo episode all about how to build a beautiful, amazing, supportive, loving online community.

I wanted to do this episode after listening to someone else in the online world talking about
some of the horrible things that have happened to them, which got me thinking about some of the negative things I have experienced.

I feel very blessed to not have much experience of this, and this episode reflects on why that
might be.

As always I’d love to know what you think, and please feel free to share your own reflections
and learnings with me, by connecting over on my social media.

KEY TAKEAWAYS COVERED IN THE PODCAST

  • My experience of being asked for a refund, why I didn’t give it, and what happened
    when I said no
  • My experience of receiving emails from people telling me they didn’t like what I said,
    and were unsubscribing from my list
  • My experience of someone writing an anonymous nasty blog about me and how I
    responded
  • Practical things that I have done to to build a supportive online community

THE ONE THING YOU NEED TO REMEMBER ABOVE ALL ELSE

If you come into the online business world just to make money, it will seldom work, you actually have to care about what you do!

Transcript

Hello, and a Happy New Year. So you might be listening to this at any other random time of the year and think what you're talking about, but this episode came out on the second of Jan, 2023, so happy new Year if you're listening live. I hope you had a good one. I hope you are, I was gonna say all pumped and excited for the year, but it's the 2nd of January and you're probably still feeling the strains of Christmas and New Year, so you're probably thinking I'm not ready for anything Teresa, which is absolutely understandable.

So, isn't it weird? Actually, I was just thinking, if you're new to this podcast, this is me, so I'm sorry. I apologize for my randomness, but I'm literally just sat here obviously recording podcast episodes and I've just realized that as if by some amazing perfectness. My last episode with an interview was last year, and this is the first of my only solo stuff that I'm now doing.

And I absolutely didn't plan it out like not at all. I had no idea when the interviews had run out. How weird is that? That is cool I'm glad. So this is it this year pretty much probably gonna be me. So settle in people it could be interesting. At least you got like a bit of relief when we had a podcast interview.

I want to kick off the year and I want to talk about how to build a beautiful, amazing, supportive, loving community because that's what I have. I have the most beautiful, amazing humans in my world. The reason I wanted to do this episode is because I was directed to a podcast episode and someone else's podcast episode, and this episode was talking about the fact of basically how horrible the online space is, which, you know, I, I'm not saying it's perfect by any stretch of imagination cause it really isn't, and there are some pretty not nice people in it, but like with any industry to be fair.

But they were talking about the online space and they were talking about how basically some of their customers, the problems they've had, how the abuse they've had and like some of the stuff that they said had happened to them, I was absolutely gobsmacked, right? And I'm sat there listening to it and I'm, size wise, I'm probably not as big as this person from a community point of view.

I'm not far off though, if I'm honest. And I thought, and this isn't the first time this has come up where I've heard of people who are in this space basically get absolutely, you know a, I'm trying to think of a way to say this without swearing, but a bit of a kicking from their audience and I just, and I, and it kind of blows me away.

And I, so I sat there and thought, this is weird. This has never happened to me and then I started thinking like, what is the worst things that happened to me? What are the, what are the things that I can go yet that sucked? This happened, this happened from a upset audience, or an angry audience, or a people doing certain things to me?

And I, and I'm gonna talk you through them. There's not loads of them but the and that was the thing there wasn't low to them. So then I thought, oh my God, I've got like the nicest people in my world. Like how did I manage that? And it's something that I say all the time in my club, like if we get anybody speaking in the club, if so, the speakers that we had for saw at the end of last year, I get those people coming in and genuinely saying to me afterwards, oh my God, you have the nicest people.

Like supportive and engaged and encouraging and keen to kind of learn and see people succeed and just, it's a really lovely space and a really safe space, and I was thinking to myself like, why is that the case? So I did a little bit of thinking and I thought, I'm gonna do a podcast episode on this and talk about why I think I've got such a beautiful community and why I haven't experienced some of these problems that people have had and why that might be the case or how I've managed that.

And it is a bit by fluke, but I did try to work out some things that maybe I do that others, no, I'm not gonna say that others don't do cuz I'm sure that's not always the case but just me, just what do I do that I think helps me have this amazing community. So let me tell you some of the stuff that's gone wrong and the mean stuff.

So like, like I said, I was listening to this podcast and this person was literally going, I had an abusive email, I had someone message stuff on my ads saying that I was this that and the other, and I was just like, oh my goodness. So the worst stuff has happened. Have I ever been asked to do a refund?

Yes. Once. Literally once. I've never ever been asked to give a refund ever before other than this one time. And basically it was someone who worked one-to-one with me. Well, no, they were part of the 90 day program when it was a group program, cuz I ran it as a group once and I didn't like it, I preferred it one-to-one.

And they had a business that was severely impacted by the pandemic and their program that they were on ran through the pandemic and during the sessions, we made plans for the now as in what was happening, but we also worked on when the world gets back to normal, this is how you could approach this, this, and this.

Anyway, I was pretty happy with what went on, even though I didn't see the person definitely made some progress. She made some progress, but I didn't see it. As successfully as I would've liked, cuz obviously we were in a pandemic. Anyway, a few months later, she came back to me and said, actually, I've been thinking I'd like a refund for part of it because I couldn't do what it, you know, what was going on because, and she was very polite and nice about it because of what was going on.

And I sat and thought about it and I went back and said, no. Which is very brave of me, and I'm really not that brave. But I had to ask myself, did I do the thing that I promised to do when they pay? Yes, I absolutely did. Could I control the fact that during the pandemic she couldn't do some of those things that I suggested?

No, I couldn't control that and I did try to help her where she was at. Anyway, so I went back and I said, you know, I really appreciate you reaching out and thank you and this has never happened before, but, um, no, and unfortunately, I'm not happy to refund. However, what I am happy to do is once the world gets better and you are in a better place, I am more than happy to give you a couple of extra sessions so we can review what we talked about during the pandemic and you can start to put them in place.

And she came back and she was very happy and thanked me and that was that. So that's the one person who said they wanted a refund. The other, so I was thinking, have I ever had an nasty email? And I've had. I wouldn't say nasty.

I've had two emails that weren't happy with me and you know, and I'm not laughing cause it's not funny, but I did an email when Donald Trump got thrown off social media. I was in the point and yeah, okay, maybe this is bad taste now I'm talking about, but I was in the point of selling, build my list. It was just too good an opportunity not to miss in terms of like, and it wasn't even, I didn't comment on what I thought of Donald Trump.

I didn't say I agreed or disagreed. I literally named the fact of if it can happen to him, like someone of that size has been thrown off social media and is lost his voice. And that then I went on sort of talk about the fact of, you know, that's why we have email list. So yeah, you could have said it was a little bit bad taste, but it was a fact.

It wasn't, I didn't give my opinion on him. Anyway, I had two people email me back going, I didn't like that, and therefore I'll be leaving your email list. And I was again like, that's okay, fine. Like, and the funny thing was I'd even passed that email by a few different people and gone, is this bad? Like, is this, and, and they were very, and they're much, well, I am very cautious actually, but they were like, no, there's not literally nothing wrong with it.

So, and the fact that only two people messaged me, I couldn't have been that bad. So anyway, they left my email list and that's absolutely fine. Again, that's okay. Then what else has gone wrong? The, so the other thing, I've had a few comments on social media. Oh yeah. I had a song write a blog about me, didn't we? But that was flipping ages ago.

Have you heard this story? I've said it on the podcast for, but if you haven't, I basically did a talk somewhere, another marketer was in the room who had a huge chip on their shoulder. And basically wrote a whole bullet blog about me, about how terrible I was as a speaker and how I didn't talk strategy, but my talk wasn't about strategy.

It was about like what to do on social media now, it was a very basic talk and it said things like, and she claims she's a member of the charter and supermarket, which I was at the time. And you know what was funny, God, I'm such a child, right? So, this person wrote this blog and it, the day before I was about to speak on another stage.

The only reason I found it, I wasn't planning on going into this big story, but let me, it is a good story. So I was sat in bed the night before I was about to speak at a big event in the in not far from where I live, and, and it was probably one of the biggest I'd done, this was years ago, literally when I was getting started.

So it was probably one of the biggest events I'd done at that point and the event company had tweeted out saying, if you've got any questions for our speakers tomorrow, no. You can tweet them here and we can ask them, put them to them. So I'm looking at this and obviously they tagged me in. That's how I saw it.

So I'm looking at, and this person basically responds to the tweet going, does she agree that da da da da da. Does she agree that da da duh da da. And basically like we're really high level marketing stuff. Like like I said I've got a freaking degree like I know my stuff and I can use the big fancy words if you want me to, but absolutely there's no point.

It's just being ridiculous. So anyway, I was looking at it. I was like, Jesus woman's a bit aggressive, and I started looking back through her stuff and found her sharing this blog post about this Speaker anonymous speaker and I went to it and it was me. It was about me. Obviously she didn't name me, but obviously I knew it was about me because I could just tell.

And basically she had put, she was a member of the Charter Institute of Marketers and I was like, hang on a minute, I've met you. I've met her a couple of times actually. And you know, when someone's energy is not your vibe, you're like, Hmm, we are not friends. Like we are not gonna get on, or, you know, you're not my bag.

But anyway, so she told me her history or in the networking, she had said her history and I remember thinking when I saw that she was a, a member of the charters institutes marketers, there's no way you can be, because I know what it takes to be a member. You have to have x amount of years experience. You have to have had many like certain roles at this and da da da.

And I think to myself, I'm sure you haven't got that. Anyway, when I dug a bit, cuz I am that pathetic and I don't think I'd do it now, but I did back in the day. She was like an associate member or a student member, so she wasn't a proper member and she had the goal to say, she says she's this. So I immediately contacted the charter and shoot marketers and asked if I could be a fellow.

And I'm laughing at myself cuz I know how stupid I am because I wanted to be like, screw you man. I, and I'm, I was literally one year off being a fellow. Cuz to be a fellow, the amount of experience you have to have had and the amount of like level director level of roles and whatever. And I got it all barred the number of years and I literally was one off and I was like, please, can you make me a fellow?

And they were like, no. Anyway, I left cuz I realized once I grew up and stopped being a child, that actually being a member of the Charter Institute marketers was not that important in my world. Ah, that is a funny story. Anyway, so that happened but other than that, I really genuinely can't think of anything bad that's happened or anybody that's left the membership.

I've never had anybody leave because they're like, this isn't what I thought it was gonna be. I've had people leave who go, I can't afford it. I've had people leave who go, I just haven't given it a time. The people leave who go just isn't for me right now and that's absolute fine, but none of those people have ever gone on, not that I know of to say she was terrible. It was terrible.

So, and that was the other thing I was thinking about like having people say and oh, believe me, there are people who flip and hate me. . Right? And I laugh about it cuz I honestly it, well, I now don't think about it now. Like back in the day I'd like, it would kind of make me chuckle every time I saw them do something that kind of was a slight dig at me.

But I have got people in my world who hate me and do not like, who I am and what I do and that's absolutely fine. So it's not that I don't think everyone loves me, cuz they really don't. But I don't know anybody who's been in my world that has worked with me that could sit there and go, you are terrible. It was terrible and I'm really proud of that fact.

I'm really proud of the fact that I do. I am very honest about what you can expect and I exactly give you what you can expect. So, so yeah. So back to the whole community thing. So obviously I just wanna say that, you know, that was interesting for me to kind of go actually what's happened to me and nothing really that bad.

So other than people talking rubbish about me or not agreeing with me, which is fine if they're not my customer and they're not. So the community I care about are my community, like you guys listening to podcasts, people on my email list, people who buy stuff from me, people in my membership in executive club.

So, Nothing. No one in those worlds have ever said anything really awful, which is wonderful. So how have I created this beautiful, amazing space of people who are just wonderful and rave about me, which is so kind of them. And I was thinking about what is it, what have I done? And I think there's a couple of things.

And I know if you are listening to this and you are in my world, there's no way that you are not like this. I think the first one is, that you genuinely have to care. You genuinely have to give a crap and I think there are lots of people, especially in the online space who don't. Who don't care, who aren't that interested in seeing their people succeed.

They, they're in it for the money and, and I think that is a huge mistake. I think it's a huge mistake to try and come into the online world just to make money because it doesn't freaking work or seldom works. Believe me, I'm in it. I know, but yeah, like for me, you, I actually, I actually genuinely care about my members.

I actually genuinely care when people email me when they DM me and like the other week I missed DMing someone back for like a couple of weeks. I felt so bad. Just some lovely random person who had it DM me before, sent me a DM, thanking me for the podcast, which was just so kind. And I dunno about you, but I'm one of those people if I don't do that thing right then it's gone.

And you know, luckily my dms get busy and it of course drop down, drop down, drop down, drop down, and then suddenly I wake up in the middle of the night, one day thinking one day, one evening thinking, oh my God, I didn't get back to that person. So yeah, I think the fact that I actually genuinely care about the members, I think is a, is a huge one. It's a massive one.

Also, it's been interesting watching the online space and watching, not that I say watch it, like I'm, I've got tabs on it. Hearing, I guess from other people, numbers in memberships, how they were once quite big and are now very small, or not very small, but they've dropped and I mean by hundreds.

And that fascinates me because even though my membership is fairly small compared to, well, it depends what you compare it to. You know, it's normally around the hundred mark. It is been consistently in for a long time and I consistently keep my members and I haven't and don't do enough audience growth, so I'm not getting people in more.

But then there's a part of me that thinks I think there's a good reason for it. I like the fact that I know my members very well. I like the fact that I can probably tell you their kids' names or their partner's names, or you know, where they are in the world and genuinely actually care about them. So I think that's one thing.

I think the other thing, the other reason I've got this amazing community is, I think it's that consistency of showing up and doing what you do. So I've had the membership now for a long time. I've had the executive club for quite a while now. I've done 90 day for a long time. I've had build my list for a number of years and I still show up and I still do the podcast and I've consistently done it.

And I don't, it's not like I'm not using these things as kind of tactics to make money. So for instance, the podcast does not make me money, but like if I was doing the podcast just to make me money or build a huge audience, I might decide after a few months or a year it doesn't work and stop and then try something else new.

And I haven't, I've really consistently shown up and done the thing. So I think that's another thing. I think there are people in my world, and you might be one of them, that you've been in my world a long time and you've never bought anything from me or maybe you've bought something small but you've never joined the membership and maybe this episode is the one that's finally you go actually, No, I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna go and join.

And it's that consistency of giving you that time in order to make your decision and empower you to make it, not to take the power away from you and go, you've gotta join now because of X, Y, Z. And then the last thing, I think the reason I have a lovely community is I don't flog them.

Okay. So, yes, when I sell, I obviously increase my emails. I obviously work a bit harder to to promote it. However, I don't use them. So I don't do huge affiliate marketing. I don't promote big programs. The massive programs, I've talked about this before, but the massive programs and some of the big courses I've done, some of their affiliate money is crazy.

Like one of them is like almost a thousand dollars for every person you get to sign up. That's madness money and I've got a good audience. Like even if a few people signed up, I could make a few thousand dollars, but I'm not gonna do that because you are in my world and I want to keep you. Well, I, no, I dunno what I was gonna say then.

I want to, so let's say keep you safe. That's not the right word. I value you and I want you to know that I'm not using you as a cash cow. And I think there are lots of people out there who will do huge affiliate stuff and they will flog their audience to death. And, and that's, for me, that's not on. I wouldn't do that.

So I think, I think if you are building an audience, I think it's about genuinely caring about them, genuinely connecting with them. Getting to know them and love them and oh, and that, sorry the other thing I was thinking about is authenticity. The fact of I show up exactly the way I am. So if you come into my world, then you're gonna get that.

So I only attract people who would wanna work with someone like me anyway, which is really important. I wouldn't wanna attract the people that are not my bag because I don't want 'em in my world, quite honestly. And I have attracted people who aren't my bag and over time I've discovered that and we've gone our separate ways, or they've come in and they've not lasted very long in the membership cuz they soon realize how it works.

So, so yeah. So I think being authentic, showing up consistently and not kind of flitting around and doing various things that has helped loving and caring and being considerate to your audience. I think that's helped as well, so that again, these, these solo episodes, good luck to you people. Like, honestly, maybe that needs to be in part of my planning session that I'm doing about how do I actually organize my podcast better so that I'm not just rumbling at you, I like just talking, but maybe it would be more helpful if I was a little bit more structured.

Let me know. I'm always open and welcome to feedback. So there we go that's my thoughts in terms of how I've got this amazing, beautiful community and thank you for being in it. And you are amazing and beautiful and I am very honored and privileged to have you in there and thank you so much and please come and say hi.

If you haven't done yet, I'd love to see you in the dms. I'd love to give you a follow, see what your business about. Okay. Have a great rest of your day and I'll be back next week with another set of episode.