Founding Members: Finding the right people, leaving the others behind

(Dave Charbonneau) #1

I’m creating a simple plan of action based on what I’m reading here:

and here is my first crack at a two-qualifier rule:

We’re looking for those who are interested in becoming business owners (or becoming better business owners) and currently seeking information on the subject (their seeking information tells me they’re interested, but it also helps me to locate them; e.g. Meetups, podcasts, twitter, etc.).


Because we don’t want influencers (at least not to begin with), I need to become available and offer value at places where prospects are seeking information.

-Existing podcasts
-Online forums
-Networking meetings
-My blog
-Other blogs

Here’s the pickle: While existing business owners are most welcome to join, and even become valued founding members, we want to avoid those who are trying to attract the same business owners for purposes of selling their services to them. There are many of these folks (Gee, am I one of them?).

Some of these are trying to be or act as influencers. We don’t want influencers (not at this point). And we certainly don’t want those seeking to be influencers by inserting themselves into groups for purposes of self-promotion rather than learning, sharing. They are the know-it-alls who post a description of their services in every post that otherwise would be normal communication (I am NOT one of these).

So, how do we find the good 'uns while avoiding the bad 'uns? Any ideas?

(Sarah Hawk) #2

Many communities have this issue in their own incarnation. Rather than having rules or limitations around who can be a member, it might make more sense to have clear rules around engagement and behaviour.

For instance, we have many platform vendors that are members here. Rather than not allowing them to be here (which would be counterintuitive because they are experienced and have a wealth of valuable knowledge) we encourage it, but model the kind of behaviour we want to see – i.e. not marketing. It works well. I have only had to contact a couple of people in a year to explain the boundaries.

In the same vein, won’t the people that already own businesses be the ones that are in a position to help and advise your members that are just setting out?

(Dave Charbonneau) #3

Absolutely. I’m not planning on playing the all-knowing expert. Quite the opposite; I’m here to explore with everyone else, while sharing some useful tools and ideas, too. I’m just thinking of those whom I know already, and many of those are the self-promo types. I suppose if I’m clear in my offering and the rules, as you suggested, I can invite just about anyone. Perhaps I’m making a bigger deal out of it than it needs to be. :slight_smile:

(Sarah Hawk) #4

No – it’s a very real problem and you’re right to consider it. Self promotion is an issue for many communities and it drives people away quickly.

(Richard Millington) #5

Hi @SelfEnterpriser my initial thought is you need a stronger second qualifier. ‘Seeking more information’ on the subject isn’t really a deep demographic, habit, or psychographic trait that sets an audience apart from anyone else.

So I’d look at what specific challenges are they trying to overcome? What unique clusters are out there today? There are LOTS of communities for business owners out there today, which group are you targeting? Those with seven figure revenues? Those 1-man band groups? Those who work in a specific field? You have to narrow it down at this point to find a group of needs you can cater towards better than anything else.

Speaking from a personal perspective, I’d happily join a group that helped me overcome a specific challenge we had. Advice here would be really good. For example, we have trouble recruiting great staff, we have trouble finding great designers, we have trouble optimising our sales processes etc… Interview 50 members of your target audience and you’ll soon get a few common themes that you can work from.

A final note, many of these communities for freelancers/businesses become solely about how to find work. Try to avoid that :slight_smile:

(Dave Charbonneau) #6

Thanks, Richard, for your input on this. It’s been a bit tricky to narrow down that qualifier. A SelfEntepriser is one who discovers what they love to do, then figures out how to get paid to do it. Another, boring version, of that description: Someone who creates revenue from their hobbies, skills, or refined interests. People can get stuck in both learning their next steps AND in discovering their passion (as odd as that may sound).

I meet people all the time that want to be in business for themselves, but they just don’t know where to get started or what to do. In addition, there are those who started out, are making income, but the business more or less runs them rather than the other way around.

We’re providing a small set of tools and language individuals can use if they want them, but the real value is in having others accessible who are going thru similar struggles or have recently gone through them.

You could say the value I seek to produce is helping people to discover their next steps while utilizing principles of accountability to ensure those steps are taken.

And thanks for the heads-up, but while folks can seek support in figuring out how to get paid to do what they love, we don’t supply leads or things along those lines. They can work on their sales and marketing skills within our group, but that’s not the crux of the group.

So, I’m not certain how to whittle down the above description into a 2-part qualifier. I am starting to interview people beginning next week (those I’m finding thru the CHIP process), and so I can look for those common threads as I move forward.

But any other thoughts are most welcome, too. Thanks, again!

(Richard Millington) #7

I’d suggest simply picking a segment that you know best. What group of hobbyists/passionate people do you know best and help them to get paid and build revenue streams for what they do.

For example the ‘influencer’ crowd have a few communities around that. They connect and like one another, help one another etc…So pick a segment and work it to death then gradually expand.

(Dave Charbonneau) #8

Thanks, again. :slight_smile: