Here are my SIX key takeaways from our conversation. 👇
Discover your Ideal Self
People are having a crisis of identity. We are all looking for something to hang our hat on, something we can feel a part of. We’re seeking happiness and fulfillment.
If you want to truly be happy, you need to understand who you are and what type of person you want to be. You have to be comfortable in your own skin. Be confident in what you are pursing and where you’re heading.
Being in community is a great way to reinforce that confidence in yourself. Surrounding yourself with community may be the thing that leads to you discovering that natural confidence inside of you. You’re able to see others having success, and it gives you hope moving forward in your own life.
Happiness and fulfillment are found in knowing who you are. There is no substitute for the peace of mind and clarity that self-awareness and confidence brings. Start leaning into community and those around you in order to strengthen this muscle even further.
The Power of Community
Are you looking for like-minded people who share the same goals and passions as you do? Maybe you don’t have any friends with common interests. Now, more than ever, people are craving connection.
If you’re feeling like you’re alone in your life and in your pursuits, start looking for ways to connect with others who you have something in common with. Find out where they hang out and where they congregate. With online resources, it is becoming incredibly easy to find like-minded individuals.
Join an online community that’s specifically tailored to your interests. You will find people there who can help you get from point A to point B. Or, if you just want to know you’re not alone, there are plenty of people to connect with.
We’ve become more and more distanced from community in western cultures, to the point where people are starved for it. We crave it. Online communities are a great tool you can use to help connect you with people who can take you where you want to go.
Lower Churn in your Online Community
You did the hard part of attracting people to your online community, but then they just bounce right back out.
You can’t smell bad online, so what gives?
They didn’t know what they were supposed to do next after signing up.
The focus of onboarding someone is making it very clear what they should do next. Every time they take the next step they should know they did the right thing.
You want them to be able to put their best foot forward. Fill out your profile. Here’s what a good profile looks like. Then, you want them to feel comfortable in the space. Here, take this video tour. Understand how to use this space.
They know the space and have a profile; now they should introduce themselves. This is when you want to interject this one-to-one connection. That might be you, as the community creator.
After that, it’s about encouraging them to start engaging regularly.
Voila! Now they’re happily chatting in your online community instead of bouncing off somewhere else.
Increase Community Engagement
How do you help facilitate that one-to-one connection between people in your community?
How do you make people excited to be members and bring their friends into the fold?
Pay attention to their posts.
Most peoples’ social media experience is to post to the void or a handful out of hundreds of friends. Looking at and responding to what they put in your community sends a strong signal.
It makes them say, “Oh, somebody listened, they expressed interest, I can talk about my thing more.”
This also adds potential connections with other members, opportunity to pull people in. They say something that makes you think of Ken. Ken gets a notification that he’s being talked to, and he joins in.
David Bates says that community exists when someone knows you are gone, so there’s a version of tracking you might do for when the group gets quieter.
Pay attention to people. It shows that person so much when you invest your time and energy in them. A lot of people aren’t seen or appreciated in their day-to-day life, so that’s incredibly meaningful.
Make Your Online Community Stronger
Making an online community seems simple, but it can turn into a mess fast!
If you throw one together or create one based on an inconsistent brand or service, it is going to be at best, lethargic. It’s likely to be inactive or a headache to manage.
It’s in your hands. Here are some important steps you can take if you want a strong community online.
To make your online community engaging and easy to manage, give plenty of resources for people to self-select.
If your community’s purpose, reason for existing, and guidelines are too vague, you end up with a wide range of avatars joining the community for different reasons, and you don’t know why.
It’s hard to have a strategy for making the community great if you don’t know the purpose.
There’s also the question of service: What are you doing for people? Why would they come here?
It might be identity, connection, or a specific transformation. You can filter this with a literal application.
It makes the community stronger if you understand what people are trying to get out of it so that you can serve that need.
Filtering is huge. The more that you can do to help people self-select good fits for your community, the better off you are.
Increase Retention in Your Online Community
You work hard for every member in your online community, only to have them slink out in the night.
Don’t you wish you could do exit interviews?
The best way you can increase retention is to optimize your onboarding experience for having a 1-to-1 connection with an existing member.
If you can do that right off the bat, that is a huge domino to push over that will drastically improve retention, get people coming back, and then they’re going to want to pay that forward.
People are more comfortable if they know someone else there.
Say you show up to a populated space but you get ignored. Maybe you’re brave enough even to say something and they ignore you or they’re mean to you, you’re not going to come back. You’re not going to have a good experience.
As a community leader, anyone modeling the positive behavior that you want that’s strengthening the community, you need to throw love on that person. Absolutely appreciate them.
It’s harder to build those 1-to-1 connections yourself after you have a large community, but at the start, it’s essential. With luck, you build a group culture that is friendly and welcoming along the way.
Note: This transcript of the episode was machine-generated and has not been edited for correctness. It’s provided for your convenience when searching. Please excuse any errors.
Brendan Hufford – 70 jay clouse-1
Brendan Hufford: [00:00:00] All right now we’re recording. Um, there’s no official, so like start to this. I don’t believe in asking guests to introduce themselves. I think that’s extremely disrespectful. Uh, so I won’t do that to you. Uh, you know what I mean? Like, can you imagine, can you imagine, like Barack Obama goes on Marc Maron’s podcast and he’s like, tell the people what you’re working on and he’s
[00:00:21] Jay: [00:00:21] yeah,
[00:00:22] Brendan Hufford: [00:00:22] yeah.
[00:00:22] It’s, it’s treat them that
[00:00:24] Jay: [00:00:24] way. It’s a recipe for disaster because like the more. The more awesome your guest is. And the more worthwhile they are to hear from like the more likely they are to be humble and not talk about their things, stuck going be like, Oh, tell me about you. Well, I won a Nobel peace prize for my work doing this.
[00:00:38] It’s like, no, one’s going to do that. Like, you need to outline for the listener. Like, obviously I’m talking to this person for a reason. I’m going to tell you why I’m talking to this person and why you should care. So I love that.
[00:00:48] Brendan Hufford: [00:00:48] Yeah. We’re going to do that. People will have already, I don’t we’ll we’ll trust the, the editing team, uh, To to decide whether we keep this chat in or not.
[00:00:56] But, you know, I want to give you an idea because what I wanted to have you on is a couple of reasons. Number one, I love you a fan of your work and just, it’s a nice excuse to chat for 75 minutes. Um, second, I’ve been really challenged by J a Kenzo to think about like the premise of my show, because when I was at my last agency, we were putting together a podcast and my CEO asked me.
[00:01:21] Well, would this be your favorite podcast? And I was like, no, not maybe. Because I’ll do a great job. And he’s like, well, you know, it’s just this idea of like, we’ve all heard the same business podcast interviews with the same 50 people. And they’re always like, it’s very rare. You listen to like three interviews at the same person.
[00:01:40] It’s like, wow, those were radically different, you know? So it’s like, well, if, unless I’m doing something different and you know, sometimes different is better than better, like, but what is the premise? Like what is the journey that we’re going on here together in the SEO for the rest of his podcast and what I’ve always felt as an outsider in the industry.
[00:02:00] Um, and really to be the future of Google and search is that if you want to win at SEO and you you’re getting cold traffic, essentially from Google, You have to very quickly become somebody’s favorite, right? Like the first time they read your blog, they’re coming into this blog. And if it’s that generic, like you’ve read those blogs like that generic, like I call it like the B2B blogging type of thing.
[00:02:28] Like, uh, you can tell that you use the keyword in the first sentence of the first paragraph, because they’re trying to do that thing.
[00:02:34] Jay: [00:02:34] Yeah. I hadn’t thought about in terms of favorite. I liked that as a frame though, because I’m more and more trying to challenge myself to like, have. And even higher bar of quality and all the things that I do, like credit to James clear, actually between him and Tim ever been talking about A-plus plus work.
[00:02:48] But, um, I always thought about things in terms of remarkability. And that’s an easy, like parlay into being a favorite, but I genuinely do strive for things to be like, literally remarkable something that actually pulls you out of your expectations and, uh, you know, your, your general experience to say, Oh, this is different or this is better.
[00:03:07] Or this is unique in this way. Like remarkability is the bar that I’ve typically tried to go for, but I actually like vapor favoritism even higher than that. And if it’s gonna be your favorite, like chances are remarkable in the first place. Anyway, I like that.
[00:03:20] Brendan Hufford: [00:03:20] I would totally agree with you because what I’m finding this thread so far in the season, as I’m talking to people, is that it’s very hard to be somebody’s favorite without being prolific.
[00:03:31] Without creating a lot of media over time. Um, I want to talk to you about this, like a plus work thing, because one where I’ve landed. So we’ll come back to the prolific piece, but let’s talk about like quality and stuff for a second. You mentioned a plus work. I’ve been trying to consider this idea of B plus work with a plus consistency.
[00:03:51] Um, that I heard from David Parral recently. Where do you land on that? Like, can you, is it consistency over quality and is it, you don’t have to choose number one? Yeah, sometimes
[00:04:03] Jay: [00:04:03] you do. I’ve been thinking this a lot in this season of my work and my business actually. And I think the B plus work with a plus consistency works in short for mediums.
[00:04:15] Uh, I think that.
[00:04:17] If you want something that’s long form and enduring, it needs to be a plus work and consistency doesn’t matter as much. And so like for me personally, I’m definitely, I’m getting to a point where I can do a place consistently consistency. I’ve done it for three years. I have 600 blog posts.
[00:04:33] It’s absurd, but I, that hamster wheel of two weekly newsletters, two weekly podcasts. I’m doing probably B plus work and that’s okay. But I just have a sense that, okay. I know what I’m trying to do. I know I’m trying to say, I know who I’m talking to. I know how I say it, but I, I want there to be more there, there, I want something that’s more enduring, something that’s more considered something that has higher share-ability for the fact that it is remarkable.
[00:05:00] And it’s like, this is somebody who wrote this in a way I hadn’t thought about, I, I have like three of those 600 blog posts that have that element to them and they get shared far more than anything else. Because if you can take the time to like dig into a topic and explain it in a way that just is more time and effort into it than anyone else has put, they might not completely agree with it, but they don’t know enough about it to disagree with it.
[00:05:24] So that like becomes their viewpoint because they’re like, well, this is now my defacto resource on how I think about this topic because this person thought about it more and I don’t have enough experience with it to disagree. So, this is what I’m going to reference to and point to as, Oh, you want to learn about X, like read Jay’s blog post about it.
[00:05:43] This, this is a blog post about community that I’m thinking about that gets referenced more. Anything else I’ve written recently because I put a lot of time into it and it’s not just the writing time. Like I’ve thought about community and built community for a lot of years. That’s a level of experience as an unfair advantage that I can distill into something written that.
[00:05:59] People just haven’t seen as much. And I’m finding that that’s where I want to lean into in this next season of my creative work. Um, which is scary because if you’ve already created an expectation of consistency, it’s hard to slow down momentum or change the relationship to your audience that you have.
[00:06:19] But I think it’s, I think it’s kind of necessary and I really only think you get there and get to a place of understanding and, uh, an ability to. Make that quality of work once you’ve been prolific. I do think there’s like a stage of being prolific that you have to walk through to find your voice, to find what you care about.
[00:06:36] Define what people care about reading from you specifically. I don’t think you can. I don’t say you can’t, it’s hard to skip that step.
[00:06:44] Brendan Hufford: [00:06:44] It is, you know, I’ve, I think we’ve all tried to like brainstorm. You’re like, yeah, well, what are, who are the outliers that made like two things and they were just great.
[00:06:51] Now there’s people who can make less. Right. There’s a, I forget who is his name? Is he is a course called part-time YouTuber, but he’s like a really cool, like, yeah, like he’s made way less videos than most people typically make. To get to where he’s at. His videos are very good though. They’re very, very, and I think that gets glossed over how good it is.
[00:07:14] So it is a plus enduring work. I will watch a 45 minute video of his to, to, to learn about how one of his colleagues remembers all this stuff in med school. It just because I’m like, there’s something
[00:07:26] Jay: [00:07:26] there consistently. Good. And in Ali’s case, whether by. Uh, it’s not by luck because I talked to him and I know that he did this intentionally.
[00:07:34] He found, uh, a terrain that was pretty untrodden on, like there weren’t a lot of people blogging about being a med school student, uh, at Cambridge. And so even if, like, if you have a position that is rare and there are people that are interested in that topic, it’s a lot easier to get to that place of higher success in a shorter timeframe.
[00:07:56] If you’re creating quality work.
[00:07:59] Brendan Hufford: [00:07:59] Um, and I think, you know, as he introduces that in a lot of his videos, it gives it a, uh, a premise right. Of, Oh, you use these productivity tips to be really good in med school. And I’m sure there’s a lot of people in, in. That are also on that career path that are like, Oh, this is my new home base.
[00:08:18] But even if you’re not, it’s like, you’re not some dork trying to be productive because you’re like a startup bro. Right? Like that’s not who this audience is. It’s like, Oh, you’re like a career path I’m familiar with. And I understand the demands of it. And I understand why you learn like all of that is wrapped into Cambridge.
[00:08:36] Right? Like it’s just all of a sudden that story is very clear and it’s told very well. Uh, the thing is, I’m glad you mentioned the community side of things. Cause that’s what I want to talk about today, because I think there’s this idea of being prolific, publicly that can make you people’s favorite. But I was listening to recently an interview with Seth Goden about this idea of like publish, you know, write something and publish it every day.
[00:09:01] And it was like, you know, most of what I write is not good. If I publish every day, that’s going to hurt. Like the value that I bring to the world. And Seth was like, Oh, I don’t publish. Like I write like five or six articles every day. Some of times it’s two sentences and I scrap it. Sometimes it’s three paragraphs and I scrap it.
[00:09:19] I publish every day. I don’t write just one thing every day. And it was like, Oh, it’s not just about being prolific, publicly, maybe being prolific behind closed doors, sometimes privately assessed does, but possibly also in a community. There’s a, there’s a level of needing to be prolific there too. What do you think?
[00:09:42] Jay: [00:09:42] Yeah, community is just. I think a community like a living organism. And actually I think of the communities that I run as like one with me, I am part of that living organism, but you have to feed it. You have to feed it all the time and you have to keep it healthy and you have to get rid of sicknesses.
[00:09:55] Like it’s, it’s, it’s a full time effort. And whether it’s you creating consistent content, if you want to call it that, like that usually takes the form. In my opinion of more like. Um, dialogue with the community itself, as opposed to, Hey, here’s a post and share it. Like, I don’t think, I don’t think of my communities as another broadcast channel that shares your thoughts and invite people to comment on it.
[00:10:23] And that’s, that’s fine. Those, those are valid communities. Um, it just feels more like a comment section to me, which isn’t as interesting to me, like to me, my, my ideal form of community is about. Peer to peer connection. And while a lot of creators have an opportunity for creep for community, because they’ve built an audience that has just say a ton of one-to-one connections between them and the individual in the audience.
[00:10:46] When you start to connect those nodes and have a PDP network of your audience, that can be a community, but it does need to be about connecting those people and not just about necessarily. Green a new transparent version of your one-to-one connection with the creator. It’s not a great community experience.
[00:11:03] I think that’s probably a challenging community to run because people will care more about their relationship to you as a creator and won’t necessarily respect and respond to the other people around them as kindly as they would, if they’re thinking about it as a community for themselves too. Um, but it is a constant machine that you need to feed in various ways.
[00:11:26] Brendan Hufford: [00:11:26] Tell me. Do you have any, what’s your, what’s your take on on before we dive into community stuff, I don’t want to skip this question. What’s your take on SEO? Is it something you pursue? Is it worthwhile? Like w where does that stand with
[00:11:38] Jay: [00:11:38] you? I didn’t start paying attention to SEO until March of 2020. And there is a direct correlation between when I started caring and the performance of my business.
[00:11:51] My website’s like you can, it’s hilarious. You can look at the graphs of traffic for the two websites where I made an effort for SEO this year. And if you look month over month, it’s. Steady, if not close to exponential growth in traffic and page views. So I’m very, very bullish on it. I think it’s very important.
[00:12:10] It’s a huge effort for me because at the end of the day, you know, whether it’s that circle post I was talking about, or, um, a couple of articles I wrote for freelancing. So this year 90% of my traffic, if not more, is coming from a couple of articles on the website. It’s in, that’s driving a huge part of my business now it’s, it’s unbelievable.
[00:12:29] So, uh, very bullish on it and I am very fresh to it. So if I can, if I can grow quite a bit this year with fresh eyes, uh, I think anybody can,
[00:12:41] Brendan Hufford: [00:12:41] so here’s, what’s cool in that I’ve heard this what you just said from a lot of different people. Um, I don’t think it’s uncommon. I think that it’s also really interesting in that.
[00:12:52] It’s always somebody who under, like, it’s never, it’s almost never SEO first. It’s I have this experience. I’ve done this thing. I have this expertise. I might even have this community behind me and now I just want to be more discoverable and I don’t. It’s not that you can’t go the other way. There’s plenty of people that spin up affiliate websites and affiliate SEO is a very big thing.
[00:13:19] Um, there’s some people that do it with a lot of integrity. Like I’ve had Matt on the podcast. He does swim university, a lot of brew cabin. He had a coffee, one, like a lot of integrity. Those are like his passions. And, um, like he’s loves guy loves pools. Um, but, uh, I think that there has to be, it’s easier when you have this, this thing behind you, when you can be discoverable.
[00:13:44] And then when people are reading it, it’s like, Oh, okay. I get it. Like, let’s talk about the one specifically about building online communities. Cause I want to, I want to break down some pieces of that. Cause I think it’s so valuable, but when you’re putting together something like that, Anybody who’s trying to build an online community, can iMeet like RBS meters or so turned up.
[00:14:04] I can tell whether, you know, what you’re talking about or you just read 10 other articles about it. And people are like, well, like I can tell as a human and I think long game SEO, you need that because most of the like B2B business content, right? Like, um, is just a lot of, like, I read 10 other articles and here’s kind of like the synthesis of it.
[00:14:26] Jay: [00:14:26] Yeah. I mean, I don’t know. I don’t really know how the inner workings of all this stuff works, but my assumption is Google has a good sense of how long people are staying on your page. Once you visit a link. And I think the human written articles who have deep expertise or at least experience in an arena are probably going to invite longer read times that are going to float to the top.
[00:14:50] Brendan Hufford: [00:14:50] And I think as well, even if they’re not like pulling necessarily from Google analytics or something like that as a ranking factor, which I don’t think they are, uh, just because we can’t even get Google analytics and search console to talk to each other properly all the time. And those are both Google products.
[00:15:05] I don’t think like the algorithm team is actually able to communicate with the analytics team effectively, but, but I do think like, Of like if spark Toro, which is a great tool can pull, like here’s the top podcasts, the top, whatever the top blogs, the top things by like social shares, social sharing isn’t necessarily a huge ranking factor.
[00:15:27] But Google can tell what the people love. Right. And I think one of the other things is once you’re somebody’s favorite, I’ll give you an example. I think he ranks number one, but, uh, we had mentioned James clear when I was looking up intermittent fasting and I saw him in the search results, immediate click.
[00:15:42] I don’t want to read anybody else’s guide. I want to read James’s guide cause he’s already my favorite. And that once you’re on the first page, owning that like. Oh, people love you. See it a lot on YouTube, like a terrible video, but it’s like a creator. People love they’ll click that more than they’ll watch it, even though it’s not as good, but they’re already their favorites.
[00:16:01] So they stay up on top, you know?
[00:16:03] Jay: [00:16:03] Totally. Yeah. I mean, if I’m looking for an answer on something and I, and I searched for it and. One of the responses is somebody that I’ve already known, experienced and trusted their work. Like, yeah, I’m going to go to them first if I’m looking to see like, okay, what’s, what’s the new iPhone 12 all about.
[00:16:16] And I see that MBK HD has a video. Yeah. I’m going to click his first. I just, I just am.
[00:16:22] Brendan Hufford: [00:16:22] Oh, I show you. Do you have, did you, did you, uh, I, I was, so I was so proud. But I like, I conned out my phone. This is kind of, you’re watching, you’re watching the video. Um, but at the same thing, I saw a thing. I was like, Oh, I think that could do something cool with my phone.
[00:16:37] And I saw it, like he had a video that blew up about it and I’m like sold, done. And he recommended that you buy this one thing off, Gumroad done sold. I think that guy made like a hundred thousand dollars off of icons. Like anyways, like this is if you know these stories, you know what I’m talking about.
[00:16:50] But my point is like, yeah, it’s like, Oh, that’s my favorite person. I definitely want to watch this. So. But I think this, I wanted to come back to the, the idea of prolific, right. And there’s a value to being prolific behind closed doors and building community. And there’s a lot of different ways. To build community, but I, I wanted to talk first about the why, um, you kind of talk about two different pieces, like building, you should build community to create connection and give people a better transformation.
[00:17:19] I’m wondering if you can, you can talk more about that.
[00:17:21] Jay: [00:17:21] Yeah. I mean, ultimately people are, people are self-interested, but they have different interests. So you need to understand, like, who are the people you’re serving and what is, what is the need that they’re seeking for a lot of people, it’s like, I am at point a, I want to get to point B and that may be like, I’m 180 pounds.
[00:17:38] I’m gonna get to 150 pounds. It may be, I am a college educated. English teacher, but I actually want to be a copywriter, like
[00:17:47] there’s point a’s and point B’s is for everybody, you need to understand who are the people you’re serving and what is the transformation they’re trying to go through from point a to point B that’s that’s the goal that a lot, like that’s the goal-oriented mindset a lot of people have, and they might join a community to help them experience that transformation because there’s accountability.
[00:18:06] They feel like they’re not alone. They want to trust, uh, get to know and trust other people who can show them along the path. And that that takes the form of community for a lot of people. Other people just generally want to meet more people like them. It’s not necessarily about transformation directly.
[00:18:21] It’s it’s about how do I find my people? Like I I took an early version of altMBA and my takeaway from that, like people rave about the community of altMBA and the community is great. That’s not why I took the program. I wasn’t necessarily lacking community, but my peers around me, like they all. were just like, I don’t have people in my life like this.
[00:18:42] This is life-changing for me to find other people like me who are ambitious, who want more out of their, their work and their jobs. And it was just transformational for them in that way. They weren’t necessarily that wasn’t necessarily why they showed up. Um, you know, I think a lot about kind of the product management idea of come for the X state for the Y it’s it’s really.
[00:19:06] Easy to market some value propositions and really hard to message and market other things. Like it’d be hard to just have a $3,000 paid program to say, come meet some of the people that you’ve been wanting to meet. We’re not gonna tell you their names. So we can’t tell you who they are specifically, but you’re gonna be glad you met him.
[00:19:22] That’s just a hard value prop to do. And yet that is the thing that when people talk about all the MBA, that’s what they, that’s what they talk about. So community is incredibly valuable. I don’t think people understand just how much we appreciate and, and, um, Seek out genuine connection. And it’s just, you know, historically as social creatures, we’ve connected with the people around us, but Western society has blown us up into like all these grid systems in houses where we live alone or with a partner and our kids.
[00:19:54] And we’ve distanced ourselves from the idea of community and what we experience as community. And now that we have a way to tap right into. Uh, the psychographic profile of people like us. If we know how to, how to look, it’s, it’s really powerful. And like, we’re, we’re wired to love that.
[00:20:13] Brendan Hufford: [00:20:13] Talk to me about, I feel like we live in this identity economy, right?
[00:20:18] Like people are, they see themselves here. We talked about transformation. They see themselves here and they’re trying to adopt this identity where they’re trying to become this other thing. W Y I’m I’m asking you in like a practical sense, but also is it in an existential sense? Why is that so hard to do alone?
[00:20:40] Jay: [00:20:40] I just think that the systems that we grow up in, like, we are appreciated for achievement. We’re always put into some sort of box. And I don’t think that we’re taught, self-reliance really, we’re taught to seek out like approval, whether it’s a grade, whether it’s a job, like we’re constantly seeking out, uh, some sort of status that we’re granted by somebody else.
[00:21:06] There’s no, there’s no grade in school to say, Hey, you’re really comfortable in your own skin. Like good job. It’s it’s like you accomplish this or. You got this many answers on the, on the test, right? Or you got into this program because you wrote a great essay. There’s, there’s not training for people to get comfortable with who they are.
[00:21:26] So I think until you have a way of recognizing that as an aspiration and working towards it yourself, you’re just chasing that next. Level of acceptance in status that you think is going to make you feel happy? Like this is really existential. I think, I think about
[00:21:44] identity is the biggest crisis people have.
[00:21:47] And until you wake up and realize like, Oh, this is a problem that I have, like who I am is something that I decide and something that I connect to very personally and I can separate that from what I do. And I can separate that from who I’m around. Like, I can make decisions for who I am on the life that I want to live and the person that I want to be.
[00:22:03] We don’t have training for that. I feel very lucky that I worked with a creative coach named Chris. And he taught that, like I learned this from him and I got so much more comfortable, so quickly where I just felt very at peace with the things that I was willing to admit to myself that I wanted in this life.
[00:22:22] And I feel very comfortable saying no to people and opportunities that I just aren’t going to add to my happiness, that I can recognize. Aren’t gonna add to my happiness. Aren’t going to make me feel more whole because I’m already very whole. It’s it’s, it’s hard that we don’t have this. And so I think people grapple onto other identities that they see because they relate to the other people who relate to that identity.
[00:22:50] If that makes sense. Um, they see like, Oh, she’s happy. She relates very strongly to this idea or goes to this program or is a part of this movement. Maybe I like that. And I think when they form connections with people underneath that shared identity, they start to identify with it too, because this changed me, this made me feel happier And they’re actually probably getting closer to a more idealistic version of themselves and understanding themselves.
[00:23:20] And so they credit that to the institution, the community, the movement. Uh, and are happy about that, but like, ultimately, if anybody wants to be happy, like you need to understand who you are and what, what type of person you want to be, and, and, uh, you know, just be comfortable in your own skin. And sometimes community helps people discover that, um, and, and people seek it out because they see other people having that transformation of happiness, of comfort.
[00:23:48] Brendan Hufford: [00:23:48] And I think creating a space where other people can tell you, not like call you out on your BS, but tell you when you’re not living up to your potential. Right. I’ve had a few people, I’ve tried to do this for other people in my life from like, Hey man, this is not for you. Like, this is not where you should be at.
[00:24:03] I had somebody DME, uh, somebody considered to be a friend DME on Twitter the other day, maybe like a month ago. And they were like, just like, I’m gonna make a prediction, just screenshot this. I’m going to tell you about your future and what you’re going to do. And it was so empowering because it’s a thing that I couldn’t give myself permit we’re in, we’re deep down the personal development rabbit hole right now, but like it was something I couldn’t give myself permission to do and believe to be true.
[00:24:27] And then to hear somebody that I consider that I look up to and trust to be like, Oh, no, like this is definitely going to happen. And, and it wasn’t about like some arbitrary money sort of thing or whatever else, if you’re going to make a million dollars this year or something like, nothing like that. But just, you know, I mean, honestly, like I, when I look around my office, like half of my, I have this wonderful, uh, I follow this account on Instagram called we’re not really strangers.
[00:24:51] I love them. They have a self-reflection journal. Which is it’s these little cards, first of all, it’s a reflection journal and it’s reflective. Whoa, love it comes with these little cards. You pull a card out every day. You answer the prompt. I mean, even the edges of it are reflective. It’s so great. But you just, I had, I figured out J like, if I, if I want, if I want to like myself, first of all, like I think a lot of people build.
[00:25:14] Out of a feeling of self-loathing like, they’re still trying to like, let’s be personal. Like I’m still trying to like, when my parents affection and like be cool in high school, like there’s a lot of stuff I’m trying to like still deal with. Thanks therapy for helping me figure that out. Um, but like, I can’t keep building past the point I’m at, from a place of self-loathing and a place of negativity of telling myself I’m a piece of crap all the time.
[00:25:37] I’ve built a lot from that. That’s a very good motivator, but after a certain while, like, you’re, you, you become so toxic that I was like, what if I like liked myself? What if I built from that place? How can you can’t uh, Bernay Brown says like you can’t share, what’s not in your heart. Right. Like, I can’t build a community.
[00:25:57] I can’t be prolific. I can’t be anybody’s favorite if I’m not my favorite.
[00:26:02] Jay: [00:26:02] Yeah. And if you’re, it was a loss that’s heavy not to mention like your vibe attracts your tribe. And if like you are standing for negativity or identifying with, well, I’m against this and other people identify with you, like that’s not going to attract.
[00:26:18] Positive abundant, like happy whole people. It’s just not. So like the more that you are, the model of the type of person you want to be around, the more that happens and vice versa.
[00:26:31] Brendan Hufford: [00:26:31] Yeah, you’ve also talked about, and I want to touch on this too, because I think it’s where we’re at is why online communities fail, right?
[00:26:38] Like you, you build them to create connection and to give people a better transformation than they could get in a self-paced course or just with education alone. But you kind of highlighted a couple of reasons. I want to kind of walk through them around like why online communities fail, because I’ve, I’ve done a lot of these things.
[00:26:56] Um, The first thing is just starting out with the wrong motivation. Like, what are you, what kind of wrong motivation do you see people starting building communities
[00:27:04] Jay: [00:27:04] with? Yeah. And all these reasons for failure, like. Most of them are unintentional. Let me just put that out there. Like it’s it’s and it’s not because you’re ill meaning.
[00:27:14] Um, it’s just a hard thing to do so wrong. Motivation to me is, and this is going to be rampant over the next year, two years. We’re going to see us everywhere. It just feels like, Oh, community’s easy. I can just give, I can just throw my audience at a digital platform and they’ll generate the content and they’ll take care of themselves.
[00:27:34] Like I can understand how you make that leap and theoretically, think that could happen. And you feel like that’s an easy thing to create and maintain. It’s not going to take a lot of time. It’s not going to have to be super intentional for how I get people into the community or how I connect them together.
[00:27:49] It’ll just work. And because that feels easy because that feels like a low time commitment that’s often added on as just like an add on benefit to whatever I’m already selling, whether it’s a course or orienting like that, it’s like Dan, you get access to our exclusive community. If you don’t actually put intention into building a true communal community, that people are investing time and energy into your point about favorites really relates to communities.
[00:28:14] Also, they’re not gonna show up and there’s going to be no value in it. And it’s going to devalue the idea of community in their heads. It’s going to devalue your promises to them in their head. So yeah, the biggest failure that I see is just people not taking it. Actually seriously and understanding like what it means to create a digital space where people feel psychologically safe and connected to the people around them.
[00:28:36] That’s that’s for sure. The number one reason that I see things not work out,
[00:28:42] Brendan Hufford: [00:28:42] then I also talked about, uh, because we’re going to talk about like how to do this right here in a little bit, but talk to me about like the, uh, Maybe like looking at the wrong metrics or focusing on the wrong metrics.
[00:28:55] Jay: [00:28:55] Yeah, this is, this is definitely another one.
[00:28:56] I mean, anything that you’re thinking about with your community, just start thinking about what if this was a physical room of people and that should like really inform how you go about things. If you had a meetup. Or a recurring meetup, you know, think about a recurring meetup as a community. And you want people to come to that.
[00:29:16] You would want them to have a good experience. When they walked in the door, you would want someone to help show them around the space. You’d want somebody to help connect them to other people around them. Otherwise, they’re not going to show up, like if you, if you show up to a meta for the first time and you don’t know anybody around you.
[00:29:32] Chances are you took some travel to get there and you committed that you wanted to be here and you’ll grin and work through the discomfort of meeting somebody there. And now you’re in, in a digital space. If you go to a place and you feel uncomfortable when you feel unsure about what to do there, or who to talk to, it’s really easy to exit.
[00:29:49] There’s no cost. And so people will. And as far as metrics go more directly to your question, you covered
[00:29:57] Brendan Hufford: [00:29:57] another point on like onboarding as well, right? Like that, onboarding that like, Hey, come on in. Here’s some people you should meet this person’s really cool, blah, blah, blah. You know, that sort of thing.
[00:30:06] Like a lot of online communities fail because of the onboarding
[00:30:09] Jay: [00:30:09] experience you mentioned, you know, going to the Arnold, think about a gym or a fitness community. Think about CrossFit. I love to use cross that as an example of community. Usually when somebody gets into CrossFit, they’re brought in by somebody else or introduced to the idea by somebody else.
[00:30:24] So right off the bat, you have a safety blanket. And then often you’re probably shown around the physical space. Like literally here are the different stations. Here are the people that can help you with these stations. Those people are warm and welcoming them. I give you a hug because you’re in person.
[00:30:40] You have like a genuine human connection. It’s just biological that you can’t deny. That’s such a great welcoming experience where you’re like, Ooh, I feel comfortable. I can go back there. Maybe I can go back there on my own, even without my friend. And I can, I can get by because I’m going to know somebody else there.
[00:30:56] It is, that’s a difficult experience to replicate digitally and people don’t even try. And so like if you show up to a space and there are people there, but they’re ignoring you and maybe you’re brave enough even to say something and they ignore you or they’re mean to you and you don’t feel like you have that same biological, like human connection.
[00:31:16] You’re not going to come back. You’re not going to have a good experience. It’s not going to be good. Uh, I really think that just very, very few people think about that. And so to me, one of the best things that you can do is just optimize for how quickly in a digital community can I help a new member have a one-to-one connection with somebody else so that they feel comfortable.
[00:31:37] Like, if you can do that right off the bat, that is a huge domino to push over that like will drastically improve, like improve retention, get people coming back, and then they’re gonna want to pay that forward. They’re going to say, man, when I came, I was so glad that I had Brendan to show me around. I want to do that for somebody else.
[00:31:55] I want to be the warm, welcoming person of another person. And then as a community, Leader, you see this positive behavior, anyone modeling the positive behavior that you want, that’s strengthened the community. You need to throw love on that person. Like absolutely appreciate them because this is a growing animal.
[00:32:12] As I said, as it grows, it’s harder for you to do all of that for everybody. So when other people are taking the initiative to do that, you need to say, I see that you’re doing that. I see you. I appreciate you. And I want to encourage you to keep doing that. Because they may not know, like, is this my place people may not know from the leader, the community manager, like, is it okay that I do this?
[00:32:31] And I take on this initiative to welcome people and show them around the space when somebody does that, you say that was awesome. Other people are gonna say, Oh, I can do that. I didn’t know I could do that. And it’s appreciated. I’m going to do that. It elevates my status in the eyes of the creator or the community, a proprietor type of thinking you need when you’re bringing people into the community.
[00:32:51] Brendan Hufford: [00:32:51] It’s funny, as you’re saying this, I’m like, not that different than content. It’s really not. Like the YouTube videos, you make the podcasts, you do the blogs, you write all of these things. So if somebody is listening and they’re like, well, I don’t really think I’m going to have a community, but I love this podcast.
[00:33:07] So I’m listening. And I agree with your premise of like, this will help me figure out how to be somebodies favorite. All the things we’re talking about still very much apply. Um, the other thing you mentioned was wrong metrics, uh, and I think you, this didn’t happen, but you know, you, you kind of mentioned.
[00:33:22] Uh, in the, like the ultimate guide that you’d put together around, like, you know, having a 20,000 person Slack group, is that, does that make it community? And I can tell you as the person that ran a 40,000 person Facebook group for smart, passive income, it does not, not that that was a negative, right? Like that, that was a place for people to just kind of do what we talked about.
[00:33:43] Like at the introduction of like, Hey, there’s a lot of other people that are doing this thing. And I remember when I discovered. Online business. I had no, I was a teacher and it was like, Oh my God, there’s this whole world, like living above the world that I’m in or, you know, to the side that was empowering.
[00:34:00] But now there’s also, Pat has, you know, you work on this too. Like SPI pro is a very different experience and it’s not that metric of like, Let’s get the, and it could be, it could be like, this is our revenue generator. Let’s get this to 10,000 people because that’s a million dollars a month or whatever. I don’t know.
[00:34:18] I can’t do math. That’s
[00:34:19] Jay: [00:34:19] a metric for like a healthy business line, but that doesn’t make a healthy community. Like I think there are different sets of metrics, right. Because if you think, if you take the example of like a. 45,000 person Facebook group, I think about a 45,000 person audience. It’s you’re talking about a state and like how many people feel ownership over a stadium to the point where they want to pick up their own trash.
[00:34:42] Even like, people are just like, Oh, I can just throw this on the ground because they pay people to come clean this up. And you’re not necessarily saying like, I can’t wait to meet people in the next section over you’re having an individualized experience for the thing. And you don’t feel that much responsibility over the space.
[00:34:58] Same, same thing applies here. So with, with metrics, people focus on engagement and let’s talk about why they focus on engagement. They focus on engagement because they think that is what means the community is healthy. But really what you’re trying to get to is you want to have a community of people who are happy to be there and are continuously investing time and energy into being in there and making the community better.
[00:35:26] But like, what’s the metric for that? It’s hard to do that. Maybe you maybe send an NPS and get something on that. But like engagement is, is like the proxy that we use because we think, well, if they’re active, they must be enjoying it and that’s not necessarily true. It’s it’s really not. So you want to.
[00:35:41] Set up your own set of metrics to understand it’s going to be dependent on your audience because like take, take people on Reddit. People love Reddit. People love the subreddits that they’re a part of a huge portion of Redditors are lurkers. They don’t comment at all. They also really value anonymity. So it’s not about connection necessarily.
[00:35:59] It’s more about like, Oh, these people get it. And I can save my, I can speak my mind here safely, whether it, because they don’t know me or because it’s not about meeting people directly. They probably have a very different set of metrics than a community about personal development or self-help where it’s very much about like, Hey, let’s connect as people.
[00:36:19] So for us at SPI with SBI pro my biggest, like one of my biggest metrics that I focus on, and I actually lobbied the circle team to put this into the product is I wanna understand how many unique one-to-one. Conversations are happening. And they, they populated that data into a table that just says like unique message threads today.
[00:36:40] I also get the number of messages, but that doesn’t go far enough. Right. Because you could have one one-to-one conversation that has hundreds of messages just going back and forth. And that’s great, but that doesn’t tell you how many one-to-one connections are happening. So if I’m, if I’m seeing one-to-one connections, I’m getting a sense for, okay.
[00:36:54] People are starting to feel that safety and that comfort within the space because they know somebody here. That’s awesome. I also look at, um, just overall circle has a metric of active members versus inactive members, inactive members. You can be pretty sure that they’re not finding value in the space.
[00:37:14] Like they’re telling you whether it’s because they have decided to themselves they’re not finding value or they just subconsciously haven’t experienced it. If they’re inactive, then they haven’t gotten enough out of the space. That’s a huge metric to track because it’s it behooves you to focus on retention for your community and, uh, much more so than attracting new members.
[00:37:34] It’s just, you have tighter communities when they’re smaller. So it’s better to retain the people you have than trying to be, you know, Bring in one new member for every member you lose. And this is, this is, um, you know, a commentary on paid communities, which a lot of communities aren’t paid communities.
[00:37:49] And you may want to turn out some members and free communities. I tried to turn out some members, uh, who are not upstanding because if they don’t feel again like ownership the space or an incentive, or buy-in into the space, they might not be respectful, kind, compassionate community members that they model behavior that.
[00:38:10] Is counter to what you want. You call that out. You make an example of it. Um, I’ve heard, I think it’s Eric Weinstein and say like heads on sticks. That, that shit doesn’t fly. Like if you come in and you’re doing stuff that you shouldn’t be, we’re gonna put your head on a stick and say, this is what it looks like to not be a community member.
[00:38:28] Goodbye. And I think you’ve got to do that in, in some free communities, but I’m veering off the topic of analytics a little bit. So I’ll
[00:38:35] Brendan Hufford: [00:38:35] stop there. You’re, you’re spot on because like the, you know, I’ve heard from my, uh, Really good friends, uh, with Ken Wallace who runs mastermind jam and that’s, those are paid business mastermind groups.
[00:38:47] And even he’s had people that are paying for business mastermind groups, and every time they’re in their group, they’re just ranting about some other thing. And he, he has to be like, Hey, I love you. This is not a fit. Here’s the door. Right, because especially in a mastermind group, a tight group where you care about each other’s business, as much as your own, and you’re pouring into them as they’re pouring into you.
[00:39:10] And there’s only three to six people or whatever, um, that one toxic person. Is is much bigger. And I think, yeah, for a free group, like we’ve definitely had a heads on six moments with, uh, the SBI Facebook group where it had to be like, that’s not okay. Um, I love that Facebook started protecting moderators.
[00:39:30] They didn’t before you had to reach out with your personal profile. And then when the person was mad that you kicked him out of the group for being a racist, they went now, it was personal. Now it’s a vendetta and Facebook started protecting people like that. Being like this just comes from an anonymous moderator, you know, here’s the rules you broke, please don’t do it again.
[00:39:48] And if they have to be removed again, it just comes from Facebook. Um, I appreciate that. But again like that, doesn’t, that doesn’t build the kind of community. And I, I guess I just want to give permission to people like. Humans are humans. Sometimes the person you see that day, isn’t the person they always are in that season of their life.
[00:40:05] Maybe that’s who they are, but you want to try to attract as much as possible. Let people know. That’s why you see things on sales pages of like this isn’t for you. If right. Cause we just know that it’s going to be not an ideal experience. Um,
[00:40:20] Jay: [00:40:20] go ahead. I want to add on that. Um, Filtering is huge. Like the more that you can do to help people self-select or objectively select good fits for your community, the better off you are, because here’s another reason why communities fail.
[00:40:36] When people have an audience that is broad in their interests or, or what have you, they think, well, that’s create a community and they just say, Hey, I made a community for us here as a digital space. They could have a wide range of avatars if you call them that people who have different problems, who are joining the community for different reasons, and you don’t know why they’re joining, and it’s hard for you to have a strategy for how do I make this community great for them?
[00:41:01] If you don’t know the job to be done, if your community, like you can also think about the jobs to be done framework of your community. What, what is the outcome that we’re doing for people? Is it about identity is about transformation is about connection. You need to. Either filter for that, with the messaging and positioning of who should join this community, you can filter for that with a literal application, uh, which is also something that we implemented with SPI pro, but it’s, it makes the community stronger.
[00:41:26] If you understand what are the people here trying to get out of it so that you can serve that need, and you’ll see all the corresponding metrics of engagement and whatever, get better when you have a match there. But, um, I think if you, if you go and just say, like, this is a community for people who follow this thing, you’re going to have a wide range of people with different jobs to be done of that community.
[00:41:46] It’s going to be hard to serve all of them.
[00:41:48] Brendan Hufford: [00:41:48] Yeah. And just for anybody who doesn’t understand, like jobs to be done is essentially an understanding of like, what is this really doing in this person’s life, right? Like SEO for the rest of us. It might be, I’m an SEO professional. I need to sanity check that if I have a client that their site is falling apart, I can hop in this group and get feedback from other smart SEO people.
[00:42:07] It also for somebody else might be. I’m overwhelmed by SEO. I’ve never done it before. I want to join this community to go through this with other people. Like it’s doing a different job for both of those people. And it’s, I love that framework because it forces you to really think, like, get deep on, like, why are people essentially hiring your product to do this thing?
[00:42:29] Because it might
[00:42:29] Jay: [00:42:29] be like, I just want access to people. It might be, I want to professionally network with people like this. It might be, I believe that people in this group are going to. Share ideas with me that I’m going to learn from, and the whole architecture of how you set up the community is completely different than because take like, uh, uh, let’s take the trends community by, by the hustle.
[00:42:50] People probably join that community cause they, they want to be around other smart thinkers who are sharing ideas and talking about trends. Now, if people in that community, weren’t set up with that expectation and they’re not sharing that the value of the community goes to zero very, very quickly. And, you know, I, I tweeted something about this, Brendan that I know you interacted with.
[00:43:09] Like, if you have a paid community, The value of that community oftentimes is out of your hands. It’s it’s like really in the hands of the people who join it, because people are joining about connection or learning from each other. Like there’s probably a draw of the user generated content within that community for the paid community.
[00:43:27] And so you have to hold space than fostered that you have to make it a gratifying experience for people to dedicate energy into it, or like the whole thing degrades and goes to zero super, super quickly.