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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Today we’ve posted Part 4 of our 5-part podcast miniseries, Finding Community.

Sean’s talked about replacing negative inputs in your life with positive ones, and he’s explained how to find people pursuing greatness in your field and grow alongside them.

Community is key.

The question is: should you join an existing community, or start one from scratch?

The answer is in today’s episode.

Before you start a community, seek one out

Starting your own community is tremendously rewarding. It’s also a lot of work.

If you can, find an existing community in your field and join it instead.

But don’t just join the community… pour yourself into the community!

  • Show initiative.
  • Pretend like you’re getting paid to be there.
  • Act like an owner.
  • Help the people around you.

Do these things, and watch the community organizer take notice. When you add massive value to a community, the organizer will want to promote you… and that’s just for starters.

Sean hires his team members out of the Community—hey, that’s how I got my job! And why wouldn’t he? You can see who’s in there every day, providing value. Act like the community manager, and you might end up getting paid to be one.

When should you start a community of your own?

If you can’t find an existing community in your space… start one!

It’s worth the effort. Communities are where the magic happens. All the best things in your career will come out of community.

People don’t like the word “networking”, but all it really means is building relationships with people. And that’s what people do when they’re in a community. They:

  • Form partnerships.
  • Tackle projects together.
  • Set up weekly calls.
  • Form mastermind groups.
  • Hire each other.
  • Recommend or promote each other.

There are many benefits to being a part of a community.

Starting a community from scratch is always an option, but expect it to take YEARS of effort. You’re much better off joining a community that already exists if you can find one.

Should a community be free or paid?

Whether you start a community or join one, paid communities are the way to go.

We’ve all been in free Facebook groups or hashtag-oriented “communities” on other social networks. We’ve seen how much noise there is for how little signal.

And the trolls! Don’t even get me started.

It takes time and resources to run a great community. If it’s going to stay vibrant, a community needs investment.

Whether it’s yours or someone else’s, if you want a community to last, invest in it!

Paid membership doesn’t just keep the lights on, it also keeps the quality level high.

  • The people looking to troll aren’t going to bother joining.
  • The people who aren’t serious will congregate elsewhere.
  • Instead, you get the people who are committed and willing to invest in themselves.

Paid communities are much more likely to be higher in quality. But if you’re thinking of creating your own, don’t start a community for the money.

A community is a good investment

A paid community is great, but you don’t start one for the money; start a community for the people.

The point is to attract great people so you can all grow together.

Sean invested the money he made from his community over the years right back into the community! He’s focused on continually improving the member experience.

A great community is a long-term investment.

A high-quality experience that’s worth your time

How do you find your people?

It takes a long time of consistently producing content to create a community.

Sean has spent years putting out quality content which has attracted incredible people to the Community at seanwes.

The seanwes Community is where you’ll meet like-minded creative professionals from all across the world. Get 24/7 support, whether you want to:

  • Grow an audience.
  • Get more clients.
  • Start a podcast.
  • Sell your own products.
  • Launch an online course.

The Community is a hands-on place, dedicated to your success. We have live office hours every week where you can get your questions answered.

Get unstuck and get results.

Now is the best time to join, because the annual membership investment goes up permanently on March 20th!

Get access to the Community, get all our premium business courses (an $8,000 value), and get a bunch of months for free: check out seanwes membership and lock in the current rate before it goes up.

Hope to see you in the Community soon!

Episode Transcript

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.

Sean: Hey, it’s Sean McCabe, and as promised, we are back with part four of our finding community series today is about starting versus joining a community. Should you join an existing community or start your own community. If you can find an existing community of your people, join that. And I mean it. If you find a good community that has your people, I would join it because let me tell you firsthand, it is so much work to start and maintain and grow a community from scratch.

[00:00:36] It is a years long process. Is it rewarding? Absolutely. But if you can find an existing community, I would highly recommend. Joining that now and a little bit, I am going to talk about when you should start your own. So this is not completely biased just because we have the community at Shawn West, which I think is a really great one.

[00:00:57] If you are in any creative field, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t necessarily start your own sometimes. So we’ll talk about that in a minute. But like I said, creating and running a community, it’s a lot of work. You know, you’ve got to really think about this. Why do you want. To start your own community.

[00:01:12] If your goal is really just to have some kind of influence in a community, then it’s much easier to join an existing community show initiative. Pretend like you’re getting paid, you know, act like an owner. Help people and then watch the community organizer promote you. I’ve done this many times. I hire straight from the community.

[00:01:33] I see people who are helping out showing initiative, and I say. I want to hire you. Hey, can you be community manager? Hey, can you join the team? This can happen to you, but don’t wait to be chosen. Choose yourself. Go into that community and act like you’re getting paid to basically just help people in that community.

[00:01:54] Pretend you are the success manager, the community manager of success, and your job is just to help everyone as much as you can in any way possible in that community. You do that for long enough, I guarantee. The community organizer will not be able to ignore you and there’s a very good chance they’re going to promote you to maybe be the community manager or possibly join that company full time.

[00:02:18] Now, let’s say you can’t find a community in your space with your people doing what you want to be doing right then I would say start a community. If you can’t find one, start one if you find one, join one, but if you can’t start one, it is worth the effort. To start your community. This is where the magic happens.

[00:02:40] Everything good in your career is going to come out of community. It’s going to come out of. Relationships. You know, some people call it networking. Some people don’t like the term networking. It’s really just people. It’s really just relationships and community. We see it time and time again. People connect, they partner up, they do things together.

[00:02:58] They start doing weekly calls together or forming masterminds, all kinds of amazing things. Sometimes they hire people. It could be part time, it could be on contract basis, but just so many good things come from community and you get to facilitate that. When you start your own community now, whether you’re starting your own or you’re looking to join an existing community, should you look for a free community or should you pay for a community?

[00:03:25] Should you even look at paid communities. Well, I’m going to make the case for joining a paid community cause here’s the problem with free. You’ve seen a lot of free Facebook groups. It’s just a lot of noise. They’re having to moderate a lot to keep people from doing too much self-promotion. You’ve certainly seen, I’m going to do air quotes, that you can’t see communities on social media using like hashtags and stuff.

[00:03:49] The problem there is social media isn’t. It’s not a walled garden, right? Anyone can use a hashtag. Anyone can enter into the discussion, which increases the noise and worse, it increases the likelihood that you get trolls. So why pay for a community? Well, first of all, it takes time and resources to run a thriving community.

[00:04:13] It could be a passion project at first. For someone, but eventually that’s not going to be enough to sustain things, especially if the community grows at some point, the free time they have isn’t going to be enough to keep this thing running right, and they’re going to reach this crossroads where it’s like, well, I’m not making any money from this.

[00:04:32] Can I really justify increasing my time investment or do I need to shut it down or step away and you know, then communities fall apart and there’s other problems that come along with that. If you want a community to last, invest in it. Paying for a community membership ensures its sustainability. If you want something to exist well and you can make sure that it stays around for a long time by paying for it.

[00:04:58] The other reason is quality. So if you’ve ever been a part of a free community, you know what I mean? Here you have to Wade through a lot of low quality content and conversation. If we can be generous and call it that. Sometimes it’s hardly even that. Sometimes people are just looking to troll a, you’ve got to get through a lot of that to find the good stuff, which just wastes your time.

[00:05:18] You know, with a paid community, you don’t get the people who are looking to troll. The people who are not serious, right? You do get people who are committed and people who are willing to invest in themselves. That’s just a totally different mindset. It’s, it’s a totally different outlook and the quality of content and interactions is going to reflect that.

[00:05:39] Now, since we’ve made the case for paid communities, when it comes to the choice of starting versus joining, you might think, well, obviously I want to start my own community because then people will pay me. Well, I would just caution you, don’t start a community for the money. Start a community for the people.

[00:05:58] All the money I made from my membership that I started way back in 2013 I reinvested back into creating a better community experience for many, many years. Every cent of it. I wasn’t taking any of the money from, I just put it all back in, let’s make a better community system. Let’s make a better everything.

[00:06:19] The experience, the live streaming, the videos, like just everything better for the members. Now, it can eventually become a source of revenue that you might rely on, but. You want to think of that as a longterm investment, something that’s gonna gonna take many, many years before you want to start pulling money out of it versus reinvesting money back into it.

[00:06:40] Don’t do it for the money. Do it for the people. If you do it for the right reasons and you have something that’s something special that people really resonate with, like you’ve created something great, then the money’s going to come, but don’t do it for the money. So bottom line. Some of the best communities are paid and it keeps the people who aren’t serious out while also ensuring a high quality experience where you’re not going to waste your time.

[00:07:06] So speaking of a high quality experience where you’re not going to waste your time, Sean west.com/membership March 20th the price for Shawn West membership, our annual membership is going up permanently. You can lock in the current rate. Get a bunch of months free and if you want to see how many you get free, you can go to  dot com slash membership you’re going to get access to all of our courses and training.

[00:07:29] You’re going to find like minded people in creative fields of all kinds, all across the world. People you can connect with, they can be your accountability partner. You can start a mastermind group with them. They can provide feedback. On your work, help you launch a product, price your work, teach what you know, create a course, everything you need to make a living from your passion and the people to support you.

[00:07:53] You will find in the community at Shawn West, we see this as a very hands on thing. We want to be there for you. It’s not just like, here’s $8,000 of training. Hope it all works out for you. Good luck. We want to make sure you get results. That’s why every single week we have our office hours fired up.

[00:08:11] Mondays live weekly show where you can tune in in real time, interact, get answers to your questions. We want to help you get unstuck. We want to help you get results, and now is the best time ever to join. We’d love for you to sign up at  dot com slash membership we hope to see you in the community soon and next episode in a couple of days.

[00:08:33] Here is the final part. Of our finding community series part five so looking forward to sharing that with you, and I’ll talk to you soon.