They discussed building, scaling and nurturing communities.
Unreal Collective – The Community
How he built it?⚒
Jay Clouse started UC’s alpha program with 5 people over 12 weeks. The program was entirely free.It was created as a holistic experience meant for accountability, guidance and support any entrepreneur would need while building a solo business.Clouse calls it a “virtual accelerator and private community.”
It was a bare bones community built on top of Slack and weekly Zoom calls.
He gathered feedback, iterated on the experience from the initial cohort and used the social proof to sell the next version.
With impactrful testimonials and social proof from the members, every subsequent cohort got easier for him to sell.
Eventually it has become a program with 100+ business owners, freelancers, creators.
Pat Flynn is a passive income guru. Through his platform SmartPassiveIncome he helps entrepreneurs build successful online businesses that can generate passive income for them.
But Why Did He Sell it?🤔
Clouse has written an extended Twitter thread explaining his decision to sell.
Here’s the gist-
The co-Ceo of SmartPassiveIncome(SPI), Matt Gartland, was part of the UC community.Matt had joined the community shortly before his creative agency was acquired by Pat Flynn to become SPI Media.
He liked the experience, respected the way Clouse had built the UC commnuity.
He asked Clouse to help SPI with their community SPI Pro.
Clouse consulted with them for over 8 months, he helped them set up and run the SPI pro community in it’s very early days.They liked his work and wanted to bring him onboard full time.They even discussed merging the two communities.
Clouse saw the similarities in the two communities, both were extremely focused on he;ping solopreneurs build succesful online businesses.
And he could sense that Pat Flynn and SPI truly cared about adding value to the community members.There was thoughtful, curated effort to serve the business owners who joined the program.It was apparent right from the onboarding experience, to the weekly events, to the mastermind matching programs.It wasn’t just an email list thrown on a digital community platform.
So he agreed to the acquisition of UC by SPI.
He joined SPI in the Community Experience Director role on 1st Jan 2021.And now he actively runs the SPI Pro community.
Plus he is still working on his other projects like writing, podcasting and his freelancing course bundle freelancing.school
Challenges in Scaling a Community💪
Communities are inherently fragile.
If the members get upset with something, like a sudden change of platform, or tone of communication, they can very quickly start to quit.
The subscriber count can reduce significantly, and the community can even go down to zero.
Clouse calls it the Negative Network Effect.
As communities grow they change in nature. They feel less personal, more unruly, less curated. They become harder to run.
To address this, Clouse segments his community into many subgroups by topics so the members still get the more personal, curated experience while the overall community still grows.
But you can’t do that with something like Slack or Facebook groups.