What's up? I'm Rachel Spewak and this is Rock Your Tribe Radio where community, fun, social media and business collide. I firmly believe that parties are the answer to all of life's problems. Seriously. Building a community, bringing people together for a common purpose and serving them, that's your mission as a business owner. Let's make it happen. It's time to rock your tribe.
(00:28): Welcome to the show today we're talking about how to launch your impossible idea through the power of community. So here's a story. It was a cold winter night in Atlanta, December of 2004, we gathered in my friends, Jane Stewart's house. There were maybe 50 people there. My memory's a little hazy, but the house was packed and we were all there to talk about something that started as a bar napkin idea, our meeting had just gotten started and then the power went out. Suddenly it was pitch black and the heat shut off. What happened next might surprise you more about that in a minute, but brought us together for this meeting was that we all rode bicycles and we wanted to fix our own bikes instead of dropping them off at the pro shop for every repair. When we could probably do a lot of those repairs ourselves, if we had the tools and the know-how, a lot of us relied on our bikes for transportation to get to school, to get to work.
(01:22): I even give up my car because I was so dedicated to the cause being without a bicycle for a few days, while it was at the shop being fixed was out of the question. And it seemed kind of silly to spend so much on a repair when we could probably do it ourselves. So back to that bar napkin idea and that cold winter night, this happened in Atlanta, where I live for 10 years. I moved there for college in 1999 and stayed a while. Also in 1999, Atlanta was named the worst city for cycling in America by bicycling magazine. Why do I even know this? I wrote my college thesis about a community program called Decatur yellow bikes. It was a bike sharing program like city bikes, but way before city bikes and without the corporate backing and the high tech systems, community volunteers gathered, donated bikes, fix them up, painted them yellow and placed them on designated bike racks around the city of Decatur, which is just outside Atlanta.
(02:16): Big shout out to the founder of Decatur, yellow bikes, Ken Ross Koff, who became a mentor to me, the assumption was a person would take a bike, write it and put it back when they were done. And you can imagine what happened to those bikes. It turns out bike sharing without a built-in system of accountability and consequences like penalty fees on your credit card. It doesn't work that well, at least not in this particular environment. So while Decatur yellow bikes switched over to a different method of sharing the bicycles, my friends and I had another idea, a bar napkin idea. You know, the ideas you have when you're hanging out with your friends, knocking back a few after a bike ride. Yeah. One of those, and here it is, share the tools, not the bikes. Start a co-op bike shop, make it a nonprofit and accept donations, make everything a suggested $5 donation.
(03:07): Yeah, that's it. Nina part $5 need a tool for an hour, $5. Don't cost $5. Then help somebody and don't turn away anybody for a lack of funds. So we had this big, impossible idea and decided to try to bring it to life. So we made flyers paper flyers. Remember those? It was 2004 and we advertise that we were hosting a meeting about a nonprofit pay, what you want bicycle repair shop in my friend's house. It was going to be a vegan potluck. And we're going to stop at 8:00 PM to watch the Simpsons. The meeting time came and soon the house was full of people who saw the vision and wanted to be a part of it. The meeting kicked off and then the power went out. So it was cold. It was dark. And we thought everyone was going to leave, but they didn't.
(03:57): They put on their coats and they stayed. They lit the room with their bicycle Blinky lights and it was magical. And that's how SoPo by co-op was born. I was a co-founder and eventually became the executive director until it was time for me to roll along. And that's a story for another episode, how I moved to New York city and started a DJ career. What I want to share with you now is how to launch your impossible idea through the power of community. Because whoever thought a bunch of 20 somethings and 30 somethings who insisted on riding bikes around in the worst city for cycling could launch a nonprofit bicycle repair shop with a budget of $0. I have pie in the sky ideas frequently. My inner circle of business, friends who are listening to this right now are probably laughing because they know in my experience, the best way to bring impossible ideas to life is to rally the troops, become the ringmaster in the circus, tap into what your community wants and leverage their creativity, energy, and contacts.
(05:00): Why? Because you can't do it all on your own. And you shouldn't businesses are built on networks, relationships and things that are leveraged. And like Denise Duffield Thomas says and chill a printer, whatever you don't like to do, eliminate automate and delegate Lewis. You create buy-in when you involve your community in developing your business or your big idea. A big piece of my grassroots marketing strategy is to turn your community into your marketing department. Let's compare that with what Mark Schaefer says in marketing rebellion, which is your customers are your marketing department. But by simply asking in my three membership questions in my Facebook group, how did you find this group? What I've learned is my community is doing the outreach for me. They're my marketing department. One of the big mistakes I see online entrepreneurs making, especially when they have access to community. Building tools is not getting input.
(06:00): And buy-in instead, they're trying to prescribe solutions that nobody asked for. And that's a tough sell, building a business and selling your offers is so much easier and quicker. If you decide who your tribe is, who you want to be around, gather them up in a place like Ola Facebook group. And just talk to them. If we hosted that bike shop meeting, and nobody came for example, then our idea would have been dead in the water. If people came to the meeting and listened to our pitch and they weren't inspired by it, that bike shop probably never would have happened, but because we took the big idea to the community, they were excited about it. They brainstorm ways that they could plug in. It became a reality. So Facebook was launched in February, 2004. So it wasn't really a thing yet. By the time we had our meeting in December, 2004, we're still on Friendster and MySpace.
(06:54): And we use those real paper flyers to organize ourselves. But I learned a lot from that experience that fuels my Facebook group strategy today. So let's tie this into Facebook groups even more. What I want you to do is see your group members as not just potential clients and buyers, but as a talent pool and as potential collaborators, be interested in what they bring to the table and what they want to achieve beyond what you assume you can help them with. If you do one thing every day in your Facebook group, ask a relevant one-line question and get people talking, learn about them, find out what makes people tick. Two typical questions I see in Facebook groups are what are you struggling with? And what keeps you up at night? These questions are tired. They've been done. There are better questions that are going to help you learn about your community and how they can contribute to your big ideas. So start asking these questions instead. What motivates you? What contribution do you want to make to the world? What do you kick at? What gets you out of bed in the morning, your business? Isn't just you all alone selling things to people, especially if you're going to scale. In fact, scaling is working less and earning more. So how are you going to work less and earn more without a team.
(08:21): You've heard the same advice about Facebook groups everywhere. Ask questions, add value. But what does that mean? Let me show you what a profitable engaged and a fun Facebook group looks like. And I'll pop the hood for you so you can see exactly how I do it. Join my Facebook group, rock your tribe, community, building for entrepreneurs at rock, your tribe.com forward slash Facebook.
(08:47): So when it's time to pull in team members, what better place to find them than in the community you cultivated. They're going to understand you and your business than anyone else. And so go back to that struggle question for a moment. If you target people who are struggling, is that a viable market? Are they struggling to make money in the first place, then how are they going to afford to pay you? And will they be great team members when it's time for you to expand your business? If there are anchored and rooted in struggling, it's time to abandon the struggle question on social media. I'm over it. My entire team comes from my network, particularly from my Facebook group or because of my Facebook group. And I'll work with random people. And I definitely don't work with people who DM me cold pitches, my business systems expert, Joanne, her found me through my Facebook group and offered her support after she produced my Facebook groups, workbook, which you can grab for 27 email@example.com forward slash workbook.
(09:49): I knew she was going to be the one to help me take my business to another level. She takes my bang ideas that resemble a Jackson, painting in my mind, just like paint, splashed everywhere. She organizes them into something elegant, whether it's a backend system or a beautiful product we can sell. Where would I be today? If she didn't join my Facebook group six months ago. And I can't thank her enough for helping me to take my business to places that I could not have taken it on my own. Also people don't like to feel like they're only in your Facebook group to be sold, to selling to them should be a natural part of running your group. You should put offers on the table. Yes, absolutely. And the way to balance it out. So they don't feel like that's the only reason why they're in your group is to honor them as people who don't necessarily need help or a solution all the time.
(10:43): So here's some things you can do, invite them to be a guest expert in your group. Offer getting to know you calls with them without expectations or the intent to sell, refer business. To them, refer them to each other, buy from them, celebrate their launches, stop treating them like they're needy people who are struggling and you'll make more sales in your group while building out your talented team of people who are aligned with you. Got all that. By the way, if you don't know who your tribe is exactly or how to get them in your group, grab the workbook that Joanne made for me, 27 bucks, you're going to love it and you can get firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash workbook. Okay? So maybe your big, impossible pie in the sky bar napkin idea is creating that engaged and profitable Facebook group that grows on autopilot that people love and spread the word about if creating your online community is your big idea right now, let's talk about it.
(11:40): The same rules apply. Find your tribe, bring them together at your version of our vegan potluck, with bicycles in the Simpsons. Think of your group. Like it's your house. It's recognizable as your space, your world with your record collection, your furniture and stuff, your pets, and your a party for your squad. So you're curating the experience. What kind of party would you throw? What kind of snacks and refreshments would you have? What kind of music would you put on? What activities would you have? So the idea is your tribe to your house, to your house party. They know they're in your house, but you've made something awesome for them, with them in mind. And how would you make sure that they know that, that your house party is the number one hotspot for them versus the other 10 million plus Facebook groups that are out there.
(12:32): You've got to get specific about your tribe. And the air is a symbol of persuasive reason why they should join your group. For example, I'm one of many people who teach the art of Facebook groups, but I am the only one who's thrown a party quite like this with my DJ flavor. Also one of the big mistakes I see people making with Facebook groups is this. You can't treat people like they're doing you a favor by joining your group. They don't owe you anything. What does this look like? It looks like firing off invitations to your group, to people you don't really know and then surprised or mad about it when they ignore your invitation. When you do that, what you're saying is I need you to join my group. I have a need. I have a problem. You solve it. Solve my problem. By joining my group, bill, nobody likes that there needs to be a benefit for them to join your group instead.
(13:28): So what is that benefit? Well, it's the community itself. How do you create that beneficial community? What I say earlier about seeing your members is more than potential customer. That's the key. And I'm not saying don't sell, always be selling, but also always be referring your members to each other. Always couraging them to work with each other, buy from each other, always be looking for opportunities to buy from them. Always be sharing and your platform with them by inviting them as guest experts and always be cheering them on John. Here's a pro tip for you. You may think that you need to provide value by writing instructional posts. Stop. You're going to burn yourself out on writing content that nobody cares about the community is the value and it's the classroom. So before you write another teaching post, do this, write a one-line ask me anything post.
(14:25): So in my group, it's ask me anything about Facebook groups, make it an announcement, pennant to the top and let your members ask you what they want to know. Let their questions guide you. They'll feel more invested in your group this way and you'll deliver the solution, right? They're looking for. And this is going to position you to get those sales and never ever treat your members like needy people who are struggling. Please stop asking about the struggles. Please got all of that. Where are you taking notes? Okay, let's wrap this up. I love wild impossible ideas because you only live once. What are we here for? What is the meaning of life to be boring and then die? I'm going to get on my soap box for a second. If you're listening to this podcast, you enjoy some amount of privilege. Let's be real.
(15:16): You've got the time and technology to listen to me. Talk about Facebook groups. It would be a waste. If you didn't use that privilege to do something great, something that makes the world a little bit better than how you found it. I learned that from my grandpa. If you borrow something, give it back in better shape than how you received it. Maybe that's why I like helping people fix bicycles. And maybe that's why I like teaching. It makes the world sound better. It makes people dance and enjoy life. If you're going to do something dream big and realize you're not going to accomplish it all by yourself, find your tribe and get them to work on it. With you find your partners and your team in your community. See your Facebook group members is more than just potential clients and customers. And I'm not saying don't sell, just widen your scope and stop seeing your members as needy people who are struggling.
(16:06): So what's your bar napkin idea. What's your version of our nonprofit bicycle repair shop in the worst city for cycling. What's your pie in the sky vision. Maybe your big idea is building that community. If that's what you want to do, come find me on Facebook. Send me a message and let's talk about it. We're going to make it a party. And that's how you launch your impossible idea through the power of community. Next time on the podcast, I'm serving up a hard pill to swallow. You have competition, stiff competition. I'm going to teach you how to win that competition. Thanks again for being here and as always,
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