As creators, our expectations for community focus on outcomes instead of process.
We imagine community will make things better for what we are building.
This place is vibrant! Participants are engaged! Things are bustling!
However, community isn’t something that you can simply bolt on.
Community is at the core of the transformation that you seek to create with your work.
Common Problem Statements
No matter what we do for our participants, things aren’t evolving as we expected with this new “community” strategy.
We’ve upgraded the technology, but the community vibe hasn’t changed or improved.
Our course now has a cohort model, but the course metrics haven’t really changed (and it’s a ton more work!)
Adopting a Community Mindset
The common thread with all of the problems ^above^ is that community lives at the end of the evolution instead of at the heart of how things are being done.
The Old Way: Creator-Centric
✅ I love painting.
✅ I teach painting.
✅ I built online courses for painting.
⛔ A community would mean more people painting, so let’s add that on.
The New Way: Community-Centric
✅ I love painting and I want to teach painting to the world.
✅ I start by teaching individuals to see how they learn.
✅ I continue by gathering small groups to see how painting together works.
🎉 I have a community where people paint in public, from idea to final product.
Evolving Your Project
If you are only now coming across the concept of community, you aren’t out of luck.
This “problem” is an opportunity. You get to re-imagine your outcomes as achieved by a group of committed participants.
How, you ask?
Instead of using your expertise to solve things for others, use your credibility to attract and engage a group to achieve relevant and sustainable outcomes.
A Four-Phase Process to Becoming Community Centric
Community happens at the start of the whole process, so return to your beginner’s mindset and rebuild with the intent to connect and teach.
In the case of our painter’s course...
Phase 1 = Start with You
How do you paint?
What parts of painting bring you great joy -- the kind you want to express to the world?
Which parts are initially confusing? Where do you often “get stuck” in the process?
Take all the notes.
Phase 1:1 = Help One Person
Find someone else who wants to learn to paint, but don’t teach them. Instead:
- Observe how they paint and take notes.
- Ask better questions instead of giving pointers.
- Note where these individuals get stuck, breakthrough, and find joy.
- Yes, more notes.
Phase 1:4 = Connect a Small Group
Using your new lesson experience, gather a small group together to paint. Set the stage with introductions, structure, and a timeline.
- Toggle placement - facing in or out of a circle?
- Toggle pauses - when do breaks facilitate better outcomes?
- Toggle prompts - what questions or quotes elicit more engagement?
- OMG, SO MANY NOTES.
Phase 1:16 = Hold a Small Event
The natural extension of this ground-up work is your first community-centric event. Use the testimonials and experiences of early participants as social proof.
Recruit the right people who you know are ready for your people-powered painting project. Now you can:
- Build connection at the outset with a shared outcome.
- Pair participants for individual support and accountability.
- Use small group work to create safe places to share and engage creatively.
- Hold larger check-ins for group-sharing and knowledge.
Community Starts with You
It might sound complicated, but you can navigate this process in just four weeks if you are focused and prepared. You’ll be glad you did!
This exponential approach to building a community-centric experience is one os several frameworks you will use in Course+Community. C+C is an opportunity to reimagine your work from the ground up with improved impact and transformation as the outcome.
If you are interested, complete this survey for an invitation. Let's build better, together!