If you're an indie creator, startup, business, or non-profit, creating community can be a win-win situation for you and your members.
But, building community isn't easy! The truth is: most communities fizzle out.
After running MegaMaker for 8 years, I've learned a few things about fostering communities that last.
Tips for building a successful community:
You have to love it.
Running a community is different than running an app, interacting with people on Twitter, or writing a blog post.
You'll need to show up, be present, and proactively generate discussion. You can't just leave it and expect that it will grow on its own. It needs daily watering!
Everything rises and falls on your leadership.
Thriving communities are the result of good leadership. For example: Indie Hackers grew as a positive and encouraging forum because Courtland Allen set the tone. The enthusiasm of early Product Hunt members was a reflection of Ryan Hoover's excitement for new products. You have to lead.
Start small; be patient.
To start, invite 5-10 people. Make the space inviting and awesome. The tone you set at the beginning will define how it feels as the community grows.
I’ve been building MegaMaker since 2013. Since then, it’s gone through many iterations, experiments, and phases.
It took 6 years before it felt like we’d hit our stride in terms of “what works.”
Create recurring traditions.
Inside of MegaMaker, we have a regular "Question of the Day" in Slack, we watch livestreams together, and we try to do in-person meetups at conferences.
My favorite tradition is the "exuberant welcome" we give all new members: