Are you an entrepreneur looking for an online community of like-minded individuals who share your values and vision?
Do you believe in building a business that not only generates profits but also creates positive change in the world?
Let’s explore why it’s crucial to start ‘knowing yourself’ in order to find your people.
Building a business is no easy feat, especially when you’re trying to create something that aligns with your values and makes a positive impact on the world. It can be a lonely journey, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s where an online community of conscious entrepreneurs comes in.
This article will guide you through everything you need to know about joining an Online Community for Conscious Entrepreneurs. From what it is and why it’s important, to how to find the right community for you and the benefits of joining. We’ll also address some common questions and concerns that arise when considering joining a community.
What is an Online Community for Conscious Entrepreneurs?
An Online Community for Conscious Entrepreneurs is a virtual space where entrepreneurs who prioritize ethical business practices, purpose-driven business and Triple Bottom line (People, Planet, Profit) come together to share knowledge, experiences, and resources. It’s a space where you can connect with other business owners who share your values and want to make a difference in the world.
How an Online Community is different from Facebook or LinkedIn groups
Online community platforms are often misunderstood and grouped together with other social networks and strategies. While both types of platforms connect people online, there are two main differences that set online communities apart.
Firstly, online communities tend to have a more purposeful mindset. They are designed to bring together individuals who share a common interest or goal, whether that be social or professional. In contrast, social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn Groups are more general-purpose platforms that are used for a variety of purposes, including socializing, marketing, and job hunting.
The purpose of our community, the Humane Marketing Circle for example, is to bring more empathy and kindness to the business world for example and members want to do marketing their way, the humane way. They want to grow their business, but without using manipulative marketing techniques.
Secondly, online communities are typically more private and exclusive than social networks. Members of online communities often need to be invited or pay to join, and discussions and content are typically only visible to members. This exclusivity creates a sense of trust and safety within the community, which allows members to share more openly and build stronger relationships.
Five Characteristics of Great Online Communities
What makes a good online community? Over the years, I’ve led and been a participant of many different online communities. Five characteristics stand out to me as being crucial for building a great online community. By embodying these five characteristics, an online community can foster a sense of belonging, encourage meaningful interactions, and inspire growth and advancement and foster interdependent relationships between members.
1. A great online community is built for conversation:
One of the essential characteristics of a successful online community is that it should be built for engagement and communal support. It needs to be a space that allows people to come together to learn, educate, and network with like-minded individuals and feel a sense of belonging.
These conversations can happen on an online platform (such as Mighty Network, Slack or in our case we use Kajabi).
But I’ve also seen successful communities where the conversations were only taking place in an in-person or live-call setting. I was part of such a community during the lockdown and it was an amazing experience. An online message-based platform wouldn’t have been enough. People were craving the human connection.
In our Humane Marketing Circle we went through different iterations. When we launched the community in 2019 we didn’t have an online text-based platform to exchange in between calls. Personally I wasn’t a fan of Facebook Groups or any other Social Platform where I knew members would suffer from constant distractions and bad energy from other intrusions (ads etc). But eventually members asked for a way to connect in between our calls, so we created a simple Trello Board for members. There were about 20 of us. It worked for a while, until we outgrew it. So since January 2023 we’re now using Kajabi Community, a new community tool that they launched. And since I already used Kajabi for everything else, it was a no-brainer. While it still has a few bugs, we are loving the new community platform. I find it suits my style better than Might Networks for example. I referred to it as Mighty Network’s little sister: cute but with great vision!
It took about 3 months to help all our members migrate over to the new platform but now we’ve fully integrated it and members fully embraced it and it’s very active and engaging.
2. A great online community is diverse and vibrant:
Its success is driven by the unique contributions of its members. An excellent way to create engagement and connections is by tapping into people’s unique perspectives and inviting them to share their expertise and knowledge with others. Encouraging diverse contributions from members of the community can inspire unique ideas, leading to the advancement of the community’s objectives.
In our Humane Marketing Circle we operate on the principle of ‘a leader in each chair’. There is no criteria of having x-amount of years experience, or making x-amount of $ per year. The beauty of the Circle is that we all learn from each other.
We have people who are:
- in their first few years of business,
- others who have 5+ years experience and yet
- a third group who has been in business for over a decade.
The main point of our community is to have a space to have conversations with each other about what works for us in marketing and business, always with the humane angle to everything. Which brings us to the third characteristic…
3. The shared purpose is another essential characteristic of great online communities.
There are communities about starting a business, communities specifically for introverts or HSPs, communities for Digital Nomads, for Spiritual Seekers, for Pet Owners, etc. etc. The one thing all different communities have in common, is that they share a purpose or a goal. This creates a sense of belonging and shared worldview.
In our Humane Marketing Circle our common goal is to build sustainable businesses with humane and ethical marketing tactics (opposed to manipulative tactics) and by doing that contributing to making this world a better place.
4. Another characteristic that takes an online community to the greatness level is a real-life gathering.
I read about the importance of real-life events for communities in Mark Schaefer’s book Belonging to the Brand and during our conversation on the podcast. Besides virtual reality gatherings, Mark hosts his Uprising event where his community gets to meet in real life. Immediately after our conversation I announced the first live event of the Humane Marketing Circle community.
Hosting real-life events for communities is a significant aspect that elevates an online community to a whole new level of greatness. While virtual interactions and online platforms provide a convenient means of connecting people across distances, there are unique benefits and experiences that can only be attained through face-to-face gatherings.
Benefits of real-life events:
Real-life events offer an amazing opportunity for community members to form deeper connections and build stronger relationships. Meeting in person enables community members to see the real faces behind the Zoom windows, fostering a greater sense of authenticity and belonging.
Trust is a key to any successful community. By organizing real-life events, community leaders demonstrate their commitment to the members, reinforcing trust and loyalty. Face-to-face interactions provide an environment where open and honest conversations can take place in different and natural settings and sub-groups, leading to a higher level of trust among community members. This trust creates a solid foundation for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and support within the community.
Attending real-life events can have a profound impact on personal growth and development. Community members often have diverse backgrounds and expertise, and meeting face-to-face provides an opportunity to learn from one another’s experiences and perspectives. Real-life events offer a chance to expand one’s network, gain new insights, and broaden horizons. The exposure to different ideas and approaches can inspire personal growth, boost creativity, and foster innovation within the community.
Real-life events create lasting memories that go beyond the digital realm. These events often involve non-business activities, and informal gatherings, that allow community members to form bonds and create shared experiences – and running gags that will be shared for years to come. The memories that are created during these events reinforce a sense of identity and belonging long after the event has ended. .
Blurring the line:
Since the industrial revolution, we have created a ‘work version’ and a ‘personal version’ of ourselves. In real life events we’re taking our business masks off. It’s the only way to truly connect and find our people.
5. A great community is not owner-centric.
That’s where I see the biggest confusion between a real community and an audience. Communities are not the same as an audience, or a membership site or an online program. In a great community the members are inter-connected, meaning they are not there to be spoon-fed from the community owner, they are all responsible human beings who actively participate in the community because they are valued as participative leaders. For the community leader this means to let go of the ego and listen to what the community wants and needs.
In a field like marketing where the owner-centric approach based on teaching you how to do marketing is very common, it took some time to attract the right members, those who are willing to join a community of like-minded individuals who come together to have conversations about what works in marketing, and not just sit back and consume more content from the guru. But we now have a think-tank, a growing community of quietly rebellious entrepreneurs who are brave to show up and share and learn from others – to figure out what works for them.
So Why You Should Join an Online Community for Conscious Entrepreneurs?
We’re experiencing a loneliness pandemic that will get even worse with all the use of AI such as ChatGPT and bots. Being part of a community is more important than ever. It provides a space where entrepreneurs can connect on a deeper level, sharing experiences, ideas, and emotions.
Here are some of the benefits of joining such a community:
1. Support System: Building a business is tough, and having a support system of people who understand what you’re going through is incredibly valuable.
2. Knowledge Sharing: In an Online Community for Conscious Entrepreneurs, members share knowledge and experiences, which can help you grow your business and learn new skills.
3. Accountability: Being part of a community can help you stay accountable to your goals and values. Your peers can hold you accountable and help keep you on track.
4. Inspiration: Seeing other entrepreneurs who are making a positive impact on the world can be incredibly inspiring and motivating.
5. Networking Opportunities: Being a part of a community of like-minded individuals opens up doors to new networking opportunities. You can connect with other entrepreneurs, mentors, and potential partners who share your vision and values.
6. To hang out with Your People and just have fun!
How to Find the Right Online Community
Not all Online Communities are created equal. It’s important to find the right community for you, one that aligns with your values and goals. Here are some tips for finding the right community:
1. Ask for Recommendations: Reach out to your network and ask if anyone can recommend a community they’ve found valuable. Word of mouth is how great online communities grow.
2. Attend Virtual Events: Many communities host virtual events that are open to the public. Attend a few events to get a sense of the community and whether it’s a good fit for you. In our Humane Marketing Circle we host monthly workshops about relevant business and marketing topics that give you a good idea of what it’s like to be part of our community. While they are more teaching focused, they still include a break-out room session where you get to exchange ideas and brainstorm with other participants. Since Humane Marketing Circle members get free access to these workshops chances are high that you meet fellow Circle members.
3. Consider the Format: Some communities are more structured than others. Consider whether you prefer a more formal or informal community. While our Humane Marketing Circle is conversation-based, because we discuss different marketing strategies and figure out what works for us, it’s pretty informal. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no structure. We have four rules that keep our space safe and fair for all: – We listen to each other with compassion and curiosity. – We stay on topic and speak with intention- This is a space of reciprocity, respect and personal responsibility. We all tend to the well-being of the group.- What happens in the Circle stays in the Circle.
4. Join a Trial Period: Many communities offer a trial period or free membership. Take advantage of these offers to get a sense of the community and whether it’s right for you. You can join the Humane Marketing Circle for a $7/14 days trial.
1. How do I know if an Online Community for Conscious Entrepreneurs is right for me?
If you’re an entrepreneur who prioritizes ethical business practices, purpose-driven business and Triple Bottom line (People, Planet, Profit) and want to connect with other like-minded individuals, then an Online Community for Conscious Entrepreneurs is likely right for you.
2. What are some good examples of Online Communities for Conscious Entrepreneurs?
There are many Online Communities for Conscious Entrepreneurs. Here are a two that I’m aware of:
Do your research to find the right community for you.
3. What if I don’t have much experience as an entrepreneur?
Joining an Online Community can be a great way to learn from more experienced entrepreneurs and gain valuable insights into building a business. In a fair and equal community everyone learns from each other.
4. How much time do I need to commit to being part of an Online Community?
The amount of time you need to commit to being part of a community varies. Some communities require more time than others. It’s important to find a community that fits your schedule and lifestyle.
Whether you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur or have been in business for years, being part of a community can help you grow personally and professionally. You’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with others, learn from their experiences, and expand your worldview.
So, if you’re an entrepreneur who wants to make a difference and build a business that prioritizes social and environmental impact, consider joining an Online Community. It could be the missing piece that takes your business to the next level.
Other Resources You Might Enjoy
Podcast: The Humane Marketing Podcast, conversations with guests, organized around the 7Ps of Humane Marketing
- The Humane Marketing Glossary: Humane Marketing Words we love
- Manifesto: The Humane Business Manifesto (no opt-in)
- Creed: The Humane Marketing Creed (no opt-in)
- The One-Page Marketing Plan (email opt-in)
- Find Your People, Jennie Allen
- Lingo, Jeffrey Shaw
- Transparency, Penney Peirce
- Marketing Like We’re Human, Sarah Santacroce
- Selling Like We’re Human, Sarah Santacroce
The Humane Marketing Circle is our community of Humane Marketers.