How I Built a Community of 98,000 People Using the Skills I Learned From Harvard
Building community is good business.
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The shut down of our business during Covid in April 2020 allowed me the time to explore and redefine my life purpose and mission: to impact 100 million entrepreneurs worldwide. Although 100 million seemed overly ambitious, something incredible happened in December 2020: I was Introduced to Clubhouse, a social audio app. On Christmas Day, I opened a room called "What it takes to run a million-dollar biz" to support my mission to impact entrepreneurs, many of whose businesses were afflicted by the pandemic. We brought in finance, marketing, management experts to participate in a Q & A format to address issues and challenges they were facing in their existing business or startup.
What happened next was unexpected: Influential business professionals and celebrities including Daymond John, Kevin Harrington, Les Brown, Grant Cardone, Reebok founder Joe Foster and so many others joined the community to help serve struggling entrepreneurs. Everyone was incredibly generous with their time because they wanted to be a part of the mission to impact 100 million entrepreneurs.
The community has over 98,000 members and a culture of inclusivity that is still going strong. Every day, people with distinct "expert" voices give their time to help, inspire, and activate struggling businesses. I made sure from day one that this community is welcoming and inclusive to all voices. We believe having people from varied cultures join together with different ideas can create positive change.
Here are the three things that I learned from Harvard Business School that carried over into how I built this community of 98,000 people in only ten months.
Diversity and inclusion
The first takeaway is what I learned from Harvard and comes to diversity and inclusion, no matter who people are there is a world of different opinions there's beauty in that, even if you necessarily don't agree with them. That's why this community is successful because their voices are being heard. In my personal experience in trying to embrace other people's voices, there was a topic where I didn't necessarily agree with the speaker but I tried to dissect it. Even though it made me a little bit uncomfortable but the fact that I'm open-minded and embracing what he was saying I was able to learn and become more open-minded myself.
In order for you to have a strong community, you have to have a strong mission and "why" behind the community. This way, when a disagreement arises, it's easier to remind people of the goal of the community. When people in the community become wobbly, which is self-centered, or egotistical, I then bring them back to the reason we started this and that creates unity, peace, and understanding.
Conduct an orchestra
The final takeaway, when leading you are the conductor of an orchestra. As the conductor, you let people be creative and implement new ideas as long as it embraces the common good of the community. This allows them to flourish and it still aligns with the purpose and mission.
This was how we were able to hold the longest virtual summit that ran for 85 days straight 24 hours per day. We had hundreds of people helping daily to create ideas of content, room management, and interviews. This was the only way we could have reached the 800,000 people we did during that time.
Besides the three takeaways, we wanted to ensure that the community continues to further advance our mission so we've created in-person events including a global mastermind and curated dinners with guest speakers. These learning opportunities allow the community to feel a sense of belonging and give them access to experts who provide practical solutions to scale their business.
It is this collective voice and exchange of ideas which creates powerful, lasting action and change. And, it is a change for the better.