For as long as bits and packets have been buzzing across the Internet, people have been congregating in chat rooms, forums, comment sections, and groups to discuss shared interests, learn new things, and feel a sense of belonging.
And as the Internet has evolved, so too have the technologies for facilitating community. It’s easier, it’s more accessible, and now, it’s more profitable.
At least, it can be, for those who are bold and knowledgeable enough to stand up and lead the conversation that attracts people to an online community in the first place … and who are also humble enough to devote the time, enthusiasm, and empathy necessary to give people the sense of belonging that keeps them coming back.
This is what Brian Clark and I are building inside of the Unemployable Initiative, our online community and educational library for freelancers and solopreneurs, and it’s what Chris Ducker has built for his audience of personal brand builders over at Youpreneur.
Chris is our guest this week on the 7-Figure Small podcast, and we talk about his journey to running a 7-figure small business around helping people become the go-to leader in their industry and, in the process, build a future-proofed business.
We also dive into the impact that community has had on Chris’ business. He shares:
- Where his community fits into his overall business model
- What it takes to host a community that people are excited to join … and stick around
- What he means by “vibe attracts tribe”
- Why the power of online communities will only grow with the way work, technology, and society are currently trending
And much more.
Also, this was truly a podcast recording for the coronavirus everyone-is-at-home age. At one point, Chris had an urgent phone call come in that he had to take, and at another point my 3-year old daughter fell off of an obstacle course that she had built for herself in the living room. So if you hear any awkward cuts, that’s why.
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What It Takes to Build a Successful Online Community
Jerod Morris: Welcome to 7-Figure Small, the podcast that brings you the stories and strategies that are driving the growing number of solo businesses achieving 7-figures in revenue, without investors or employees.
If you want to discover what's behind the rise in these 7-figure businesses, then you need to get our free Next Level 7 audio course. In this enlightening course from Unemployable founder, Brian Clark, you'll hear what's working right now for attracting an audience, discovering what they want to buy, and building your perfect business.
To sign up for free, go to nextlevelseven.com. That's nextlevelseven.com. And now, here's your host for this edition of 7-Figure Small — serial digital entrepreneur, Brian Clark.
Nope, we are switching it up on you this week. Brian is off, so it's me, Jerod Morris, the producer of this podcast and the community manager of the Unemployable Initiative in mic position number one this week.
And I want to talk about online communities. As you know, online communities are not new, far from it. For as long as bits and packets have been buzzing across the Internet, people have been congregating in chat rooms, forums, comment sections, and groups to discuss shared interests, learn new things, and feel a sense of belonging.
Those three base desires — discussing shared interests, learning new things and feeling a sense of belonging — have never changed. And they almost surely never will unless human nature itself changes. The Internet didn't create them, the Internet just facilitated an entirely new way to seek out and experience them.
As the Internet has evolved, so too have the technologies for facilitating community. It's easier, it's more accessible, and now, it's even more profitable.
At least, it can be, for those who are bold and knowledgeable enough to stand up and lead the conversation that attracts people to an online community in the first place … and who are also humble enough to devote the time, enthusiasm, and empathy necessary to give people the sense of belonging that keeps them coming back.
This is what Brian Clark and I are working to build inside of the Unemployable Initiative, our online community and educational library for freelancers and solopreneurs, and it’s what Chris Ducker has built for his audience of personal brand builders over at Youpreneur.
Chris is our guest this week on the 7-Figure Small podcast, and we talk about his journey to running a 7-figure small business around helping people become the go-to leaders in their industries and, in the process, build a future-proofed business.
We also dive into the impact that community has had on Chris's business. He shares where his community fits into his overall business model, what it takes to host a community that people are excited to join and stick around, what he means by “vibe attracts tribe,” why the power of online communities will only grow with the way work, technology and society are currently trending, and much more.
Also, this was truly a podcast recording for the coronavirus everyone-is-at-home age. At one point, Chris had an urgent phone call come in that he had to take, and at another point my three-year-old daughter fell off of an obstacle course that she had built for herself in the living room. So if you hear any awkward cuts in the conversation, that’s why.
This episode is brought to you by FreshBooks, easy-to-use cloud accounting software for people like you. Right now they’re offering a 30-day, no credit card required free trial to listeners of this podcast. To claim it, just visit FreshBooks.com/unemployable and make sure to enter UNEMPLOYABLE in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section.
Chris, this is the latest episode in our series on how to succeed in business as an introverted, shy person, and I could think of no one better than you to interview for that. So welcome to the show.
Chris Ducker: Are you sure I’m the right guy for this episode?
Jerod Morris: We're going for irony with this series apparently.
We were just talking about … it's been six years since we last saw each other at the AWeber Conference in Philadelphia. It’s amazing how quickly time flies. It really is.
Chris Ducker: It does. But you know what? I often say that we're blessed to be in the time that we are nowadays and here we are. And I kind of feel like I haven't really skipped a beat with Jerod. You know what I mean? Like it's just … it is what it is.
This is what I think, and I know we're going to talk about community and all the rest of it, this for me is the key here. The people that you actually want to follow along with, the people that you want to have the journey with (and I've been using that word a lot recently), you're in a great spot right now to be able to continue that journey even if you're not with each other in today's world.
And I truly do on this, like yourself and Brian and the rest of the guys over there that I love very dearly, I feel like it's not been that long in my eyes. And then you say six years and I'm like, “Damn, we still look good. Six years? We're looking good.”
How is the Pandemic Affecting You and Your Business?
Jerod Morris: Yeah, it's crazy. You know obviously, we're recording this on March 19th, and so we're right in probably the beginning stages of everything that's going on with the Coronavirus and the pandemic and how that's affecting everything.
I'd love to start real quick. Obviously, we talked a little bit about this before we started recording. But I’d be remiss if I didn't ask you how that's affecting you and just what you're doing to manage it and get through it from a business perspective.
Chris Ducker: Yeah, man, one minute we're fine, next minute I'm on an airplane, and then I'm off the airplane and a day later, it's like we're going to lockdown. What just happened? I mean, clearly it's affecting us. It's affecting everyone.
Myself and my wife, Erz, who you've obviously met and know, we run the business together. But before that, we run a family together. So we sat down and we said, “Look, we're not going to panic. We're not going to get crazy about this, but, obviously, it's going to hit the fan here and there in the next few weeks, few months, whatever it is. We need to figure out how to be able to handle this properly.”
And we clearly just turned around and said, “Okay, you take care of all the home life stuff. You take care of all the kids' stuff. I'm going to take care of all of the business stuff.” And when I say that, I mean not just Youpreneur.com but also Chrisducker.com, Live2Sell, Virtual Staff Finder, like the empire, the actual group of businesses that we own, which collectively have over 400 people working for us around the world.
That's my jam right now. Other than accounting stuff, which is part of what Erz does, I'm handling everything. Whereas, the flip side, she's making sure that we’ve got supplies, that the kids are busy and all that sort of stuff as well.
So yeah, man, it's challenging. Make no mistake about it. It's a very challenging time. But we're getting through it and we're continuing to show up.
I think that's the big thing right here. Really from a business perspective, you're given two different directions to go in.
You can hunker down, do nothing, drink alcohol, eat chips, and watch Netflix, or you can show the heck up and actually push out more content, be there more for your community. Show up just over and over and over and over and over again when people really do truly need it.
I did a Coffee with Chris Facebook Live a couple of days ago, and I didn't email the group. I didn't do anything, I just said, “Hey, I'm going to go live in an hour. Come along, let's hang out.” A whole bunch of people turned up and I was live for an entire hour. And it was like, “Are you going to do this more regularly? This is great, you've really helped us.”
And I'm like, “I literally just hung out with you and you had a coffee with me.” But for them, for the community, it meant so much. So show up. That's what we've decided to do. We're going to show up big.
Jerod Morris: I love that tip. I do a podcast about basketball and obviously, one of the very, very insignificant impacts that has happened is March Madness was canceled, the big basketball tournament here in the United States.
And we found that our audience, that's something that they really look forward to, so they don't have that. At the same time, everybody is at home and they're isolated. And we kind of made that same decision. It was like, “What can we do to try and fill the void and just give people connection?”
So, actually, we scheduled a series of live re-watches of old games on YouTube. I described it to my wife and she's like, “What?” She's like, “And people are really going to pay attention to this?”
People loved the idea, because it's something to scratch this itch of this thing that we love that's gone. And just really what I think it is even more, it’s, “Oh, all these people that we hang out with after real games are going to be here doing this for an old game? That sounds great.” Because it's connection.
It's interesting the way that people are responding to that right now, because stuff that might seem silly to do in a normal context or like, “I don't have time for that. This isn't that good of an idea.” Now, it's like what everybody is craving.
Chris Ducker: Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more with you, man. I mean, with Charlie back home and not at school, he's 11, so we're watching all the Clone Wars series again and hanging out and doing all that stuff.
But, you know, I'm a big hoops fan myself as well. So now, here we are, we're in the middle of the regular NBA season, I can’t watch my beloved Celtics and I'm like, “What am I going to do?” You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to watch some Larry highlights. I'm going to watch Little Mike from the ‘90s. You get your fix, right? You get your fix. It's that simple
Jerod Morris: It is. And it's like people need the fix for the content, but then they also need the fix with the connection and the personal interaction. Being on Zoom or going live on YouTube or chatting in a live chat can't truly replace person to person connection, but it can approximate it at a time when we really need it. That’s not something to be underrated.
What Is Your Business?
Jerod Morris: So I want to talk about your business, because, obviously, you help people build their personal brand, build a business around their personal brand. Actually, how do you describe what you do? Let me get the description from you because that would be better.
Chris Ducker: It depends on what day of the week it is. I've got it down to what I call my own personal branding statement nowadays.
What I do is I help people become the go-to leader in their industry and build a future-proof business. That's what I do.
Jerod Morris: “Go-to leader in their industry and build a future-proof business.” I like that.
Chris Ducker: That's it. And that's been my personal brand statement for close to probably four or five years now.
And then people usually say, they usually follow up with, “Well, how do you do that?” Well, I help them do that by leaning into their expertise, in their personality, and helping them, kind of claw out of them exactly what it is they enjoy doing and what they're really, really good at and forgetting about the stuff that they're not good at, and instead, leaning into the stuff they really enjoy and that they can genuinely serve others on.
So it’s people like coaches, consultants, authors, speakers, YouTubers, anybody really building a business based around them and their fandom and what they stand for. And that's what I do. Well, that's the bulk of what I do in terms of online, anyway.
How Do Difficult Times Impact Your Community and Business?
Jerod Morris: One of the inevitable byproducts of uncertain economic times, which we are obviously entering right now, is as job security goes down, people's trust in maybe the companies that they're working for goes down. And you start to see people that are like, “I want to try and find something where I can count on myself. And maybe this is a time to move into building a brand or building a business around myself.”
What kind of impact are you seeing from that and how do you approach that with your people and the people in your community in terms of trying to coach them through situations like these?
Chris Ducker: Man, I literally just got an email from one of my coaching clients this morning, telling me that he feels a little bad about the current situation, because a lot of his friends are saying, “Well, I've lost this deal. I was working on this project, that's dead for the next three months, etc.”
Whereas he, on the other hand, has had more requests for interviews by the media, more requests to do webinars and virtual keynotes for online events, and all this stuff. And that's what happens. That is a natural byproduct of what I call “building the business of you.”
When you're building the business based around (not reliant on) your expertise, your personality, your message, and ultimately, why you should become somebody's favorite. Because when you're somebody's favorite — if I was to call you and say, “Hey Jerod, I’m putting together this online event, because I can't do my in-person event. I need someone who's really, really good, who can talk to my audience for 45 minutes to an hour on the power of monetizing a podcast and how to do that. Do you know anyone?”
You would probably be able to pick one name straight off the top of the hat and say, “This person's amazing. You've got to give him or her a quick shout. I'll introduce you via email.” Bang! Why? Because that person is your favorite for that topic.
So that hence, the future proof aspect of what we do as Youpreneurs, we're building that business based around our expertise, not reliant on us entirely, but at least based around our messaging and what we're all about. And people want to do business with other people more so today than ever before, because that power of the personal brand and that business of you concept is so strong.
How Has Your Community Evolved?
Jerod Morris: So I want to talk about community, and I'd like to talk about the impact the community has on what you do. And so let's just trace the arc, kind of going back to the beginning for when you started your community, what the goals were for it, and how it's evolved.
Chris Ducker: Yeah, man. Well, when I look back on it retrospectively now, I think the community was being built as far back as 2010 when I started getting active online properly.
So January, I started blogging 2010. That's been 10 years now. April, 2010 I started podcasting, so I'm almost 10 years of podcasting as well. Obviously, at that point, I'd still been running and building my own business offline, more brick and mortar with the call center and everything, which we still own and operate now, but I have nothing to do with the day to day running.
Then later in that year, Virtual Staff Finder was born as a company — August, September that year. And it kind of just went from there.
I didn't really start taking my personal brand seriously until probably around late 2012. And it was probably then I started to realize that our community was already growing. It was already growing.
So the invites would come in to speak at certain industry events and I would meet people: “Oh, I listen to your show. I read your blog,” and this whole type of thing. And I was like, “Let’s do a meetup.” You know, “There's a few people, I'll drop an email.”
I was in Vegas at an event in late 2012 and I said, “I'm going to be at this event. If anybody's there, let's meet up at the bar of the hotel” — I think it was the Hard Rock I was staying in at the time —“and we can have a drink for an hour.” About 30 people showed up and we were there all night long. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is actually kind of cool.”
What I really loved about it, and this is what I preach now, “your vibe attracts your tribe.” Meaning the right people with the same kind of mentality that you have will be attracted to you. And the others will just be just like a magnet, be repelled away from you.
So I realized not only were these people interested in what I could serve them up as a leader and as a content creator, but also they were really cool people. I would like to hang out with them anyway.
And so I think, looking back on it retrospectively, that was where it all began. It wasn't until late 2015 that we actually gave birth to Youpreneur as a brand and as a business on its own. And that's obviously where the community aspect has taken off.
Laying the Foundation for Community
Jerod Morris: You made an important point there that I want to underscore, which I have definitely found to be true in my experience. There is the community that starts to develop around your content in the comment sections in Twitter, people responding on emails. Your audience members start to interact together about your content. And then there's the specific community that you create to congregate people.
I feel like the first needs to come before the second. You create that place for people to congregate when you see like, “Oh man, there are these disparate conversations going on out here. Let me bring people together, because there's a need for it.”
Do you find, as I do sometimes, that people try to jump to the second part before they have the first? And they're like, “I want to create a community,” but they haven't really put in the leg work, put in the time with their content to actually get the interactions and get the actual community going before they invest in actually putting a place out there that people aren't ready to show up to yet.
Chris Ducker: Yeah, totally. I mean, I see it every day if I'm to be frank. And the reason why is because — well, it's a two-sided coin. Either number one, they're lazy. Or number two, they want to fast-track. One or the other. And some might say that’s one in the same. I don't look at it like that.
Fast-tracking still means that there's some work involved. Being lazy, well, that's just a whole different ball game. For me though, there lies the importance of putting in the work, getting those foundations laid first.
When we launched Youpreneur in September of 2015, we did so after five years of blogging and podcasting. But here is the big thing, and not a lot of people know this story. We launched Youpreneur specifically and solely initially for a period of two weeks on Periscope, which was the live streaming app which was doing incredibly well.
Now, it was only a year later that it would be killed by Facebook Live. But for that one year, it was hot property.
Jerod Morris: And you dominated Periscope, man, I remember that.
Chris Ducker: I freaking loved that app so much.
Jerod Morris: I still remember all the Periscopes you would do with Charlie sitting on your lap on the couch, and you guys would hop out on there all the time. Those were great.
Chris Ducker: Totally. And there are others and I'm sure that there are videos. I know they're out there somewhere of me playing a harmonica to blues backing tracks and all this kind of stuff. Again, showing people who you are and what you're all about, and “your vibe attracts your tribe.”
So yeah, when I first discovered Periscope, it was earlier on in 2015. We'd already had the idea for Youpreneur as a community, as a brand. We then actually started working on it properly.
I remember my first Scope, as they were called, was actually in Vegas. It was March. I just went live with the app and it was me with my arm out of a taxi going down the Vegas Strip, and I just remember seeing all these hearts flashing up on the screen. I'm thinking, “Oh my God, I love it, this is great.”
I totally fell in love with Periscope and utilized it all year round to build, for all intents and purposes, actually a whole new audience. Yes, there are a whole bunch of people that were also on my email list that listen to the show that would tune in. But there was also a very big chunk of people that had never heard from Chris Ducker before that wanted in. And so I would go live.
At first, 20 people would show up, 30 people would show up, 50 people would show up. And then three months later, I'd go live, same time every day, Monday to Friday, and I'd have 400 or 500 people live every single time.
To put that into a context that pretty much everybody listening in can understand, that's like doing a keynote at a medium-sized conference daily to an engaged audience. Gold!
So when we launched Youpreneur, we did it entirely on Periscope. I remember flipping my camera around and showing the inside of the community portal, showing people everything that they could get, because you couldn't share images like you can nowadays. And man, it blew us away.
It was almost 200 members, joined at 39 bucks a month, which is still the price point to this day, in 48 hours.
Jerod Morris: Wow. So when you initially launched the Youpreneur community, it was a paid community from the beginning?
Chris Ducker: Yes, from day one, Youpreneur has been a paid mastermind community, yes. Now, with that being said, that was all that was available in 2015 under the Youpreneur banner. It was just the community.
Since then, we have grown it out. There is a standalone website at Youpreneur.com, the podcast is there, tons of blog content is there, infographics are there, opt-ins and all that good fun downloadable stuff is all there as well. But still at the very center of everything that we do at Youpreneur HQ, is the Youpreneur Academy, which is the month to month monthly membership community.
Obviously, we've expanded out. There's Rise of the Youpreneur, the book. There’s the Youpreneur Summit, the annual live conference. We've now got the Youpreneur Incubator, which is kind of like next level membership stuff, more mastermind stuff.
So we built out an entire business model based on one business model, which was definitely 100% from day one community-focused and still is.
Free vs. Paid Community
Jerod Morris: When we launched the Unemployable Initiative, we actually launched it as a free community. Now it had the elements of what a paid community would have. Our thinking was, “Let's open it up to folks who have been with us for a while, seed the community with those people to come in and then eventually make it a paid community.”
Do you have thoughts on which way is better?
Chris Ducker: I mean, I think you do what's best for you and your people. If you love on your people in the right way, whether it's got a price tag attached to it or not, it's never going to be a bad thing.
I think we were quite blessed. I think that I felt like we had the right kind of mix of expertise and community to the point where we could put a small monthly fee attached to it. And I think 39 bucks a month for what we serve up every month, I think, is a small amount. There are many, many people who say we could charge a couple of hundred bucks a month for our membership easy. But, obviously, that's a whole different show of price points and all the rest of it.
At the end of the day, I think whether you're giving it away for free with the view of either keeping it like that and then upselling into more high-end level products in the future, or to seed the community and have that as kind of like your legacy membership-base, and then start charging a small monthly fee for all the new people that come on board. Or, flip side, you charge from day one, it doesn't matter. It's inconsequential.
What really matters is that you're serving up value for your people, and that you're loving on them. And if they're happy to pay you for it, great. If you feel like you've got to do a little work first, then you've got to work.
What Keeps People in Community and Willing to Pay for It?
Jerod Morris: Obviously the specifics will be different for each audience. This is part of the reason why putting in the time to get to know your audience, know what they need from a community is important. But, generally speaking, what makes a community worth paying for and what keeps people there long-term?
Chris Ducker: The leader. I'm a big believer of showing up and leading the way you want your people to be like. The perfect situation here, March 19, we're in the middle of this world crisis right now. You have two options — you either show up or you do not much at all.
My people are community members, they expect Chris to show up. As the OG Youpreneur, I have to show up. If I don't, then it goes against everything that I preach, everything. And so I’ve got to not only show up as I should, but in times of crisis, you show up even more. You go above and beyond, because that's what you want your people to see from you.
And by the way, I'm not doing it, because I feel like I have to do it. I'm doing it, because I want to do it. That's the big thing as well. I think that at the end of the day, I think it honestly really does come down to the leader of that community.
Now, Youpreneur is very much a community. It was built up around me and my personal brand. There are other communities out there that maybe are not so personality-driven. And if that's the case, it still actually comes down to what that community stands for, but maybe more on the values of that community and what it stands for as a whole rather than the individual leading it. But either way, it comes down to the values and the beliefs of what that community's all about.
How Do You Manage the Community and Other Aspects of Your Business?
Jerod Morris: One thing that’s undeniable, whether you build a community around a personal brand or not, whoever is leading the community or whoever is kind of the quarterback or on point to keep things going — that person's role is essential and the community is only going to go as far as what the leadership takes it, whatever the tone of that leadership is.
And it is a time investment. If there's anything I've learned from communities that I have run and led, it is a time investment to plan events, to just get in there and interact, to do all the things that it takes.
How do you manage that in Youpreneur, number one? Do you have help? Do you do a lot of it yourself? And how do you coach people on it who want to start communities, but are also trying to manage all the elements of their business?
Because in my experience, you don't want to half-ass it, like no half measures. You've either got to go all the way, make this community really good or it's probably not going to be worth doing. So how do you manage all that?
Chris Ducker: Yeah, to that point, you can't half-ass it anymore. You just can't do that. People's BS indicators are way, way too sensitive nowadays, and they'll call you out on that plain and simple. And I've seen it happen on more than one occasion, even just as recent as a few weeks ago.
So I think, yeah, it's a lot of work. And here's the thing, the membership model is the holy grail of online business. Whether you're looking at Netflix or whether you're looking at Youpreneur, it's a recurring membership fee that people are paying to get access to whatever it is that you're giving them access to, what you're serving up to them.
Therefore, if you want to get that reliable, recurring, predictable income into your world, well, you know what? You’ve got to show up week in, week out, month in, and you've got to be reliable. You've got to be recurring as well. And so a lot of people struggle with that.
Not so much right at the beginning, because I think a lot of people go into a lot of these things kind of gung-ho and they're like, “Yeah, it has to be great and I'm going to make thousands of bucks and help people and dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.” And then like six months in, they're like, “Oh God, I’ve got to do another mastermind call or a Q&A.”
Jerod Morris: I've been there, man, it is real.
Chris Ducker: They call it “membership burnout.” It's like YouTube burnout, it's real. “You’ve got to feed the beast, man. If you want to do well on YouTube, you’ve got to feed the beast.” What the hell does that even mean, “Feed the beast”? You’ve got to publish videos, you've got to publish more and more videos on YouTube.
And before you know what's happening, you've gone through those 60 video ideas that were supposed to last you the entire year. You've done it in four months, because you want to feed the beast and get your subscribe account up — you burnout. Same thing with membership, you burnout.
And so I think it comes down to a combination of two things. Number one, not over promising. I think a lot of people, particularly when they launch or relaunch their memberships after little hiatuses, or maybe they want to kind of inject a little bit of new life into the membership, what they do is they promise way too much, way too much.
We actually did that with Youpreneur when we first opened the doors. There was something new going live every single week content-wise inside of the community. And after six months, we weren't necessarily burned out, because I'm lucky, I've got a good team of VAs that kind of help me produce all the content and everything in there.
But what I noticed was that people weren't watching the videos. They weren't downloading the PDFs that we had put together. They were still inside the community forums and they were still conversing with people on a pretty regular basis, but they weren't actually utilizing much of the content.
So we did a survey about eight, nine months in. We said, “If you're not using this, why? Tell us, we want to know.” Not buttons to click — we needed open-ended answers and questions to get actual knowledge from people. And it was an overwhelming vote for overwhelm. It was just too much.
So that's the first thing. Don't promise too much. Manage the perception out of the gate with what you're serving up.
And then everything that you do put out, make sure that it's of a high value level. It can’t be, “Oh, I’ve got to get this PDF document out.” And then you just put anything down on a Word sheet and turn it into a PDF.
No, you’ve got to design properly. You research it properly, you put it together properly. And if you don't have the time to do it, by Jove, you better delegate that and keep that level up. Because again, people will call you out on it.
What Is the Future for Online Communities?
Jerod Morris: Yeah, man, rightfully so. As we move forward, what do you see the role of community being? I think, as we mentioned 20 minutes ago in this conversation, you really see the value of communities accentuated in these kind of times where we're all isolated a little bit, you really see it.
As we move forward, do you think communities will continue to grow in importance? In terms of what people like you, people like us, kind of the mix of content and what you're planning around?
Chris Ducker: It’s a good question. I think they're going to be more important in certain niches than others. I think there are kind of like sub-communities within sub-communities of bigger communities that are kind of like pilfered out.
I mean, the Facebook group thing is the perfect example. You might get one Facebook group that's got 10,000 people in it, but you know that there's at least 10% of those people that have got their own Facebook group who are pilfering other people from other groups to get them into theirs, and this whole kind of thing. I just feel like the quality is going to be way more important than the quantity in that regards.
And so I think that ultimately, yes, community as a whole is going to remain very, very, very important, regardless of what industry or niche you're in and who you're serving.
More importantly, I think what will happen is tail end of this year going to next year when all this Coronavirus thing has died down a little bit — touch wood, with a little bit of luck — I think in-person opportunities are going to become very, very hot property.
I mean, we have been running live events now with our community since 2014. The first Tropical Think Tank conference that we ran in the Philippines, I think Brian Clark came over.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, Brian’s been to that.
Chris Ducker: 2015 or 2016 — I can't remember, but ever since that first year, 2014, we've put on live events every year. And now obviously…
Jerod Morris: Hang on, Chris, my daughter just fell off the slide. Hang on, I'll be right back.
Okay, well, that was interesting. She's good.
We're very committed during this time of self-quarantine and not being able to go to school to not letting TV be the default activity. And so she's very creative. She's got this little trampoline and a slide and this bridge thing. And so she sets up these obstacle courses and she climbs up on top of the slide, and then runs down it and it makes me really nervous.
But I've seen her do it hundreds of times and she's always fine. So I'm seeing her do it. I have a little monitor so I can watch her while I'm doing recordings just to make sure everything's okay. And I'm seeing her do this.
I don't know if you saw my face a couple of times? I'm glancing down, because she's standing on top of this thing. And that's always been my fear — that she's not going to pay attention and she's going to fall off. And sure enough, she did.
Chris Ducker: Well, you've got to tell her the American Ninja Warrior is not taking applications right now. Well, I'm glad that she didn't break any bones or anything. That's good.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, hopefully not. Okay, so I don't even know where we are or where we were before that.
Chris Ducker: We were talking about how communities are going to continue to evolve, and I was mentioning that it's going to get more, like as of next year or end of this year, people are going to want more in-person stuff to kind of get over what's happened this year.
Balancing Public vs. Community-Only Content
Jerod Morris: Yeah, agreed. So a couple of final questions, because I know we have to wrap up soon.
We've talked a little bit about how you view your role inside of the community. Do you feel any kind of pressure or obligation to give more, to reveal more? How do you balance, “Okay, here's content I’m going to put on my podcast, on this public facing content, and then what I'm ‘saving’ for the community?” How do you balance that?
Chris Ducker: Yeah, that’s a really good question. And certainly, I guess there probably is a little bit of pressure in regards to being more, not transparent — because I'm a kind of “what you see is what you get” kind of person anyway.
But I think what it is, is that with any community that has a leader, “I want what Chris has got. I want the tool that Chris uses. I would like to know what server Chris's website is on, etc.,” kind of thing. And this is not a diva moment or an egotistical thing, whatever. But I think what it is, is it comes down to the fact that I'm aware of the fact that people want to know more and more and more about how I'm building the business, specifically the things I do.
And obviously, I'm happy to share them. But if I'm to be really honest, you’ve got to pay for that. I'm just going to put it out there. I will help you figure out how to grow your brand using a podcast, I'll help you figure out how to productize yourself and turn yourself into a high paid coach, and things like that. You can figure that out by listening to the show. You can figure that out by becoming a member of the Youpreneur Academy and seeing the videos and the chats and the guides and everything we post in there every month.
But if you want real hardcore: “This is how Chris breaks down his profit and loss statement. This is how Chris plans his product launches for success. This is how Chris puts on a sold out live conference every year” — if you want that stuff, you need to become part of my inner circle. And that is a good investment to make. It's not a cheap investment, but it's a good investment to make when the time is right in your own personal journey.
So yeah, I think the pressure is there. But, like you say, you’ve got to pull back a little bit on just how much you give from the outset.
Is Confidence Due to Personality or Practice?
Jerod Morris: Yeah. The other thing is there's a boldness about you, there's a confidence about you. There is an ability to just be comfortable in front of a camera, behind a mic, like just being yourself that not everybody has. And I'm sure you have had to practice and get reps to come to this. You didn't just become this all at once.
But for people who maybe view the end product of you right now and say, “I'm not quite that comfortable being that out there. And I'm not quite that comfortable asking people for money for this stuff.” Like you just said, you have to pay for it. Now when you say it, it totally makes sense, I'm convinced, but not everybody might be comfortable saying that, as you just did.
Do you think that there are some personalities that maybe aren't quite as well suited to it as others? Or do you think that it's something that with enough reps, with the right planning, that everybody can get comfortable with?
Chris Ducker: I think some people are just more naturally extroverted than others and vice versa as well. I think that if you are a really, really, really introverted, shy person, then being front and center in your business is probably not going to work out for the better. But that doesn't mean that you can't build a powerful business based around what you know. You just do it in a way where you're not the be all and end all of the marketing side of the business perhaps.
I mean, to your point, I believe that you should charge what you're worth. That is one of my biggest, most quotable slogans. We've even got it on t-shirts, literally, laptop stickers as well. Jerod, I'll send you one.
Jerod Morris: Please, it’s a great quote.
Chris Ducker: But I'm a big believer. You should charge what you're worth. You've put in your time, you've earned your stripes and you should charge what you're worth. People are more likely to pay to download your experience into their memory bank from yours, to fast track their own growth and their own success. So rock on, plain and simple.
But with that being said, I think that it is something that comes with practice. If you are up for being “the face of your business,” I think that, yeah, definitely, you've got to put in your reps, you've got to put in the time to figure out what that looks like, how you can serve people in the right way, what medium — we're spoiled now, right? — you're going to take to that.
For some people, you'll have, as my dad used to say, “The perfect face for radio.” And then you stay behind the mic with a podcast. Or maybe you're one of those flashy dudes who wants to show off all the time and you're going to rock out a video show or whatever it is.
I'm just a big believer of just being uniquely and unapologetically you. And if that puts you front and center or if it puts you to the sides of the business, then so be it. Just show up and care and love on your community. Because if you do that, all will be just fine with the world.
What Is the Best Way to Strategically Think About Community?
Jerod Morris: Yeah, last question for you on this topic of community commerce. And you alluded to it some with talking about how the Youpreneur community is kind of at the center of all this other stuff that you have now, and some different things going on.
What do you think is the smartest way for people to think about their community strategically? Is it an end point of your revenue model, of your business model? Or should it be kind of a midpoint that jumps off to additional courses that people pay for, live in-person events, that kind of thing?
For most people, do you think that's too complicated or is that the best way to view a community?
Chris Ducker: I think when you get started, you don't necessarily have to have that customer journey mapped out or that detailed. Just put it together. Just get going. Just bring the people together. But as time…
Jerod Morris: We lost you for just a second. There are all these people doing online classes on Zoom now, so we're getting a little more Zoom interference these days.
Chris Ducker: Zoom interference. That's going to be a thing now, right?
Jerod Morris: Yeah.
Chris Ducker: So yeah, I think what happens is after a period of time though, your community members will start to open up to you and they'll start talking about the things that they want to see from you, and the help that they need from you. And the solutions to the problems that they have that they're happy to pay for if you produce those solutions in the right way for a good price tag to be attached to them.
And what happens is at that point, your members, your community ultimately, end up shaping what your business will become, what it will turn into. And that's where the customer journey will be built out. The people that end up joining the community at the front end, 5% of those will be those that will be happy, maybe even less than that will be happy to pay for access to you personally as part of the inner circle that you create, whatever it is.
And between those two extremes of entry level products and the high-end big investment type product, you're going to have a multitude of different products, services and offerings in the ecosystem. Again, to just serve then, as part of that natural customer journey, that they end up creating with you as the leader of the community.
So, yeah, don't need it straight out of the gate, but it's definitely something that will develop whether you like it or not as you go on. The only difference is: are you going to monetize it the right way?
Jerod Morris: Yeah. Well, Chris, I could talk about this with you all day. I've appreciated the chat and catching up. I know you have to go, I probably need to go do a concussion check on my daughter here real quick.
Where Can We Find You?
Chris Ducker: I'm at Chris Ducker on all the social. I spend a lot of time now in Instagram and YouTube. That’s where I’m knocking out most of my content. So search me on those two platforms, we’ll get to know each other.
Jerod Morris: Awesome, Chris, this was great. We need to catch up more. If it’s six more years before we talk again, something has gone very, very wrong.
Chris Ducker: Something has gone incredibly wrong. All right, brother, it was my pleasure.
Jerod Morris: Thank you.