“Guys, I’m quitting my job to move to Spain and work on my project” — my friends were mid-eye roll before I even finished the sentence. For years I talked about living abroad while working remote, but my timeline was always 6 months out; after this next project finishes or as soon as I get that next promotion.
The catalyst that flipped me from a ‘someday’ talker to building a company in the land of paella and sangria was hardly my own internal drive. Instead, I am personal testament of the effects that communities can have on their members. Two groups in particular coaxed and nurtured my obsession: software development via the Meteor Chef community and traveling the world while working via Nomad List community.
Before I delve any further, let me introduce Join It, my company that was inspired by communities like Nomad List and Meteor Chef. Join It is a service that makes organizations operate more effectively. We connect their membership database with communication tools, their events, and member status tracking.
My membership participation started with simple, aimless clicking in forums, but I soon found myself lost in inspiration and sometimes, even envy. The latter came from watching people pursue their dreams, while I was working to help someone else accomplish theirs. Inspiration was what drove me deeper, though. I started to actively contribute, building meaningful relationships with other members.
Over time, I noticed my interactions were increasingly multi-channel — my membership participation began spanning a number of platforms. In one interaction, for example, I started my day by joining a Meteor Chef mailing list, then tweeted a few times to the group admin, and finally bought a subscription to their Slack group, solidifying my active membership. If you’re keeping track, that was three separate channels, four if you include my hourly website visits.
The interactions were siloed, however: distinct services and platforms — which got me thinking, “could these platforms could be better connected…?”
There are more tools than ever to assist the growth of communities (MailChimp for newsletters, Slack for chat, Eventbrite for meetings), but there isn’t a bridge between these apps to connect the correct context of membership.
To illustrate my thinking, try answering questions like: is your newest member on the “Welcome” MailChimp list? Did they receive the invite to the Slack group? Are they getting the ‘newbie’ discount for that upcoming conference? Context is king. Once you know how your members have engaged with your community, you can increase your effectiveness as an organization and maximize the benefit for your members.
This is why I’ve built Join It — software that syncs your membership list with other apps that are critical to building your community.
P.S. — Now, let me walk the walk by plugging my own group (managed via Join It, of course!). I’m evidence that communities help define and shape who we are. If you’re working on a bootstrapped SaaS project (full-time, part-time, or just aspiring) — then we need you to be a part of us. It’s a free community of folks who are building SaaS projects on a budget.