The Next Phase of CMX
We started CMX to help community professionals thrive.
On the days where I wake up and ask myself why should I keep working on CMX, putting in long hours, making half what I could be making elsewhere, carrying the weight of supporting a full staff, the one thing that keeps me going is the emails and messages we get from community professionals who share that, without CMX, they would be lost in their career.
I remember that feeling because when I started building community, there was no CMX. There was no community for us to turn to. There was no training, no conferences, no industry standards… you just had to figure it out on your own.
Reflecting on this with the team, it recently became clear that for CMX to be sustainable in the long run as a business while staying true to our mission and our value of being community focused, we have to become community-supported.
It gives us full permission to do what our team does best… build community and content that helps community professionals thrive.
So that’s what we’re doing. In a few weeks, we’re launching the first ever paid CMX Membership. It will be a subscription-based program for active community professionals. A lot of what CMX has always done for free will continue to be free. This membership will allow us to do all the things we knew community pros needed, but we couldn’t justify the additional investment. Our team is now focused on two goals:
- Curate an incredible and diverse membership of the top community professionals in the world
- Make our members wildly successful in their careers building community
The road to get here hasn’t been easy. CMX is completely bootstrapped. Taking no funding has been an uphill battle.
The biggest challenge with bootstrapping a business is you don’t have much room to experiment. The limiting factor of everything you focus on is that it has to drive revenue, or the company will die.
So we’ve experimented with a lot of different business models and have learned a lot over 3.5 years. Those experiments include conferences, consulting, training, recruiting, content sponsorship, speaking, and local events.
All of those things have had varying degrees of success, but on their own have not been enough to build a sustainable, long term business.
We avoided launching a paid membership model because when we started CMX, we didn’t want to put insights behind paywalls. We wanted to bring 10x better content to the industry than what existed at the time. We wanted all businesses who are interested in community to have access to the information they need to be successful. We believe that more organizations successfully investing in community will have a massive, positive impact on the world.
We still believe that. And we will always do a great deal to provide freely available content to the community industry.
At the same time, we actually were putting some of our content and experiences behind a paywall. To attend CMX Summit, you had to pay. To take our training, you had to pay. For any business, that line will always exist. We’re still learning where our line lies.
We aren’t building CMX as a company to flip in a few short years. We want to build something for the long run. Something that will exist for as long as the community industry exists. The best way to do this is to become community supported. It holds us accountable to always serve our community first.
We need your help. If CMX has in any way provided you value in the last few years, please help us spread the word about the new initiative. Share this post and send this form to any community professionals that should be a part of this new program.
UPDATE: CMX Pro applications are now open. You can learn more at http://cmxhub.com/pro
We’re also sharing all of our lessons, live, as we launch this community with the people who sign up with that link.
What excites me the most is that this won’t just be about helping members be successful. It will be a space where we can work together to advance the community industry, create better standards, build greater communities and make the world a more connected and compassionate place.