There are many ways to get involved with Xoogler.co. The organisers page on Xoogler.co can give you a good idea about possible roles and activities. However, arguably the simplest, most accessible way is to start a subgroup or community together with other Xooglers who all share the same interest.
What follows is based on my story with the group I created, the Solopreneurs & Freelancers group.
Read on to learn about the specific ways a Xoogler group can benefit its members and the broader network as well as the group organiser. You’ll also find a section with practical tips about how to start and grow your own group within Xoogler.co.
The Xoogler.co Solopreneurs & Freelancers group has been around for 4 months now. During this period, 3 global virtual events took place and the group grew to 100 members.
Before this, I had absolutely no experience in creating and maintaining a group or community, either online or offline.
In a coincidental conversation with Chris Fong, the founder of Xoogler.co, he asked me: “Alex, how do you think the network can help you?” I stated that I would like to see more discussions and initiatives targeted to the subset of the Xoogler community who call ourselves freelancers, solopreneurs, or independent consultants.
Chris suggested that I organise a virtual event, and so I did. In fact, I took it a step further and created a virtual group. I believed that such a group was missing and that having one could offer multiple benefits.
Now I can see much more clearly how the group has benefited both its members and the broader community but also how much I’ve personally gained as the main organiser. Most of the benefits you‘ll read about below would easily apply to any future group that is created.
Benefits for the group members (the Xoogler freelancers and solopreneurs)
- The group provides a space for its members to connect, discuss, and learn from each other. A space to ask and answer questions via the forum or directly to each other.
- With the virtual networking events, the members can get to know each other and create personal connections.
- By knowing what each individual is working on, it becomes easier to identify opportunities to cooperate and create synergies. Members with complementary skill sets will be able to collaborate, for example.
- The creation of a directory of the members has made the group’s freelancers more visible to the Xoogler.co business community.
Benefits for the broader Xoogler startup Community
- The directory also helps startups to find Xooglers with the required expertise effortlessly. It includes Xooglers who are experts in areas such as Growth, Marketing, Analytics and AI, Business Coaching, Product Management, Software consulting, and many many more.
- Besides, the directory is a great resource to keep handy for whenever a Xoogler is asked the common question: “So, do you have any freelancer to recommend for “X”?
- The events that took place were not exclusive to freelancers, and the topics covered were often broad enough that members from the broader community could attend. This created another opportunity to bring startups and freelancers closer to each other.
For the group organiser
- First and foremost, it is simply gratifying to help establish meaningful relationships by connecting freelancers or solopreneurs with each other or with startups interested in what they have to offer.
- I had the chance to reconnect with old colleagues, make new Xoogler friends from within the group, and cooperate directly with the Xoogler.co team.
- I also learnt a lot about community building and how to organise virtual events
Overall, this experience has allowed me to do something completely new and exciting for me, while also offering something back to such a welcoming and supportive community that I am so glad to be a member of.
Practical Tips on how to start and grow your Xoogler.co group
So, if you are considering starting your own group within Xoogler.co, here are a few tips:
Find a theme that resonates with others
- The network is focused on startups, so a startup-related topic has a good chance of receiving a positive response from the network. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other common interests among the members.
- Start with something close to your heart and see if there are other members in the community who share that interest.
- Have a look at the existing channels of the Slack group to get an idea about potential themes.
- Once you have the idea and are ready to start a group, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Organise an event, such as a roundtable discussion, on a topic or plan a networking event with a round of introductions to get a more realistic idea about the amount and type of interest around your topic.
- Having 10 or 15 other Xooglers join you the first time is a good sign that the group can gain momentum.
- Make sure you contact the Xoogler.co team, on time, to let them know about your event and ensure it will be included in the newsletter with a date, time and clear description.
- Experiment with other formats as well, such as panel discussions or networking events.
- Consider starting a Slack channel once you have a community that’s starting to shape around your topic or area of interest.
- Collect opinions from the group members about how the group can best help them and which discussions and topics are the most relevant to them.
- Make sure to acknowledge the contributions of active and helpful members.
- To attract more members, consider inviting expert speakers who will discuss a specific topic.
- Write a blogpost after the event discussing the highlights and share with the rest of the community as a way to reach those who couldn’t attend the event live and also to spread the word about the group.
Starting and maintaining a group takes both time and effort. However, when looking at the big picture, we are in a good position. Having the foundations in place of a community with thousands of members and the availability of channels such as the slack group and the newsletter is advantageous. It allows anyone in the community interested in getting more involved to jumpstart the whole process of starting a group. In this case, you will also receive the friendly support of the Xoogler.co team (Chris Fong and Ankit Jain)