How to get the most out of online communities
We’ve seen Propel members stick around long after their initial goal is met. Whilst on the team we might like to take full credit, we know that getting value out of a virtual community takes an equal amount effort from its members. You might be thinking of the usual steps like attending events or asking questions from time to time, which definitely help. But at Propel our members come up with creative ways to find and create value month after month. Here we’re spotlighting them so you can get inspired!
When asked why they want to join an online community for entrepreneurs, people share specific, often tactical goals like:
- Finding a cofounder
- Meeting preseed investors
- Learning GTM Strategy or Growth tactics
- Other resources for first-time founders
- Building relationships with other early stage founders
We’ve seen Propel members stick around long after their initial goal is met. Whilst on the team we might like to take full credit, we know that getting value out of a virtual community takes an equal amount of effort from its members. You might be thinking of the usual steps like attending events or asking questions from time to time, which definitely help. But at Propel our members come up with creative ways to find and create value month after month. Here we’re spotlighting them so you can get inspired!
When you join an online community one of the first things you should do is let people know who you are! That way people know how to be a support to you and what they can ask for your help with. As you progress on your goals, learn more about yourself on the entrepreneurial journey, and make changes in your life it’s a good practice to keep your peers updated. A simple way you can do this is to reintroduce yourself after major updates.
When John T. first joined us in 2020, Propel was smaller and his career goals were different. Now completing an MBA, reintroducing himself allows him to connect with peers at Propel who’ve recently gone through that journey.
Another early Propel member, Sophia Wronsky has shared a lot about career pivots through our blog. Recently she went a step further to reintroduce herself and share her new role with the community and was immediately taken up on an offer to connect with a newer member.
Reintroducing yourself is a powerful way to foster relevant and new connections as you grow within a community. Why not try it when you’ve experienced major changes or simply been around for a while?
Stop at every house
If you join an online community with a clear goal in mind you probably have an action plan for how you’ll look to achieve that goal in the community. You’ll likely try to attend all events scheduled in your first month, meet a particular number of people each quarter, or even reply to a certain number of posts per week. At Propel we were impressed by one member’s undertaking. When Lawrence MacAlpine first joined us he messaged every single member of our community and managed to book 50 meetings. Within just 3 weeks he had completed 100 coffee chats! Since then we’ve seen how maximizing live connections has enabled him to become a go-to person when other members are looking for collaborators or insight, and it has also positioned him to find many supporters when he asks for help.
If your caffeine tolerance is not quite as high as Lawrence’s, why not try a number of coffee chats that works for you? You never know what serendipity you’ll find through intentionally making time to connect with a varied group of members.
Celebrate your wins
One of our most important rituals at Propel is celebrating our members' wins each month. We know that at the earliest stages, the entrepreneurial journey is non-stop hustle. By sharing incremental and milestone wins with one another regularly we give each other permission to take pause and reflect, and also we give one another energy to keep pushing when building gets a little too tough. Your Community Manager will call on you at scheduled points, but I think I speak for many of us in saying you don’t need to wait for our cue. Spontaneous, real-time sharing is exciting and opens up opportunities for others to get involved.
A win can be something incremental or a major milestone like getting your first paying customer. We were happy to hear from Propel member Ashley Hunt when she found her pre-seed investors through our events. This quarter we’ve also been proud to celebrate founders being published in publications like KTLA5, MSNBC, Bon Appetit, and Mindpath.
What’s a recent win you could share with your community?
Contribute to the community’s blog
At Propel most of our articles are member-contributed! But even if you haven’t necessarily considered yourself the writerly type before, you can be confident that when you’re accepted to join a community like Propel it’s because fellow members and the community managers see you have something valuable to contribute. Online communities will often have resources to support you in contributing to their blog. It is always worth directly sharing your experiences and ideas with your community manager to see how they can work with you to share your story. At the very least if you say yes to speaking at an event, your insights might be repurposed into content that reaches more of the community’s orbit. Our crypto series is an example of what that can look like.
Why not think through your area of expertise and connect with your community manager to brainstorm ideas for a contribution? To contribute to the Propel blog, send a DM to @Esmé in Slack.
We’re currently welcoming applications from aspiring and current founders. If you identified with any of the goals shared earlier and feel excited to support your peers as you build, we would love to meet you. Apply now and we’ll be in touch to schedule your interview.