She Grows with Allyson Scammell
Ep #16: Building Local Communities that Become Your Friends, Peers, Teachers, and Clients
Allyson Scammell: Well. Hello there, She Grows Nation. That is the name of this. community of soul guided women entrepreneurs who are ready to grow, grow their soul, grow their spirituality, grow their business, grow to the next level. And I am sitting in my podcast studio here with my friend Tanner who helps me with these episodes.
[00:00:50] And this is my last recording in the studio in Maine because next week I fly to Germany, where I will be residing. Um, my husband took a job there, so we are moving to Stuttgart, Germany, headquarters of Mercedes. Um, and I’ve been there, never lived in Germany, but I’ve lived in Europe for 10 years. And it’s of course, bittersweet.
[00:01:19] Always a range of emotions whenever you go through a big transition. And I have certainly been experiencing and feeling those, that range of emotions, but my predominant emotion is really excitement. And I do move a lot, and I normally move to new countries and not just new towns. And the one question that I get the most from people is, aren’t you worried you won’t have any friends.
[00:01:48] And that used to be a bit of a fear of mine. But what I’ve been doing and what I have done in the last three moves is the second I arrived into the new community, I created a local network, a local tribe. Of people who I am interested in connecting to and learning from an Impala and possibly becoming clients of mine.
[00:02:18] And I did it in Oslo, Norway, and I called the group Oslo Ladies Living Their Passion. And then I did it in Brussels and I called it Brussels Ladies Living Their Passion. And it now has over 1300 members and is still growing. And then in the last year and a half plus that I’ve lived in Maine, I created a local group here.
[00:02:43] Called Coffee and Connecting Soul Guided Women Entrepreneurs in Maine. That’s a long name, but it’s very good for searches. So with each of these groups, I have found friends. I have found peers, I have found teachers, and I have found clients. And not only have I found that. I’ve looked around at the others in the group and they have found those same things with other people.
[00:03:13] So I have been the group facilitator, but the group has acted on its own and without me around as a beehive of support for women entrepreneurs at all levels, those looking to learn, those, looking to teach those, looking for peers. Those looking for clients. Those looking for anything to support their business.
[00:03:40] So these local communities have been something that have really, really helped me to slide into a new space and create a local network that is something that I can plug into immediately. And it has been one of the reasons why I. Like right now, for example, no longer have a fear. I don’t have the fear at all that I’m going to arrive to stick art and not have any friends.
[00:04:08] I have no very few people there now. Um, but one of the first things I’m going to do when I arrive is I’m going to create a local group in Stuttgart for women entrepreneurs, for specifically soul guided women entrepreneurs. Because this is the target audience that I feel called the serve. My business serves it.
[00:04:32] These are the type of people that I feel connected to. I want them as peers. I want them as teachers. This is the group that is calling my name. And so that’s what we’re going to explore. If you feel at all yourself called to start a community, and if you are a business owner and you’re looking for a local community that you want to organize around your business, then this is the way to do it.
[00:05:04] And the community you want to target is the same. Ideal audience that your kids and services are targeting. And this is the group of people that your soul, your higher self. Feels called to serve, doesn’t feel like work. It doesn’t feel like effort. And when you’re with the, the, this like-minded group of soul sisters or soul brothers, you just feel that natural.
[00:05:36] Effortless connection, like, yep, I knew these people in a past lifetime. Yep. We know each other on a soul level, and so now our human selves are just catching up to that, that meeting that has already taken place. So what I want to share with you today is the five dues. And five don’ts in launching or growing they, these types of local communities.
[00:06:07] So let’s just get to the dues five dues first, and I’ve already kind of touched on this, and this is super important, so that’s why it’s number one. Uh, be specific. Super specific about who your targeting. So, yep. When you think about the target audience of your business, you might hear it a lot niche, you know, get narrow.
[00:06:38] I love Seth Goden definition to target the smallest viable market. I’m reading his book right now. This is marketing. And it’s, it’s really a great read if you’re interested. And he spends a lot of time about niching and how we should target and define as our ideal audience, the smallest viable. Market. So that means getting as small as you can, but still having it large enough that you can, you know, sell to it.
[00:07:14] So same rules apply when you’re selecting or narrowing who you want to gather for a local community. Getting as specific as you can, but still not so specific that there’s no one to gather. Right. And it’s the same considerations that you would think about in targeting your ideal audience. Like it’s all those things I just talked about.
[00:07:38] Ultimately, who do you feel called to serve? And one thing that I always advise people is to think about people and not. Problems. We tend to, when we’re thinking about business offerings, think about, well, I want to help people with anxiety. I want to help people who have time management problems. I want to help people who have problem X, Y, or Z.
[00:08:05] That is good and you should definitely know your ideal audiences problems intimately. But when it comes to marketing to your audience, you want to think about who are the people? Are they entrepreneurs? Are they women? Are they teachers? Are they healers? Are they in the medical profession? When you think about who the person is, it’s just a lot easier to target that person.
[00:08:34] So I do encourage you, as you narrow down your audience, to think about the problem. Yes. And about the solution you want to provide for them. Yes. And then most importantly, who is the person . And if you can target that person, you can reach that person so much easier, so much easier to target, reach a person in your marketing.
[00:08:58] Then a problem. The next do of my five dues is to use Facebook and meetup.com now in Europe, meetup.com is super popular and it’s one of the largest visited. Websites on the internet, but. In the United States. I think it’s just now growing in in popularity. This is just my perception that could be completely wrong.
[00:09:29] meetup.com is great for helping you to build a local community, and if you use it in tandem with Facebook that it can be a real match made in heaven. Let me explain how it works. So when you’re thinking about do number one, what your audience is. Get on meetup.com you can meet up if you never used it before.
[00:09:53] It’s very user friendly. If you want to start your own local meetup, you do have to have a paid membership. I think it’s about $60 a year or so. We’re not talking about a lot of money here. Definitely worth it though. That little investment is definitely worth it and you want to get on meetup and just search your.
[00:10:13] Target audience and just see what’s out there. If there’s a ton of stuff. For example, in my case for soul guided women entrepreneurs, I want to think about a group that sets me apart. I want to go in there and say, what. Is missing what isn’t here. So if you see a really, really popular thriving group and you want to recreate the same thing, I would advise against it, especially if you live in a somewhat smaller community.
[00:10:42] If you live in a huge city, okay, maybe there’s enough for two of the same group. But if you can find a niche that isn’t already being served, that is money. So come up with a great name. Uh, my name, coffee, I have come up with the name, coffee and connecting, and then sort of the. You know, after the colon is sole guy to women entrepreneurs in fill in the blank.
[00:11:05] So in Maine, in Stuttgart, in wherever, and start your group. And then once you launch your meetup group, you want to create a mirror. Closed face group organization. And so when people sign up for meetup.com and they join your group, you can send them a welcome message and in that welcome message, say, Hey, welcome to the group.
[00:11:30] So happy you’re here and if you’re interested, please join our closed Facebook group here. It works super well to marry these two platforms up to help you get the word out about your events that you’re going to host. And that brings me nicely to do number three. And that is to be consistent. So you’re going to want to host monthly, weekly, whatever, meetups, gatherings to gather in 3d space.
[00:12:02] This is what makes this special. It’s not unzoom, it’s not virtual. You guys, we’re, we’re getting, we’re gathering with, um, in a three dimensional capacity. Do you have local meetup events? And I recommend at least once a month. And in fact, once a month is perfect, and then if you get rocking and rolling and maybe you get some help and then maybe there’s a group of you that come together and you have some support, then you can move to a couple times a month.
[00:12:32] But if it’s just you and you’re just starting out, I really recommend one meetup a month and pick this same day. And the same time so people know it gets to be in there like clockwork. That, for example, for my coffee and connecting meetup here in Maine, it was always the second Friday of the month from nine to 11:00 AM always second Friday of the month, nine to 11.
[00:13:00] And people just got it into their radar and they put it on their agendas that that was time they blocked off for this meetup group. So if you can be, as, especially when you first launch, you want to have be as consistent as you can to get people interested and get people coming. Do number four, pick interesting discussion topics.
[00:13:23] So what, whoever your ideal audience is that you’re targeting to bring together, you want to think what are their biggest desires? What are their biggest problems? And you want to design discussions around that. Now, if you are offering products or services that help. Help provide solutions to these problems, then you indeed
[00:13:50] Should facilitate the group discussion and be, uh, you know, and present on certain topics. And it’s always a really good idea to also bring in fresh voices, fresh perspectives, and bring in guest speakers from time to time to talk about something that doesn’t necessarily compete with your expertise. But it.
[00:14:12] Augments your expertise. So for example, I help soul guided women entrepreneurs to grow their business. So the type of expertise that I brought in with someone to talk about branding. Although I know a bit about branding, it’s, I’m not, um, I’m not steeped in that as a specialty. So I brought in a branding expert.
[00:14:32] I brought in a law of attraction expert. You know, I brought in different people that, um, augmented what I offer, but it wasn’t someone who would sort of compete against my expertise. And competes may be a strong word, but just something that, so you don’t feel like you’re sort of, um. Jockeying each other for the energy in the room.
[00:14:52] You want to have that flow. You want the discussion of flow and you want to pick guest speakers that you feel like you’re really aligned to and that you’re offering a perspective and they’re offering X perspective and everybody’s bringing their zone of genius to the table and that’s when the discussion really cooks.
[00:15:09] And so you are the group leader. And more than anything, you’re the discussion facilitator. So there are times where you are the expert on the discussion, and there are times when you’re just facilitating the conversation and letting someone else be the expert. And that really. Yeah. Again, that’s a way to create a dynamic group that has those different layers to it.
[00:15:33] A group coming together that feels like peers, friends, clients, teachers, all of those things. And the last, due to building local communities that become your friends, peers, teachers, and clients, is to simply have a door prize. I love this one. Door prizes are fun, and if you find someone in the group that has a good or a service, you can highlight what they’re doing.
[00:16:01] Um, it’s a great way to highlight local businesses that are doing cool things in the community. You can invite them. In and let them talk about their product and service. And that’s the door prize in. Oh, by the way, in time, as you get things up and running, you can also ask whoever is the door prize to sponsor your meetups.
[00:16:21] So if there’s some costs associated, maybe you have to rent a room. The door prize could possibly pay for the room rental or pay for the meetup in exchange for the advertising you do for that price. So that is a really great way people. Love it, who attend, and it’s a great way to highlight a local business who may be just doing amazing things or could possibly sponsor your event.
[00:16:46] Okay. Moving onto the dome. So we just talked about venues. Don’t pick a bad venue. This is venues are a big thing. And if you’re just starting out and you’re offering your event for free, of course you want a free venue or you want a very low cost venue. That just makes sense. Just understand that often times, not always please, no, not always, but often in my experience of looking for venues in for events like this in four countries now.
[00:17:18] When you find a free venue, there’s usually some price to pay. So maybe you have to share the stage with the person who is the owner of the venue, or you have to do some advertising for them, or you have to meet at a time that isn’t ideal for you, but it works in their schedule, whatever. Just know that free spaces.
[00:17:39] Awesome. But it does normally come at a price and eventually as your group grows, you will likely, unless you’re lucky enough, and you have a best friend who owns venue space that’s letting you use it for free. And if that’s you, lucky you. But for most of us, you’ll find in time, you’ll. Eventually want to find that perfect venue space with great energy, great natural light.
[00:18:02] Maybe it’s next door to a coffee shop so you can easily get the coffee and the snacks in, um, that you pay for. Because when you pay for it, you rent it. However, the arrangement is. It’s often your space. You get to decide where to put the table and the chairs and the snacks and everything. And um, you, you can be the owner of that space for the time that you have it.
[00:18:27] And that’s normally very valuable. So my whole thing is, if you’re just getting started, yes. Try to find. Free or very inexpensive space, but don’t, um, compromise. Having, like I said, a vibrant space where people feel good to meet. You’re going to have a high energy, high vibrational group going and you want that venue space to reflect that high vibe energy.
[00:18:54] And if you have to invest a little bit of money to get that, I say, and in my experience, that is a good investment to make.
[00:19:06] All right. Number two of the don’ts is don’t be too salesy. Okay? So we’re starting a local group that is also the folks that you are targeting as your ideal audience, and yes, you’re doing this as a way to connect you. And your products and services to your ideal audience locally. And that is a very smart, wise thing to do.
[00:19:34] And maybe your product or service is the cayenne. You’re the kind of person who sees people in person, or you have a brick and mortar store in a community, and this is the only way to do it. If you don’t have an online presence, then this is the only way to do it. So yes, you’re going to want to. At some point make that connection to, Oh, by the way, I also sell this product or service.
[00:20:01] They can help you with this problem we’re talking about, but if people sense that all you’re going to be doing is selling to them, or your group is just a big sales pitch, they will not come. They will not be interested. People are getting pitched. All day long. So you want to be really careful about having a too salesy of a vibe.
[00:20:25] You don’t want your number one motivation for starting this group to be selling to them. It can and should be number two or number three because like I said, this is, you know, a way to really market and to connect. What you do to your ideal audience, but it shouldn’t be the primary thing because people will feel that and they will be turned off by it.
[00:20:53] So just watch your sales Enos, watch how often you pitch. And I will tell you how you can pitch to them in don’t number three, which is on the flip side, don’t be afraid to invite people to go deeper with your product and service. Because in the soul guided women entrepreneur market, most people aren’t.
[00:21:16] Too salesy, like my clients. I can tell you, none of my clients are too salesy. My clients tend to have the fear to actually offer their product and service because they’re so afraid of coming off of salesy that they don’t offer it at all, and that we want to avoid that as well. We want that just right, that not too much.
[00:21:36] Not too little right in the middle. So how can you strike that? Well, it gets back to you’re gathering people who would. Naturally be interested in your product or service, right? Because that’s their design. That’s based around their key desires, their key struggles. And then you’re picking discussion topics that are about these desires and these problems.
[00:22:00] And so as you explore problem solution, et cetera, at the end of the discussion, you can say, Hey. Group. If you are feeling connected to this content, if you’re interested, I have an invitation for you. It’s an invitation to go deeper. And in that invitation, you can invite them to a free webinar or a free other event.
[00:22:30] That’s going to be a more specific sales conversation about something you’re offering. Or you can just simply invite them to your webpage or you can invite them to a specific product or service. And if you are interested, here is how here is the call to action. Here is what you can do. Have it at the end of the discussion, make it very casual.
[00:22:55] People who are going to be interested in it will bite for sure. People who won’t, won’t be turned off because you’ve already given them so much value. You’ve given them a cool venue, you’ve given them, you know, some refreshing snacks, you’ve given them other cool likeminded people to connect to. And then if you give a little 32nd pitch at the end of all that, they’re either interested, which is great, and they’re not, which is great too.
[00:23:22] So that’s a really important one. So number two, and number three are really important in not being too salesy and not being. Afraid to offer that invitation to go deeper, and another great way to do it, it’s how I do it with my group because my group is a group full of women entrepreneurs. I say, Hey group, I have this thing going on.
[00:23:45] If you’re interested, go deeper. Here’s the link, or here’s the flyer. And if it is an in person event, uh, I do, uh, encourage you to have a piece of paper that you can hand them about whatever it is you’re offering. And then I say, is any, does anyone else in the group have something that they want to share?
[00:24:04] I give others the opportunity to share what they’ve got going on. And in that sense, it really does feel like invitations to go deeper. It doesn’t feel salesy. So that’s how you can strike that nice balance. All right. Don’t number four, and this comes with practice and years of experience facilitating, um, this can be kind of a tricky one, and that is don’t let one person overtake a group or offend ads just happened.
[00:24:37] I’ve seen it in all the . Countries and years that I’ve been doing this. That can happen where a strong personality emerges and maybe they want to take command of the conversation, or maybe they say some things that are off putting. So you just want to be mindful of that. You can’t control it. So if that person presents itself and you’re getting feedback from other people in the group, that’s confirming what you’re feeling, that that person is overpowering.
[00:25:08] So a couple of things you can do. You as the group facilitator can allow that person to talk for maybe a minute or two, and then you want to cut them off politely and when they’re kind of wait for them to take that breath if they’re very, very talkative and say, that was an interesting point. Thank you very much.
[00:25:30] Let me pass it over to Susie. Susie, what do you think about that? Get someone else talking and once that other person is talking normally the very, the one who’s trying to come make, take command of the conversation, they will naturally know that their time is done. Now, if this person is offending or it’s.
[00:25:50] Bigger challenge than just being too talkative. You will want to talk to them. And if they are offending on a consistent way, you’ll want to invite them, maybe not to come back. But normally if you take someone aside and you talk to them and say, Hey, look, I love that you calm. I love that you participate.
[00:26:07] Um. Other people have mentioned that you know, you, you’ve been offensive or whatever, you know, you’ll just have to see how it, how it reacts. But just know when you’re, you’re gathering local communities that you’re gathering all types and you’re going to get all sorts of personalities. So when that happens, if you do get a personality, it’s just something that needs to be managed.
[00:26:28] It’s no big deal. And as group facilitator, that’s just going to be part of your role and something that will get easier and easier as you go. And number five of the five doses. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. So as you launch your group and it grows, it will become more work. And sometimes you will need some support in being consistent and having consistent events and getting good topics and discussions and the venues and the advertising for the meetup and all the things.
[00:26:58] So. Oh, ask the group. Like if you start charging for your meetups, one thing to do is say, Hey, I need some help with set up. If you come help me set up, you can, um, participate in the meetup for free. You’ll always get a taker on that. So do not be afraid to ask for help within the group. And if you’re really rocking and rolling with it, don’t be afraid to invest some money in a local assistant who actually helps you with setup and tear down and helps you with this local.
[00:27:28] I mean, a lot of us entrepreneurs have virtual assistants and local assistants can also be super helpful as your group grows so you don’t feel like it’s all on your shoulders and that as your group grows, you have lots of support to help you and to help. That group just get bigger and bigger, which is super exciting.
[00:27:49] So those are my five do’s and don’ts. Do be specific. Do use Facebook and meetup. Do be consistent. Do pick interesting discussion topics that are specifically of interest to your target audience and do have a door prize and onto the don’ts. Don’t pick a bad venue. Don’t be too salesy. And don’t be afraid to invite people to go deeper.
[00:28:13] Don’t let one person take over or offense, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. And if you do those do’s and don’ts, you will see your local community grow and grow and grow and become one of the greatest parts of your business, which is . Which is what has happened for me. And it’s super exciting when that has, when that does happen.
[00:28:37] And so I am moving, as I said, and I’ve handed my Baton as group facilitator to another local entrepreneur. To oversee my group. So the main coughing, connecting group that I launched is going to live on without me, which is exactly what I did in Brussels. And that is just also amazingly satisfying, knowing that these relationships in these communities will live on.
[00:29:03] And I am super excited to launch a Coffee and Connecting in Stuttgart, and I’m definitely going to be implementing these do’s and don’ts. My challenge for you this week is to decide who do you feel called to serve? And in that answer, how can you create a local community around that group of people that you feel in service to that might be interested and probably interested in your products or services and how you can create that community to become friends, peers, teachers, and clients.