Instead of a stadium concert, think of it more like a fun house party!
I've found myself having excellent conversations on a one to one basis recently, particularly with Lachlan Kirkwood from Building with Bubble. But I seldom have good chats any more in online communities. I find beyond a certain size they become marketing channels where people dump a link and leave rather than get to know each other. When a group gets too big I don't know who half the people are and it makes me not want to join in.
The Adding Value playbook
I think we all know the playbook of "adding value" and then adding your newsletter link/ CTA / blog post. I've seen this a million times where the person is clearly on a posting spree around the internet.
Now marketing channels are totally fine but I don't think they are the same as communities. I think there should be a very real difference where one is for just sharing your thing and the other is for deeper conversations.
Quality not quantity
One of my favourite communities is Newsletter Geeks which Anne-Laure Le Cunff started. It has 300-500 members and I think this is the optimal number for a community. Just as she requires members to have a newsletter, I'll require you to have revenue so the quality of discussion and members remains high!
No-one knows anyone
I've also found myself wondering in bigger groups, who am I actually talking to? If I'm looking for help or advice is the person answering me an entrepreneur veteran or someone who has never made a cent in their life but has a lot of strong opinions?
I know as well in some communities that are under-moderated you can have toxic people who will trash everyone's work from the sideline without ever offering anything positive or constructive.
So every member of High Signal is going to have to prove their revenue with a screenshot of some kind or some other proof. I think this is a great way to ensure high quality members join.
Otherwise it can be like the blind leading the blind. Do you really know if the person giving advice on the internet is experience or just a loud mouth?
Just online entrepreneurs
I think as well some entrepreneur groups are so big that there really isn't much to connect them. I don't think a newsletter creator and a real estate investor have a great ability to help each other. And frankly, that's not of any interest to me.
And yet I've joined some groups where there really isn't much to connect people. Sure, they are all entrepreneurs. But that's an extremely broad group of people. A podcast host and a butcher are both entrepreneurs maybe but I don't think they'd be much use to each other in a community.
I should add as well that there ARE lots of good founder communities and I'm not so arrogant as to say there aren't. In fact I think that's a mistake I did make in the past - not being humble enough. But I do think there is room for an explicitly smaller, tighter knit group of a maximum of 300-500 people who have proved their business smarts.
Let's get sociable
Human relationships are really important and most online entrepreneurs are working on their own or don't have any one who gets what they are doing. I think half of us don't know that many people IRL who actually get what we do all day. This is where High Signal can help connect online entrepreneurs.
How much will this cost me?
So if you want to try out a cosy community of online entrepreneurs it's $30/m.
Or $75/quarter with a free copy of my Monetize Your Newsletter course (worth $49) Let's vote for quality over quantity. Less noise, more signal 😎
Check out High Signal on Gumroad