I got word of a new community calendar called Karma Community where holistic types could list their practice and their events for free (or pay a little bit for a snazzier listing). I got excited because I’m very excited about anything ‘hub’ related. Becoming a hub isn’t easy. But hubs are so powerful for a community – they help it tighten and deepen.
Lessons I Want to Flag:
- If you’ve got events you’re trying to promote or a scene you’re wanting to support – don’t just think about growing the tribe bigger – also think about growing its roots deeper. Not just making the web bigger, but making the existing bonds stronger.
- word of mouth spreads within communities, the more tightly woven a community, the faster word of mouth spreads for everyone.
- With any kind of online community tool (e.g. facebook, myspace, karma community etc) they are useful in direct proportion to how many people actually USE them. The more people you can get to use it – the more useful it is for everyone. This is why it’s vital to have a ‘free‘ option. You want a lot of people using it. Many of these models (also websites like coachville.com, xtranormal.com or yola.com) grew fast by giving away a basic version totally for free. They get people hooked with solid value and then offer them more. You want to make it so. easy. to join. No hassle. No barriers. Easy. Look in your own community for these types of online tools and communities. If you think it will be useful to you and your people – then promote the hell out of it. The more you promote it, the more people will use it. And the more people that use it, the more useful it will be for you.
- It must sustain you too. It’s vital that you design this to not only give free value – but also support and compensate you in some way. What we feed should feed us too.
Here’s the interview . . .
so, what is the karma community?
karma community is a loosely woven group of people who support and participate in personal development activities in Calgary and the surrounding area. However, over time my intent is to attract participants from other regions (or in other words – to take over the world).
and when did it officially get started?
I’m not sure how to best describe this. It’s not a formal thing with some kind of registration date and official membership. I suppose you could say it started when the concept for the site was launched. I wanted to find a way to bring people together so they could feel like they were part of a larger group, not so isolated.
Here’s how I describe it on the site:
Want to be part of the community?
Welcome. There’s no sign up, no login, no necessity to give us any personal details. You become a part of karma community through simple intention and, if you choose, by participating in events we list on our calendar.
We’re living in a time where it’s important for those of us doing this kind of work to be part of a supportive community. There’s a lot of people who are struggling and don’t realize there’s a whole group of people out there willing to support them. This is just my way of letting them know they’re not alone, and inviting them to be part of the group.
what’s the story of how this got started? what’s the need you saw in the community that prompted this?
Well, I was downloading my emails after being off my computer for a couple of days over the New Year break. I’m on a few mailing lists and about 3 or 4 emails had come in about events and activities going on in town. It’s my habit to forward these on to any of my friends who I think might be interested. So I was doing that and thinking to myself ‘wouldn’t it be great if there was some kind of calendar that showed everything that was going on?’. End of story.
what’s the response been so far?
In a nutshell – it’s a bit of a runaway train. I started getting emails 15 minutes after I sent out the introduction. The listings started coming an hour after that. I’d love to see it continue at that pace, probably a bit unrealistic perhaps. must be exciting! is there any kind of email newsletter attached to it?
Yes, people can sign up for the newsletter on the site at the bottom of this page http://karmacommunity.ca/about/.
The newsletter is mailed every Monday and shows the upcoming events that are listed for that week.
is it linked to social media in any way?
At the moment no, but it will be.
how have you been marketing it so far? what’s been most effective there?
Let’s just say I’ve done what you might describe as a ‘soft launch’.
And by soft, I mean marshmallow. I’ve sent out one email to my contacts. The great thing is that people believe in the service and are distributing the introduction through their networks. Of course, I will be doing more than that but likely not until all aspects of the site are functioning. I just really wanted to get the calendar running first and get some feedback, so I know how to fine tune the direction as we work on the remaining features.
let’s talk money – is this financially supporting you at all right now? or do you think it might in the future?
It was never my intent to rely on this as a sole source of income. However, I don’t want to place any limits on the potential growth opportunities of what we can do here. Once we have the currently projected features in place we’ll have the ability to generate more revenue and pay back the investment required to launch the site. After that there will always be more ideas to pursue in order to generate more revenue. I’ll be pleased when it’s breaking even and the investment is repaid. Then I’ll focus on some additional ways to tweak things in an upward direction.
where would the money come from? which features will generate money do you think?
The money comes from the paid event listings and will also come from other types of listing we’ll be offering – resource centre (business directory), classifieds, general site sponsor ads, that kind of thing.
what are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned from doing this so far?
- It will always take more time that you anticipate.
- It will always take more money than you anticipate.
- Sometimes the more expensive solution is the best solution.
if someone else wanted to create something similar for their own crowd what are the top three pieces of advice you’d have?
- Save yourself time and money by using my infrastructure. We have the ability to add multiple calendars for multiple locations. Don’t start from scratch unless you have lots of money and lots of time.
- Ask yourself if this is really your calling, listen to your guidance. We’re not all here to climb Mount Everest or invent Facebook. If your appointed task is to build an online calendar then rest assured, it’ll happen. Somehow.
- Start with an intent to help people and to be of service. The rest is just details.
anything else you want to share?
I’m a perfectionist in many things. And I’m all about function. Pretty much everything I touch has to be ‘just so’. That means the finished product has to be the best it can be for the resources that are available. I’m trying to provide a service that people can use, and will recommend.
It’s important to me that people think it’s great, because if they don’t think that, I haven’t done my job. I always want feedback and I’ll always try to improve what we offer to align with what people want, the way they want it. Does that mean we’ll incorporate every idea someone submits? No. At the end of the day it’s my responsibility to see the bigger picture and keep the project on track. That being said, I’d like to think of any project I work on as an experiment, a collaboration. And it needs to be fun.
For more info on Karma Community CLICK HERE
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