Building a Membership that Feels like a Village. Moving Away from the Bigger is Better Mentality.

Do you remember the show, “Cheers” that was on TV in the 1980/90’s.
If you don’t, continue reading. This reference will only take a moment…

Remember when that lovable character, Norm walked into the bar every episode and all the people in the room would turn to him and yell, “NORM!” in unison?

Could you imagine how good it would feel if every time you walked into a room, everyone would turn and enthusiastically call out your name?!

Well, that is the essence and feeling I wanted to create when designing our Majik Media Membership.

This three minute clip from our Making Majik Podcast explains everything…

This short clip was from our recent episode with Rachael Kay Alber from Awkward Marketing. Listen to the entire episode here. Listen to all episodes of the Making Majik Podcast on iTunesSpotify or Google Play. Hooray!

I am more convinced than ever about the power and importance of Village Thinking.

More is not necessarily better, especially when it comes to community building.

Our entire industry (coaching, online learning & online marketing) is built upon the more is better idea.

Well, I think the idea can work for SOME people, places and products, but if creating real connections and helping REAL people is what your mission is, a “less is better approach” may just be the way forward for you.

Did you know that the Anthropologist, Robin Dunbar suggested a cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships—relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. That number is 150 people.

What if this same idea was applied to your online community and membership?

Have you ever noticed how in bigger social media groups or communities with a lot of people, how so much gets lost in the noise? How you never really develop deep and lasting relationships and how you never actually get the support and attention you desire? Or how members feel more like avatars than a real people?

Wouldn’t it be amazing to login to a community or onto a mastermind call and have everybody know you, understand your business or project and be able to support you, cheer you on and encourage you when you’re feeling discouraged?

This is exactly what our Majik Mind (mastermind) group has felt like the last four years and this what we have replicated into our entire community. These human relationships, connections and chances to gather together every week are invaluable.

We need to feel like we belong to something bigger than just ourselves.

We need safe spaces to feel like we can be seen, heard and supported.

We need to feel like we are invested in something that’s going to last.

At the time of writing this, we are in a period of COVID-19 lockdowns all over the world.

I live on a small island in British Columbia. We are dependent on each other. We look out for each other. We see ourselves as*“all in this together.”*

My wife and I are constantly checking in with our friends to see how they are doing. How they’re coping with the stress? Do they have enough food? Are their needs being met?

Isn’t that not the kind of community & coaching experience you want?

A while ago, we tried launching a “Freemium” business model as an experiment to increase our community size. The idea was to get more people, more courses launched, more accessibility, etc…

It was coming from the old-school “more is better” mindset. This is a mindset that I was definitely brainwashed to believe for many years. All it took was a plague and a failed attempt at generously giving away everything I busted my ass off to create in my professional life, to realize that more wasn’t necessarily the best idea. {insert shaking of my head and laughing at myself}

But in reality, more led to less connection, less conversations, less commitment and less community feel. Funny, huh?

After that failed experiment, we tripled our membership prices as an effort to keep our subscriptions lower, while still generating the revenue we need. Having higher prices, with less members keeps our community intimate and village-like. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be building real relationships with members who are actually committed to themselves, their work & their creative process. It brings me joy to finally have found a model that makes sense and works for us.

Knowing the members in our membership allows me to better serve everyone and it helps our members get to know and better support one-another too.

Just • Like • A village.

My question is for those of you building communities or memberships, is the “more = better” model really the best way forward for you? Or is there a way to slim it down and serve fewer for the sake of serving more!?

For us, keeping our membership affordable is still possible because we make a large percentage of our income through partnership projects (profit sharing), passive income from apps, coaching, consulting and client projects.

What are your thoughts, reflections or questions about the village thinking idea I laid out here?