If you’ve ever tried to create anything, you know an uncomfortable truth. The creative journey is a lonely one.
Throughout history, hundreds of creators spent their days locked away dripping blood, sweat, and tears onto their work with the hope that one day, their work would go big.
Unfortunately, our view of the creative life is flawed.
The truth is that most “starving artists” do it to themselves by isolating themselves from the world.
Throughout history, the most successful creators have immersed themselves in supportive communities that make their work better and them more productive.
Take C.S. Lewis, for example.
When C.S. Lewis took his first teaching job, he got to know a bright young man named J.R.R. Tolkien. The two struck up a natural friendship and would meet every Monday Morning for beer and conversation. They liked meeting so much that they didn’t stop.
The conversations were unstructured yet fruitful. Writing of their meetings, Lewis said, “It has also become the custom for Tolkien to drop in on me of a Monday morning for a glass. This is one of the pleasantest spots in the week. Sometimes we talk English school politics: sometimes we criticise one another’s poems: other days we drift into theology or the state of the nation; rarely we fly no higher than bawdy and puns.”
They met religiously and soon enough began to invite others. The group quickly swelled in size to 19, forcing them to move the regular meetings to Thursday nights to talk, joke, and criticize one another’s writing. This group became known as The Inklings.
Out of these meetings came some of the most timeless works of the last century: Tolkien produced The Lord of the Rings, much of it read weekly to Inkling members. Lewis produced many influential literary works, perhaps most notably The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe or my personal favorite, The Screwtape Letters.
These 19 men rejected the myth of the lone, starving artist. They could have done the “traditional” thing and isolated themselves in a cabin in the woods. But instead, they immersed themselves in community and as a result, generated tremendous creative energy, forged strong relationships, and worked together to bring to light some of the greatest literary works of the past century.
This theme of communities as a catalyst for creative output can be found elsewhere. Benjamin Franklin’s Junto and even the modern-day Hype House come to mind.
But as I look around the coaching community, I don’t get the feeling that we’re in this together.
Instead, the typical story for a coach who tries to share ideas goes something like this:
You have an idea. It could be a blog post you want to write, a podcast you want to start, or a bigger project like a book you want to write. You face immediate resistance. The resistance can be internal (“Who am I to talk about what I know online?”) or external (“Who are you to put anything online? Why should I trust you?”).
Often enough, this resistance is strong enough to stop you before you even get started. You know that creating content online is an invitation to judgment and criticism like walking around with a “Kick me” sign taped to our back, so you may come to your senses and decide that it’s not worth it. Better safe than sorry, you withdraw back, never sharing your idea with the world.
But perhaps you press on.
This idea is so good, it can’t possibly be kept to yourself. Good on you, you courageous soul.
You pour over your work, putting every ounce of effort you have into it. After a few days or weeks of struggling to form this idea into something tangible and helpful, you emerge with a real thing–something to share with the world.
You post it on your website, and then share the link on social media.
Does this sound familiar?
This is such a defeating moment. You overcame a huge mountain of resistance just to put the thing out there. The fact that nobody read it (not even your Mom) is almost too much to bear.
We may try a few more times, but see similar results. After 4 or 5 attempts at sharing our ideas online, we abandon the pursuit and go back to the safety of “just being a coach.”
This is a shame. It shouldn’t have to be like this.
The coaching industry’s growth potential is directly proportional to the number of coaches who take the time and effort to share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences with other coaches.
And the fact that so many coaches struggle to share their ideas online means that coaching is not growing. This is the sad reality of the world we live in.
Instead of abandoning the creative projects that once gave us so much vigor and life, we need to find ways to get that work into the hands of others. We need to find ways to immerse ourselves in a network of other coaches who are doing the same thing that strengthens us and enhances our work.
What we need–like C.S. Lewis and The Inklings–is a community.
But that’s not all
There’s a strange paradox in the world of coaching.
To be a good coach, you need to dump your ego and make it about the team. But to get into good jobs that can help you support your family and achieve your goals, you need to do something to set yourself apart.
This fundamental tension between ego-less, servant-based coaching and career ambition is the main reason many coaches don’t share their ideas online, which holds them back from the career they desire.
Coaches struggle with this paradox every day. Jobs are a scarce resource in the coaching world, so the competition for them is intense. But you’ve been told that “self-promotion” is the devil. You know it’s hard to stand out, but you try all sorts of things: you get your certifications, craft your resume, and might even do some “networking.” But when it comes to decision time, you get a rejection email. Sorry, try again next time.
But the story doesn’t have to end like this. Not anymore.
That’s because when you create content online, you immediately get brought to the front of the line. Creating content is the single best way to flip the tables on your job search. Instead of searching for jobs, the jobs start to search for you.
With this in mind, I would like to announce the brand new Monday Morning Edge Online Community.
The Monday Morning Edge Online Community (MME Online Community) is for any coach or trainer who creates (or wants to create) content to share online.
The mission is simple: The MME Online Community exists to help coaches accelerate their careers by sharing their ideas online.
This community will provide you with the tools you need to overcome the resistance you face and build a strong online presence that creates opportunities for you today, tomorrow, and decades into the future.
What you get
When you sign up for the MME Online Community, you will get access to two main things right away: The Community Hub and a Community Slack Channel.
First, you will receive access to our community hub.
Our community hub is the home of the entire community.
It is where you will go to connect with members, stay in-the-know about upcoming events, engage with community-specific content, and find the best resources to help you build your online audience.
I know that was a lot, so let’s go through that one-by-one.
From the home page, you can access a full list of the group members. You can sort it by type of content (blog, podcast, newsletter, etc.) and click to find out more and access each person’s work.
Each new member will fill out an intake survey. By filling this out, you will be able to spread your work to every other coach who joined the group, a key component to what we’re doing.
At the start of this community, we will have one group Zoom call per month. Each Zoom call will be made up of two parts: a presentation and Q&A time.
For the first 6-9 months, I will give a medium-length (15-30 minute) presentation on a relevant topic of interest to the group. Themes will include explaining my creative process, showing how to set up your own website, email list best practices, and more.
These calls will be hosted on the 4th Thursday of the month (except for November). But if you can’t make it, don’t sweat. Each call will be recorded and uploaded to an unlisted YouTube link that will be shared with the community.
This leads us into the third thing community members will get, community-specific content.
As I just mentioned, each month’s video call will be recorded and posted on the video call archive page.
But the content won’t stop there.
As things come up and we realize there’s a need in the community, we will create additional content to better serve the community’s needs. This content will then be placed into a central location on our community hub for you to access whenever you need it.
This will include articles, books, podcast episodes, videos, and anything else that we’ve gone through and found helpful in building an online audience. At launch, there will be over 30 resources for you to go through, sorted by category. We will add to this as we encounter content that is relevant and high quality.
Community Slack Channel
The second main thing you will get when you sign up for the MME Online Community is access to a private Slack channel with all of the other members.
The Slack channel is our way of providing community around the creative journey. It’s very hard to do this thing alone, especially with so many voices telling you the “five hacks to do x” or the “8 reasons you’re messing up with y.”
By getting in this Slack channel, you will have a group of people who are doing the same thing as you to help you block out the noise and focus on what you need to do to grow your online audience.
It’s the place to bring your successes, struggles, and stories. A place to ask and answer questions. A place to find signal, not noise.
By now, you’re probably thinking, “This sounds great, but how do you plan to keep the quality of this community high?”.
In the past five years, I have joined or started somewhere between 7-10 online communities or forums. Most didn’t work. Through those experiences, I have gained a good understanding of what makes online communities work, and what makes them fail.
Below you will find the three steps I’m taking as Community Lead to ensure that the quality of the community stays high as we grow.
- Setting Expectations
- Upfront Investment
First, let’s talk about filtering.
Online communities fail when the members no align with the group’s purpose. Many once-vibrant online communities have died because they didn’t filter new members closely enough.
This community exists to help coaches accelerate their careers by sharing their ideas online.
Because of that, you need to either be actively creating content online OR have a strong desire to create content and just need some help getting over the edge.
This group will not survive if we allow people to join who are not aligned with the group’s purpose.
To solve this, ever new member of the MME Online Community will need to fill out a survey describing who they are, why they signed up, and what they have to contribute to the group.
But just filtering upfront isn’t enough to keep the community vibrant. We also need to set expectations.
Second, let’s talk about community expectations.
I believe a major reason online communities fail is that they fail to set expectations.
For this community, I want to set the expectations right now.
I like to keep things simple, so the only community expectation is this:
You will contribute in a way that the community is better because you are in it.
If you focus on making the community better through positive interactions, connecting with others and their work, and generally being a good person, this community will thrive for years on end.
But even setting expectations aren’t enough. There’s one more thing we’re doing to ensure the group remains high-quality.
Third, let’s talk about upfront investment (AKA Price)
The final reason online communities fail is that they don’t charge money. Because they don’t charge money, members don’t have an investment in the community, and the community sputters out after an initial period of excitement.
The most successful, helpful, and sustainable communities I’m a part of have all cost me something to get in.
For example, I’m a member of the Farnam Street Learning Community. Members pay between $150-250 for an annual membership. The forums of that community are vibrant and filled with all sorts of smart, helpful people. When my membership comes due later this year, I will happily pay them my annual membership fee.
With that in mind, the Monday Morning Edge Online Community will have a membership fee.
- For the first 50 members, membership will cost $20 for lifetime access.
- For members 51-100, the price will jump to $75 for lifetime access.
- Once we have 100 members, membership to the Monday Morning Edge Online Community will cost $100/year.
If you want to join, you can do so here:
When you complete your purchase, you will receive an intake form. You will need to fill out this form before you are given access to the Community Hub, the Slack channel, and all of the good stuff you get as a member of this community.
Once you fill out this form, you will receive an email with a link to the Community Hub.
You will then click into that homepage where you will find all of the content we currently have as well as a link to gain access to the Community Slack Channel. Whenever you are ready, you can click that link to set yourself up in the Slack channel and introduce yourself to the group.
You might be thinking that this seems like a lot of work to do just to get inside an online community, and you’d be exactly right. But as you will find out once you gain full access, this ensures that the quality of the community remains high.
If this sounds like your kind of thing, sign-up today. We can’t wait to see you on the inside!Buy my product