Skip to Content

Alex Hillman

better coworking, better business, and better communities

Twitter Mastodon Instagram

Search this Site

Type in terms like retention, culture, or tummling and press enter to search.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for by searching, don’t give up! Shoot me a message on Twitter, I might be able to point you to a post about the thing you’re looking for.


5 Reasons Your Community Isn’t Growing

21 Sep 2012
by Alex Hillman

Are you feeling the pressure to be a better community builder?

You haven’t seen a new member prospect in a couple of weeks, and the last few people didn’t stick around for long or are still sitting quietly in the corner. Was it something you said?

__People told you “That’s a great idea!” over and over, but those same people are nowhere to be found nowadays.

You’re _exhausted from organizing and running events to drum up interest, and you’re running out of precious time and money to keep things moving._

Your dream community isn’t looking so dreamy anymore.

What if your day looked like this instead:

Every new person you meet is asking YOU about your community, and what it’s about, and how to join.

People are coming to YOU with great ideas, and all you have to do is help them succeed.

You wake up refreshed, ready for a day where the only thing unpredictable is what exciting thing is going to happen next.

Does this sound more like the dream community you had in mind?

The Only Thing In The Way Is You – The 5 Reasons

It’s harsh advice, but there’s 5 problems that I see most community builders creating for themselves:

1) You’re not a doctor. So why are you writing prescriptions?

Strong communities form when people gather around common goals and challenges, not when you provide them with stuff and solutions.

P.s. if you are a doctor, this still applies to you.

2) You’re being nice, but at the cost of being effective.

We all want to be like and to be validated. But there’s a slippery slope of being “nice” in order to attract people where it can turn to resentment: “Don’t they remember how nice I was to them? JERKS.”

There’s nothing wrong with being nice. But trading being nice for being effective and it’s not an either or tradeoff. You can be both. You have to be both.

3) You forgot to send an invitation.

“How can that be possible!? I’ve been telling people about my community until I’m blue in the face!?”

Yeah, but you didn’t provide a clear invitation for them to contribute, or a reason to in the first place. And I’m not talking about a link to sign up for a membership.

4) Your membership model sucks.

It’s blunt, but if the membership model is designed more for covering your costs than fulfilling their needs, it sucks in their eyes (not mine!) because they don’t care about your costs.

They care about the value they’re going to get from being a member of a community. Get that right, and covering costs (and growing sustainable profits) is suddenly a breeze.

5) You’ve already written the ending.

People don’t like a story where they know what happens (or is supposed to happen) at the end nearly as much as they like a story with potential and possibility.

You can tell people how it’s going to go, or you can learn to let them co-author the story with you.

This will help make sure you can find the most useful resources. I respect your privacy & email. Absolutely no spam, and I won't ever share your data. Pinky promise! 🤞

Hey, thanks for reading!

Alex Hillman I am always thinking about the intersection of people, relationships, trust and business. I founded Indy Hall in 2006, making us one of oldest fully independent coworking communities in the world. This site is packed with the lessons and examples I’ve learned along the way. You can find me on Twitter, too! 🐦 Say hi.