How to grow and monetize communities with Jill Salzman

Product Hunt Radio

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44:12

March 3, 2020, 9 p.m.

On this episode Abadesi talks to Jill Salzman, founder of The Founding Moms, a “global collective of offline masterminds and online resources for mom entrepreneurs.” She was formerly the founder of a music management firm and was also the creator of a line of baby jewelry.

In this episode they talk about...

The story of the creation of The Founding Moms and how it’s helping mom entrepreneurs around the globe

“No one wants to say that they’re a mom entrepreneur. They’re an entrepreneur. They don’t like to use the word mom. They don’t want people to know they’re distracted by kids. There are tons of moms who are making things but don’t want to say it because nobody else is.”

Jill tells the story of the businesses she founded prior to this one, including her time managing bands and how it was akin to building communities, although in a very different manner than she does today with The Founding Moms. She says that the community and business grew out of an inauspicious beginning after she created an informal meetup in Chicago for moms with businesses.

She was surprised at the number of people who showed up and also that there were people from outside her city who were requesting a chapter in their own cities. The Founding Moms has since grown to include countries around the world, with chapters in Singapore, Guatemala, and more.

“I posted on Meetup and I said ‘if you’re a woman with a business and a baby, please come have coffee with me and tell me how you’re doing it because I think I’m going to lose my mind.”

How she grew the community and her advice for those who are new to community-building

“I think we need to eradicate the idea of networking being a dirty word.”

Initially, Jill showed up to the meetups without a formal plan or agenda for what should take place. She realized that when she showed up with a piece of paper with handwritten notes, people commented on how organized she was. She then started showing up with a printed piece of paper, and has since created much more structure for the meetups.

She says that in her case and for those new to community-building, it’s best to show up and listen and ask a lot of questions of your community members. If you listen to them, they’ll tell you what they need and lead you to the ways that you need to change to grow the community further.

She explains why you shouldn’t feel the need to include absolutely everyone in your community and why in fact it’s actually best to set yourself a goal to make sure that the wrong types of people are not feeling a part of the community.

She also gives her advice on branding, outreach, and content marketing.

“I know in my heart of hearts ten years in there is nothing that trumps meeting up in real life at all.”

How she approached the decision to charge for access and subsequently increase prices, as well as how she stays productive

“If you learn to lean on the community and become a little more vulnerable than you’re used to, I can’t tell you how exponentially you’re going to grow.”

Jill talks about the thought process that went into deciding whether to charge for access to the community and how she came up with the number that she would charge per month. She started at $10 and has since increased it to $35. She says that everything she does is “literally trial and error” and that she simply Googled what other communities were charging. She explains why you shouldn’t be afraid to charge for your community and how to overcome your fear that your members will leave if you do so.

She also explains how she manages her schedule, why she uses three (!) virtual assistants and the work they each do, as well as how her team of contractors at The Founding Moms works together.

“I have three virtual assistants. I am a huge VA proponent. I think you’re all missing out if you don’t have one because they’re extremely affordable and amazing at getting things done for you.”

She also talks about some of the products she’s loving right now.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Headspin for their support.

Companies and Products Mentioned on This Episode

Loom — Seamless screen, mic, and camera recording for Chrome.

Marco Polo — Find your phone by shouting MARCO!

Slack — Be less busy. Real-time messaging, archiving and search.