How I made $1.5M from my community and how you can do the same.
“Don’t be shy to monetize!” is what I always tell community leaders I work with who use Comonetize to monetize their community. When I founded Comonetize, I thought I was just launching a platform. But it was far from just that.
Community management is not a standard business. It’s social; it’s about people and it’s based on trust. Community leaders may feel that introducing a business model into their community is a daunting task.
But community leaders also need to make a living, and, regrettably, trust and social connections don’t pay the bills. This is why leaders that want their community to keep growing and thriving must work out a sustainable business model.
I launched my own community platform in 2006, before facebook was even introduced into our part of the world. I created a professional index with a job board, which was exactly what our TV production industry needed. People started spreading the word, tipping their friends and colleagues about it, and using it on a regular basis. The community grew on this platform and it was free for everyone. I was a producer back then. I had a day job, and all my free time was invested in the community.
To cut a long story short, two years later I got married, had a baby, and realized that the concept of free time no longer existed for me. If I wanted to make a living and spend time with my daughter, I couldn’t afford to spend hours on voluntary community-leading.
I had to make a choice — either let the community die or find a way to turn it into my day job. What I know now, after working with many community leaders, is that every community evolves at its own pace and rhythm.
But for your community to be significant, it has to follow a process focused on three essential elements:
Growth: Your community has to expand and attract more people who want to be a part of it. Trust: People need to trust you, the community leader, the other members, and the content presented to the community. Value: Your community has to provide value for the member: it can be either external, such as access to information or resources, networking, or social status, or internal, such as a sense of belonging, empowerment, fulfillment, or emotional support.
When the community offers a value that can be quantified — for part or all of its members — it’s time to work out the business model.
These were the questions I asked myself: 1) Is my community growing? The answer was yes, it was. 2) Do my community members trust the community? The answer was yes, they did. 3) What value did they get from being a part of the community? They could network with producers and recruiters and received opportunities to fulfill themselves in the TV industry. Producers networked with production workers and got “new blood” for their productions.
Then I had to ask myself what that thing was that people wanted most in this small “marketplace” I had created. The answer in my case was “to work in TV productions”.
The market balance was such that many people were looking for opportunities, but there weren’t that many of them (because of the market size in Israel). The business model that I selected was letting premium members exclusively apply for these jobs in the first few days. It worked, and still works to this day. We now have more than 100K members, and over the years we’ve published about 40K job ads.
That was the business model that worked for me. At Comonetize we offer you tools and walk you through a similar process, helping you create a flexible business model that is the perfect fit for your community.
This flexible business model is a core feature in Comonetize.
Let’s take a look at a few more examples:
Make-up artists community: Artists pay to be featured on the first pages of the search results and the community leader gives them exclusive promotional codes, for discounts on products and services in the community .
Game designers community: Experienced professionals in this community are hard to come by, so recruiters pay generously to post a job ad on this community’s board.
Exclusive startup community: Community members pay to be a part of this community. This is a member-only community.
A community of learning development professionals: Community members pay a subscription fee for applying to the job ads first, and to get recommendations posted to their profile.
Not long ago, even Vimeo launched a marketplace of talent based on their community of creators. I think that every leader that runs a community of professionals or jobs should realize that there’s a huge social capital that can be turned easily to real capital by using the right tool.
Comonetize is not just the most affordable, suitable, and simple tool you’ll find for monetizing your community, it’s also where you’ll find a team that sees you, the community leader, as an entrepreneur. We’ll help you lead and support you with our success team and with a vibrant community of other leaders like you.
Next up: relevant case studies and process drill-down