EP 189: What’s Working In Community Building With Mighty Networks’ Senior Community Strategist Audra Lindsey

The Nitty-Gritty

  • What makes for a vibrant and engaged online community or group
  • The workflows that Audra Lindsey has used to save time and streamline how she manages large communities
  • The importance of getting members to talk to each other
  • How doing less to manage a community or group can create a more valuable experience
  • Why Audra focuses on building a culture around sharing experience—not sharing advice
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Don’t let the term “community building” fool you.

This episode is all about how we bring people together as small business owners. Whether you’re building community in a small group, on a membership site, through in-person events, or even on social media, the act of gathering people together is often a core activity today’s small businesses.

Unfortunately, there’s been so much hype about automation, scale, and getting hands-off with your business over the last 5 years that many small business owners have made a mess of their people.

They’ve kept them at arm’s length. They’ve developed products and offers that put huge, unhelpful boundaries between them and the people they serve. They’ve automated all the spontaneous interactions out of their communication.

And… it shows.

It shows in brand authority. It shows in customer satisfaction. And, it shows in the bottom line.

I’ve made this mistake and experienced this myself.

Well, we’re in middle of a market correction.

One that, I believe, is going to be around for a very, very long time.

Business owners are cleaning up all the crap that’s kept them away from the people they serve.

They’re putting the focus back on those very important people.

You see it in small group programs, mastermind groups, hands-on support, community-based business models and more.

So while you’ll hear the words “community” and “community building” a lot in today’s episode, what we’re really talking about is how to focus on people in a way that adds to your bottom line and makes your life easier as a small business owner.

And, I know no one better to talk about this than Mighty Networks’ Audra Lindsey.

Audra is the Senior Community Strategist at Mighty Networks, where her focus is on designing and implementing best practices in community strategy and community building. She has launched successful apps and online communities for customers including Gretchen Rubin, the NRDC, The Representation Project, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Intuit, McGraw Hill, Lean In, and American Express. Her role also includes leading content strategy, providing support and guidance for all Mighty Network Hosts, and helping deliver product improvements and features.

Before Mighty, Audra spent several years working with arts organizations and non-profits in the Bay Area to expand their online presence, design innovative marketing campaigns, and launch new fundraising initiatives.

Cover of What Works book by Tara McMullin

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EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

This week, I’ve got 4 more stories to share with you from small business owners who have intentionally done things their own way when it comes to sales and selling. They’ve found what truly works for them–even if it bucks the prevailing wisdom or would make a bro marketing expert role his or her eyes.

These stories come from business coach Ashley Gartland, marketing expert Amy Lippmann, designer Mel Richards, and work reinvention coach Lydia Lee.

Listen for how they incorporated these same considerations into finding their own unique sales systems. They designed their systems with personal values, strong relationships, reduced anxiety, and agency in mind.

EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

This show is called What Works for a reason.

Sometimes it’s a declaration: this is what worked for this small business. And often, it’s a question, “What works?”

Today’s episode is very much a question, many questions, really:

What works when it comes to selling when you want to avoid manipulative or exploitative practices?

What works when your values conflict with many of the best practices of selling online but you still want people to buy your stuff?

What works when it comes to sales in a business that is actively anti-racist and anti-capitalist?

And even more bluntly: Can you even sell things without causing harm or perpetuating harmful systems?

My friend Kate Strathmann is the founder of Wanderwell, a bookkeeping and consulting firm that grows thriving businesses while investigating new models for being in business.

Recently, Kate took a bit of a detour from how she’s used to building her business, which is 90% referral based and fueled by deep relationship- and community-building. She decided to offer a small group program called the Equitable Business Incubator as a way of exploring anti-capitalist business practices and how they apply to the small businesses we’re building.

To fill the program, Kate need to sell differently.

Which led her to asking the question: Can you even sell things as a anti-capitalist?

While that might not be your specific question, I have a feeling that you too have wondering how you can effectively sell your offers without causing harm, perpetuating harmful systems, or damaging relationships. And that’s why I knew Kate and I needed to explore this topic on the show.

This is a conversation about what a kinder, less harmful sales process could look like—and it probably contains more questions than answers. But I’m confident those questions can help you find the answers that are right for you and the sales system that you want to build to make your business stronger.

We start out by defining what we’re really talking about when we talk about capitalism and anti-capitalism. Then, Kate shares how the Equitable Business Incubator came to be and how she ended up selling it. And then we dig into what makes many of the sales formulas and best practices being taught today problematic—and how to think differently to create your own alternative practices.

Now, let’s take a look at what works for creating less harmful sales systems!

EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt

EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt

Today’s guest is Katie Hunt—who is a member of the former group and serves the latter group.

Katie is the founder of Proof To Product, which helps creative entrepreneurs run and grow thriving product-based businesses. She works with designers, illustrators, and artists to help them develop in-demand product lines and get them sold in stores all over the world.

Not long after the pandemic threw her business and the industry she serves for a major loop, Katie and her team launched Proof To Product Labs to provide a completely digital, ongoing support opportunity for business owners when they needed it most.

And that launch was a smash.

Katie and I get into all of the nuts and bolts of how she adjusted the offer to meet the moment and how she warmed up her audience before the campaign, as well as the exact mix of emails, podcast ads, and social media content she used to sell the offer when it went live. We also talk about how she sees the sales system evolving in the future and how the offer has been received now that people are using it!

What Works offers in-depth, well-researched content that strips away the hype of the 21st-century economy. Whether you love the podcast, the articles, or the Instagram content, we’d love your support