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SPI 573: The State of Community Building in 2022 with Andy from Circle

Today we’re talking all about community.

Many of you know that I’m an advisor for the community platform, Circle. We use Circle to host our SPI Pro community, and it has been a massive game changer for us.

Leaning into building communities has been so rewarding for for Smart Passive Income and that’s exactly what we’re talking about today.

Our guest is Andy Guttormsen, Co-Founder of Circle. Andy has access to 5,000-plus communities, so he knows what’s working and what’s not working for communities in 2022.

We’re going to talk about launching and price points, who communities are for, compare paid communities with free communities, and a lot more.

If you have an online business in 2022, and you are thinking about building a community, this is the episode for you!

Today’s Guest

Andy Guttormsen

Andy Guttormsen is the Co-Founder at Circle. Before working at Circle, Andy spent almost five years at Teachable. He joined as employee number seven, and led a 15 person growth & marketing team for most of his tenure at Teachable. Andy’s team grew revenue from $10K in MRR to $25MM+ ARR, and $300MM+ in GMV, with tens of thousands of paying customers, and 100+ team members.

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SPI 573: The State of Community Building in 2022 with Andy from Circle

[00:00:00] Andy:
These community builders have smaller, tight knit, high-touch community experiences where they weren’t necessarily even trying to build an audience. It’s easier if you already have an audience, but you don’t necessarily need to have an audience to create the community. The community in itself—a small, tight knit community where you all accomplish something together—that could be the end all, be all destination.

[00:00:45] Pat:
Alright, today we’re talking all about community. That was Andy Guttormsen, from Circle.

Many of you know I’m an advisor for the company, and we use Circle to host our community, SPI Pro, at SPIPro.com. It’s been a massive game changer for us. Not just Circle, the platform, but leaning into building communities. That’s exactly what we’re talking about today.

It’s almost a “state of building communities in 2022,” here with Andy, because he’s got access to 5,000-plus communities, and what’s working and what’s not working.

We’re going to talk about launching and price points. We’re also going to talk about who are communities for, and paid communities versus free communities.

So, if you have an online business in 2022, and you are thinking about building a community, this is the episode for you.

Here we go. This is Andy, and I hope you enjoy this from Circle.so. Our affiliate link is SmartPassiveIncome.com/Circle, in case you want to check it out, but here we go. Lots of stuff to chat about.

Andy, welcome back to Smart Passive Income, my friend. Thanks so much for being here today.

[00:01:46] Andy:
Pat, thanks for having me.

[00:01:47] Pat:
We had you on last year to talk about community, and we have you on again to talk about community because so much has changed. A lot has happened, not just in Circle and the company, but in the world and in online business.

Communities are becoming more and more where people are looking to not just build an audience, but bring them together. I want to use this opportunity to speak to you, not just talk about the trends and also what’s coming in the world of community, and building communities online.

Where is it right now? And let’s help convince those who haven’t yet started a community why that’s so important to do right now. Why is now more important than ever?

[00:02:21] Andy:
Yeah. So I think something that happened, if you look back 18 months ago, two years ago, We weren’t thinking about online communities so much. but then we were forced to right away. And so it wasn’t this calm process of creating these communities online. It was like, oh no, my business now needs to move online.

Like, how do I handle this? And and, everybody was just trying to kind of figure it out together. and I think what happened was that accelerated. these learnings. And now we have a lot of people who are building businesses, but now they’re thinking about how to add communities to their businesses, but they’re able to do it in a calm way.

A lot of the guidance and learnings from the last year and a half or two years as certain folks really accelerated the trend and, and figured a lot of it out like the SPI pro community, you’re kind of on the cutting edge. you had to figure a whole bunch of things out, and now there’s a lot of, a lot more belief and experience from people who’ve done it before.

So.

[00:03:27] Pat:
Right.

[00:03:29] Andy:
So I think we’re seeing that. And, and now you don’t have to convince people as much that community is important. Like, it’s really easy to understand that if I sell an online course and now I can also rally a group of people to all go through it at the same time, improve. Student completion rates to get bigger outcomes.

Like it’s very, it’s easy to wrap your head around that. And now we kind of have the playbooks for how to do that or how to take your blog. And instead of having one too many, you know, a bunch of readers letting your readers connect with each other, or if you have a coaching business, instead of just having my individual clients where I have this, like one-on-one kind of experience with all of them, but if I could add even more value and connect them all with.

And, and tap into the collective intelligence of all the clients. I think people are just more open to it was approaches now.

[00:04:22] Pat:
Yeah, I agree. And of course tools like Circle. Making it easier to even get started now that we kind of know that this is the direction a lot of us want to go in your vision because you have so much access to your communities in Circle. are we seeing more communities being built after they’ve built an audience somewhere else or are they actually in fact using communities to build an audience?

Like where, where are we on the spectrum of, of those.

[00:04:49] Andy:
I would say probably the most surprising thing that we see. At least when we started circling, we never expected this, the 5,000 paying customers now. And there’s a really big, long tail of all these different types of communities. But if you actually look at the majority of our customers on Circle, these community builders, they have these kind of like smaller, tight knit, high touch community experiences where like they weren’t necessarily even trying to build an audience.

They actually just said, Hey, I’m going to create this small group of 40 people who are all trying to accomplish this thing together, or all kind of going down the same journey together and have a shared. Then, of course it’s easier if you already have an audience to then say, Hey, like, what else could we do?

Could we go a step further, a, can I give you more value here? and then create a community, but you don’t necessarily have to have an audience to create the community, that community in itself, a small, tight knit community where you all accomplish something together that could be like the end all be all destination.

[00:05:53] Pat:
Yeah. What are some examples of like smaller tight-knit communities that you’re seeing in the platform?

[00:05:58] Andy:
One of my favorites is, a community called fresh exchange and they have a, it’s not that small. I think it’s about a hundred people, 150 people, which to me sounds actually like a lot. and it’s a paid community. People pay for access, but they, they cook with the seasons. So every season they will go and, you know, they have, you know, recipes and they use.

Kind of share, as they go through this yo few months period together, about cookie with the seasons. And so like, it’s kind of it’s niche, it’s very specific. but everybody in there they’re kind of like rallied around the same topic. Now another example, could be so, so one of my favorites is, an endurance.

And they basically, they run, they bike, they stay in shape, but I think it’s like 22 people or something like that. It’s like less than 30 people. And it’s really it’s about daily accountable. So there, what they’re not doing is they don’t have like weekly office hours and expert interviews in there and deals and discounts and big active forums, or everybody’s chatting all day long, nonstop. they have one thing that you do. And it’s just to, I know, I wake up in the morning, I run my, like, do my endurance or whatever. I just gotta check in with my crew for accountability. And like, if the community does nothing else, other than that, it’s a huge win

[00:07:25] Pat:
Hmm.

[00:07:26] Andy:
Them.

[00:07:26] Pat:
Yeah, that’s amazing.

And it has that feel of, just friendships, in a tight group like that. And you kind of stay in forever and that you said that even that smaller endurance group is a, is a paid group. Like somebody managing that and getting paid from those users to be.

[00:07:41] Andy:
Yeah. And it’s, it’s actually, so it’s really a coaching group is what it is. Cause there’s like one, you know, coach who said, Hey, you’re my client and you’re my client, but you want to do the same thing that they want to do. And so you can learn from. But let’s also like learn from each other and that would be even more valuable.

And so they pay for access to that. Through that coach, they offer that as extra.

[00:08:07] Pat:
We talked a lot about premium communities, big and small. Are we seeing a lot of push toward free community? I know that this was huge back when Facebook groups was like the thing and you could find your people and then you’d go in these groups. And some of those groups were tens of thousands of people and they always felt, I I’ve never been in a group that big, that.

Like home, you know? And, and so there is something to be said for like small groups, but even using communities, even if it’s not supposed to necessarily feel like home, but at least a place where there’s other people like me, this is where a free community can work really well as sort of a lead gen or a place to host a free challenge or something.

Or are you seeing on Circles specifically any successful free communities and what are some things that they’re doing?

[00:08:50] Andy:
Yeah. So I would say there’s one key difference to keep in mind is that even if these communities are. They, you can still, how somebody discovers and gets into the community is really important. So maybe I am on Facebook. I’m looking at my friends and family photos and stuff like that. And I see a recommendation for a Facebook group and the right hand side, I click to join it.

I really need no investment, but you could have a free community, that you own. And if somebody goes to it and first a land on a really nice landing page, it explains exactly who it’s for and testimonials and exactly what they’ll get and what they won’t get. And then they go through that whole process and get into a free community.

They’ve still jumped through a couple of hoops. You’ve kind of, pre-qualified them. They know what to expect going in. And then when I’m a member and folks get in there, I know that they also went through that process. and so I think that helps. A little bit, one thing that we’ve seen a decent amount is, you know, folks who they have kind of like the free community and that’s like the main attraction, but then they have hidden parts of the community or gated parts or parts where you like pay for extra access.

And that kind of unlocks certain spaces with premium perks and things like that. It’s pretty, pretty common.

[00:10:16] Pat:
Hmm. When it, when it comes to community, whether it’s paid or free. What gets people to keep coming back? You know, I think one of the benefits again, of Facebook is just, or at least the way Facebook was, was everybody was in there anyway. So any conversations that were happening you’d get notified on and, and whatnot.

And it was very simple. Like, oh, let me, let’s go back to the community versus, you know, what we found at SBA pro and what we really want to happen is people will actively log in.

As simple and without as much friction as possible, just continually make that a part of their routine. But it’s harder because it’s not on a platform they’re already on.

It’s separate. and so there’s benefits to that, right? We know that they’re not going to be distracted. We know that they’re here for this specific reason, but it’s harder to train a person to continue to come back. How do we, how do we create that habit that is built into Facebook, but outside of.

[00:11:09] Andy:
Yeah, I think there’s two angles. You can come at it from, I think there’s the, like the strategy, the strategy of making your community valuable, worth coming to, and there’s like the technology around. Reducing the friction and that’s just like tools specific. And so we can talk about both. So, you know, the first is, I always like to use the analogy where like, when I was, when I was a kid, I loved to baseball and I loved, like Derek Jeter was my role model.

And if Derek Jeter was, if he had his own community and there were 50 people in there and we were all like learning how to. Play shortstop from Derek Jeter. It doesn’t matter where it is. It would be so valuable to me. I would go there. I would be there every single day.

[00:11:58] Pat:
Right. You’d go through hoops to make sure of it.

[00:12:00] Andy:
Right. And so the one thing is like, obviously, you know, you make your community really valuable, but like, how do you do that?

I would say. we have this concept that we’ve used a lot, and I don’t remember who came up with it originally, but it’s definitely not us. this concept of like having signature gatherings and a signature gatherings, or like these like rituals where, you know, we might have, like, we have our weekly office hours, even in our own private customer community at Circle or people come every single week.

And so a lot of times the same people they develop friendships are like live on camera and video and talk with each other. But you might have your own version of that. The other thing is you might have, we’ve talked before about this concept of like the hot seat where, you know, everybody gets in a room and there’s eight people y’all try and solve my problem this week.

Next week we try and solve that person’s problem. And it’s kind of like the collective you’ll brains around it. but it’s a ritual. And so we might do it every single week. like the endurance example I gave you before, like every single day, they just know they’re popping in there. They’re doing.

Share the picture at the end of their run or whatever it is and give each other feedback, but like that’s happening every single day. And so it’s like, it’s like a ritual that’s tied to something really valuable. And many of these communities, they don’t care so much. What people are doing in between the rituals, but the rituals themselves.

If those are set up, then all of a sudden, now there’s like a cadence there that you can get into, like a Pattern.

[00:13:36] Pat:
And sometimes those rituals are purposeful, right? Like, Hey everybody, on this day, every day we’re going to do this. Or every Friday this happens or this gathering happens once a month. Here’s the calendar. But then I know that sometimes those rituals will kind of organically. Come up and, and, and, and, and that can be really neat too, because it actually comes from the users and they, like, one person will say something a certain way and then somebody will fall.

And then it becomes a thread that you’re just like, let’s, let’s continually do this. And that’s like the most fun thing to see. We’ve seen a lot of that habit as well. So that’s a, that’s a lot of the sort of strategy. And I love the idea of rituals. I, and I agree, even back in the day when I manage Facebook pages, I would notice that on the days where people knew things were supposed to happen, things were.

And then in between, even though they always had access to each other, nothing was happening.

So the approach should be to maybe insert some sort of regular programming inside of, inside of your community. How much is too much with regards to that? I know that there’s some communities who are like every day at this time and then like, it just becomes too overwhelming.

How do we, how do we know where the line is?

[00:14:42] Andy:
So I seen so many things that work, but the way. The way, I think a lot of our team internally think about it when we look at what’s working right now, is we, it kind of is like, almost like a menu, like for instance, best pie pro sales page for the community. It’s a really great sales page and it kind of walks you through everything you’re going to get. And. You know, that evolves over time. So like, I don’t know exactly what you get today versus two months ago, but you know, if you’re going to have an expert interview, like maybe that’s happening once every two weeks. And I know like that’s something kind of on the menu where I might come and that’s like something I care about, or maybe there’s smaller, little mastermind groups and coaching groups.

And we kind of have our own little culture in there. Like that’s something that maybe I care about, or maybe I don’t care about. But if I’m at a buffet and there’s all the food, I’m not just going to eat it all because it’s there, I’m just going to choose, you know what I like? And that’s how you might think about starting to build the value in your own community is you might have certain things you can kind of like add to the menu and then encourage people to.

Only particiPate in what they want to particiPate in. And you can do that during your onboarding experience, you can kind of make it just part of the culture and the community.

[00:16:01] Pat:
Right, right. I was going to talk about onboarding because if you have an extensive menu, which we’re always adding new things to try to add more value, we’ve actually taken away a lot of things to understanding that, okay, well maybe these weren’t as valuable as we thought. It’s always good to experiment and try.

I think it’s really important in the OD mourning process and I’ll link to a video in the resource page or show notes page to, something called the open Circle that we’d once done on YouTube, where we reveal sort of our onboarding process. And Jay class takes us through that exact process.

And it’s so key because you could share the entire menu and a person almost feels like they have to go to everything. I think like I was surprised by that. Even though it was on the menu when people missed it, they felt bad about it, but, you know, and it was like this pressure and the same thing happened when I had a, a daily YouTube channel at one point, people felt the pressure.

And then when, when they started missing things, as too many things were being missed, and then it was like, oh, I guess I’m just, you know, I’m not good enough here. I’m going to leave, but we don’t want that to happen. So in the onboarding process, you gotta be very clear.

Here’s the menu of items. You don’t have to eat everything, pick and choose the things that you really really want. And so, again, willing to that resource in the show notes page to a YouTube video, can you talk about some of the technological ways that we can get people to habitually come back to the platform?

[00:17:19] Andy:
Yeah. So this is, it’s something that we spend a lot of time thinking about. and there are certain things that like we already do at Circle and a lot of different platforms do. and there are certain things that were. Investing in now that you’ll see at least the next few months, and I’ll talk about what those are.

But as an example, the first thing we talked about onboarding, it’s just like getting people to actually know what’s in there and I don’t want to skip over it. the onboarding piece, just because. As soon as somebody comes in, they have all these kinds of expectations about what it could be and your job is to like, not scare them away, make sure they know what’s there, but also like have them take little actions in order to like, get familiar with the tool.

Right. And actually in the SPI pro community, do an amazing job of that. I think it’s, it’s basically like a, like a checklist that you have where you’re like do this and do that. But those things that you’re encouraging people to do, it’s like it could be send a DM to somebody and now. No, how to use the DME feature.

And I maybe have made a connection with somebody. it could be, I go through this checklist and all of a sudden at the end of the checklist, I get some cool little gift. There’s something helpful, or you unlock a space for me or whatever it is. But like, it’s like that little dopamine and it’s kind of like, I’m getting little wins, but I’m getting wins.

And those first 15 minutes of joining the community now, after I’m in. There are things you can do. Like for instance, at Circle, we have a weekly digest. It gets automatically sent out. And if I’m running the community, you know, each of my members they’ll get their own personalized, weekly digest, which shows the discussions that are most relevant to them and things like that.

Now that’ll go out automatically, but you could even make your own custom one if you want it to and send that out to your members once a week. And in there you can link back. To the most exciting posts you could say, Hey, did you see that? Kelly asked a question here, does anybody know like anybody help her out?

And you link out to the post, you send people back to go help or let’s celebrate these three people here for doing X, Y, and Z, and then you link to them and you highlight them back in the community. So you can hit them up through email and then drive them back. the other thing that’s important in a Circle.

We want to do better at is being on all the different platforms. Right? So for instance, you know, right now we have an iOS app that’s really important. A lot of people access their communities through the iOS. But we’re rolling out an Android app and a desktop app and being on every platform is critical.

Like a desktop app, for instance, it just there like slack is there. It just goes off. There’s the notifications on your computer, right? So that’s actually for us, something that is coming out relatively soon, actually ahead of the, the Android app. But that makes it a lot easier for people if they just it’s right there on my desktop while I’m sitting here at the computer all day.

[00:20:25] Pat:
Right. I mean, like on slack it’s it’s, I mean, you could log in to get access to it, but the fact that it’s on the desktop enables certain kinds of notifications.

Speaking of like technolog technology and communities, you know, I know that in conversations I’ve had with people about Circle, Discord always comes up.

And Discord has a very interesting history in the world of community and especially the gamer and the kind of communities. How do you respond? I’m curious when people go, oh, well, how does Circle differ from Discord who’s Circle for, and who’s like Discord.

[00:21:00] Andy:
Yes. Well, first of all, like I personally think the world of discourse, I think it’s awesome. the we’re historically we’ve been pretty different in that Circle has been much more asynchronous post comments replies where Discord is very much like talk, chat, real-time messaging.

[00:21:18] Pat:
Right.

[00:21:19] Andy:
I think our, our roadmap is pretty public.

But we’re very close to rolling out our. But actually by the time this, this is released, we’ll have rolled out our chat spaces where you can do like Discord type chat, slack type chat, right. Inside of Circle. Right. So we’re, we’re literally weeks away at this point.

[00:21:40] Pat:
Awesome.

[00:21:41] Andy:
And so that’s going to be, it, it enables you to have these like real time off the cuff casual tats without having to like spit up a post and feel exactly like, like slack might the.

Other thing is, you know, video live streaming. So, you know, on Circle as an example, you can do live streams. You could have a thousand people, you can pull people up on stage, all of that, but then there’s also like the more intimate, smaller groups. And so like something that we don’t do that Discord does as an example, is like, they have an audio room where you could have 20 people in there just talking to each other.

And it’s like, that’s something that we’re we’re building, but all this kind of more synchronous real-time stuff like the live stream and stuff that we just rolled out. That’s at that when we didn’t do it, we were much different, like much further apart from Discord

[00:22:37] Pat:
Yeah.

[00:22:37] Andy:
Of real-time for async.

[00:22:39] Pat:
I mean, I, I use this cord, in a few communities and I’m a member of many Discords because I’m big into the YouTube space. And that’s where a lot of communities exist from YouTube. But honestly, like Circle’s so much easier to use. So for anybody building communities, I mean, Discord feels like the Adobe Photoshop of, of communities where it’s like, oh, it can do that.

But then there’s like a million things. And then all this new language, you have to learn what I find very beneficial about Circles. It just works so easily. That you can get in there and start communicating right away. And that’s like, what we love about it with SPI pro plus it just is a little bit more professional feeling.

Right. So if you are a coach, for example, I mean, I can’t imagine coaching people through like a Discord, but I do coach people through places like Circle. And so I think the target market’s different, but also just the ease of use and. With all the things like every single thing that you’ve been rolling out has been everything that we’ve needed.

And I just love that. Whereas like Discord will come out with something.

That’s specifically for like live streaming gamers who have Patrion who have this. And it’s just like, okay, that’s like way too much stuff going on over there. So again, I appreciate that. And you talked a little bit about timeline and things coming out of the desktop app, the, the chat feature and whatnot.

Like, is there anything else you can give us as far as insight on what you’re planning and why? Like where, where did the data come from to make an informed those decisions?

[00:24:12] Andy:
Yeah. So, you know, it all ties back to kind of like one key. Strategy, which is, you know, we don’t want to be prescriptive and we don’t want to tell you, Hey, here’s how you should build and run your community. like our belief is that you have a vision for your community, right? Like, you know what you want it to be.

You want to have like these types of activities in there, these value props, you want it to look like yours, but what we’re. Essentially building our are the building blocks so that you can kind of take the building blocks and mix and match them. And as a business owner create that community. So like maybe you want some like chat spaces, maybe you want post comments, replies, maybe you want weekly events.

Maybe you want to have like, you know, a coaching call that’s alive, but only for a certain part of the cubit, like whatever it is, you kind of need to like, almost use these building blocks in order to create it. the thing I like to think about is like notion kind of like a, you know, notion, like it’s kind of just, they give you the building blocks and get to like put it all together.

That’s how you might think about Circle. So you will see more building blocks come out, like at events, building block chat spaces,

[00:25:26] Pat:
Ooh, that’s a great differentiator. I love that description. I’m going to use that when I talk about, especially with the notion analogy, I like that. So what other blocks are we going to see? Anything, anything interesting? I mean, there’s probably a million things that I’m sure on the pipeline or, or, or, or at least have been asked for.

Popular things that people are asking for and what might be being built.

[00:25:49] Andy:
So, let me tell you because our engineering team will, will kill me, but so let me just tell you what is being considered, not what we’re actually like actively building and delivering on now.

[00:25:59] Pat:
Okay. We can get some feedback from the onset and maybe maybe push for one or not.

[00:26:04] Andy:
Yeah. So a couple of things that have been considered, strongly considered is, the ability to have just like spin up or video room where you just drop into it. You can chat with people in real time. It’s not like an event. Like we going to have events, you’ll live streams.

[00:26:19] Pat:
Like a zoom room, like kind of breakout room kind of thing.

[00:26:22] Andy:
Exactly like a breakout room, but you can drop in, drop out. Right. And they can go away when they’re done. Same thing with audio rooms, right. A little bit like clubhouse, but like lives inside of your community for your people. They can just hang out. Uh that’s one example. the other thing, you know, we’re thinking about

Is how to make it easier for you to, to teach for instance, inside of a Circle community. We’re thinking about how to make search better. Right? Cause like these communities, there’s so much amazing knowledge shared inside of them, but what happens if I come back six months later and I want to like find all these ideas that have been shared. so, you know, making search really important, making search really easy is important.

Same thing with Like chat spaces. Let’s use all these discussions, you know, in slack, you go in and there’s like, your search history is really critical. Like now. When somebody signs up to your community, you say, yeah, you’re getting the community now, but you’re also getting all these ideas and the knowledge that’s been shared for the last year and a half since the community started.

[00:27:34] Pat:
Yeah. And then they didn’t even consider that you mentioned teaching. Are you hinting at potentially. like a platform like an LMS inside specifically, or, cause I know there’s integration with other tools and stuff that do that but it, but are we, are we, thinking of bringing that in-house kind of thing

[00:27:50] Andy:
Yeah. So I’m basically just making it easier to have like lessened inside of Circle.

[00:27:55] Pat:
Because you can kind of hack your way to do

[00:27:56] Andy:
Yeah.

[00:27:57] Pat:
Now. And even in like, slack, you can hack your way to do something like that. But, tell me, tell me more.

[00:28:02] Andy:
Yeah. So the, I think like, certainly you can already, like, people have like lessons and things like that. but what’s really. Circle is not, does not have like that best live stream feature. Right. It does not have the best like chat spaces, even when we roll our chest basis out, it does not have like the absolute best member profiles.

So it’s really magic is like, when you get them all to play really nicely with each other. Right. And so. The vision is that you’ll be able to have people sign up and have subscribers. You’ll be able to have automations. Let’s say somebody signs up for the community. You’ll have an automation that says we want to automatically send them a private message and make it easy for them to go.

And. Say hello to this person over here. And it triggers like an announcement. So like a lot of like automations and workflows built right into the, into the community. It’s almost like if your community was like a CRM with automation workflows, that’s something that’s a priority. Yeah.

[00:29:07] Pat:
That sounds really exciting that like, would I be able to say, you know, in two weeks send this message to every new user that checks in on them to see how they’re doing. And that would just DM everybody, whether they came in tomorrow. Two weeks from now, they would always get it two weeks after they came in.

And, and, and yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s where, like, you know, bots were a thing for awhile, like on Facebook and message platforms. Everybody was talking about bots and bot marketing, but I’m like bots for just random messages on Facebook or ads even just seems it didn’t really work for. But to be able to automatically check in on people, to see how they’re doing inside of a community that I know exactly who this person is and what they’re signing up for is huge.

I absolutely love that. this is all really exciting.

I do want to cover a question I often get when it comes to community and we can finish off here. And it’s related to price points of charging. What, like, what do you charge to, to bring people into your community? This is probably the most common question I get. I do have a lot of people who are excited about creating community, but then when they consider the price point that they’re just deer in headlights, because it feels like they’re just blindly choosing.

How would you help a person figure out what the price point should be for their community?

[00:30:34] Andy:
So I would, I would start by wanting to know, like, what, what, like, what’s the value they’re delivering. What’s like the format, there are certain formats that. That they take more time and investment. You can command a higher price. You need to command a higher price in order for it, like the math actually work.

Right. So if it’s going to be, so our friend, Josh hall, Josh hall, he has a really great community and I think it’s a hundred dollars a month. and it’s for. It’s for freelancers. And by the way, great example of somebody who has like a coaching business and then connected all of his clients with each other, like just as a new revenue stream, they all get way more value.

It’s such a no brainer, but like that that’s a little bit more hands-on and he’s helping professionals. He’s helping professionals. Earn more, at their craft. You can charge more for that. It’s, hands-on, it’s helping people or more money. Whereas if you’re thinking about like something that a little bit of like a softer skillset, right. So you’ve seen people like exercise, if I had,

[00:31:51] Pat:
Learning piano.

[00:31:52] Andy:
Yeah, something Like, that it’s. It’s harder to, to charge much more because like, I may anchor it in my head and I’m like, well, I could hire somebody in real, in real life to come here, give me a private lesson. What would that cost, you know, that might cost, I don’t know.

It could cost a hundred dollars. I don’t know. But so when I anchor it there, like it’s probably gotta be less. Like, it could be the kind of thing though that I pay $50 a month for a hundred dollars a month.

But that, that’s kinda how I think about it. Anchor it towards. Like what would be like the more premium version of this, or the less premium version of this and use that to still hone in.

[00:32:30] Pat:
Yeah, that’s a great place to start for sure. In the anchoring and seeing like, well, what is it all that you’re offering? Is it hands-off in which case you charged less, is it more hands-on and you charge more? And like you said, I think the industry that you are in definitely definitely matters. And it’s definitely a lot easier to charge when you are, helping people make more money, but at the same.

Also think about how much time you’re saving people. That because time is even more valuable than money for many. And so, you know, all those things considered, I think it’s important. And then like the last thing related to that is, is launching. How are you finding successful courses who are successful communities on Circle?

Like how are they best getting more people to come in and launching their communities? What are some maybe. Really unique or, easy to follow strategies that people are using to, you know, announce and get people into their, into their, community.

[00:33:21] Andy:
Seeing recently, a lot of folks launching their communities, very similar to how they might launch a course where, you know, they have the sales page, they have email sequences, they announce it to a group of people, whether it’s small or large. but more often than not like we’re very rarely seeing these communities launch where there’s thousands of people and the first group, it’s often 40 people.

And it’s 40 people that are, are probably like already in the ecosystem of the community builder. They, maybe already have a little bit of a relationship there and they’re going into it, knowing that this community is a work in progress and kind of like expecting that they’re going to almost help build the community with the, community builder.

And so like that part of it’s pretty transplant. that that’s what we’re seeing most commonly, but there’s, you know, a pretty nice sales page as an example. Like they, they know before they launch it, like who it’s for, they have some hypotheses around it and, It’s just like any one though, of the, of the journey.

It’s not like, Hey, we have this beautiful Polish community. They’re not trying to pretend. It’s something that it’s not, the people that do it. Right. They’re just upfront about that with, with the new members.

[00:34:50] Pat:
Yeah. I mean, we did the same thing when we launched SPI pro was very upfront. We had a smaller price point for those, kind of a as a reward for those who are coming in early and trusting us. and there was no expectation that it was perfect for sure, but they definitely, you know, there’s always going to be early adopters who want to be first and that’s kind of who you’re shooting for and you want to, also utilize them as feedback for what should go in or what should not go in, or what’s great, or what’s not great.

So that when you launched us again and more publicly, it could actually reach more people and excite more people to, you know, the founders launches is often what’s called or the beta launches some as some call it, which is awesome. And then what we’ve found works really well is just continually. Adding into the language of just your brand, the fact that this community exists.

And when you talk about people, if they’re a member of SPI pro, talk about it. If you had some interesting conversation in there, bring up that conversation, but then don’t forget to talk about where it came from and just like mention the community. Like we don’t hard sell it all the time, but we are talking about it all the time.

And. When the sale comes, people aren’t surprised and going, what is this? They know it exists. And then if there’s a deal or a special moment, or, you know, it’s the enrollment period, they’re more likely to join. And so, and it has been really great. you know, a lot of things are changing rapidly, but it’s very, very exciting.

And I’m so excited for all the upcoming features. And I just, again, want to thank you because without you, and without Circle, we wouldn’t have SBA pro because it just made it so easy to be. And we just continue to really enjoy this relationship because you’ve helped us even when we’ve had requests and everything that’s coming in, the future is definitely on our minds of things we need to.

So, thank you again. Any, any final words of encouragement for people who are building community right now?

[00:36:34] Andy:
Well, Pat. Thanks for, thanks for having me on you. You guys have been amazing, advisors for Circle and you know, the way it’s turned out is that ultimately you’ve been amazing advisors for a whole bunch of new community builder because you really led the way. And then now everybody’s, you know, looking at SPI pro is kind of like a model of, Hey, here’s like, Viable Path for how to do this. And, and my only message for folks out there who are considering creating some type of like membership or a community driven membership would be. Don’t get too overwhelmed instead. Just kind of like think through how can I deliver some value? How can I scope it down? What are maybe the one or two or three signature gatherings I could have in my community?

And just start there and know you can do more, but, but if anything, try and do a little bit less two or three signature gatherings, and that can be enough to have a really successful community just on its own.

[00:37:35] Pat:
I love it. Thank you, Andy. Appreciate you. You stick around for more info, but again, I appreciate you and we’ll talk soon. Okay.

[00:37:41] Andy:
Thanks. Appreciate it. That.

[00:37:43] Pat:
Alright, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Andy, from Circle.so.

Again, our affiliate link for Circle, if you’re interested in checking it out as a platform and using it, is SmartPassiveIncome.com/Circle. We recently ran an event together called CX Day, which was really awesome. That stands for Community Experience Day. It was a co-planned, co-hosted event between SPI Media and Circle.

Again, you can tell, we are leaning into Circle and community so much, because we haven’t had this kind of feedback from anything that we’ve done in the past before. Even our courses, even our most successful course, Power-Up Podcasting, we get some great feedback from that. The feedback from people being able to connect with each other, and us being able to facilitate that has just been unmatched. I want that for you.

So, again, if you want to check out the resources, links, and everything mentioned here in today’s episode, go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/session573. Again, SmartPassiveIncome.com/session573.

And SPIPro.com if you want to apply and come in the next time we let people in. You better get in soon because we are raising the price point. It is something that we are doing because the more and more we’re putting into it, the more value that there is in there.

We want you to be with people that are just like you, who are entrepreneurs who want a safe space to connect with each other, hold each other accountable, find that support, and get pushed to move up into the next level of your business. We’re looking forward to seeing you there, SPIPro.com.

Again, thank you for watching and listening all the way through. I appreciate you, and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.

Until then, cheers, peace out, and as always, Team Flynn for the win.


Smart Passive Income Podcast

with Pat Flynn

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