178 FS Paid Communities

00:00 0:51:34
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01:21 - Building Paid Communities

04:45 - Platforms

14:05 - Benefits of Paid Communities

19:17 - Moderation

21:42 - Jumpstarting Conversations

27:18 - Keeping People Around

29:35 - Starting a Community

34:04 - Test Cases/Pilot Programs

  • Codes of Conduct

43:38 - Presense

46:36 - Rallying Additional Helpers, Mentors, Friends, etc.

55:48 - Platforms (Cont’d)

The Top 16 List Building Strategies of 2015 by Bryan Harris (Reuven)Slack (Jonathan)The Traffic Manual by Kai Davis (Jonathan)Selling to Big Companies by Jill Konrath (Philip)FamilySearch (Chuck)Relative Finder (Chuck)

Transcript

CHUCK: Yeah. Let’s do the video.[This episode is sponsored by Hired.com. Hired.com is offering a new freelancing and contracting offering. They have multiple companies that will provide you with contract opportunities. They cover all the tracking, reporting and billing for you, they handle all the collections and prefund your paycheck, they offer legal and accounting and tax support, and they’ll give you a $2,000 when you’ve been on a contract for 90 days. But with this link, they’ll double it to $4,000 instead. Go sign up at Hired.com/freelancersshow]**[This episode is sponsored by Nird.us. Do you wish that somebody else would handle all of those operation details when it comes to hosting your client’s web applications? Nird.us is a Ruby on Rails managed hosting designed to make your life easy. They migrate everything for you, and new sign ups or referrals come with a $100 discount or a referral fee. To sign up, go to freelancersshow.com/nird, and enter ‘freelancer’ into the contact form for a discount] **CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to episode 178 of The Freelancers’ Show. This week on our panel we have Philip Morgan. PHILIP: Howdy. CHUCK: Jonathan Stark. JONATHAN: Hello. CHUCK: Reuven Lerner. REUVEN: Hi everyone. CHUCK: I’m Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv. And this week we’re going to be talking about building paid communities, or communities that are add-ons to products or however you want to look at that, from our conversation last week with Keith. So Jonathan, you said you had a lot of experience with this. Do you have a direction that we can go on first? JONATHAN: I think so, yeah. This idea’s on out of last week Keith Perhac – I hope I’m saying that right. He was talking about – we were talking about bundling info products with a community, like how do you price something – you can only price an ebook so high, but if maybe you have a bundle where a higher tier offers access to a community, say a Facebook group, that is focused on the same thing – that sort of stuff. We’re talking about that and I think that’s a really interesting idea and it’s relatively new, I guess; it seems relatively new, although probably that’s just my ignorance. It’s probably like all sorts of weird [inaudible] things that were happening back in the 80’s or whatever. But yes, my experience with this is that I’ve put together in my coaching, there – it’s like a productized service where we talk one-on-one depending on the level of plan, either monthly or weekly or unlimited over email. But also, there’s access to a member chat room; it’s a private Slack room where people come in to ask questions and bounce ideas off of each other in between phone calls. And it’s a group of paid students, but also a few other folks who are basically additional mentors. So it’s not just me in there with a bunch of students, and it’s really interesting. I think that, honestly, I think that it’s the most valuable piece; I think it’s more valuable than phone calls. But at any rate, it’s beneficial, I think, to them very much. It’s also beneficial to me in a couple of ways; one that is – that I get tons of content out of it. People ask questions all the time that are really good questions because they're always in the cracks where I didn’t describe something low enough previously, so a question that will come up in between phone calls is usually one that is about a nuance. So for me, it’s really interesting to get at those things and then maybe do – once we understand it and come to a conclusion, can create a blog post out of it or send an email to my list about that particular thing. It’s educational for everybody and it adds a lot of value and allows me to charge more money for the product and also help people more so they're not waiting for a week in between calls or whatever. So there's that background that we can – people are welcome to ask questions about that. But I’m also involved with paying for being in – so I’m a customer of some of these things, too. I’m in Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid mentoring and I’ve also taken this intensive. And the community aspect of it is so beneficial, it’s probably my favorite part; and this is coming as a cut from your customers’ standpoint. And it’s so easy to do. There’s so many tools that make it so easy for people across time zones and all over the world any time to just jump into whatever it is – a Facebook group or a Slack room or whatever. I guess that’s my background with it so I can see it from both sides. So I guess if we wanted to open it up from there, it may be a good idea. CHUCK: It’s [inaudible] because when we talked about this, I’ve also done – we have a community for Ruby Rogues as fairly active, but it’s a forum; it’s not actually a chat room. And so there are different types of communities that you can set up and it depends on how your community wants to pull things together. JONATHAN: Yeah. That’s interesting you bring that up because last – I think it was last week in my coaching Slack, I on-boarded 3 new people. And the way Slack works, for people who don’t know, it’s just this – we just have one channel; it’s just this long stream of tens of thousands of messages. It’s like Twitter, basically; there's just – so for a new person to come in, they can’t really – it’s absurd to imagine going back and even searching through it, never mind scrolling through it. And even people who are maybe not on it for the weekend who’ll come in on Monday, they’ll be like ‘there's 800 messages from over the weekend. I can’t even go back and look at them, so I’ll just’ – so you just can’t – in the case of Slack, I was like geez, I feel like people are maybe missing out on good pieces of information since we’re not – since it’s not more like a forum, like you just said. So I ask them, I said, ‘what would you think about switching over from a Slack or additionally adding a forum where we could have more threaded conversations like forum style; you could come in and see, oh, here’s some common topics or these are pinned topics or these are busy topics’, and everybody unanimously was like ‘no way, that’s not – that will not work’. And I was surprised by that, but on the one hand – but on the other hand, I do kind of get it where they just want the – it just feels like too much work. And since I am pulling out the nuggets of information, like when we all level up on some particular topic like sending a cold email to outreach – cold outreach email them to somebody in a particular situation, and we all go back and forth and would come up with what we think is the best way to do it. I’ll pull that out and make it a blog post so then people can refer to it later so we don’t have to re-answer it every time. And so later, when someone comes along and they have a similar situation, somebody can just link them to it. So it’s kind of – I’m not going to say it’s the same thing, but it has a similar result where there's this static knowledgebase that comes out of it. But then, there’s this – basically, what we settle on was like ‘ok, we’ll just treat Slack like you're walking into a busy pub and you – a million things are discussed in the pub last night, you missed it. And now that you're here, you can participate, but don’t think like you need to go back and watch the security tapes or whatever – whatever you would do’. CHUCK: How do you feel about it, though, as a moderator because that’s one of the things that I've ran into myself is that – for example, with Ruby Rogues Parley, we moderate the forum and we have the conversations on the forum, and I feel like – I feel some responsibility to know what's in every thread, but at the same time I don’t have time to read everything that comes into that forum. JONATHAN: Totally, yeah. And that’s how it came up because I did two speaking gigs back to back. So I was traveling, and I wasn’t in the room as much as I feel like I should’ve been; I mean, they're paying me to be in there. And so when I came back, there are literally like 2500 messages. And so I went in and I was like ‘you guys, I can’t – it’d be ridiculous for me to go back and read through all this stuff. So I’m here now. If you ask me something or if there's something you want me to reply to and you're waiting for me to get back to you, just re-ask it right now’, and everyone was totally cool with that’. CHUCK: The other nice thing about Slack, too, is that they can ping you on the private channel. JONATHAN: I do not allow that, actually. CHUCK: Oh, you don’t? JONATHAN: No. that’s a different level of – that’s a higher level. I mean, you have to pay for that level. [Crosstalk] Yeah, I don’t want people having private conversations because then only they learn. REUVEN: The beauty of it is that everyone’s learning from each other participating. And that’s the power of this model, I think. JONATHAN: Yes. I think so. So you can pay more to have – sometimes people have sensitive information that they don’t want to share with the room, and that’s just a higher level access that I don’t accommodate for the same price. CHUCK: So I have about ten zillion questions on this that I want to ask. So are you paying for Slack then at that level? JONATHAN: Oh yeah. I’m paying a lot. It’s like a thousand dollars a year or something. CHUCK: Ok, because I have a paid Slack, and I have like 3 people in it for some of the development I do or have other people do for me. And that’s hooked into our CI and things like that. And I’m sitting there thinking ‘man, it would get really expensive if you have a lot of people in here with those kinds of integrations’. I mean, it’s free to a certain point, and then you have to pay. [Crosstalk] JONATHAN: If you want access to – [crosstalk]. REUVEN: I actually have no idea. JONATHAN: The difference is that if you – well, first of all, you can only have so many free members, so if you want to go over a certain threshold, you have to pay. The thing that kills every Slack room I’m in, and the reason why they started paying was not because the number of members, it was because you can only have 10,000 messages in your history. And I’m in some Slack rooms that do that in a day. So – I shouldn’t say something – I’m in one Slack room that’s that busy that you’ll go through 10,000 messages in a day, so – and they don’t pay for the history so you totally missed it; there's no searching it; nothing. But I definitely wanted to be able to search it. I want people to be able to go back, and essentially, not re-ask me when they know the answer’s back there somewhere. So it saves me money, in a sense. CHUCK: History is valuable. REUVEN: Absolutely. That might be one of the most important things you're producing there because this community is growing and growing over time is coming up with new ideas. It’s not just asking questions, but coming up with solutions. And this way, you could say to someone, ‘oh, we talked about this 2 months ago, take a look at it and then if you have new ideas, respond’. JONATHAN: Yup. In that case – just to be specific – usually in that case, I will go back, do this search, do the blog post and send them a link to it because it’s just super valuable. It’s  a really easy way for me to create content without really – painlessly. It’s like something about answering somebody’s question is so much easier sitting down at a blank text editor and come up with a – [crosstalk] CHUCK: Oh true. JONATHAN: It’s because you know who you're talking to, it’s because you know their level of sophistication, so you don’t have to backpedal all over the place and explain stuff that you know they know. You know what I mean? It’s like – it makes it just so much easier. So that’s usually what I would do in that case, but I need to be able to go back and search. And even if you're the admin, if you're not paying, you can’t go back and search the message history. Another thing about Slack – if you want to talk about Slack – is that you can have, for every paid member, you can have X number of lower, of free members who have limited permissions. And I think one of the limited permissions is that they can only be in the – I don’t know what they’re called, like associate members or something. PHILIP: Single channel guest. CHUCK: Yes. JONATHAN: There you go. And that’s the limitation is they can only be in one channel, but I only have one channel, so that’s not really a big limitation. CHUCK: Right. So the lowest level is single channel. And then if you want beyond that, then you have to pay up for the extra access. JONATHAN: Yeah. It’s pricey. It’s a lot. But if I have one I liked better, I’d switch to it, but I really – there isn’t one that I know of. I think Facebook – it depends on the size of the group, and I should mention that the group I've got in Slack is fewer than 20 – around 20 people. And if it got bigger than that, it might get a little unwieldy, so I’ll probably keep it to the maximum of 20. But I’m in a bunch of other ones – the Michael Port Book Yourself Solid stuff and Brennan Dunn’s – I’m a mentor on one of the Brennan Dunn groups. And it’s really nice, but if it gets busy, you just get lost. I can’t figure out where stuff is. I’ll get a notification on my phone and that can’t find, and I’m like ‘oh, I need to respond to that and I can’t find it’ [chuckles]. It’s like a reply to a comment and it’s just too – it seems like it will be attractive on the lower volume groups, it is pretty cool. But once you get really nested way in there, it’s brutal and it’s really hard to pull that information back out into a blog post, let’s say because you can’t just copy-paste if it’s on nested weird and you might as well just retype it. It’s pretty great because it’s free and it’s fast and it’s mobile friendly and it’s available in every platform. But all of those – really, all of those things, Slack, I think, does it a little bit better for me. And the only downside of Slack is that it’s expensive. CHUCK: Yeah. And I know that the Facebook groups are pretty popular. In fact, that Podcast Movement, there were at least one or two talks where they talked about how to use Facebook groups to create a community around your podcast. And in a lot of those cases, it was free; it was a free group and you just moderated it and it was a marketing channel for you. But if we’re talking about people actually paying to be a part of that community, I really do – I really like the idea of having that kind of a chat channel. In fact, I can also tell you that the Ruby Rogues Parley group, they tried to set up an official Rogues IRC channel. And the issue was that none of the Rogues had time to go in there and moderate it. And so we made them change it to Rogues fans or something so that then they could talk about the show and we didn’t have to run it. And so I know that there's definitely segments of communities out there that want something like that, and I’m thinking about adding it on as something for like Rails Clips or something. The basic level where you get all the videos is $10 a month, but then I could bump it up so that it’s – so that I’m not losing money having them in a chat community or something. PHILIP: On that note, I think it might be interesting to talk about why someone would want to do this. We covered a number of used cases, but I don’t think we’ve really talked about like it’s more than just a way to justify more money for a product. The way I see it is anytime people have to change their behavior, especially the more difficult that behavior change becomes, the more they can benefit from some kind of community element or this type of interaction model because like if wanted to go from hourly billing to implementing value-based fees – it’s a common topic here – I can’t just decide to do that no matter how much I want to. And I feel like that’s the context in which a group becomes super valuable is when you got that difficult behavior change and it just takes freaking time to change your – how you think about things and how you do things. And I’m curious, in that context, if you guys have seen any patterns of what works better, what worked worse – I think that might be interesting to discuss. JONATHAN: That’s a great point because I've read it in a couple of books that were straight up code books that there's like zero benefit to a community for that stuff. It’s so binary; it’s like ‘here’s how you do it, here's the code, here's the repo; you can download the code, you can paste it; it’s going to work’. And it would have been potentially beneficial to me to have a community because then I could’ve marketed follow up products to them, but I don’t see the benefit of it to them, really. But I love that you characterize it – it’s perfect generalization to say that it’s behavior change thing because it’s really – when you have this huge change of mindset, even at the point when they understand rationally what you're saying, like you know you should quit smoking, you know you should go to the gym, but there are these moments when you have this sort of crisis of faith and fear kicks in or you just can’t get your head around how to implement something, it’s just like ‘ok, I understand that I need to be thinking more about my customer, but when it comes time to write my webpage and I’m staring at that empty browser window, do I change my old hero image?’ You have to make all these really tactical down-in-the-dirt – so they’ll get overwhelmed with decision paralysis over the silliest – oh, I shouldn’t say silly, but you can’t get too overwhelmed with small decisions. You need to be able to maintain perspective on –. There's going to be a thousand decisions you make as you're doing your, say, your landing page in your site. You just need a general – sometimes, they need someone to just be like ‘ok, don’t – yes, that’s potentially something we could talk about, but it’s much less of a big deal than these other things that you’ve already solved, which is writing the new copy for the page’ – that’s the most important part, or setting your positioning first and then writing the copy. Yes, there are probably a million decisions, especially if you're somebody who’s sensitive with  stuff like this about how to actually design the page, what typography should I use, and all these little decisions that prevent people from shipping, basically, where I’m a total 80-20 guy; it’s like ‘get that thing out there, get the minimum valuable thing out there, get feedback’ because a lot of times, the decisions that you're agonizing over can only be answered by your audience and can’t be answered by you no matter how long you think about it. So long way to say that it is behavior but also mindset perspective, all that stuff, and when it doesn’t happen instantaneously like ‘oh, here's how I set the viewport tag for the viewport meta tag for mobile’. It’s like ‘ok, now I have to start talking to my customers differently from now on’, and then they have to be like ‘ok, Stark, here’s a scenario. What should I have said, or what could I say in this scenario?’ And there's just this constant – yeah, it’s like – that’s why it’s called coaching; that’s what it’s like. It’s like upping somebody’s tennis game. You just have to be there and just hammer on it over and over and over in a lot of different ways. PHILIP: Yeah. Some of the community thing we’re talking about that I’m a part of, half the benefit is seeing other people go through that stuff. Even though it’s not an issue that’s up for me at the moment, it’s still – I still benefit tremendously. I have a mentoring thing that I do around positioning, and when I launched that, at first I was like – I was launching at a group thing in order to create an attractive price point. And I thought at first that group aspect was a drawback, and 3 weeks into it, I realized it was a massive advantage. Just very quickly, it became apparent that person A getting to C, person B and “instructor” works something out, provides a lot of value to person A. JONATHAN: It’s happened to me already that I can see people saying they already know what I’m going to say. So people who have been in it longer will be like ‘well’. Maybe they may not agree with me or maybe they're not there yet, but they know what I’m going to say. And they're right. All the time, they're always right. It’s like ‘yeah’. [Crosstalk] Occasionally, somebody will miss a nuance, but it’s almost like – it’s certainly not – it’s nowhere near autopilot, that’s for sure. It still needs moderation; like I need to be there on a daily basis REUVEN: Well, that’s one thing what I wanted to ask. When you say moderation though, does that mean directing the conversation? Does it mean answering questions? What do you do in terms of moderating? JONATHAN: It’s not moderating in the forum sense or like in the old school troll sense – that’s not a problem. These are people who are paying a lot of money to be in there, and they’ve gone through an application process where we've already spoken on the phone and I know they're going to be a good fit. So I've already – so moderation, there's pre-moderated in a sense that I wouldn’t want someone in there who had a personality that wasn’t going to click because it’s just so hard. You just can’t – there's no way around that. So it’s like – I think I side-stepped a lot of the traditional term moderation, the troll stuff – I don’t have to worry about any of that. And how I actually spend my time in there is usually reading back over threads as far back as is reasonable, making sure that I’m on track with what's going on with people, and basically, answering questions which usually amounts to – sometimes, it’s very straightforward; I just need to type a paragraph in response; other times, it’s happening more and more frequently that people are posting in links to Google Docs where a group of people will [inaudible] – Philip being one of them – would be in the room and would be like ‘oh, I’m really into whatever’. Philip or Kai is really great with copy. And so somebody might be working on a landing page, and the 3 of us will click on the Google link and go over and have at it just like re-edit the page or add comments to it. But Slack’s the jumping off point for everything. I'm trying to think – I don’t do much else in there. Occasionally, we’ll do like if somebody can’t make their weekly phone call, we’ll re-schedule it in there. It’s mostly just answering questions. PHILIP: This is not happened as much, but yeah, listeners – they should know I’m one of the part-time mentors, I guess, in Jonathan’s room or sidekicks or whatever. I've seen you keep your ear to the ground about trends, like things you see bubbling up and you'll sometimes proactively speak to an issue that you see underneath the surface – I guess that’s the other thing I would add. And I do the same in my mentoring group is I try to get a sense of who’s dealing with what, and I do let people private message me. So if something bubbles up in that private channel that I think everybody would benefit from, I try to surface that to the whole group. I see that as part of the moderation role. REUVEN: I've started up – so I've also started coaching recently, and I definitely – and because I ripped off other wiser people’s programs, meaning mostly Jonathan, I saw in Jonathan’s page that he had a Slack community, I said ‘oh, clearly, this is clearly something I want to do’, and I've taken a little further than that, at least in theory. I've already written what I've promised and what I’m planning to do. So my coaching has to do with technical training, and right now I've got two people doing it with probably a third and a fourth coming on the next few weeks. And I've had to jumpstart the Slack channel, not because ‘aha, they're bunch of slackers’ [chuckles] – doesn’t get better, folks. But basically because I just – it’s small, it’s all new, no one knows what to do, so I've been pushing a few messages out there saying ‘hey, you should really try this, you should really try that, and I found these things really effective’. And that did help to jumpstart it. But then, the two people who are in my program, they started talking and they said ‘hey, why don’t we do a Mastermind together and hold each other accountable?’ And I was so, so, so happy to see that happen. But my plan is to then go through further than that. There's some research done by someone who’s in my program at Northwestern where what she does is she has teachers in schools watch each other teach. They video – it’s called a video club, and they watch each other teach, and then they critique each other. And I’m hoping to do that with my group, and we’re going to use the Slack channel and we’re going to figure out exactly how it goes, but that community, I think, that aspect and the feedback you get from other people may well be far more powerful, as Jonathan was saying, than anything I can provide. Because, really, getting feedback from your peers on stuff that you're doing day to day. I’m definitely hoping to see that expand over time. JONATHAN: I've had one – not pushback, but just – a couple of things have happened in there that surprised me or that I just took completely differently than I've thought everyone else was taking it, which for example, Philip would give or one of the other mentors who were in there would give an amazing spot-on answer to somebody’s question, but they’ll still wait for me to approve it, like say ‘yes, this was – I agree with Philip’s advice’. CHUCK: Stark approved! JONATHAN: Exactly. REUVEN: [Chuckles] and what if you don’t? Like that is bad advice? JONATHAN: No. Sometimes – it’s pretty rare, but occasionally, I’ll say that – I’ll know more about the student than the other person does, and so somebody might be in there questioning things that – so the mentor might be like ‘well, why don’t you do this?’ and I already know the answer to that because the student has already given me a reason why they don’t want to do something. They have like a whatever – they don’t want to do public speaking gigs because they're just petrified to do that, so ‘ok, we’re going to work on something else’. Then it’s kind of annoying for the student because then they have to dredge up all of this information that I already know from having phone calls with them but are not obvious to the rest of the people in the room. That’s only happened at maybe 3 or 4 times and it was not too bad. And usually, I’ll – sometimes in that case, I’ll DM the person, the mentor, and be like ‘just drop it, it’s a long story’ [chuckles]. But I think that’s only happened once where somebody was really riding somebody else and pushing him like you would as a coach, but it’s too long of a story to get into the Slack room, and I can see the student trying to not go into a whole long story, but be like ‘well, Jonathan decided not to do that with me’, whatever. So I wasn’t surprised in retrospect; I wasn’t expecting it; but I’m the one who’s getting paid so I’m the one they trust, I’m the one they hired, and I didn’t do a great job saying like – just use Philip as an example – I didn’t do a great job at being like ‘Philip’s amazing at this. Everything I know about this subject, I learned from him. Anything that he says, I totally agree with’. So when I’m onboarding people, I haven’t – I didn’t do a great job at doing that. So that’s really – it was just something I learned you can do better with new people. The other thing was that I think all the value that we’re talking about here, all the seeing the community conversations and people learning from each other and starting up their own, there's already some talk happening where some people have one expertise and other people have another expertise and maybe they're going to hire each other, or they're going to recommend, make referrals to friends and that sort of thing because you get – you really get to know each other in Slack; you really do. And so I thought ‘geez, this is the most valuable part of the whole thing. The phone calls are a joke compared to this’. But in terms of level of effort, there are more effort for me, there are more effort for the student, and it just like it’s scheduled synchronously and people have to move around; it’s like – they're valuable for sure, but I’d seen the Slack room, if I was going to chop off anything, I don’t think the Slack room would be the most valuable thing. But I've talked to a couple of the students, and they're like ‘no, the phone calls are by far the most beneficial and the Slack room is nice to have, but I don’t know if I’d pay for it if it was just that. Like if that was a solo offering where somebody could just get Slack room’. REUVEN: Wow. JONATHAN: Yeah, I was really shocked, but that’s what they said. So I will say that one of them has retroactively come back and said ‘you know, I said I wouldn’t pay for it, but I actually would pay for it, but I wouldn’t pay a lot for it’. So now this is someone who graduated already, but he’s still on the Slack room, and I think now that we’re not having regular phone calls, he’s starting to feel what it would feel like if he was also cut-off from the Slack community because he'd be back by himself. [Crosstalk] JONATHAN: It’s alright. They're probably going to listen to this so [chuckles] I’m trying to – I don’t want to out anybody. But I think there's a ton of value there and if people don’t agree, that’s up to them, but we’ll see. REUVEN: [Inaudible] I’m still at the beginning with this whole thing, but I've already decided I want to have people with a variety of experience levels. And so I’m even toying with the idea of after someone has finished up with the coaching program, when they’ve said ‘you know, I’m not going to pay for this anymore’, keeping them around in the Slack channel, for at least a little while, will probably be useful. It would be nice to be in touch with them, and they will be able to answer questions and give insights that either I can’t or just from a different perspectives. JONATHAN: I've had the same thought. Everybody who’s in there currently is grandfathered in for life, but there will be a point when I need to – the reason I’m even talking about charging for it at all is because there's a point where I won’t be able to do that because there’d be too many people. I think if it goes over 20, people who are active on a weekly basis, it’ll be way too busy. So I’ll have to see – I don’t really want to charge for it; I’d much rather have people just stay in there forever because it’s great; it’s free market research for me and it just ups my game, it’s great for them, it’s great for everybody. [Crosstalk] CHUCK: Are people not paying to be in your Slack then? JONATHAN: They're paying one price for everything, so when they – the question is when they – right now, it’s a monthly; you pay by the month. And when you stop paying, I let you stay in the room. So if you’ve been coaching with me for at least a month, you’ve gone through my intake process, you’ve been on-boarded, you drank the Kool-Aid basically, you understand the concepts and you're on board with the concepts and you're just trying to implement them, I feel like once somebody’s through that process and they're going to be an asset to everybody, including me, so I want that person in the room. It’s just this trade-off of how to – do I need them limited? Maybe I’m wrong, maybe it will be ok if we go over 20 – I don’t know. [Crosstalk] the idea of charging for it eventually is just be like – so that it stays around 10 or 20 people. CHUCK: The other bit that I see though is that it still caused you to have that account on your Slack. Correct? JONATHAN: Mm-hm. Yeah. But as long as I have 10 paid students, I can have something like 50 single channel users, so I’ll never – that won’t be an issue. CHUCK: So if I wanted to set this up – I've been doing Rails Clips for the past few months; of course, Rails Clips subscribers will remind me that I am sitting on 5 videos during the release. But anyway [chuckles], so let’s say that I want to start something like this up for Rails Clips; I mean, I definitely see the value in people asking questions and giving me ideas for different products that I could create or different videos that I could put together or different problems that they're trying to solve, but how do I get this started and how do I get those kinds of things answered? We've talked about some of this, but I don’t know if we've directly done this. So I create a Rails Clips Slack community, let’s say, and then do I just use their APIs to invite all the people from the – who have paid subscriptions? PHILIP: Chuck, how many people are we talking about here? Because I think that matters. JONATHAN: Definitely. CHUCK: I have like – how many; I have like a hundred backers on – do I have a hundred backers? I want to say that there are like 70 backers on Kickstarter that I would have to invite, which I would be delighted to do. I don’t think all of them would be super active because some of them supported it just because they like me, not because they do Rails. And then, I have about 12 people that’s backed another campaign that I gave away memberships on, and so I would invite them in. And then I probably have another 10 or 15 people who have actually paid since. PHILIP: Ok, so around a hundred people. CHUCK: Yeah. PHILIP: I think you'll definitely see in a community of that size a short headlong tail power law distribution on people’s activity level. So one of the questions I think anybody needs to answer is ‘does this need to be a more real-time synchronous kind of interaction, or does it – is it ok if it’s asynchronous more like forum style?’ You said Slack, and I assume that’s the right model, but that may not be the right model for every community, but I think that’s one of the first things in terms of implementation is to think about what kind of style of interaction is going to be best. CHUCK: Yeah. One thing that I’m seeing here is that – so $10 a month gets you the videos, and so I could see like $20 or $25 will get you into the Slack channel, as well, where you can basically ask me whatever you want when I’m around. And so you do get the real-time aspect and you get to collaborate with the other Rails Clips subscribers, which could also be valuable. So I definitely see the value there for the subscribers, but then I have to be in there to moderate it so I’d want to charge more so that it’s making up for some of that time. PHILIP: Yeah. I’m in some Facebook groups and a bunch of Slack channels, like 10 at least, and I’m very becoming a – what's the word – just hyper sensitized to what kind of things I allow in it to interrupt me. And with Slack, that’s a much bigger issue than it is with something like Facebook. I think I have a different experience with Facebook than Jonathan does because I don’t use Facebook on my phone at all. Period. For me, it’s a desktop only experience, and I haven’t had as – I found it more compatible with the idea that I’m going to go check in once a day or twice a day and answer questions. Anyway, that’s all back to how you want this to fit into your work life. If you're going with Slack, I would say the next step is to figure out how you're going to invite everybody. I know some people do that programmatically. I've seen some Slack groups where anybody can go to a webpage and put their email address and then they get invited to that Slack group. And then you can do it manually. I don’t know much beyond that, but tactically, that’s the next thing you’d have to figure out is how you're going to get all those people into your Slack channel. CHUCK: Yeah. Well, I believe they have an API, so I should be able to just hook it up. PHILIP: Yeah, if that’s worth the time and effort. I think you could probably also upload a CSV and do it that way, too. CHUCK: Yeah. JONATHAN: Yeah. I think I've seen that actually. See, it doesn’t matter if somebody’s active or not if you're going to be paying for them. So I would probably, in a situation like yours, I would post some place where that community already have access to that community and make them do what Philip said, like ‘hey, there's this new Slack community. If you want to sign up, go here’, so we can prune the list down to the people who actually think they're going to interact rather than pulling everybody who may or may not and then – because it’s like the cheapest plans are like $8 per person per month. CHUCK: Yeah. The other thing is that I could just say ‘you have to pay more to be in’, and then only the people who think it’ll be worth it to them will sign up. JONATHAN: Right. PHILIP: Chuck, what about piloting this idea with a subset of your larger community to see – 2 weeks pilot program – just to see what it’s like. Is that something that would you think would have value because then it might tell you – it might be able to measure the value and know whether this is an add-on that you charge for or just part of the core offering – that kind of thing. CHUCK: Yeah, it could be. I could do it on the free Slack, and then I’m just – the issue is that backlog disappears. But I could see if people are even going to use it first and it won’t cost me anything other than some time to set it up. JONATHAN: Yeah. You won’t hit the 10k limit for a while with a new one. CHUCK: So, then just invite the maybe the Kickstarter group or the – some of this initial group and just see how active it is and what people feel like it’s worth it or not worth it. PHILIP: Right. And Jonathan earlier was talking about priming the pump, maybe – actually Reuven was – sorry Reuven, you were talking about that. I've seen that too where it just depends on the mix of people, but sometimes, at first you got to be the person who jumps in there and initiate all the conversation and models what the group could be about and that could take some time and effort. I think doing a limited scale role out might be something that really consider for anyone who’s thinking about doing this rather than inviting your entire email list or whatever group you’ve got. JONATHAN: Yeah. I agree wholeheartedly because it would be so easy for somebody to just hoisten the vibe. You really need to be productive about it and make sure people – it’s not even necessarily on purpose. I’ve had a couple of – geez, when I think back over it – I've had a couple of communities over the years, and it’s really helpful to just articulate clearly for everybody who’s invited that these are the roles of the road, these are the level of expectation about things like foul language, or just simple stuff – spamming people, like it’s ok to post links to stuff, but don’t be ridiculous. As long as it’s in the [inaudible] no links. Please don’t – you can link to anything that’s not your –. Whatever your rules are going to be, everybody’s going to – not everybody, but people who will be wondering about those things, people who are more conscientious will be wondering or not it’s cool to do those things. And we have – geez, I can’t remember which Slack it is, but we actually have a Slack that’s the step before another Slack [chuckles]. So you come in to the big Slack [crosstalk] – yeah, yeah. It’s like you come in to the main room, and then certain people who recognize would be a great fit for another one that’s smaller, maybe say ‘hey, would you be interested in being in this other one?’ And everybody’s who’s in the small slack has to pay. It’s like a hundred bucks a year, and there's an onboarding document. It’s like a 2 or 3-page PDF of ‘this is what this Slack is for. This is the level of discourse. These are the expectations’ – all that stuff. Chuck, in your case, it’s worth doing that for you to just get your head straight first about how you want it to be. And if you do that, I think it has a lot of – it just makes your life so much easier because then you don’t have any silly [inaudible] to do it later. CHUCK: Yeah. Because then – and we ran into one or two issues with discourse with our forum for Ruby Rogues where somebody came in and they crossed the line and so we had to kick him out and we had to go over – [chuckles] we had to go over ‘this is why this isn't ok, and this is the code of conduct, and blah, blah, blah’ because we didn’t really shine the light on it and say ‘you can’t do this’. JONATHAN: Mm-hm. PHILIP: Yeah. That stuff is a lot easier if it’s predetermined to be for you [inaudible] group up. I don’t have any links, but I think there's some – people have open source their community code of conduct, and so there's boiler plate language out there that could give you a head start if you're looking in doing something like this yourself. CHUCK: Yup. Yeah, that makes sense. I think I’ll probably just start with the free Slack and see where that gets us, and then if I want to move up from there, then maybe I’ll make it a paid thing and let people decide whether or not they're going to stay or go. PHILIP: What with a community component to something that’s meant to be something kind of an educational experience or behavior-change experience, one of the other things I've noticed is it becomes my job in my positioning mentoring program to check in on everybody, and if someone is quiet or falling behind, to try to find out why that is. Is that because they just had a super busy week or is it because they're stuck on something? And that is much easily done in a smaller scale; let me tell you then a larger scale –. I've set a soft cap for mine at 10 people for that very reason. I don’t feel like I can be very effective when it gets beyond that point of staying on top of what 10 different people are doing. CHUCK: Yeah. I’m thinking that I might offer a kind of a higher tier than that where it’s more exclusive access where you can get questions on a regular basis or maybe have a weekly or every two weeks call with me or something. [Crosstalk] PHILIP: Coffee with Chuck level. CHUCK: Yeah. [Chuckles] JONATHAN: Yeah. I’m about to hit 10 in my Slack and I would have to do it 100% full-time if I was going to go over 10. It’s like having – I have 8 right now, I think, and the other people are mentors, are people who aren’t active or aren’t actively paying, I guess. And just having the 8 that I really should have to pay attention to – there’s 8 that are basically paying me to answer their questions, so I have to definitely follow those 8, make sure I’m really responsive for those people. It’s probably – between the phone calls and keeping up with the slack room, it’s probably 20 hours a week of dealing with that. PHILIP: One of my tendencies is to get to a certain level of I’m delivering this much value, and then feel like I should be delivering more value? I don’t know if that’s like the old protestant work ethic, guilt playing there, or what [chuckles]. Does that happen? [Crosstalk] JONATHAN: It feels more valuable at first, and then –. PHILIP: Right. And then it’s like ‘oh, this is just the norm that we get amazing advice at the drop of a hat, so what's next?’ Do you feel any – that kind of dynamic where over time, if you don’t manage your own expectations or something, they creep up, like scope creep almost? JONATHAN: I don’t think so. It hasn’t happened to me yet because this has been since May that I've been doing this again. I've coached over the years in the past on and off, but this is a re-launch. And of the re-launch, it’s only been 6 months or so, and there's still – we’re still uncovering a lot of stuff. So I think when I’ll – when I’m sure we’ll get to that point, it’ll be the point where I've stopped learning stuff and just telling people the same thing over and over and over again, which really is me projecting the low value. It’s not that it actually is low value, it’s that I didn’t just learn it or I didn’t – or it’s not new to me. You know what I mean? So you could see this – I was in Allan Weiss’ mentoring program, and it just totally shined through all of his communication that he completely sick of telling people this stuff [laughter]. ‘This is so obvious. Why do I even have to tell this to you?’ And it came across as like an impatience type of thing; or maybe it was calculated that he was that way because I was acting like a baby, essentially. Typical scenario, he would say – I would say ‘here’s this situation that I have. I feel like I should do this’, and he’d go ‘then do that’ [chuckles]. And I’m like ‘but it’s more complicated than that’, and he’s like ‘no, it’s not. You're making it more complicated than that’. He's like ‘you already know what to do. Why are you calling me?’ [Chuckles] so I don’t see myself getting there, but I can appreciate that; but I’m there with other things. I’m there with my whole mobile strategy business. If I have to tell one person, if I have to tell one more person that mobile’s a big deal, I’m going to scream [laughter]. It should be so obvious by now that mobile is the dominate computing platform on the planet earth, and it’s only going to continue to dominate more for the next 5 – I could go on; it just makes me angry to even have to say it. It’s like ‘look around! Everybody’s on their phone. Don’t you think it matters to you in your life but you don’t think it matters to your customers?’ Anyway – but I get impatient when – or I feel like, to your question, when I go to give a conference talk on that stuff, I do get this panic moment right before everything that – right before every time I go on stage that everybody knows this already and they're going to be like ‘ahh, no. Ask Sherlock’ [laughter]. It never happens. They're all being wide-eyed like ‘wow, what a revelation’ and so yeah, I suppose I could get there, but it’s a long way off. PHILIP: I have one quick question for Reuven. Reuven, you’ve done all kinds of live training, and what have you learned from that that you would want to translate to an online community? What do you think is vital to carry over from that live IRL experience to something like a Slack channel or Facebook group? REUVEN: Well, I’ll actually make the comparison even more direct then, because I've done a lot of – most of my trainings have been live, and last week I did 4 days of online training which was – my wife was like ‘I don’t understand how you can do this’. It was like 7 hours, 8 hours a day minus basically everything of me talking to the computer, and then typing back to me. It was like a really long webinar. And it was a little strange, but the most important thing was what's known in the community business as presence; knowing that someone is there, knowing that they're listening, knowing that they're participating in what's going on. Because if you're in a live classroom, you see them; you see them checking Facebook, you see them – no, no – you see them participating, you see them talking to you, asking questions, or at least they hopefully are. And if you're online, you have no idea if you're in a tiny window or a big window or if they're playing games or if they're whatever. So I was constantly trying to engage them – and this was in the [inaudible] I’ll get into the community in a moment – trying to get them to get feedback, not just ask ‘is this good, is this not good’, but I would give a lot of exercises and I would ask if they have questions about that. And I think I'm going to take it to the next level and ask them to present the exercises next time I do this. Now, a community is going to be a little different because you still want to have that sense of presence where people are around and participating, but it’s not as intense as a course. And so, somehow, you want to – I think to some degree, it’s going to be a matter of being a moderator where is something like a forum where you want to come in and ask questions on a regular basis every day or two, even. So not just ‘what are you up to’, but ‘I just had this experience, what do you think?’ or ‘who’s been having problems with this?’ and really try to force people to participate more because it’s for everyone’s benefit. It’s not that you're just being like ‘oh, I want to make sure they get their money’s worth, so I’m going to ask them questions’, but it’s more like those prodding questions can then turn the community into something that will then work on its own, or to a larger degree, work on its own. CHUCK: One other thing that I've seen related to this is that by asking those questions – so I've been doing the 15-minute calls with podcast listeners, and if you're listening to this show, you want to talk to me, freelancersshow.com/15minutes. So I've had this one-on-one thing with the community, and I could see this with the community as well where you ask them those questions and you get answers that make you think about it, and you get answers that are going to get you to write a blog post; you're going to get answers that prompt you to give them more advice or better advice or better-fitted content on the podcast or whatever else that you're doing. So the presence is important, not just for them, but also for you and what you're working on. REUVEN: Absolutely. I think one of the advantages then of having additional people, not just you running the community, not just participants, but having these additional helpers, experts, partners, however you want to call them, adds to the chance that you'll have more participation and more community, and that also feeds on itself. The worst thing is you go into a community and there's nothing. And then you say ‘boy, it’s like a ghost town. I don’t want to participate in this’. So you have to jumpstart it at some degree, and having additional people who have an interest in the subject is one way to do that. [Crosstalk] JONATHAN: Nobody wants to eat in an empty restaurant. REUVEN: Right, right. So my question for you guys is – Jonathan, I know you said you do this. Philip, I think you said participate in this, so how – who do you invite to participate as a – I don’t know – outside guest expert, and how does it work? Like he’s a limited time basis? Do you pay them? How does it work? CHUCK: You send them surprise checks. [Laughter] PHILIP: Just hire a bunch of actors to show up. [Laughter][crosstalk] CHUCK: What does it say on that – a colonial pen? A compensated spokesperson under Alex Trebek’s name? REUVEN: Like the Slack channel, in particular. Who do you get to participate and how does that work? JONATHAN: You mean besides the students? REUVEN: Besides the students. It sounds like you’ve more extra participants than students, which is not necessarily a bad thing. JONATHAN: I've invited a bunch of people over time, but really, only a handful of them are actually active. So maybe 4 or 5 people are active, and they were people – I’m not paying them. Brennan is paying his. I could imagine getting to a point where I would pay them in mine, but it’s so much more informal than that. Philip is one of them. You tell me. I feel like it would put pressure on them to feel like they had to be there. And really, it’s such an educational thing for everybody involved – the people I invited, I handpicked people that I knew were good educators that they can articulate their ideas well. It wasn’t just that they were smart and that had different skills. So there wasn’t a ton of overlap. So I invited Philip, positioning god. Kai Davis, email outreach god. I have Kurt Elster, just totally great example of shipping; he just ships. He knows how to get stuff out of the door, and he’s a great case study for the difference between being a generalist from a specialist. Who else – Mark Richman, I brought in from Skeleton Key who runs a firm – none of us run firms, so he has something like – I'm going to get the number on, but he has like 20 or 30 employees, so he brings that angle to it, and he's not totally on board with everything I say so he's great for pushback when he brings – I’ll say something and he’ll be like ‘how would you make that work for a firm’ or ‘well’ – he’ll keeps me honest, basically. Paul Boag is in there; he’s not super active because – [crosstalk]. CHUCK: I used to listen to his podcast. JONATHAN: That’s of my first and favorite podcast. It was like whenever I was a guest on that show, I would think that my head was going to explode. It was the best. Anyway, there's a – so, to answer your question and not to name drop, but the answer is that I pick people who I thought would be complementary good educators, the smartest people in their vertical, at their specialty, and would stand to gain from it. I think it’s fair to say, but Philip, correct me if I’m wrong, that they're learning it a lot as much as me and maybe as much as the students. PHILIP: You are correct, sir. From my perspective, it’s like my participation scales up and down with my level of busyness with client work, basically. So when I get super slammed with client work, which sometimes happens, I’m not as available and I just cherry-pick where I want to contribute so I don’t feel a lot of pressure to be an expert on everything because I’m not and I don’t even try to look that way. I just look for opportunities to add value and it really worked. It’s amazing to me that people who can make so much money selling their time will give their time away to something like this, and they do consistently because those kinds of people tend to be people who are always learning and interested to see things from that student learner perspective. So Reuven, I think you could probably, for your coaching, your instructor coaching thing, you might be able to recruit a couple of other instructors who could see that win-win dynamic by being a mentor or whatever you want to call them. REUVEN: Right. I spoke to one already who I know, and he was excited about participating whatever I'm going to do on that front, but I wasn’t sure then – do I reach other people who I know? Do I reach other people – it’s sort of odd to reach out to someone and say ‘hey, I do training, I do this coaching thing. I’d love for you to participate’. They might be flattered and say yes, but it just seems a little odd to me. PHILIP: Yeah. I would guess that you have better luck with people you have an existing relationship with. REUVEN: But I do have a few – I do know a few such people, so I could start with those, I guess. JONATHAN: There's a meta thing that happens to that they might be interested in which is that learn how to do it. All the questions that you're asking right now about the room, you wouldn’t have any of these questions if you're one of the mentors in there. So that will be potentially a benefit to other people that you invite to come in as mentors or coaches because they’ll get a front row seat at how a way to do it, at least, and maybe they would do it differently, maybe they wouldn’t, maybe they will just end up being your competitor, but I doubt it – I don’t know. I signed up to do once for other people, even if I was getting paid at having to do it. But it’s nice to get those surprise checks. [Chuckles] PHILIP: Another thing I’m noticing is that a lot of the examples of communities we've touched on thus far have a – they're a hybrid thing. So they are a Slack channel plus. Like in the case of my positioning mentoring thing, it’s a weekly office hours calls. So people show up, ask questions, and Jonathan talked about one-on-one coaching calls with participants. I don’t know that that’s a vital gotta-have-it part of this, but it’s just interesting to me that so many of our examples have that, like Brennan Dunn’s DYFC program, same deal. There's a heavy group component, but there's also, in the next version, a live group thing, not live one-on-one, but still there's that live component. And I’m not saying thing that’s mandatory, but pretty interesting that it’s commonly a part of that model. REUVEN: Let’s say they ask different sorts of questions, like there definitely a sense of you want to ask the expert whom you're paying, but then there's also the aspect of – so I've been on the taking, receiving in Brennan’s class at Double Your Freelancing Clients class, and it’s just nice to see all these other people all trying to up their game and improve and people struggling with similar things, and different things, and helping each other out. My biggest [inaudible] with that by far is just the fact that it runs on Facebook. I might just find that to be almost intolerable for forum stuff. But otherwise, the people are great and the postings are inspirational. And it’s inspirational not in the sense of ‘oh my god, look at all the amazing stuff this person’s done’, but ‘wow, look, after a long slog going through things, they managed to make things work’, which is in many ways more inspirational because it makes it more real. PHILIP: Yeah. The real story. JONATHAN: Yeah. There's a couple of interesting things that come out of it that are along those lines. One is that if you – for a student who is maybe more deliberative or just more fearful – whatever – there's just not moving this quickly, when they see everybody else or – it’s not everybody else, but when they see other people struggling through some of the same things they are and then working, they're like ‘oh wow. That person was just like me yesterday, and now today they're ahead of me because they did send out those cold outreach emails that I cannot bring myself to write, and they totally worked. It worked’. It’s different than me saying ‘it works’. It’s different than me being like ‘here's evidence that it worked for me last year’. They're literally in an almost real environment – it’s like a real-time environment with someone else who’s in the same position they are and it worked today. It worked just then and everybody gets all excited because they know how scared they are to do it. And so it’s just super – I love it – it’s super gratifying when it does work like that. It’s not accountability exactly. The phone calls are the accountability, but the sense that they're hopeful but at the same time it lights a fire under them and like ‘ok, I really have to just press send on that email that I've been laboring over for a week’. I think the fact that it happens together in the group, and they're all not starting at the same time, but when it does happen in front  of you, it’s even more persuasive, so that’s a huge benefit. CHUCK: I do want to talk through platforms for a minute. We've got Facebook groups like we've said, we've got Discourse forums, we've got Slack, we probably – there are probably other ways to do it. I kind of agree with you, Reuven, when you talked about the Facebook groups kind of being unfortunate. It’s not my favorite platform to be on, anyway. You can tell when – I'm working on an app that integrates Facebook because that’s when I’m on it; otherwise I’m not. And there are a couple of communities that I’m a member of that have communities on Facebook and I just – I’m never on them and it’s really hard, but outside of people like me, I found that that is actually one of the better places to be because everybody’s there and everyone will see the updates to the community and it notifies you that people are talking in there. So if you're a freelancer that’s not in the text-based or something where we feel like we have better options, then you may want to look at going with Facebook. If you want the real-time, we talked about that with Slack versus Discourse, which is really easy and less expensive to set up. You can run a 1 gigabyte RAM server and it’ll support several dozen people before it really starts to slow down. You have to turn on swap so it doesn’t crash when you set it up, but once it’s up, then it doesn’t hardly ever use the swap space at all. In other words, it doesn’t slow down when it runs on a – because it doesn’t run out of memory. And even then, you upgrade from the 1 gigabyte to the 2 gigabyte of RAM, and then you're set for hundreds of people. JONATHAN: He lost me; was it you, Philip? [Chuckles] What are you talking about? CHUCK: Discourse. PHILIP: Discourse set up. JONATHAN: Oh. CHUCK: Discourse is forum software. Maybe I should back up. So Discourse is forum software. It’s written on Ruby on Rails and Ember if you care about the tech. JONATHAN: I thought you meant discourse in general. CHUCK: No. JONATHAN: I’m sorry. REUVEN: Oh, oh, oh. CHUCK: So it’s forum software. REUVEN: All discourse must take place in a 1 gigabyte machine. JONATHAN: I was like ‘uhm’. Sorry, sorry [chuckles]. I’m with you now. CHUCK: They have a special port to stick your head in [chuckles], but yeah. So the forums are usually a little less work to moderate. They're also – well, depending; depending on the people you let in. They cost less and they're a little easier to get up and running. And if you don’t need the real-time aspect, then that seems to work well. One issue that I'm running into, though, is that I've set up Discourse communities for all of the different shows, and the only one that’s active is Ruby Rogues. So I'm wondering if Slack is a better fit for those other groups. PHILIP: I have – I’m in a group that Jonathan hinted at earlier, and we started out with both. We started out with asynchronous forum type. We started out with Slack. And we initially had some highfalutin ideas built; ‘well, the more complex stuff, we’ll discuss through the forum’ and then that did not happen. It just instantly – Slack was like the hot girl in the room [chuckles]. All us guys – we just were there. It never really changed. So I think part of it kind of – it’s one of those things that emerges out of the group that you have and being willing to be fluid to keep the community together or better serve the community. I think it’s something to try to prioritize when you're doing a community. It’s like check in with the community and say ‘hey, what's – is this working for you? It seemed like a great idea at first; is it still a good idea?’ JONATHAN: Yeah. I think the key there is – I think a lot of things can work, but I think there has to be one and exactly one because GroupBuzz, I think, is what we used. And it could’ve worked. It wouldn’t have been nearly as – I don’t think the community aspect or the friendships would’ve emerged. Nobody knew anybody in that room, and we came like going to people’s weddings and stuff now. So it’s like that never would’ve happened if we were just in a forum. I cannot imagine that happening. But I’m in Allan Weiss’ forums, and it’s a natural fit for that group. It’s like a bunch of student time management consultants that are all in their ThinkPads and that’s where they go. It’s like ‘that’s fine’. But I’m a total mobile phone guy. I carry two phones everywhere, and pretty much the only time I’m in my laptop is when I’m coding or I’m talking to you guys, so I need something that’s a good mobile solution, and it’s complex because you don’t want to be overwhelmed with notifications, but at the same time, you do want to know when someone’s down at the pub. Like if you got an hour to kill, it’s a great place to hang out and contribute where you can and pick information where you can. CHUCK: Yup. Alright, well, I need to start wrapping up, so let’s go ahead and do some picks. JONATHAN: Slack [laughter]. CHUCK: Reuven, do you want to start us with picks? REUVEN: Sure thing. [Inaudible] this guy who does – he has a site called Videofruit, and he talks a lot about email lists and building up your email list. And he’s got a course starting, which I’m not joining, but as part of the promotion for his course, he’s put up this ebook called The Top 16 Email List Building Strategies of 2015, and he basically went and interviewed a lot of people who have managed to build massive email lists, and he goes through a lot of different strategies. And none of them is like ‘oh wow, I never would’ve thought of that’, but all of them are ‘huh, I've heard of that, and maybe I should try it because for my particular case, it would actually work well’. It’s everything from trying to hosting a workshop or a webinar to giving away lead magnets to giving personal time to having contest, and he really lays it out, I think, pretty simply and it’s definitely worth taking a look. I’m not exactly sure where you can get it. I know you can get it from all the places where he’s advertising his course. So I will try to find a decent link to where you can get it and put that in the show notes. But definitely worth taking a look at if you want to grow your email list, which you should. Anyway, that’s it for this week. CHUCK: Nice. Jonathan, what are your picks? JONATHAN: So obviously, Slack. It’s well worth the money. But we also mentioned Kai Davis earlier, and I want to let people know that he's got a new book available that I think is amazing. It’s called The Traffic Manual, and it’s about strategy for drawing this audience in the first place; so increasing traffic to your site so you could get them to sign up, jump on your email list. And he's just – I said it before, he's like an outreach genius. It’s unbelievable how you just – you can just show him an email and he rewrites the thing from top to bottom and you just – it’s breathtaking how you can immediately see how much better it is. So my pick is The Traffic Manual by Kai Davis. CHUCK: Awesome. Philip, what are your picks? PHILIP: I have a pick into that last week; it’s a good one. So to the folks at home, if you be turning into any kind of idiot when you call up someone for a sales call, raise your hand. I’m raising my hand, too – not really, but I should be [chuckles]. Sales is something that’s always been frightening and weird to me. And after reading the book that’s my pick this week, I understand why, which is – it’s like when people like me get into a situation where we’re doing any kind of outbound sales, it’s like we forget everything else about us and we’re just like ‘ugh, got to get the sale’. I've come across a book that speaks directly to that problem. It’s called Selling to Big Companies by Jill Konrath. It’s a not an ebook. It’s been out – I’m looking here – since 2012, and it’s the best collection of advice that I've seen that fits with the concept of positioning yourself as a narrow expert and carrying that – when you do that, you generate a value proposition. And Jill talks about how you translate that into a sales process; how you translate your understanding of your unique value proposition into outbound sales. The book is meant to help you sell to big companies, but I think the advice is equally applicable to medium – selling to medium and small companies because those companies are even more value-conscious than big companies are. And I think the same approach is going to work just as well. The book’s just [inaudible] of super practical advice; things like how to not sound like an idiot when you leave a voicemail. Who knew? If there was any other way other than to sound like an idiot, but this book talks about stuff like that. So that’s my pick for this week. CHUCK: Awesome. Alright, I've got two picks. One is something I've been playing with lately; it’s called Relative Finder, and what it does is it uses a genealogical database from familysearch.org – that’s my other pick. Familysearch.org is a free genealogical tool that you can use online. They’ve got all kinds of history, historical and family stuff. You have to hook your line in, but then there's all kinds of stuff in there for finding out stories. It’s more than just the genealogical data, but it actually has stories and things in there, and it’s really awesome. But one of the things that it does is it’ll connect you up through generations, and if you go to relativefinder.org – and this is a really cool part – it’ll actually tell you some of the people that you are related to. So for me, since Family Search is run by the LDS or Mormon Church, it has all the LDS history people in there. But it also shows me how I’m related to presidents of the United States. So for example, my wife is 13th cousins with Barack Obama [chuckles]. Yeah. My tenth great grandfather came over on the Mayflower. I have a 10th great uncle and 10th great aunt who were in the Salem witch trials – just fascinating stuff. I’m related, some distantly and some not so distantly, to several past presidents of the United States; I didn’t see Barack Obama on my list, but I am 13th cousins once removed from my wife. So there's all this fun stuff. You can create a group on there, and then you can see how you're related to other people in the group. And so there's a group for the city I live in. I just created a group on there for DevChat, so if you get on there and you connect everything up, and then you join the DevChat group on Relativefinder.org, then you can see how you're related to me and to anybody else who joins the group. So anyway, it’s been fascinating and so fun to look at. So I’m definitely putting that in there. You can deselect the groups that you're not interested in. So if you're not interested in the Mormon historical group, you can just uncheck those. And then it’ll show you presidents of the United States and people who came on the Mayflower. I think I had a 10th great grandfather that signed the Constitution. So all of these stuff; you get to see all these stuff that’s related to history and to interesting people today. So anyway, I've been having a lot of fun with it, so I’m definitely recommending that. And those are my picks. And I guess we’ll just wrap it up right there.[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net]**[Bandwidth for this segment is provided by CacheFly, the world’s fastest CDN.  Deliver your content fast with CacheFly. Visit cachefly.com to learn more]**[Would you like to join a conversation with the Freelancers’ Show panelists and their guests? Want to support the show? We have a forum that allows you to join the conversation and support the show at the same time. Sign up at freelancersshow.com/forum]

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