The Community Club

Philip Seifi
Philip Seifi

Posted on

When to start a community/hire a CM

Hey guys! When do you think is the right time to start an online community, and hire a CM?

Our project (https://www.colabra.app/) is in private beta. It will take 3-6 months before we get all our compliance audits done to onboard commercial customers.

We are deciding whether we should focus 100% on the product until our public launch, or whether we should start some kind of marketing  outreach already.

Doing sales would be wasteful, as none of the companies could start using us for compliance reasons.

Hence the idea of a community... a way to engage people before we are ready for them, or they are ready for us.

The community would revolve around R&D lab project management, helping Primary Investigators improve collaboration and documentation when they reach the 10-20 employee threshold and communication starts to break down.

Do you think we should go a head and seriously pursue this idea now or keep it bubbling on the side with current beta testers but without active outreach to new members or come back to it once we have a product that's live with active users?

If we go ahead with the project, would you recommend hiring a part-time or full-time Community Manager from the get go, or handle the project ourselves for the first several months until we reach critical mass of engagement?

Discussion (2)

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oana profile image
Oana Filip

Hi Philip! I learned from my experience as a community gal that the sooner you bring a community builder to the decision table, the better. On the one hand, this role comes with particular insights that can shape the product and the overall communication. On the other hand, it's far more fulfilling to build a community-led product, aka to put the community at the forefront right from the beginning. It gives plenty of room to experiment, learn faster, iterate, and grow.

Such an approach comes with its fair share of challenges, but my best is that it pays off big time. 😋

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jenny profile image
Jenny Weigle

Something to consider...do you want a community or do you want an audience? A community means that members are connecting with and helping each other. How would your members be helping one another? What would be the value for THEM in being part of your community? (Food for thought!) But I also agree with what @oana said in that...if there's even a remote possibility that you'll be starting one, get planning NOW. Figure out your strategic plan first, and then look at that plan to determine if your CM would need to be part-time or full-time. I actually just wrote a blog post about the importance of creating a strategic plan first: jennydotcommunity.substack.com/p/w...