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Daniel ‘Mamba’ Odoi

On 12 Months of Community-Building

Published 25 days ago • 5 min read

Reading time: 4-5 minutes

Hey legend,

As a member of this newsletter community, I’ve got a good hunch that you’re the kind of person who's called to build a community around your creative passion, profession or purpose.

Whether you plan to monetise your community, or just bring together a group of like-minded legends that have a shared vision and set of values, I know you’re the type of person who wants to do it.

🤔 How do I have this hunch?

One of the most common questions I get asked about is How I Create Video Content (linked to one of my latest newsletters).

Whenever I reply asking the other person why they want to create content, the responses are all based around wanting to grow either their:

  • personal or business brand
  • audience or following size
  • revenue or customers

Each time I hear this, the same underlying word always comes to mind…


Community

Community is the foundation of achieving each of those outcomes.

And your content is the vessel to attract, build and connect your community.

At least, that’s what I’ve learned after reflecting on the 1st Anniversary (🎉🥳 🙌) since kicking off what’s now known as The Storyteller Sprints.

It all just started with a handful of legends motivated to join a like-minded group who reached out to me after seeing my content.


And even though I still feel like I'm a beginner and continually learning how to improve our community experience, over the past 12 months I've been sought out to:

  • deliver a guest lesson to hundreds of creators across the world;
  • coach others on how to start building communities; and
  • consulting with businesses and brands looking to do the same

And the common thread I've found amongst everyone is how overwhelming it feels to get started.

So if you've been putting off starting to build your community because you think it's too difficult - then my friend, you're overcomplicating it (a lot).

Or if you're like Sora Khan, and you'd love to see the simple (and scrappy) behind-the-scenes of how I started the Sprints, then you're in luck.

Because in this edition, I'm going to step you through how the Storyteller Sprints community began, and how you can apply the same process to your own.


🖥️ Cats & WFH office set-ups

Michael Francis connected with me in 2022 via Instagram as we had a few mutual friends as well as shared interests in:

  • our feline friends 🐱
  • running an online biz; and
  • investing in our WFH office set-ups


In response to my final email of 2022, where I announced I was shifting to offering accountability-focused programs for content creation, Michael reached out to share he was keen to do a "content sprint" in early 2023.

As we were keen to form a small and tight-knit group, we started with Slack as our free private messaging platform for accountability.

Then Michael added in a like-minded legend called Charlie Ehlers, a Perth-based TikTok creator, to kick off our first Sprint kick-off call for February 2023.

🤳🏽 My *non-cringey LinkedIn content


For February 2023, I was committed to growing my LinkedIn and in the process, attracting others who could join us with value-driven content.

*Cringey LinkedIn content usually looks like

  • A random selfie plus [unrelated or empty platitude]
  • "I'm so humbled to announce that [insert award/promotion]"
  • "With a heavy heart, I'm sharing that I'm [insert resignation]"

Sidenote: For a parody of painful LinkedIn content, check out this Reel



👇🏽 As for my content, I sought to serve others (and not my ego)

In response to everyone who engaged with my content, I offered free Zoom consultation calls to understand their challenges, offer advice, and additional resources or to connect them with others in my network.


Over this month, Paolo Garde & Harshdeep Kaur shared that they were also looking to join a community, that was focused on content creation so I knew they'd be perfect additions to our community.


And just like that - we had our founding members!


We used a suite of *mostly free tools to keep us connected & accountable:

  • Slack (Free): for updates & feedback messaging
  • Google Calendar (Free): for scheduling video check-ins
  • *Zoom Pro (Paid): for hosting our video check-ins
  • Notion (Free): for tracking our Sprint progress

Note: at the time of writing, Circle or Skool are a few great all-in-one paid alternatives.

The reason I don't suggest starting with them for your community is that you (most likely) won't be generating income from the outset.

So you should avoid paid options until you have certainty that you can monetise your community (i.e. memberships, cohorts, courses etc)

⛰️ I've launched! Now what?

If I'm 100% honest...I had no idea of what the overall direction of the community was when we first started.

I didn't have:

  • a community-building game plan
  • a guru mentor teaching me how to build it; or
  • a $997 online course with step-by-step modules


Because the truth is - your community has never been built before.

You and your founding members will co-create your own unique:

  • culture
  • lingo
  • rituals
  • values
  • vision


And this might sound a bit "woo" but heck - I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe it.


I just had a deep faith in myself that if I purely focused on:

  1. attracting the right group of people together;
  2. listening to feedback to make incremental improvements;
  3. helping them overcome their challenges & achieve their goals; and
  4. celebrating all of their wins - whether big or small


...then the community itself would guide me on how to shape and improve the experience for new and existing members.


And 12 months on, that's still been the case as the Sprint experience continues to improve, our community continues to expand and everyone has been achieving more than they thought possible for themselves.

If I truly knew just how much work would've been required to build it into what it is today, I honestly would never have started.

“You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.”
– Tom Hiddleston

So in summary, to start your community:

  1. 🧲 Content: Share content that attracts your ideal community members and when they engage or directly reach out, offer to understand their challenges and support them (for free)
  2. 👨🏽‍💻 Start Scrappy: Don't worry about using complicated paid tools, monetising your membership or needing to have everything "sorted". Your founding members will understand that you're just getting started.
  3. 🫱🏼‍🫲🏽 Co-Create: Focus on bringing together the right group of people, serve them as best possible, ask them for feedback/input and celebrate their wins, no matter how big or small.

And if you'd like to join our community of like-minded legends, tap on the link below to join our waitlist so you'll be first notified when we open enrolments for our next Storyteller Sprint cohort.

See you in the next one,

Mamba
@danielmambaodoi

Daniel ‘Mamba’ Odoi

Your Digital Storytelling. Simplified

Simplicity scales, complexity fails. Join the community of digital storytellers scaling their influence, impact & income with smarter systems.

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