Jo was kind enough to let me interview her to find out about her experience with running a community project. I recommend watching the video (so much good stuff!), but if you’re pushed for time (or you prefer reading) you’ll find a much-truncated version below.
Jo Casey is a business coach with a difference. She works with squidgy-hearted introverts, coaches, and healers, who have service-based businesses and who have really big things to do in the world, but hate the thought of marketing and promoting.
Her work is a mix of solid strategy and mindset work, and she prides herself on providing a tailored and bespoke experience for each one of her varied clients.
I first met Jo when three people in the space of a week told me we should connect - I reached out to her, and shortly afterwards we both hired each other!
Jo signed up for my three-month community project mentoring package, Conception to Completion.
Why a community project?
One of the reasons Jo decided that a community project would be the right thing for her business was that she wanted to make a stand against the negative and damaging advice in her industry.
Jo says: “I'm fascinated by how we can we push the conversation, and nudge the industry into the direction that we want it to be. One that isn't relying on manipulation, or the ‘hard sell’. That isn't based on treating your potential customers as numbers and data with pain points ready to be pushed, and instead actually recognises that they're people.”
Jo was also intrigued by the idea of cultivating community as a way of marketing her business, she says: “Community is baked into everything that I do, so I was already very turned on by the idea of community projects. It hits all of my intellectual pleasure points! But I run a business, and that means I need to be bringing new people into my audience. Your model of building community projects is a wonderful way of helping to bring some new people in, as well as helping me to get to know some of the people who were already in my community but maybe weren't as engaged, or hadn't had that much contact with me.”
Before we began
Like nearly all my clients, Jo was a bit daunted by how she was going to manage all the moving parts of the project on top of her already considerable workload. She’d run a telesummit before with sixteen speakers and found the experience pretty overwhelming, and now we were talking about having thirty people involved? Understandably, she was concerned.
Here’s what she had to say about what actually happened:
“What really sold me, and made me feel like I could really do this, was the level of support that you provided. So it wasn't, ‘Here's the model. Go away and do all that.’ You project-managed the whole thing. You provided things like Trello board templates, and email templates. You helped me define the proposal for my contributors.
“You were telling me, ‘Okay, this has to happen by this date, and then this happens...’ So you midwived it through. All of that systemising stuff isn't my natural state, but because that is your natural love language, if you like, you brought that. Which meant that I could bring the stuff that I'm really good at. It actually became a really stress-free process. In fact it was just delicious and really enjoyable.”
What about the results?
Jo was utterly delighted with the results from her project, and with good reason. I’ll let her tell you in her own words.
She says: “In terms of the numbers, we had over 650 people sign up for the project which was amazing. All of them are people who have come into my community. These are people who are potential clients, potential collaboration partners, and people who are just getting familiar with my work. That's been gorgeous. That's resulted more people signing up for my membership community, more people signing up for intake calls with me, and new clients.
“There have also been long term benefits that I can see rippling out way further than that. Thirty people took part as contributors - some of whom I already knew, and some of whom were existing clients. But at least half of them were people that I hadn't had any direct contact with before. They were all people that I admired, but I'm now connected with them. They not only know who I am, but I’ve been invited on to podcasts, invited to collaborate. All of that stuff. And that's the real stuff that moves a business along, in my experience.
“The project also helped me (and this was surprising) to clarify my messaging even further. The business coaching industry is very crowded, and now I can really recognise what makes me different.”
In fact, shortly after we recorded this interview, Jo contacted me to say that her client roster was almost full for the next year! What a fantastic result!
Who would you recommend running a community project to?
I was curious to hear what sort of business Jo would like to see running a community project. Here’s what she said:
“If you're running a values-based business, if you’re a thought leader or just driven by creative ideas, and you want to push things forwards, then I think these kind of projects are brilliant. You get to be a hub of that, but you're not expected or required (and it wouldn't be appropriate) to place yourself at the center of it either. I think that's a really gorgeous way to be running a business. In fact, that's a really gorgeous way to be a human in the world!”
I asked Jo what her advice would be to anyone who was considering running a community project and working with me.
Jo says: “I'm not going to lie and say these projects are super-duper easy. You can’t outsource all of this or get your VA to do it. I think if you are willing to put the work in, in terms of carefully considering what it is that you want to be talking about, and you’re happy to bring people together, then I think it's just a brilliant way of doing something different.
“A community project is excellent for the long term health and sustainability of your business, but also it has this gorgeous collaborative aspect to it, so everybody wins. When done well, and you, Eli, know how to do it well, everybody benefits from it. So it’s a really gorgeous thing to be part of, as well as all of the harder business benefits that you get from it. It’s like a double whammy!
“I was excited about the concept as soon as I met you. It ticks so many boxes for me. But, in reality, it delivered so much more than I could even imagine! I can see this being an integral part of my business building strategy going forwards”
Working with Jo was a dream, and her project The Messy Meaningful Business was an absolute jaw-dropper. If you’d like to find out more about this incredible woman you can find her website here, or go and follow her on Instagram here.