Nicola and I had the most wonderful conversation about her experience running her community project, The Magical Portal, which you can watch below (recommended). However, if you prefer to read, scroll down for a shorter, written version.
Nicola Humber is the author of two books: Heal Your Inner Good Girl and Unbound. She’s also the founder of The Unbound Press, which is a soul-led publishing imprint for unbound women - women who want to live a more fully expressed life and are interested in writing transformational books. Alongside that, she’s also a writing mentor.
Nicola found me through another client’s project - Helen Rebello’s The Turning Point - and said she knew as soon as she found me that she wanted to work with me!
She signed up for a Blueprint Session, and her project ran in August 2019.
Why a community project?
Nicola reason’s for creating a project were twofold. She wanted to engage with her community around her new identity as a writing mentor and publisher, but she also wanted to show what the experience of writing a book was like.
Nicola says: “I wanted to create The Magical Portal project, which was all about book writing, because this is a relatively new part of my business. I've moved into being a writing mentor over the past year, and The Unbound Press is still within its first year, so I really wanted to engage with my community around that.
“Community is so key to me. Everything I do is about connection and building community. And that's what I encourage the writers I work with to do around their books as well. Your book becomes the foundation for the community that you want to create, and has the potential to start a movement around it as well.
“I'm really interested in book writing as a transformational process, like how it transforms the author throughout the process. So kind of selfishly, I created a project around something I was interested in. I knew that hearing other people's stories of how it was to write a book (and the transformation and the challenges that can happen when you commit to book writing) would inspire and activate others. People who were thinking, ‘Oh, I'd love to write a book, but I'm not sure if it's for me, or I'm not sure if it's the right time.’ And also, I know that through sharing our stories, it creates this deeper connection, so those were the elements that I wanted to evoke with the project.”
One of the things I loved about Nicola’s project, was that it really addressed what people could expect from working with her in her writing mastermind, and it prepared them for the personal transformation they could expect as they wrote their books.
Before we began
Like all my clients, Nicola was pretty daunted by the size and logistics of her project, so she really appreciated the structure I provided for her.
She says: ”I felt a huge amount of excitement, but my main fear was the amount of time that it might take, and bringing everybody together over the course of a month. I was committed to having a contribution every day, so it was like, ‘oh, my goodness’, getting 31 people involved and the logistics around that. That was that was my only concern, really.
“I pulled the project together relatively quickly - that's the way I like to operate: if I have an idea I want to act on it pretty much straight away! There were definitely times, even once the project had started, and I hadn't got all the contributors in place, where I was like, ’oh, what am I doing?’ But actually, not having everything in place before I started turned out to be quite magical as it left space for the perfect people to come into the project later on.
“It did take a lot of time, but because I had this really clear structure to work with, which you helped me with, it just carried me through the project. I knew what I needed to do in advance, and every day, and so I was able to set it all up and have it running. It kind of had a life of its own! So, yes, it took time and effort, but also I now have this amazing, amazing content - all of these contributions, all of these pieces. It's really helpful and inspiring for me, and I know that elements are there that I'll use in my next book as well. So it's just so rich, what's been generated for me.”
What about the results?
Nicola ran her project in the month before she opened the doors to her writing mastermind programme, so I asked her what impact the project had had on that launch, and her answer was amazing! She says: “I don't like to base things on figures. But it's the first five-figure launch that I've had! (I've been in business for nine years now) And it just happened with such ease - it didn't feel like a launch at all, I wasn’t really pushing, and the perfect people just stepped forward for the mastermind. And it's happened in a really sustainable way. It doesn't feel like okay, that's a one off. I know I could build on this now.
“It feels like the momentum from the project is continuing and it will continue in the future. It's changed the way that I create my offerings and run my business.”
Another result which surprised her, was how her relationships deepened with her contributors, and the opportunities which developed from those connections.
She says: “I knew that it would help me connect more with my audience, but it's the connections that happen with the contributors as well. I don't think I expected that so much. That’s happened in the most magical way, and opportunities have come out of that, but I couldn't have expected it.
“Even reading something that somebody had written, or mentioned in one of the interviews that I did - things that have come out of that which have affirmed what I’m doing. This is relatively new work to me, as I said, it's really affirmed the path that I'm on. It’s been amazing!”
Who would you recommend running a community project to?
I’m always curious to know who my clients think would benefit most from running a community project, and here’s what Nicola had to say, “Most of the people that I work with are writers and authors, either first time authors or they’ve written books already. A big part of that is definitely creating community around your writing, and using your writing as a way of starting a movement of some kind. So running a community project and working with you fits perfectly with that.
“That's part of the reason I wanted to do this, for myself, but I also wanted to do it so that I can talk to my authors about it and encourage them to create their own community projects. The word that keeps coming up is ‘rich’. The opportunity to create something really rich that has real value, which the community project does. I can definitely see it as an amazing way to build community for for authors and writers.”
I love that Nicola mentions starting a movement here - that exactly what these projects are perfect for!
I asked Nicola what her advice would be to anyone who was thinking of hiring me to work on a community project. Here’s what she had to say:
“Go for it. Definitely, without without a doubt. You made everything so… I'm not gonna say easy, because running something like this is kind of like writing a book, so there are challenges that come up… but you gave me all the pieces, so I didn't have to be sitting here thinking, ‘Okay, what do I need to do now?’ I knew what I needed to do - just follow the plan step by step, and you created a really powerful container for that.
“Don't be tempted to think you can just do it all on your own - you probably could, but it would take a LOT more time and energy.
“And you're so supportive, Eli, in the sharing of the projects and talking about it with your community as well. Your community is very, very powerful. A lot of the people who came into The Magical Portal project were from your community, and they were so engaged and such a joy to connect with. So that's a really powerful part of it as well.”
Finally, I asked Nicola if she had anything else she’d like to add, and what she said next just blew me away:
“The biggest thing for me doing this project is definitely the unexpected magic that happens. I mentioned that I have had my first five-figure launch, which is the kind of a metric that you can look at and go, Okay, it was a successful project. But community projects are so not about the numbers, it's about that depth of connection. And that lasts way beyond the actual length of the project. It just provided me with so much.
“If someone's thinking about running their own project, just dive in and go for it. It's quite addictive! I'm already thinking about what my next project will be.
“This is how you change the world. This is how we change the world, you know, coming together and doing this. It's so, so powerful.”
Absolutely! That's why I do this work. I believe one hundred percent that this is how we change the world - by actually standing up together, talking to each other, and sharing our beliefs, and linking arms across the world. There is nothing more powerful.
Thank you so much, Nicola, for sharing your story with us so generously.