Case Study: Sophy Dale on how running a community project transformed her business

“I didn’t expect running the project to change anything significant for me. I thought it would be interesting, but it turned out to be business-changing (and therefore, at least a little bit life-changing).”
— Sophy Dale

Sophy Dale is a kickass business coach and story strategist, working to help creative entrepreneurs create businesses that feel like coming home.

I actually first got to know Sophy through running my own community projects (she’s contributed to all of my projects to date), and she had reached out to me long before I set up this business to find out my secret sauce for running a successful project. However, she just hadn’t found the time to fit it into her busy schedule.

In fact, when we first started working together, her biggest concern was how long the process would take, and how much time she’d have to dedicate to it. Suffice to say she was pleasantly surprised, and, thanks to my step by step process, even managed to navigate a big house move whilst organizing her project!

“Eli gives you clear, step-by-step support to make sure you get it done and makes the whole process feel both doable and enjoyable. She’s so organised that she has got me doing this in the middle of the chaos of a house move...”

Sophy’s motivation for running a community project was simple: she wanted to explore the idea of freedom (one of her top values, and a common theme in her work with clients), and hopefully connect with some new people.

What actually happened was a complete transformation of her business model.

Here’s what Sophy had to say (taken from the newsletter she wrote at the end of the project):

“As you may know, I spent November running a 30 day online project on creating more freedom in our businesses and in our lives. I started out the project just expecting to enjoy exploring this idea (which is so important in my life and in my clients' lives) a bit more, and hoping to create a bit of community around other people's explorations of the idea too.

However, I didn't expect running the project to change anything significant for me. I thought it would be interesting, but it turned out to be business-changing (and therefore, at least a little bit life-changing).

Firstly, I really got a lot out of sinking into considering the concept of freedom from so many different perspectives over a number of weeks - it made me realise how much I skim along the surface of ideas most of the time, picking them up, putting them down again, and moving along to the next shiny object.

Secondly, thinking more about creating freedom and space and being in community with other like-minded freedom seekers made me re-evaluate what I want from my business day-to-day. I don't ever want to give up the depth that you get from working with people one-to-one, but I realised I wanted more of this community-based work to be front and centre in my business - and also that I wanted at least one element of my work to be much more financially accessible than one-to-one coaching can ever be.

So, the upshot is, I'm creating a small, membership-based community. It will run year-round and be a way of bringing people together to connect and collaborate AND a way for me to offer week-in week-out business support and structure for a very affordable fee. There are group coaching calls, virtual co-working sessions, guest expert Q&As and workshops, and much more besides. The group will start out tiny and will never get bigger than 150 people (this is 'Dunbar's number', named after the average size of all tribes and social groups around the world and across history - it's the number of people we've evolved to be able to get our heads around knowing).

I've got a small group of fabulous former clients of mine and people who took part in the online project already signed up and inside the community, and if this sounds interesting to you, we would love it if you joined us.”

Isn’t that incredible? One of the things I love about doing these projects is that you just never know what will come out of them, but it’s always wonderful.

So, what about the process of actually creating the project? Well, one of my key objectives when working with clients is to make the whole process as fun and enjoyable as possible – I want my client relationships to feel like friendships, and Sophy totally got this.

She says: “Eli has an unusual combination of being super-organised and efficient, but also fun to work with. I always looked forward to our sessions together. She’s a joy to work with, and might just be the most organized person in the world!”

I absolutely loved working with Sophy – she is the epitome of my ideal client. She’s generous, big-hearted, and totally brilliant at what she does. I’m now a part of her membership group and it is the most inspiring and supportive space, filled with incredible people.

If you’d like to find out more about Sophy, visit her website here, and I highly recommend you take advantage of her two week free trial to check out the Freedom Seekers Collective membership group.

I’ll leave you with some final words from Sophy:

“Working with Eli has had a surprising effect on my business - I'm now shifting the whole business significantly, to be much more aligned around community and less around 1:1 work. I've started building meaningful working relationships with people I didn't know at all before running the project, I’ve been able to dive deep into a topic that fascinates me and my audience and have deepened my connections with my existing audience.”

She even recorded a little video testimonial for me too – thank you, Sophy!

Has this inspired you to run your own community project? If so, please do book a call with me to see how I can help you.