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How to build a community of like-minded people for your small business

“People don’t believe what you tell them.
They rarely believe what you show them.
They often believe what their friends tell them.
They always believe what they tell themselves.
What leaders do: they give people stories they can tell themselves. Stories about the future and about the change.”

Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us 

When I first started my business, I didn’t quite realize why I even need to bother to create a community of like-minded people. What does it even mean?  How it will help to grow my business?

Can’t I just show up and start selling my services directly? Well, it’s exactly what I tried to do in the beginning. I was sharing the content that I thought people wanted to read. I was afraid of being too generous and sharing too much valuable information. Because if I do, who on earth will want to buy my products and services afterwards?

I didn’t know who I was as a person and what I was standing for. I was afraid of showing up who I was, I didn’t want to be vulnerable. I tried to create some generic, mediocre services that will appeal to everybody. I wanted to be accepted and liked by everybody. I thought the more followers I will have, the better.

As you can guess It leads nowhere. I was always anxious, looking behind my back at other people in my industry. I didn’t understand what made me different, and why people will even consider buying from me. But the answer was inside of me all this time. I just didn’t want to look at it. I preferred to look outside to find it.

You don’t need to be ideal, you don’t need to be liked by everybody, you don’t need everything to be perfect before you decide to show up, you don’t need to do what is trendy, but doesn’t feel like you, you don’t need to hide. You can stay yourself, own it, share your story, be generous, care enough about the difference you want to make in the world, and show up consistently for your tribe and lead it with your thoughts, ideas, and your personality.

“Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be but to find out who we already are and become it.”

Steven Pressfield, The War Of Art

Why people buy today

There are still many businesses and brands that want to appeal to everybody, and be liked by everybody. The more the better considered to be the best strategy for a very long time. And it worked in the past. Many companies were able to make a fortune because many people bought their generic, mediocre products or services. But does this strategy still work today?

Creating a very generic product or service for everybody means creating something mediocre, not remarkable. People are tired of mediocrity. And a desperate desire to be liked by everybody will never lead you anywhere. You will be obliged to pretend to be somebody else, to pretend to like things you actually don’t and lose yourself. Will you really care about making an impact, creating a change, and serving generously your community when you act from this place? I don’t think so!

Today we see everything changing. Pushy selling and invasive advertisements irritate most people very much. They lose trust when they experience things like that. People hate when somebody tries to be invasive and sell things without their permission.  Sell the things that they don’t actually need.

Today people buy when they trust when they believe that you have authority and expertise. People buy when they can relate when they feel that you can understand them and make their life easier. People buy when you can solve a problem for them. People buy when they see a real person behind the business and brand, not an idealized image.


There are many advantages of building a real community of people around your business, your ideas, or you as a person. At first, it can be difficult, and not easy to make the first step, to challenge a status quo, to find the courage to speak your voice and share your ideas. It’s natural to feel uncomfortable and feel fear at first.

“It’s uncomfortable to stand up in front of strangers. It’s uncomfortable to propose an idea that might fail. It’s uncomfortable to challenge the status quo. It’s uncomfortable to resist the urge to settle. When you identify the discomfort, you’ve found the place where a leader is needed.”
― Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
With time I noticed and accepted the fact that real changes, transformation, and growth can never be comfortable. It doesn’t mean that it’s bad and that you should seek comfort. In fact, for me personally the more discomfort I feel about something is an indicator that I’m moving in the right direction. And that I should do it and don’t overthink it. I need to believe that I will be able to figure everything out on my way, even if I don’t know at the moment what I’m doing.  There is no way to plan everything, to feel comfortable or ready before you do something scary.
I believe that it’s possible to feel all kinds of negative emotions but still do the work. Don’t let these negative emotions rule your life and make you inactive. Because when you know that you should be doing something, but you don’t, you will get zero results. If you want to be a professional, you need to do the work, be consistent and sometimes do things that you do not feel like doing.
I also believe that charisma and confidence come when you take action and do uncomfortable things. Nobody is born with it.
When you take your time and have conversations with people, learn more about them, and provide value, the magic starts to happen. You don’t need to convince anybody to buy anything from you, to force them to speak about you. You don’t need to be liked by everybody, you need several hundred real fans to be able to make living from your work.
People start to spread the word about your work. They buy because they want to, but not because they are forced to do so.
But to be able to attract the right people and lead them, you need to know yourself deeper. You need to know what you’re standing for, your values, your worth, your strengths, what matters to you and what you enjoy doing. Otherwise, you will be lost watching other people, comparing yourself to others, and doing what doesn’t like you. All this will turn your work and content creation into drudgery.
There will be no alignment between you and your work. You will be stressed, and anxious. Ans it’s very difficult to access your creativity and create something remarkable when you’re not relaxed and act from a place of scarcity. Believe me, I lost so much time when I tried to push too hard at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, but didn’t know my worth, and value and had so many negative thoughts about myself.
So take your time to really get to know yourself, see how it feels, and watch closely your mindset patterns if you want to create an impact with your work and connect to the right people.

What can you do today to build your community

There are several things you can start doing today to help you to build a community of like-minded people for your business:

  •  Provide value, and be generous. Don’t be afraid of giving too much. Always give away more than you’ve paid for.
  • Please don’t wait to be a world expert before you decide to share your expertise or help others. We all as entrepreneurs have imposter syndrome from time to time. And even if you have all the certificates and expertise in the world, you can still lack confidence sometimes. All you need to start is to be several steps ahead of your ideal customer and never stop educating yourself in the field you choose to become an expert in.
  • Don’t try to be ideal, to create an idealized picture of yourself and your business that has nothing to do with the real world. Everybody knows that it’s a fake, even though sometimes we all want to believe that some people have a perfect life, except us and that there is something wrong with us. I personally believe the more you’re open about your struggles, difficulties, insecurities and worries, the more people will relate to you and trust you.
  • Don’t pretend to be somebody else to please people, or to gain followers. At some level, we can all feel when people are fake and try to appear to somebody they are not. It’s not a long-term strategy that will help you to build a real community and to grow your business.
  •  Engage in real conversations with people, and be genuinely curious about them. Don’t just send cold messages trying to sell your services right away, without even finding out whether another person needs it. It’s very selfish! Although, you can try sending messages to people you don’t know sometimes if you propose a value or a solution to their problems. When you believe that you can help them. I was able to make great connections this way. Sometimes people don’t know that they have a problem, it’s when you appear and propose a solution, people can get curious and you can start having real conversations even if they decide not to buy your products or services.
  • Don’t wait for everybody to contact you, to engage with your content. Instead, do it first. Connect, talk, leave a comment, send a message, tag people if you genuinely enjoy their content, and re-share their work. In most cases, it will come back to you even more. But even if it won’t come back right away, it will in the future.
  •  Don’t be afraid of rejection and don’t take it personally. Don’t let these fears stop you from making the first step. Rejection is a part of a game and it doesn’t make you less worthy or valued. Some people will reject and some will be happy to connect.
  •  Embrace yourself and your journey, share it, be vulnerable, and be open about your struggles. Openness and vulnerability make people relate to you the most.
  •  Share any kind of social proof like testimonials, logos, or maybe interviews you did to build even more trust among your potential clients.
  • Don’t try to imitate blindly what other successful people are doing in your industry, especially if it doesn’t feel like you and don’t enjoy it. You can try doing all kinds of things and see what you enjoy. Until you try you don’t know.
  • When you find what you enjoy, give yourself space and time to do nothing to access your creativity instead of pushing and stressing all the time. If you push too much and feel anxious all the time you will never be able to be relaxed enough to create anything remarkable and enjoy the process.
  • Don’t be afraid of sharing what you do, what you offer or what you sell. People want to know these things and very often are ready to buy from us. But sometimes they just don’t know that they can, because you never share what you do.

Final thoughts

Building an authentic community of like-minded people is absolutely vital today if you want to grow your business, and create a real impact on the world with your work.

You can unite 1000 real fans around you and your work, let them spread the word about your work and make a decent living like that. You don’t need to have millions of fans and followers to succeed anymore, you don’t need to be liked by everybody, or create mediocre products or services that are for everybody.

Instead, you can create products or services that are aligned with your values, that reflect your personality, and that will bring enormous value to a specific group of people you will choose to serve. And it’s completely okay not to be accepted and liked by everybody, and why on earth you will even want that?