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One of the reasons I love my work in community is because folks who call this type of work their “profession” are some of the brightest and most courageous people I know.
They are also the most giving and most empathetic creatures in the organization because they are in the “business” of relating to humans — listening, understanding, providing solutions, and generally just loving on them non-stop.
It’s a hard job; perhaps, the hardest in the enterprise. This is why I (and many passionate
yenizens) personally believe that community roles should be some of the highest-paid roles in any and every business.
And the way that we’re going to make that a reality is by honestly encountering the growing shift of how “community work” gets done and how the role of “community manager” is going to increase in size, scope, scale, and professional importance in the coming years.
In other words, we talk honestly, openly, and respectfully about it with one another — like what we did just the other day in Community Club‘s Slack (I mean, “Salesforce Chat“):
This is an unsurprising move from one of the companies on the very frontline of the gig economy and I am, as I mentioned in the chat, a fan of fiverr and their mission to help anyone, anywhere, build “any business they dream”.
The way I see it, “community management” on fiverr is a wonderful new milestone in the growing economy that I call “The Community Gigster” — someone who trades their time (and expertise) for money in exchange for helping to plan, launch, grow, manage, and/or moderate a (business) community.
Some of these roles are full-time (salary with benefits) roles while others may “diversify” their income with an assortment of contract and part-time gigs, either running it independently (as a
1099 contractor) or under a legal business entity (e.g. as a service offering).
These are very exciting times and the possibility of folks earning a viable income by leading and managing communities, especially for folks who do not know how or may not necessarily have those skills (or interest) to do it themselves.
I know there’s a large and seemingly-reasonable argument against the idea of “hiring out” community to someone else (or an agency or service provider) but it’s simply impractical because the skills required to manage a community “with excellence” takes a ton of time to develop and is, functionally, a multi-disciplinary and skill-based role spanning a variety of functions and business outcomes.
In short, these people don’t grow on trees and the need for “on-demand community leadership” is exponentially growing every single day — we simply do not have enough
community operators to match the astronomically-increasing need in every industry. Consequently, the community gigster stands poised (and hungry) to fill the demand gap.
(This, by the way, is one of the next big industry opportunities that functionally exist today but isn’t formally recognized, either culturally or technologically — more on that later…)
My larger response is as-follows with Brian’s continued thoughts (Thanks Brian, btw, for engaging with me and giving permission to share these):
In the end, I agree with Brian on the fundamentals but I also believe this is a crazy-unique period in the lifecycle of business-building, especially for the creative / creator class, a unique inflection point that will offer new pathways for not just business value but also personal as well.
Brian and I are on both sides of the same coin and mission: We have to continue to “democratize community building” and make it easier for anyone, anywhere, to build “any community they dream.”
And we’re going to do it together.
To infinity & community,
A few things:
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Have a great day folks!