Deeply hung over in creativity thanks to Gumroad’s Small Product Lab course, I decided to create, build up, and launch a creative community, an initiative called Makers Club.
I thought it would be a fantastic way of continuing the momentum the course had created.
On a personal level, creating and fostering a community made up of writers, artists, performers, musicians, and makers has always been a dream of mine. Something I had hoped to realize at that time.
Getting this creative community up and running is the easy part.
I spend a few hours choosing a platform, shaping the brand, and inviting people to join.
It felt right. Like a calling of some sort.
I had this deep feeling this was going to turn into something big.
Hard as this is for me to say, the Makers Club was a sad flop.
A bright red balloon that deflated over a span of 4–5 weeks.
After the invitation period, the Makers Club had 39 registered members from around the world.
It’s tiny compared to most established online communities, but I had my hopes up that it would soon grow as well.
I was extremely proud of its existence. I placed the link in all of my social media channels, wrote about it, shared it many times, and even included it in my email signature.
But in contrast to the lively community Gumroad had developed, the Makers Club was like an open, untended field brimming with crickets.
It began with the first invitation to chat with the members live. I created an event where the members could introduce each other and share their expectations for the group. It was an opportunity to start and build relationships with them.
Nobody showed up.
Keeping my hopes up, I then shared a carefully designed plan of online activities that I dripped into my members’ inboxes.
I created topics people could take part in, shared resources I believed were useful, and responded to every single comment posted.
Inactivity still prevailed. It eventually became difficult for me to keep on monitoring and encouraging the members to participate.
After several days of contemplation, I posted to the group my decision to shut it down.
Why did it fail?
Lack of time, one member said.
But I believe it has a lot to do with the fact that I didn’t do enough ground work to really bring this creative community to life.
The tools are there. The people I wanted to work with exist.
I just didn’t give them a reason to take precious time out of their busy schedules to work with me, to commune with others.
I didn’t earn the members’ trust, yet expected them to care about who I am and what I wanted to do with the Makers Club.
I didn’t connect and collaborate with influential people who could build momentum for the club. I didn’t think it was necessary to tap into people who share the same goals.
Finally, I thought my personal drive and ambitions were enough to make it happen.
Will the Makers Club be back?
It’s a painful learning experience that reminded me of how much work such an endeavor involves.
But it hasn’t shattered my determination to create a space for creatives to turn to for support and learning. And I think that counts as well.
I’m determined to bring the Makers Club back into existence, and I intend to do so with:
- More research,
- More audience building,
- More effort in earning people’s trust, and
- With the help and support of people who believe in the same cause.
I’ve no idea just when that’ll be.
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