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  • Writer's pictureDillan Taylor

How I got 147 members in my online community

As Grindstone inches closer to 150 members...I'm reflecting on how we got here.

Here's how.


1) Our original cohort.

Prior to starting a Skool community, we had our own little group of content creators.

We lived in a private Discord server and switched to Skool to make it easier for people to discover us and because the platform is much easier to use and understand.


2) Personal invite.

Our first 20-30 members were friends and colleagues. I texted them and told them our doors were open to anyone who wanted feedback on their work.

Many of these folks joined just to support me and haven't logged on since. Totally fine with me because I just wanted to raise the member count to increase credibility in the beginning.


3) Indirect invite.

Between past podcast guests, Twitter friends, and other acquaintances...I asked folks the magic question.

"Who do you know?"

I shared that we have this cool, valuable, and free community. I posted pics of some of our creators' wins and growth. Then I asked if they knew someone who would find it valuable to join.

People are much more receptive when they're not being asked directly for something...

Direct: "Do you want this thing?"​

Indirect: "Who do you know who would benefit from this thing?"


4) Cold outreach.

I hired a virtual assistant to send cold messages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Monday through Friday. Six hours a day.

I wrote:

  • the scripts

  • our criteria for qualified leads

  • our system for daily communication

This process has been one of the most informative in my business career. Similar to when I did door-to-door sales but with higher volume.

Here's the response breakdown...

~70% of people don't respond.

Makes sense. I don't respond to 99% of cold pitches online.

~15% of people respond but don't join.

They either change their mind, ghost, or politely decline.

~5% of people think we're some kind of scam.

I've read fears of us being a pyramid scheme, shady coaching service, or scam call center from Dehli.

~5% criticize me for having a low number of followers.

​"Why would I need help with my content from someone who has a smaller audience than me?"

~5% join.

They reach the end of the outreach process, click the link, and join the free community.

Here's a skeptic from yesterday. 👇

These kinds of responses used to get to me. But only because I believed them.

We've helped so many creators within Grindstone, done so many exciting group calls, and seen so many creators make better stuff and crush their goals faster.

I have plenty of evidence to prove I'm not a scammer or fraud.

So this is clearly just someone who has no clue who we are, assumes the worst, and wants to feel powerful.

I could tell him I'm not a guru, that it's 100% free, and that we only have 5-star reviews. But this ain't our guy. It would only add to the headache.

Then we get responses like these. 👇

This lad joined and engages frequently in the group. He posts his content, gets feedback on it, and uses that feedback to improve. He's a wonderful example of what this community is for.

Eventually he asked my favorite question, the ultimate validation...

"Why is this free?"

Anyway, cold outreach results in all shapes and sizes of responses.

In 24 hours, I get called a...

  • scammer

  • genius

  • sketch ball

The mean replies hurt less and less the more we grow.

Pro Tip — The only things that hurt our feelings are words we fear to be true. I'm 6 ft 2 and fit. If someone called me short and fat, it would do zero damage to me. But if someone said my Spanish sucks and I'd never be a good father, it would sting a ton because I'm insecure about those things.

Our cold outreach conversion rate goes up as we gain members.

More members means more credibility. It also means more FOMO (fear of missing out).

You're more likely to join a community with 1,000 people like you than one with 50. It feels safer, more professional, and more worth your time.



Want to learn a ton about people?

Invite 100 people to a thing. You will be met with joy, rage, and confusion.

Next stop: 200 members.

(PS—When we get to 200, I'll celebrate by giving all of you a gift. 🎁)


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