Paid Communities: Community-as-a-Service, User-Generated Content, Reverse Network Effects

This is the free version of Trends PRO #0045 โ€” Paid Communities

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โ“ What You’ll Learn

  • Who offers community-as-a-service?  
  • How to build a high-signal environment? 
  • How to solve the chicken and egg problem?
  • Why do rituals matter?
  • How to use gamification?

๐Ÿ” Problem

Free communities tend to be noisy without a barrier to entry.

๐Ÿ’ก Solution

Paid communities use strategic friction to build high-signal environments.

Members are invested and engaged.

Community builders are aligned with members and able to invest in great experiences.

๐Ÿ Players

Paid Communities



๐Ÿ”ฎ Predictions

โ˜๏ธ Opportunities

  • Build an audience first. Start with a newsletter, podcast or YouTube channel. Audience-to-community solves the chicken and egg problem. reached 20,000+ subscribers before Trends Tribe meetups were launched.
  • Craft a mission statement. See Compound’s Manifesto.
    • Why do you gather?
    • What’s your mission?
    • What are your core values?
    • What problems do you solve together?
  • Use challenges to gamify success. Launch MBA members produce 12 products in 12 months.
  • Create rituals. Host standups, meetups, co-building sessions and retreats to form bonds and productive habits. Trends Pro Members build compounding relationships in daily standups.
  • Leverage user-generated content. Hundreds of people Tweet using #100DaysOfNoCode. Bringing attention to the community.
  • Nurture one-on-one connections to build a stronger community. Trends Pro Members have weekly one-on-ones along with daily standups.
  • Build growth tools to draw members into your paid community. See the No-Code Marketplace directory, toolkit and book.

๐Ÿ”‘ Key Lessons

  • Price is multi-dimensional. Compound requires you to submit your best writing to apply. This is non-monetary friction.
  • Paid community members have skin in the game. Investment limits noise and boosts engagement.
  • You’re the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with. Paid communities raise the average.
  • Beware of reverse network effects. Scale changes everything. Especially niche communities. Engagement drops as communities grow.

๐Ÿ˜  Haters

“You already covered this.”
Yes and I’ve covered No-Code, Bootstrap Funds and Micro Private Equity more than once. There’s still more to learn.

“Most of these communities are online.”
Google jiu-jitsu, church, country club or university if you’re looking for offline paid communities.

“Some online paid communities are built without an audience.”
Cold outreach, personal networks and borrowed credibility can work.

“Paid communities are exclusionary.”
Yes. So are “free” communities. You can’t pay to become a Navy SEAL but the price can be your life. Price is more than money.

“What about community fatigue?”
Fatigue is a forcing function for quality. The same goes for newsletters.

๐Ÿ”— Links

  1. What’s your favorite paid community? โ€ข The tweet behind this report.
  2. Turning an Audience Into a Community โ€ข Girls’ Night In went from a newsletter to a community.
  3. Come for the tool, stay for the network โ€ข How to overcome the chicken and egg problem.

๐Ÿ™ Thanks

Thanks to Kieran Ball (Launch MBA), Max Haining (100 Days of No Code), Stew Fortier (Compound), Yaro Bagriy (Newsletter Crew), Jeremy Au HF (Monk’s Hill Ventures), Rick Lindquist (LegUpHealth), Logan Johnson, Aadil Maan (Nike), Marek Janetzke, Jose Bermejo (Startup Builder), Paul Martin (Integrity Music), Janel Loi (Newsletter OS) and Vikrant Duggal (Consulting Club). We had a great time jamming on this report. 

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What you’ll get:

  • 35 Paid Communities (191% More)
  • 21 Tools (250% More)
  • 33 Tools for Presales (371% More)
  • 7 Predictions (133% More)
  • 14 Opportunities (100% More)
  • 8 Key Lessons (100% More)
  • 10 Summarized Links (233% More)

With Trends Pro you’ll learn:

  • (๐Ÿ“ˆ Pro) Which communities have their own cryptocurrencies
  • (๐Ÿ“ˆ Pro) How to borrow credibility to build your community? 
  • (๐Ÿ“ˆ Pro) How to boost engagement
  • (๐Ÿ“ˆ Pro) Whoโ€™s earning $450k/yr from a job board? 
  • (๐Ÿ“ˆ Pro) Why does decentralized leadership matter? 
  • (๐Ÿ“ˆ Pro) How to use non-monetary friction
  • (๐Ÿ“ˆ Pro) How to find community-member fit
  • and a lot more…