June 14, 2024

Building Community: Lessons Learned from GoBrunch

Disclaimer: This is Marissa Loewen sharing her experience with communities on GoBrunch.

Introduction: The Panorama Shift

And of course, we all know what happened a couple of years ago. The Panorama came and it really changed the way I wanted to not only run my business but grow my career and create connections with people. I could see there was this really big gap in how we build, create, and support community. As someone who primarily works with business owners—from makers and creators to service folks and those making a big impact in the world—the shift was monumental.

I knew it before; I had been in incredible communities. We had created an amazing maker and artist community for our events. But once we started experimenting on the GoBrunch platform, I can't tell you enough how much it opened my mind, ideas, and creativity to what's possible when we create communities. Richard, who is the biggest proponent of connection, collaboration, and co-creation, often speaks about this. What they've built here is an opportunity to do just that.

Experimenting with GoBrunch

I’m going to delve into how we’ve utilized the platform, share our journey, and provide insights on creating a community that helps business owners, facilitates meaningful networking, and validates ideas.

Serena, a community member, shared, "I like bringing people who don't have a local spiritual community together; we get to be seen." We've been discussing using GoBrunch to create powerful roots, a home feeling, and strong connections. It’s about making people feel like they have a supportive group around them that challenges yet supports them.

Nat, another member, emphasized the importance of deeper connections and a sense of belonging. For those just starting their business, creating spaces where they can ask questions and set foundations before diving into growth and scale tactics is crucial. It’s about showing up for our community, especially at the beginning.

The Challenge of Empty Rooms

When we started in October, we had a whole bunch of people sign up, but the concept was new to them. Getting into the habit of coming into the rooms took time. It didn't start hopping until January. Initially, it might seem like a long time, but perseverance pays off. Some days, I was by myself in the rooms for hours, but then, out of nowhere, 17 people would join.

Understanding whether you need timed rooms or are okay with empty rooms is part of knowing yourself and your community. Investing time is essential. We’ve built rooms with background noise for those with ADHD, including a Pomodoro clock with a cat purring for 25 minutes. This idea came from member feedback and illustrates how different people need different things.

Engaging Beyond Virtual Walls

Creating a community isn’t just about virtual interactions. It’s about helping people realize that the time they spend here positively impacts their lives outside. When I feel supported, I walk a little differently in the world. We can create ripples that turn into big waves by showing support and helping others.

We’ve implemented a system to track and remind members of their achievements. Before their annual renewal, they receive reminders of what they’ve accomplished and what we’ve celebrated with them. This not only fosters a sense of achievement but also encourages them to stay with us.

Building an Inclusive Community

One of the great features of GoBrunch is the ability to create different rooms for various needs. We have a main room that’s bustling, but we’ve also created muted spots for those who need to focus without distraction. This way, people can still be part of the community without the pressure to engage all the time.

We’ve also integrated a chat box and a knowledge base for easy access to information. Members can book one-on-one time with me or other experts, check our calendar for upcoming events, and engage with prompts that lead them to our forum. These are direct responses to the needs of our community.

Adapting to Member Feedback

Responding to feedback is crucial. For instance, we noticed some members needed spaces to work without distractions, so we created those muted spots. We also built a Pomodoro clock where members can choose their own time, and a prompt that directs them to our forum. These small adaptations have made a big difference.

Seeing members in different rooms, still feeling part of the Catalyst community, shows the power of these virtual spaces. GoBrunch has allowed us to create a house-like environment where people can be in different rooms but still connected.

Conclusion: The Power of Community

Connecting with fellow GoBrunchers and community creators to share what’s working and what’s not is invaluable. We’re planning new events and continually learning as we go. The impact of our efforts is far-reaching, and it’s about more than just the virtual space—it’s about the influence we have on people’s lives.

I encourage you to join the Catalyst. We help build out your rooms and your community because every connection point, whether virtual or in-person, contributes to building a better world.

Thank you for being part of this journey. I can’t wait to see the communities you create.

Creator Name:  Marissa Loewen



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Angela Silva

Marketing and Social Media

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