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After clocking out of work, I couldn’t help but feel like something was missing.
That’s when I started looking for others who felt the same way. Luckily, I found those people. And the rest of it was history.
Here are 5 lessons I learned from volunteering to building my community:
I never thought of myself as a community mover.
After finishing college, I thought landing a job would give me much satisfaction since that meant I was a “certified adult”.
But I was wrong. So wrong!
Something inside me just pushed me to do more. I had the urge to connect with more people.
I’d like to think that was my intuition — telling me to come out of my shell and stop punishing myself because of my failures.
And so I had no choice, but to let my voice direct me!
I joined in-person events where I practically knew no one. Eventually, I got to join a community as a volunteer.
Since then, I’ve met people who eventually became my mentors, colleagues, collaborators, and friends.
I never regret following my intuition. So, if something scares you but never leaves your mind, maybe it’s worth doing. Go ahead and try!
I never had a certificate for community building — or even years of experience!
I created FRC because I became tired of sharing my woes with people who couldn’t relate.
I wanted to meet people like me and hear all about their stories.
So I said to myself: why not start a community for Davao copywriters?
After that, I created the group and invited my close friends and colleagues. We were a happy little bunch until our group grew in numbers.
From that experience, I learned that sometimes it pays not to overthink. Starting gives you the right fuel to keep building something.
…but I’d like to believe there are the right opportunities.
Davao Copywriters became Filipino Remote Copywriters because of Covid-19.
It was the catalyst for the group to grow and reach more people nationwide.
When the pandemic hit, businesses resorted to remote working. So, I saw the opportunity to make a real, wider impact by changing the group’s focus.
From being a local group, I renamed it Filipino Remote Copywriters so that it could reach more people. And it did!
I saw our community as a vehicle for people to share resources, look for opportunities, and start meaningful discussions.
Thankfully, people started to see that. From having 200+ members, we’re now 17,000+ strong.
I learned that you can’t plan for everything. When an opportunity arises, you can just either take advantage of it or let it pass.
In my 5 years of growing my community, I realized that you can only start creating influence when you see a person eye to eye.
You don’t need to connect with every single one of your community members immediately. But when you do have the time to talk to one person, make them feel as if you’re the only two people in a room.
Connecting to one person is just as impactful as influencing many people because you’re habituating empathy. By doing this, you’re creating a culture that builds itself.
You won’t notice it right away, but one day it becomes the norm in your community — and, eventually, your community’s branding.
One of the biggest blessings of being a community builder is having the honor to innovate.
In 2023, after 4 years of building FRC, I mustered up the courage to offer digital products and workshops to my community members.
Taking this step wasn’t easy at all. I was riddled with doubts and hesitations.
One of the questions in my mind was, “What if I lose my integrity by selling to them?”
But I was so wrong! Offering my products was almost effortless.
Last year, I launched 7 workshops, distributed 56 certificates, and onboarded 207 students.
Everything felt organic, and I realized because we knew each other.
That’s my most crucial takeaway and one thing I hope you’ll take to heart.
People buy from people they trust. If you have the chance to build a connection with your users — whether you’re a designer, engineer, or product manager — go ahead and do it!
You might not see the results you want right away, but making your product decisions from a place of empathy will make a huge difference.