Episode 203

Build a Community For Your Business with Jadah Sellner

November 20, 2018

These days it seems like all the online businesses are focused on building a community…but that’s easier said than done. So today, Jadah Sellner joins us to talk about building a community with heart in a way that creates genuine connection, authentic engagement, and raving fans.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"Building a community really has to be about service, not monetizing."
- Jadah Sellner

Discussed in this Episode

  • Jadah's entrepreneurial journey from Simple Green Smoothies
  • Pushing through vs. listening to resistance
  • Differentiating yourself in a large market
  • Knowing when to quit or exit your business
  • Making connections with your idols
  • Jadah's current work with community-building
  • Scaling a community
  • Where to build your online community
  • Growing a paid community + setting boundaries & expectations
  • Creating a community with intention
  • How to find your first community members


More from Jadah Sellner

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Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Kathleen Shannon 0:02
Hello and welcome to being boss,

Emily Thompson 0:05
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.

Kathleen Shannon 0:09
And I'm Kathleen Shannon. I'm Jada sellner and I'm being lost.

Emily Thompson 0:18
In this episode of being fast, we're talking all about building and nurturing a community for your business with Jada sellner. As always, you can find all the tools, books and links we reference on the show notes at WWW dot being boss dot club.

Kathleen Shannon 0:35
As a creative entrepreneur, running your own business or thinking about starting one do me a quick favor. As I mentioned, the words admin and paperwork, take note of all of those unsavory thoughts and feelings that bubble up to the surface. Because at worst, the prospect of dealing with endless paperwork can kill your motivation altogether. And at best, it's just a time sucking pain in the butt. So our friends at freshbooks know this and they can help you in a big way. freshbooks makes ridiculously easy cloud accounting software that's perfect for creatives who need to spend more time creating and less of their time buried in paperwork, you can create invoices in seconds. With two clicks, you can set yourself up to receive payments online. If your clients forget to pay you freshbooks Well, they're going to handle the awkwardness with customizable late payment reminders. And freshbooks can even show you whether or not a client has looked at the invoice you've emailed. So truthfully, this is only a tiny fraction of what freshbooks can do to really change how you feel about dealing with your paperwork. to claim your unrestricted 30 day free trial. Go to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section.

Emily Thompson 1:49
Jada Giada sellner is the host of the lead with love podcast international keynote and TEDx speaker redefining the way we work lead and love. As the co founder of simple green smoothies featured in Oprah's o magazine and the Wall Street Journal serial entrepreneur and online community growth strategist Giada built a community of 355,000 email subscribers and 415 Instagram followers. With a simple and inspiring model Jada dedicates her time consulting companies and personal brands to build communities with love, service and impact.

Kathleen Shannon 2:29
Alright, let's do this thing. Uh, we have a Jada sellner on a Jada, we are so excited to finally have you on being boss. Thank you. Thank you. I'm excited to jam with you. And I just saw on your website that you were shy to correct people on your name. It's Giada rhymes with product right? Yes. And nada. And nada. That's so funny. I you know, I used to be shy about correcting people. And now I'm cuz I get Kathy or Katherine a lot. It's Kathleen. Yeah, say my name.

Jadah Sellner 3:02
I feel like since I updated that on my website, I got the bravery to actually correct people. And I have the story of I used to not correct people, and they would be calling me jaida for many years. And then every now and then, because people get like, oops, oh my gosh, there's they're so sorry. And I'm like, I don't want you to feel bad. I just want you to know, this is how you say my name.

Kathleen Shannon 3:25
Well, you're doing everyone a favor by telling them how to say your name. So Jada, I first came across you and your work whenever you were doing simple green smoothies, which has is a smashing success. So do you mind giving us the rundown of like how that became such a booming success and how it fits into your life and business model now? Yeah. So

Jadah Sellner 3:48
you know, I first started, I've been an entrepreneur for almost 10 years now my daughter was 18 months when I started my first business and realized I didn't want to do a brick and mortar business. And so I met my friend and then business partner, Jen Hansard at a mom's group and through meetup.com, and we ended up starting a parenting blog called family sponge, and we were drinking green smoothies. And I just started sharing green smoothie recipes on Instagram. I had a friend that was on Instagram sharing healthy recipes. And she's like, you should share your green smoothie recipes on Instagram. And I was just like, No, I don't like not another social media platform. What was hot then was like Twitter and Facebook and all of that, but I kind of succumb to that. And I'm glad I did. And I think it's so often the things that we resist, that we finally given to her like, Oh, yes, that did work. And so we ended up growing Instagram from zero followers to 30,000 followers in six months. And simple green smoothies was never supposed to be its own business. It was just kind of sharing green smoothie recipes for this parenting ebook about green smoothies that we were going to share on our blog. But when we saw the momentum, the feedback The resonance then we knew like Jen had to like speedy create a website, simple green smoothies calm and buy. That was in 2012. And we hosted a free 30 day green smoothie challenge, where we grew our email list from 2000 email subscribers to 30,000 email subscribers. And we thought it was a fluke, like New Year new you. And then we launched the challenge three months later, doubled our email list to 60,000. We had 200,000 subscribers by the end of a year. And then we had grown our email list at 355,000 email subscribers. And this was without paid advertising without affiliate posting, or even guest posting, we really focused our energy on on that one platform of Instagram. And then Facebook was our secondary, and just sharing the green smoothie lot love, and a way that had a lot of energy, good branding, you know, we were young hip moms that didn't have any nutritionist degrees or backgrounds and really leading from love and building that business.

Emily Thompson 6:03
I love that this is such a story of like the wild wild west of the internet, where you don't know what's going to work until it works. And then the possibilities are endless. And usually things that you could never imagine being the thing that worked so much. I want to talk a little bit about that resistance. Because I feel like that's something I know Kathleen, and I run into this sometimes like there are things that we feel like we should be doing, or the others feel like we should be doing or whatever it may be. And I often find that resistance. It could go either way, either resistance is there, because you don't need to do it. Or resistance is there because you need to do it. Can you speak a little bit about your or any times that you've sort of hit that resistance getting on Instagram may have been one of those. But when it's ended up being either the wrong or the right thing to do?

Jadah Sellner 6:59
Yeah, so I know something that you guys talk a lot about is values and alignment. And so we can get caught up in the shoulds. Because I don't think that you should be on every social media platform, or people are like, what do I need to do to be on Instagram, that's the hottest newest thing. And it's sometimes not in alignment with how you want to express your voice in the world, or even where your people are hanging out. So you don't want to chase the hot trendy? Should you really have to pay attention to the energy of yourself. So does this feel restrictive. And like, you know, I'm contracting from doing it versus like, this is really expansive, but also scary. And that was really for me, the fear in that was about time and bandwidth, right? Being a mom and not having a lot of time and resources. It's like I'm already at capacity. But at the same time, I wasn't creating the results that I wanted to create yet. So we have to create new opportunities, we can't keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So whether it was Instagram, whether it's I had to make a shift, take some imperfect action towards something. Otherwise I was going to keep getting the same results. And so really paying attention to the resistance, is it more of like fear, I'm scared sighted or nerve sighted like this could be fun. But I'm also scared about like, what if it doesn't end up the way that I want it versus like this is actually out of alignment. And it feels like a chore. And I don't want to. And I think for people when they are sharing their voices on social media platforms, don't be on a platform where it feels like a chore chore. You really need to feel expansive and excited and passionate and lit up in order to get your message across. Because it's just gonna fall flat. If you're like, I don't want to do Instagram, I guess I'll repurpose these posts and put them here and it's in the notes. And it's an after that it's not going to land, it's not going to resonate with a person on the other side.

Kathleen Shannon 8:50
So I find so many success stories being contributed to there being a hole in the market and then filling that hole. But for you all it seems like this is just what we're into. And maybe there was being at the right place at the right time with both green smoothies. You know, I mean, you definitely popularize that idea, but kind of hooking into that and then also being in the right place at the right time as far as the growth of Instagram as well. But beyond that, because we all know that that's a factor. Do you think anything else contributed to toward that doubling and then doubling again?

Jadah Sellner 9:26
Yeah, so there's a couple things. The first thing that I want to say is I actually was looking at the gaps in the marketplace. So with green smoothies, I knew who the people were in the industry, and you know, they tend to have an older white women who are kind of like very clinical and I would just watch their videos and it would be so boring. But then I would go to their websites and see on their comments. People would say, you know, the recipes would say a handful of this, a pinch of that. And I remember as a green smoothie, newbie, I'm like, wait, I can't like I can't do a handful I need exact measurements because I cannot taste this kale or I'm going to barf. And so I was paying attention that other people felt the same way. So we were actually the first to share exact measurements of like two cups of this, one cup of this, a quarter of this, a teaspoon of that and getting really specific. And then all of the images were stock photos of like green juice in a glass that was just like lawnmower pulp and a glass and it was a stock photo. And so I had my you know, crappy iPhone. At that time, I think it was like an iPhone three. And I was just taking pictures on my kitchen table of the raw ingredients. So showcasing the vibrant red strawberries, and the orange mango and red was like so hot on Instagram back in 2013. Like any red photo, people were just like, like, like, like, like, like, so.

Kathleen Shannon 10:51
He's hilarious. Now it's selfies. Yeah, a photo of your face, you're going to get a million likes.

Jadah Sellner 10:58
So that was something that we paid attention to was like, hey, when instead of using that we didn't have any certifications, or college degrees around health and wellness, we would actually use that to our advantage and be like Ward, just like you were young moms who just want to get leafy greens and vegetables into our kids bodies. And for us to have more energy. So I actually was looking at the gap in the marketplace of what could we do differently? How could we stand out online and use what normally we would use as a reason to not do something like I don't have enough degree, they don't have enough education to actually lean into that as a superpower of ours. Oh,

Kathleen Shannon 11:37
I love that so much. And then what about the growth factor?

Jadah Sellner 11:40
Yeah, so a big piece of the growth, I definitely think timing, you know, getting into the wild, wild west, before people were all planted there definitely gave us an extra edge. But I've seen people several years after grow to 100,000 followers. And it's really about not just posting content, and not just consuming content, but actually connecting with other people online. And I think people miss that piece of the puzzle of like, Where are your dream people hanging out, and being able to like and comment and engage without expecting anything in return. It's just that level of awareness. So I was doing a lot of engaging with other influencers with just everyday people so that they can learn about our Instagram account. And then the 30 day green smoothie challenge was definitely what grew, our community grew our email list grew that word of mouth marketing is we made something free and valuable. I always say make your free opt in better than someone's paid offer. Like we literally legit after we did our first challenge, we're like, we should charge for this people are losing weight. They're you know, eating more vegetables, and that you actually want your free thing to be that good, where you're like we should charge for it. Because then you're building that trust, and you're helping people achieve a small, easy win, that they're like, I'm ready for the next step. I'm ready to invest in myself, tell me more. And then that's when you can actually create an offer where you can serve them on a deeper level. And that's what we did was we created a 21 day cleanse. We ended up doing an $86,000 in 10 days, and that just changed our lives forever.

Kathleen Shannon 13:18
so incredible. And so are you still doing simple green smoothies?

Jadah Sellner 13:23
No. So I actually in 2016, I exited my company, I sold my half to my friend and business partner, Jen Hansard, and she actually just launched the second book, Simple Green meals actually, recently, and I'm so proud of her. And I actually helped write that second book proposal, you know, our agents, you know, they shopped our book, again, it was a very high book deal advance, and I knew that I was not going to write that second book, like I knew, you know, I'm not passionate about green smoothies, I'm passionate about helping people. And I always say that I'm a walking billboard for good, and the world and whenever I learned something that I have to share it with the rest of the world. And I did that with green smoothies. And then I was on to the next thing of being able to help other people build their communities online from a place of leading with love. And so it felt like I was shopping for a house with my soon to be ex husband like I know I'm not gonna live in this house. And this is awesome. And it was such a big thing for me to step away from that because I'm like, Wait, is this a sign Should I stay another year but I actually have been thinking for a couple of years of exiting the company because I really wanted to speak and share my message of really, you know, taking imperfect action saying your dreams out loud and being able to build a community with love.

Kathleen Shannon 14:43
Okay, but so many questions. Yeah, because even you telling this story you're you have a smile on your face. You're so vibrant and radiant, but hearing you tell that story made me a little nauseous like did you have any sort of FOMO or Did you have any resistance like absolutely, actually quitting? And then how did you know that that was the right decision? How did you know when to quit?

Jadah Sellner 15:07
Yeah, I didn't. And I didn't know if it was the right decision. 2016 was probably one of the hardest years of my life because I actually finally like, yes, I'm going to exit. I remember talking to my friend and mentor Jonathan fields, and I was, you know, he, I'd been on his podcast with Jen and all of these different things. And I was like, do you think I'm crazy for leaving the company? And he was just like, you're asking the wrong question. The question is, can magic strike twice? And the answer is yes. And so that really let me lean into the uncertainty of what would happen next. But I just knew, you know, I would do launches. I'm like, this isn't where my heart is anymore. I'm ready for that next chapter. And I don't know what it's going to look like on the other side. And so that was really scary. Because I built a, you know, we had generated seven figures in sales, and I had a multiple six figure and personal income that I was taking home from me and my family. So to step away from that was really scary, really scary. Like I you know, I have a family and a husband and I, he quit his job of 13 years, I'm the primary breadwinner. So there was a lot of fear around that. And also, I just Oprah benched like crazy, when in doubt, I watch all the Oprah videos over and over again. And I really just had to surrender to that calling to that whisper that just kept getting louder and louder. I'm like, I can't not do this work. I can't not step into this next evolution and figure it out.

Kathleen Shannon 16:40
And Are y'all still friends? You and your old partner? Yeah, we got this super personal. But like, whenever I think about this, like I think about being boss, and Emily and like, what would happen if one of us got that calling? Like, I would want to be BFF forever. But whenever something like that happens, it's like, how do you navigate that personal and professional split up?

Jadah Sellner 17:01
Yeah, I think for us, you know, we were I read my three year vision to her that was kind of my coming out party of like, I'm ready to step away. And that was really helpful for her to see that it had nothing to do with the company. It had everything to do with a calling. And so you know, we really planted the intention of how can we separate in the most loving way with integrity and we're business wifey so it was like a divorce, you know, your your revenue and valuing all of these pieces and buyouts and so many moving pieces and telling the team It was not easy. It was very challenging. And I can say like, we both had supportive people in our corner during that time. And our vision intention is like to celebrate each other. Like we'll be cheering each other on being able to do those big pieces in the world. And we really hold that vision for each other.

Kathleen Shannon 17:51
That's so beautiful. That is that gave me cold chills. Go Kathleen. Oh, well, I've got another Emily every time you say cold chills I imagined like being scared whenever I think what you mean or like warm, like goosebumps, like happy. I don't know the word for it, though. Like whenever I think about a cold shell, I think about a ghost walking, right? No.

Emily Thompson 18:15
That definitely wasn't what that was.

Kathleen Shannon 18:19
Anyway, so I one more thing before we move on, because I want to talk about how what you learned and picked up at simple green smoothies, probably informed your next steps and how you started engaging with community and building community and helping other people build community. But before we get there, I want to talk about that casual Jonathan fields is my mentor. How do you get such cool friends and mentors like Jonathan fields? Yeah,

Jadah Sellner 18:46
so from a Wu perspective, I always say I'm new to woo, I'm like part woo part strategy. I'm really connecting with people that I authentically want to have a relationship with. So I never look to build relationships with people because there's something I can get or take or like climb a ladder. So I really look for people that their values align with mine. And I'm like, would I go on vacation with this person. So that's like my first filter of building relationships with people not because they have some type of following or reach, then it can come from a very authentic place. And for me, I actually found Jonathan, Google stalking Marie like I went through Marie Forleo through B school. And so I was like watching one of her interviews, and then I went down the good life project, funnel, a rabbit hole. And he had a two day immersion that I ended up going to and it's funny because this was in 2013, I had hired a business coach and I also went to this two day immersion with Jonathan fields. And I was talking about I want to work with women in building their businesses. And this is when simple green smoothies was literally just taking off. So this seed for this next chapter had been in me for several years, even while our company was growing. book deals and all of that. And so that two day weekend, I remember being you know, as a 12 person mastermind, we had hot seats. And you know, he would just be like, everything that Giada said is exactly what I would say. And so that was really kind of where our friendship developed. You know, he was my mentor and coach in that moment. But I put myself out there, I said, if you ever need someone to speak at any of your events, he was doing a live event, I would love to speak about building community online. And he's like, of course. So I think a big thing is what a lot of people don't know, I put myself out there. And I asked for things, you know, people just expect like these speaking opportunities to come out of nowhere, you know, and Jonathan field was actually that dot that connected to me being able to speak at World Domination summit in front of 3000 people, which was my first keynote, and it was because he saw me speak at his event, and then said, Would you like to speak at Chris Gilbert's event, and I was like, h E, double hockey,

Kathleen Shannon 20:59
hockey sticks. Yes.

Jadah Sellner 20:59
So it's just been so many dots that continually Connect. And I think if you have a mentor or someone that you look up to, don't be afraid to invest in their live events, or their programs and become their star student, to really be noticed. And that I think that has been really helpful. And anytime you can meet someone offline, who you admire online, the connection is accelerated so much quicker. And I know I give shout outs to people, because I met them in person versus someone that's like just interacting and messaging online. And it would also throw in like I was on Marie Forleo, as a case study, you know, one of her B school students, and I sent an email to her as well, like, Hey, here's the wins that I created, I would fly to New York. So it's like being able to go above and beyond and developing that relationship that I do a lot. As I just put myself out there, I asked, and I have a high intention of what I want, with low attachment of the outcome and the results that will happen on the other side.

Kathleen Shannon 22:06
I love that so much. I think that one of my biggest fears in in all of this is probably the fear of rejection, like I sometimes hate even launching an offering because what if nobody buys it or asking someone if I can speak at their event? Because what if they say no. And I think that the way that you frame that up makes it so much more about how you can help how you can go above and beyond and less about how is this going to be damaging to my ego?

Jadah Sellner 22:36
Yeah, and I think it's also being aware of boundaries as well. So if you think you know, I know you guys have a very busy schedule, and you have to say no to people, but your intention isn't to be mean, or like that person sucks at whatever they have to share with the world. But you can't say yes to everyone who's going to be on the podcast, right? your intention is pure, and also your time is limited. And so I know my intention, when I say no to someone, it's not because I think they're a sucky person. So when someone says no to me, or doesn't respond to an email, I don't take it personally because I just put myself in their shoes, and I totally get it.

Kathleen Shannon 23:09
Okay, I want to start digging into community building, because this is the thing that has been top of mind for me and Emily here at being boss. and building a community is the best byproduct that we could have never expected whenever it came to being boss, but then intentionally growing that and sustaining it and showing up and being seen in that is a little bit trickier than just, I don't know, launching a Facebook group, right? So I want to talk to you, I want to spend the rest of this time just talking about building community and engaging and community. And really what that is. So now you're passionate about building community and feel free to share with our listeners what it is that you're doing now to actually do that, like with your work. Yeah, but um, yeah, let's start there, like so what are you doing now today?

Jadah Sellner 23:59
Yeah, so I you know, I have a course that I created called build your challenge. And I have like a free step by step roadmap checklist, if they go to build your challenge calm, which really breaks down the step by step process of engaging your community creating a free experience, that they actually get small, easy wins and results, to build your email list to build the community and engage them from a place of service versus selling first, and I do believe that selling is service. But sometimes we get swayed and things get foggy and our intentions where it's like all about the money. And we forget about the humans and the beating hearts behind those numbers. So I always like to really bring it back to that place. And that perspective, because I know as creative visionaries and entrepreneurs like impact is really important to us making a difference is really important. But then also making a living is important too. And so those lines can get fuzzy sometimes, but if you always focus on serving first, how can I contribute? How can I add as much value Without asking for anything in return, that's where relationships are nurtured. And where people don't feel like something, it's like just take take take, it's about giving first, and then being open to what comes. And I think you said it perfectly. It's like, we built a community, and it's given back to us. And we didn't even expect that, you know, the unexpected comes from when we don't have an attachment to what people will do in return of how much we give. And then another way that I work with women is I have an online incubator where we meet in person for retreats. And then we connect in online co working and strategy, specifically with women who don't want to compromise their health, their relationships and their sanity, while they're building businesses in a more holistic way. And that piece, I just really geek out on that we cannot forget, like who we are the whole woman behind a business, as we're building these empires at whatever scale that we want to do. And so I get really passionate about people serving from their selves first, like filling themselves up before serving others and being able to serve from the overflow.

Kathleen Shannon 26:07
Okay, I have a question about connecting, because as you build your list to 350,000, or you know, even 20,000, it can start to feel, you can start to get spread thin, if you feel like you need to connect with every single person. And I know for me, being Boss, I feel the most guilty whenever I can do that. And it's almost like I would rather shut it down to not be able to connect with every single person in an incredibly meaningful way. Do you have any advice or insights around that?

Jadah Sellner 26:36
I really do. Yes. So I think a big piece for people when they when communities scale, and I do believe that you can scale love and business is hiring team. So hiring a community Ambassador that has that same level of care and empathy and understanding that you do that would leave that meaningful response for them. And it can be from the being boss community, you know, so we would say peace, love and leafy greens, Jen, Jada, and the rock star team. And so and then we would let our community happiness specialists actually sign off like, Hey, this is Trish or this is whoever This is Jesse, so that they know it's not me, it's not Jen. So we get this feeling of like, they only want me and it's like what they really want. When you build a passionate community. They want community and connection with other people. And they believe in the values that you're taking a stand for. And so you're just hiring a team that still represents that same level of values and vision that you do, and that level of care that you would do. So from a tangible perspective, one thing that we would have his a shared Google Doc, so of all those typical questions that would come in over and over again, and it's like, this is how we would respond to a question like this. And it's a living, breathing document that you just keep adding those questions. But then you can search in there and see, has that question been answered? Here's how they would answer it. And then they can put their own flavor and love into it. The same thing with a Facebook group community, we had a paid Facebook community, we had public Facebook Page of over 300,000, Facebook fans, 400,000 followers on Instagram. And we, you know, started with one community happiness specialist. And then we went up to three, that were kind of managing all of those comments and emails. And I believe that when you look at social media, or you look at building community online, that that is like your customer service, as well. It's the entire customer service experience. And that is the heart of your business. And actually, I did an event right now for screw the nine to five and I talked to the customer service woman, I'm like you are the heart of the business. She's like, I just feel like I'm answering the same emails over and over again. And like no, like you are the first line of like defense of like people coming. That's their first touch point in your brand and your business. And so I just think there's such a beautiful art to being able to engage. And one thing that I stand for is no comment left behind. And I know you're like I'm missing emails, I'm not responding, I feel guilty. You need a team of people that will respond for you. So that guilt will just go away. And you have a team that's doing that. And if you think about it, that's where the word of mouth comes from. That's where your loyal customers come from, is when they have a beyond excellent experience with you versus just status quo. No one talks about that they talk about shitty experiences, or they talk about you know, excellent experiences. But for people that are just doing the do without any extra, your people aren't going to spread the word about your company and experience and how they felt versus like what they they did or bought.

Emily Thompson 29:40
I want to talk a little bit about where community lives and maybe even what it is because you've hit on a couple of different places I think where you can build community, whether that's Facebook or on your Instagram feed or your newsletter, but I highly that's the gray area for me where they Connecting with you, but they're not connecting with each other whenever they are on your newsletter list. So tell us about some of the places where you found it either most easy or fulfilling or efficient and effective to build community and what that can look like.

Jadah Sellner 30:16
Yeah, so I like to define community is like the ABCs of love, like everyone wants to feel acknowledged, they want to feel a sense of belonging, and they want to feel connection. And it's because it's the same desire that we have as humans, like, we want that those feelings. And for me, I look at the different platforms. So I say, show your dance moves on the dance floor, which is social media, where you're kind of that's the party right, where you're engaging and connecting with everybody. And then I look at your blog or your website that's like your house, your home, or you're inviting people in, you have a welcome mat Come inside, I have like a free like a little order for you, or whatever that is. And then when you invite someone into your bedroom, that's your email list. That's where you're having the private one to one conversations. So if you can look at it from that place, newsletters, definitely not the community, the community is happening when you're on the dance floor. So that's on Facebook, on Instagram, on YouTube are conversations back and forth. Engagement can be happening, or inside a Facebook group or even offline in person. That's where the community is happening. And what I see so many people do is they kind of try to fast forward straight to the bedroom without building that relationship and a safe place and being able to build that community online. Like imagine if you were dancing with somebody, you know, and he's like, hey, do you want to see my dance moves? And you're like, sure. And he's like, well, in order to see my dance moves, you have to come to my bedroom. And like just taking details straight off. I think it's important that we add so much value there where the community is, but so often as bloggers, that's a big mistake that I see people make. It's a mistake that we made with simple green smoothies. Like if you want a recipe, come to our house, come to our website, like get off, where they're having the party, and you actually want to add as much value tips recipes, on the actual platform where they're hanging out to build that relationship, that connection and community.

Kathleen Shannon 32:15
Who that's great. Okay, but then what about paid community? So that's an exclusive club where people can see your moves on the dance floor. Where does that fit into that analogy? Yeah.

Jadah Sellner 32:26
Well, it's interesting. I think that would be like the private VIP. invitation into into that place of like,

Kathleen Shannon 32:36
they're probably in your bedroom. right then. Then you're like, but I got a whole other dance club in my base. Right? Right. When it comes to see,

Jadah Sellner 32:45
which is so funny. I just recorded a podcast about how I met Prince and got to see him perform. He has a he had a club in his basement in Hollywood. It was crazy.

Kathleen Shannon 32:53
No, that's exactly who I was thinking of. And it writes at that too, because I was like, that sounds really shady. But I feel like I'm thinking of Prince right now.

Jadah Sellner 33:00
He totally had a club in his basement, like you take an elevator down. Yeah, so and I think that's one of the most powerful places to build a community is when everyone is choosing n, right? They're like saying, yes, there's boundaries and agreements, and expectations that you can communicate upfront. So actually, paid communities are one of my favorite because everyone is kind of signing on the dotted line or the financial line, like we are all in congruence with what this community stands for. And we know that we're going to be with like hearted people that we can really get a lot of information and resource resources with and encourage and share with one another.

Kathleen Shannon 33:42
Yes, a million times. Yes. And I feel like this is we got a little bit of not flack, but I think that people are disappointed whenever we closed our Facebook group and it was around 25,000 people, and it was just really hard on resources and it didn't feel quite right. And there I think there was something about Facebook throwing it into their algorithms and just randos joining and so that was a little bit frustrating and that's why the idea of a paid community even if it's not super expensive feels really ideal because you're saying we're all here for a reason. So I want to go to the boundaries and expectations and how you communicate those what are some really like how do you do it like what are some typical boundaries and expectations you do set for a paid community?

Jadah Sellner 34:32
Yeah, so you know a big thing obviously having it on the group description of what is allowed what isn't and really what you take a stand for. So if there's anything that you like we don't if you are going to be hurtful or sake unkind things or something that's inappropriate, you know, maybe there's there's just people get very sensitive, right? So you kind of share those things up front of like, we will either private message you or this is terms for removing someone from a group And what I want to say about boundaries and rules and guidelines is that your boundaries are a living, breathing piece of work that sometimes we don't know if a boundary has been violated until it's happened. So we're constantly as humans, as leading communities online, we're learning about what works for us and what doesn't. And so you have permission to update those group guidelines at any time. And I think it's really important that you share what you're okay with what you're not okay with. And then being able to say, here's the steps that we'll take so that when an occurrence happens, no one's surprised. And I always say to private message, someone if they knew boundaries violated that was not communicated upfront to private message them, delete that post and say, Here's why we deleted it. And are you okay, moving forward, we're going to update our agreements to acknowledge this piece of what we're going to, you know, communicate moving forward, I think that's really important. But as women, I think it's important to know that you have permission to for your preferences to change, and sometimes you don't know all your preferences until it actually happens. And it's the same thing with SLP, like standard operating procedures as well, if you were to hire a team member, you know, really like, Oh, you didn't do it, right. And now I have to fire you. And it's like, No, it's just communicating preferences that you actually didn't even know existed until it happened. And it's not that someone did something wrong, because they didn't know that that was a rule. But now you know, it's a rule for yourself. And now let's share this updated new information and then update the agreements. From there.

Emily Thompson 36:36
I want to talk about this deleting comments thing, because I think this is the kind of thing that rattles a lot of people up. And some people are very hardline did never delete anything, because everyone has the freedom to say whatever they want. And I tend to disagree with those people quite a lot. And then if you come into my house, or even my club, or you know, my bedroom, especially, I get to say what hangs out in that place or not. So I love that you just said that. And I would love to hear your reasoning for saying that you can delete things. Yeah,

Jadah Sellner 37:09
yeah, I'm in agreement with that. That it's your home. It's the community that you're curating. And so you do have, you know, permission to delete, as long as you know, I think were not deleting as long as people are doing it with respect, and kindness and curiosity. I think it's okay to disagree with people, or to share that hurt has happened to have those pieces in place. But when something is violating what you stand for, and the energy, like if it's positivity, and love, and all of those things, then and someone is being mean to one of someone in your community that you value, you have to speak up for them and being able to like, we don't like that bad juju is not okay here. And being able to have a conversation offline about that, I think is totally okay. And everyone again, these are all preferences, right? So you and I, maybe in the agreement, that deleting comments is okay. But I understand if someone wanted to keep them for as long as people were communicating with kindness, curiosity, and respect, that's different. But if people are actually being mean, and like, removing the humanity from somebody, then it's like, that is not okay, here is not okay to hurt people, and my community at my party at my house, and you have permission to do that. And when you do that, you also have to take the repercussions of what will happen on the other side of that, because everyone has their own perspective, their own perception and preferences of how to handle that. And so whenever you're standing up for a boundary, you also have to be okay with how people respond to them. When they don't like them. And as women, we want to be liked, we want to be loved, we want to be accepted. And that can be really, really hard.

Emily Thompson 39:02
Amen to all of that. Thank you.

Kathleen Shannon 39:05
I'm curious about more of the gray areas because for me, and this, especially I experienced this in the Facebook group where I was like, I only have one kid because I never want to referee a fight ever. Like it is just I'm so interested in it. And there were so many gray areas where, you know, someone would say something slightly off, and then it would blow up and I don't know, or it would stay really nuanced. And I don't I just felt under qualified all around. So like how do you know to like to police a community right now. And so I'm curious how you handle that or if people ever go beyond your community director and go to you and they're like, this thing happened. How do you manage that? Yeah, I

Jadah Sellner 39:49
think a big part of that right is is really stepping into your leadership and being okay if people don't like the role so I can give an example of with my daughter, you know, you You know, there's things that we say, are not allowed at this time or, and I will say there'll be some times where you don't like me, and I'm okay with that, because my intention is to keep you safe. And there's some things that I know that you don't know. And so that's just what's going to happen. So it's like giving yourself permission to not be liked, I think is part of the process. Because basically someone if they weave around to the other side, you obviously have to have the conversation. But it's saying, This is my intention. And this is the decision that we're making moving forward. And I completely understand if this doesn't work for you, and then this community no longer serves you. But this is what's true for me right now. Thank you for sharing the information with me, I really appreciate it, I will take it into consideration. I'm only human, I'm still learning and what I feel in my gut and my heart right now is to move forward in this way. And I get it. If that doesn't work for you right now. And I just want you to know if anything shifts, or changes like you, we are always welcome to welcome you back into our community with open arms and love and all of that good stuff.

Kathleen Shannon 41:07
And I think it's that transparency part. For me, that would probably be really helpful. It's just saying, Listen, I've got to make a call here, and I'm making the best call. I can I hope you understand. And it's okay. And I understand if you don't get it, yeah, no. And if I'm not like because of it, that's fine. I'm literally doing the best I can. And but let's, let's move to some other stuff.

Emily Thompson 41:32
We're just getting you to coach us. Right, right.

Kathleen Shannon 41:34
I feel like this is like all worst case scenario. But the kind of stuff that like keeps people from maybe wanting to start a community because of all of that juggling. And I want to talk a little bit about creating community with intention and with a mission and really bringing the positive aspects of what it is that you are really wanting to create into your community. Yeah.

Jadah Sellner 41:59
So I think a big piece of that, and we keep coming back to those values of what do you stand for? Like, what is the intention of this community? You know, if really visioning like an ideal outcome, this is what this community would look like is people are sharing resources. They're celebrating each other. So having a clear vision of how you would like that community to be, and then operating from that place. I just love you know, Oprah. And it's always about intention. It's like, what is it that you want? And so often people say that they want to build these thriving global online community of millions of people. But you can make such a big impact with 10 people in your community. And I think we're getting a little bit lost on these vanity metrics that lose the heart and soul of your why. So just thinking about why do I want to build a community? Are you even a community builder at heart, so really getting clear, what's the true intention and outcome that you're wanting from the community, because if you're saying, I want to build a community, so I can monetize my business, it's going to be a little bit difficult to build a community, because community is about connection. It's about people connecting heart to heart, having like minded values, being able to share and be with each other and acknowledge and that's, I just, I think people are missing what community really means. And using it, as you know, and sometimes I get this fear of like teaching people how to build a challenge to build a community to make money. And it's like, but we have to really come back to the heart of the intention, and what's the outcome that you're wanting Is it because you want to connect and get a message out there that you can't not share with other people. And that comes from a much more truer place, and not be in this place of like, I need to monetize this community, it's really got to be about service. And so there's so many people, you know, in the business world that will say, you know, 10, or 1000 people have buyers is more important than 100,000, freeloaders. And I just think that that's wrong, because I think that it's so important for us that we have these gifts to share with the world, and that we have different ways to share it. So I think about like, you know, a podcast is a free resource to share with people and, and knowing that like, this is my free gift to the world. And then you can have paid offers. But those green smoothie challenges we knew not everyone was going to buy or like this is our free service to the world to really make a difference and an impact in other people's lives. And being able to do it from that place. And so we're okay, if not 355,000 people buy from us, we're okay if a small percentage want to go deeper. And anytime people would complain, you know about like, oh, why don't you just make this free. And it's like, here's all the free resources that we do have that you can get tons of transformation and results in your life. And I always say if you want to, you know, make a million dollars help a million people first. And that doesn't mean sell to a million people. It means just helping a big group of people without Feeling like, again, needing to get something in return from them.

Kathleen Shannon 45:04
So good, so important, whenever someone's thinking about building a community, and they're thinking of those first 10 people, or those first 100 people or that first 1000 people, and that's probably huge dreaming for some people, when that might feel small fright what you've been able to create in your business and with the people that you help, how do you find those people? Yeah, so

Jadah Sellner 45:27
I always talk about, like, tiny tribe tips, like being able to build your community in that way. And one thing that I say is PT with, which is other people's tribes, so being this is a great way to learn about the gap in the marketplace of how you can serve a community that you're excited to serve. So just seeing people who have already built community around the type of people that you would like to serve, and seeing what areas are they not fulfilling, that they still need help with? So that was kind of what I was paying attention to in the comments, right? So it's like, okay, I can add value and contribute in this way by sharing exact recipe measurements, like who are things people are not talking about an example with you guys with being boss, you are sharing more of the vulnerable, transparent mindset that goes on behind building the bills business that no one talks about, right? It's like, I've got to be an expert, I've got to be a strategist, I've got to be perfect, I can't have it not all figured out. And I think you guys actually counter that. And like, we're going to share the mess and the stuff that's going on behind the scenes that no one talks about. And so you're feeling and you're filling a need that people are desiring of that connection, and relatability. So being able to pay attention to that you can look at other people's tribes of what questions are being asked that aren't being answered or where they not being served, is a great way. And then also not denying accessing your current community of friends and family. I know. It's small beans, but in 2012, right before we started our Instagram account with simple green smoothies, you know, the person that was commenting on our family sponge Facebook page, you know, there was joy, Joan, and she's like, love this and like, that's my mom. And then. And then my, my cousin Alex, who wasn't married, didn't have any kids was just like sharing. Like, it's great, not just for parents, but adults, too, like it was, you know, so we Oh, I always say we all start at zero. And so don't focus on the metrics. And like how many people you can serve in the beginning, really focus on the message and the mission first, and get resonance from 10 people, those first 10 people, and it might be friends and family, like our first testimonials, were friends and family like, hey, do you guys want to try this, this, you know, recipe meal plan that we created, give us some feedback and your first testimonials, and then we can swap them out. There's still real people that get real results, but we're using our inner circle of people we are already connected with. And then another way is actually again, circling back to meeting people offline. So if you meet people in person, they're more likely to share you with their community. So an example I had a friend who had a choir yoga and fitness, she had like just a few 100 people on her Instagram account. But I had a real genuine relationship with her outside. So there, I wasn't trying to get anything from her. I wasn't. And I was just like, No, I just want to give you a shout out. And she grew to like over 2500 followers. And you know, we had a lot of followers at that time. But it's those offline connections that can actually leverage the online communities that you're building. And just not focusing on the metrics. First, I always say love over metrics lead with love first and let the numbers follow. So I've launched my podcast in this year. And I don't look at the stats at all. I'm not numbers driven. So I'm really like, I'm just going to put this message out there and just see what sticks. I don't care how many people but each person that comments connects shares, I'm going to send them a personal video, I'm going to connect with them. That's actually the blessing of having a small community is you can do a lot more personal touch things to more people, which will then build those raving loyal fans that will spread the word about you whether they buy from you or not. They're going to be the people that are the ambassadors for your brand.

Emily Thompson 49:24
That is truth. And I I really connect with what you're saying around really focusing on that small tribe first. I think that so many people go into especially online business and they're looking at everyone on social media and all of these, like grow your list of 50,000 people webinars and all of these things and they put so much energy into growing numbers fast that they put no energy into nurturing the people who are actually there. And I do think that that is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make. Because it is those first people, and it's those people who were there interacting with you, who will be the catalyst for all that growth on a level that no webinar will ever take you.

Jadah Sellner 50:11
Yes, I completely agree. And, you know, even though we were able to grow our community to over a million followers, now I have a different mission, you know, is I want to help 1000 women reach 1000 true fans, and you can still create a million dollar business from that. And it's a ripple effect impact. And I just, I think it's cool to it's like sexy and cool to say all these big numbers, but it doesn't really have true meaning behind it. And unless you're really connecting to the people behind those numbers.

Kathleen Shannon 50:44
I love it so much. What do you think are some exciting opportunities that small business owners have right now, whenever it comes to building a community?

Jadah Sellner 50:54
Yeah, I would say the personal connection, like the video outreach, even in direct messages, is an opportunity for people or even in emails, really, that small personal touch, is is a way that you can scale love. And the cool thing is, you know, when we want to build businesses where we want to leverage our time, you can build a team of people who do that for you. So I, I used to do all my enrollment calls all my sales calls, and now I have my right hand on my team does them and there's still the same level of love, and connection and energy. But then I will still send a personal video like, Hey, thank you so much for your application, those different things, or if someone you know, gives me a shout out on Instagram, from a podcast episode, I will actually send them a private direct message and send them a personal video saying thank you so much for taking the time to share. You know, what was your biggest takeaway? What did you find valuable? So it's that extra one personal outreach, and that personal touch? And, you know, with online, using video creates the the deepest level of connection from an online perspective, but then going a level deeper and asking questions that keep the conversation going, because people are always talking about, but how do I engage my audience? How do I keep in it's like, ask them questions, you have to engage them, you know, it can't just be like kissy emoji and then moving on. Like, you have to have a real conversation with people. Like Imagine if you just, you could not nurture that with your spouse or your partner where you're just like, emoji emoji emoji, like, you can't build an authentic relationship from that

Kathleen Shannon 52:27
place, like more emojis from my husband. I'm just gonna throw that out.

Emily Thompson 52:32
Kathleen, can can grow a real relationship with an emoji guy?

Kathleen Shannon 52:37
I'm not trying to be contrary, but maybe emojis are my love language. I would say I would say yes. You all have ever gotten an emoji from me. That's big love right there. No, I'm just kidding. But yeah, I love that that is really about, you know, asking questions and continuing the conversation. And it's not hard.

Jadah Sellner 52:56
Yeah. And then another opportunity, again, to kind of expand on that is actually hopping on the call with prospects, potential clients, even new customers, again, that personal outreach, especially when you have a small community. And being able when someone even buys an online course, or signs up for your program, surprise them with a phone call, and like, thank you so much for purchasing this purchasing this, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, I so appreciate it. And then you also have an extra opportunity in that conversation, to do some market research as well. So you can say, why did you join like now that you're on the other side of the buying decision? what compelled you to sign up, I'm so curious. And now you're starting to get information and these themes that show up from actual buyers. So you know, we kind of survey our audience of non buyers, but then to start serving your community of people who actually invest in you, you start to find out the recurring themes of like, Oh, this is the message that they're resonating with. And I didn't even know that was the thing that got them on the other side of Yes. And so I just, I think in this world, we're so quick to automate. And I say that you can't outsource connection and you can't automate authenticity. You know, we still even if we have these cool funnels that are automated and all of these tech tools and software's to make things more efficient, and and save us time, we are still humans, and we still need each other and we still need to connect. So you know, live in that four hour workweek, yes, for the actual work, but then put in some hours and work for the actual love of caring and nurturing your community and your customers.

Kathleen Shannon 54:38
And I love making that a part of your job description in order to find the time for it. And this is one of the questions that our audience has had a lot lately is how do you have the time and so as you're speaking of these special touches, I'm like, Oh, that sounds so amazing. Where am I going to find the time? So can you tell me just a little bit about how you manage your time and fit all

Jadah Sellner 55:00
In Yeah, so I think a big piece, I look at building community and business, the same way that I look in building a relationship with a loved one is if you truly say that you want to nurture your community, that you want to build a deeper relationship with your audience, which is what a lot of people say over and over again, then you have to prioritize it and actually schedule it. So for me, in my own personal life, I'm really good at working. And I actually have to prioritize the things that I say that matter to me, which feels counterintuitive. So I have to schedule date times I have to schedule, you know playdates with my daughter, I have to schedule in working out or I'm not going to do it, I'll just let work just fill up all of the hours. And so I let my work overflow around the pieces that I say are important, but are a little bit harder for me to show up for. And so it's the same thing and building and nurturing your community is, could you schedule in 30 minutes, what whether it was one day a week, or two days a week, or better yet five days a week, you know, 30 minutes of your time to engage with your community to connect with your audience. And this isn't about content. It's not about putting content out there. It's not about consuming content. Again, it's about that connection piece of I am intentionally engaging with my audience, who could I support and add value to so I've done I've done coaching in direct messages and Instagram, you know, like asking them questions that I would ask an own client, because I'm just like, Oh, I'm so inspired, I'm so lit up. But I've created and carved out a specific time of day to do that, where I can show up for my audience and know that I'm nurturing them.

Kathleen Shannon 56:37
Jada, it has been so amazing chatting with you about this, I have a feeling that this is not the last time we're going to be speaking on being boss about all of this. But in the meantime, let our listeners know where they can find you.

Jadah Sellner 56:51
Yeah, so if they go to Giada sellner.com, you can definitely see all the things that are happening. I have my lead with love podcast on iTunes. And if they want that free checklist, if they're wanting to nurture your community, and your audience and build a list in a way that is with integrity and with love, definitely check out build your challenge comm for the free checklist, which will just it will give you so much information to get your challenge going right off the bat,

Kathleen Shannon 57:18
who I want to do that one for us. And then speaking of your podcast, which is a favorite episode that our listeners should start with.

Jadah Sellner 57:25
Yeah, so one that I really love is with her more. She's the author of playing big. And I feel she shares a lot about kind of the playing big of how we stay small as women and being able to share and elevate our voices. But she also shares some really cool conversations around how she structures her course and really serving her audience, which is I think she's an innovator and how she's doing it and taking care of our community. So I'm all about like heart, but also some strategy to

Kathleen Shannon 57:56
well, we can certainly see that from this conversation for sure. And then finally, what makes you feel most boss is there a specific moment recently that made you feel boss?

Jadah Sellner 58:06
Oh, I'm obsessed with my dance class. It's called a hip line in Oakland. If you guys, when you come back in the Bay Area, I think you have to take this dance class with me. It's 16 minutes of pure sweat, Beyonce, Drake Lake just so like just in my body. And I just keep telling people like pour more time into your body than your business because you are the thing that is fueling the business. And I just feel like a sexy goddess. Like I just like on the floor twerking dropping it like it's hot. And I feel so badass. And it's like dark with like disco lights. And it's just, I go once, one to two times a week. So I'm filling boss twice a week, at least in my dance class, and I'm just sweaty, I get my 10,000 steps and and then I feel like I can take on the world after that.

Kathleen Shannon 59:01
Yes, ma'am. We'll be there. We'll get there. It's on my bucket list to be a backup dancer for Beyonce. So maybe I'll start there. Yes, please, please.

Emily Thompson 59:10
Number one. Step number one, Kathleen, thank you so much for coming to hang out with us. I super appreciate you coming to

Kathleen Shannon 59:17
have this chat. Thank you. Thank you love you both so much. Love you. Hey, bosses, I want to tell you about the CEO day kit. The CEO day kit is 12 months of focus planning for your business in just one day. So Emily and I have packaged up the exact tools that we've been consistently using for years that have helped us grow from baby bosses to the CEOs of our own businesses. gain clarity, find focus, get momentum, prioritize your time, make better decisions and become more self reliant with the CEO day kit. Go to courses that being boss dot club to learn more and See if it's a fit for you and your business.

Emily Thompson 1:00:03
Thank you for listening to being boss. If you're looking for more help and being boss of your work in life accom check out our website where you can find Episode shownotes browser archives and access free resources like worksheets, trainings, quizzes and more. It's all at WWW dot being boss dot club. Do the work. Be boss