006 – How to Confidently Set Up a New Facebook Group for Your Paid Program.

006 – How to Confidently Set Up a New Facebook Group for Your Paid Program.

 Right click here to download this episode to your computer.

Here is a special treat of a solo-episode.  Last week I had the pleasure of helping Allon Khakshouri set up and launch the Facebook group for his new program, “FOCUS like a World Class Athlete”.

Not only did he need to do it in under 24 hours, he was hoping to have his VA do all the work.  That’s when I jumped in to help set things up right.  The first thing we did was have his VA set up the group.  Once it was done they let me into the group as an admin so I could take a look around and roll up my sleeves.  That is what this episode is.  I recorded a video walkthrough of how I audited and assessed the group and so I wanted to share this walkthrough with you.

You can listen in, or watch the video.  It might be easier/better to watch the video as you’ll be able to see what I’m talking about but if you’re driving, feel free to listen in.

== Fascinating people and resources from this episode ==

Allon Khakshouri, High Performance Expert, and Former Manager of World Number One Tennis Player Novak Djokovic

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005 – Meet Nick Wolny; who helps business owners attract more clients and make more revenue.

005 – Meet Nick Wolny; who helps business owners attract more clients and make more revenue.

 Right click here to download this episode to your computer.

Aw yeah!!  It’s finally time to release this hilarious interview with my good friend Nick Wolny.  We did this interview at the end of 2017 and I couldn’t wait to share it.  Not only will you get a some nuggets of gold to help you with your business, you’ll get to know the REAL Nick Wolny…like you’ve never seen him before.  Air French Horn and all.

I knew this was going to be funny but I never imagined this.

Everything from Lululemon, Black swan, french horn, crying in his car and writing long form content like a boss. He also shows us what “the Nick Wolny” dance move looks like and shares his thoughts on sandwiches.  Not to mention he played us out of the episode…with only his mouth!!!

== Useful, Interesting and Fun Moments ==

  • 00:07:37 – Discover the cold heartless side of Nick Wolny.
  • 00:09:07 – Diana kills the romantic story of how Nick chose which instrument to play.
  • 00:09:38 – Where Nick’s black-dead-heart comes from.
  • 00:11:35 – How Nick kills dreams and the Disney “kill-room”.
  • 00:14:02 – What’s Nick’s blended strategy?
  • 00:15:00 – Nick talks about UGS (not the boots).
  • 00:17:06 – What rumour would Nick start about himself?
  • 00:19:00 – What happens to the people in your life when you start something new?
  • 00:21:10 – Why Imposter syndrome shows up?
  • 00:22:10 – Does Nick have everything together?
  • 00:23:40 – Why Nick sometimes cries in his car.
  • 00:28:55 – Why balling hysterically is totally normal in the yoga space.
  • 00:30:21 – The one person Nick wants to add into his group of 5.
  • 00:33:38 – Does Nick ever feel lonely as an entrepreneur?
  • 00:34:37 – The importance of feedback loops.
  • 00:38:24 – The one time when Nick should have taken action in the past but didn’t.
  • 00:47:21 – What’s your dream that is so big that people will think you’re crazy.
  • 00:49:17 – REAL LIFE MOMENT – My husband plays a trick on me and it’s caught on video.
  • 00:51:21 – Nick sacrificed this one thing to be an entrepreneur, did you?
  • 00:53:30 – CONTROVERSIAL SANDWICHES
  • 00:57:38 – Nick has always wanted to do THIS.
  • 00:59:31 – FAST FACTS SEGMENT (Nick creates my segment music)
  • 01:06:25 – If Nick Wolny were a drink, what would it be?
  • 01:08:40 – If Nick Wolny were a dance move, what would it be?
  • 01:10:09 – What ONE piece of advice did Nick give my 5 year old son?

Be sure to watch to the very end, to see Nick play out the episode. 🙂

== Fascinating people and resources from this episode ==

Primoz’s premium course: “The Ultimate Guide System“: The best course online on creating ultimate guides. Getting more high quality traffic, email subscribers and paying customers with ultimate guides. (I love this course…as I used it to write my 2 ultimate guides).

Ramit Sethi, CEO of I Will Teach You to Be Rich (www.iwt.com) and his Accelerator program (providing online coaching and an exclusive community for ambitious online business owners).

And of course…The Diana Tower Show Podcast 

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CASE STUDY:  Power Up Podcasting Course & Community by Pat Flynn

CASE STUDY:  Power Up Podcasting Course & Community by Pat Flynn

Back in October 2017 I was chatting with my good friends Primoz and Marc via Whatsapp about how I could infuse more fun in my business, help more people and {of course} get my name out there more.

I had been secretly toying with the idea of starting a podcast, and when I told them about my idea they encouraged me to go for it.  I wasn’t sure how it fit into my business exactly; all I knew was that I wanted to create content that would allow me to help entrepreneurs nail their online course community woes, while at the same time, sit down with some of my favourite entrepreneurs.

In this case study I wanted to highlight the Power-Up Podcasting (PUP) course community, so that you can see first had the importance of a community for your students, and how you can make your community insanely valuable.

I’ll also be sharing my own experience with Pat Flynn’s Power Up Podcasting course (as it’s hella good and it helped me launch The Diana Tower Show podcast).

Here’s a video that I made:

Disclaimer:  No Dianas were paid, compensated or offered any bling to write this post or make the following video.  It’s an honest review of a course that I’ve actually taken.  I also wanted to showcase the PUP course community and how it’s a crucial element to my success as a student, and how you can make YOUR course community help your students engage right off the bat (avoiding the dreaded crickets) and help them achieve their goals too.

Following my conversation with Marc and Primoz, I dove in and recorded 15 interviews and while it was exciting, I was kind of freaked out about the “under the hood” of what it took to do a podcast.

I started doing a bit of research on how to launch my podcast and I read an article from GrowthLab called, “Thinking of Starting a Podcast.  Don’t

It’s an amazing article by the creator of the “Art of Charm” podcast, Jordan Harbinger, which really makes you think, “Should I really be doing this?”

For many, it’s a NO. If you’re thinking that a podcast is going to make it rain Benjamins for you, then you’re probably going to be disappointed.

For me though, it wasn’t about making money…it was about creating useful content that would help my readers/listeners and have fun while I’m doing it.

I love interviewing people and talking into a mic is seriously fun for me.  I feel like a talk show host!

Not only that, it provides me with the outside accountability that my “obliger” self needs.  I wanted to help people with their online course communities and this was a fun way to do it.

I started doing research on how to start my podcast.

Why not just do it myself?  Cause, I’m the type of person that wants to do shit right the first time!

I knew that there would be A LOT of moving parts, and back end work to the podcast, but I didn’t have the time (or the patience) to test things and figure it out myself. Fuck that.

I wanted someone who had been there, done that, bought the podcast T-shirt and packaged up their learnings in a course.  Someone to take me by the hand and lay it all out there for me, in an easy to implement way.

So first, I grabbed Digital Marketer’s $47 Podcast Launch Plan.  

I’m not going to lie, I was a bit disappointed as it wasn’t a “from scratch” plan.  It was more of a how to launch successfully plan (which makes sense now as that’s the title of it!).  While it gives a good roadmap for launching, it doesn’t break everything down into actionable steps for where I was in the process (umm…GROUND ZERO).

Disappointed

It didn’t tell me what specific software and equipment to use either.  It was high level…when I was looking for my digital shepherd to take my hand and lead me the whole way.  Not surprising though, as it was under 50 bucks.

So I kept searching, and as I was Googling I asked myself, “Who is already doing this successfully?”  I mean, why reinvent the podcast wheel?

Scrolling through a list of random podcasts

That’s when I thought of Pat Flynn.  I mean this guy was NAILING podcasting like a boss and not only that, he seemed like such a nice guy too.  I wanted to tap into his brain and learn from him.

A quick google search later and I found his free podcast guide.

Dude…this guide alone was more useful for me than the $50 paid guide from Digital Marketer.  As I scrolled down the page that’s when I saw it.  That massive green button below.

Screen Shot 2018 01 17 at 15.28.57

Ooh what's that?

Power-Up Podcasting?  What’s that?

So, I got my clickity-click on and gobbled up the sales page. I was nodding my head like a bobble head-hula girl on the dashboard of Lightning McQueen.

BUT there was this little voice in my head saying

“Diana?  ANOTHER online course? Are you serious?  Do you really need to pay for something else?”

I hesitated because when you’re starting your business and you aren’t making bank, you need to watch how you spend your money.  It can be hard to justify the investment sometimes.

The thing is though, I knew that I was going to launch a podcast (it was a WHEN not IF scenario) and I wanted to do it right…and without wasting time, which for me made signing up a no-brainer.

Unfortunately, there was a waitlist at the time, so I signed up and kept looking for other options.  I really wanted to get started then and there and I didn’t know when the course would open up.

I thought about it for a couple of days, considered doing it myself (gulp), when I got an email that the program was opening again!  AWW YEAH!

Then I saw the price.

SIGN ME UP.  Talk about a no brainer!

TAKE IT.  TAKE MY MONEY PAT!

I did it.  I jumped in and signed up and didn’t look back.

What’s it like working through Power-Up Podcasting?

Power-Up Podcasting is hosted on the Teachable platform and is SUPER easy to work through.  There are bite-sized videos with some written explanations and you can download a transcript PDF, the video and the audio from each section.

The course is divided into 7 modules which really helps you focus on where you are at, without getting overwhelmed.

  1. Pre-Launch // Step 1 – You and Your Future Podcast
  2. Pre-Launch // Step 2 – Planning Your Podcast Episodes
  3. Pre-Launch // Step 3 – Recording and Editing Your Show
  4. Pre-Launch // Step 4 – Preparing Your Audio File for the World
  5. Pre-Launch // Step 5 – The Launch Plan
  6. Launch Week
  7. The Post-Launch Plan

There is also a Facebook community (aw yeah…I love me some quality course community!), and it’s an intimate group of amazing people doing exactly the same thing…working on launching their own podcasts.

Everyone is super friendly and ready to support you, encourage you and answer your questions.  Especially Jason Skinner…what an absolute rockstar!

Pat is quite active in the community as well, in addition to hosting weekly live office hours.  It’s refreshing to see someone at his level still providing direct access and support from himself directly. Plus he really does care about the success of his students.

We’ll dig into the community more in a minute.

Time to get to work

What I loved about the course is that it’s broken down into tiny baby steps that you can work through at your own pace (and you get access to EVERYTHING from day one).  The videos are anywhere from 3-10 minutes long and it is the perfect way to introduce you to a small parts of the process.

So I put on my blinders and got to work.  I didn’t get overwhelmed thinking OMG I’M LAUNCHING A PODCAST, I simply focused on one piece of the puzzle at a time.

Creating my cover art, or setting up Garageband or Audacity.  Step by step (ooo baby…gonna get to your girl!)

Step by Step - NKOTB

More things that helped me launch my podcast?

Pat doesn’t just tell you what to do and how to do it, he goes as far as recommending specific equipment that he has tested himself, eliminating any guess work or decisions.  I ordered it all up (from Amazon) and it was so easy to set up because Pat sets everything up with you.

For under $200 I was able to get a great mic, mic boom and pop filter and not only does it work really well…it looks pretty bad-ass as well.

IMG 9409

It’s also worth mentioning how personal the course feels.  It feels like Pat is actually sitting across the table from you, talking you through everything and encouraging you every step of the way.  On the days that I was feeling particularly nervous or feeling “the resistance” it was great to have Pat encouraging me and helping me move forward.

So far I’ve been focusing on the course material, and you might be thinking, what about the community Diana?  You’re a community strategist.  Shouldn’t you be focusing on his community?

You’re right, but one thing that needs to be said, is that a course community is nothing without an outstanding course.  Think about it.  If Pat didn’t NAIL the course content, the community would be flooded with questions that should be answered by the content.

An online course community can’t save a shitty course.  It’s like putting a bandaid on a bullet hole.

So when you are creating your course community, ask yourself a couple questions.

  • Have I nailed my course content?
  • Have I gone above and beyond providing the BEST insights, and learnings in the course itself?
  • Is there anything I can do to make the course content easier to work through, digest (user experience)?

When your course is outstanding, your community will follow suit.

Now of course, if you’re running a beta program you might not be able to say yes to those questions YET.  That’s the whole point of a beta program, and your beta students will understand that as long as you message this from the get-go.

Then, it’s your job to use what you learn in the beta program to get 3 yeses to the questions above.

The Power- Up Podcasting Facebook community.

Screen Shot 2018 02 02 at 16.25.13

Ok.  I’m not going to lie here.  When I first joined the FB community it was kind of intimidating.  Which was weird because I was SO comfortable with Pat and the course content…the way I felt in the community didn’t line up.

When I first joined the PUP community

Everyone seemed to already know each other and it looked like everyone was kicking ass and taking names.  Here I was, a total newbie and I didn’t know anyone.

  • What should I do first?
  • How could I break the ice?
  • What is ok to post and what isn’t?

NOTE:  This is what I call the “Late to the Wedding Syndrome” (LWS) and as a course creator or community manager it’s YOUR job to eliminate or minimize this feeling as soon as possible.

How could Pat have punched LWS in the face in his community?  By doing 2 things, that you should also do.

  1. Having a welcome thread.
  2. Having clear and easy to find guidelines.

1. A Welcome Thread

Having a welcome thread is a set it and forget it task, but once it’s done it can change the entire experience a new member has.  When you have a designated place to introduce yourself, people relax and know that what they are doing is ok.

People can also mingle and break the ice right off the bat, which helps squash LWS.  In terms of the PUP community, there wasn’t a designated place to introduce myself and so it felt a bit nerve wracking trying to figure out how to dive in (and I’m a freaking community strategist!).

Instead of me posting and getting involved I didn’t engage in the community for another 2 weeks!  I focused on the course work until I needed help, and then I turned to the community to ask a question, which I still felt awkward asking…because I felt like a stranger.

So what would you include in your welcome thread?  Here are some questions to ask yourself and answer with your thread.

  • Have you welcomed people into the group?
  • What emotion would you like your members to feel after reading the post?
  • What action do you want your members to take after reading the post?
  • Is there a specific way you’d like your member to introduce themselves?
  • Did you include an image to grab people’s attention?
  • Better yet, did you create a video to welcome everyone in and explain how to use the community and to encourage everyone to introduce themselves in the comments of that thread.

2. Guidelines

In the Power Up Podcasting community, there currently aren’t any rules or guidelines on what is and isn’t appropriate in the group, and this is a problem for several reasons.

Firstly, because it can create another barrier for new members to join.

How?

Because they don’t know what is and isn’t kosher…so they end up doing nothing.

That’s right.  Most of us peeps don’t want to mess up or do something out of line, so we’ll simply do nothing (which is NOT what you want happening).

Having clear guidelines allows your members to relax and know that they understand how things work in your community and they can feel confident when posting and interacting with others.

Now, not having guidelines might work for a while.  When you set up a group it can be easy to brush this off and “go with the flow”.  Not having guidelines might feel like you’re keeping things fun and light but it’s actually a recipe for a lot of problems down the line.

Here’s the deal, when you create guidelines you are setting the standard in terms of expectations.  As a result your members will act accordingly 99% of the time and this means less “policing” from you.

Also, it is MUCH easier to start a community with set guidelines than to try to incorporate guidelines down the line.  It’s like trying to get a river to flow in a different direction or reroute it.  The current wants to go the easy way, the way that things have always been and it can be difficult to get people to get on board with new guidelines.

Most people who create a course community don’t give guidelines much thought and tell themselves “let’s go with the flow” or that it’s not really all that important, but this is a mistake that will cost countless time and headaches down the line.

It actually sets you up to spend MORE time in the community dealing with fires than if you had simply set clear guidelines from the beginning.

So what should you include in your guidelines?

This is something I cover in my Ultimate Guide to Building a Profitable Online Business from Scratch at a high level, but here are some questions to ask yourself to ensure that your guidelines are serving your community and your business.

  • How do you want your members to FEEL in the community?
  • If your member were to describe your community to a friend or colleague, what do you want them to say?
  • Imagine any situations that would make you uncomfortable AND make other members uncomfortable or unhappy.  How could you blend in a point or two to address those situations?
  • Once written, ask yourself how a member will FEEL after reading them?  Be sure to focus on the benefits for them, not simply saying what they can and can’t do here.

Why is a course community so important?

People get stuck.  I got stuck in PUP too.

That’s right.  Despite having course content that was AMAZING, and knowing exactly what to do, I stalled when I needed to upload my audio to Libsyn (the host).

It wasn’t the course, or that I didn’t know what to do.  It was me feeling the resistance of pushing out of my comfort-zone.

Trying to do it alone wasn’t working.  I just couldn’t get myself to do it and I wasted a couple weeks focusing on “other things”.  That’s when I turned to the PUP community, and they got me back in the “action taking” saddle.

Screen Shot 2018 02 04 at 15.13.10

It really is a tight-knit group of people all working towards the same goal, “launching a podcast”.  It’s wonderful to have a place to connect with people doing exactly what I am. And everyone is working off the same material so it was easy to get questions answered quickly (even outside Pat’s office hours).  The community was instrumental in me launching my podcast and working through the course material.

Do you see why it’s so important to give your students the gift of a course community?

It’s a win win for both you and your students.  They get the human connection and support that they need when their feeling stuck or not able to keep moving forward, and you get your students results.

Students finish your program, they love and appreciate you and they might even write amazing reviews or massive case studies about your program to share it with the world (kinda like I’m doing here).

Providing a course community is the cherry on top of going above and beyond for your students, and when done correctly (and strategically) it saves you time, energy and a whole lotta headaches down the line.

I launched…everyone celebrated.

Launching was pretty scary, but when I posted in the community, I got so much encouragement and celebration.  Pat even jumped in too.

It was amazing and felt so good to feel like I wasn’t alone.  Not only had I nailed my goal of launching a podcast, I had friends there with me giving me digital high fives and congratulations.

Screen Shot 2018 02 04 at 15 22 51

The live office hours

This is a pretty awesome addition to the program.  Every week Pat sits down and answers our questions LIVE.  You can watch via FB live, or Zoom and you can post your questions in advance or live on the call.  It’s a great way to connect with Pat and other members of the program.

The one drawback though (cuz NOTHING is perfect right) is that it’s a Q&A, so there isn’t much structure.  If you have a question you need to be there for the entire call, and if you can’t attend live, you have to listen to the entire recording (1 hr) without knowing when your question will be answered.

Having to watch the entire hour long recording to hear your 5 minute answer can feel like a waste of time, but honestly…I’d rather have the opportunity to ask, then not have office hours at all.

That being said, that really is the only criticism I have about this program.  Everything else is spot on.

Plus, to be honest, I haven’t needed to ask Pat any questions because the course material explains everything really well.

Final Thoughts

So, as I sit here with my launched podcast, I am thrilled that I put my trust in Pat to walk me through the process.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him and the PUP community.

Well that’s not true.  I COULD have done it without him and wasted hours of time (that I don’t have):

  • researching equipment,
  • figuring out software,
  • trying to make decisions about which host to use,
  • how to set up the recording workflow,
  • if I should get professional music or voice over intros or not,
  • cover art,
  • how to add metadata into my episodes,
  • how to level out the volumes in my interviews,
  • which host to use,
  • how to get into iTunes and what other places to submit to,
  • how to create my RSS feed,
  • how to actually launch,
  • what do do once it’s launched and now how to keep moving forward.

Pheeewww, that’s not everything but you get the idea.  All of that and more is broken down into baby steps where Pat walks you through each step.  It really is that easy.

The final thing I wanted to mention was Pat’s attention to detail, that you might be able to do for your students as well.  Not only is the course itself impressive and super easy to follow and implement, he sent everyone official pins and stickers for being a part of the course.

IMG 0093IMG 0097IMG 0098

How cool is that?  It was such a treat to get a handwritten card from him and his team in the mail.  It made me feel like a valuable member of his community too.

YOUR TURN:  How can you apply this to your course community?

Is there a way that you can make your students feel special and taken care of?

Maybe it’s sending them a card, or hopping on a welcome call with you or a member of your team, or maybe it’s simply sending them a quick one minute video welcoming them to the program or thanking them for being a member.

And for anyone starting a podcast, I highly recommend getting Power-UP Podcasting to show you how to do it every step of the way.

Also, as I said at the beginning, I’m not an affiliate for Power-Up Podcasting.  This is simply my experience with an awesome course and I wanted to share my experience with the course; to help you improve your own course community.

BTW…being an affiliate wouldn’t change much, as I would only promote something that I truly believe in.

How to Promote Yourself in a Facebook group?

How to Promote Yourself in a Facebook group?

What’s the best way to post my [XYZ] in a Facebook group without being banned?

This is SUCH a fantastic question and I never thought to answer it until Joyce Akiko from joyceakiko.com reached out to me.  You might be surprised by my answer.  Keep reading.  🙂

As a fellow Ultimate Guide System student, she reached out via Slack.

Screen Shot 2018 02 02 at 18.21.05

You know you’re a community strategist when you actually get excited about community questions on a Friday night.  Lay it on me Joyce!

Screen Shot 2018 02 02 at 18.22.55

Now of course, I could have simply shot her back a quick reply.

Add value, focus on them…blah blah blah but that’s not how Big D likes to roll.

Joyce reached out because this obviously was something she is worried about.  Heck…I’VE worried about this as well.  I’ve written two Ultimate Guides and one of the hardest parts was actually promoting it;  so I know the feeling.

Picture it:  You create something mind blowing that you know will help your audience (which you adore and want to help), but, when you need to actually get it in front of your peeps, you start second guessing.

There are many ways to get the word out.

  • Be a guest on a podcast and mention your content (in this case an ultimate guide) on the show.
  • Email influencers that you mention in the guide and let them know if you feature them (don’t ask them to share dude…just no).
  • But one of the easiest ways to share is social media.  Awww yeah.

We get all excited because we can post on Facebook, tweet it, snap photos or quick videos on instagram…etc etc.

It’s so “simple”.  Of course your content is going to go viral in a New York minute simply by posting to social media.  Right?!

Or not.

You share on social and nothing really happens.  Your network likes it, maybe a couple people share, and your aunt Rose comments something slightly embarrassing but you leave an emoticon and move on.

You know that your target audience is hanging out in specific Facebook groups but you don’t want to be THAT dude.

You know, the douche that joins a community and drops a post with a link without even introducing themselves (or reading the guidelines).

DELETE.

I’ve seen many different approaches to trying to promote…something clever I’ve seen recently…you share that you’re hiring a member for you team…so you HAVE to link out to your website and explain what you do and who you help… right.

That isn’t self-promotion.  You’re simply looking to hire someone.  Riiiiiight.

DELETE.

So here’s the deal Joyce {and the army of entrepreneurs asking themselves the same questions}… I know you mean well.

You also know this kind of “sharing” is kind of douchey.

Now, you aren’t a D bag and you want to share your work with people to help them.

Here’s the thing though.

If you simply write a list of Facebook groups you want to “share” in, and you then copy and paste a post into all of them (with a link); you’re not only gonna piss off a lot of people {who are probably in more than one group and watching you morph into a spam bot} you’re going to get your ass kicked out of these groups too dude.

What’s an entrepreneur to do then?

Well first of all.  Be a human for fuck’s sake.  Be you.  Embrace that weirdo that your friends know and love.  Be that person when you interact in these groups…that’s what they are there for.. (For me…I’m a GIF maker, writer and helper…so I roll with that).

Second, I’m willing to bet that you KNOW when something is shady and weird.

You know that feeling.  You’re sitting there looking at the newsfeed of a FB group that you know is crawling with your peeps.  If you could just drop your link subtly into conversation, then everyone would flock to your site to sign up to your list.  You’d get hundreds of subscribers in minutes, right!

Now…put down the kool aid for a second (methinks there is more than fruit juice in-dhere).

Here’s something that might shock you.

Linking to your stuff doesn’t always translate to more subscribers.

Yes my pet.  It’s shocking but true.

Think about it.  In many FB groups, community managers or hosts create “promotional threads” where people can drop their links on certain days of the week.

How many of your peeps are going to be reviewing that promo-fest of a thread?  Um…not a lot.  It’s filled with other promotion starved entrepreneurs, or coaches looking to tap the gold-mine of the community.

Now, here’s how I recommend approaching “promotion” in communities.

DON’T.

That’s right.  Don’t promote yourself or your shit in someone else’s digital living room.

That’s like a friend inviting you over for a coffee and you showing up with a Pampered Chef demonstration kit and kicking off your spiel: If you or your “guests” — {um…my 5 year old who lives here??} — buy over $200 dollars of merchandise today you’ll get this free garlic press or ice cream scoop.”  

Umm…I just wanted to have you over for a coffee dude.

Now, I’m not ragging on Pampered Chef or any other MLM peeps, but if I invite you over for a coffee, I’m expecting you to show up at my house…preferably clothed– and possibly with a jacket and a purse.

It’s the same for online communities, and actually goes one step further.

The host of a free Facebook community is most likely using it to promote their own shit.

So it makes our metaphor even worse (or entertaining).

It’s like me bringing a friend to another friend’s Pampered Chef party and the tag-along friend sets up her OWN fucking table in the corner with her own Pampered Chef swag…or another brand that is more trendy or one time use!

How fucked up would that be?

Seriously, stop and picture it for a mo please.

You’re in Sally’s Pampered Chef party and having a great time with all the local Mom’s when your friend Tamara goes rogue with a collapsible table with her own Pampered Chef items.

What would you do?

  • If you were Sally how would you feel?
  • If you were Sally’s guests…how would you feel?
  • Fuck dude…if you were Tamara…how would you feel?

Well…here’s how it plays out in my head.  Sally’s guests are gonna be like…WTF Tamara.  Keep your swag to yourself this is Sally’s party.  Communal hatred for Tamara is born and no one ever thinks to even talk to Tamara again, let alone throw money at her.

Sally is a no BS kind of lady and she simply walks over to the competitor like a baller, swipes all the items into a garbage bag, grabs the table, and Tamara and tosses them out the front door.

A “delete, remove and block” in real life.

As for Tamara, she probably feels like shit cause she KNEW that this was a bad idea, but she’s just trying to get some traction.

Now of course, you aren’t Tamara, and you certainly don’t want to be pissing off the Sallys of your niche.

So now that we’ve established that you’re scared to death of being Tamara, what can you actually do?

Being banned from your beloved Facebook Groups is a big deal, and it’s time to dish out the goods on how to avoid anything Tamara-esque.  Here are some simple steps to avoid this.

Update your Facebook Profile

Here is where you can have a link to your ultimate guide or your website (or even a landing page); in your FB profile. THIS is where you get to flaunt what your mama gave you (your biz).

Here’s what mine says:

Screen Shot 2018 02 02 at 19 54 05

I help A-list Entrepreneurs create engaged online communities for paying clients.  www.dianatower.com

Make sure that your profile tells people what you do and provides a link to get there.

Looking at Joyce’s profile there’s a lot of room to provide more information about what she does and who she helps.  She doesn’t have an intro saying what she does and there isn’t a URL for people to check out.

Screen Shot 2018 02 02 at 21.06.46

There is a link to Joyce Akiko Consulting LLC but that link goes to another Facebook page that is an unofficial page.

Screen Shot 2018 02 02 at 21.12.38

I would recommend saying something like:

Helping [specific type of person] do [something] followed by your website.

Wait a second Diana.  You’re telling me NOT to drop links and to simply have my profile updated?  But surely that isn’t enough Diana.  Who will actually take the time to explore and creep my profile?

Someone whom you’ve helped, entertained or “added value to”, that’s who.

That is why your post needs to do SOMETHING extremely well.  It needs to help your audience, entertain them or simply connect with them.

When you go above and beyond in a community WITHOUT link dropping or trying to sneak your business into your post, it creates a curiosity gap.  People will ask themselves:

  • Who is this person?
  • Why are they taking the time to help people without anything in return?
  • This person knows their shit…I wonder what they do?
  • Cue the profile creep.

Offer value with NO links.

That’s right link-zilla.  Keep your link in your pants and focus on the value or content that they get if they had clicked a link.

Say what?

If you’re looking to share an ultimate guide, why not share a story or a couple of tips from the guide in a post?

You could mention that it is pulled from your ultimate guide BUT no links dude.  Simply share the value.

Why? Because if someone reads the post and they love it, or find value in it, they will creep your profile.  The kind of creeping you want, not the kind that makes you sleep with the lights on.

So you’ve got your profile set to “this is what I do!” and you’ve got your link gun holstered.

Now it’s time to actually…dah dah dah…post something in a community.  This is the moment that makes people feel seriously uncomfortable.

How are you supposed to just post in a community like a human being but in a way that makes people curious to learn more about you and what you do?

First Review the Guidelines

Before you do anything, check the guidelines.

Make sure you know what is and isn’t kosher.  You never know, it might be ok to post a link to your guide as long as it isn’t in the main post (aka keep it in the comments)..

Or if someone asks you a question that can be genuinely answered by reading your guide, adding a link to a comment might be ok.

Reach out to the admin

If you do want to share the guide directly, the only way I would ever consider doing this would be if you reach out and speak to the admin directly and they give you the green light..

Being a community manager, I know first hand what it’s like to suddenly see a post promoting a guest post someone has written or a guide.

Honestly?  It’s fucking annoying because it makes more work for me.

Suddenly I need to judge:

  • Is it abusing the community or not?
  • Should I leave it there or remove it?
  • If I do remove it, do I message you and let you know or simply delete it?

Don’t be THAT person that makes the admin of a group have to ask themselves these questions.  Show some respect for the space and reach out to them.  Also…don’t assume they will allow it.  Maybe it’s going to be a no, but at least you reached out and asked.

Here is a sample template to reach out to an Admin if you’re gonna be ballsy.

Hi NAME,

[Compliment specifically about the group, something they have done or anything else that is super specific to them or the group].  I wanted to reach out to see if it would be ok for me to share a guide that I wrote on XYZ in the community.

The guide looks at [describe] and will help members [benefits].

I wanted to check with you first, before sharing it, as I know the guidelines say XYZ, and I wanted to be respectful.  If you like, I could write a post about some of the core content (sharing some advice) and then if anyone is interested in the full guide I could provide a link in the comments (so that it isn’t so prominent).

Thank you so much for everything you do in XYZ community.

All the best,

NAME.

As an entrepreneur looking to “share”, this template seems reasonable right? (BTW: If you use it…don’t copy and paste…make it YOU).

But then my community manager mind kicks in and starts to ask questions.

  1. Can’t you read the guidelines? This is a good point.  If it clearly says in the guidelines that you can’t share links or content…don’t.
  1. If someone reached out to me in any of the communities I manage, my response will really depend on how active this person is in the community, if what they want to share will actually help the majority of the community.

Honestly, I would rather they create a piece of content for the community specifically.  Maybe a Google Doc that plays with the same issues as the content they really want to share, but it allows the community to read the whole post in the community or a Google Doc.

So let’s land this plane.  If you’re really worried about getting banned from a group I would play things safe by doing the following:

#1:  Don’t drop links, apart from having your profile clearly linked up.

#2:  Focus on helping others, writing helpful or entertaining posts that add to the experience members have in the community (so people will creep your profile).

#3: Be human and be YOU.

  • If you have a fun writing style…write it up.
  • If you are great on video maybe a quick video.
  • Great with Canva?  Create some fun, inspiring or silly art.
  • Love GIFs?  Make your own.

#4:  If you really want to try to post a link or promote something directly, reach out to the admin.

Now I’d like to hear from you.

How do you share your content with others?  I’d love to hear what has worked for you, and what have been epic fails.  

Leave a comment below.

004 – The Importance of Community Guidelines

004 – The Importance of Community Guidelines

 Right click here to download this episode to your computer.

Is this episode for you?  

If you’re an entrepreneur who has a community for one of your paid offers (online course, live retreat, coaching program) and you want to ensure that your members get the most from it, while supporting your business goals as well; you’re in the right place.

Leslie Chen, the founder of www.ricelean.com reached out to me for help with her community for her new coaching program, Automated Freedom.  She used my ultimate guide to engaging your online community members, to set it up and had some additional concerns that many community owners have.  And I wanted to share some strategic advice and tactics that YOU can use to make your communities extremely valuable for your members.

In this episode we explore the #1 reason why your members might not be doing what you want them to be doing, and why you feel like you have to make a lot of “engaging” content.

I’m also thrilled to announce that not only can you listen to the podcast, you can WATCH it as well on YouTube.  I changed up my workflow and now I can deliver VIDEO and AUDIO in almost the same amount of time!  BOOM!

What do we cover in episode #4?

  • We kicked things off with Leslie’s opinion on community guidelines.  Perhaps you share her opinion.
  • Explore what is her goal for her community (deeper than “bringing people together”)?  
    • By the way, it’s 2 parts.  
    • 1. What is your goal for your members?  What are they walking away with?  
    • 2. And what are YOU walking away with?
  • We explore Leslie’s specific goals for the community which initially was just “embrace the chaos”.
    • What’s your bottom line for your community?  
    • What is the experience you want for your members?  
    • What do you want people to feel in relation to your group?
  • Discover Leslie’s biggest fear when she was setting up her group.  You probably had the same fear.
  • The one emotion that should not be involved when you craft your guidelines.
  • Be a fly on the wall as I do a community audit for Leslie’s group.
    • Learn a fantastic idea that can help consolidate the information that each member shares, creates a journey for them AND allows you to collect fantastic testimonials and case studies.
    • How to create files directly in your FB group.
  • Learn what Leslie wished she had known from the beginning.
  • Why guidelines are like saving for retirement
  • Why you need to balance meeting people where they are and maintaining your stance as a brand.
  • Around minute 29, Diana gets silly.
  • Around minute 31 we wrap things up and kick off da’bloopers!

Fascinating people and resources from this episode

I’d love to hear from YOU in the comments below.  What was the most useful thing you learnt in this episode?  Leave a comment and let me know.

Also, what do you think about this format?  Do you like having the video?  I’m testing things out and your opinion matters to me.

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003 – Meet Primoz Bozic; online business coach for top experts

003 – Meet Primoz Bozic; online business coach for top experts

 Right click here to download this episode to your computer.

When I came up with the idea of starting “The Diana Tower Show”, there was one person in particular who was always there pushing me to keep going AND pretty much demanded that he be the first guest on the show.

That incredibly supportive (and pushy) friend of mine is the one and only Primoz Bozic (the dude wearing the superman T-shirt above).

In this episode you’ll get a unique look at who Primoz is, beyond his incredibly successful business and his story of how he went from a $7 an hour programmer to six-figure online business coach (which you’ll hear on most other business podcasts he’s been featured on).

In this episode we dive into what Primoz want’s to be known for, the truth about how he feels about his business (spoiler alert…he doesn’t have his shit together 24/7), and if he were a drink what that drink would be (it involves candy).

You’ll also learn:

  • 00:05:14 – What he does when he’s having a shitty day (how he copes).
  • 00:06:10 – If your fear of wasting other people’s time is valid or unwarranted.
  • 00:06:43 – Something that his students do that Primoz HATES.
  • 00:07:50 – Where Primoz was a year ago (from recording) and what he would tell himself now.
  • 00:10:40 – Decision making and the ONE thing you need to trust.
  • 00:11:49 – What rumour Primoz would start about himself (inappropriate!).
  • 00:13:25 – Who would Primoz like to bring into his circle of 5 people (Or as I put it…who do you want to spend the rest of your life with?).
  • 00:15:45 – Does Primoz ever feel lonely as an Entrepreneur?
  • 00:18:50 – Success rewards action.  Primoz shares what he tended to do in the past that would push away success.
  • 00:21:00 – Book recommendation! “5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins
  • 00:29:40 – World weight lifting champion?  Listen to Primoz talk about this the day BEFORE his competition.  Which he ended up winning 2 gold medals BTW.
  • 00:39:45 – CONTROVERSIAL SANDWICHES.  Learn Primoz’s secret ingredient that I didn’t see coming.
  • 00:41:14 – Discover what the hell Primoz is talking about when he says “Like a bear devouring a deer”.  Or a badger, or hamster…so many metaphors.
  • 00:44:05 – Jack break (Diana left for 2 seconds and Primoz talks to YOU.  Sign up to my email list to get access to the special segment/bonus & bloopers at the bottom of this page.
  • 00:52:40 – Looking on a drink menu, what’s a “Primoz Bozic”? #primozbozicdrink We’d love to see a photo of your attempt of making one.
  • 00:54:30 – Primoz’s advice for kids and my son Jack.

Fascinating people and resources from this episode

  • Primoz’s premium course:The Ultimate Guide System“:  The best course online on creating ultimate guides.  Getting more high quality traffic, email subscribers and paying customers with ultimate guides. (I love this course…as I used it to write my 2 ultimate guides).
  • Ramit Sethi, CEO of I Will Teach You to Be Rich (IWT.com) and his Accelerator program (providing online coaching and an exclusive community for ambitious online business owners).
  • Book recommendation:5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins

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002 – Meet Diana Tower; Who is this Online Community Strategist

002 – Meet Diana Tower; Who is this Online Community Strategist

Right click here to download this episode to your computer.

Now that you know what the dilly is about this podcast…Wait, what?  You didn’t listen to the welcome episode?  It’s 7 minutes dude.  Go check it out here and circle back.  I’ll wait.

Done?  Awesome.  Now it’s time to get to know Diana Tower {that’s me!} better.

In today’s episode, I turn the microphone reins over to my 5 year old son Jack.  Rather than interviewing myself or finding another adult to do the honours, I thought it would be fun to get Jack in my office nook and see what happened.

As you’ll hear we had a blast.  One thing, the audio might be a bit lower than normal (sorry guys).  Having two people made it harder to get close to the mic.  Anyhoo…let’s dig in.

Jack asked the questions that I will be asking all my guests this season and I’ve listed them below.  I’m also writing the questions below because…well…at times you might not quite understand what my little man is saying!

Also, one more thing. Before you listen to the episode I want to mention that I recorded it just before Christmas, and this year was a challenging holiday.  It was the first Christmas without my Dad (he passed away on Dec 29th 2016) and so you might notice I get a bit choked up when answering the first question “what do you want to be known for?”.

Grief is a funny thing, -as Gladys Ato will explain in her future episode- and I like to roll with it rather than bottle it up.  I wanted to highlight that, but just incase you notice and were wondering why my voice sounds sad and like I’m going to burst into tears any minute…now you know.

It’s not all sad though, so don’t be scared.  It’s a lot of fun and I’m curious to know if you would ever order a “Diana Tower” at a bar.  Have a listen and learn what that drink is (yum) and more about me, your host.  🙂

Show Questions for Season 1

  • Ice breaker: the “Questions game”.
  • What would you like to be known for?
  • Anyone listening to you right now might think that you’ve got it all figured out. Is that actually true?
  • A lot can change in a year. What do you wish you could have told yourself 1 year ago?
  • If you could start a rumour about yourself, what would it be and why?
  • We’ve all heard the saying, “You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. Who is ONE person that you’d like to bring into that group of 5 for yourself and why?
  • Do you ever feel lonely as an entrepreneur? How do you fight that?
  • Success rewards action. Can you give us an example of when you should have taken action in the past but you didn’t? What stopped you?
  • I was listening to Jayson Gaynard’s podcast Community Made and Naveen Jain said, “Dream so big that people think you’re crazy”. I love this, and I’d like to know what’s YOUR dream that’s going to make me say, “Dude, you crazy”?
  • Do you feel like you had to give up anything to become an entrepreneur?
  • Fun segment: Controversial Sandwiches
    • Peanutbutter and Jelly Sandwich…how do you make it? Are bananas ok?
    • Tuna Sandwich. With or without pickles?
  • What’s something that you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t gotten around to it or haven’t made happen yet? (life or business).
  • Fast Facts: Machine gun style questions.
    • What’s your full name?
    • When’s your birthday?
    • Are you the oldest, youngest, middle or only child?
    • Cats or dogs?
    • Hugs or handshakes?
    • Favourite colour?
    • Favourite ice cream?
    • Favourite snack?
    • Favourite shape?
    • What do you eat for breakfast?
    • Petpeeve?
    • Do you make your bed every morning?
    • When getting dressed do you put the left or right leg of your pants on first?
    • MEME or GIF
    • What’s one thing that people don’t know about you, that they might find surprising?
  • If I walked into a bar and ordered a DIANA TOWER what drink would the bartender come back with and place in front of me? Tell me details.
  • If DIANA TOWER were a dance move, what would it look like? Please demonstrate.
  • If you could tell Jack (or any of our kids) just ONE thing about life or business, what would it be?

Other cool people, resources, & websites mentioned in the episode

  • Ellen DeGeneres: If you live under a rock and haven’t heard of this amazingly funny, witty and talented woman…do yourself a favour and take a moment to check her out.  One day I will dance with you Ellen.  One day!
  • My guest post for GrowthLab, “A free Facebook Group is Not the Magic Bullet You Think It Is” is going live on the 17th of January (eeeeeee!!!).  I’ll link it up once it’s live.  It’s a hella good piece folks!  SO excited to share it.
  • IWT (I Will Teach You To Be Rich) & GrowthLab:  One of my clients where I get to work with an outstanding team.
  • Jayson Gaignard’s “Community Made” Podcast:  This is one of the few podcasts that I listen to religiously.  Half because each episodes delivers massive value, and half because Jayson is such a genuinely lovely person {he’s Canadian, eh..like ME!} that it shines through in his voice and his interviews.  It has fast become a highlight of my week.  Check it it out people.  Check. It. Out!

Next episode?

I’ll be stealing the mic back from Jack so that I can sit down with my good friend Primoz Bozic.  You don’t want to miss out on this interview!  Not only does Primoz offer insights on how he’s build and grown his online business, he shows his real personality.  With quotes like “Like a bear devouring a deer”…it’s bound to add some laughter and joy into your day.

Come on over to have a listen to 003 – Meet Primoz Bozic.

 

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001 – Welcome – What this online community strategist has planned for you!

001 – Welcome – What this online community strategist has planned for you!

Right click here to download this episode to your computer.

In this episode quickie – clocking in at 7 minutes – I wanted to set the stage (so you know what this invitation only podcast is all about) and also introduce you to influential people that come up in some of the interviews, and who I wanted to give a shout out to.

First up, Ramit Sethi; CEO of I Will Teach You To Be Rich and GrowthLab, my first major client and someone I can’t say thank you enough to.  Why so much gratitude for someone who used to be some random Indian dude, barefoot on a financial book called “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”?  Thanks to him I finally got systems in place so I could stop thinking so much about money but know that it was taken care of.

Because he has been instrumental in my growth as a professional, and as a human being.  That’s another post in and of it’s self, but I will say joining his online business program, Zero to Launch (ZTL), later joining the business coaching program Accelerator (which I am now the Community Manager and one of 3 Business Coaches), and brushing up my copy writing skills with his copywriting program Call To Action (CTA) has changed my life.

I can also thank Ramit for bringing two of my now best friends; Primoz Bozic and Marc Aarons into my life.

Primoz Bozic is an online business coach who always goes above and beyond, and you’ll REALLY get to know him in episode three of the show, when I sit down with him (my very first guest!).

Marc Aarons, is another future guest on the show and I work along side him in Accelerator.  He’s strategic AF and has a way of always asking the best questions.  It was fun to turn the tables around and put him in the hot seat.  Make sure to sign up to my email list so you know when his interview goes live.

You’ll also hear me mention a live event, Forefront, which I write about here.  This annual event for 500 people has been a highlight for me over the past 2 years (in NYC and Chicago).

Next episode?

I’ll be turning the mic over to my 5 year old son Jack so that he can interview me, so that you can get to know me a bit better.  Come on over to have a listen.

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When You Need Community the Most.

When You Need Community the Most.

It’s 12:53am Oct 20th 2017.

I was just about to go to sleep when I got an email from my brother-in-law with the subject line, “For you”.

No text in the email. Just a photo of my Daddy and I when I was about 5 (the age that my son is right now).

Lovely picture right?

I took one look at it and started to cry. You know the kind; the silent cry. With tears streaming down your face and sniffing back nose-water.

No drama though. It’s not my first time crying about my Dad.

But why?

I’ll have to back up a bit so that it all makes sense, but it’s worth it.  Stick with me and you’ll get to know my Dad and how he’s helped me approach community for myself and for clients.

You see, this photo, is my absolute favourite photo of my Dad and I, and until recently I thought I’d never see it again. That alone is worthy of some salt-water leaking from your eyes and nose on a Friday night.

You see, the last time I saw this photo was over a decade ago. It was on the background of my uni computer, but I couldn’t find the file or the original photo and assumed I’d never see it again.

Tonight I just sat there and cried as I studied my Dad’s face.

I caught myself looking at my Dad’s hair in the photo; so soft, brown and long and I imagined stroking it with those 5 year old chubby fingers, but even as I pictured how it felt, I had to push back other newer memories.

Ones I’d rather forget.

Daddy in August 2017.

His hair buzzed short, grey and thinning.  Only the occasional look in his eye or a smile to tell me that he was still in there somewhere. He can’t speak, walk or feed himself…just tracking me with his eyes from time to time; from where ever it was he just went…in his mind. And no more moustache (shaving it made it easier for them to wash his face). My Dad always had a moustache though…without it he looked like someone I didn’t know.

I’d rather you remember him like the photo above though…with his moustache.

But how did it get to that?  What happened?

I’ll fill in the blanks, but let’s stick with the photo for now.

This photo is special. It captures how much I adored my Dad. I can remember how excited I was to be sitting on his lap and to get to wear his cowboy hat. The man who was my biggest fan and always encouraging me…and that I thought was invincible.  I was wrong about that last part but he was right a lot.

For example, he was right about something I discovered at Ramit Sethi’s Forefront event in Chicago. You see, I was one of the MCs at Forefront and this was the 2nd time that I had spoken on stage in front of +500 people (the first was at Forefront NYC in 2016).

Now here’s the kicker…for as long as I can remember my Dad used to say,

“Girly, you should be on stage!”

He would say it over and over in different situations. Apparently he thought I was hilarious and that the world should know it. I drummed it up to him having to say that…because I was his daughter and it was his job to think the sun shined out of my ass!

Well, on Sept 27th, 2017, I tested his theory.

I walked out on stage with Marc Aarons and we MCed the shit out of Forefront. It was so much fun to be standing in front of so many amazing people. Holding a mic felt like riding a bicycle…like coming home, and apparently I wasn’t just imagining it.

Chris out, one the the lovely people I spoke with over dinner on the last night of Forefront shared on his Facebook:

“From all the speakers that I’ve seen in the last year, I can only say 1 thing. Diana is the most talented one that I’ve spotted. She’s the best at creating a true connection with the audience.” – Chris Out

Chris is to my right.

Damn Daddy…you were right!

I SHOULD be on stage and I’m going to find more ways to make that happen.

But something is missing from all this excitement.

While I loved Forefront and being on stage, I haven’t told my Dad that he was right.

  • That I should be on stage and that I nailed it.
  • That it was so much fun and exciting and I want to do it again!

I imagine what it would have been like to tell him. I’d have called him on the phone or hopped on Skype and told him ALL about it and he’d listen to every word.  Heck…we’d probably head out to the local Tim Hortons if I were in Canada and we’d gab for hours over hot drinks and doughnuts.

Hmmm….doughnuts.

He’d probably say something like:

“High-fives girly! I knew you should be on stage. You see…I called it! Now get me another chocolate dip” – Daddy

That conversation didn’t happen though and it never will.  He WAS right about a lot of things, including one of his favourite expressions.

“Shit happens, then you die”.

You see, my Daddy, this amazing man in that photo was my biggest fan, best friend and a fighter pilot in the Canadian Air Force. You’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m speaking in the past tense and this isn’t just because I was 5 when that photo was taken, but because he is gone now.

The service program from his funeral.

My Dad passed away almost a year ago on Dec 29 2016, but truthfully we lost him years before that. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the stupidly young age of 51 (right when I first moved to Spain) and he died at the unfair age of 61.

 

 

I remember my Mum telling me that when he was having initial assessment tests and check-ins after the official diagnosis, his doctor told him to write a sentence about Alzheimer’s. His sentence?

Alzheimer’s sucks. – David Tower

They laughed…always a funny man he was, but again…he was right. It DOES suck.

My sentence?

Fuck you Alzheimer’s. – Diana Tower

So here I sit, at 1:30am compelled to write and introduce you to my Dad, David Wayne Tower. Why?

What does this man have to do with community?

You see…our parents are the roots of our community, the foundation. If they are there for us, loving, understanding and supportive… we thrive.

If they aren’t there for us, or we lose them…it can leave a hole in our support system…our community foundation is left weakened.

My community

While I’ll never be able to replace my Dad, I have people who remind me of him and his goofy nature, pride, and dedication to excellence; all while being humble at the same time. They also push me to be the best version of me that I can be (just like he did).

  • Marc Aarons and Primoz Bozic, are two of my best friends and they also remind me of my Dad. They are both amazing at what they do, while funny as hell; two entrepreneurial powerhouses that I’m honoured to call friends.
  • Daniel Sonntag and I speak weekly and these are my new Tim Horton talks, but instead of coffee and doughnuts we use EFT and other techniques to eliminate limiting beliefs and negative emotions. BOOM!
  • Allon Khakshouri and I meet weekly as well to incorporate habits into my day to help me not only get more things done, but also make time for what’s important to me (writing, spending time with my family, reading, exercise and sleep).
  • Ramit Sethi is my surrogate Asian father (like he is to so many other people). He’s a wonderful combination of tough love, and caring. He’s helped me become more emotionally resilient, strategic, confident and is currently helping me with mindset mastery!
  • Gladys Ato is an amazing woman that I met in Selena Soo’s incredible program, Impacting Millions. We met in person in San Francisco over the summer and again at Forefront. She just released an amazing new book, The Good Goodbye: How to Navigate Change and Loss in Life, Love, and Work and boy do I wish I had had this book when I lost my Dad last year. It’s still helping me though…even today. When I saw that photo and felt the emotion well up inside of me, instead of stopping it I heard Gladys’ encouraging voice in my head. “Let it be Diana. Feel it and allow yourself to go there. No judgement”.
  • My students and friends (old and new).  Antrese from Savvy Painter and Gen from the Inertia Project for example, teamed up and ordered me flowers after my Dad died. It’s not every day that you get flowers sent to you and every gesture feels amazing.  Or good friends I’ve known forever taking the time to call me or send me supportive messages.  It all meant so much.

Thank you Antrese and Gen!

  • Saving the best for last, the foundation of my community is my husband…who is just like my Dad; silly, playful, fun and my biggest supporter. They were two peas in a pod too. I only wish that they had had more time to hang out before the Alzheimer’s kicked in. Watching my husband play and interact with our son reminds me of how my Dad played with me, and how he would have been with my son.

Me and my hubster!

But was my Dad really so great?

I mean, he was my Dad so of course I adored him, but there is more.

My Dad was a Top Gun (yes…my Dad was basically Tom Cruise from the movie Top Gun…though he looked more like Goose than Maverick) but the thing was he didn’t brag about it, he always acted like a normal dude, — that simply liked eating Reeses peanut buttercups while watching chick flicks — even though he was talented as fuck.

Fun Fact: My Dad could also fly 7 different types of fighter jets. That’s right. SEVEN! Do you know how many jets “normal” pilots can learn to fly? One.

That’s right just ONE! #my-dad-is-a-badass

He wasn’t just talented though, he was a lovely person.

At his funeral, a man that he used to work with came up to me. He wanted to tell me about my Dad from his perspective and it stuck with me.

You see, my Dad was a high ranking military officer and this guy was below him in the ranks. All the other pilots at my Dad’s level tended to ignore this guy or treated him as if they were better than him.  My Dad treated this guy as an equal and always made him feel welcome and helped him whenever he could. That was how my Dad rolled.

It’s funny because I see so much of this character in me now. He treated everyone like a good friend, he was generous, a great listener, goofy and did one thing extremely well.

For him it was flying. For me, it’s people and community (and GIFs).

Here my Dad is via Skype about 5 years after his diagnosis.

He could still talk to me and say “pull my finger” in that photo. That joke never gets old!

So to land this plane of a post,

What do I want you to think about…now that you know more about my Dad?

A couple things.

  1. Shit happens, and then you die. Stop worrying so much about what other people might think or how something might not work and just DO it. I’m taking my own advice and launching my podcast.
  2. Have fun. If you aren’t having fun, you’re doing something wrong.
  3. Make sure you have a community supporting you as life throws punches at you. It’s not about avoiding the punches, it’s about having a support system to help you back up when you get clocked in the face. Cause life will happen, and she’s got a mean left hook, so you need people there to ice your face with a steak.

Losing my Dad was hard.  I’d been preparing for my good goodbye for 10 years, but having my community around me helps. Like I said, it didn’t stop the hurt but it helps me face it, and allow it.

I’d love to have just one more Tim Horton’s chat with my Dad though. To tell him about everything that’s been going on recently and enjoy a donut or 2 with him.


I know that can’t happen but maybe he has internet in Heaven and can read just how much of an impact he has had on my life.

I love you Daddy.

What about you?

Who’s in your community? Have you lost someone important?  How do people support you through tough times as you grow your business?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Ramit Sethi’s Forefront Event is all About Community

Ramit Sethi’s Forefront Event is all About Community

Before I dive into this – like the roast beef under the lights in the bottom right of that pic above…mmm…roast beefy -, let’s clarify what Forefront is, so we can all be on the same page, shall we. 😉

What is Forefront?

According to Ramit Sethi, CEO of I Will Teach You To Be Rich and GrowthLab and the host of Forefront:

…it’s “unlike any “conference” or “seminar” you’ve been to. It’s a one of a kind gathering of the most ambitious, talented people you’ll ever meet. […] Want to run a business from your home office? Take a 2-year sabbatical? Learn how to deal with critics? Whatever a Rich Life means to you, you’ll build a community of people striving for the same things.

I had the pleasure and honour of not only attending Forefront this year (in Chicago) but also co-MCing the event!

I have so much I want to share about the weekend with you but for some reason I found myself 3 weeks post Forefront without having lifted a finger for this post.

Well…that’s not true.  I wrote notes in my notebook from my Forefront swag bag, and I opened a couple Google Docs to get the show on the road, but I couldn’t get past a couple paragraphs.  I basically kept doing THIS over and over…

What was the problem?

If I’m honest, I was trying to write a post that someone else would have written.   Something like Primoz’s “3 Personal Lessons From Ramit Sethi’s Forefront Conference” post; that would be epic, actionable and strategic but there is only one problem with that.

That’s not my Forefront and it’s totally not ME.

My Forefront has and will always be 100% about the people.

The friendships, the conversations, the inside jokes, the connection and fun.  THAT is what Forefront is all about for me and I wanted to try and capture it so that others could get a taste of it, and explain why the Forefront community is so important to me.

So today, I’d like to share 14 of my own personal memories from Forefront, that made me realise that this event is all about people and community.  I’ll then dig into how you can make your own memories and build your community as you move forward on your entrepreneurial journey.  Let’s do this!

Forefront Moment #1: Starbucks Breakfast With My Fashion Fairy Godmother

The sun was blinding me as I left the elevator on Thursday morning, but I knew she would be waiting for me.  I stood there squinting for a moment looking for Clarissa Grace the fashion fairy godmother behind Waking Up in Paris. She had flown all the way from Australia and we were going to grab breakfast despite our massive jetlag.  Eeee I was so excited!

I saw a woman sitting in one of the circular couches but from her silhouette – remember that blinding sun? – I ruled her out.  I was looking for big curly hair and then I heard it.

A loud squeal of delight, combined with my name.  Something like Eeeee-Diana-Eeeee!  Soon after which I found myself in a hug!  It was Clarissa…with her hair pulled up into a slick ponytail.

Side note: Forefront was all about moments like this. The opportunity to jump up and down and squeal like a teenager. Ok ok…I mean, to connect with people I work with on a daily basis but have never seen in person.  

Clarissa Grace and Diana Tower

Looking fab despite the jet-lag!

Forefront Moment #2: The view from my hotel room.

Now if you stayed at the W Lakeshore Hotel then you probably had one of two experiences, as you looked out your hotel window.

 

If you had mine:  You gasped in disbelief at the sheer beauty of what lay before your eyes. The sun rising pink and orange, the water, Navy Pier, people doing stand up paddle at 7am. Beautiful!

Fun fact:  The hotel upgraded my room to a lake view when I checked in…without me even asking.  Um…thank you!!

But not everyone experienced this, as Clarissa would soon share with me.  After our fab Starbucks breakfast, where I might have raved about my view, she realised that she hadn’t even looked outside yet.

When she got back to her room she emailed me a photo of her view.  Not quite the same indeed!

Not quite the same.  – Clarissa Grace

Forefront Moment #3: Renaming the Bliss Spa Lounge

I don’t know about you but Forefront isn’t Forefront without getting a mani pedi with a buddy. This year I was looking for someone to join me in the Bliss Spa lounge and Camille Virginia who helps women master the art of offline dating  was my date.

That’s right my friends…Camille and I hung out in a little known paradise, where we got to recline on couches, nibble on snacks, drink fancy water and there was a fan too, all tucked away behind closed doors before our “technician” (ooo fancy) would come get us to do our nails.

Where were we? We weren’t in a standard spa lounge…we were in “The pre-nailing room”. Haha!

Sadly there are no photos of said pre-nailing room, BUT you can see us both in our chairs, pre-nailing and showing off our fabulous nailing results.

Forefront Moment #4: Nick Wolny (nuff said)

If you’ve never met Nick Wolny, the guy that helps fitness and yoga studios grow,  then you won’t quite understand what I’m about to tell you, but if you have met him, you’ll be nodding along with me.

I adore Nick. Just being around him makes me so happy. He is infectious and has such a beautiful presence. I felt it when I met him in NYC at the first ever Forefront and I felt it again this year…even if he isn’t in Accelerator anymore (psss…you’ll always be an Accelerator-er in my heart dude).

This year, we grabbed a drink (with the ever so lovely Camille – check out those nails yo!) before Forefront kicked off. While they drank their fancy smokey drinks (yuck…I mean…umm interesting!) I enjoyed some sugary concoction without alcohol (meh).

Sidenote: Again…when going to an event…come early, stay late. Most of my one on one interaction with people happened before and after the official event (when I wasn’t super tired) and they were some of the best parts!

It really was one of those moments that you’re never forget. The utter silliness, fun and laughing until your belly hurts kind of moments.

Nick even helped me capture the emotions that some ZTL students feel in Module one so I could create some MEMEs.

So. Much. Fun.

ZTL student progressing through Module 1:  1:  Checking out idea mapping…ummm. 2.  Realising that this is harder than they thought. 3. YOU WANT ME TO TALK TO PEOPLE!

Forefront Moment # 5: White Robes with Friends

I had 3 “white robe” moments and one included me spinning around my room like a weirdo to send my 5 year old and husband a video of myself.  I’ll spare you the dramatics …OR WILL I?

GIF it up a notch Diana!

Weeeeeee!  White robes forever!

The second white robe moment, was when I hopping into a full elevator on Saturday night carrying my white robe, while Abe Wagner wore his.  For those of you who didn’t meet Abe he’s the Senior Project Manager at IWT and he’s also an ex MMA fighter. See that big dude in the white robe below?  Go scroll.

Back? Great. So imagine that big, tall dude in a white robe below…in a hotel elevator. Ha.  Totally normal right?!

We’ll, Abe and I exited the elevator and proceeded to Felicia Sphar’s hotel room (one of the other badass Accelerator coaches I work with)…apparently we were going to the same after-hours party. 🙂

Not only did we get to sample Abe’s delicious homemade brandy (Blueberry and Cherry), I got to be a witness a friend-wedding!

That’s right.  Sarah Jones, the woman behind Introverted Alpha, and Felicia got their white robes on and said their vows to each other.  Friends forever!!

“I, Abe, pronounce you friend-married!”  

Forefront Moment #6: Buttons

Working on the Accelerator program has allowed me to help so many amazing people and I love being a coach and managing the community.

I wanted to do something special for our students so with the design help of Marc and logistical help from Camille we made it happen!  It was so fun to see our students wearing their buttons!

Accelerator Buttons all spread out on my bed!

Forefront Moment #7: Two of my besties

I also appreciate the Accelerator program and IWT so much because they introduced two wonderful people into my life, who are now two of my best friends; Marc Aarons of 80/20 Solutions and Primoz Bozic who helps experts, CEOs & rising stars build world class online businesses.

We keep in touch throughout the year (technology is fab!) but it’s always so great to see each other in person, grab a light breakfast (you know…steak and eggs) and help each other with whatever is going on in our businesses or our lives.

Forefront Moment #8: MCing Forefront

Ok folks…being an MC at Forefront was one of the coolest things I have ever done. There…I said it!  Was I nervous? For the first 5 minutes or so, hell yes (if you recall I even admitted it when Marc and I first started talking).

I remember walking out on stage with Marc and not being able to really think. I was trying to concentrate on what I should be telling everyone, what Marc was saying and my script – (which Sean Blanda – the editor-in-chief of GrowthLab – helped us create…thank goodness for Sean!)-, but at the same time another part of me just wanted to have FUN up there.

You see…I knew almost half of the people in the room personally. Current and past students, people I had met from Forefront last year, and the entire IWT team. Seeing all of their faces looking up at us was so exciting.

So once we got a feel for it, Marc and I decided to go off script and roll with it; leading with fun…one of IWT’s new company values.

Forefront Moment #9: Dancing and rings backstage

In NYC there was an epic night where I learnt to Salsa for the very first time. It was so much fun. This year I didn’t make it out to any Salsa evenings but we did have our own Salsa party backstage. That’s right.

Marc and Amber Beckett, one of the coolest volunteers at Forefront (and we had some badass volunteers!), got their dance on while we waiting for our next time on stage. But that’s not the only reason why Amber was hands down the coolest volunteer and stage manager.

You see, when I realised I hadn’t worn my special ring on Saturday, she jumped up and started taking off HER ring so that I could wear it.

Dude…now THAT is dedication.

Amber made everything backstage run so smoothly!  You’re amazing Amber!

Forefront Moment # 10: Spicy Cocktails

It’s not every day that you get invited to a private hotel-room party where you’ll be partaking in spicy cocktails.  Last year in NYC Nagina Sethi Abdullah, wellness and body coach and founder of Masala Body threw a little gathering in her hotel-room and it was spice-tastic.

This year she planned to do the same thing, with the help of her sister Rachita Reddy, (Dr. Reddy that is…who runs a doctor’s insider guide to weight-loss & reversing high blood pressure).  You see…Rachita is super organized and she walked into the room with ziplock baggies of all the pre-cut peppers, ginger, spices and mint.  It was amazing!

Nagina and Rachita whipping up some spicy cocktails!  Look at the pre-cut baggies!

So here we are, 10 or so of us, getting ready to enjoy these drinks with bite, when someone knocks on the door.  Long story short we were getting kicked out of the room.  Something about a max of 4 people in your rooms after 10pm, but they said we could take the party down to the lobby.

We commandeered one of the big circle couches and after some negotiations from Nagina we were able to set up shop with our yummy drinks and fab company.  What a night!

Forefront Moment # 11: Drybar

After a long day on Saturday all I wanted to do was sleep (can you feel me?!) BUT a girl’s gotta look good to go to a gala event right? So Jessica Phillippe the creator of Uptrovert and I hopped in an uber and hit up the drybar.

It was really nice to get some time to chill out and catch up (Jess is in Accelerator and was also my shopping buddy last year in NYC). There really is nothing quite like having your hair washed, dried and curled while you sit there doing…absolutely nothing.

Camille even joined in afterwards!

Me, Camille and Jess after having our hair did!

Forefront Moment #12: Flight Simulator

During the gala event, hosted at the Museum of Science and Industry, I finally got to experience what my father used to do on a daily basis. You see, he was a fighter pilot in the Canadian Air Force and he also used to train pilots in flight simulators.

So when I saw this activity I jumped on it, and I had a partner in crime, Tiffany Laurel the badass physiotherapist that helps other therapists charge more without the guilt. I took the controls while she took the guns and even though we might not have been a top gun (like my Dad was), we did have a blast.

Suggestion: Don’t wear a dress in a flight simulator. My skirt was all up in the air whenever we went upside down…and there just happened to be a camera taking our photos exactly when my skirt flew up (see above). Good times.

Blue steel?  Haha.  Damn I love you woman!  🙂

Forefront Moment #13: Shawn Achor

Picture it. You’re standing in the lobby of the W hotel and you look over at the elevators and see Shawn Achor walk towards you. What do you do? Do you introduce yourself or do you let him pass?  I had to make that decision on Saturday morning.

I was hanging out by the elevators when Shawn came out. So I stepped forward, with a big smile on my face, put out my hand and said,

“Hi Shawn, it’s so nice to meet you. I’m Diana Tower and I’m one of the MCs for the event.”

Normally, I would have been nervous but I was at Forefront and felt pretty invincible.  It’s amazing how you feel when you surround yourself with ambitious ass-kickers!

Now…if you were at Forefront or you have seen Shawn’s Ted talk…you know how lovely and friendly he seems. We’ll I am thrilled to say that he is just like he appears on stage. He is quite possibly the nicest, warmest and friendliest person I’ve ever met.

We had a short conversation about his book, “The Happiness Advantage” before I needed to head to the venue to get ready, but I heard that he moved on to enjoy breakfast with some of our attendees that morning in the lobby!

I also may have hugged him backstage after his keynote and I may or may not have gotten a bit misty eyed.

Come on people. You know I’m a crier!

Forefront Moment #14: A private dinner

This was by far one of my favourite parts of Forefront. Being able to sit at a small table with some wonderful people on the last evening and actually getting to know them better was so lovely.

Frank Magnotti, the (more than just a) systems guy behind Amp Your Results and Camille hosted this awesome dinner. Not only did we enjoy some pretty fantastic sushi, I got to know Chris Out – the not only hella successful Managing partner/Lead growth hacker at Rockboost, but a truly lovely person as well.  I finally got to connect with Tina Huynh too.

Not to mention that we got to celebrate Camille’s 2 year entrepre-versiary with a post dinner cake!

So much awesome at one table!

The night was then capped off with an impromptu coaching session from Frank Magnotti. Yes folks…he’s not just a systems man. He’s an amazing coach and he really helped me with a version of “fear of success” that was really holding me back. He helped so much, I actually forgot what the original issue was when we were all said and done.

BONUS – Forefront Moment #15: My Ramit Moment

That’s right folks.  I’m adding in a final moment that wasn’t in my original post.  I hesitated because well…to be honest I’m not sure at all, and as I read my post over (catching some typos and updating links) I realised that there was another person that made Forefront super special…Ramit Sethi himself.

This is my photo of Ramit (he’s on stage in the background).  I didn’t grab a selfie with him.  Doh!

Now, Ramit and I aren’t BFFs and we certainly didn’t curl up on any couches in white robes while drinking Brandy or a spicy cocktail, but I did get to spend a bit of time with him backstage and in the green room.

Truth be told, I’ve wanted to say thank you to Ramit for months…if not years.  I can not begin to express how grateful I am for all that he has done for me and even more importantly, all that he has empowered and taught me to do for myself.  Saying thank you doesn’t feel like enough, but I still wanted to try to express it somehow.

So I did something that I haven’t done in years.  I drew him something.

Yes folks…I’m a closet artist and I’ve “shhh-ed” it for that past decade or so.  But on the plane to Chicago I changed my story (just like Ramit talked about during his incredible keynote speech) and allowed myself to be the artist that I am.

But it didn’t stop there…I drew something for him, Primoz, Marc and Felicia…my Accelerator team members and boy did it feel good.

I was kind of scared to give it to him, but when there was a quiet moment in the green room I grabbed it from my bag and said, “Hey Ramit…I made you something.  Just wanted to say thank you.” and passed it over.  “You did this?  Wow!”  Then he noticed that there were things hidden in the R and I pointed out some more of the hidden images, messages and words throughout it.

Can you find them all?

This moment was probably only 3 minutes long…but boy was it special.  Finally, a chance for me to say thank you in my own way, and I’ll continue to find more ways to say thank you.  This post for example is also another thank you.  My own way of sharing my experience at Forefront so that others might read it and come next year.  🙂

Now, why do these Forefront Moments matter, and what do they have to do with community?

All of these moments have one thing in common…they are centered around connecting with amazing people.

It wasn’t the food (though it was delicious) or the hotel (though it was fantastic) that made the weekend amazing.

It was the people…the community that comes together once a year to connect and grow.

I would not have ANY of these memories if not for the people in them. The warm, caring, interesting and fun people that I was surrounded by almost every moment from 7am until 2am from Friday to Sunday and then some.

Also note, that I only shared 14 moments today, but there are 100s more, that are so special to me!

Why Forefront matters?

Working from home in the south of Spain can get pretty lonely sometimes, but knowing that there are weirdo’s just like me, sprinkled all over the world makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. The fact that these weirdos all come together once a year takes-away that loneliness too.

I feel like I’m in this with other badasses just like me, rather than alone at my desk day in and day out.

And that’s why I’m sharing these Forefront moments with you…so that you can think about your own moments and make some more too. Maybe you didn’t go to Forefront and that’s ok…you can still find ways to connect with amazing people moving forward.

Maybe you could host a meet-up in your area. Or perhaps you can go away for a weekend where you know a lot of other entrepreneurs live (NYC, London etc) and organise a get together or a special dinner.

Now some of you might be thinking that you don’t have time to build relationships…you’ve got sales pages to write and products to launch but I’m here to tell you that relationships will always be there for you.  Friends will be there to support you when you’re not sure what to do and they also open up doors that you never even dreamed possible.

I challenge you to connect with other amazing people and build your own community; to help you build your business and a life that makes you happy.  I also hope to see you at Forefront 2018!

As I am giving you a challenge, I wanted to give myself one as well.

My Challenge:  I’m starting a Podcast!

That’s right folks, I was able to speak with so many amazing people in person at Forefront and see some of my best friends again and it got me thinking.

  • Maybe there is something I can do that would bring us together throughout the year.
  • Maybe there is something that I could do to help you connect with some amazing people that I already know and call friends.

So I did something scary.  I reached out to people and let them know that I would be starting a podcast and invited them to be a guest.

Do you know what happened?

Contrary to my fears of people saying no or that they would hate the idea, I have 22 people and counting who said YES.  I’m even going to be recording my FIRST interview on Oct 20th with my first mystery guest (who may or may not be mentioned in this post!).

If you’d like to know when the podcast goes live and who that mysterious first guest is, be sure to sign up to my list and you’ll be the first to know when all the fun goes live! I’ll also send you the PDF version of my Ultimate guide on building a profitable online community for your clients.

Take action!

What about you my friend? Do you have some fun moments from Forefront you’d like to share.  I’m dying to hear them.  I know I had so many moments with so many different people and I’d love to hear one of YOUR moments from Forefront in the comments below.

Come one now.  Share one moment in the comments. I’d really love to hear it!