Create a Community

Rubber Ducks
  1. Blogging for Benjamin Competition
  2. Why I'm Grateful to Work on the Web
  3. 24 Pull Requests
  4. Update Downloadable Product's Expiration Date in WooCommere
  5. Get Lost in the Flow and Work for More Than a Salary
  6. Why A Plugin's Popularity Matters
  7. Why You Should (Or Shouldn't) Use Premium Plugins
  8. WooCommerce Terms & Conditions
  9. Only Ship to Continental United States with WooCommerce
  10. Just Talk
  11. Why I Love Jetpack
  12. Making Jetpack Better
  13. Remove Billing Address for Free Virtual Orders in WooCommerce
  14. Notify Admin of Customer Address Change in WooCommerce
  15. Open Your Self Up To New Possibilities
  16. 2013 Resolutions Review
  17. Create a Community
  18. Tips for Starting a Community
  19. The Intent of Goals
  20. Create The Ultimate Invoicing System Using WooCommerce
  21. Change From Address in Ninja Forms
  22. Work With People Who Inspire You
  23. Contact Form 7 & MailPoet Integration
  24. Monotasking
  25. Giving Back to The Community
  26. Adding Fuctionality to Lean Plugins
  27. Choose Stripe For a Payment Gateway
  28. A Dip Into Entrepreneurship
  29. Reward Yourself
  30. Blogging for Benjamin Plugin
  31. Blogging for Benjamin Wrap Up

This past Friday I did a joint presentation at the local meetup that I organize, the Appleton WordPress Meetup. I put a lot of effort into the meetup doing one or two presentations a year my self as well as motivating other members to present. But despite all the work I put into it every month I always leave the meeting energized and excited to be doing what I'm doing.

Meet Your Community

My meetup is in a neighboring city of only 75,000 and despite the size of the small city we actually have quite a large and diverse group. We have a couple freelance developers, affiliate marketers, SEO / content specialists, designers, bloggers, agency developers, and more. The huge range of skill, expertise, clients, and problems makes the group so interesting. It's great to hear conversations between developers who are building solutions and the assemblers who take the tools developers build to build sites for clients.

I'm certainly not an SEO guru so it was incredibly valuable when the affiliate marketer talked about the different solutions and the experiments he's done with different SEO plugins. You can see how seriously he takes his job since in his case it can literally make a difference of thousands of dollars. Hearing him speak about this issue gave me some understanding from his point of view and your average clients point of view.

It's not just the affiliate marketer. That's just one example. I learn from every single member of the community. I honestly believe that everyone has a lesson to teach. Every time one of them presents I get valuable knowledge so my main goal is to convince them to speak. They don't have to be certified in anything they just need to tell us the problem they had and some of the solutions they looked into.

Learn Before You're Forced To Learn

One of the most important reasons I go to a meetup is the I always walk out of there with one interesting tidbit. And usually a tidbit like that can save me hours of programming or research.

At the last meeting we were discussing WordPress Newsletter Plugins and 3rd party SMTP providers came up. I found out that 3/4 of the attendees hadn't ever heard of these services. The speaker himself was talking about all of the pains he had and some of the solutions he's found. Most of the members in this meeting can now skip 10 hours of painful troubleshooting and refer back to these slides and set up a solution in 1/10th of that time.

Referring Work

Another reason I love the meetup is that I have someone to pass referral work to. Why do I love passing referral work away? Becuase I like doing what I do best and right now that's development. Can I do client work and configure a site for someone? Sure. But I would rather pass a lead to someone else and receive leads when someone else need some custom development work.

if we can all pass each other the work we want then we'll all be more efficient, more productive, and happier.

Work Together

While I don't encourage users to go to meetups and pester other members I do encourage people to collaborate together to solve problems. After the last meeting someone came up to me with a problem they were having with one of their themes (a WooTheme's theme) and I was very quickly and easily able to inspect the CSS find the issue and recommend a work around for him. When I got back from the meeting I submitted a pull request and the next version of this theme shouldn't have this problem at all. I can't think of a better way to get feedback on our products or a faster way to solve bugs.

Reward Yourself

In the end I created and maintain this community because it has value to me. I'm sure if you create your own community it will be as equally rewarding. Reward yourself.

Photo Credit: via Compfight cc

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