I have always believed you get what you pay for.
I personally have paid to be a part of tribes, communities, business groups, mastermind groups, group classes.
Every single time I gained value.
Why? The answer is simple, incentives.
Before we look at a paid community. Let’s look at a FREE community.
A classic example is a networking meet or a FREE Facebook group.
For them to stay financially viable they will need to promote something. Simply understanding that most people need an income to survive will allow you to appreciate, that in order for a FREE group to stay valuable, there will be lots of promotion, advertisement and third party selling.
That is ok, because that is how the people organising the networking meet or free Facebook group make it viable financially and attract new members.
The challenge with a free group is, you join it because you think it is free. However, you are actually paying, with your attention.
If we understand that our attention is valuable, then to be honest, you would stop joining free Facebook groups. The counter argument to this is, yeah but there will be some good information in the group/networking meet every now and then. I don’t disagree, but now we are putting a worth on your attention. In this case your attention is not worth a lot, because you are willing to see 9 promotions for 1 piece of valuable information.
Alternatively, a paid community is open and honest with its incentive. Pay for access.
This immediately filters out everyone who has a low worth on their attention. Ok but what is in it of the organisers, hosts or leaders of the community? Now the business is getting paid they can focus on providing value and service to the community.
This value can come in the form of, expert information, curated content, packaged information, exclusive access, like-minded people, mentorship, coaching.
The paid community will have its own challenges, ensuring they are producing exclusive content, community management, creating a level of exclusivity around the community (trying not to drop the prices as a means of driving volume), delivering on their promises, churn, marketing and a positive culture.
But these challenges are what you pay the community organisers to handle.
I personally remember people bewildered at the fact I paid to be a part of private communities. But this soon was in my rear-view mirror as my relationships strengthened, my expert knowledge increased, I was constantly inspired by the others in the group, my business expanded and got to meet some incredible leaders.
If you have put off joining a private paid community because of the words of others. Put it into context.
It is ok to pay for your gym membership which gives you access to the best yoga, spin, fitness teachers.
It is ok to pay your annual chartership membership, to create authority in your workplace.
It is ok to pay for your monthly magazine subscription, to get non bias curated articles.
It is ok to pay to be around like-minded people.