The 3 Phases of Relaunching the Awarepreneurs Community

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The New Awarepreneurs Membership Community

You might have noticed that things got a little intense in the Awarepreneurs Facebook community over the late summer and into the fall - thus leading us to pause the group.  This post gives the background info re: what was happening that lead to to this decision and the need for a restructure plan.

The good news is that the restructure plan has been proposed and it's been tremendously well recieved.  Now, it's time to implement it!

Please note that the entire design of the new Awarepreneurs community membership program is take us deeper as a community.  There are 4 main features of the program:
 

  1. Live monthly business networking calls via Zoom.
  2. Ongoing support for launching your products & services from our team and the community.
  3. Referrals to a diverse network of service providers - like web designers, marketing consultants, skillful bookkeepers and other professionals - who understand your kind of business.
  4. Membership in our bonus Facebook group.

Again, we are deeply committed to making this program inclusive.  We do this through our innovative "buy one/give one" membership model.

Due to a varieity of factors - like we are now entering the holiday period here in the US and the fact that Reva Patwardhan, our new community moderator, will be on a month long vacation until early January - we are going to relaunch the Awarepreneurs community using a 3 phase process. 

Here are the 3 phases:

1) Contemplation (now until December 4th)

Again, this is a busy time of year for many people.  For instance, our founder is off all next week (11/19 to 11/26) for a Thanksgiving break and Reva Patwardan has a previously scheduled vacation for almost all of December.  And, people in the community have asked for time to ask questions about and get to know the new structure of the membership community.

We needed a structure that will allow our community members to start getting benefit while still aknowledging everyone needs some time to go from the old model to the new.

So ...

Starting today, Novemember 14th, the Awarepreneurs FB community will be open for posting again.  During this phase, we will have set the Facebook group to moderator approved posts and will only be approving posts by ANYONE that relate to questions about the restructure plan and MEMBERS ONLY re: entrepreneurial issues, referrals questions & resources, and self-care conversations.  Anyone can comment on any thread.

Features of the Contemplation phase:

  1. Starts today, November 14th-December 4th
  2. Moderator approved posts for people who are members (either buy one or give one, we don't differentiate) on business related topics and ANYONE can ask questions or give feedback re: the restructure plan.
  3. We do not have the paid moderator and dialogue infrastructure in place yet.  So we suggest that people focus more on entrepreneurial issues, referrals questions & resources, and self-care conversations.  We suggest waiting til phase 3 to bring more emotional charged conversations about social justice/social impact issues to the group (we will have our paid moderator in place and guidelines for dialogue more fully developed).
  4. NO posts will be approved during major holidays and weekends (Friday night-Monday morning Pacific time) so our founder can get a break.
  5. During this period, we would appreciate current Facebook group members to either join the new Awarepreneurs community membership program (either buy one or give one, we don't differentiate) or to remove themselves from the Facebook group.

2) Going Deeper (December 5th-January 7th)

During this phase, there are two main features:

  1. We will begin removing everyone from the Awarepreneurs Facebook community who is NOT a member (either buy one or give one, we don't differentiate) of the new Awarepreneurs community membership program.   If you do not wish to join the program, we would greatly appreciate it if you'd remove yourself from the Facebook group.  The Facebook group is a bonus feature just for members of the membership program.
  2. We will begin the process of going deeper as a community.  For instance, our first community call for facilitated business networking is scheduled for December 12th,  @ 9am Pacific/noon Eastern, our founder will start scheduling appointments to meet with business sponsors to discussing how to support thier upcoming launches, etc.

3) full version (from january 8th, 2018 forward)

Once we know who's aboard for the deeper dive, dialogue based ride, we will go to the full version.  Awarepreneurs community 2.0.   :)

This phase features:
 

  1. We will be moving forward with programming to help us build our community muscles for having conversations about topics that tend to be more emotionally charged - social impact and social justice conversations.
  2. Assuming the our membership funds our 2nd goal of Patreon goal of at least $2000/month, Reva Patwardhan will start her role as paid community monitor.
  3. Our second community membership call to discuss how we can support your upcoming launches as well as how we're going to deepen the dialogues is scheduled for Thursday, January 18th at 9am Pacific.
  4. In the Facebook group, members posts will NOT need to be moderator approved from Monday morning to Friday afternoon (Pacific time).   We WILL be turning on moderator approved posts on the weekends so our team can have self care time.

Summary

In sum, I know this has been a turbulent time in our community.  It's also been a turbulent time in the larger world and we are very much connected to the collective.

And, I am excited about this new phase for our community.  These times are asking us to go deeper both personally and as a collective.  We have experienced way too much of what Awarepreneurs Advisory Board member (look for another post on this soon) Kundan Chhabra calls "post and ghost" behavior.   

It's. Time. For. More. Depth. And. More. Accountability.  And this is our plan to get there.

Please know you are welcome to ask questions and/or give feedback about any aspect of this plan.  You can contact me via the Awarepreneurs website or post it in the Awarepreneurs Facebook group (these types of posts will be approved whether or not you are currently a member.

Thank you for your time, your care, and the important work you do!

With much appreciation,

Paul Zelizer, Founder of Awarepreneurs

 

Proposal for Restructuring the Awarepreneurs Community

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Proposal for Restructuring the Awarepreneurs Community

Hi Awarepreneurs,

Have you noticed that these are quite poignant times for many people?  I hope you are taking good care of yourselves.

Two things have been happening simultaneously that have been significantly impacting the Awarepreneurs community of late.  First, there is the context of events in the larger culture - like increased violence and visibility by white supremacy groups like we saw in Charlottesville and an increase of dialogues about sexual harrassment/sexual assualt around the world due to the #metoo movement.  Second, there was a series of events in a large social impact oriented Facebook group called We Are the Culture Makers (it's beyond the scope of this post to outline those events).  There's a quite a bit of overlap between  Awarepreneurs and We Are the Culture Makers.

With events like these, things started heating up in the Awarepreneurs Facebook community over August, September and October.  After a) getting feedback from a number of people (especially people of color) that they have rising concerns about safety and b) seeing the levels of criticisim and attack rising among members (and also coming my way), it’s time to acknowledge that there are changes needed in our community.

Our core values - and that of many of our members - include a focus on addressing social realities that have been generations in the making.   There is no way to really have the impact we say we want to have without dialoguing about some challenging topics.   

Awarepreneurs strives to be an inclusive organization and there will ALWAYS be ways people can benefit and take part in our offerings regardless of whether they are able to commit in a more significant way.  For instance, our podcast features sector leaders, the Launch Monday! Facebook live show that happens every Monday showcases innovative offerings in our sector and our newsletter are all free and available to everyone with no membership required.

At the same time, in order to provide a container that contributes to our member's success and safety, we are proposing a restructure of the community aspect of Awarepreneurs that includes 5 action steps:

1) Going to an affordable, buy one/give one membership model.  The why of this change is to get the resources we need for more appropriate moderation and support for building our community muscles to dialogue about challenging issues.  Please understand, we are committed to being inclusive and no one will be turned away due to lack of funds.   

We are proposing a basic membership of $10 per month - $5 for one's own membership and $5 to “give one” to make sure we stay inclusive.  There will also be the option to just do $5 per month for one’s own membership.   On our website will be a simple form to request a "give one" membership for anyone who feels that neither is a viable option for their current situation.

If someone is neither a Patreon supporter nor has requested a "give one" membership, then we will remove that member from the Facebook group.

To give perspective, on November 5th, 2017 when I published this post we had 2664 members, 69 contributing to our Patreon campaign for a total of $912 per month.   With the changes, our team anticipates a smaller community of 200-500 people to start and revenues of at least $2000 per month thru our Patreon Campaign.  In talking with our new Advisory Board members (see #3 below) it feels aligned  for Awarepreneurs to go deeper with a smaller and more committed community and then grow from there.

2) Add paid moderation and moderator approved posts.  I’ve spoken with Reva Patwardhan of www.dialoguelab.org and she’s agreed to come on board at a minimum of 20 hours per month in a paid moderator role. We will ask the community to ensure we get funded at the level of at least $2000 per month to fund this.  As membership levels and funding grow, we can add additional moderation hours as needed. The role of the moderator will be to help resource our community for the kinds of dialogues effective social impact work takes, help look through posts for approval and to be a resource in situations where difficult dynamics arise.

Reva will be doing this for 6 weeks to help us develop a model for moderation.  There will be opportunity for feedback and then we’ll evaluate what we've learned during the 6 weeks.

3) Launch the Awarepreneurs Advisory Board.  It’s time for a leadership circle that larger than one (currently our founder Paul Zelizer is the only designated leader).  The job of the Advisory Board are to a) make sure the organization is paying attention to important issues in our community and our sector, b) help design policies needed for Awarepreneurs to be a safe and inclusive space and c) look at organization structural issues – like how does Awarepreneurs structure itself to ensure member’s contributions are seen and valued?

3 members have said yes thus far (below) and I'm in dialogue with several other dynamic sector leaders:

4) Add facilitated networking so members get to know each other off of Facebook.  We will add monthly facilitated calls via Zoom that allow members to get to know each other and our businesses better.  This includes who has innovative programs launching that we can support as a community as well as resources to make sure that our referral networks are full of diverse and talented entrepreneurs.  We will also explore how to help each other get more referrals as well as better collaborate for the success of our members.

5) Launch a series of workshops around building our dialogue muscles. We will work with community leaders to offer skill building workshops to understand and address our ability as social entrepreneurs to better understand, dialogue about and effectively make change around social issues like structural inequalities.

NOTE: We will be doing a community call to dialogue about these changes on Wednesday, November 8th @ 1pm Pacific/3pm Eastern.  Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/968787108

 

Our founder's role
 

As founder, I dedicate many hours each week to serving and growing the Awarepreneurs community.  These activities include but are not limited to:

  • Develping the vision and direction of Awarepreneurs (with the guidance and support of our new Advisory Board)
  • Providing leadership 
  • Creating structures to sustain and grow the organization
  • Moderating the Awarepreneurs Facebook group (which under this proposal I will share with Reva Patwardhan)
  • Networking and building the community referral base
  • Expanding Awarepreneurs ability to market our member's products & services
  • The Awarepreneurs Podcast
  • The Launch Monday! Interview show
  • Sharing resources and referrals
  • And much more.

Thank you for your patience and feedback,

Paul Zelizer, Founder