TIB #15: Community Super Power! (A Fizzle Thank You!)
No matter how motivated and optimistic you are: to successfully fly solo and be independent, you need a support structure of people to help you succeed and learn to play the long game. For me Fizzle is the single most important source of inspiration to run and online business and support to keep going on this challenging journey of fears and victories.
Owner Corbett Barr sold Fizzle. So it will cease to exist in its current form. This post is my way of saying “thank you” and sharing insights into why a good community is so valuable to help you on your journey.
If you are anything like me, taking the step to go solo was a big one to take. For years I felt the pull to start my own business, but I never did. My professional background is in technology and business, so you would think, I have a leg up in terms of knowledge or skills. But the reality is that the uncertainties of earning my own money kept me from making the leap.
Initially, I started writing online for family and friends about my experience in Sillicon Valley startups back in 2000. Since then, there have been many side hustle attempts: selling t-shirts to paragliders (“Pimp my Flight”), running a youtube channel for dutch tea lovers (FFTZZ) and I built a small but dedicated community of DIY home automation geeks (Clever Crib). All of them had some success, but none of them lasted. I always looked at it as a hobby or a side project, but never took it seriously.
In 2020, I was offered a severance package from my day job due to a restructuring of the company. I decided to go all-in and start my own (online) business. After a good talk with my wife of course🙂
I had been a Fizzle member before in 2016, but left in ’17 when I had to step back because I was spreading myself too thin. So without overthinking it, I rejoined Fizzle in 2020.
With no income and a few months of runway, this was the best thing I could think of. Going all-in without having a real backup plan, provided the urgency to commit to creating my own online business.
Though the technicalities of starting and running an online business are becoming easier every day, the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) that comes with it remain. Technology can remove technical barriers, but it cannot ‘fix’ the mental side of things. And it shouldn’t.
The journey of independent entrepreneurship is just as much about the personal growth of the entrepreneur as it is about serving clients and making money.
The relationships that I was able to develop in the Fizzle community have helped me deal with the cesspool of self-doubt that come with the decision to put yourself “out there”. But they also kept me grounded when I made my first few €’s and started to consider doing masterclasses in online business to the Gary Vaynerchucks of this world 🤣
In an interview with author (and historian and intellectual) Yuval Hoah Harari, a quote stuck with me. It was made in the context of the flaws of dating apps, but for me, it captured the essence of community:
People are not consumers of partners but producers of relationshipsYuval Noah Harari
When buying an online course from an internet expert, we consume. Maybe followed by actions to help us learn, but the essence is consuming. A good community, on the other hand, produces meaningful relationships.
Thriving communities allow real, meaningful relationships to be produced. It is a group of people that are on a similar journey.
The members are on various places on the same learning curve. Those “further along” on the curve are a source of inspiration, they show you what you might encounter as you grow. Both the ups and downs.
It is easy to identify with them because you both know what it means to be in each other’s places. An entrepreneur who has been in this game (a bit) longer than I have, can still relate to the stuff I am going through. I can relate (somewhat) to the entrepreneur “ahead” of me on the learning curve because I have some experience of my own that allows me to relate and imagine.
Yet to other members, I may that person that is slightly ahead on the learning curve. Therefore I serve as a source of potential inspiration. I can relate to what they are going through as I was just there a few months ago and provide some assistance or perspective to help them determine how to proceed.
Since all members come from such different walks of life, everybody has experience and perspective to share in order to help other members, no matter where they are on the learning curve.
The team at Fizzle understand this extremely well. I have heard founder Corbett Barr say that the power of many future online businesses is in a combination of teaching, coaching and community.
In Fizzle, a team of credible experts (Corbett, Chase, Caleb, Barrett, Steph, Jen and many others) created relevant course content. The community provides accountability and coaching. The weekly Fizzle friday live video calls are/were a way to share your succeses.
Because members relate to each other, they know what a massive step it can be to create your first blog post, to make your first sale. But also to cheer on those that have grown to a point that they are hiring staff so they are not eaten alive by the business they created.
Before I joined Fizzle, I would only seek out the “big players”. Successful online entrepreneurs with vast online empires. That can be inspiring, but also disheartening on the days that you are struggling.
The Fizzle community has made me appreciate the “smaller” entrepreneurs much more than the big ones, simply because they are all examples of what is attainable for me in the near future.
On our last live Fizzle Happy Hour call, several members shared a few words or a video as a thank you. This was my attempt to express the force for good that Fizzle has been for me:
Not only has Fizzle been a solid force for good for me in my journey in online entrepreneurship. Corbett Barr, (co?) founder of Fizzle, has had a huge impact on my journey as well. Just after Corbett launched the redesigned Fizzle website in April of 2021, I had figured out how I wanted to help people deal with everyday life struggles better. In particular young adolescents. The Fizzle format seemed like a good fit for what I wanted to do.
I remember Corbett saying on one of the Fizzle Happy Hour calls in June that it is not about the technology, but all about the content. That is when Corbett shared all the Fizzle source code with me, to help me get started. It felt like getting the keys to the kingdom.
After several months of figuring out how it all worked, reprogramming parts here and there, and writing new copy for the site, TJIL.NU was (soft) launched in early 2022. It is october ’22 as I write this and we have just under 50 members, most of which as paying😉 (thanks to promotional activities).
Why hype a community that will soon cease to exist? For a couple of reasons:
If you have not experienced the power of a community yet, you now know what to look for:
1 Fizzle has been sold to Zen Business, who are (as far as I know) going to make the video lessons available for their members. It is expected to take a few months, but somewhere in 2023, you will find the Fizzle video lessons there. Their tagline is “A free LLC for every mom”, but I think Dad’s can join too?
2 You now have a few names of real-life, very experienced, online entrepreneurs to follow. None of the hype, none of the guru’s, none of the “90 easy steps to passive income” nonsense. Just real people, with real succeses and real struggles. You can find some inspiration here:
Make sure to check out Corbett’s newsletter “Starting Things”. You can become member for free. Being a paid member will give you access to more frequent content and possibly a community component in the future.
Of course I am sad to see Fizzle being dismantled (that’s how it feels at least). But, I am happy to have been a part of it. I also now what to look for in a community.
But most importantly, I am really happy with the relationships that have come out of it as a result of the community. There are several people that I consider friends now and there are plenty of ways we keep in touch.
Thank you Corbett, thank you Chase, Barrett, Steph, Jen and the rest of team Fizzle over the years. And especially thank you to the community members and managers over the years. You have been invaluable to my journey in ways you may not even be aware. I hope I have been able to do the same to you.
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