I'm sure all of you have seen me mention it in my online income reports, but almost two months ago I started the private Millennial Money Man Community on Facebook! So far, it has been a pretty incredible experience and definitely an opportunity for me to learn more about the people that happen to stumble onto this site.
In a pretty short period of time, the group has swelled to over 3,300 people and is still growing really really fast.
Hopefully this doesn't come off as corny, because it's 100% true. This private group is special, and something I've really enjoyed being a part of since it started. The experience of seeing so many people get together and nerd out about personal finance because of the hard work I've put into this site is definitely humbling.
Here are 7 things that I've learned by bringing 3,300+ people of various backgrounds together to openly talk about money:
1. Everyone on the internet doesn't suck
I've got to be honest – ever since M$M has grown to reach anywhere from 150,000 – 180,000 people per month, I've been exposed to some of the absolute worst people on the internet.
Not that I'm complaining (because I definitely bring it on myself by operating a VERY transparent online business), but it still surprises me sometimes how bitter some people can be online after reading something as simple as me saying new cars aren't a great place to put your cash.
The funny thing is, I'm sure those bitter people are actually really nice people in real life.
When I was a teacher I saw this all the time. The nicest kids could say the worst possible things to each other online once the normal social boundaries were removed. We would bring the kids into the office and read some of their social media conversations back to them…and it was shocking how messed up it could be.
Fortunately, the M$M community isn't that way at all. I'm not even completely sure how I managed to pull it off haha.
Since starting the group, I can legitimately say that it's the nicest and most genuine collection of people I've ever seen in one place.
Questions about student loans? No problem. My group has your back.
You made some embarrassing decisions with money recently? No biggie, let's talk about how to fix it without judging.
The people that are killing it with money talk to the people who are just getting started on their journey as financial equals. It's so humbling and cool to watch every day. Never gets old.
2. People desperately want to talk about money
I made a decision not to allow political nonsense, insults, or religious arguments in the group from the very beginning. Then, I enlisted a couple of awesome admins to help me enforce it with zero exceptions.
We started by essentially giving a short warning to any rule violators, and then booting them from the group if we even caught a hint of a second incident.
I was a little worried what would happen by being so strict with the group rules, but it turned out that people actually wanted it to be that way.
Now we get comments every day about how much people love the group and how it makes their day to be able to avoid all of the other things floating around on their social media feeds.
If I learned anything from teaching in a high school, it's that sometimes you have to really stick to the rules you set for everything to work right in the long run.
3. When you don't allow self-promotion, your community thrives
This was the hardest decision of all. A lot of private groups out there on Facebook are essentially a sales funnel and can be pretty lucrative if you do it right. I actually don't think there's anything wrong with that as long as the people in the group are aware of it too.
But I wanted something different for the M$M community. I've been so fortunate to make great money quickly with my business. I'm not rich by any stretch yet, but I know that I can build legitimate wealth through M$M in the near future.
Rather than try to monetize the group, I wondered if I could just strengthen my bond with my most dedicated readers instead by just…hanging out with them. We don't allow affiliate links or self-promotion of any kind in the group.
I actually don't even post my own articles from M$M in the group for traffic either, which is HARD for someone that makes money based on traffic.
4. Everyone has a different path in life and finances
I always knew that M$M had a really diverse readership, but I never knew just how diverse.
The group has college students, baby boomers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, stay at home moms, teachers, and everything in-between.
The conversations range from intense portfolio diversification discussions to easy stuff like “Should I buy a new car?” (to which the answer is always no, duh). 🙂
Rather than just being a group about couponing or reaching early retirement, the common denominator is the people and their interest in getting better at money.
I love that.
5. Scammers come in all forms
I have never seen so many dumb would-be scammers before.
It makes sense – I guess when you get a few thousand people who probably have some cash to spend, you'll also attract people that want to bait someone on a ridiculous crypto-currency affiliate program.
We have three entrance questions that are required to get admittance into the group. Some of these scammers do a terrible job of answering them and get declined by my admins almost instantly.
Some are a little sneakier and answer the questions correctly, and then immediately try to start sharing their affiliate codes or whatever weird thing they are pushing.
That's why I created the “gif-off” system.
It's pretty simple. People like gifs. A lot. Maaaaaybe too much. 🙂
So when someone spams in the group, we have an immediate and relentless storm of gif commenting on the spammy post. The reasons are twofold:
1. It's fun
2. It confuses the spammer (Why would all these weirdos share so many gifs so quickly?) and they usually leave on their own.
It's a beautiful system.
6. Life coaches are relentless!
I don't have much to add here. If you're a 22-year-old life coach and haven't held a substantial job other than 22-year-old life coach, there's a good chance you don't have a whole lot to offer about…life.
They try to get in the group from time to time and it annoys me to no end.
7. If you preach the right message, you get the right readers
Ultimately, that's the key. A lot of people want to know how I've been able to grow M$M to a legit site so quickly while actually building a loyal community of readers.
My message used to be very judgy and preachy, and then one day I decided to start listening to readers and empathizing with what they were going through financially.
Some people are able to pull off the “financial expert talking down from the mountain of success” thing really well. I'd rather have a big community all talking to each other as equals at the top of the same mountain.
Seems like it's working pretty well so far.
Want to get in?
If you haven't already, go ahead and join the M$M Private Facebook community here. Just don't spam us or we will collectively gif you to death.