In this lonely, fragmented world, few things are as valuable as genuine connection.

As a true fan creator, you hold that power at your fingertips. You can bring your people together, give them a space to be who they want to be, and say the things they can’t elsewhere. You can be a bridge between your fans—one that allows them to walk across and form relationships that will last years.

This is a long-winded way of saying “you should probably build a community at some point.

When done well, it will not only bolster the bottom line of your creative business, but it will prove more meaningful to your fans than you can imagine.

Now, as someone who’s been attempting to build online communities for years, there are a few lessons I had to learn the hard way.

First, if your people aren’t connecting with each other, it’s not a community. Don’t mistake this as yet another channel to broadcast at your audience. It’s more about them than you.

The next is that community rarely comes easy. Just setting up a group won’t be enough to build a thriving culture. Expect it to take months, or even years, of showing up generously, and participating yourself, for your community to take on a life of its own.

Next, communities work best people are working towards something difficult, together. Nothing will create the bonds you’re looking for like a shared mission, and lots of side quests along the way.

Finally, all of this works best when you build the community you desire for yourself, but aren’t finding elsewhere.

So get out there, make friends, and bring them together.