Essential Guide To Building a Tribe

Sometime’s you just need to sit back and watch, watch how people somehow or another seem to be part of something, the need to feel part of a greater group or movement. It is no secret that human beings are quite tribal. But what are the essential steps to building a tribe? A lot of the material I have been reading lately, states that ones amount of fulfilling interactions with others can play a major part in someone’s levels of happiness.  Personally, I find this to be one of my greatest motivators in life, I enjoy being around others and in general connecting with new people. But let’s take a few steps back and understand tribes and exactly what I mean. To be clear, I am not talking about tribes in the Amazon Jungle, although they are tribal, I am just merely talking about how people bound together behind a certain cause or interest. So what are common modern day examples of tribes, well there are plenty but the most common are things like music artists or genres, sports teams, movies, video gaming and there are so many more.  Simply it is a group of people who have a passion for a specific thing and sharing that common interest, is what brings them together.

Please let’s not confuse these with cults.

But understanding the tribal nature of human beings is something people can harness and create amazing movements around.  With the strength of modern day technologies and the connectedness that we all have with each other, creating tribes and movements has never been easier. A great modern day example of this would be, the charity group Movemeber.  The whole movement whilst it is all about raising awareness and money for prostate cancer and men’s health, the whole novelty and idea behind growing a moustache was just brilliant.  Such tribal movements are great examples of how this mindset can be used to do amazing things. I would classify this action as the creation of modern day tribes, unlike the more common forms I mentioned earlier.  These modern day tribes are popping up all over the web, being lead by innovators and thought leaders, individuals themselves have become the movement itself, it is simply amazing. But big ideas like this, typically start small and grow into these large movements.  I am sure if you are reading this, at one stage or another you have wanted to lead a movement or a tribe of some kind and I am hear to tell you, anyone can.

My own experience within the spectrum of creating tribes revolves around the e-commerce store I have built. In an extremely small niche of furniture recycling, together with my wife, we have created what I would describe as the latest movement in painted second hand furniture.  Yes painting furniture is something that is not new, but by accident and with the want to be different then the plain old white and black painted furniture, we decided we wanted to splash a bit of colour into the world.  So with that in mind we created our brand and set off on a mission to put some of the brightest furniture into the world.  But little did we know, we were gaining this small but loyal following of fans of our work and after putting more than 1,800 pieces of recycled furniture I realised I had started a movement.  We then noticed that people started to take creative inspiration of what we were doing.  Some might say copying, but it’s a free market and painting furniture is definitely no new idea.  We just flipped it and said, let’s do something different. When you lead, people will follow, this is the tribal instinct in itself.  Whether it’s something you specifically set out to do or like me something that has accidentally happened, creating tribes is something anyone can do.

One of my favourite authors and main inspirations behind wanting to start writing is a man called Seth Godin. Some might call him the leader in the tribal movement and the leader in business and thought provoking writing.  It was a few years ago that I read his book ‘Tribes’, as an insight at the time into trying to understand how people think and why these tribes form.  I was looking for inspiration for my band, and tactics to help us further progress our following. I never really applied any of what I had learnt.  Maybe I was a little apathetic about it at that stage, but I do have a renewed vigour in regards to how I apply myself to creating a new level of tribalness for my band.  But the thing I have learnt most of all, is that a lot of this seems to be instinct and in some cases it just happens.  This being said there are many things to take out of it and I do think if you apply yourself you can really create a movement of some kind. Here are a few things you can think about:

  1. No Idea, No Tribe – With anything you need an idea, your tribe will typically be about something you are actually interested in or a shared desire.  For example my tribe revolved around recycling furniture with happiness.  Another tribe I am involved with myself as a follower, is the Smart Passive Income Blog, with my continued want to learn and become financially dependent, this blog highly resonated with me. So whether you love cats, want to show people how to stay fit, healthy eating habits, or self development.  As long as you know there is a shared desire out there and you would like to be a thought leader in this area, then you have a group of people to lead.
  2. Create a space to meet – Create some kind of presence, a blog, a youtube channel, a forum, or a Facebook page.  You need somewhere where you can share your information and lead. You also need a place where people can discuss and talk about this shared desire, a destinations where these people can meet and where you can construct conversations with them.  You might be the leader, but interaction amongst the group is necessary, it allows them to connect and share their ideas, the real purpose of starting a tribe.
  3. Stay True to You – Simply just be yourself, if you want to connect with other people you need to act like one.  Just talk like a real person, be yourself and let your own personality shine through.  I think of the times where I worked in the corporate environment and was once told that I was too casual in my presenting approach.  At first I was offended, but now I take that as a compliment.  Who wants to be just another robot, I know I don’t.
  4. Vulnerability – Share your stories and don’t be afraid to be a little bit vulnerable, these stories will show you are real and people will be able to connect to you. Showing you are human, just like everyone else, is ok. Personally in my own endeavours, I have always been open with people about why we started recycling furniture.  Both my wife and I lost our job within a week of each other and decided here is our opportunity to do our own thing and we did!
  5. Always be accessible – Answer all the questions you get about something, if you get emails, do your best to respond as soon as you can. Get on Twitter and let people contact you that way.  While you are still small you have the ability to do that.  Unfortunately if your tribe grows exponentially, then you may have to look at other measures.  One of my favourite examples of this is Pat Flynn’s, rather new approach in the ‘Ask Pat’ add on podcast to Smart Passive Income, where he answers questions from his followers.  When you receive thousands of emails a day, sometimes you’re just not going to be able to get to them all and yes Pat, I am one of those.
  6. Be Relevant – You started this movement for a purpose and reason, while sometimes it’s ok to stray from the path.  Be sure to predominantly stay inline with what you initially set out to do.  Or if you do want to look at other things, be sure to try and connect this back to your soul purpose or cause.
  7. Be Generous – Let’s just say that people absolutely love getting things for free and dont’ be afraid to be over the top with your generosity, the whole element of giving, is a key driver to success to many people out there, trying to build their tribes.  Think about anything that you could pass on as something of value to your followers, this can be used to start collecting information and creating your database of online followers.
  8. Be Awesome – Awesome is probably my favourite word. I always try to be awesome, everything I do, I try to do it awesomely (if that’s a word), everything I write, I want it to be awesome, everyone I interact with I want them to know I am awesome.  Being awesome starts with one simple thing, a big smile!  Let that smile take you to where you need to go.

So people go out there and start your tribe.  I know I am starting mine now, well my new one, hopefully the ideas and thoughts I put out to the world can help some people, I know it’s helping me to realise how much I enjoy writing and sharing with other people my stories and my advice. I got my first text message from a friend last night, who told me about how she was loving what I was doing on my new blog and how it has inspired her.  Let’s hope this inspires you. Please let me know, feel free to comment below.


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