Ryder Carroll built a five-figure membership business teaching people about the organizational power of bullet journaling
Featured in this Story of Awesome: Bujo U
BuJo U is a paid membership site that brings together passionate bullet journalers to share their knowledge, network with others, and learn new ways to organize their lives.
The Spark: After struggling with ADD for years, Ryder developed the bullet journaling methodology to organize his life. He wanted to help others unlock the same potential, and Mighty Networks’ emphasis on community and education was the perfect fit.
Ryder’s Mighty Moment: “The thing that I love most about community is that it helps not only teach, but to learn. And I’m trying to create an environment in which I can learn from my community just as much as I teach them.”
Author and digital product designer Ryder Carroll knew that if he could create a methodology to help him focus he could unlock his full potential.
Ryder struggled with attention deficit disorder(ADD) from a young age, and when he was growing up, couldn’t find many resources to help him focus. After years of trial and error figuring out how to best organize his own life, Ryder took matters into his own hands and developed a new organizational methodology: bullet journaling.
Soon after, bullet journaling started to explode in popularity, helping a wide-range of people better organize their lives. But as Ryder’s methodology gained more renown, he noticed that it was becoming harder and harder to truly connect with his fellow enthusiasts. More than anything, he wanted to make sure they were getting the information, instruction, and connection they needed to succeed.
Today, Ryder is doing just that with his paid membership site BuJo U. For only $5.00 a month, members of BuJo U gain access to a dedicated community space for bullet journalers around the world to connect, learn, and share about bullet journaling.
What inspired you to launch a dedicated community space?
I spent a lot of time using big social networks like Facebook and Instagram and also Pinterest. But the thing is that there are so many people who bullet journal that it’s hard to keep track of the conversations that are happening.
I thought it would make a lot of sense to create a centralized hub where bullet journalists could communicate with one another in a way that was very clear and targeted. If you have a question you can come to a place. And if I don’t answer it, one of the other people who care enough about this stuff to actually pay for it, will answer your question as well.
Who is your community for? Why are your members motivated to join you?
People come to the Bullet Journal for so many different reasons. Some people use it to do their homework, some people do it to manage their children’s medication. It’s very different applications using the same tool. So the motivation that guides people to our community is wildly different, which makes my job very interesting.
What has your Mighty Network allowed you to do that you couldn’t elsewhere?
So just by virtue of it being a premium site, it has attracted significantly more dedicated people inside the community, which reduces the amount of noise very quickly. And it was really important for me to find a platform that focused on community membership and education in almost equal measure.
“I can spend all day long on all the other social networks. And as much as I would love to do that, it’s not what keeps the lights on.”
Mighty Networks was really the only place that I could find that did those things. It wasn’t really a message board, it was really designed like a social network. Mighty Networks was organized in a way where it was more based on more granular conversation.
How does your Mighty Network fit in with your overall business offerings?
Currently, this is what I do full-time. I teach bullet journaling and when people pay for it, I can actually spend the time to be there and answer their questions as much as possible.
I can spend all day long on all the other social networks. And as much as I would love to do that, it’s not what keeps the lights on. This is a business and I have people that work with me. And having a membership site creates steady income allows me to pay other people.
What does a day in the life look like for you as a Host of your Mighty Network?
I’m in my Mighty Network every day, reading the comments, answering where I can. But generally speaking, I’m using the questions my members ask to generate more content. It helps me figure out how I can best serve my community. And because the people in there are very dedicated, it’s been a very enriching process.
So day-to-day, it’s essentially about creating as many resources as possible, answering questions, and helping the community engage with each other. We have events that we run regularly, and that’s really wonderful too because I get to hear from the community. And the community can share solutions to problems that I don’t have, and that I can’t answer.
What’s working within your community?
It’s been really interesting to see how deeply people will dive into different topics on their own without any prompting. Rather than groups, we have this thing called “Rooms,” around things like productivity or hobbies or mindfulness. And people own their own Room or they will spend a lot of time in there, and become a resource for other people inside that Room. It creates neighborhoods of thought, which has been fascinating to see.
“I realized really quickly that one of the most valuable components of this community is the conversations it helps spark between bullet journalers.”
What has been the biggest surprise since you launched your community?
When I released BuJo U, I focused mostly on sharing how you get things organized. But over time, I discovered that there was a demand for really understanding “why.” I realized just how differently people were using this methodology based on their specific set of requirements.
I never anticipated a mother to be using it, a veteran to be using it, a doctor to be using it, not to mention different cultural and linguistic applications of bullet journaling. I realized really quickly that one of the most valuable components of this community is the conversations that it helps spark between bullet journalers.
What are your goals — big and small — for the next few months, the next year, and beyond?
Well, I’m really excited to roll out the first official bullet journal training experience. This year there will be one course, but over time there will be more. Thanks to the educational features of Mighty Network that’s where our emphasis will be put. While members continue to learn about other things, these classes will not exist in a vacuum, they’ll be related to one another. So you will have this ecosystem of learning that will continuously reveal its value over time.
That’s the thing that I love most about community, it helps not only teach, but to learn. And I’m trying to create an environment in which I can learn from my community just as much as I teach them.