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What is an Ideal Member?
An Ideal Member is the person who will benefit the most from your community and your knowledge RIGHT NOW. As a creator, you can’t serve everyone, nor should you want to! Your Ideal Member gives you an avatar to serve with a specific set of challenges, desires, and goals. The more specific you are in imagining your ideal member, the better.
A clear Ideal Member enhances and reinforces your Big Purpose. Your Big Purpose is the motivation for why you’re creating a community in the first place. We map out a Big Purpose statement like this:
Narrowing in on who your Ideal Member is not only helps with your Big Purpose, but it also ties back to Community Design™, which involves carefully crafting your community so that it has the greatest possibility of helping its members master something interesting together.
Here’s what a clear Ideal Member can do for you:
- Your starting members can find you easily and quickly.
- Your most motivated members will know that your community is for them.
- Connections you make between members will be extremely valuable to them.
Being clear on your Ideal Member isn’t just about you. It’s equally valuable to think about which members will be the most motivated and valuable to one another.
Remember that a specific Ideal Member doesn’t mean that this will be the only type of member you will ever serve. This is simply a starting point — as your community grows, so too will your criteria. Choosing whom you serve now doesn’t alienate others you will invite later down the road; you’re not being exclusionary.
How do you decide on your Ideal Member?
When you create a community, you’re taking your members on a transformative journey. So, think about where your Ideal Members are starting from and where they want to go.
Here are some other factors to consider when narrowing in on who your Ideal Member is:
- Demographic, geographic, and psychographic characteristics
- Life stages and transitions (e.g. graduating from high school, taking a gap year, first job, asking for a raise for your first time, leveling up skills, getting serious about health)
- Hopes and dreams (what they want to do)
- Fears and misconceptions about what's getting in their way
Another useful strategy to understand your Ideal Member is to conduct 1:1 interviews. You can ask them questions like:
- What goal do you want to achieve?
- What’s been holding you back from achieving this goal?
- What is your biggest misconception about this topic?
Remember that as a creator and community designer, it can be difficult to get clarity on your Ideal Member. Take your time, ask questions, stay open, and remember what value you want to provide.