I was listening to Alex Hillman’s Coworking Weekly podcast a few weeks back (It’s a good one. You should check it out.). He had mentioned that his coworking space, Indy Hall, has a little celebration when a member company “graduates” out of the space and into their own office.

They actually celebrate churn. 

Sound weird?

Well, there’s a right kind of churn and there’s a wrong kind of churn.

The wrong kind of churn happens when you don’t do your job. It happens when you ignore the member welcoming process and let people fall by the wayside. It happens when you fail to give control to members and they grow complacent. They leave the community having become no better for ever hitting the “Sign Up” button.

Then there’s good churn. 

There’s the kind of churn that happens when you give your members the tools they need to become leaders. This churn means your members are thriving, and you are one conduit for their success.

When we build communities, we need to ask ourselves, “What do our members dream of becoming?” Don’t just ask who your ideal members are right now (age, gender, socioeconomic status, blah blah, I’m bored already). Don’t just ask where they come from.


Ask what they aspire to achieve. Put yourself in one of your members’ shoes and imagine what they see themselves becoming in their wildest dreams.

  • If you’re running a community for trauma survivors, you hope that your members heal and go on to help others and become something so much more than what happened to them.
  • If you’re running a community for online educators, you want your members to one day teach the world in all ways — by traveling, developing a wildly successful YouTube educational series, lecturing, earning honorary degrees, or writing a book.
  • If you’re running a community like DePop, of people selling and trading clothes, you want your community members to one day open their own online stores or become “Instagram famous.”

You want your members to come back and visit, to drop by and say hello every so often, but you really want something bigger for them.

Then you can tell their stories, they can pass on their gifts to other members, and you (and your organization) are now part of that human story forever.

It’s a generous thing to ask: what do our members dream of becoming?

Now, how can you get them there?

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