Getting Started With A Community (Joseph Huber)

Joseph Huber


Why is it so hard to get started?

I’ve known lately that I’ve wanted to get back into writing, but I just can’t seem to string together one straight line of thinking.

I’ve started writing four different themes. Four!

Intros, bodies, bullets. Some have just one of those components. And yet I’m finding it impossible to keep going.

So, of course, I opened a new document and started hammering away. “Maybe this is the one that I finish.”

Ever the optimist.

Where it caught me, though, was in how I’m going about my own career.

Massive chance you have no idea who I am. I’m Joe Huber—and since you’re probably reading this because you work in community, I’m the Head of Community for Ascender by Force Management. We’re brand new. Like “launched in August of 2022” new.

Things have actually felt like a sprint there. I was hired in April. We selected a vendor in May. We built the community and had it ready for beta in June. We had a beta in July. We launched in August. We’ve held two events already.

Without question, the most difficult thing at every single one of those junctures was starting with an absolutely blank page. Just like this article.

If you have troubles getting started from nothing, here are some tips to help you take that first step and get out of your own head:

Steal other people’s ideas

I am a thief. I scour other communities and look for how they’re engaging people. I subscribe to emails and look for good ideas. I am a thief and I steal ideas all the time.

Nobody cares. Your customers don’t care. Your bosses don’t care. The people you steal from won’t care (unless you’re stealing actual content. Please don’t do that—just steal ideas).

Once you have the ideas you like, make them yours. Find ways to make them fit your scheme and how you’d do it.

Now the page isn’t blank. Now you have a starting point.

Have a list of ideas you keep somewhere

Writing things down, even when it’s just a seed of an idea, helps put you ahead of the game.

I have more notebooks from Field Notes and Moleskine than any human should probably have. In them, there are ideas on ideas for things to try.

Most of them are terrible ideas, truly awful. They’d never work. But when I’m looking for new iterations or plays, I’m not starting from zero because those ideas help me put something on paper. Now I can think and build.

How many ideas do you think you’ve forgotten, assuming you don’t write them down? Probably a lot!

You’re smart! You should document the things that leak out of your brain and let them take form in ink on paper (digital notes work, too—it’s 2022).

Talk to other people doing the same job

This kind of comes back to the idea of being a thief, but this one is done out loud and allows you the opportunity to give another thief some loot.

People like helping one another. We want to see others win (most of us). Find yourself a partner (or ten) in crime. Hold quarterly meetings and find out what each other is doing. If you don’t have anything you’re after, just check in on them.

After a while, you’ll find that you’re not usually starting from nothing because you have someone in it with you to get things started.

Fake interview yourself

This is my favorite one because it’s so insane, which is great for a giant weirdo like me.

I will literally, every single week, interview myself like it’s a sports interview. Sometimes I record it. Sometimes I just do it on a Google doc and write out the questions. What it does is get me out of my head.

It becomes an exercise in silliness and reminds me that the core of what I’m doing is fun.

Not for nothing, but I also find that I’m WAY more honest with myself in this format. I can say I made a mistake and then break down why it happened. Because I’m “facing the MEdia.” The mirror that gets applied becomes more retrospective and I can shed some of the ego on why things are happening the way they are and then approach them with a clear head.

Now that you’ve interviewed yourself, you have a starting place. You can come back to these weekly sessions and see how many ideas you have that aren’t just starting from zero. You probably have more ideas than you can actually execute. So start with one of them.

Getting started isn’t easy. How do you jumpstart things? Please let me know in the comments. I’ll be looking to steal those ideas, as well.


Joseph Huber @josephpaulhuber
Dad. Husband.
Really bad drummer, guitarist, and writer.
Head of Community @ Ascender by Force Management.
Hire me for voiceover: JPHuberVoice.com


Tell Us Below:

How do you get started—whether it’s content creation, or a whole new initiative (like a community)?

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Great read Joseph!

How I get started depends on the stage we’re in and what the end-goal is. But usually I try to come up with several ideas and then spiderweb them out. You’ve got some real solid points in how to get inspiration from others.

About stealing ideas - I found it funny because I’m sure SOMEONE is going to call it out, something like “X did this first 5 months ago” but it probably depends on the industry and I’m biased. :joy:

But as long as you made it your own, I agree with looking at others for idea inspirations.

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I feel that. Nobody wants to be called out. BUT it’s for sure all about making it your own. You can’t just copy something. You have to put a little zhuzh on it.

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“Zhuzh” is one of my favorite words. The editor from whom I learned the most about writing used it all the time.

My college screenwriting professor always said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” It was to reassure us that we didn’t need to focus so much on coming up with completely new and novel ideas, merely with new and novel ways to execute on them.

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I think sometimes that idea stops me, and I often forget the value of my own perspective.

“There is nothing new under the sun” so why should I repeat what others have already said?

Something to keep working on for myself.

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I hear that and I hope you do keep sharing, Kaz. I like hearing from you.

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I appreciate that Joseph, really means a lot. :smiling_face:

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Nice! Love this step by step approach to a HUGE hurdle! Stealing this idea… :smirk::rofl:

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That’s the spirit!

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