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410: Circle has Community Building Down to a Science with Andy Guttormsen, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer

In this episode, Alan and Andy discuss his path to creating Circle, how to build community, best practices and takeaways for community builders, how to build a great member experience, how to find the right members for your community, and much more!

Andy Guttormsen is the co-founder and chief revenue officer of Circle, an all-in-one community platform for professional creators and brands. He started his career on Wall Street, but quickly found that it wasn’t the place for him. He attempted to start a couple of ultimately unsuccessful companies before he made his way to Teachable, where he had the idea for Circle and met his co-founder. Circle has community building down to a science, and they are kind enough to compile and share that science with us in their Community Benchmark Report. 

To generate this report, Circle sent out a survey to their 10,000 customers, gathered their internal product data, and put together a report on premium “Platinum Communities” to identify how they differ from other communities. The full report is available online, but Andy outlines some of the key takeaways and best practices from those platinum communities that we can use to build our own strong communities, from encouraging member interaction to designing valuable signature gatherings. However, none of these community engagement strategies work without high-quality members in the community. Thankfully, Andy also shares tips and tricks from great community builders he has seen succeed in growing their membership base. No matter the membership numbers, each community has value, but for businesses, that value will look different based on their goals. Andy gives us several examples of what can make a community valuable to a business and how to identify and increase that unique value. 

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why Andy’s first founder attempt failed, and why Circle was different
  • The idea behind Circle and how it came to be
  • Best practices and key takeaways from the Circle Community Benchmark Report 
  • How to find the right members for your community and build a great member experience 

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Key Highlights:

  • [01:45] Why does Andy prioritize daily walks?
  • [04:35] His path from Wall Street to co-founding Circle
  • [10:30] Alan is in the Circle too.
  • [12:05] Key takeaways from the Benchmark Report 
  • [14:40] What can we learn from Dr. Becky?
  • [16:23] Examples of communities providing transformation for members 
  • [19:00] Circle vs. The Other Guys 
  • [22:40] What is a Signature Gathering?  
  • [25:50] Get in the Hot Seat!
  • [27:30] Growing and finding the right members for your community
  • [31:55] The value of community to a business
  • [34:35] Valuable lessons learned through failure 
  • [36:25] What would he have done differently? 
  • [38:45] Adding predictability to the business 
  • [41:00] More creatives. More side hustles.
  • [42:50] The AI portion of the show: bad copywriters beware 

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