Boxed Community readily welcomed freelancers and entrepreneurs to the online community as they faced 2020’s challenges. Their membership grew, and the world caught up with their tech learning curve.
Hi Nicole, thanks for taking the time to speak with us! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and Boxed Community?
Thanks so much for having me! Sure, so I’m Nicole Gray, founder of Boxed Community. I have experience in hospitality having worked for a number of hotel, retail, and coworking companies. I also have the experience of being a freelancer as a makeup artist and setting up my own creative management company representing and creating events around photography, makeup artistry, and fashion design.
Boxed Community is a global subscription-based online community and virtual coworking space for freelancers, entrepreneurs and remote workers. We host over 30 monthly online face-to-face networking and learning activities for business and personal development. We also have a variety of membership options to meet the needs of our community.
What sets Boxed Community apart from other online/digital communities?
We limit how many people can join each community to 150 members as we have found that online communities expand their member base a lot but in turn lose the connection with the individuals. These groups are all very closely facilitated by our Community Managers in order to build a safe space for our members, that feels like a family.
How has COVID-19 impacted your community and business?
It has impacted everyone in the community tremendously, mostly within the realms of job and client loss and mental health challenges. Regarding the business, we saw an increase in uptake as people were searching for safe ways to connect with like-minded individuals. We also found that pre-COVID there was a bit of a learning curve with regards to using technology like Zoom and Slack. Post-COVID we’ve had to do a lot less training as it has become second nature to our members.
What challenges did you face when building a remote community?
The biggest challenge was the tech learning curve for myself specifically as I’m not a techie but had a vision of how the business would operate. Another challenge was to ensure that I was serving the community members effectively. In order to do this we’ve approached the community as a co-creation between us and our members. We stay flexible to our members’ needs and are always willing to try out their ideas for them to gain as much as possible. We also run regular Feedback Forums to ensure that we are on track with their needs and requests.
Can you share some tips you have for someone who’s looking to join a digital or remote community and not sure where to start?
Sure, what you’re looking for is structure with a balance of community and learning engagements. Working for yourself doesn’t need to be solitary, it’s important to know and feel that you are not alone by talking regularly with like-minded individuals. We understand the struggles of entrepreneurship and freelancing and assist through regular touchpoints such as our Morning Coworking sessions, our Mental Health Conversations, our business learning activities and our industry networkers. If you are feeling a bit stuck, an online community and virtual coworking space is the best place to start talking and relating to your fellows.