During our weekly Saturday ritual event, called Incredible Stories Of Community Entrepreneurs, we had a little chat with Ruche Mittal. She is a women entrepreneur and one of the earliest and most active community builders in India. She founded her community HEN in the year 2011.
HEN stands for Her Entrepreneurial Network, a community of women entrepreneurs in India, coming together to inspire, inform and support each other to create successful businesses along with balanced lives.
HEN is currently 12k+ strong on social media and has 8k members on Facebook. Ruche was in her early 20s when she launched her first venture - IdeaPerfect, a visual communication, and branding firm. In this exclusive conversation with Ruche, we got to know:
And much more... So let's get reading!
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HEN is absolutely no science. It's all about her own experience. When Ruche started her business right out of school, she got into freelancing. Suddenly, she found her business partner on Orkut. So, she started working, and she also failed in the business way too early.
She didn't know where to go and ask people questions like:
She was struggling to do her business correctly. And so, she came at a juncture where she realized that she needed to learn and ask. Then, she started to move into networking groups. She kept wondering if there was a tribe where she could just go and put up her questions, or talk about the issues that she was facing. This is how she came up with the idea of HEN.
Ten years ago, people did not use to talk about communities. They only talked about Facebook groups. There was no formal training back then. The only smart move she made was to tell people about her Facebook group at an early stage. Ruche never took her community lightly.
From 2011 to May 2021, everything was free of cost. She would do it all based on her time, her investment, and her energy. But now, the first model is out and her community finally has a premium membership program. So, her focus is on the same. Community building has a lot of avenues of monetizing, and Ruche is still trying to crack the best one for her community.
Within the HEN team, they follow a simple ritual to just pick up their phones and talk to the members. Ruche is always looking for stories where her members collaborate. Her interest lies in how often the members can connect.
Because of the new membership model launched by her community, Ruche is also learning the science behind the business with every passing day. She is not very strict on numbers at this point but she also knows that "if these numbers are increasing, so will her community".
There is no point in bringing thousands of people together and not generating results. So, she is trying to keep a tab on how these numbers are going up.
It would be to learn data management. If Ruche knew data management any better, her community would be on a different pathway. Although, one more thing would be to get a dynamic of her influencers.
In her own words, Ruche ends the conversation giving us her two cents, "Always be cautious about observing who are the first few people walking into your group and who are the people supporting you and referring your community to others. It matters a lot. So, there are members who would join your group, members who would refer your group, members who would use your group, and then some members add value just by supporting you, despite doing nothing."
If you can demarcate these verticals and play on the strength of these demarcations, you will see how it adds value to the entire community. And as community builders, we must make it a point to let our members know that we treasure them and we are nothing without them.
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