Back in September 2017, I started a Facebook Group off the back of my successful Pitch Like a Pro course for bloggers to come and support each other, called Bloggers on a Mission. I didn’t know what I was doing, really, I just went for it because I have a habit of having no clue what I’m doing and then throwing all caution to the wind.
Over the months, I slowly grew it up to almost 500 members, which isn’t a lot compared to some of the bigger blogging groups, but was certainly a substantial amount for me. I spent hours scrolling through Twitter trying to figure out who might be open to an invitation, days pondering over which threads to post and how to grow the engagement in the group.
It was successful, at first. When people first join a group, they have a tendency to participate a lot more than someone who has been part of the group for longer. People were supportive, joining me on livestreams and sharing their own stories.
When 2018 rolled around, I had big plans for this little corner of the internet.
But then, something happened. I’m still not sure what. It may have been that I wasn’t putting enough time in the group, though I felt like I responded to every single person and made sure to be a constant presence. It may have been that I didn’t know how to engage with a group properly. It may have been partly related to Facebook’s algorithms which, in my opinion, contributed to my group posts not actually being shown on my group member’s timelines.
Whatever it was, engagement dropped for a couple of weeks. A lack of participation in weekly threads, a lack of using the space to answer and put forward questions.
Usually, I would use this as motivation to completely rally and pour so much of my heart and energy into it, turning it around. I don’t like to fail.
But I already had my eyes on my main travel blog, Girl Gone London, and how that needed way more of my attention and energy if I wanted that to be successful. My e-mail list, too, needed a bit more love and time. And I was starting to be authorized as a Disney vacation planner with The Vacationeer, which was going to take up more of my free time.
And so I decided to close the group, wipe it from Facebook and pretend like it never happened. A blip on my record of success. In many ways, I really needed the time to focus on other things. In other ways, I was embarrassed.
When I announced that the group was closing, I was amazed at the newfound participation! People were asking questions, taking advantage of the group’s last week (in a positive way). I was shocked, to say the least. It took me closing the group to encourage engagement, I thought. Why couldn’t you all have done this earlier? (I will add here that it was only my fault that the group started stagnating, not any of the lovely members).
A day later, one of the bloggers who had been in the group since the beginning got in touch to say that she would be willing to take the group over if I wanted it to carry on.
I wasn’t sure at first. I worked really hard to build this group up to its current membership. Could I really just give it away? I knew I had to step back completely, so any co-running was out of the question.
I thought about it for a couple of minutes (I make decisions quickly, what can I say) and realized that closing the group down with an offer for someone else to take over would go against everything I believe. I don’t want to hoard my successes, keeping them for myself to the detriment of other people. We achieve more together.
And so I gave the group away. On the day of handover, I removed myself as an admin and made sure that she changed the name and rules and photo so that it didn’t have any more traces of what it used to be. This was all hers. And while she didn’t build the group up, she’s going to continue it on and grow it from what I was able to, which is admirable in and of itself.
I’m still in the group, watching from afar. It would be really easy to think, “I hope it fails and no one participates” to somehow validate my inability to take it where I wanted it to go. And it’s not easy seeing someone, no matter how much you trust them, running what once was yours.
But at the end of the day, I want it to succeed in ways it never could with me at the helm. Ways that only someone who has more time and devotion to it can achieve. I want all of the bloggers in it to accomplish amazing things, no matter who it is that’s giving them the advice. They are my friends, and I always root for my friends.
And that’s the story of how I gave my Facebook group away, and why I think that we should all make sure we’re not attempting to hoard our achievements or the “secrets” to unlock your blogging and online potential. We’re all in this together, and there are plenty of readers and audience members to go around.