In this post, I’m going to give you simple instructions for starting your own online watch community (see mine at WatchJudge.com). And yes, you can make money from doing this.
You might think the market is over saturated, but I will show you why it’s not. It’s actually the perfect time to jump in.
Is This Right For You?
If you’re like me, you’re already spending several hours a week on TGV’s videos, watchuseek, /r/watches, Hodinkee, Instagram, Facebook etc. Why not take 5 minutes, and turn that passion into something productive? You’re already sharing and discussing watches online – which means you’re producing valuable content – why not take some credit for your contributions?
Start your own little branded group, and continue building relationships. The only difference is that you will be viewed as a leader, and you can keep track of those relationships. You will be amazed at the doors that will open up with just a few members. It’s fun, and you only need 1 customer to turn it into a business. Also, you will be able to tell your significant other (or your parents) that you’re “working,” not just looking at watches online. 😉
What’s In It For Me?
Honestly, the same thing that’s in it for you. Right now, my only goal is to grow my audience. I understand the opportunity that comes from building a community. I’ve been freelancing and blogging for the past 9 years (roughly). Now I do digital marketing full time at an agency. On the side, I work on Watch Judge. I’ve found the best way to grow a community is by being helpful (specifically, in a niche that you’re passionate about).
A little more on my background in internet stuff… I’ve always loved the internet (and watches), but my first profitable website was SpyGolfer.com. As the name implies, it was focused on the golfing niche; specifically, new equipment and other entertaining content (for example, Spy Chick of The Month).
After a couple years of creating content and monetizing, I sold SpyGolfer and moved on to freelancing (mainly because I was burnt out on golf). Like I said before, passion is important. It helps you mentally push through the work that is required for growth.
Now I’m in the watch niche, and I couldn’t be happier. The topic fascinates me, and for the most part, the horology community is very friendly. Which brings me to my next point…
Why There Is a Need
Like golf, watches have been around for a long time. However, the major difference between the two niches is that watches are little more niche. This is a good thing! Watches are actually a subset niche of jewelry or fashion (with a mix of tech, gear, and engineering influence).
In the past few years, you’ve probably sensed the general increased popularity of watches. The same can be seen in other niches like whiskey, craft beer, and EDC (every day carry) etc.
Even though you, as a fan of watches, may be aware of infinite watch blogs, forums etc.; I’m looking at it compared to other niches. This is a lazy example, but I just did a quick Google search to compare the following keywords: “Golf” – 1,230,000,000 results; “Watches” – 416,000,000 results. That’s less than half the content.
Based on my experience, the watch niche is a gold mine of opportunity. And it’s not only because the niche is relatively small. In fact, the larger the niche, the more proof it’s viable. The only difference is that in a bigger niche, it’s harder to stand out from the crowd.
Your Unique Perspective
If you did your best to copy someone else’s online community 100% (minus the names), you would have a vastly different result. Even if your perspective is similar to what’s already been said or done, your personality will still ooze into the community. Your unique experience, knowledge, opinions, methods of communication etc. would all come through. Also, your interactions with the community – and the members themselves – would be completely unique.
If you have a slightly different take then everyone else, then you’re even further ahead of the game. For example, when I started the Watch Judge community, my idea was that most watch bloggers aren’t opinionated enough; hence the name of my site. Watch bloggers are excellent at producing the latest news and detailed reviews, but I wanted to hear more about their favorites. That’s why I created a community for bloggers and microbrands to share their favorite watch reviews (categorized by price, with voting – like Reddit or HackerNews).
How to Start Your Online Community
The easiest part of starting an online community is the physical setup. Most people get hung up on things that don’t matter at first. For example, the type of platform, logo, content etc. Those are all just excuses not to start. It’s infinitely more important to just begin building relationships. My recommendation would be to start by creating a Facebook group (or wherever you feel the most comfortable online). This should literally take you less than 5 minutes.
In my opinion, Facebook is the best because you can easily invite your personal friends to join your group. This will give your group instant momentum. I would even personally email people about the group that might be interested in watches. Don’t worry about scaling or monetizing right now. I can show you how to do that quickly. Again, the hardest part is executing the new group, and personally inviting people to join you. Once you get over that hump, i’ll show you new ways to get members.
1. Log in to Facebook.
2. From your home page, go to the Groups section on the left side menu and click Create Group.
3. Click + Create New Group at the top of the page. A window will appear, where you’ll be able to add a group name, add members and select the privacy settings for your group.
4. Click Create when you’re done.
It all sounds stupid simple, but very few people reading this post will actually do it. Maybe it’s because they don’t see the potential to make money from a Facebook Group. Or they think it would require thousands of fans before making any substantial money. Again, both of those excuses are wrong.
If you have any questions, just shoot me a tweet @watchjudge. I reply to everyone!