Why I'm Closing My Free Facebook Group (Sorry to the 14k Members)
Shortly after I started Modern Soapmaking, I flung open the doors to my free Facebook group, the Business of Soapmaking with Modern Soapmaking. (We call it BoS for short!)
In fact, according to Facebook, that fateful day was June 28, 2014.
Yeah, let's revisit that: Six. 👏 Years. 👏
When I opened the doors to BoS, Facebook groups weren't as utilized as they are now. In fact, they were only a few years old at that point. Brands (including us!) still used Facebook Pages because you could still snag tons of organic reach.
Soaper's Retreat was one of the pioneering Facebook groups for soapmakers (created in 2012), headed up by Joanna of now Mad Micas fame. That group was instrumental to Modern Soapmaking and BoS ever existing, so it would be remiss to not mention it.
Soaper's Retreat showed me the magic of what a Facebook group could do. That group cheered me on to create Modern Soapmaking and share the resources and content I created. Members of the group cared about me personally, supporting me through a rough pregnancy. Hell, one time, they even bought out my entire soap inventory to help my family over a rough patch.
I loved that community, and it made me want to create something similar But I wanted to focus on the BUSINESS side of soapmaking, not the glitter and swirls. So, BoS became that collective of voices and experiences and knowledge centered around making bank by making soap.
Current BoS members often refer folks who are asking business questions in soapmaking Facebook groups to us. One newer member even mentioned that the person who invited her said to skip all the other groups because they were a waste of time. Ope!
And BoS has a reputation that precedes it.
We don't mess around with soapmaking content. In fact, post a photo of that pretty new soap you made or ask for a fragrance oil recommendation, and your post will disappear without a word.
We protect the integrity of the group. Promotions and advertisements aren't ever allowed. And we maintain a list of approved vendors, so you can hire a photographer, bookkeeper, or designer with confidence.
We take personal responsibility for the quality of content. If a thread is full of bad advice, we call it out. And that isn't always pretty. Let's be honest: tough love isn't pretty, but it's necessary.
We don't tolerate freeloaders. If you want answers to a question, you better do the research first. After six years of content accumulating, most answers can be found with a simple search in the group and on our website. Ask a question that's been asked before? Other members will point it out before we even do.
This was by design, for sure. We laid out crystal clear guidelines and made sure that they were enforced.
And that worked great... for years, in fact.
I've loved watching the community bloom.
I loved seeing a longtime member pop up in a thread and give exactly the same advice I gave her three years before because it WORKED for her.
I loved hearing members' success stories and seeing their wins, like when Caitlin's product line was picked up by Express. (And the things she's done since then are AMAZING). And that's just one of the many big orders (racking up $4k, $10k, $13k, even $21k) that members have celebrated over the years.
But if it's so freakin' magical, Kenna... why did you decide to shut it down?
Let's cut to the chase: sh*t has changed.
I've changed. Modern Soapmaking has changed. The community has changed. And Facebook has changed.
When I started BoS, I was just starting out with Modern Soapmaking. I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my business. Back then, I didn't know what my mission was yet or how I was going to accomplish it. I just knew I wanted to help other soapmakers have the same success I did.
Since then, I've helped thousands upon thousands of soapmakers build businesses they love, creating their own wealth and freedom, and blowing their minds with fundamental mentality changes honoring their self-worth.
I've gotten my hands dirty with one-on-one work, getting up close and personal with individual members of our community and enabling MASSIVE shifts in their businesses. That work has been responsible for life-changing moves for some of our clients, and I have been so proud to know that I'm doing exactly what I set out to do - help create success for other soapmakers.
I've created an expansive, supportive, and affordable membership program that offers live coaching, personal accountability, and tons of educational resources to hundreds of soapmakers on a daily basis.
I've meticulously poured everything I know about starting a soap business into our flagship program, Soapmaker to Moneymaker. Over two hundred soapmakers have enrolled in the program and followed the most detailed and easy-to-follow roadmap to soap business success in existence. Starting a profitable soap company couldn't be any easier or cheaper than snagging a seat in S2M.
And with all these amazing things we've created at Modern Soapmaking -
BoS doesn't fit in anymore. Here's why:
People don't realize this, but with a group the size of ours with the rules we have, it takes over 20 hours a week to moderate and maintain the group. And that's just enforcing the guidelines, funneling through member requests, and dealing with issues. Add another 10 to 20 hours for all the answers, advice, and guidance we provide. Between myself, my (paid) team, and our volunteer moderators, there's a TON of unseen labor behind the scenes.
All this time spent on a free Facebook group takes time away from our students in Soapmaker to Moneymaker. As much as I want to help everyone (and know that I have the skills and knowledge to do so), it's not feasible or even reasonable to shoulder that expectation. Our students, members, and clients pay for access to my team and myself and our knowledge, and they should always be a priority.
This has become more evident in the last year or so, as we haven't been able to maintain the level of quality in BoS as we did previously. And because that has been inconsistent, there has been some resistance from people who don't agree with the way we run the group or the rules we have set up - which in turn sucks up more time!
And let's not candy-coat anything here: our free Facebook group exists to help us reach more people and sell our products and services. Just like any other company and their Facebook group. But here we are, six years into building a community, and many of the members aren't our target market or likely to become students, clients, or members.
That means we're exchanging 30 to 40 hours a week on providing a free resource with the knowledge and expertise that took over a decade to accumulate for very little ROI.
Most of all, being active in BoS gives the impression that I'm available on Facebook for anyone and everyone at any time. This is an absolutely false impression, and it sometimes results in people thinking I'm ignoring them.
First and foremost, my mental health and self-worth are important to me and I have structured my life and business to honor that! (Duh! That's what I teach you, so it shouldn't be a surprise!) I spend my time in a way that honors that worth:
- No answering personal Facebook messages - in fact, I don't even check the Message Requests folder in Messenger anymore.
- I do not offer free consultations or discovery calls. Ever. Facebook messages are literally the same thing 90% of the time.
- My team is empowered to help with any reasonable request, question, or concern that is received through our email.
- I have systems in place to ensure that Modern Soapmaking can continue to operate without me. If I'm suicidal, depressed, or hospitalized because my mental illnesses are not phases or temporary concerns, the biz goes on.
It would be silly to teach you to value your time and expertise if I didn't do the same, right?
And lastly, Facebook isn't occupying an active role in my life or business anymore. In January, I shut down my personal profile and unfollowed every single person. I use Facebook to administer our Facebook groups and to participate in a (paid) mastermind group I'm a member of. That's it. In the eight months since abandoning ship, I've felt happier and freer.
Wait, what about the other Facebook groups? The ones for Next Level* and Soapmaker to Moneymaker?
They still exist... for now!
*Update: Our Next Level FB group has been officially closed and we have ended the NL program.
We are in the beginning stages of a massive shift for our business. And we are transforming every single piece to better serve you. Stay tuned - you are going to love it, I promise.
But you're still on Instagram?
Right now, Instagram is what Facebook was six years ago. I enjoy our community on Instagram. I love going Live and chatting with y'all. And I love the visual focus that usually keeps things more positive or educational.
Want to snag weekly advice on building a successful soap biz directly in your inbox?
Of course you do! Sign up for our newsletter below for more tips and tricks to make bank in your biz.