7 Things You Need to Know About Building A Movement

Hey SCG,

Let me tell you a secret: “I have been getting ready to write this post for almost 3 years…” I somehow feel in my gut that times which are approaching will give human race loads of space to reconsider how we worked, who we worked with and what impact we have created in this world. Maybe, just maybe we will start to appreciate art of digital nomads (again) and we will be making our world a better place also by being part of movements, which we care about instead of being part of purposeless mass. Even tough it will be  hard  times for nomads (thanks for insights Stiivi)  and for everyone else, it will certainly be interesting era of human history.

Guys, I am glad that today I can share with you what I have learned on my own skin within last 31 months… No fluff or definitions just eight paragraphs summing up what it takes to build a movement(s).

0. Discover topic – you deeply care about.

Before you will start building any movement, you will have to find that spark, idea, cause you truly care about. It lays within you. No one can tell you what it is, but you! No books, no gurus, girlfriends, celebrity…you have got the answer for it. You will not have a clue, where will it take you. You will not dream about having crowds around you. You will be just feeling it is a ‘right thing to do’ and you will start doing it. Learning about it. Leading by own example.Risking your all for it.

Then after couple of thousands of hours, which you will spend on following your heart’s calling, you will realize there are some other people out there cheering up for your cause…Then will be the time when fun and also real hard work will start. Seeds for new  movement are there in the ground and from now on you will have to nurture it every single day…

True #IS Story: here is 2 and half years old video documenting why and how IS and NGLS came to life:

1. Have infinite patience.

As you can reckon from video, there has been solid 31 months since decision to follow one’s calling.  Care unconditionally. Be kind and calm. Patience must be your virtue and if it is your weak point, believe me you will get better at it. You will transform your perception of time. Month will feel like a day. You will have so much to learn, so much to ship, so many people to connect with who are already running their tribes and also to those who got attracted to your cause. Remember your patience and determination will be rewarded. Just keep shipping.

True #IS story: I could have not imagined in my wildest dreams that I will march on this journey all the way since August 2009

2. Give long time before you will start getting back.

Yeap, generosity is the key. Genuinely share know-how, stories, resources with your people. It will inspire them. Some of them will also take a leap of faith and will start their new adventures…What a gift that is, to see others inspired by your work. It will be fuel for your days. Just keep shipping and sharing.

True #IS story: 252 blog posts here, more than 4 hours of video blogs, more than 1000 posts on Tumblr + Posterous, above 10 thousand tweets, more than 20 slide-decks, more than 15 speeches for free, thousands of one on one interactions, emails, phone calls, Skype calls etc. etc.

3. Know your tribe members

Be genuinely interested in their stories. Know them. Their likes/dislikes/fears/joys/ hobbies/families…How to get there? Simply ask them loads of questions. Does it take time? Hell yeah! But believe me there is no other way how to truly connect with like-minds around you. Sit on your butt and get to know your peeps. If there are people who are telling you, that they will get masses attracted to you by some magic like SEO or direct marketing or automated tweets, my advise to you is: Run away from them!! Fast.

True #IS story: you guys, have been asked and listened to by weekly Question Of the Week (#QOW) series. You have been recognized and appreciated as part of Super Cool Gang (#SCG) community and much more…

4. Conversation matters

Talk to your folks, one on one, listen to their opinions. Ideas spread and evolve for better when they are good enough to be talked about. Once you start shipping and sharing your passion with full force, your enthusiasm will be contagious. Naturally. No hard pushing. Just be you. Authentic shipper. People will notice it and will talk to you and will tell their friends about you, too. Know where and how the word is spread, but not because you want to satisfy your ego but because you want to contribute with your new(er) thoughts into ongoing conversation. More open you will be, more feedback and improvements you will get from your innovative tribe members. People love to share what they know better than others. Engage in honest conversation. Always. Seek them out. Listen. Learn. Unlearn. Adapt. Evolve. Be better than you were before it.

True #IS story:  almost 3000 comments were shared and exchanged after 250+ blogs here on #IS. Let me tell you that comments are zillion times more valuable than number of views. Conversation, which inspire action matters! not some loud online noise with no impact in real life whatsoever.

5. Take your conversations offline (if possible logistically)

This is very important step in movement evolution. Meet your tribe-sters in real life. Call out for a meet up in coffee shop. Organize presentation screening for them. Connect one to another. Steps 3 and 4 were preparing you for this. Why? You have been learning their names, interests and what they love to ship. Now, when you will have your folks in one room, you can connect with them quickly. Believe me, it is huge thing for people if you approach them and you already know who they are. They are surprised how can you recognize them, but you know that there are hours and hours of interactions (FB chats, emails, creating SCG slide-decks etc.), which caused this skill to look so natural on you. This face to face bonding is very essential and very powerful. Yes, it takes guts to call out for meet ups and march alone, but remember this: “It always starts with one.”

True #IS story: I have organized and met guys on Linchpin meet ups (1 and 2), at NGLS meet ups (1 & 2), at NGLS conferences…at at…at…You can see it is possible and very essential to meet face to face, shake hands and look into eyes of your folks.

6. Movement as is a platform

This part is called -> letting your (brain) child to walk away from mother’s house. You will realize that unleashing your tribe to be accessed by public  is more powerful than building ‘exclusive’ walls around it. Like in nature, alike will attract alike and right people will group around a cause they care about. Your role will be to connect doers and shippers to each other and work with them on projects. This is ultimate goal of leading any movement -> you provide a platform and rest will be done by your people. It will work even without you being present. People will connect and ship together without your interference. It will a pure joy to watch real people, doing real work and creating real impact just because some long long time ago, when you were marching alone you believed enough and you did not give up on your dream.

True #IS story: there are plenty of emails and messages I have received in which people thanked for inspiration. Some of them quit their jobs, some of them started business together, some of them wrote diploma thesis about impact of being part of the movement etc etc.

7.  Rinse and repeat 

Building a movement is a lifelong process. It is a mission you unknowingly undertake. You cannot plan it, you can only live it.  Tribe grows naturally. It evolves. It changes. It has its peaks and lows. It has good season and low season, but you just keep on nurturing it, keep on looking after it and you will reap what you saw.

True #IS story: work in progress…forever…


What else to add? I am grateful that you are, guys! 😉


Are you part of any tribe? Do you lead any? Why do you think tribes are important?

Back at ya.

– i.

P.S.:  Yay, thank you guys for sneezing -> we are on Hacker News and Reddit!


  1. Loving points 3 & 4!
    I had couple of new twitter followers, who I thanked & asked them about what made them to follow me – and no reply… Auto-follow sucks! Caring is what matters!

    • Especially in the beginning of tweeting, you will be facing these ‘fake’ followers. Don’t get disheartened. Few more years of tweeting and you will be able to tell who is real follower and who is some automated one;-)
      Keep shipping!

  2. I hope I may say I am part of your tribe 🙂 and somehow I try to find the one that I could lead by example.

    From the article I like mostly the 6th point – I think it is the toughest one but also the most worth-doing-it one 🙂

    Looking forward to next NGLS meetup // conference whatever

    • Janko, you certainly are part of SCG (cause of your comments here) and there is no doubt that you are true NGLS-ers. Yes, to reach 6th stage is quite a challenge, but surely worthy one. Btw, I think you already lead by example in NGLS movement. Thank you for that!
      See you soon!

  3. Great post!

  4. Nice one Ivana. Point 0 is the one that keeps fascinating me. Most people can learn steps 1-7, but 0, that’s something within you, it can not be learnt, it has to be discovered. As you say: spark, idea, cause. I wish more people would be able to make it at least to point 1.
    Thanks for the link 😉

    • Hey Tom!
      So, happy to read you. I appreciate, when shipper and real nomad like you appreciate #IS. You too are inspiring many to discover that light and meaning from within. I believe that together we can ignite more sparks. Step by step and who knows maybe in few more years we will publish updated version of this blog post.
      Keep shipping, Tomas.
      Hope to see you in person on NGLS meet up again.

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