There are business lessons to be found in the most unexpected places.
Today I’ll take you on a journey that combines romance, mystery, silly clues and trainspotters.
Yep, you read correctly. Trainspotters. You know, that obscure and incredibly passionate group of people who are seriously, seriously into everything trains?
You see, last week I spent my wedding anniversary on a Hogwarts Express lookalike steam train in the company of hundreds of very excited trainspotters. I know this may not be your idea of a romantic anniversary, but after 32 years of taking turns organising mystery weekends, with obscure clues and riddles to add to the adventure, we’ve started experiencing some pretty weird and wacky anniversaries.
When we got onto the mystery train, that’s when I realized we had just immersed ourselves in a subculture, a tribe, that I heard of but never experienced. And of course, my mind turned to business lessons from finding myself as an outsider to a tribe.
In this episode of Romance Your Tribe Radio I share:
Our anniversary tradition and why I have ended up at outback pubs packing stilettos and cocktail dresses.
- The 4 signs we had discovered a tribe and how we knew we didn’t belong
- How we channelled Harry Potter to fit in with the tribe.
- 4 ways to you can build a Tribe Brand, based on lessons from trainspotters
- What it takes to be a Tribal Business Leader and how you very likely have most of the components already.
- A “Cheat Sheet” article for you, so you can quickly see the 4 Business Lessons.
Plus I’ll share some photos below of our trainspotting friends and us.
You can watch the video, listen to the audio, download from the podcast directory, or read the transcript below. Never miss an episode. Click here for all the ways you can subscribe.
Tribe Outsiders and How To Survive
Within minutes of boarding the steam train, we realized that we were different. We were Tribe Outsiders.
We didn’t know the language or have any knowledge on steam trains beyond the obvious. We’d never done this before so we didn’t have the specialised equipment many carried (goggles so your eyes don’t get full of coal soot as you hang your head out the window for hours). We were outsiders but around 90% of those on the train were serious trainspotters who knew their stuff. Their energy was contagious.
That was when we realized there was a really strong tribe there and we weren’t part of it.
So how did we survive with outsider status? We decided to totally immerse ourselves and get to know all these people. Just have as much fun as we could, ask as many questions as possible and do what everyone else did. And because we are total Harry Potter tragics, we went into the buffet car and bought as many lollies as possible, because that’s what they do on Harry Potter. We had a blast!
4 Lessons to Build Brand Tribe
In order to have a tribe anywhere, you need to have several things.
1. You Need a shared passion
Number one thing is to have a shared idea, a shared passion, something that people focus on. For trainspotters, it was trains. But not just any trains. Historic steam trains. It brought everybody together, but that is not enough.
For you, what is it that people are drawn to? For my business, it’s how to build and market a business online. But it’s more than that. It’s about building relationships and trust and doing it in a way that really connects and attracts. For trainspotters, it’s the history, the engineering, the romance, and the whole era of travel that made it stand out from any other forms of travel.For your business, what is that? It could be your niche or something unique about how you approach it.
2. You need to state “This is what we believe around here”
Number two is you need to be able to tell people “This is what we believe around here”. You need to be able to jump off the fence because people who sit on their fence get splinters in their bum.
You need to be able to say “If you want to be part of this tribe, this is what we believe around here.”
For me, I’m all about creating connections. There are people who do business in a way that’s disconnected, all about numbers and ads, no contact. There are people who are in tribes that love this approach and who just don’t get why you would want to build ongoing relationships with your clients. But that doesn’t matter. Their group will never get my group.
3. You need to state “This is what we believe around here”
This was something we discovered when we were in our group of trainspotters. They had their own language. They knew all the parts of the trains and the specifications of each train and carriage. They knew all the language.
They knew the right equipment as well. The trainspotters carried goggles so they can stick their head out of the window to see the steam coming up and soot wouldn’t get into their eyes. They carried wipes so they can wipe it all off before getting off the train.
People who haven’t seen each other in ages clicked immediately because they had a common language to talk about.
For you, do you have a language that you use? If you don’t, there’s an opportunity right there.
Within my Attract Your Tribe program, one of the core things we do differently is the way you work with people. You could have thousands of competitors who could be doing something similar, but what we do is we create a signature system and trademarkable language around that.
Having your own language allows people to say, “I’m part of this tribe because I use this language.” For example, in my business, I divide people up into four different avatars and get people to self-identify. It is totally normal for people contacting me and saying “I’m a Star Blazer”.
Do you do that? You have an opportunity to create something here.
4. You Need a place to hang out
You need a place for people to gather and talk to each other. Online, it becomes easy because you have a website. If you’re selling programs, you can create private Facebook groups or a forum. You could be doing video huddles like I do with the Rising Stars and my Attract Your Tribe Accelerator clients.
Finding a place where people can hang out is absolutely essential for you to develop a tribe.
For the trainspotters we met, they pay good money to take the opportunity to take a heritage train trip. They also had sub-tribes as well.
One of the women (there weren’t many) we met on the train told me she was “with the competition”. Turns out the train and the whole trip was organized by one historic society while she volunteers for another. There was a sub-tribe in the bigger tribe and the allegiance she felt, but she still came because she wanted to be part of this extension in the tribe.
For you, do you have somewhere that makes people want to join?
You can hang out with our tribe over here in the free Romance Your Tribe Facebook Group. You’ll be warmly welcomed.
Setting yourself up as a leader
Now, how do you set yourself up as the tribal leader? The tribal leader is someone who does very well at articulating “this is what we believe around here” and “this is where we can hang out”.
To be a tribal leader, you need to very clearly articulate what you are helping people to do, what you believe as part of the group, where you gather.
One powerful thing you can do as a tribal leader is help other leaders develop.As your group grows, you will notice that there are people who evolve to become leaders within that group. They are the ones that naturally come up with good ideas. They are cheerleaders for other people.
Instead of being threatened and seeing it as people using your platform to take over, it’s your role as the leader to identify other emerging leaders. From there, you can nurture them and bring them in to make sure they’re still using the same language and philosophy. Instead of seeing them as threats, they can help you lead within your tribe.
That’s where a tribe starts to get its own energy. As it grows, you remain the person who has set the overall tone and has provided the place where people are hanging out.
Once someone positions themselves as a leader within the bigger tribe, people begin to have aspirations within the tribe. Some people want to go higher and higher. Allow that to happen. Nurture them. That’s where true tribal leadership happens.
Now, there will be people who don’t belong. They would look at you and go “I don’t get it”. And that is good. The people who are in there get it. They get you. That’s how you can say that you have built a tribe around your brand.
- Can you clearly say how you help people?
- Can you articulate “This is what we believe around here”
- Do you have a place for your tribe to hang out online or offline?
- Do you have a language your tribe uses? Maybe create your own.
- Come and check out The Romance Your Tribe Facebook Group. Come join our tribe 🙂
- If you struggle with any of these questions, you need me baby! The step by step system to put all this together is part of The Attract Your Tribe Program.
Links and Resources Mentioned
FREE GIFT: Profit In You Workshop
A Special Message From Janet
Thank you so much for being here. I know there are a lot of podcasts you could choose to listen to and you chose to join me on Romance Your Tribe Radio.
I’m honoured and grateful for your support.
If you enjoyed this week’s episode, I’d love for you to take a quick minute to share your thoughts with us and leave an honest review and rating for the show over on iTunes!
Your review helps others discover the show, and I also read each and every submission personally… and they mean the world to me.
So, thank you in advance!
Read The Transcript Here
Hello and welcome. Janet Beckers here, and I’ve got a teaching episode for you today for Romance Your Tribe Radio. What is more fitting for a podcast program called Romance Your Tribe where we’re going to be talking about something that I’ve discovered just the last week on our wedding anniversary, our mystery weekend. It was my husband’s turn this year to organize our mystery weekend for our 32nd wedding anniversary. That’s all our mystery weekends we’ve done. It was romance there.
I was a tribe because my husband always seems to organize really quite quirky events for when it’s his turn to organize, and we alternate each year. We discovered a subculture, a tribe, of trainspotters. What I’m going to share with you here is lessons that I learned from spending half-a-day with trainspotters, severely, severely obsessed trainspotters, and the lesson on that on tribe and how you can apply that to your business. We’ll have a little bit of fun with this one.
Let me share the story with you on … First of all, I’ll share with you what was the mystery weekend. Then I’ll share with you what I’ve learned about them, about this particular subgroup, this incredibly passionate tribe. Then I’ll talk about what makes a tribe in your business and the lessons that you can apply. Let’s approach it in those three steps. If you know me, you know I like to have a system we’re going to follow.
Where did this all start? Ever since our second wedding anniversary, we decided that you know what, forget this whole idea of buying presents for each other, or forget this whole idea of Janet buying… presents, and then him going, “No, no, no. It’s a capitalist ripoff,” and then us having an argument. What we did instead was every single year we alternate taking the other person away on a mystery weekend.
Now part of this is the week beforehand, seven days before, the person who is being surprised, which was me this year, is allowed to ask for a clue or ask a question every single day for that week. The person who is organizing the mystery tour has to answer. They have to give a clue or they have to give an answer. Here in the clincher. The person giving the clues is allowed to lie, which means that I have turned up to outback pubs packing stilettos and really, really nice dresses, and I’ve also turned up to a beach holiday carrying beanies and walking boots. I have learned to hedge my bets and pack a lot of stuff.
This year, one of the clues though was I could only pack a very, very small bag. That was a tough gig. There were also some other really weird clues that led me leading to something. There was parallel before the time of electricity, there was shake, rattle, roll, there was the small bag, and there was some other ones that actually went to other parts of the weekend. We have a lot of fun leading up to it.
As it turns out… quirky things, is we turned up at a train station down in Sydney, and coming into the train station was a historic steam train. Now the people who were on that train station waiting for the steam train to come in were so excited. The energy was palpable. People were really, really excited. Then when we went to get onto the train, all these other people came, “Oh, you are so lucky.” I’m thinking, “Oh, okay.” When we got onto the train, that’s when I realized that we had just immersed ourselves in a subculture, a tribe, that I had heard of but had never experienced.
This train is very much like if you’re a Hogwarts, a Harry Potter tragic like I am, then this was the Hogwarts Express. Complete with our compartment that was really, really old just like the Hogwarts Express and including a conductor or a passenger assistant, as we had learned the term was, who, fair dinkum, was dressed completely as if like out of one of the Harry Potter movies, and even had an English accent. I don’t even know if it was true. He was really only about twenty. Absolutely enthusiastically enjoying the role of directing everybody.
Now, let me talk … This, for me, was a really fantastic experience. For the few hours of the train trip until we got up into the mountains is we just went, wow, we’re different to everybody else here. We don’t know the language. We don’t know. We don’t have much knowledge at all on this. We’ve never done this before. We’re not carrying the same equipment as other people who have obviously done this before. We are the outsiders here. There is this whole … like 90% of that train was serious trainspotters, and they knew their stuff. Their excitement and enthusiasm was absolutely contagious. That’s when I realized there is a tribe here, a really, really strong tribe, and we’re not part of it.
Let’s just totally immerse ourselves and just really get to know all these people and have as much fun as we can, which included, of course, going to the buffet car and trying to get as many lollies as possible because that’s what they do on Harry Potter. There weren’t any Bert’s or flavored beans or chocolate frogs jumping, but we did get lots and lots of big snakes and lollies and eat those and talked to as many people and waved to as many people as we can. It’s like just immersed ourselves for a few hours. It was actually quite a lot of fun.
Now, let’s talk about what made this a tribe and what made …. I’m going to analyze that in terms of what makes a tribe for business. Let’s have a look at that. In order to have a tribe anywhere, you need to have, number one, something that is a shared idea, a shared passion, something that people focus on. Now for these people it was trains, but not just any trains. Historic steam trains. Now, that was the thing that brought everybody together, but that is not enough.
Now for you, what is it that people are getting drawn to? For me, for my business, it’s very much about how do I take my business and market it online, but it’s more than that. How do I do it in a way that is all about building relationships and trust and doing it in a way that I really attract and connect with people. That is the thing that people are being drawn to. For you in your business, what is the thing? It may be a niche that you are in, or if it is a very broad niche, it may be your way that you approach that within your niche, so that’s number one.
Number two is you need to be able to say this is what we believe around here. You need to be able to jump off the fence, because people who sit on the fence get splinters in their bum, okay? You need to be able to jump off the fence and say, “This is what we believe around here. If you want to be part of this tribe, this is what we believe around here.” Now for the tribe of trainspotters, the thing that they believe around there that really the engineering, the romance, the history of steam trains and that whole era of travel is so much more interesting, so much more valuable and so much worth immersing yourself in than just ordinary travel, trains, buses, cars. This is so much more interesting, and very, very specific on that.
What is it for you? For example, for me, you know what, nobody who’s going to be attracted to me is going to be attracted because they’re interested in how do I build a business that I’m not the slightest bit interested in with customers that I’m not really interested at all in them, but I just want to be able to find out where there is a demand and do it in the most disconnected way, and that is … there are a lot of people who do that really, really well. The whole sort of find a niche, do the numbers, just do ads, have no contact. They do that really, really well. You’re never going to get that with me because that’s not what I love doing in business, and the people who I attract love that connection. They love being part of the transformation. That’s what we believe around here.
What about you? What is it that you can go, “You know what?” Like for people who are just into the numbers again, what are these people doing wasting all their time talking to people and connecting and understanding what’s important in their values? Who cares? That group will never ever get our group. As we look at that group and go, “You know, it’s a bit cold. I get bored.” What’s happening in your tribe where you can say, “You know what, this is what we believe around here”?
Now, the next thing that you need is you need a shared language. Now this was something that we really, really discovered when we were in our group of trainspotters. Because the trainspotters, they had their own language. They knew not just all the names of the different parts of the trains, or how many axles there are on each carriage, all of those sorts of things. They knew the names of … the numbers of different trains, and they would talk fondly to each other about, “So, heard about what’s happening with the 57E? Where’s it’s house now?” “Oh, it’s over at Cara.” “Really? What’s So-and-so doing over there?” They would use different language for things that … for parts of a train that some trains would have and other ones wouldn’t. They all knew the language.
They all knew the equipment. People carried goggles so that when they stuck their head out the window for hours to be able to see the steam coming up that all the soot … we didn’t realize this … that comes with it that plasters all over you wouldn’t get in their eyes. They carried wipes so they can wipe it all off before they got off the train. There was a whole sort of equipment, a whole language that people knew. On the train, there were people going, “I haven’t seen you for ages since the last carriage we were on,” and they were talking immediately. They had a common language to talk about. We stood out as not part of that tribe, we didn’t know the language, but we were there to learn.
Okay, so for you, do you have a language that you use? If you don’t, you have a huge opportunity here. That’s why within my Attract Your Tribe program, one of the core things we do is the way that you work with people. Then maybe you could have thousands of competitors that may do similar work with people, but what we do is we create a signature system and a trademarkable language around that.
When you’ve been hanging around me for a while, you will know that we talk about flirting, “Back to my place.” We talk about commitment. We talk about… We talk about romancing your tribe, attracting your tribe. We talk about courting and we talk about profitable avatars. All of this different language all comes around the Romance your Tribe signature system.
Now in your business you have an opportunity to create your own language that people know, “I’m part of this tribe because I use this language.” For years now, I will have people who might send me an email and they will be using the language of my signature system when they’re talking to me. For example, I also divide people up into four different avatars and get people to self-identify. You could be a Star Gazer, Star Blazer, Shooting Star, or a Super Star. Those four are on my website, and you can identify and see the different path you should take depending on it.
People will email me and say, “Hey Janet, I’m a Star Blazer.” My language developed specifically to make it so that you will know you’re part of my tribe. Do you do that? Do you have a language that you can be using that lets people know they’re part of your tribe? You have a great opportunity here, but to be able to create something there. So you have a language as well.
Now, what else do you need? You need a place for people to gather, hang out, and to talk to each other. Now online that becomes quite easy because you have your website. If you are selling your programs, you can create private Facebook groups or a forum, a place where your people can connect. You can be doing that through life events. You can be doing that, as an example, with my Rising Stars in my Attract Your Tribe Accelerator clients, we meet on video huddles, and so people get to see each other and we hot seat. They get to see each other in the private Facebook group. You can be doing that through a free Facebook group to bring your tribe together. Finding a place where people can hang out is absolutely essential for you to develop a tribe.
Four, our tribe of trainspotters, not only did they gather when there was an opportunity to take a heritage train trip, and they paid good money for it as well. It wasn’t a normal cheap train fare. It was special. They also have clumps. In fact, as we were sitting there, one girl, she was one of the rare women who were on the train, who was in our little carriage was going, “You know, I’m actually with the competition. I’m with the enemy.” We went, “What are you talking about?” The train and the whole trip was organized by one historic society. She volunteers for another historic society. There was a sub-tribe within the bigger tribe and that allegiance that she felt, but still coming here because she wanted to be part of this extension in the tribe. For you, have you got somewhere where you can make it for people to join?
Now let’s bring all of that together, because now we want to look at how do you, if you have a tribe, well then there’s a potential for you to set yourself up as the tribal leader. Now the tribal leader really is somebody who can very, very clearly articulate this is what we believe around here and this is where we can hang out. If you can very clearly articulate what it is that you are helping people to do, and what we believe here as part of this group, and provide any kind of venue, whether it’s going to be through your business, whether it’s going to be online, offline, however it works, for people to be able to connect, you will naturally be positioned as the tribal leader.
Now, here is something else that comes with being the tribal leader that a lot of people don’t really understand, and yet this is where it becomes really, really powerful. A lot of times people will create. You might create a group, say we say a free Facebook group, and you’re the person who started it. You are the tribal leader. Now thorough this happening and people interacting, there will start to evolve people who become leaders within that group. They are naturally the ones that come up with good ideas. They’re cheerleaders for other people.
Sometimes the people who are the beginning of the group or the leader can be quite threatened by this and see this as people could be using my platform to take over. It is your role as the tribal leader to identify other emerging leaders and to nurture and then bring them in to make sure they’re still using the same language, that their philosophy is still the same of this is what we believe around here, and mentor them to help them to lead within your tribe. Because that’s where a tribe starts to get its own energy where it starts to expand, and you are still the person who has set that overall tone and has provided the place for people to hang out.
The same thing with our beautiful enthusiastic tribe of trainspotters is within there, there were people that were talking about, “Oh, have you seen So-and-So’s on the train? Man, they know their stuff.” That was somebody else who had to position themselves as a leader within the bigger tribe, and that allows for people to have aspirations within a tribe. Because there are always going to be people who want to go higher and higher, so allow that to happen. That’s where true tribal leadership happens.
It was a really, really fun weekend. We went on to do lots of other things as well. We laughed and laughed and laughed so much about the quirkiness of this tribe of trainspotters who themselves would not see themselves as quirky at all, but from an outsider who doesn’t know the language, who doesn’t have the same passion, and who doesn’t have that connection, almost like the secret handshake, it could seem really quirky from the outside. That’s what will happen as you are building up your tribe. The people who don’t belong there are going to look and go, “I don’t get it,” and that is good. Because the people who are in there, they get it, they get you.
Let’s have a look at a summary now on how do you take lessons from such a tribe as trainspotters and use those lessons. What of the lessons that you can use to be able to create your own tribe around your business, your brand? These are the important things for you to know. You need to be able to say, “This is what we’re interested in. This is the topic we’re interested in.” You then need to be able to say, “This is what we believe around here. This is our approach to that particular topic. This is what we believe around here.”
You need to be able to go, “You know what, we’ve got our own language.” You know you’re on the inner because you know the language that is used around here. Do you have a language? You have an opportunity to create your own language through signature systems and trademarkable branding. You have that.
Now the other thing you need to do is to be able to say, “This is where we hang out. This is where you can connect with everybody else.” Then you also need to be able to say, “You know what, there is an opportunity for other people to lead here. Let me help you and we’re going to stay here within this tribe, and we’re going to make it bigger and bigger and a much closer knit community.”
I think I covered all of those ones there. A place for us to hang out, did I say that? If you can do that as the tribal leader, if you can provide this is what we believe, this is our language, and this is where we hang out and create an opportunity for people to gather, you’ve just positioned yourself as a tribal leader in your niche, and that’s where is a fantastic platform for you to be able to start attracting great people to you and your business.
I’d love to hear from you. Number one, are you a trainspotter? Are you part of this culture? Honestly, it was all generations. Mostly men, but there were still women there, and people who looked like they had completely different kinds of professions and lives outside of that passion for historic trains, so a really, really broad cross section. It wasn’t the demographic, necessarily, that was the defining. Are you a trainspotter? I’d love to hear from you. Is that something where you would stay excited for the whole trip?
Your tribe. Are you building a tribe around your business? Can you identify as having a tribe around your business? Do you have a signature system and language? Are you part of my tribe? Are you part of our free Facebook group? Are you one of my clients? Do you know the language? Do you have some examples of some of that language that you may have been using outside of our just tight romantic tribe?
I’d love to hear from you, so please leave comments down below. Share this with your friends if you’d like to, I’d really appreciate that. Yeah, go forth. Come over into our Facebook group and we can talk about this week’s topic over there. Okay, bye.