OK, angel investing is rather exciting. It’s definitely something different from the same-ole repetition of watching the stock ticker and tossing a few bucks into your 401k, IRA, or some mutual funds. So, why is a community-based website so important?
That’s a great question and one I hope to answer here in this post. I’ll discuss what a community-based website actually is, list some of the pros and cons, and end by offering my opinion on why one is so crucial for the angel investing community.
I believe in this so much that I went as far as to create this website to provide a place for angel investors to connect and share with one another. After all, knowledge is power, and it’s not what you know but who you know that can make all the difference.
Let’s get started…
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So, What Exactly Is A Community-Based Website?
A lot of websites you go to these days fall into two categories; informational or commercial/sales. Community-based sites can fall into either one. That said, the focus of AngelPowwow.com leans heavily to the informational side.
A community-based website is a website that’s dedicated and contributed to by the community that uses it.
One example would be a neighborhood website that offers it’s members (your neighbors) the ability to share events, warn of issues (like a burglary), and so on. There is usually one or more ways to share this information, depending on the site in question. It could be an event board with a calendar and whatnot or a simple forum where members post various topics and add to existing threads.
Other examples are a group of health enthusiasts in a specific genre (think morning marathons, spin class buffs, etc.) or a recipe sharing group that likes to share recipes in a particular category (like Keto or desserts, etc.). Many times these types of sites are just pages or groups on social media platforms like Pinterest or Facebook as social media sites work well in such cases.
That said, there’s something about a dedicated website that just can’t be addressed on a social media platform. In the case of AngelPowwow.com, it’s the multitude of ways that one can share information and build their network with other investors and even the companies and founders that you might want to invest in.
Many of the websites out there are more of a monarchy if you will. They have an owner, and he or she will either produce the content directly or source it and control what is presented. My drone-focused website MavicManiacs.com and SmallOnlineBiz.com, are of that variety.
Community websites tend to get their content from the community members themselves. It’s more of a collaboration and a genuine sharing of knowledge.
What Are The Pros?
Community-based websites offer quite a few pros. I’ll list some of my favorites here:
A Wide Range of Topics
Even though a website might have a general focus (such as the neighborhood example used above), the members of a community-based site will be coming from all sorts of angles and topics. Someone might want to talk about an event, such as the neighborhood block party, where others may wish to discuss a city ordinance or some issue that affects the community. As you can see, these are related, in as much as they’re about the community, but they are quite different subjects.
In the case of AngelPowwow.com, the topics will range from different angel investment opportunities; those for anyone and those for accredited investors; non-angel related investment opportunities (think stocks and whatnot); angel investing events; tools for the angel investing community, and so on.
Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s not what you know but who you know”? You should have, as I mentioned it at the beginning of this post. That applies to angel investing too.
Many times opportunities are shared privately between members of an “elite” network or friends. Such deals may never make it to the crowdfunding sites that many are familiar with. By being part of a community, you could get that rare tip that connects you to an opportunity you might otherwise not have even known about.
AngelPowwow.com is all about building those connections and creating a network of angel investors, founders, and entrepreneurs.
There’s nothing like jumping in and getting your hands dirty, so-to-speak. AngelPowwow.com will publish educational articles from time to time. I will write many, but other members and industry leaders will write some as well. Soak up the information, feel free to comment on them, and apply what you learn.
Blog posts are not the only source. You’ll also be communicating with other angel investors. Learn from them, share your knowledge, experience, insights, and opinions. The more information everyone has, the better prepared we’ll all be to make informed investing decisions.
This is really covered in the first three topics of this section, but that’s the bread and butter of AngelPowwow.com. To communicate with other angel investors, learn from, share with, and help one another.
There are plenty of other pros that could be listed here, but, in the interest of keeping this to a blog post and not a book, I’ll stop here. I think you get the gist of it.
How About Some Cons?
Nothing, and I do mean nothing comes without a downside. The same is true of community websites. Let’s take a look at a few potential cons:
Let’s face it. When a site is opened up to its members, someone’s going to try to take advantage of it. It may be someone trying to promote their product or service. Maybe someone is trying to make a quick buck by promoting something that gives them a kickback for every sale or subscription.
AngelPowwow.com is all about sharing information. In fact, I want that information to be available to the community ASAP. To that end, I do not hold posts for moderation. If a member posts something, it’s live right away.
That said, I will go back and alter or remove posts that are deemed SPAM or inappropriate. Sadly, this doesn’t prevent the post from being seen immediately, but this is the trade-off I accepted to get information out as quickly as possible. If someone abuses this feature, their account will be suspended or canceled altogether.
Community-based websites are made up of members from all backgrounds. As such, there will be times when people collide, sometimes passionately. I hope that the community members can identify and acknowledge when they get into these scenarios and self-correct the issues. In the rare cases where this is not the case, I may step in and moderate the situation.
Fact-checking community-generated content is a very time-consuming endeavor. Fake news can make its way into virtually any medium, and there’s no mechanism in place that prevents a member from providing such news.
AngelPowwow.com does not fact check the content provided by its members. That is the member’s responsibility before taking any action based on the information provided. Do your due diligence. I like to operate in a trust but verify fashion. Accept the premise offered by another member but do a bit of research and find data that backs it up, etc.
As a community-based website grows its membership, things can get hectic. AngelPowwow.com offers Live Chat. Imagine 100 members all chatting at the same time. How about 1000? Chances are, you’re going to miss something someone said or think someone didn’t respond to you when they actually did, but it went by so fast you missed it.
The same can be said of the forums. So many people may post in a thread that you could spend quite some time sorting through it all. Luckily you can search the forums to help find what you’re looking for.
Such is the burden of a community site. Information is great, but it can also be overwhelming at times.
As with the pros, I’m sure there are more cons to consider. Still, the ones listed above should give you a reasonable expectation of what to look out for.
Why Is A Community-Based Website So Important?
OK, we have some pros and some cons, and you know what a community-based website is. So, what makes one so important?
In a nutshell, information, and networking. I said it before, but I’ll repeat it here. Knowledge is power. The more you know, the better off you are when it comes to making an informed decision. Especially when it comes to investing. Networking is where you can get some of the juiciest information, including learning about a deal in the first place.
The goal of AngelPowwow.com is to provide a place for angel investors to share their knowledge, learn from others, and make those critical connections. Some options available to members include:
Sometimes you might want to pop off a quick tip or ask a simple question. The Live Chat channel is a great place to have that back and forth with other members in real-time. Just know that those chats are temporary, and the data will vanish after some time.
Another feature of the Live Chat system is the ability to have a live one-on-one text or even video chat session with another member.
Think of forums as a more permanent not-so-live chat. This is where you’d share something that you’d want to hang around for a while so others can see and respond to it. Forums are a more permanent record that can be referred to at any time. This is where much of the “deal talks” happen.
Public and Private Messaging
Want to talk with another member one-on-one but in a format that lasts vs. Live Chat? You can message other members either publicly, where other members can see your conversation, or privately, where it’s just between the two of you.
AngelPowwow.com offers a social media-like system where you can friend other members and follow them. Get up to date quickly on your friend’s activities and postings.
Friending isn’t enough. You need to build relationships. Offer help and advice. Seek it from others. Share information on deals you know of. The more active you are, the more you’re going to get noticed.
And there’s plenty more!
As you can see, I’m a bit passionate when it comes to Angel Investing. A community-based website really is a perfect fit for angel investors. I hope AngelPowwow.com becomes the go-to place for the community, helping angel investors everywhere share information and build their networks.
So, you know what I think. Now, I want to know your opinion… Why is a community-based website so important? Are the features listed above enough? Is there some other feature that I didn’t list here that you think should be included? Do you think I’m entirely wrong, and a community-based website isn’t important at all? Please let me know by commenting below. I’d love to hear what you have to say.
I hope I’ve answered the question of “What Is Angel Investing” and that you found the prospect at least intriguing if not exciting. So, what are you waiting for? Register now and start engaging with other members!