You see a lot of chicken and the egg communities. They are the communities that connect two groups of people in a mutually beneficial way (as opposed to communities that just target one group).
ModelMayhem is a chicken and the egg community. Photographers looking for models find models looking for photographers. MyHammer is another example. People looking for builders find builders looking for work.
It’s easy to dream up killer ideas for chicken and the egg communities. “Hey, lets create a community where people looking for C-level jobs find recruiters for C-level jobs.” It’s hard to create one.
One group needs to be there for the other to come. That’s a big problem. Without one group there in force, the other never arrives. Most people make the mistake of trying to appeal to both groups. That’s not the solution. The solution is the ladies night approach. Treat one group like royalty and make the other group wait in line.
Target just one group really well (exclusive offers, meet ups, VIP chats etc…) and ensure this group feels it’s their community. They own it. You want the other group to feel desperate to get in and connect with those in the community. They have to wait, apply, pay or pass any number of steps it takes to join.
If you succeed you have an incredibly valuable asset. One that’s impossible for competitors to steal. But success wont come easy.