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#097 – Paying It Forward with Kindness to Build a $1.2MM Community with Rosie Sherry of Ministry of Testing

Updated on August 22
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Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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In 2007, what first started out as a side project, Rosie became the founder of Ministry of Testing, a global community of software testers. Since then, she has turned it into a business and has earned over $1.2 million in annual revenue.

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Rosie says that at the moment, most of the revenue is earned from events and conferences that are held across multiple countries in the world.

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Rosie took the opportunity to create an event where testers could gather and speak openly about their industry. To her, testers deserved more than what other events provided because she saw how other events were completely corporate focused and shoving marketing tools in people’s face.

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She doesn’t know if it’s naivety or stupidity, but she can’t pinpoint what prompts her to make her decisions and choosing to expand her conference locations. She has done nine conferences in one year and finds it difficult to turn down the opportunities to host them.

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Rosie says that as a mother or parent, people like to tell you that you can have it all and it’ll be fine. She disagrees, and says that no one talks about the reality of going back to work after having kids. Sometimes when people found out that she had kids, it made it difficult for her to get a job.

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Rosie had attended general geek tech meetups before as an opportunity to meet other people and network with them. If a man wanted to go, a woman has to invite him to go with her. The meetups boosted Rosie’s confidence to go from a mother — unsure of what she was going to do — to running local events and being recognized for it.

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When people are unsure of what to build, Rosie encourages people to build communities as a way to build a business? She says if you build any kind of community, you’re speaking to your audience and understanding them. She says how people just don't seem to pay attention to their communities.

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At one point, Rosie was bored with testing, and said that it was a horrible kind of world to be in because it was all corporate and certification based. All people seemed to care about was how to pass an exam.

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Rosie wanted to talk about real issues about testing and improving the craft. She believes that people noticed these kinds of talks within her conferences of where people wanted to talk about testing and on how to improve themselves and their craft.

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She attended local web conferences and were inspired by the things that people were doing. Each time she attended, she seemed to be the only tester there. This put the idea of finding a way to inspire the next generation of testers because they are needed to produce better software.

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Rosie says that getting people to care is really, really simple. She is kind to people and thinks of them first. She thinks about how she can help others and lift them up at any given opportunity. When you create a community, you can change people’s lives as you support them.

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Because there aren't long-term interactions between people. If people don’t get the quick results they’re wanting, then they’ll think the community isn't working.

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She found it difficult because she didn’t know what direction the company was headed in. She was stuck on who to hire and couldn’t make a decisive decision. If she had hired someone earlier, her transition out of the company would have been easier.

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Rosie says that despite keeping busy, sometimes it doesn’t add value. She had a realization that it’s okay to not do anything for a few hours. Rosie states that you shouldn't think of just having an eight hour block to get things done.

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Rosie would choose to change her life because she feels like she has given a lot to everyone, and now it’s time for her to be selfish and focus on herself. She has a lot of things that she wants to do, but she isn’t in a rush to do them.

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Rosie states how she loves being behind the scenes to watch how everything happens, and what to do with the information. If more people focused on what people need and want, it would be amazing and better for everyone.

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