#097 – Paying It Forward with Kindness to Build a $1.2MM Community with Rosie Sherry of Ministry of Testing
The Indie Hackers Podcast
Despite being an introvert, Rosie Sherry (@rosiesherry) knew that she needed to build a community that software testers deserve: the Ministry of Testing. In this episode, we discuss how Rosie created a community so tight-knit that people have its logo tattoo'd on their bodies, how she grew it to $1.2M in revenue without relying on ads, and how she did it all while raising and homeschooling 5 kids.Transcript, speaker information, and more: https://www.indiehackers.com/podcast/097-rosie-sherry-of-ministry-of-testing
In this episode
- 00:46 - Who is Rosie Sherry?
- 01:32 - How does Ministry of Testing earn its revenue?
- 03:27 - Why were the Ministry of Testing conferences created?
- 10:18 - How has Rosie’s mindset changed since founding her company?
- 13:28 - What does society not tell you about being a mother?
- 15:53 - What were Girl Geek Dinners?
- 20:34 - What is one way to build a business?
- 25:46 - What kind of conversations did Rosie want to get away from?
- 26:21 - What did people notice during the events held by Rosie’s company?
- 27:11 - What made Rosie want to make a change in the testing world?
- 31:41 - How do you get people to care about what you’ve created?
- 43:55 - Why do some communities fail?
- 52:20 - Why was it difficult for Rosie to hire someone to run her company?
- 56:32 - Should you always keep busy in your work or personal life?
- 01:00:32 - If having to choose, would you start another business to change other people’s lives or one to change your life?
- 01:03:50 - What is one piece of advice to those considering to start their own business?
Smash Notes summary for this episode
Who is Rosie Sherry?
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.
How does Ministry of Testing earn its revenue?
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.
Why were the Ministry of Testing conferences created?
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.
How has Rosie’s mindset changed since founding her company?
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.
What does society not tell you about being a mother?
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.
What were Girl Geek Dinners?
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.
What is one way to build a business?
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.
What kind of conversations did Rosie want to get away from?
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.
What did people notice during the events held by Rosie’s company?
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.
What made Rosie want to make a change in the testing world?
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.
How do you get people to care about what you’ve created?
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.
Why do some communities fail?
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.
Why was it difficult for Rosie to hire someone to run her company?
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.
Should you always keep busy in your work or personal life?
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.
If having to choose, would you start another business to change other people’s lives or one to change your life?
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.
What is one piece of advice to those considering to start their own business?
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.