I remember my first day as a community manager. It was the summer of 2009, and I had just graduated from SUNY Geneseo. About four weeks earlier the founders at a new startup called Scribnia had offered me a job for the summer. I packed my bags, moved to Philly and there I was on my first day.

I eagerly jumped in with two feet… I started sending emails to members, setting up interviews, organizing events, setting up support channels and social media accounts, writing newsletters. I launched a blog, attended conferences, recruited influencers, set up partners, launched groups; on and on I went, deeper and deeper into the community jungle.

It didn’t take long, maybe a month, before I was completely lost.  It reminded me of when I was a kid, I used to love playing with Legos but I hated following the instructions. I would just start throwing random blocks together and see what happened. Long story short, it never ended up looking anything close to the picture. That’s how I felt with community except I didn’t even have the picture to guide me. I had no plan, no strategy. I was just haphazardly throwing content and “engagement tactics” together without knowing what the outcome would be.

Maybe if you’re reading this, you’re finding yourself in a similar position now. Or maybe you’re going to start your first community job soon, and you want to avoid this. Either way, I’m glad you’re here. Now you’ll have something I didn’t: A guide.

Back then, “community management” wasn’t looked at as a growing professional discipline. It was something that some marketers did or it was limited to support forums. There were very few guides, case studies, no accessible groups to ask questions, no articles, no conferences, no CMX, you just had to figure it out.

Well, my struggle is your gain. Today, there are more resources available to community professionals than ever before. We gathered together the resources in this article to set you on a path of success for your future in the community industry.

Let’s dig in.