In this episode of the Blogger Genius Podcast, host Jillian Leslie, interviews Summer Hammons, the founder of Hammons Nest, a crafting blog, on how she started her successful membership.
Summer shares her journey of starting as an activities and marketing director at an assisted living facility, opening a brick-and-mortar store, and transitioning to an online business.
Summer discusses the importance of human connection and how her membership provides a special place for people with the common interest of crafting.
Summer reached out to Jillian before starting her membership and decided to use MiloTreeCart to manage her members and recurring payments. Summer recommends it for people wanting to sell digital products, especially memberships, because it’s so easy.
Table of Contents
- Catch My Party
- MiloTree Pop-Up App
- Summer Hammons
- Get My Ebook: The Beginner’s Guide to Making Money with Ebooks Using ChatGPT
- Become a Blogger Genius Facebook Group
- Join My Blogger Genius Email List
- All Blogger Genius Podcast Episodes
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Intro (00:00:04) – Welcome to the Blogger Genius Podcast, brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie (00:00:11) – Hello my friends. Welcome back to the Blogger Genius Podcast. I am your host, Jillian Leslie. I’m a serial entrepreneur and blogger. We started our adventure, my husband David, and me in 2009 when we built Catch My Party.
Since then, we’ve grown it into the largest party idea site on the web. If you need ideas for Cinco de Mayo or Mother’s Day head over there.
Our journey continued when we built our pop-up app called MiloTree that so many of you use to grow your social media followers and your email subscribers by installing it in two minutes on your blog.
And now we have rolled out MiloTreeCart, which is the perfect payment tool for creators and bloggers who hate technology. You can sell all kinds of digital products with it, from digital downloads to workshops, memberships, subscriptions, mini courses, coaching, you name it. And it is simple to use.
In today’s episode, we’re taking a deep dive into memberships. I’m interviewing my friend, Summer Hammons, who is the crafter behind Hammons Nest. And Summer, couple months ago, started a membership for people who wanted to craft with her.
As you’ll see, she launched it with a bang and she shares all of the strategies that she used. As you listen to this episode, think about your own business. Is there a way for you to start a down and dirty membership?
Membership as a Business Model
It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it’s you showing up live with people. As I keep sharing, I think this is going to be the direction we’re all going to move in as we start competing with AI Chatbots because they aren’t human and you are, and that is your competitive advantage.
And what we see on MiloTreeCart is that people who have memberships make the most money. They sell that membership once, and then it’s just recurring revenue.
If you have an idea for a membership and you want to get on a call with me to talk about it, just head to milotree.com/meet and we’ll set up a time. I’m hoping this episode really inspires you to think about your business in a whole new way.
So, without further delay, here is my interview with Summer Hammons.
Summer, welcome to the Blogger Genius Podcast.
Summer Hammons (00:02:42) – Hello. So happy to be here.
Jillian Leslie (00:02:45) – You came on my radar a couple months ago reaching out to me about MiloTreeCart. And we got on a call and then you have launched an unbelievable membership.
And I’m just so proud of you, and I immediately said, please come on the podcast to share about this. But let’s take a step back. Will you talk about who you are, how you got started, and how you grew this business?
Summer Hammons’ Journey
Summer Hammons (00:03:11) – Of course. I’m happy to have that conversation. I just hope that this podcast will reach so many and inspire so many that are super curious about not just the industry I’m in, but just being an entrepreneur in general.
And at first I would like to let you know that I am married and I have two beautiful girls. I’m a family person, first and foremost. But me creating my business really all stemmed from that and wanting to be more available for my family.
And I have a feeling that someone listening to this probably feels the exact same way. And I wanted to create that time freedom with them. And now that I’m at a place in my business, I originally launched the online part of my business.
I will go back and tell you a little bit more about how I got here. But when I decided to launch the online part of my business, I was looking for time freedom first. And then the financial freedom came later when I decided and figured out how to make all these moving parts go together and make an actual respectable business out of it.
I wouldn’t say it was just a hobby for me, of course I was treating it like that. But I originally launched Hammons Nest as you know it, back in 2020, right during the middle of the pandemic.
Jillian Leslie (00:04:30) – I just have to stop you for a second. That’s not that long ago.
Summer Hammons (00:04:35) – It’s not that long ago.
Jillian Leslie – No.
Summer Hammons – I actually have not even fully celebrated a three year anniversary yet. Not until June of this year or July, June, I celebrate a full three years of saying I am Hammons Nest. And that is what developed from a previous store that I had a brick-and-mortar shop.
And taking it back even further to help you understand the journey. One of the most, I’ll always love to mention this whenever I’m talking to people about my creative business journey in that I just love to pay tribute to this one job that I had as a new mother.
My daughter is about to be 14. She was six months old when I took this job at a local assisted living near me. I’m in north Louisiana, so a little southern friendly place. And this assisted living was looking for an activities and marketing director.
And so I stepped in this position. It was a beautiful time in my life, several years that I stayed there. And I do feel like it was this huge starting point for where I’m at even today. That was 14 years ago.
As an activities director, you get to craft, that’s one of the biggest things that you get to do. You get to craft and you get to create and you get to bring people together.
Particularly I’m working with a certain group of people who are senior adults, people who were a little bit past their retirement age in need of love and care and just all the things, but they really still needed to stay connected and crafting and all kinds of other things, of course.
Crafting was one of those things that they really, really loved to do. So, I always like to pay tribute to that part of my life. Fast forward another thing, I won’t fast forward quite yet, but another thing during that time was the fact that they had stories.
They were so wise and they loved history and they really imparted that to me. And that set the tone for so many things, my style, the things that I love. So, if you don’t know anything about me, I have a really big vintage rustic style.
I didn’t love any of those things before I met this amazing group of people there in the assisted living. It was something that happened, something that clicked for me. And I just feel like they set that whole tone for me, for my life.
And just feeling so grateful. I’ve always called myself an older soul. And so I really do think they had a big part to play in that. But fast forward a little bit, after that time. And then I was looking for a way to stay home with my second child.
She had just been born and a little local shop near me was opening up and they were looking for vendors. I like to share this part of my story too, because it makes me laugh because it’s so true.
I told my husband, he said, “Hey, you’re going to have to get another job. Financially, we have two children, we have this household, you’re going to have to go back to work.” And I was like, “Oh, I don’t want to leave my baby.”
And again, as a mother, I’m sure many of you can relate, but he said, “Tell me what you figure out because we have to make this happen. So, I said, “I think I’m going to get a booth at the shop. That’ll just be some great side income. I’ll buy some things at the thrift store. I’ll flip them, I’ll paint them, I’ll make some things.”
But before I said all that, he was like, “What exactly are you going to sell in there?” I was like, “I don’t know,” I was like, “I have no idea. I just think it’s a great plan to start with.” And that is what we did. And then I shared some of those other ideas, but it’s just a funny part.
After that, it wasn’t very long until my youngest daughter was about to turn a year old. I think it’s something about my personality that I didn’t really realize in the moment that I couldn’t sit still for very long.
And there was a town near me that had not enough to offer in the realm of the kind of stores that you walk in where there’s these little booths that you shop and you’ve got all these secondhand things and you’ve got handmade things.
It’s just really funky and really cool and really special and unique. And there was a city and I was like, okay, I think this city could use a store like that. And I shopped for buildings that I could rent and lease.
Before I knew it, in a whirlwind of a year, I was going from having a small booth in a shop in a town over to opening my own shop, which was going to be called My Happy Place Lovingly was what it was called.
That’s where my real creative journey before I landed here, truly, truly began because I started working with all kinds of artisans and people who had certain passions and loves and in the maker’s world. And then they all had little spots in my store where they sold things. And so that connection happened.
Then I had a studio in the back of that store where we did craft parties and art parties. So, taking all that into account, COVID hit 2020. It’s just all part of our world now. COVID, so many people made huge pivots in 2020 that it became a part of my story.
If I’m being completely honest, about the end of 2019 before all that happened, I was thinking of how I could transition again, how I could do something a little different.
And I think it has to do, I think we all had different personalities, but I think it had to do a lot with how I could challenge myself in a different way.
I was looking for something and little did I know what was in store for me, but I did make the plunge and stepped out on faith and came online completely not knowing how I was going to structure my business, but I figured it out.
Monetizing on Facebook
Jillian Leslie (00:10:53) – Figured out. Tell me, what did you do? You started a blog. Was that first or was Facebook first? What did you do?
Summer Hammons (00:11:01) – I already had a little bit of a smaller Facebook following from my store, and I transitioned that Facebook page over to just doing craft tutorials and things like that and made my audience aware that that change was happening.
Of course, I was like, hey, I’ve closed my brick-and-mortar shop. I still have a love for this, my older things and making things, and I’m still going to share that here. And I still sold some physical products.
I was shipping a few things to some of my audience. I was still selling in a local store again, just to figure out which direction I was going to head because I didn’t really have all the knowledge of how you could create an online business.
Looking at it today, almost three years past that, I sell no physical products. I sell nothing. I don’t have to make anything to sell it over and over again. My business model has completely changed.
Then again, it hasn’t, I’m still in the same industry. I still have the same type of audience. I’m just more in a teaching capacity than I was. One thing I would say, I was never afraid to tell people how I did something. Even if I was making something and I was going to sell it.
I still was teaching people and showing them, answering questions. And I love that part. I think there was a huge teacher part in me, especially having the studio in my old shop and all that, where that was just ingrained in me to tell people your process. It excited me.
I loved to inspire others, and I just rolled with that throughout these few years.
Jillian Leslie (00:12:33) – So, you’ve got your Facebook page and you’re showing up live crafting?
Summer Hammons (00:12:38) – Correct. And selling, making a sustainable income on the side to make it make sense. During this transition my husband was a huge supporter of me and I was taking some business coaching through all that.
Some of those business coaches really gave me some attainable things that I thought could be my future. Parts of my future, little pieces of it.
How I could not do that hustle and grind so much with making things and selling what they call one offing for people in the business world where you’re making things to sell to make an income.
And I wanted to. Eventually, I knew that I wanted the future of my business to be more teaching less physical labor, if that makes sense.
Jillian Leslie – Totally.
Summer Hammons – Not so much.
Starting a Blog
Jillian Leslie (00:13:22) – So, you start a blog. You’re on Facebook building an audience on Facebook, and then what do you think? How do you think money is going to start showing up? I know you’re selling one off things, but how did you really think, okay, I’m going to make enough money that I can contribute to my family?
Summer Hammons (00:13:40) – I knew that there were some goals that you had to reach on Facebook with your following to be monetized.Meaning that Facebook would put advertisements on my video.
It was just the pre-recorded videos that were over three minutes. It’s going to be a little, as I think about the years ahead, sharing my story. And I think it’s going to be hard to remember when all this happened.
Since the pandemic so much with the online platforms, the social media platforms have changed. And also just with advertising in general. There’s so many big brands that are utilizing social media.
In the last three years, Facebook when I first started monetizing was only on those videos, and then they started monetizing live videos. Then they started monetizing and came out with the reels, which were similar to the TikTok.
There’s been all these other opportunities, like YouTube. A lot of people, it’s more understood over on YouTube that YouTube creators get paid for their content. Facebook was mimicking that.
And so, by the fall of 2020, if you’re keeping up with a year’s journey, I launched in June of 2020 here online. I kept pushing, pushing, pushing, figuring out, I think that I can get this turned on this monetization.
By October of 2020, I got this congratulatory message from Facebook saying, you have hit all the milestones, which was so many followers, which was, so many video views and all this. We’re going to turn on your monetization. And it was a game changer for me, a complete game changer.
Jillian Leslie (00:15:13) – Got it. So, then what do you think?
Avatar of Facebook Audience
Summer Hammons (00:15:16) – So then I think , I’m doing all these tutorials, I am monetizing.
Jillian Leslie (00:15:21) – What does this mean? Are you showing up live on Facebook every day, making videos that you’re editing and uploading? How many videos? How did this whole process, what did this look like?
Summer Hammons (00:15:36) – Considering that I didn’t really have this mapped out thing of what it could be, and it’s so different for every content creator that comes online, you’ll find content creators that say they don’t have any success with the three minute plus videos. They only have success with their live videos.
We all have such a different journey within that. But I will say, I really knew that it was a thing whenever I started putting out two to three pre-recorded videos every week while still going live once or twice a week.
And then right after I started putting out all this content on video, I wanted the blog as my hub to support and give them a place to land because I knew that the blog would be the slow and steady monetization goal.
And I knew that like I said, from my business coaching, but I wanted to go ahead and start it. So, I started putting the same content that I was recording with a list of supplies, maybe sometimes some pictures. I would change it up.
My blog is always, and I still say is a work-in-progress, it’s not the main place that I stay on and really hone in right now. This would be a year. I would love to do that a little bit more, but say in all that, looking back then, I just want this place that’s my very own.
And so, that’s when I opened up the blog hammonsnest.com. What you would find is you’d be able to go over there and search for the same tutorial you found well that I showed and featured on Facebook would be over there possibly with a supply list and things like that to help my people.
And I constantly say that to them to this day, I want the blog to be a resource for them, they can go over there and get extra information because they’re just going to see things going fast on Facebook.
Our attention span is so short when it comes to social media. So you don’t get the full enchilada full story you would say over on Facebook. You get just the little teaser. And sometimes it’s just for entertainment, but then sometimes they really want the list of supplies. They want to know how they can make it just like I did.
And so, I just wanted that to be a helper resource. I launched the blog shortly after I got my monetization check marks over there on Facebook.
Starting a Creative Membership
Jillian Leslie (00:17:46) – And what’s great is if somebody messages you and says, “Hey, what about the supplies?” You can say, go here and it’s there. And drive traffic to your blog. But also, again, as you said, use it as a resource so that you don’t have to be answering the same questions over and over again.
Summer Hammons (00:18:02) – Oh, exactly. It’s a super efficient way, having that hub of all my projects is just super, like I said, efficient for me to be able to answer and provide really great service to all my followers and creative friends that want to know more things about a certain project.
And that’s how I’ve utilized it over the years. But yes, when you ask about going live and things like that, I have a wonderful community on Facebook. It’s been my absolute number one social media platform that has loved on me and encouraged me for the past few years. And so, I love it very much and appreciate it.
Jillian Leslie (00:18:34) – If you were to describe the avatar of somebody who interacts with you and shows up for you on Facebook, who is she? I’m assuming it’s a she.
Summer Hammons (00:18:46) – Yes, absolutely a she. He’s are welcome as well, of course. Probably middle-aged above something like that. As far as an age, demographically, that’s a hard question.
I would say majority, probably Southern, because I have that southern rustic vibe. But I have friends all over the world, which has been my favorite part of this. Lots of friends in the UK and Canada. It’s just been really fun bringing all these people together.
That’s why I tell and say this often because I really do try to stay in a place of gratitude with all this, is that this is just amazing that we can all get together with one common interest or thread that pulls us together.
And that’s what the Facebook platform has been for me. And I don’t see just numbers. I do see all those people and their names, and I take it all in. And I really try to communicate and feel that community with them. Probably I strive a little too hard for that.
I can wear myself out sometimes, really trying to make them feel heard and seen, but it’s important to me as long as I can keep it going.
Jillian Leslie (00:19:58) – Let’s talk about the next piece. When you decided, oh, now I want to start monetizing in a different way.
Summer Hammons (00:20:08) – Sure. There were several platforms such as Pinterest, and TikTok and YouTube,where you have monetization and all that. But I knew that I wanted something a bit more tangible. That thing that they say, don’t put your eggs all in one basket.
Jillian Leslie (00:20:24) – And don’t build your business on rented land.
Summer Hammons (00:20:28) – Correct. And so, I knew that once I had poured a lot of energy and love into Facebook, which I still continually do, I needed to branch out a little bit and figure out how I was going to create a sustainable income.
And for me, that was having multiple revenue streams. And so, I decided eventually, slowly, about the first part of this year, the end of last year actually, which would be, 2022, the end of 2022 is when I officially stopped selling any kind of physical products at all.
And I put all my focus on content and possible workshops and things like that, that I had already done back in last year. And I knew I wanted to build on that. So, one of those things was to do workshops. And while it was hosted on the Facebook platform, there are some other ways I could have done that.
I just utilized what was easy and where my people were at, at the time was why I hosted it there. I did a couple workshops. One was called BowWorks, one was called PaintWorks. And for what the name suggested, we spent a few days deep diving into making bows in one.
We spent a few days deep diving into what is paint, what do you put it on, what kind of paints are there? And we just hyper-focused on some things while my Facebook community and my other creative platforms, we talk about all kinds of stuff.
I’m doing a lot of crafting, but we do a lot of education just on everything in the creative world. These were like super hyper-focused groups and they just kept asking for a little bit more intimate way to be with me to learn.
While it’s super fun and great, doing videos and things like that, you don’t really get to get super detailed about how to work a drill and all the little pieces that go into a drill. There are 20 different top coats and what all the differences are and why they’re different.
You don’t really deep dive in as far as I felt comfortable, my audience, I probably couldn’t sustain their attention, keep their attention for that long on those subjects in that deep of a way. This lead that brought about.
Jillian Leslie (00:22:35) – Does this lead you to getting on a call with me? Or was there more before?
Summer Hammons (00:22:39) – It does. No, it really does. That’s really, of course, I can’t tell you everything because there was a lot over the last few years. But those are the main highlights of how my journey went.
When I felt that I was good and ready, not that we all are good and ready at any time, I decided to reach out to you. I was a loyal follower and still am of the Blogger Genius podcast. Jillian said I can reach out to her. She’s got this thing, MiloTreeCart.
And she said I could give her a call and she would talk to me about how I could utilize it in my business. And so, I called you loaded with lots of things.
I was a little bit of a mess when I called you because I had all these ideas forming and you talked to me through it and helped guide me through figuring out what I wanted to do first. And that was a creative membership.
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Membership Structure and Pricing
Summer Hammons (00:24:21) – At this time, just on Facebook alone, I have I think over 170,000 followers, something like that. Maybe more than that, I may be shorting myself but as you can imagine with all those people, you have an audience that’s clearly there for something, but you have so many different people that have different interests.
And two of those that were fighting for me were helping business people and helping just creative people grow in their creative world and learn more about the things that they want to make and do.
And that’s what you and I got on the phone about and you were like, “Hey, you’ve got these two big columns of people, where is the best place to start?” And you really did help me figure that out. And so, that’s why we started the way that we did.
And I don’t think anybody knows that. The people who listen the podcast do that. I had a desire to do something with business.
Jillian Leslie (00:25:15) – Creative. Eventually as we talked.
Summer Hammons (00:25:17) – It’s just something I’m super passionate about. And anybody that gets on a phone call with me, even friends locally here. I can almost be a little annoying. I’m like, “Hey, what are you doing? You can make a business out of that. You’re doing it a little too hard. You’re making it hard on yourself. Think about this.”
Launching the Membership
I love having that conversation with people. And so that was a passion of mine that I was mixing up with the creatives.
Jillian Leslie (00:25:47) – Say now, I’m going to go creative because I’ve got this big audience. And then when you think about I’m going to structure the membership, how did you think about that? What are you giving, what are you offering? How much are you charging? And then what was your launch like?
Summer Hammons (00:26:03) – Going back to what I was going to offer and everything, it’s very easy to overthink that I’ll say. Because you’re trying to come in at a price point. Being in the industry that I’m in, obviously I know what a lot of other people are doing.
I’m not the first of my kind to say, let’s get together and learn some crafty things together. And this is how much I’m going to charge a month. I have some things, it’s like knowing where to price any physical products you see where the market is at.
You see some comparison to give you an idea so you’re not shocking your audience so that you’re coming in at something that they feel familiar with. So, there was all that running through my head. But I knew that I wanted to also be a little honest with a group like that.
We were all very busy. We all have lives outside of even doing something fun like a crafting group and a creative group that I wanted to make sure that I didn’t overload. That was one of my biggest things.
I wanted to simplify it, let’s say for instance that I was doing five lives a week every day, almost every day in that group, that would be overwhelming. People are going to get behind. They’re going to feel like they’re missing out.
So, that was one of my biggest things. I said, step back, what would you want? What do you look forward to? Being in some other things in the past did give me a lot of experience going well, it was really great when there was one thing a week to look forward to, one thing a week.
That is really how I structured it now. Not to say there’s not going to be some bonus things in there every now and again, but really just things that they want to, that they absolutely want to put on their calendar to show up for. I just wanted to keep it to once a week.
That’s what was promised, at least three to four lives a week. But one of those being more specifically a master class that was with a guest person out that was not me. Somebody that was an expert in their field. Something super specific. And that was really fun.
So, we’ve only had one of those. We have another one on the calendar. Last month we had a hand letter that came in that did a specific training just on that, which they can utilize in their creative world.
And then next month we have a mosaic person coming in, so that was something really fun that I did. And then of course they get some other little exclusive perks, like the printables that I just started selling. They’ll get those as a compliment to their creativeness membership. Things like that.
I did try to think through and place the value behind that and then also be fair to myself because now I have to show up for these people. I’ve made a promise and I have to make that make sense on a business standpoint too. So, you show up, I can set the price.
Jillian Leslie (00:28:48) – How much is it to join?
Summer Hammons (00:28:53) – $18 a month is what I started.
Jillian Leslie (00:28:54) – $18. Oh my god, that seems so reasonable to me personally. for what you’re offering. So, you show up once a week for an hour?
Summer Hammons (00:29:01) – About, I wouldn’t say that I have ever gotten off there within an hour so far.
Jillian Leslie (00:29:05) – Okay.
Summer Hammons (00:29:07) – An hour to two. I know attention happens. I would say an hour and a half. So an hour to two, let’s just say that.
Jillian Leslie (00:29:15) – Are you beforehand giving people the list of supplies so that they can craft along with you? What kind of prep do you do?
Success of the Membership
Summer Hammons (00:29:24) – That is something certainly that we’re going to do in the future. This month I was very open with the people who signed up and said, for them to help me curate it, to make it even more amazing for the people that were going to join and that they would be there.
One of the things I wanted to do within the first month that we’ve done since this is so new, is to lay some really good foundations. So, the first couple weeks I showed them around my studio and talked about favorite paint products.
I gave them an exclusive tour. I’ve never done that with my main audience because it’s vulnerable to showing some of my messy parts and my messy shelves and all that stuff.
We talked openly about that stuff and we talked about all the things that I had in stock here and just had a fun conversation about that, some organizing within the studio. And then we talked about paint techniques, specifically the different kinds of paints, the different kinds of stains we are working on.
Last week we dove into some basic paint techniques, and this week we’ll do that again. Right now we’re just laying some good foundation work. And then the next month we will be setting up certain projects where they do get to craft along if they’d like to. There are no physical products being shipped out.
Jillian Leslie (00:30:37) – Not even shipped, just even like a list?
Summer Hammons (00:30:40) – No, not at this time, but that will be something that the members will get, of course. But a lot of people, because of the industry, there are some groups that should be like kits to go along with. I don’t do any of that. I wanted to keep it as lowkey as possible online.
Jillian Leslie (00:30:56) – I love the word lowkey. You then decide I’m doing this and I’m going to launch it. And how did you launch it? How did you promote it? And then let’s talk about your success. What happened?
Future Plans for the Membership
Summer Hammons (00:31:09) – I would say about a month or two before I got off the phone call with you. I knew that MiloTreeCart was going to be a great way for me to easily launch it as far as the technology behind keeping up with the memberships and all that.
And I have done a lot of research. There are a lot of different things I could have chosen from. I wanted it simplified and because I trusted you and the things that you were talking about, I knew that was going to be a tool that I used.
The second one was about how to talk about it and launch it. And since I had only done a couple workshops in the past, and I’d had great success with those as far as the number of people, I wasn’t really focused on that as much because there was something just extra special to me about a membership because I knew this was going to be an ongoing thing.
I wanted the very right people to get in this membership and to stay and for me to retain them and to get to know them and for them to get to know me. I’ve really slow teased about it for just a little while.
When I would hop on a Live, I would say, “By the way, I’m really excited to say I’ve now decided I am going to launch a private creative membership. I will tell you more details as they develop.” And I just did that a couple times.
And then no matter what, I think especially any super business people that have done anything like this know that you feel like you’re just annoying people by telling them about things because there are.
There’s a lot of your audience that, number one, for many different reasons, we’ll never join a group like that. It could be for financial things, it could be for time’s sake. They just have no interest in going diving that deep.
I was trying to be super respectful to my main audience as well with the whole selling them on this membership. But I did it from a place of love. There’s a group of people here in my community that want this. It’s something I’m feeling convicted to offer.
Reopening Her Membership
Not just that I want to offer that I feel convicted to offer to my audience, and therefore it felt less salesy to me and I felt comfortable with that. And so that is how I talked to my audience about it. And then, I was really shocked.
I had no idea how excited some people were about this announcement. I really didn’t. And I started getting the feedback and then I said, okay, it’s time. And I can’t remember exactly and I’m so sorry, but I want to say my actual launch time that I gave them to sign up was maybe three to five days, something like that. I kept the doors open.
And the reason I say that is because I didn’t even plan on having as many that I did flood in. And so, I actually said, okay, well today is the last day. I am overwhelmed at just getting all these people in here, finding their way into the Facebook group.
Many people had not done anything like that before. There’s a lot of customer service aspects and I wanted to devote my time to those people who had signed up. So, I cut it off earlier than I had expected. And that was the launch period.
So I said, okay, March 1st is the very last day. I can’t take anybody else. And I went ahead and I went live in there for the first time in March. And that was very, very soon. I’m not sure when this podcast will launch, but it’s still brand new. It’s still, I still have that initial people. I ended up having 170 people.
Jillian Leslie (00:34:39) – Can we do the math? So, we do the math.
Summer Hammons (00:34:42) – Lovely, lovely lady. That’s just over $3,000 for a first launch there.
Jillian Leslie (00:34:46) – And this is recurring revenue, my friend. It’s not like I just made $3,000, I’m putting it in my pocket. No, I have to come up with a new product. This is every month?
Summer Hammons (00:34:57) – Correct. And it’s basically for them they wanted access to me in a different way. And that is something that business owners like myself have to charge for. I’m coming to you in a different capacity.
I am making promises to you that I cannot break or I will not break. I don’t know how other people feel about things they take money for. But for me, integrity wise, I will definitely show up for people who are paying for a service.
And that to me, even though this is not a physical product you are paying for, for my time, you’re paying for me to plan in-depth trainings for you and to teach you. Basically fast track you with the creative knowledge I’ve gotten over the last decade plus. And I’m just teaching all these things. And so, I knew that it was valuable.
I did have to talk myself into charging for that. That was something we have to work through each of us. Of course I would charge for it, but I’m just saying when setting it at a certain amount that made it make sense for me to show up business-wise.
And so I did feel like $18 was fair. I was super surprised when I hit that 170 number and that did put me over that 3000 mark for recurring revenue. And of course I’m not done yet. It’s going to be great. I can’t wait to see the future of it.
Jillian Leslie (00:36:12) – And you’re planning to open it again?
Summer Hammons (00:36:15) – Yes.
Jillian Leslie (00:36:15) – To launch it multiple times a year?
Summer Hammons (00:36:19) – I do. I definitely think that for anyone with a membership or considering a membership that you should take some things into consideration. You will have a lot of customer service things that will be happening throughout that time that you have to take into consideration.
I think giving yourself some time gaps in between launches is super smart. I think that it gives you time to settle in new members and every time in between whenever you do launches.
So, whether you do that once every quarter, once every six months, whatever you feel comfortable with, even if it’s once a month, I still think that’s a little much. Personally, just my advice.
Right now, while I am brand new, my idea was to try to do at least two launches before the summertime hits, two extra launches so that I could just have a really big group that I could love on until come the fall whenever I relaunch again.
And so, that is my plan to maybe do a mini one day open door soon. Here in the next couple days, just to do a quick thing, but then like an official maybe three day launch next month to let some people in the doors and then settle that back down for a few months and really focus and hone in on those people and then consider when a relaunch date would be.
I do believe in relaunching. I just don’t believe in relaunching super, super often. I’m only doing it like this right now because the group is so new and I have a lot of my audience that missed that window.
I’m getting a lot of messages about people that wanted to be in the group and missed it. I’m also trying to serve them in that capacity.
Jillian Leslie (00:37:54) – One thing we talked about, and I’ve been thinking a lot about this, is this explosion of AI and how it’s going to truly change everything. Stuff we don’t even know how it’s going to change. Our whole lives will be disrupted by this.
And we were talking about how this is a great counterpoint to this AI revolution because as we start using AI, this human connection starts getting looser. And if you can come up with a business like Summer has, where it’s people showing up together, I think we will all start craving that even more.
For people who are listening to this, one of the things that I really recommend is thinking about how you could start a membership as well because it’s human. Can you talk about what that’s like in your community?
Summer Hammons (00:38:48) – Yes. It’s been a super passion of mine to show up for people, and create relationships because it seems like you wouldn’t be able to with such a large audience and such a vast world of people that have access to you.
There really are those people that stand out over time that you get to know them, you really do, just through commenting on social media and interacting and things like that. But showing up, showing your face to your audience, letting them see who you are, sharing parts about yourself, connecting with them.
Like I said, the love of creativity in my case. It’s like everybody needs a special group. It’s like having a support group in a way.
Living the Dream
Whenever you bring people together that have common interests or have gone through the same thing in life together, this is really no different depending on what area of expertise or interest that you have.
And I think just bringing people together with that common thread is just so beautiful and it’s so definitely showing up for them and giving them me in this group capacity.
This group setting it’s going to make something really special and I don’t even know what it looks like, but it excites me. I don’t even know what the future looks like, but it really does excite me that I have all these relationships with these lovely, lovely people.
Building on the Foundation
Jillian Leslie (00:40:16) – Just where I’m sitting with MiloTreeCart, if there’s a way to lean into things like coaching workshops, memberships, I really think that’s where the future will be. Not that you can’t be selling ebooks or templates.
You definitely can, but if you think about where I think we’re all going to be starved, it’s all in this human to human connection.
Summer Hammons (00:40:41) – So many of the other things that we do on a daily basis are so transactional. Bringing in the human relationship.
I think we all have been at times where we’re trying to get customer service from a company and we just want to talk to a real person. We don’t want to talk to a robot and you don’t necessarily want to learn.
As I was sharing some of the past tutorials and stuff that I do, I do have some people that are okay with just seeing my hands while I’m making something.
I do videos like that where you never see my face, you maybe hear my voice and you see my hands, but there’s some kind of special energy, there’s something extra awesome about seeing someone’s face and talking to them and having a conversation with them.
So, that’s one of the good things to focus on about social media too. And then doing things like this, like you said, focusing on starting some kind of membership with your following in your community and being able to make, create relationships online. There’s nothing like it.
Using MiloTreeCart for Managing Your Membership
Jillian Leslie (00:41:44) – I have to say, what is it like using MiloTreeCart and what has that experience been like from our first call forward?
Summer Hammons (00:41:52) – It’s been wonderful. So, you absolutely came through on your promises of being there with customer service and I found it very, very easy to use. It is a super simple platform.
Anyone who is intimidated by technology and you’re wanting to do something in the digital product realm, it’s so simple. You know what they call stupid simple, that’s one of those phrases. It’s just to the point. Very, very easy to understand.
And I found myself talking to myself as I was putting it in. I was like, oh, it’s right there. I felt like I had no challenges while I was in there getting everything pulled together. So, I do appreciate and have such gratitude for that platform that did help me launch the Creative Nest.
Jillian Leslie (00:42:41) – And what’s great is, before we pressed record for this, I’m picking your brain going, what do you want that we haven’t necessarily thought about? And you’re giving me these things of like, “Hey, could you add this?”
And I’m like, oh my God, yes. That is brilliant. So it’s fun for me to talk to you who is right there in the trenches building this business and going, “How can I support you?”
Summer Hammons (00:43:06) – For sure. And I did that. That was a great conversation we were having about some different features that could be added in the future as you all are building out and you’re helping business owners do all this.
And you’ve been totally receptive to all that. And I just can’t wait to see the future for you all too. It’s going to be great.
Jillian Leslie (00:43:24) – Great. And I’m saying, I can see the future for you. I’m like, okay, here’s summer, here’s where you can grow next. Here’s what you can be doing. So it’s such a win-win and again, it’s that human connection, I think.
Summer Hammons (00:43:37) – Absolutely. I wouldn’t feel as comfortable doing all this because it was already big and scary the things that I was doing, it was all new for me. And so having the support from you all was just an extra bonus for sure.
Jillian Leslie (00:43:51) – Where do you see your business growing or what are you leaning into? Now you’ve got this community, I can tell it’s lighting you up.
Where do you think you’re going to take it or where are you going to take your business or where are your dreams?
Summer Hammons (00:44:11) – I feel right now honestly that I’m living my dream to be perfectly honest. I’m not going to get emotional but when I think about three years ago, almost nearly when I was a little scared.
I was a little intimidated about trying to figure out how to make an actual living out of what I was planning on doing. And I do feel like I had a natural business smart about me. Overall I feel like that comes a little bit more naturally for me than maybe it does for some people.
There’s a lot of things that don’t come easy for me that come easy for some people. I feel like we all had that. I had this certain comfort level in knowing, as I continue to learn things and I started trying to implement them where I was going.
And so what I envision for my business right now, it really does look a lot like what I was hoping it would. I really am just going to take this foundation that I have now and this season and I do want to grow on it.
I’m excited about loving all my people within the creativeness and still letting all of my people online that really show up for me every day on all the platforms and love on me and encourage me and support me and just pour into me. And I hope that I’m doing the same for them. It really is.
I just want it to be a full circle of inspiration because that’s what gives meaning to my life. Because while my business is in the cracks of my life, it’s intertwined.
And so, when I think about my daughters and them watching me move through this, being a small business owner, I hope that they’re inspired too through my actions with what I’m doing to support our family. And I just want it, it’s just like it all just goes together.
And it’s just like this, it’s just a beautiful story really. And I don’t think I could have envisioned this exactly, but it feels perfect . So, I just want to build on all of the digital products. I believe this is what makes me feel most comfortable as an individual myself.
Being able to provide more in that aspect of teaching is super important to me. So, I’m hoping that I’ll continue to have opportunities to find the perfect women and men that may want to learn from me. And we just all grow and learn together.
Connecting with Summer
Jillian Leslie (00:46:37) – I love that. That is lovely. Summer, if people want to learn more about you, get your tutorials, see you on Facebook, where should they start? Join your group. Where should they start?
Summer Hammons (00:46:52) – Absolutely. Well, the best place to actually stay in touch with me is of course Facebook. If you couldn’t tell from this interview, Facebook is where just a majority of my audience is at the time.
But you can connect with me there on Facebook, on Instagram, on Pinterest, on YouTube, on TikTok, my blog in your blog hammonsnest.com. And really I have presence in as many places as I can get it, especially in the creative scene.
Just reach out to me and stay in touch and come see what we’re doing over there on Hammons Nest for sure.
Jillian Leslie (00:47:29) – Well, summer, I have to say thank you so much for sharing as much as you did and being as vulnerable and coming on the show.
Summer Hammons (00:47:38) – Absolutely. It is my pleasure. Thank you so much for listening.
Jillian Leslie (00:47:42) – I hope you guys like this episode. For me, what was most satisfying was hearing Summer talk about how it is that human connection that really makes her excited and lights her up. Again. Think about that in your own business.
I think as AI continues to explode, it might make us feel a little more isolated. So, is there a way for you in your business to capitalize on that, to show up authentic with real solutions for real people?
This sounds like something you want to explore, like starting a membership. Please get on a call with me at milotree.com/meet and I’ll give you my thoughts and share how other people have been successful so you can follow in their footsteps.
Again, milotree.com/meet and I will see you here again next week.
Other Blogger Genius Podcast Episodes You’ll Like:
- Start a Membership and Quit Your 9-5 with Amanda DiNovo
- How to Build a Seven-Figure Membership with Tamara Bennett
- The Truth About Courses Vs. Memberships with Alisa Meredith
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