This week on The Blogger Genius Podcast, I have Lisa Princic, membership coach, on the show to talk about why memberships are such good business.
What makes a membership a good business model:
- Good source of recurring revenue
- If you can scale your number of members, you can grow your income without doing more work
- If you can create community, you can build a unique experience for your members and they are less likely to leave
- Memberships are ever-changing and “alive,” unlike courses which can feel stale quickly
- Memberships don’t have to be expensive to set up. You can use MiloTreeCart to collect payments, then host your membership in a private Facebook group, in a Slack channel, on Discord, or on Notion.
If you are looking for a new revenue stream, and you like connecting with people, definitely consider launching a membership.
Table of Contents
- Digital Product WORKSHOP REPLAY – How to Turn on a New Income Stream
- MiloTree Pop-Up App
- Lisa Princic
- Membership Training Freebie
- Become a Blogger Genius Facebook Group
- All Blogger Genius Podcast Episodes
Subscribe to the Blogger Genius Podcast
Welcome to the Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, my friends. Welcome to the Blogger Genius Podcast. As many of you know, I am your host, Jillian Leslie, I’m so super happy to be here. I create businesses on the internet. I’ve been a blogger since 2009. And I love sharing information tips and tricks to help you grow your own blogs and businesses.
Jillian Leslie 0:33
This week has been really fun and exciting. I led another paid workshop, this time on how to build your digital product empire with MiloTreeCart, which is the payment tool that we’ve created. It was great.
Jillian Leslie 0:48
I went step-by-step explaining what digital products were; why they are so valuable, how to come up with an idea how to create your sales page, get out there and sell and how we support you in that whole process.
Jillian Leslie 1:01
The thing I explained, having now done this podcast for four years, the most successful bloggers, I interview are ones who are selling products to their audiences. And that’s why I want to inspire everybody to do that.
Jillian Leslie 1:14
Now, if you missed it and want to catch the replay, you can buy it for $10. Go to empire.milotreecart.com and there will be some special bonuses in there. So, it might be worth it.
Jillian Leslie 1:29
And the reason I charge is because I know if you pay me $10, you’re going to show up differently, you will be more inspired, you will take it more seriously.
Jillian Leslie 1:37
So again, if you want the replay, just go to empire.milotreecart.com. I think it’ll give you a really good foundation on what to build, why to build it and how to do it successfully.
Jillian Leslie 1:49
For today’s episode, I have Lisa Princic on the show and she is a membership expert. She has membership where she teaches people how to run and grow memberships very meta.
Jillian Leslie 1:49
We talk about why memberships are so powerful, why they are so lucrative and guess what they are a digital product that you could sell with MiloTreeCart. See it all fits together.
Jillian Leslie 2:11
The best part I think about memberships is that it’s recurring revenue. And while yes, you need to show up for your people. If you could build community, it’s really cool when they show up for each other. So, if this is something you’re interested in, I think you will get a lot out of this episode.
Jillian Leslie 2:28
So, without further delay, here is my interview with Lisa Princic.
Jillian Leslie 2:35
Lisa, welcome to the Blogger Genius Podcast.
Lisa Princic 2:38
Thanks for having me, I’m so excited to be here.
Why Memberships Are Such Good Business
Jillian Leslie 2:41
And you teach people how to build and grow memberships. And because our new product MiloTreeCart has like an easy way to set up memberships. I wanted to pick your brain to talk about what are the easy ways or the hard ways or the best ways to start a membership.
Jillian Leslie 2:58
So, before we launch into that though, would you share your entrepreneurial journey and where you are now?
Lisa Princic 3:07
So, in a nutshell, I’m going to try and do this fast. I’ve been in business for 13 years. And I started out as a life coach when nobody really knew what that was. I was just working in an awesome job and sustainability. But it was like too much work. And I had friends going off and traveling all the time.
Lisa Princic 3:28
And I love outdoor adventures. One of them in particular was kiteboarding all over North America. And I was like, “How do I get that lifestyle?” So, I had a great life coaching experience with my coach. And so, I decided just to take the leap.
Lisa Princic 3:43
Years and years later, I was already kind of in awe and in love with entrepreneurship. I find it’s fascinating, challenging, like, “Why do people do this crazy thing?” I had some really interesting role models. So, I decided to really focus on businesses. And then it turns out, I found that I’m a very strategic thinker.
Lisa Princic 4:05
When I came across the membership idea, it was more about looking at it thinking, I know I need to niche. I think there’s a gap in the market. There’s not a lot of women talking about this in big ways. And it’s a fascinating model to me, it’s like it got so many options, it’s complex.
Lisa Princic 4:25
And I knew I could really play with that. I knew it could keep me excited and engaged and I already work with membership business owners, so I really decided just to go all in on that. And that’s been like, not quite two years now.
Advantages of Starting a Membership
Jillian Leslie 4:38
Let’s talk about what are some of these advantages or things that you think make memberships or I’m going to say slash subscriptions, really? What makes them so unique, interesting and lucrative or possibly lucrative?
Lisa Princic 4:56
Yes and no. You do have to get it right to be lucrative, and it is a little bit of a longer play, I would say. And that’s one thing that people don’t always recognize I think they give up on it a little bit too soon. Because it does grow, and it can snowball and become this really great thing.
Lisa Princic 5:14
It may not happen instantly, if you’re charging month-to-month, or if you’re charging a more lower access fee than say a private client. You’re not going to see the same immediate return if you don’t have a large audience, but the potential is so big.
Lisa Princic 5:33
What I love about them is the fact that they are quite sustainable. And really, for people who don’t want to work around the clock, they are a dream business model, because you can do it on a very low amount of time investment.
Lisa Princic 5:52
You can serve everyone all at once with the same tools, the same access points, and every member who joins doesn’t necessarily detract from the value, it adds to the value.
Lisa Princic 6:06
As long as you are clear on what the value is, like you’re promising tons of coaching and mentorship, obviously, more and more people do water it down a little bit. Then you can add other things, you can add peer mentoring, you can add all kinds of things.
Lisa Princic 6:21
So, it just has lots of versatility to evolve, to not get bored of your offers, to have fun with it, play with it and pay attention to what people need.
Jillian Leslie 6:31
I love that. As I shared with you, we’ve started something called MiloTreeCart, and it’s a cart and you can set up memberships with it. One thing, though, I have been watching people use our product, and I’m going, “Where are people having success?”
Start with a Paid Workshop and Show Up Live with Your Audience
Jillian Leslie 6:31
And one model that I have seen that has been very successful for people is, these are bloggers and creators, the people who are successful already have audiences. So, maybe it is 5,000 followers on Instagram, or at least 1,000 email subscriber, you have to have an audience I think, to make this work.
Jillian Leslie 7:07
What I always say to somebody is do a one hour paid workshop on a specific topic that you think your audience is struggling with, where you can give them some sort of win.
Jillian Leslie 7:21
Then by showing up live with them and listening to them and loving on them and really helping them you can funnel these people into an ongoing membership. And I have now seen this model work multiple times.
Lisa Princic 7:37
So, whether or not it’s a paid workshop, or a free webinar or a mini challenge, I think it’s really like if you have a system that is starting to work you repeat that and that’s the whole part of it is that you can autopilot to some extent. I don’t mean not showing up. It’s predictable.
Lisa Princic 8:00
Whenever you find something predictable, the difference is that everyone is going to have a slightly different way of delivering. And now if you have a unique topic that people are dying to learn, and they want to pay for it, and it’s of huge value to them, and they think, oh, what’s behind that? Then they might likely join the membership.
Lisa Princic 8:19
However, if it’s really expensive to get people into that paid workshop, you’re paying more than you’re getting people into it. And it’s not converting high enough, because maybe you’ve given too much away, or whatever else that might be the topic might not be as niche and specific, it might not be the right system.
Find a System to Get People Into Your Membership
Lisa Princic 8:38
So, you have to experiment a little bit with it. But the idea is that you do have to find that system for enrollment. And I do like the idea of it being like an evergreen enrollment system where you might be giving people a limited opportunity to join the membership based on that person like them specifically.
Lisa Princic 8:38
They might not get access to it at all times. But everyone who comes across you can get access to it, as opposed to having to wait for months and months and months to do a giant launch where everyone comes in at once.
Jillian Leslie 9:10
We’re going to break that down and we’re going to talk about how much you really need to deliver in your membership because I feel like it is counter intuitive. You think you need to deliver so much and you do not want to overwhelm your people.
Jillian Leslie 9:26
I have found almost like, the less you deliver, meaning you show up consistently you’re available but you don’t have to create so much.
Lisa Princic 9:36
Open Vs. Closed Carts for your Membership
Jillian Leslie 9:36
Let’s talk about you hear this idea that I should have a membership and then I hear about these things called open and closed carts.
Jillian Leslie 9:36
These big influencers or people they go, “Oh, we’re going to open it twice a year so you have to get on my waitlist, and then I’m going to open it, I’m going to do sell, sell, sell, sell, sell, and then you’re either in or you’re out.” And then you have to wait.
Jillian Leslie 10:09
So, talk to me about your philosophy of the open versus closed cart, or the open, closed or open all the time, or that.
Lisa Princic 10:22
In those cases, you’re talking about, that could be an internet famous online entrepreneur, who everyone kind of hears about has known about, they’re all being promoted by the other big marketers.
Lisa Princic 10:33
And to a lot of people, they build up this sort of, in awe star struck opera thing for certain people, and they’re like, “I need to join this program, when is it open? This is the only person.” I’ve heard so many people say. A lot of people, that’s how they buy.
Lisa Princic 10:52
And while that works really well, when you have a massive list, people are promoting you, and people know who you are, like your household online names in this world. And so, that could definitely work.
Lisa Princic 11:04
But when you are small and scrappy, you can’t rely on launches that are millions of dollars, or hundreds of thousands, or even tens of thousands, you can’t predict them completely yet.
Lisa Princic 11:10
And you don’t necessarily have people being like, “Nope, I’m going to wait for that person, because I’ve been hearing about them for three years.” You’re taking a big chance that it might not go as well as you think.
Lisa Princic 11:27
And then when you say you’re going to close the doors, and then you don’t get enough sales, that’s really stressful, so I don’t recommend it.
Lisa Princic 11:35
And I think people also will come across you, they will want access, they will want to work with the person who’s leading the business, not just the help team or the coaching team. They want to get help now. And so, try to make sure that you have an opportunity for them to get the support they need now.
Lisa Princic 11:57
You can also just be counterintuitive to all these other people who are like, “No, you can’t get in, you can’t get in.” For a while, just be like, “Yes, I’m ready, let’s start.” And you can do that by still creating some scarcity and urgency by giving them time limits to make that decision to jump in.
Lisa Princic 12:17
And not making it always open meaning like every day, they could just come back to your sales page and be like, Ooh, not today or not today or not today. You can still create that closed type experience for them, but still be inviting people in regularly.
Jillian Leslie 12:31
So, how do we do it?
Lisa Princic 12:33
That’s like an evergreen system where however you do your open enrollment, like your event that gets them to know who you are and learn more about you, you can just create a system where you are giving them the opportunity to buy at a really irresistible price point that they never get, again.
Lisa Princic 12:51
You’ve got to use some sophisticated systems for that, you’ve got a deadline that and it have to be traceable, so that they can’t sneak in somehow. And you have to stand by your word and then you have to keep inviting them in. And you’ve got to be prepared to tell.
Lisa Princic 13:08
I think the other big challenge is that we tend to try to sell something once in a while to our list or during a launch. And then we just stopped doing it or think only new people on our list because the people didn’t buy before. I think we need to always be inviting people in quite regularly, not every single day, and not every single week.
Lisa Princic 13:28
We do have to have a system to say, here’s your chance to join the membership and get all this great support. And then do it again and do it again and do it again, like every couple months or something or every whenever. We still need to be doing that even if we’re not having big launches.
Jillian Leslie 13:45
Which is why again, it’s been so interesting watching people using our product, because they will do an ad hoc paid workshop set it up really fast, it’s an hour. And then they notice that people want more from them.
Use An Easy Tech Solution Like MiloTreeCart
Jillian Leslie 14:01
So, what I say is, it’s a great way to test this before you start putting the systems in place of like, now I have to create a webinar.
Jillian Leslie 14:11
Now I have to figure out my tech where it’s going to shut them off after a month or two a week to join and literally just play with it and show up with these people and go, “Guys, I’m going to start a membership. Here’s a link to join. We’re going to meet the first Tuesday, and the third Tuesday of the month.”
Jillian Leslie 14:33
Let’s make it easy at the beginning. And we’re going to do it in a private Facebook group. Or we’re going to do it on Zoom and I’m going to host it. I’m going to put the video in a link in a Google Drive and email you.
Lisa Princic 14:49
It can be simple. We can be very low tech. I did my first open doors with Zoom calls and I think I held things in Google Drive and then I started a Slack community.
Jillian Leslie 15:05
Yes. Do it in Notion or Slack or here is one is for you.
Lisa Princic 15:08
It was free, my thing was whole free. It was minimum viable product, I’m playing with this, and we’ll see how it goes. And I didn’t want to invest in any major software. Also, not just the price, but the time to learn any program. I just wanted to make it really easy.
How to Create a Membership without Spending a lot of Money
Jillian Leslie 15:25
Let’s talk about some of these hacks or ways you can kind of do it down and dirty. What are some of your tricks or your ways of saying you don’t have to, and we are going to talk about this, like, sign up for Kajabi or Teachable or one of these expensive platforms.
Lisa Princic 15:44
If you are already using something, then you can continue to use it, and if it’s working for you, and if you know it really well. What I think is that you’re either in two positions, you either are like brand new, and you don’t have anything, and you need to start putting some things together.
Lisa Princic 16:03
You’re probably looking for a one size fits all platform where you got your community or your software, your eCommerce, all that in one. And that can really make sense to have a simple system where you’re learning one major thing.
Lisa Princic 16:20
And you might not get the community aspect of it or something, but at least you can hold some files in there, like some PDFs or whatever the trainings or videos. And then you can track the subscriptions or track the payments, or whatever it is. So, there’s that basic thing.
Lisa Princic 16:29
And there are some options out there. I think your product does something like that. Then there’s also, if you’ve got things that are already working for you, you can piece it together. And I know it feels a little bit sometimes like, oh, there’s too many things. But things can link together quite easily.
Lisa Princic 16:55
And I don’t think we have to worry about over whelming people with like, “Oh, they’ve got to log into this platform, and they already have these 10 platforms,” because they’re all going to be logged into a bunch of platforms anyway.
Lisa Princic 17:05
The point is that if you offer something really irresistible and really helpful for people, they’ll show up.
A Private Facebook Group is a Great Place to Host Your Membership
Jillian Leslie 17:11
I was just talking to somebody who has a very successful membership. And she was a little embarrassed to tell me that she hosts it in a private Facebook group. And she’s embarrassed because it’s not cool to say that now. Facebook is kind of controversial. And some people are like, I don’t want to be on Facebook.
Jillian Leslie 17:31
The truth is, what she said to me is, my audience knows Facebook, and it’s really easy for them to access my information and access my videos and have community there. And I thought about moving everybody on to something like Mighty Networks or Circle or one of these platforms.
Jillian Leslie 17:50
And she’s like what to say to people, “Hey, will you download this app on your phone?” It was too much of an uphill battle. That just said at the end of the day, it just made sense. Because even if people hate Facebook, they know Facebook.
Lisa Princic 17:50
That’s weird to see, if you’re serving consumers who are not super tech and app savvy, then Facebook makes a lot of sense. If you are hanging out with dog owners who want to talk about dogs and different dog things, they’re going to be of all like, technological background.
Lisa Princic 18:27
So, I would say that, but however, if you are a B2B, or you’re dealing with an audience that, you know is on the computer a lot and uses technology, some of them might be like, “I’m not going to get involved with Facebook.” And some of your best members are like, “I’m not on it.”
Lisa Princic 18:45
Then you can say, well, can I lose that member or that one person. Because they were not doing Facebook in order to get more engagement or you can be like, engagement isn’t the number one thing maybe we all get on coaching calls.
Lisa Princic 19:02
Did they really need to be chit chatting all day in a group? Not necessarily. That’s not necessarily the value if you’ve got tools and training and other things and mentoring.
Lisa Princic 19:08
I think you just have to decide what your priority is and know that not everyone is your ideal client. Remember some of them for the very reason is that they won’t use the technology or they won’t use it and it’s okay because we will not please everyone but we have to kind of like it.
Lisa Princic 19:23
We have to choose what we like and what we like showing up on and what we find easy to use. And other than the fact that again, with a B2C want to really play with too many different types of platforms.
Lisa Princic 19:23
If your thing is all about community, and you’re talking about hobbies and interests and things like that, then you’re probably going to be best there until something major changes.
Please Leave a 5 Star Review of The Blogger Genius on Apple Podcasts
I wanted to take a short break to share what has been on my mind, which is why the internet is so big, it can feel so impersonal and what I think is even more powerful is word of mouth.
So, if you’re enjoying the podcast please share it with a friend, please head to iTunes and review it and give it five stars. This way other people can hear from you and will listen to the show. And this way I can attract more incredible guests that we can all learn from as we grow our businesses.
So, thank you for promoting the show. And now back to the episode.
- How Much Do You Need to Show Up to Host a Membership?
Jillian Leslie 20:24
So, let’s talk about this idea of how much do you need to show up in your membership to keep your members happy, but not overwhelmed them?
Lisa Princic 20:34
Not as much as you think. Not a lot. This is the real beauty of a membership. I was a way for the last practically month. And I sent a couple emails and I created a couple templates that were very useful. And I did a couple of calls. But it was super simple, everyone is busy.
Lisa Princic 20:55
And I was like, I can give them the minimum thing, the thing I said I would give them and it is when you step away, and then you come back. And then people are engaged, you realize that they’re busy doing things too.
Lisa Princic 21:09
And they did not buy into the membership, to get their $10,000 a month investment. They’re not expecting that they probably are in other memberships and have other mentors and are taking other courses. Because depending on what you’re charging, it may not be their only source of support.
Lisa Princic 21:30
And so, if you start overwhelming them with all these things they need to learn and do and show up for and they stop doing it because it’s too much, then they will start to feel unsuccessful and that’s when you back off.
Jillian Leslie 21:45
Could we talk about your membership? What is your membership and how do you run it? And how much do you charge? How do people find out about it?
Lisa Princic 21:56
My membership is the Profitable Membership Club. And I would call it like a medium-sized price point membership. It’s not super high end, but it’s not less than $100.
Jillian Leslie 22:12
Is it per month?
Lisa Princic 22:15
Yes, yes. So, it’s like over that. And prices vary. Based on when you’re listening to this, so I don’t want to quote prices, but prices also will grow as I get more people and deliver more value. But right now I kind of offer an all-in-one solution. And I’ve kept the price point really accessible.
Lisa Princic 22:40
I know that there’s a lot of high ticket programs out there that are charging $2,000 a month for a fairly similar things to what I’m offering maybe a tiny bit more private support. They’re charging for access in terms of you get access for six months, and then you don’t get the stuff anymore. They’re charging more like memberships.
Lisa Princic 23:02
And my club really gives that mentorship, gives the templates and tools and the how to’s and the networking and connecting and the community, but it’s not at that high end price point. Because I want it to be accessible. And I also want people to self-lead.
Lisa Princic 23:20
I would rather have 50 people in there than be hustling to really serve five people. I want people to come in and get what they need and stay for a long time and not have to question every month like, “Am I really getting $1,000 worth of value out of this.”
Lisa Princic 23:42
So, to me, it’s like an ongoing movement. It’s building something that has potential that has a way of connecting a go to place that people will want to stay in for a really long time. And that’s what I think the difference is between a high ticket program and a membership that people will gratefully stay for years.
Jillian Leslie 24:02
Tell me what in a month do I get in your membership? What are my benefits? And what kind of progress can I get?
Lisa Princic 24:15
When you join right now it’s for like a six months access to start because I do have so much training in there. So, there’s a foundational program that’s nine modules that you learn all the foundations to running a membership.
Lisa Princic 24:29
Which I think is even important for people who have small memberships already that haven’t been able to grow them, they are probably missing some of the critical things about positioning and how to really attract the right people.
Lisa Princic 24:41
Also, figuring out your content, how much to deliver pricing, all that foundational training, launching, selling and all that. And then we do ongoing mentorship where we have like two to three calls a month where you can get on and get group coaching.
Jillian Leslie 24:55
So, it is you showing up say on a Zoom call?
Lisa Princic 24:58
Jillian Leslie 24:58
And people can come at this specific time and ask questions.
Lisa Princic 25:03
Yes. So, there’s a lot of conversation. And everyone gets their answers, have questions answered, it’s not like a massive group, I don’t do it on Facebook.
Lisa Princic 25:16
So, it’s not like it’s a live because I sometimes will leave a membership, when it’s just a live and I really just want to talk to the business owner. And I would have paid more to talk to the business owner, because I actually wanted to stimulate my brain about what I’m stuck on and just asking one way questions doesn’t really do that.
Lisa Princic 25:36
So, there’s all that training, there’s tons of templates to fast forward how to write a sales page and how to create a webinar and all that stuff. So, I’m constantly experimenting.
Lisa Princic 25:47
And then I’m getting these great templates and tools and things that I’m using, and I’m learning other programs. And then I’m putting them in there. So, people can come in and go, oh, an onboarding sequence, oh, a launch sequence like email sequence, just to get some of that legwork out of the way.
Lisa Princic 26:05
Because when you’re starting a new program, it doesn’t matter what it is, you have to do everything, you’ve got to create the content, you’ve got to set up the sales funnel, you have to set up all the things. And so, I’m taking some of that work away from people because I’ve got the resources there.
Lisa Princic 26:19
So, it is a lot. It’s an all-in-one program really and my goal is for it to be like an all in one place for support for people.
Do You Need a Library of Content?
Jillian Leslie 26:27
I’m going to be a contrarian for a second. My hypothesis, at least in my experiments with memberships is people typically don’t go backward and consume that content as much as they go forward. And want to show up with you.
Lisa Princic 26:49
Oh, I agree. However, there’s always a couple people who join, and you don’t hear from them. And you wonder why they’re not showing up on the calls and you check them and then think oh, they’re not engaged they are not doing anything. And they’re like, “Oh, I’ve been going through the course.”
Lisa Princic 27:07
They are starting from scratch. And this is the difference between people who are starting with a membership already, from people who are like, I want to start a membership, I have nowhere to begin. So, I want to be the place for both of those people.
Lisa Princic 27:20
So, that’s where the people who already have one will be reluctant to go back. However, if they’re on a call, and they’re stuck with something, and they’re like, “Well, I have a few different ideal member profiles.” I’m like, okay, you’re going back you have to do module two, you have to do it.
Lisa Princic 27:33
Because you’re missing something, you’ve got to pick an ideal member to get to launch the next time or something like that, because you’re being confusing, and you’re not being appealing to everyone. So, I will then direct them to specific things.
Lisa Princic 27:46
And so my goal, as the membership grows, is to get little bit more sophisticated and, like, if you are here, do this, if you’re here do that, because I value efficiency, I don’t want to go through stuff that I don’t need to go through, I hate learning stuff that I don’t need to know.
Lisa Princic 28:04
And so, I will do my best to make sure people are starting at the place they need to and not learning things that it’s not really their critical problem, because we don’t have time to learn about things that are not our critical challenge.
Jillian Leslie 28:18
I completely agree.
Lisa Princic 28:19
But again, for the people who are brand new or just learn it and don’t really know what they’re doing, like, “Oh, we started this thing, but we don’t even know what we’re doing every day.” I’m like, go back and do the build a revolutionary membership course, it is like 20 to 30 minute, nine modules, you’re going to get a lot out of that.
Lisa Princic 28:37
And the people who are building and growing are beneath me for a while they’re showing up on calls, and appreciating the templates, I send them. So, there’s something for everyone. And that’s the great thing is that people are there to get what they need out of it.
Lisa Princic 28:53
And it is different for everyone. And that’s what I think is really cool about a membership.
Jillian Leslie 28:57
So, if I have a limited bandwidth, I’m an entrepreneur, and I keep hearing and I’m the one saying this, if you’re like a blogger, and you’ve got an audience, let’s say, if you’re not selling products and services to your audience, you’re leaving money on the table.
Jillian Leslie 29:16
And I’d like you to get that money. But I’ve got a limited amount of time. And always people will say, “Oh, what do I build?” And they always go do, I don’t know why, courses. What is your thought about I’m going to spend this limited amount of time building a course or building a membership. Where do you send them?
Should You Build a Course or a Membership?
Lisa Princic 29:42
I really believe in memberships and I obviously think that they have so much potential. I can’t help to think that the Dream Program is the membership because I think that over time, they can be so valuable for supporting people that people feel included, they feel cared for.
Lisa Princic 30:03
There can do so many things to really transform. A lot of my clients are impact driven; they’re service oriented. They’re like, “Yes, I could make millions. But I really wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t choose that if there was no heart in it.” They care, they want to do meaningful work. So, the membership offers that opportunity.
Lisa Princic 30:22
How you go about it can depend on if you have a successful course, then why not add a membership to it, if that’s what you care about. Or eventually, why don’t you include the course in the membership, and then give people an opportunity to say, start here. Which is what I’ve got, because I want an all-in-one membership.
Lisa Princic 30:46
I want everything to be around my membership. I don’t want to have all these other things. There are like three different kinds of memberships. It’s like a warmup, which is like, this is the thing that you get people in at a low price point. And eventually you sell higher ticket things, or private or whatever. And those are often lower costs.
Lisa Princic 31:02
Then there’s the follow-up, it’s like, “Oh, I have all these great clients, and they need ongoing support. And they don’t need to keep working with me privately, you can do a follow-up membership.”
Lisa Princic 31:14
And some of those end up being both like, “Oh, I’ll start with you here. And then I’ll work with you privately, and then I’ll stay in the membership.” And then there’s the flagship, which is really just to me, the dream model of being like, this is my only thing. This is the only thing I sell.
Lisa Princic 31:27
And that’s the thing that everyone gets all the value out of it, it can keep growing and keep growing. Because the value is there, the price is reasonable enough that you’re not losing as many people, you’re gaining.
Lisa Princic 31:40
And it can just expand, expand, expand, and you don’t take any more of your time. So, I think that’s your choice a little bit.
Lisa Princic 31:47
So, that’s the same a little bit of the course is that, if you can launch a course, that really is easy, you feel great about it, you’re giving people a great how to and you can sell it and it’s sustainable, and then market never changes then fine.
Lisa Princic 32:05
I don’t know, I just sometimes wonder will you run out of like, or the competition changes. And then you’re not able to really offer more of you in that and help people further and then what? Are you missing out on the opportunity to continue on with people who really need it.
Lisa Princic 32:23
I have to say, I completely agree with you. Here’s my advice.
Lisa Princic 32:29
Clearly it works for a while, but then I question whether or not it’s got potential, or if you’re just going to blast out because you hit the top market at the right time at the right place. And then what happens when your core sales dwindle.
Lisa Princic 32:42
A membership expands over time, it’s very rarely that it doesn’t unless you just give up on it or lose your momentum. A course feels like it’s a bit of a timing thing.
Jillian Leslie 32:54
I agree. In fact, I’m going to say it guys, please do not start with a course, you will feel like you’re working on your business, it will feel like I see I’m working on my course. Don’t do it. Please get out there and start testing stuff and do a workshop or put up a membership and get two people in it and listen to them.
Lisa Princic 33:17
And start doing your course within your membership.
Jillian Leslie 33:19
The thing about a membership is it’s a living organism. And a course is dead. It is something it’s there and it’s finite. And then you’re going to have to go back into it, and re-record modules and it’s not a live.
Lisa Princic 33:39
And you’re not getting the feedback,
Jillian Leslie 33:40
You’re not getting the feedback.
Lisa Princic 33:41
Another thing is that you know when you’re with your members what they’re craving, what they’re more interested in. I’ve come across some people who are selling, and this is the thing, they’re selling courses $700, $1,000 somewhere around that $500. And then they include a one-year free Facebook group.
Lisa Princic 34:02
I’m like, you could just be charging for the membership, because you’re giving them a free almost like one year membership anyway, which then feels like you’re also leaving money on the table because you’re you’re offering this sort of ongoing.
Jillian Leslie 34:17
I don’t think you show up in the same way. I really don’t.
Lisa Princic 34:21
And you don’t show up in the same way. But you also weren’t charging for it either. So, then why not just charge for it?
Jillian Leslie 34:27
Lisa Princic 34:28
Why offer lifetime value to a course? People are only really going to watch it in the beginning if they’re super serious. And then the other people they will buy it and then they will never use it. So, then you want to hook them back in.
How Jillian Ran Her Membership
Jillian Leslie 34:42
I want to share this story of the start of my membership. I started my membership. And I knew I wanted it to be about how to really become a professional blogger and all that that takes. So, I sat down with a piece of paper and I wrote okay what are the pieces of it?
Jillian Leslie 35:01
One, you need a blog, and you need to optimize your blog. And another is SEO, and another is email marketing and social media. And literally, I only sketched out the first meeting, it was an hour on Zoom. And from that first meeting, and the feedback I got from the meeting, I knew what I was teaching second.
Jillian Leslie 35:22
And I didn’t prepare it until right before the second session. And I said, this is going to be a six-week thing. And I knew there were going to be six modules. And as I said, I just wrote down six ideas. And I just thought about the first one.
Jillian Leslie 35:37
And then it was because I showed up the first time and I heard where people were struggling, I knew exactly what to teach the second time. And then maybe it was like week three, and I could feel there was like an energy in the membership.
Jillian Leslie 35:51
And it was like, I think that people were starting to go, “Oh, this is a lot of work, huh. How do I do all this work?” And I immediately scrapped what I thought I was going to teach the fourth module, and instead injected something in where we talked about processes, and how to get your work done.
Jillian Leslie 36:12
That’s all it was, how to get your work done, and how to get your butt in the seat. And that would never have come to me, if I said, I’m going to create a six module course. This is what they need.
A Membership is a Two-Way Conversation
Jillian Leslie 36:27
And it was so fascinating, because what I love are businesses that you create, with your customers, with your users, by listening by it being a two way conversation.
Lisa Princic 36:40
Totally, that’s fulfilling. And this also works because then you are being responsive. And you get to create and learn and you get to share things as you go. You don’t have to figure it all out in advance. And you can Oh, hey, this feels firehosey. You can tell you’re overdoing something.
Lisa Princic 37:01
And I think you always have to develop confidence too, because you’re not also going to hear from everyone in your membership all the time. Just like in a course, you might be overconfident saying, oh, all these people are buying it. You think they’re consuming it all. But they’re not.
illian Leslie 37:02
One thing too, that I found magical. And I didn’t know that this was going to happen. So, we did it on Zoom, showed up twice a month, an hour each time in a Zoom call. The first time was a teaching session with presentation. And then the second time was just Q&A.
Jillian Leslie 37:32
And I gave homework but it wasn’t like you have to do the homework. It was like, I’m motivated with a carrot. If you do the homework, I’ll review it give you feedback, personal. Anyway, what was so cool, was when all of a sudden that people on the Zoom call started talking to each other and giving each other advice.
Jillian Leslie 37:56
So, there would be something, let’s say about a strategy on Instagram. And I’m using Instagram my way. And I might not know this, but somebody else would chime in and go, “You know, what I discovered? I did this.” And it would be like, I’m learning along with them. And everybody else is learning.
Jillian Leslie 38:14
And when you could get people supporting each other. So, we had a private Facebook group, literally. And all it would be is somebody might have a question. And David, my husband, and I would come in and answer if it were something technical or whatever.
Jillian Leslie 38:29
But other people would be answering or people would put their wins in it, like super simple. Oh my God, this is the best blog post, I got the most traffic on this blog post. And it was so cool, when other people are like, awesome job, or how did you do that?
Lisa Princic 38:46
It’s like user generated.
Jillian Leslie 38:47
It’s like that idea that it’s like a living breathing organism that almost like you’re guiding it, but it has this emergent vibe of its own.
Lisa Princic 39:02
Yes, and that’s a very fulfilling, very sophisticated approach to business, which I think will pay off in the end because it’s based on it being kind of a win-win, you can’t really scam somebody into buying and then be like, “Oh, I got the money.”
Lisa Princic 39:22
You’re not going to get the continued money if it’s not really serving them and therefore it helps you to perform a bit better. And so, I think at the end of the day, I think that’s why there are all these successful memberships out there that we don’t even hear about or don’t know about that exists.
Lisa Princic 39:38
They’re just busy delivering living their life having this great membership and they don’t need to do tons of marketing and like bragging about it, they just are doing it because they’re delivering good value. People are staying, new people are finding out about it.
Use Word of Mouth to Grow Your Membership
Jillian Leslie 39:55
And word of mouth becomes a big thing. “Oh my God, I am in this cool membership.”
Lisa Princic 39:59
And it is attainable on both ways, so they don’t have to hustle and constantly being massive marketing, there are these memberships out there I keep coming across. I’m like, wow, this person’s got this ginormous membership. I’ve never seen them in the online world, but they’re in the online world. And they’re like killing it.
Lisa Princic 40:15
And I don’t see them everywhere. They’re not Facebook advertising and all that. So, that’s what I think is really cool is that there’s a lot more out there they are more successful than we think, than we hear about.
Jillian Leslie 40:26
I love that. Lisa, if people want to see what you’re doing, reach out to you learn more, where should they go.
Lisa Princic 40:35
My website is Scaling Deep, and the best and only way to get in on membership and learn more about what I do. And what I teach is through my training, and you can get that at scalingdeep.com/freebie, go in there and grab that training, because it’s really, really good.
Jillian Leslie 40:56
What I love about what you’re saying is that memberships can be really powerful. And they’re almost like, underestimated.
Lisa Princic 41:08
They are. They are because I think they kind of threaten people a little bit. And they challenge us, they challenge us to really make tons of decisions.
Lisa Princic 41:22
So, I think that’s why they are undervalued, I don’t know, I think it’s everyone’s dream model. But I think people also want to see a really fast return and you won’t necessarily see it the first moment you launch, it could be radically different a year later.
Lisa Princic 41:39
But you can still keep working at it as opposed to like, if you launch a course and you get no sales, or very few, you might be like, “Oh, is this worth it, I’m going to quit.” With a membership, you should never quit. You just need to keep learning the next thing.
Lisa Princic 41:55
I started out with a different idea in mind who the ideal member is and then I switched that a little bit more. At first, I thought, oh, I’m teaching people like brand new to start a membership. And then I thought, sure, but those people aren’t always sure that that’s their thing.
Lisa Princic 41:55
And I want to make sure that people are actually going to follow through and not just use it to decide. So I was like, oh, okay, so now I really want to make sure there’s people with memberships in there already.
Lisa Princic 42:13
And then it works great for private clients that come through, and they can join afterwards, who are working on complex things within their successful memberships. And then also the ones who are super committed. And that’s where I’m like, okay, so that shifted over. So, over time, you will get to know that.
Lisa Princic 42:40
Without having to give it up, it can just be constantly going. This is super fun. Yes. It’s super fun.
Jillian Leslie 42:47
I just have to say, Lisa, honestly, I have learned a lot from you. I feel like we have really been super honest about how people should think about growing their businesses. And I think there is a sense of like, keeping it organic.
Lisa Princic 43:03
Don’t take it so seriously.
Jillian Leslie 43:06
Oh, I like that. Lisa, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Lisa Princic 43:11
You’re so welcome.
Jillian Leslie 43:13
I hope you guys like that episode. My biggest takeaway is that if you are a people person, if you are a connector, I can’t think of a better thing to build than a membership. It’s like camp counselor on steroids.
Jillian Leslie 43:29
And if you also like watching things emerge, fueling the fire and seeing how it evolves and develops which I call emergent business building. Again, I think a membership is a great option and of course you can start a membership using MiloTreeCart.
Jillian Leslie 43:48
For those of you who are thinking about digital products but don’t have an idea don’t know where to start. Definitely go watch my replay go to empire.milotreecart.com. I think you will find it really instructive.
Jillian Leslie 44:04
If you have any questions of course please email me at email@example.com. DM me on Instagram @milotree and I will see you here again next week.
Other Blogger Genius Podcast Episodes You’ll Like:
- How to Build a Seven-Figure Membership with Tamara Bennett
- The Truth About Courses Vs. Memberships with Alisa Meredith
- How to Grow a Successful Membership by Loving Your Members with Amy Sadler
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