Thinking of transitioning into a membership model?
Listen in on today’s episode as we help our guest set up his online membership to build recurring income.
Joining us today for a round of Q&A is Flip Your Life community member, Sam Feeney.
Initially an English teacher, Sam got his degree to become a high school student counselor.
Sam Feeney is a dedicated father of 3 kids, who wants a lifestyle that allows him to be hands-on with his children and still be able to help guide students through their college selection process, thus creating his own online life coaching program.
He does one-on-one counseling online to provide peace of mind for parents who have children applying for college, or those already in college and are undecided with what major to take, and those who need guidance in their career selection process.
Today, we’ll discuss how to set up his membership, turn his seasonal one-off product into a recurring demand and so much more.
You don’t want to miss this episode!
You will learn:
- How the daily grind is a part of the grand scheme.
- The membership model and why we call it a recurring revenue model.
- Automation and its role in your business.
- What is Drip Content.
- Plus a lot more!
Links and resources mentioned in today’s show:
Enjoy the podcast; we hope it inspires you to explore what’s possible for your family!
Click here to leave us an iTunes review and subscribe to the show! We may read yours on the air!
Can’t Miss Moments
Each week Jocelyn and I share moments that we might have missed if we had not started our online business. We hope these moments inspire you to see the possibilities and freedom online business could provide for your family.
“Today’s can’t miss moment is going to Frozen on Ice. We are a big Disney-loving family, I’ve been looking forward to going to Frozen on Ice for a long time but it really wasn’t anywhere near us. We were able to find it at Cincinnati, so we decided to get some tickets and head on out.”
Thanks again for listening to the show! If you liked it, make sure you share it with your friends and family! Our goal is to help as many families as possible change their lives through online business. Help us by sharing the show!
If you have comments or questions, please be sure to leave them below in the comment section of this post. See y’all next week!
Can’t listen right now? Read the transcript below!
Jocelyn: Hey y’all on today’s podcast we help Sam take his niche life coaching business to the next level.
Shane: Welcome to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast, where life always comes before work. We’re your hosts Shane and Jocelyn Sams. Join us each week as we teach you how to flip your lifestyle upside down by selling stuff online. Are you ready for something different? Alright, let’s get started. What’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast! It is great to be back with you again this week. For those of you who may be new to our show, maybe you’ve just found us on iTunes or Stitcher or maybe even stumbled across our website on the internet, our podcast is a little bit different than other entrepreneurship and online business podcasts you may be familiar with; we do not bring guests or experts on to our show to promote their latest book or to talk about their specific area of “expertise.” No, we bring real people, real entrepreneurs from our Flip Your Life community on to the show. We give them a free consulting call and then we share that call with you so that you can kind of get that information and apply it to your own online business. We’re really excited for our guest today, it is Flip Your Life member, Sam Feeney. Sam, welcome to the show.
Sam: Thanks guys! I’m excited to be here.
Shane: I am very excited that your name was easy to pronounce. That’s what I’m excited about because we’ve had some doozies lately and that’s hard for a kid from Kentucky, you know what I mean?
Sam: That’s how I knew to join your community. Your name and my name match up.
Shane: Shane Sam and Sam Feeney, it’s a match made in heaven.
Sam: That’s right.
Jocelyn: It was meant to be. So, Sam we always start out by telling a little bit about you. Tell our listeners about your background and a little bit about your online business.
Sam: Sure! I am a father of 3 and in about 2 weeks, the husband of 10 years — which is exciting —
Shane: Wow! Congratulations! That’s awesome.
Sam: Thank you! Yeah, it is. A lot of credit to my wife, she’s pretty awesome.
Shane: Patient lady. She’s a patient woman.
Sam: She is. I’m kinda catching up to her, so I’m starting to contribute to the relationship a little bit. I have 3 little ones: 6, 3 and 2. My career background was initially as an English teacher and then I got my degree to be a school counselor, so I’ve been in the education space for I think about 15 years now. My online business kind of came out of that, which was wanting to be able to take a segment of what I thought I would be doing more of when I became a school counselor which is guiding and coaching students through the college selection process – career process. I thought I wasn’t really doing that as much as I wanted to in my day job and decided to create something outside of that.
Shane: So, you’re kind of like niching down but then that guidance counselor spot, they do wear a lot of hats. They do a thousand different things from scheduling… the hardest working people in the school usually are the guidance counselors, when we were teaching. But you wanna focus in and say, “I gotta make sure this kid gets to the right school for them, for their financial situation, for their life situation, their ability.” You’re trying to make sure kids get into a situation where they can be successful and move forward instead of getting in and failing out, or quitting school or doing something else. Is that correct?
Sam: It is and it’s kinda all those things. I don’t have a financial background, but I know that it’s a big part of it. I think the expectation, more or less, is you’re using high school to move on to college.
Sam: But a little bit of a niche for me has been the idea that nationally the graduation rate from college is about 59%, that counts up to 6 years.
Sam: And then, of those people who graduate with a degree, I think only 27% actually use their degree.
Shane: Yeah. That’s kind of the problem. Somebody’s not telling these kids what to do. They’re getting in the wrong place. They went to campus because it had beautiful trees out in the courtyard instead of is this going to take me where I need to go.
Sam: Exactly. That’s why I got my life coaching certification, because I wanted to speak to the person and then say we’re gonna start the path to that person you wanna become by choosing the proper vehicle, which would be college, or trade school… anything like that.
Shane: So, let me ask you this. Are you still a guidance counselor or are you doing pretty much coaching right now but just in the real world and you’re looking to scale that?
Sam: No, I am still fully employed at a high school.
Shane: Ok. Cool.
Sam: This is definitely where I am now and one of the biggest reasons for joining the Flip Your Life community is because I haven’t yet. It’s not as much a lateral shift from I do everything on a one-on-one delivery on a membership site, but it really is the idea that I am really limited in my impact. I can only, at most, help 300 kids a year — which is awesome — that’s a lot more than people who are outside of education typically can, but there’s over a million kids a year who are starting college. That’s a lot of people I’m not helping.
Jocelyn: Yeah. Exactly. Well, Sam we always start with why in everything that we do, so tell the listeners why you want to flip your life with online business.
Shane: Why did you think that online business is the right way to this?
Sam: I want to hang out with my kids.
Shane: I got it.
Sam: It’s the lifestyle part of it, where you guys’ can’t miss moments are just fuel for the fire for me because, in terms of a lifestyle creation, I want to be my kids’ teacher and I want to teach by doing. I remember when my son was born, realizing that the thing that he was going to remember most in his life was never going to be the things that I got him, but the things we got to do together. It’s a time peace, it’s an income peace, but it’s really the idea of being able to choose how I’m living my life and at the end of the day. I want to be able to have that peace and example for my kids when they’ll be able say, “You did this, I’m doing this too.”
Shane: Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s a great why because I bet a lot of gurus lately seems like they’re really pushing the hustle 19 hours and build the biggest that you can and you got to be the biggest and the baddest, and what if you sell… you’re always eternally striving for more. What really kills me about people in online business is you’re not trying to build a legacy that your kids can brag about, you’re trying to live a legacy with your kids for them. If you’re not with them then what does it matter what you accomplish, if you’re not doing it with them as a family and then inspire them to do what they want to do and not, “Hey, look what my dad did,” that was cool and I’ll do something cool, I guess.
Jocelyn: That might be the goal of some people, but that’s not our goal.
Jocelyn: Could we build this business into a multimillion dollar business? Probably.
Shane: Yeah, for sure but at what cost.
Jocelyn: But we prefer to spend time with the kids and do the things that really matter. This is just more of a passion that we love to do.
Shane: I can hear it in your voice, because I can hear where we were. I always felt limited to in school, my reach and my time, because everybody says I want to quit my nine-to-five but schools are even more restricting because you’re in a bell schedule. I can feel the constriction there and it is freer on the online business side because when you create that location independence, when you create that systematic way to communicate with people like you’ve seen us do in our forums and on these podcasts, then it does create much more flexibility to do those things with your family and be there for them to give them those moments like, “Hey! You can do this with your life, you don’t have to do this.” So, that’s awesome, man. Let’s shift gears a little bit, let’s jump into the online business. Before we get to your first question, where exactly are you right now. I know you’ve got a website created, talk to us a little bit about that, systems and monetization. Where do you feel you’re at right now in your online business journey?
Jocelyn: And are you doing something locally right now?
Sam: I am doing some one-on-one coaching now in the individual coaching space and also planning this fall to be doing college application bootcamps. Basically, peace of mind for the parents and equipping students to do is to figure out a life plan, what I call “True North,” and then attach that to a specific college which is the perfect college for you and then walk through my Stress Free College Applications program. So, I’m doing components of that in areas locally. This fall, I’ll be doing weekend college application boot camps, just even doing that in these past 6 months or so, and working with one-on-one clients I already hate the hours per dollar model.
Shane: Sometimes we have to do that first, because that allows us to figure out how it will scale. You know what I mean?
Jocelyn: Also what is selling and what people want. Like what are their problems, how you are solving them, that can be beneficial. Don’t completely ignore it because all these things you’re doing is part of the grand scheme of things.
Shane: They’re going to help you make something online that will appeal to mass audience.
Sam: That’s been something my good friend who’s into the speaking and writing space, he talks about do it for free until it’s good enough for people to pay you for it. I’ve at least advanced beyond that. I feel good about that part, I’m not doubting as much but I do like the fact that even as you spoke true earlier, it’s a system I’ve created at least. So, it’s more palatable than being in somebody else’s system. I have those 3 courses: True North, Choose The College For You and Stress Free College Applications, I have those as courses all ready to roll. They’re recorded, they’re in my membership sites, in forums. Just something real quick about the Flip Your Life community, you see people come for the content but they stay for the community… I’m the kind who wants the content and then I realized your community IS so much content. Just to be able to hop into the forums and search, just see you back and forth coaching with the members in there, it’s awesome. There’s been so many breakthroughs for the past 3 months, having a problem that isn’t adjusting in the courses, hopping into the forums and searching and jumping right into a conversation that happened 6 months ago.
Shane: That’s awesome, we appreciate that, man! The goal is to help the person solve their problem, whatever their problem is right now and help them get to the next step. But I’d rather have someone say I need help with this right now, well go do this next and then like you said somebody else is gonna have that question eventually. That content will create and grow overtime. We’re going down the rabbit hole here, so let’s go back that I love that the product is done. It sounds like that we got the website created, it looks good, there’s a lot of good stuff on there. I think there are things we can tweak and improve, we can talk about that with your questions. We’re right in the verge in your online business of being able to unveil this to the world and really start promoting it, try to get people to purchase these things that you created and are selling online and offline. It’s a really good sign that the online business is gonna work. Let’s jump into that first question and address that right now.
Sam: My first question is, is the membership model right for my business? And I ask that question because my product is somewhat seasonal in the idea that people think about life planning or needing to get to a point at very specific times in their lives, typically looking for a career… maybe something around midlife crisis time or retirement. What I’ve identified in the college area is I’m trying to address a need that’s…
Shane: A time sensitive need.
Sam: I’d like them to stick around longer because I want to really engage and so on and so forth. But I’m wondering if the membership model even works if they are perceiving a need that’s for a longer term but they may just want that short term.
Shane: Number 1, people have to remember when they talk about membership models… We call it that but that’s really recurring revenue model, and what that means is how can I create a system where I sell them the first thing and they keep buying over and over. We sell the membership so they keep paying monthly, you might sell the courses publicly but then you might have a community off the bat for the 20% to 30% of students, or maybe it’s their parents that find the courses first. They get the courses and they hire you to help their kid make this decision, right? Over an (x) month period. So, maybe the Pick The Perfect College is the front part of this business, but then when they pick their college now you’ve delivered amazing results, you can say I helped (x) number of students pick their perfect college… by the way, I also have this program where for (x) dollars a month I’ll coach you throughout your entire college process. Maybe that can be something separate that you can sell them.
Jocelyn: Honestly, I think this can be the perfect candidate for the side-by-side one-off product membership, and let people decide. We don’t always recommend that for people, but I think in this case it could possibly make sense. So, what we’ve seen people do is you offer your flagship product or one of your products for (x) dollars and then beside it for the same amount (x) dollars per month, you have the monthly membership. So, let people decide if they want to just purchase the one-off product, that’s fine and then you can try to sell them later or they can make that decision to pay the same amount per month and get all of these bonus features.
Shane: What I would do Sam in this exact instance… I would make sure that the product, like $500 I’ll help you pick the perfect college because I think people will pay something like that for this, but this needs to be completely automated. Videos, talking about whatever you do, motivational stuff, inspirational stuff… like all the downloads, worksheets to help them figure out what they want, I’ll keep access held back into my membership area. You don’t want to get into $500 and you can talk to me for 6 months, you know what I’m saying? With no recurring off the back, because what happens is it becomes very unstable, it’s hard to predict how many people will sign up for it. It’s almost impossible to predict how much work you’re gonna put into it, you know? Because that’s where we start, how many hours will this take and how much per hour can I make off of that? So, that has to be differentiated in some way and then you’ve got this other model over here that’s like, where it’s a membership that you get access to all of this for (x) dollars a month but I’m also here to guide you through the process.
Sam: That makes sense.
Shane: Alright. We’ve got plenty of time here, let’s get another question in. Don’t make a decision right now Sam, we can help you with this in the forum, but as the school year approaches people will be thinking about it. We’ll have to figure out if we’ll offer it publicly or offer it off the bat kind. So, what is your next question?
Sam: My question will be… so looking at the membership itself, since you guys sometimes offer a yearly discount as part of the community, so because it’s time sensitive if someone finds my services in September… they likely think they don’t really need it until December. They’ll only need it as long as December, so why will they pay for the discounted yearly membership when they don’t think they’re really gonna get past that wall. I’m wondering about the pricing. Do I get a yearly discount or a package deal and just give them some access until a certain point?
Shane: It’s like my football products used to be. People need playbooks for June and July and then they’re set until the end of the year, but it’s my job as the business owner how to make things worth it for the rest of the year. That’s one of the mistakes we made early on, we had this great back to school product, a great January product but the rest of the year we had to figure out a way to make it more valuable at other times of the year.
Jocelyn: This was pre-membership.
Shane: Pre-membership site. Basically, you’re doing the same thing here. You know you have something really valuable in this time sensitive place in the calendar, you’re gonna have to figure out what makes it valuable in January, what makes it valuable in February and March. You market it that way, you’re like, “Not only will I do this but then X, Y and Z.”
Jocelyn: Yeah, maybe you’re adding on layers, like “How to improve your ACT or SAT score,” in these others months which is something on a different timeframe to what you’re originally thinking.
Shane: This is not just a seasonal issue, unless you frame it that way. How can you frame it in a way where it is a full year issue?
Sam: Yeah, absolutely, because in the Springtime it’s financial aid, it’s scholarships, and then I have a whole series of programs come May 1st when you essentially decide which school you’re going to. On the college maximizer program, I got it there. It’s just positioning it in terms of advertising to people and say, “I’ve got you covered from this point all the way through.”
Jocelyn: Exactly and that was what I was saying before, let people decide if they think that the things that you’re offering are valuable enough to keep paying you for throughout the year, It’s your job to convince them that it is.
Shane: You’ve got to sell it. You’re so deep in this space, that you’re not able to remove yourself. You’ve gotta step out of the forest and see the trees, and see how is the parent looking at this. You’re fragmenting this in a way you deal with stuff the most. Right?
Shane: So, it feels like an issue there for you, but remember that I’m one parent with a kid who’s gone to college who has never done this before… we’ve got a friend here who doesn’t have parents to help her, she doesn’t know anything about getting ready for college. This is a stressful issue that they’re thinking for months, you’ve got to be able to frame it in a way that sells, “I can help you in all of these stages, not just one.”
Jocelyn: So you don’t say, “You may need help in these other areas too, maybe if you want to keep paying me for the rest of the year.” No, you say, “I have this awesome program I’m going to help you the entire year, we’re gonna start with this. We’re gonna move on to these things and then I’m gonna help you with this, because you need help the entire calendar year. I can’t wait to bring these programs to you. I’m so excited about this.”
Shane: Your lead magnet in this case is to create a 12 month calendar that sells what they’re supposed to be doing every single month of the year. You’ve got all these major things like, ACTs have to be in for schools on this date, you’ve got all these things year round and you’ve got a nice calendar then they’re seeing it everyday, “I better talk to Sam.” The moral of the story on the podcast today is, it is your job to get people to keep paying you. It is not throw stuff on the wall and hope that they pay their monthly subscription or hope that they buy the next product that you create. You gotta show them why it makes a difference in their life at every point of the journey, and then they will keep taking. That’s the big take away.
Sam: I like it. I have a related question real quick about Dripping Content.
Shane: We’re very against Dripping Content, I can just sum that up. We don’t drip content because unless it’s something, like we have some clients in the community who do like professional development, some jobs require continuing education you have to get it. They have to drip it because they have agreements with universities or like laws. For something like this, especially because it’s so calender sensitive, there’s no reason to drip it, because they’re gonna use it when they need it or just because it’s all there.
Jocelyn: That being said, with something like what you’re doing it’s important to highlight specific things at specific times of the year. So, you send out monthly member newsletter to remind people, “Hey! I have this and I know that a lot of people are applying for financial aid right now. So, let me just remind you that we have this financial aid training package in the community. You can find it here.”
Shane: Yeah, you can even automate that because the same thing’s pretty much happen every year in that same months.
Jocelyn: That’s the same at Elementary Librarian. I automate it and get the whole calendar planned out. I call their attention to specific training modules or courses, and then I also will highlight discussion topics. So, for instance if you have a discussion forum in your community and somebody asked a really good question about something that’s relevant to that time of year, go ahead and include that in your member newsletter and that’s gonna bring people back into remind them why they’re paying for this service.
Shane: I know that there are reasons to drip content, some people do drip content, that’s fine. The reason we don’t is because we always want to remove complexity and I also understand humans, humans cannot consume everything you have all at once. They can’t do it. There’s only so many hours in the day to consume content, so it doesn’t matter if it’s all available or if none of it’s available and we drip it. They can only consume so much at any one time. The only argument for that is really if you have to throttle something because they need the prior knowledge before they can move on. In this case, I don’t think they do because they won’t need it until they do the other stuff.
Jocelyn: There will be people out there that will say well what if someone comes in and downloads all your stuff, we get this question all the time. In our sites, we found that less than 5% of members are coming in, joining and leaving in one night. That tells me that yes, it probably does happen, but is it enough to worry about and to develop all the complex systems to keep it from happening?
Shane: Jocelyn always says let’s focus on the 95% of people that don’t people. Only 5% of people leave in their first month, there’s 95% of people joining any of our communities who keep paying. So, why don’t we just focus on them and deliver it as much value as we can, give them what they need, instead of worrying of dripping stuff out and protecting a little content.
Sam: Sure. It’s sort of hypothetical to my philosophy anyway, which is I want to equip and empower kids to drive their own education. So, the design is to be instructive and do this part first, but at the same time it does engage them as active learners in their own stuff. It’s the same junk which is, “I have to wait for somebody to give me permission until I access this information.”
Jocelyn: We totally agree. I mean that’s our philosophy with Flipped Lifestyle, we have a lot of people come in and say where is the step by step roadmap that shows me what to do. Well, there is no roadmap because everybody’s in a different place. So, that’s impossible to do and it’s the same thing for you.
Shane: That’s why the first thing when you joined is introduce yourself and the second thing is ask your first question, because that’s the most important thing. You got to figure out where they are and all that has to be available, so they can go get what they need off to shift when they need it. Instead of hiding it behind some kind of drip wall. Okay?
Sam: That’s great. Yup, that makes sense.
Jocelyn: Alright, Sam, this has been a great discussion today. Hate to see it come to an end because these were really good questions and I think you’ve gotten some really good clarity about moving forward with the membership site. So, we always ask people at the end of our calls, what is something that you plan to take action on based on what we talked about today, say in the next 24 to 48 hours?
Sam: Well, one thing that I had done recently was to start the sales funnel training that you guys provide — which is awesome — and I think I’m ready to go with where you have a product and start to really get it out and advertising. So, my next step is to get into the autoresponder emails training that you guys have to be able to start continuing our process checking things off the list for my sales funnel, so that I can start letting people know that I have an online product.
Shane: That is an awesome place to start. Once you get the product and the site, it’s time. It’s time to get it promoted and then have systems in place to sell it within 24 hours. That’s a great spot, go ahead and head off to the forums as soon as we end the call. Before you even watch the video, just throw up the ideas of what it’s gonna look like and as you watch the training I’ll help you tweak that in the forums. Okay?
Sam: You prefer that under action plans?
Shane: No, put that in the general forum. You’re doing great. Make your action plan what you’re going to do, like you’re gonna watch the video… you’re gonna do this. Then go ahead and as soon as you’re ready and fill the bulleted list on what your final’s gonna look like, and Jocelyn and I will help you tweak it. Okay?
Sam: Love it. Yeah, definitely!
Shane: Alright guys! We have a special treat, this is usually where we close up the show and thank our guests for being on. Sam, you’ve been a great guest, but Sam had an awesome request that I could not turn down. As many of you know who’ve listened to our show regularly, we like to close every single episode of the Flipped Lifestyle podcast with a Bible verse, Jocelyn and I draw a lot of our inspiration from the Word. It really helps us, not only in our life but in our business as well. Sam wanted to read the Bible verse this week and I thought, “Man! That is an awesome request.” So, Sam I’m going to give you a format, tell us the verse and read it to us. Go ahead.
Sam: Alright. Absolutely! Today’s verse is Galatians 6:4-5, “Each one should test their own actions, then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else. For each one should carry their own load.”
Shane: Awww!!! That was epic, that is a great verse. I don’t remember the last time I’ve read that, I’m sure I’ve read it before but I love the picture of taking action and responsibility there. Man, thanks for sharing that and thanks for being on the show today.
Sam: Absolutely. Thank you guys too! Looking forward to interacting in the forums this afternoon.
Shane: Alright guys that wraps up another call from one of our Flip Your Life community members, if you’d like to become a member of our Flip Your Life community, head over to flippedlifestyle.com/flipyourlife and we can help you with your online business as well.
Jocelyn: Alright, next we’ll go into our can’t miss moment segment. These are things that we were able to experience recently that we might have missed if we were still working at a normal nine-to-five job. Today’s can’t miss moment is going to Frozen on Ice and we are a big Disney-loving family, I’ve been looking forward to going to Frozen on Ice for a long time but it really wasn’t anywhere near us. We were able to find it at Cincinnati so we decided to get some tickets and head on out.
Shane: And it’s cool because we just left, went out there and the tickets were fairly expensive. Boy! Once you get in there, you’re talk about a lot of marketing experts –Disney’s got you good. It was almost $20 for an icy, $15 for popcorn and stuff like that, but it was awesome because we also took my nephew and my niece. We just bought them tickets and we got to take off with four of the kids to Disney on Ice, we had a great time and great seats, got some pictures over on the podcast shownotes so check that out. It was a really awesome experience and it’s something we probably would have missed if we did not have the freedom to take off and drive off to Cincinnati and be able to afford those tickets.
Jocelyn: And we talked about before, even though it wasn’t a weekend it’s still a can’t miss moment for us because back when we still had nine-to-five jobs we were tired all the time during the weekends. We had to take care of household things and stuff like that on weekends, but now since we started our online business we’re able to do some of those things and then just the energy to do things.
Shane: That experience of going into an arena, there’s 10,000 people there! They get to see a huge production and we’ve done a couple of these things lately and I’m just glad that they’re getting to experience some things that we might have not been able to let them do if we were still working in our regular jobs. That’s all the time we have for this week, as always guys, thanks for listening to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast. Until next time, get out there, take action, do whatever it takes to flip your life. See you then!