Today’s podcast is super exciting! Our guest is someone who is part of the Flip Your Life community’s international clique. He is a Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) Master, Xiao Cheng.
Xiao was born in China, but later moved to the United States while he was in middle school during the early 2000s. He graduated from the University of Georgia, and had done IT related jobs.
He has been playing chess for as long as he can remember and had been very competitive especially from 2001-2007. He won several scholastic tournaments before graduating, one of which was the Georgia State Chess Championship in 2006.
Now 27, he wants to ignite the youth’s passion for chess. He currently teaches chess at two schools, where he coaches children between 6-10 years old to hone their skills and raise their ELO ratings.
By listening to podcasts, he learned the endless opportunities that awaits him online. He created Learn Chess with Xiao (Beta) and Simpler Xiao to get his online membership started, two domains that he plans to merge in the future.
Join us as we teach Xiao how to get his message across and make his “online classroom” a place where aspiring chess players all come together.
We’re a couple of weeks away from Christmas, the episodes keep getting even more info-packed… you really do not want to miss this!
You Will Learn:
- How to get the message across
- How to sell your “Online Classroom” vs the normal classroom
- How to start a Two-Tiered Membership
- How to segment your avatar
Links and resources mentioned in today’s show:
- Flip Your Life community
- Lean Chess with Xiao
- Simpler Xiao
- Xiao’s Exclusive Offer for Flipped Lifestyle Listeners (Level 1)
- Xiao’s Exclusive Offer for Flipped Lifestyle Listeners (Level 2)
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 Moment:
Today’s Can’t Miss Moment is really cool when it is hanging out with our kids on Saturday mornings. We take all the dining room chairs and we make big trains all the way through the halls, and I would push the little chairs and let them drive around like we are on the train. We spent all Saturday morning last week just having fun playing, watching TV, playing games. I built this big, huge cave for the kids under our tall dining room table. They stayed under there for like an hour. They brought every toy from their room down. Saturday mornings are just such a different place in our household than they were a few years ago.
Can’t listen right now? Read the transcript below!
Jocelyn: Hello! On today’s podcast, we help Xiao take his chess membership site 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. We’re a real family who figured out how to make our entire living online. Now, we help other families do the same. Are you ready to Flip Your Life? All right, let’s get started. What’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast. It is great to be back with you as always this week.
And for those of you who may be new to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast, we want to welcome you if this is the first time you’ve ever heard of our show. It’s a little bit different than other online business podcasts. We do not bring on many guests or we’re not bringing on people to promote their latest affiliate offering or book or whatever they are promoting. We bring on actual members of our Flip Your Life community.
Real people building real online businesses, and we help them on air take their business to the next level, and we let you guys listen in so that you can take your business to the next level as well. We’re super excited to have a Flip Your Life member today. His name is Xiao Cheng. Xiao, welcome to the show.
Xiao: Thanks Shane, glad to be here.
Jocelyn: Yes, we are very happy to have you. We love all of our members. We are especially excited about our international members and you are from a different place. And you can tell us a little bit about that just shortly, but we are so excited to have you, and all of our friends from all around the world. We have people from all over now, which is just super exciting to us and it’s just great. We love it.
Shane: I love Xiao’s niche, too. I remember when I saw the first time that he signed up and your first post. And I will let you tell you what it is. And I was like, “Yes, a man after my own heart,” was joining the Flipped Lifestyle community.
Jocelyn: Yes, so quickly tell us just a little bit about you, your background and your online business.
Shane: Yeah, where you’re from, where did you grow up, and what are you going to be doing online.
Xiao: Sure. I’m originally from China. I came to US around early 2000s, when I was actually in middle school at that time. I pretty much grew up in the US. And I went to school at University of Georgia. Go, Dogs!
Shane: Hey, listen man, you guys beat us in the last on the last-second field goal about month ago, so I might have to cut this interview short, I’m just saying.
Xiao: No worries, no worries. Yeah, I went to school at Georgia, and then graduated there. I started doing IT and technology related jobs. I’ve actually been a chess player since I was four years old until I went to college. I became a fairly serious chess player and won national Scholastic tournaments around 2006 Georgia State Chess Championships. During that time, I was just a serious player. I never taught anybody, never taught chess as a business, or side-business.
After I graduated, I started working and started following the podcasts, and different ways to build an online business, I thought it was it was a good idea to start teaching chess on the side. I have started teaching for almost two years now, just on the weekends, teaching kids generally 6 to 10 years old. Mostly everything right now is live and in person. However, I guess it is just hard to scale that business. I started following the Flip Your Life community, liked many aspects of the membership trying to get my business online and get an opportunity to scale with many kids that are learning chess.
Shane: I love this concept. This is very similar to teaching a sport, like when you just teach games or poker or something like that because not only does it give you the ability to scale but the content becomes really evergreen. The chessboard is always going to be the same number of squares and the same number of pieces, and the pieces are always going to move in a certain way.
Whenever you can create evergreen content, and then you are not constantly updating things, that creates a lot of opportunity to create that passive income stream where people can come in, they can take advantage of your content, and you are there too, when they have a question to get them back on track. I think this is a great idea.
you first came into the community, we researched it and we did find that quite a few other people that are teaching chess, teaching games like this, and that is always a good sign. When you find competition, when you find people already making money and already buying ads for their product in your space, it is usually a sign that there is money to be made there and now we just have to put that together.
Jocelyn: All right, you’ve told us that you were doing some one-on-one coaching, you were doing this on the side on the weekends, and now you started up this website. Tell the listeners a little bit about where you are in the journey so far, what do you already have done, what are you planning so far.
Xiao: Yes, currently my main website is called learnchesswithxiao.com. This is where I build the membership forum, the paid membership pro. I just started this around the time I joined the Flip Your Life community. This site itself is still quite new. I do have an earlier website; it is called Simpler Xiao.
Since last year I started building that website hosting anything that I think is related to chess. There is a lot of chess contents as well as my chess stories when I was playing. I think there, I’m actually driving more traffic to that site than the new one. But my goal is to combine those and in the future use it as the learnchesswithxiao website. I learned from what I have been doing in person.
I have around two or three one-on-one students, and then I do two different schools. Two Chinese schools, the school that is teaching a lot of Chinese-American kids. Then I build chess classes. Right now I have two different schools. Each one has about eight or nine students who come once a week for chess class.
And then I have built a free library session at the local library where I go each month, once a month to get many of the kids who has an interest who come– there are probably more beginners– to get them familiarized with chess and, hopefully, for them ready to play in tournaments in the future as well.
In some ways I have three different audiences that is not quite in the same area of interest, but the goal is to get all those customers to a common goal and to reach a certain rating points, as well as reach out to others who I haven’t reached out yet in the future.
Shane: What that shows is there a demand for this.
Jocelyn: I actually find this kind of interesting because I think this could be something that you could sell to schools. How to start a chess club, how to play chess, like how to play it competitively?
Xiao: Yes, actually the Chess Club in school is really popular. There are two or three organizations just in the Atlanta area. They have hundreds or even thousands of students.
Jocelyn: I find that very interesting because of the space that we are in. We are in the education space, and schools have a lot of money to spend each year on various activities–
Shane: Extracurriculars and things like that.
Jocelyn: Yeah, and I think that that might be something that you can market to them because they’re always looking for things that are not necessarily athletic, like extra things to add to what they are already doing that are going to pull in some of the kids who maybe don’t play sports or don’t do other extracurricular activities.
Shane: For sure. We kind of got a good feel going on right now. This is kind of the real world side hustle that we want to scale online. Why don’t we go ahead and let’s jump into your questions, and let’s see if we can figure out what we need to do next. What is your first question, Xiao?
Xiao: Sure. What I am doing teaching chess is already popular in schools, they are online, they are professional coaches or players already teaching online. But mostly right now is either one-on-one lessons or group lessons, so similar to what I am doing I am at the Chinese school. However, what I’m really trying to do to scale all the business is to build an online classroom, where there is no time or location constraints.
I get a feeling it’s still a little ways away for the parents or the kids, especially this age from 6 to 10, for those parents to be convinced that this is the best route. Because they are not certain how much the kids are getting out of it just online instead of in class, and they don’t have the direct one-on-one with a coach like myself to get a better feel. So, my question is how can I get my message across to the parents, and then how can I utilize this?
Shane: Right, and make a scale basically.
Xiao: yup, you are correct.
Shane: I think what you are going to have to have in this membership is– and we have some other ideas, too, but just initially what I am thinking is, this has to be a two-tiered membership. You are going to have to have a content tier that is more for learning chess. You can get into strategy, you can get into some superior tactics, you can do videos where you breakdown famous game plays.
I’ve got a book that has all the has famous chess games in it. You can do stuff like that just to breakdown strategy and there is a bunch of teaching. I think that what you would do is you would have a higher tier. Scale does not always mean always only passive. I think you could charge a much higher tier where you can charge people for “class time with the master,” which is you. And what you would do as you would have like maybe 10 kids log in, almost like a webinar format.
Or maybe each month you played one of the students, and you are doing what we are doing here. We are basically scaling this coaching call. Even though we are only talking to you right now, thousands and thousands and thousands of people are going to hear this right. I wonder if you could have multiple tiers in your membership from the beginning. All your contents available at the lower tier, but then you have a higher tier where you just say, “Hey, from 8 o’clock to 10 o’clock twice a week, I have chess class,” where all these kids and parents and everybody and whoever wants to take it can come watch the class.
You actually play your real students. That way, everyone’s paying this membership to get access to this, but you’re only working two hours a week doing a chess match.
Jocelyn: But it can also be your content. It’s like what we do here with the podcast. You can talk to the people, you can play them, tell them what they should have done instead and then you make that content available for people maybe on YouTube or somewhere like that and the benefit of being a member is that you get to actually play and have your game critiqued.
Shane: Or, another membership thing you could do– a lot of radio shows do this. Let’s say there is a three-hour radio show, they will release part of it like 45 minutes. If you want to go listen to the rest of it, you can join their membership.
Jocelyn: Yes. If you want to see how the game finishes, then you want to be part of the membership.
Shane: Right, you could call out a critical play and how you coach the person through it, like why they made the mistake or why they did some good. You cut out little five-minute snippets, and say, “To watch the whole match, go to learnchesswithXiao.” Do you see what I’m saying?
Xiao: Okay, so it’s like a teaser video.
Shane: Exactly. But the good thing you’re doing here is something that we always try to do. If we open our mouths for one minute, we have to figure out a way to use that content and in many ways as possible, to get the word out about our stuff and to serve our members and to make more money.
This way people will pay you to do these matches, and then you can use the same matches to get more members in the future and to market your program, and you just have to commit a couple hours to it.
Xiao: Okay, yeah makes sense. It’s basically, okay, utilize both my live events together with the online aspect, and I think you just got exactly to the point of two different tiers and then put in those things together.
Jocelyn: Yeah, I’m kind of wondering. I know this is maybe different from what we’ve talked about before.
Shane: We don’t want to complicate the waters, but this is a good point she’s about to–
Jocelyn: Yes, okay. Your audience is from age 6 to, did you say 12 or 10? I forgot what you said.
Xiao: I can go up to 12. Right now it is just more popular for elementary school.
Jocelyn: Okay. My child right now is eight which means he would theoretically fall into your age range. My child can use a computer, but I can’t really see him logging into websites and using a forum community. But what I think would be beautiful for you right now would be an app for kids. They could log on to the app, use the app.
My children, both of them aged 8 and almost 6, they are very good at using apps and know exactly what to do. You can host all of your video content there and then you could do your free content like on YouTube. My kids love YouTube also.
Shane: I also think that an app might be a complement to the online membership. The online membership is where you’re playing someone, and it happens one-on-one. That is what is going to happen there. But there are apps like Chess with Friends while you play asynchronously. Me and my brother play Words with Friends and Chess with Friends.
I make my move and it sends it to him and it is kind of like chess by email. You could probably have something like that very easily in this day and age, created for yourself, where even that higher, higher tier where they get 50 people and they pay X dollars a month and it’s got to be a good price that is worth it, but you could just go back and forth and play chess with people.
You can play the games and then talk about the games in your forums. You see what I’m saying? This is a perfect thing for that because the technology exists, it is already there, and people pay for access. Why do people pay us? To help them make their online business. Why do they pay you? Because you are a master and want to play chess with you.
An app might be something we can go down the route of, and we know people that do this. I can kind of guide you were to go to figure this out. But that might be something we put together on the back end as a value add to say, “Why would you not pay $50 a month to be able to play chess with a master?”
Xiao: I got you. So apps are like a human higher tier than two new basic ones they started with.
Shane: Yes, basically look at it like this: the bottom tier is as passive as possible. Usually what we say is that is content in a forum. Then the next tier is where access starts. That is where, for example, people who join annually get bumped to the front of the list on being on the podcast.
We reward people who commit longer and pay more; that is the way business works. That is where people get to play you, and you get to do those group calls and stuff like that. People at the lower tier don’t get to watch that live. Maybe the lowest tier is $25 a month? And in the middle tier is like $50 a month.
But then you have this hundred-dollar tier where people actually get the download an app, and they get to play chess with you asynchronously, and then talk about it with you on these group calls and in forums, ask you questions. That may be like $100 a month but you cap it to 20 people. Whatever, yeah because you can place chess pretty fast.
Jocelyn: Just to throw it out there, though, I mean if his audience is going to be kids in this membership, how is that going to work because I can’t imagine my kid typing in a forum.
Shane: No, that is what I’m saying.
Xiao: I’ve been observing in in-person teaching, many of the parents are also interested in learning chess. Actually my ideal customers are kids who want to learn chess but their parents are also interested, at least one parent.
Shane: I think that online, you are going to have to go older. I think the main thing that you are looking for online is this video content. I’m a big nerd. I play all kinds of games. I play chess, I play Magic: The Gathering, and all these crazy card games like Pokémon with my kids and stuff like that. But every time I ever go to these things, here is what always happens: let’s say I’m at a chess tournament.
There are 20 chess games going on. The first five or six– somebody is going to get swamped fast. And five or six or 10 people are going to get that done. What do they always do? They start going around and looking at the other games. That is kind of the excitement about being at these tournaments, is peeking over the shoulder watching in other games, seeing someone make a great move it is not just you being in it, and in any membership we are trying to create a community.
We are trying to recreate that tournament-type feel on these calls where people can go in, and watch these games, and hear you play and things like that. That is what you are going to try to recreate and you’re going to have to re-create it for little bit older demographic online.
Jocelyn: The way that I see this shaping out is that you have your membership site and your forums for maybe like adults or older children.
Shane: The more passive level.
Jocelyn: Yes, who want to learn how to play. You also would have a component where you would maybe have some training materials for people who wanted to start a chess club. In addition to the content you already have created like lesson type material, you would also have a package that says, “If you want to start a chess club, here is how you do that.”
And then, maybe later down the road, you develop an app where maybe younger users could watch your trainings, and maybe even play the older people.
Shane: The older people could play on a higher tier basically. I wonder, too, about the domain name, and I think a valuable product to be able to sell is learn how to start a chess club. Learn how to compete and things like that. I wonder if this needs to be more instead of learn chess with Xiao, I wonder if it is more like Chess Club HQ. Like this is Chess Headquarters led by Xiao.
Jocelyn: I think what you could probably have them all together. You could own several different domains and have them kind of all point to the same place. I think that would be okay.
Shane: I think we could talk about it. For one thing, your name is hard to spell. If you say go to learnchesswithXiao.com, I’m going to type in S-H-A-W because I’m a redneck from Southeast Kentucky. I’m not going to know how to spell that. I think we need to make this more like, this is the place to be if you were playing chess.
If you are starting a chess club, if you are learning chess, if you want to take chess to the next level, and become a tournament winner, not just a tournament player this is where a kind of needs to be at.
Jocelyn: Learn chess online. That might already be taken but just something like that.
Shane: Learn chess to me sounds like I’m just learning how the pieces move. And that is really not what you are doing. That is a part of what you are doing, but that is not the only thing you are doing.
Xiao: It is really about getting a new player ready to play in tournaments, and then get to a certain rating level.
Jocelyn: In a perfect world, you would have one home and integrate just all of these different pieces into it.
Xiao: Okay, I guess that is something that we probably want to discuss more in the forum that I develop.
Shane: I just did a quick domain search and like we can look at things like tournament chess headquarters, and then you can have Learn Chess, too, but that is more like a product where you got all your basic material. This is going to be a weird membership, too, because there is going to be a lot of Evergreen content.
All you need is 100 people paying you 100 bucks a month, man, and you’ve got 10 grand. There are a hundred chess players that want to check take their chess to the next level. That is that people be to find. Let’s just absorb that for a minute.
Jocelyn: That is a lot of stuff.
Shane: That is a lot of stuff to throw out to you. What follow-up questions do you have or do you have any other questions that were prepared?
Xiao: One question was, right now I’ve been putting an avatar as players getting across 1000 rating points. The real beginners they learn chess they get a rating like 300 to 500. Then they’ll get over 1000 that means they’ve become serious. So my current avatar, I’m setting it as above it. I already have private students that already crossed that threshold, and I’m working with them to get over 1500.
This rating thing is like a moving target. How should I segment my avatar? Should I give some stretch or should I just focus on this and only focus on this until I get to a certain level?
Shane: What Xiao is talking about here is basically like when you start playing chess, you start getting a rating based on your wins and losses. If you are like superior chess, what is that? That’s in the 2000’s. You are huge. There are levels like you said, you’re getting serious if you get over 1000 and you want to get them into 1500. I think that that is just a way that you organize your content. You could always segment your avatar. We want people to have an avatar, but you are content will segment them.
You have an area in your community and your content that says, “Are you a 0 to 999-point player? This is your forum.” “Are you a whatever to 1500 player? This is your forum.” Let them float back and forth. Just have all the forms available so people can go in and talk and read.
Jocelyn: I think that people get confused about this sometimes. I think people think that if I define my avatar as somebody who is over 1000, no one else is allowed. That is not necessarily true. It is like us and online business. Generally, people who join our community, they have something already established in online business does everyone?
Jocelyn: No, and that is okay. We’re okay with that. Our target market is people who already have a website and maybe some followers. But just because you don’t have that does not mean you are not a right fit. It just means that our marketing and our language goes toward that person.
Shane: Yeah, so in your forum, you can change this you can group people and give them freedom to move back and forth between the levels. Then what you do is you create multiple roads into your membership. You’re going to have this beginner content, and let’s say that someone comes there and they’re like, “Hey, I’m only a 500-point player, but I want to be 1500.”
Then you would have a thing that says, “Are you a 0 to 500-point player? Click here.” You would have marketing that says, “Hey, I can teach you a little bit more about the best strategies and tactics, I can get your fundamentals right. Let’s you get you to 1000. Join here.” And they go in, and there is content for them. And then the next level goes to the next one and the next one. You basically have different four or five different sales pages depending on which kind of player landed there.
Jocelyn: I think the main thing is just make sure that people will know what your membership is for. If they don’t really fit that category, but joined anyway and that is okay. Let them sort themselves out and use the content that you have there for them.
Shane: All the content we have in our community is not right for everyone to join. We have to guide them to what they need and that will be your primary role in this chess membership is, who is this person, what do they need to do next, show them what to do next and that is when they start becoming a true follower and they won’t quit.
Xiao: Okay, make sense. Basically my strategy now is to organize my content, and target it or I actually this is audience who already know what I am doing, and segment each group so my audience will know where to go when they see what I’m doing.
Shane: Yes, as you build your online platform, this is something we recommend to people. A lot of people do this to get a lot of people clients off-line and they’re, “Wait a minute, if I was online, I could scale this.” If we can get this stuff organized now, and take the people you work with already, all these students and these one-on-one clients and maybe even their parents, we can let them into some kind of beta thing, and play around and see what their needs are, see what they want, learn from them and that will help you build it the way they want it, and that they need it.
Xiao: Okay make sense.
Jocelyn: All right, well we have had some great questions here today, and talked about a lot of interesting information with regards to membership sites, and just the different types of things you can do. With all of that in mind, everything that we’ve talked about today, what is one thing that you plan to work on, say in the next 44 to 48 hours, based on what we talked about during the podcast today?
Xiao: I will define my two-tier levels. The first level it will be more passive, the second level where it is more involved for me, and I will start putting content into reach each category. I will also at the same time start to reach out to my current offline students, trying to pinpoint what is their need, and then start building contents or videos from there so that I already have enough material for the more official launch in the future.
Shane: Awesome, man, I think that is a great move. We will talk about all this, too, you can start some forum posts, and I will help you work through it if you struggle with how you are going to organize it or what you want to do with that, we will take care of that. We will also talk about more of a consolidated brand like domain name, so we can kind of put an umbrella over all the things that you are going to be able to do. I really think you are on to something.
I think this is a great thing that can be set up passively and as a higher to make more money. Good job Xiao, man, we can’t wait to help you get this going and take it to the next level.
Xiao: Alright, thanks a lot guys and I will talk to you guys when I’m in the forum.
Shane: What a great call to one of our Flip Your Life community members. We would love to have you in our Flip Your Life community as well. If you would like to become a member of the Flip Your Life community, head over to FlippedLifestyle.com/FlipYourLife and we can help you with your online business too.
Jocelyn: Next we are going to the Can’t Miss Moment segment of our show, and these are moments that they were able to experience that we might have missed if we were working at 9-to-5 jobs still.
Shane: Today’s Can’t Miss Moment is really cool when it is hanging out with our kids on Saturday mornings. I remember when I was a kid on Saturday mornings. We all have kind of a nostalgic memories of Saturday morning cartoons, and I can remember my dad on Friday night but always bring me a peanut butter Twix and a Mountain Dew. A lot of health food in our household growing up. But he would bring me those so I could have something to eat and have fun watching those cartoons. We don’t have Saturday morning cartoons, it’s not a thing anymore. We spent our Saturday mornings doing all kinds of stuff like building forts.
We take all the dining room chairs and we make big trains all the way through the halls, and I would push the little chairs and let them drive around like we are on the train. We spent all Saturday morning last week just having fun playing, watching TV, playing games. I built this big, huge cave for the kids under our tall dining room table. They stayed under there for like an hour.
They brought every toy from their room down. Saturday mornings are just such a different place in our household than they were a few years ago. My Saturday mornings in the fall were always getting up, and having to watch football film, having to go to football meetings. Sometimes we would have practice.
And I just never had time to just chill and relax and play with the kids. Even outside of football season, I remember we had no energy on Saturday it was just such a grind to get through the work week, that you know it was almost annoying when the kids wanted to play.
Because you’re like I’m so tired I just want to rest but then you had to make yourself do it and you wouldn’t really enjoy that quality time with the kids. It is awesome to be able to carve out that special time and just play with the kids every week after they get through a hard week of school.
Jocelyn: Yeah, I love Saturdays now because when I worked at school, still I would come home, and on Saturday most of the time I had to spend my time doing laundry, cleaning the house, and just other things that piled up throughout the week that I either didn’t have time to do or just didn’t feel like doing during the week.
I love weekends now because we now have a housekeeper, which is amazing so all of the housework is mostly done. I can just relax a little bit. I can spend time with the kids. We can do things that maybe we would have done before but we just either didn’t feel like it or maybe just didn’t have time to do. It is pretty cool that we are able to do that now.
Shane: Alright, guys, that is all the time we have for today. Before we sign off, we’d like to close every one of our shows with a verse from the Bible. Today’s Bible verse comes from Colossians 3:23, and the Bible says, “Whatever you do, work hard as if working for the Lord, not for man.”
Remember guys, in everything in your life there’s a bigger picture at stake. You don’t have to please anyone. Just go out there and use the talents and use the abilities that God has given you. Get out there and use it to change the world and make something happen in your own life. That’s all the time we have for this week.
As always, guys, thanks for listening to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast, and until next time get out there, take action do whatever it takes to Flip Your Life. We will see you then.