How do you start an engaging online membership community where people come and stay month-after-month?
That’s what we’re going to be analyzing with you and Kristin today.
Joining us on today’s show is a Private Mastermind participant and fellow educator, Kristin Houser.
Kristin is currently working and researching as an Elementary School Instructional Coach. She has been in the education scene for about 13 years now, 7 years as a Classroom Teacher and 6 years as an Instructional Coach. She specializes in helping teachers maximize their potential and enable them to improve their way of teaching.
During her transition from classroom teacher to instructional coach, she had been searching for content and possibly a community, where she could get the extra boost that could help her in her own coaching journey. Having found little information online, she decided to create a place to provide a solid resource for other coaches that she had wished to have while she was just starting out.
Kristin wants to take her 6 years old blog a step and a leap further. More than just making some stable and recurring income, she wants to create a place where these professionals can get together and have a community.
It’s going to be a super action-packed day, AND it’s also going to be a lot of fun. Don’t miss it!
You Will Learn:
- How to set realistic expectations within your community
- Other ways to lead and serve your members
- When to move forward from the beta member testing phase
- Advantages of launching multiple beta test group layers
- How to decide on the content model to build your community around
- How to use free content to promote the membership community
- How to bundle a physical product with a membership site
- Plus so much 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!
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Patreon question of the week from our Q&A with S&J YouTube series:
This week’s question is from Danielle, it says, “What do you do with people who never confirm their email address?”
And if you would like to watch all of our Q&A with S&J videos, head on over to flippedlifestyle.com/YouTube, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
To ask a question for the Q&A with S&J YouTube show, you can do that over on our Patreon page at flippedlifestyle.com/patreon.
Click on the image to Listen on iTunes:
To learn more about working directly with Shane & Jocelyn in their Flip Your Life community, visit: https://flippedlifestyle.com/flipyourlife
Join HUNDREDS of entrepreneurs from around the world pursuing the Flipped Lifestyle online!
Success Story of the Week:
This week’s success story comes from Travis, and the subject line in the Success Forum says, “26 NEW Members! I just gave myself a $754 raise, here’s how I did it!”
Travis writes, “Hey Flip Your Life family! I did a 2 day push for $1 trials for my drop-shipping course and I’m very pleased with the results. I have 47 sign ups, 26 of those ended up sticking around and it gave me a $754 a month revenue bump! But the most exciting part about this is that my monthly revenue, just from this one website, now exceeds my monthly household expenses. In essence, this site alone makes me financially free. The very near passive income that this membership site produces, more than covers all of our household bills, including groceries and gas. Pretty cool! Thanks S&J!”
Great job, Travis! We’re so proud of you!
We would love to help you write the success story for your online business.
At the end of today’s show, head over to flippedlifestyle.com/flipyourlife where you can learn more about building and growing a successful online business with the help of our Flip Your Life community.
Can’t Miss Moment:
Today’s Can’t Miss Moment is going to Daytona Beach with the kids. We were actually flying down to Florida for another reason, and we flew into Sanford International Airports, which is a little bit outside of Orlando and there wasn’t really anything there and we were getting into town really late. We weren’t really planning this, but decided on a whim, “Why don’t we just head over to the beach and have a great time?” It was just so awesome to be able to say, “Let’s go to the beach!” and be able to do that, seeing our kids enjoy these moments over and over again makes for a huge can’t miss moment.
You can connect with S&J on social media too!
Thank you for listening!
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 Kristin take her instructional coaching business to the next level.
Shane: Welcome to 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. And now, we help other families do the same. Are you ready to flip your life? Alright. Let’s get started.
What’s going on, everyone? Welcome back to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast. It is great to be back with you again this week. For those of you new to the show, welcome. This is the place where we help you figure out what to do next in your online business. No shiny objects, no gurus, no gimmicks. Just real people, real businesses, and real conversation. We are super pumped today to have another member of our Flip Your Life community on the show.
Jocelyn: Before we jump into the conversation with today’s guest, we are going to share our Patreon question of the week from our Q&A with S&J YouTube series.
This week’s question is from Danielle. It says, “What do you do with people who never confirm their email address?”
Shane: And if you would like to ask a question for the Q&A with S&J YouTube show, you can do that over on our Patreon page at flippedlifestyle.com/patreon.
Super excited today, guys, to welcome another Flip Your Life community member, and our guest today is Kristin Houser.
Kristin, welcome to the program!
Kristin: Thanks, guys! I am super excited to be here and to have the opportunity to chat with you guys today.
Shane: Kristin is actually a member of our private mastermind within the Flip Your Life community, so this episode is going to be a little longer, we’re going to dive a little bit deeper into her business to really help her tweak some things and take it to the next level.
Jocelyn: We are super excited to talk to you today, Kristin. You are one of our education peeps, so we get what you’re doing. We love that the education business has been very good to us, and so look forward to diving in and learning a little bit more about your business and helping you move forward.
Shane: The good thing is that you are not a teacher. You are an instructional coach expert, I guess, is what we would say.
Tell us a little bit about you, your background, what that is, and what you’re trying to do online.
Kristin: Absolutely. I am currently working and researching as an elementary school instructional coach. An instructional coach is just kind of like a fancy name for somebody who helps teachers improve their teaching. I specialize in the area of literacy coaching. I’ve been in education for 13 years now, seven years as a classroom teacher and six years as a coach. I started my blog the first year that I transitioned from the classroom into coaching, and I really didn’t have a lot of support or training in my new role. I was just kind of figuring things out on my own along the way.
When I went to search online that first year to see if maybe there were other coaches out there who might be sharing tips or resources that maybe could help me in own my coaching journey, there really wasn’t a lot that I could find at all. So I said, “Okay, well, I’ll start sharing and get something going myself, then.” That was six years ago, and over time, it was a lot of work and perseverance and my husband’s support and help who also happens to be a website designer — thanks, Luke — I’ve been able to grow and build the site into a pretty solid resource for other coaches and what I wished I had had starting out. While I am definitely proud and feeling excited about how far that I’ve come at this point, I know that there is a lot more potential for the places that I can and want to go with my online business which is really what brought me to you guys to help me with that next push.
Shane: Okay, let me ask you real quick, what is your blog? What’s the domain name?
Kristin: My blog is mshouser.com.
Shane: mshouser.com. Okay, and you’ve built yourself a pretty good little following and audience. You’ve got traffic, you’ve got some things like that going, correct?
Kristin: I do, I have over 13,000 subscribers at this point, a lot of coaches who see me as a support and resource.
Shane: That’s a great audience. That is awesome. Sometimes, people do this this way. They build this big audience, they’re doing this blog, they’re really serving their community or their niche, and all of a sudden, they look up, and they are like, “Wow, there are a lot of people following me. I could probably make more money off this.” Right? “This could be another income stream for me.”
Kristin: That’s right.
Shane: It sounds like that kind of where you are. You’ve spent six years becoming an overnight success. Now it’s ready for the overnight success part.
Kristin: Exactly, exactly.
Jocelyn: You’ve done a lot of things well. I can see by your website that you’re doing a lot of things right, so that’s awesome. But we’re looking forward to helping you take it further. I love how, also, you decided to make a website for things that you were looking for because that’s how I started Elementary Librarian, also. I was looking for specific lessons plans and resources, and I couldn’t find what I wanted. I thought, “Well, if I’m looking for this, probably other people are, too.” I think that that is often a great way to start a business.
Shane: Yeah, this is a cool example of coaching as well. I think coaching gets a bad rap in all spaces. Coaching teachers to be better teachers, coaching instructional coaches to do a better job when they are out on their job. But what happens with almost anything is, everyone starts something at some point, and they need mentorship, they need help to get past the learning curve. When you gain a little experience in any field, you are automatically expert enough for all the people that are behind you. That’s where you’ve positioned yourself here for instructional coaching.
Kristin: Yeah, thank you for that feedback. I’m glad that you guys see that. I think something that my audience appreciates about myself and my site, I just keep it real. I just share about what is actually going on in my day to day life as an instructional coach, and the information that I share is good information, but it is shared in a way that I’m trying to make approachable for coaches who are just starting out.
Shane: We are all about keeping it real here on the Flipped Lifestyle podcast. We keep it about as real as it gets because we don’t know no other way. That’s awesome.
Jocelyn: Alright, before we move forward into your questions, let’s talk a little bit about why you want to grow this business. Everybody has a ‘Why’, so what is yours?
Kristin: Yeah, I think for me, it’s really about the opportunity to create more of those, as you guys say, Can’t Miss Moments in my life and my family’s life. From the bigger ones, like being able to buy or build our dream house one day in the mountains on several acres of land, maybe with the lake like you guys, to the smaller ones, like just being able to grab a coffee, or head out for a walk with my dog in the middle of the day if I want. I think there is a lot to be said about that idea of personal and financial freedom that I think at this point, my business has a pretty good shot at getting me closer into that vision and to those moments becoming more of a reality. I’m feeling really motivated at this point to keep moving forward, and to take my business to that next level.
Jocelyn: I love that. I think that that is really what we’re all about here at Flipped Lifestyle. We’re not all about buying houses on a private island and stuff. I mean, if you want to do that, that’s cool but we’re just really more about all the day-to-day things of just spending more time with our kids and having more quality moments even to ourselves. I think that sometimes, in America, especially we don’t talk about that a whole lot about wanting to have moments to ourselves, and I think that’s okay. I think that’s that a good thing.
Shane: Especially when you are coaching and you are always with other people. And, really, even when you are controlling your own schedule a little bit, you’re still meeting, you’re still out, you’re still doing things. But the way that online success really happens, and you’re feeling this right now, it’s exuding from you. You’re like, “I know I’m close.” Because you have an audience, right? What you’re really experiencing there is you’ve already done the work in this field. At first, you can make money with what you do. But eventually, you can make a lot more money with what you know. That’s where you are at right now, and that’s why we’ve got to push this thing and take it to the next level. Let’s dig down now and let’s look at that. Let’s look at where your business is, where you want to go next, and what you’re thinking. Go ahead and shoot your first question out, and we’ll just see where this conversation takes us.
Kristin: Great. At this point, I’m planning on building a membership community as my next step. But before I move forward and I announce that to my audience, how do I establish realistic expectations for both myself and my community for the amount of time that I’m able to invest and support them, I’m able to provide my members? I think this question really stems from wanting to provide great value for my community, but also wanting to create a sustainable business for myself where I’m not feeling totally overwhelmed, say, four months into it.
Jocelyn: Okay, let’s take a little step back before we answer this question, and let me ask you what it is that you are selling to them right now, just for our audience so they can know what’s going on?
Shane: What is the value proposition, basically?
Kristin: What I currently have available or what’s it about? Because I haven’t announced the membership community at all to my audience.
Shane: Right. What do you think you’re going to offer them?
Jocelyn: Well, what are you offering now?
Shane: Yeah, exactly.
Kristin: Nothing related to a membership site. I just launched my first online course last November. It was geared towards newer instructional coaches, and what I’m envisioning will be the purpose of this membership site that I’d like to create is geared towards coaches just starting out in their first to third year. I see it as a place to provide community, it’s a place for them to interact, where they can ask questions, learn really the nuts and bolts of coaching, and to share resources with each other, but I would also be sharing resources as well.
Jocelyn: Alright , that makes sense. Basically, you’re wanting to know how do you approach them–
Shane: –without you spending eight hours a day talking to them basically.
Kristin: That’s right, that’s right. I think some of that comes from this course that I put out last November. I offered it at three different tiers, and the highest tier came with a Q&A support. There were questions that were given to me. I wasn’t always able to answer, I wasn’t answering fast enough, and I felt like that caused some people to think that they weren’t getting enough value out of it.
Shane: Okay, let’s break this down. This is going to be a really long discussion here, okay. The first thing you have to do is you have to set your own boundaries. It’s almost like you’re setting stage for yourself. You’re saying, “I want to spend X hours a week in this membership.” It has to be reasonable. Jocelyn and I usually say, “We want to spend about somewhere between six and eight hours in the Flip Your Life community a week.” That’s about 2 hours a day. That’s plenty of time to get in there, do the mechanical stuff we need to do, answer as many questions as we need to like in our private mastermind forum, do things like that, and maybe make a little new content, if we need to. You’re going to have to set boundaries on what you want. Every question in your business has to start with, “What do I want?”
Now you’re going to temper that by, you have to provide answers to their questions and value. The cool thing about having an online community like we have is eventually, you’re going to figure out that 80% of the questions that get asked are always the same. You’re going to create content that you can point people to without you having to actually, every single time, live and in person, answer those questions. That’s what our Flip Your Life blueprint is, it’s the path that we took to start an online business. But it is also the accumulation of a couple years of, “Man, everyone asked these same exact questions all the time.”
Jocelyn: It is going to take you a little bit of time upfront to answer the questions and get them into a forum that other people could pass on. The way that it is right now, we have assistants in our community. When someone asks a question, like, “What should I do next?” Well, we have all that information already so that person just simply points them to what we’ve already created. Basically, what I’m trying to say is it’s going to take you a little bit longer at the beginning than it will later down the road.
Shane: The work chips away as you build up. Right now, you have this one course, which is great. That is more than enough to start this. But eventually, people are going to ask questions that are not covered in that course. But you’ll start to see, wait a minute, I see another course forming. I create it, it’s there forever. Now, everyone that ever asks that question again, I can just point them to that. That’s five seconds instead of 15 minutes to answer that one question. The second thing which is a huge advantage you’re going to have because you have an audience, and I think you’re going to be able to push people into this membership pretty quickly is the community aspect, the more you build up your community, the less you actually have to be involved in your community. The great example of this is Flipped Lifestyle because we have an amazing community of lots of people that jump. They pounce on questions. I swear people leave it logged in with notifications, and they’re just waiting to beat us to an answer. If someone knows something, like how to do something, usually two or three people have already chimed in before we can even get to it, if it’s something simple, something repetitive, something that people know there is an answer to.
Now, if it’s a deeper strategy question, of course, that’s where me and Jocelyn have to come in and have to be a part of that. But usually, 80% of the questions are already filtered out because one member is helping another, and you’re going to find that, too, as people discuss things and as people go through things in your forums. They’re going to answer each other’s questions so that’s going to remove some of that time. The leadership that you’re going to provide in the beginning might be a little more. You might be in there two or three hours a day at the beginning. But as your membership grows, as your community grows and your content grows, you are going to be able to step back and back and back, farther and farther, leading it from a top-down approach.
Jocelyn: Yeah, and I just want to say, there are other ways of leading people rather than typing, too. One thing that we do in our community is we have two times a month where we take member questions. We send an email and it’s basically like office hours. “We’ll be here from this time to this time, come and ask any questions you want.” That is another way of doing it where you have a defined start and end time. You can answer questions, as many as you can, and that’s another way of serving your community.
Shane: You can make people submit those questions up front. That way, you don’t have to be blindsided by a question that is like, “you know what, this is going to take me a 45-minute presentation to answer.” You can answer the smaller, 10-minute questions like, “how do I deal with a teacher that does not like me to be in her classroom to be an instructional leader, and feels like she’s got it all covered, and she just wants me out of there, but the principal says I have to go help her?” Or whatever. Stuff like that is more like, we can softball those in a Q&A session, but the other stuff, whoa that is a 45-minute new lesson. That is something you can create. You have content, you’ve got your next course, and you can use that to promote your membership down the road. That was pretty intense. What did you get from that right there? What are you thinking right now?
Kristin: I think the big question I wrote down is I really need to reflect on what do I want? What amount of time can I realistically say that I can and that I am able to invest into the membership site? I heard you guys say, “We can do 6 to 8 hours a week. That might look a little bit different for you,” so I think there is a reflection piece there. When I also heard you say that, “Look, leadership I provide in the beginning might be a little bit greater as you are establishing those conversations, getting that conversation going within the community,” and then, I, at a certain point would be able to pull back a little bit.
Jocelyn: I think it is also important just to make sure that you establish your expectations at the beginning, like at the point-of-sale. We are really careful about our language. We don’t say, “We check in every single day.” We never say things like that because you don’t want people’s expectations to be one thing and you not to be able to meet them. We say things like, “We check in regularly,” which we do. But we do not say, “We check in every single day,” because that is not always possible.
Shane: A transition that you have to realize– this just really touches on the Flipped Lifestyle, like our concept of the Flipped Lifestyle. When you leave the 9-to-5, and you go into this online world where you are in charge, and it is kind of like you are building your own little community and world, time does not matter the same as it did before. While I can say, we spent six to eight hours, maybe a week, inside of our Flip Your Life community, sometimes, that is when Jocelyn and me are driving to the grocery store, and I do two forum posts on my phone because she is driving and I’m in the passenger’s side. Sometimes, that is where we are planning something, like next week we’re going to– when are we going to Knoxville?
Shane: Yeah, we’re going to go get a massage on Wednesday. We do this about once a month. We get just get into the car and we drive. We will bring our computer, and we might work on a course, or work on something while on our way down there. That is an hour.
Jocelyn: Because we are nerds like that.
Shane: Because that is how we roll. But, it is not as much as how much time you’re spending, it’s about having control of your time. That is what we are always after. We are always like, “We are not afraid of the work, we are not afraid of hustle, but by golly, we are going to do it when we want to do it.” And that is what you are trying to build with a membership site. When you think about that, what do I want, don’t think so much, “I want to work between 8 and 10 o’clock,” because that is the old way. That is the world’s way. You are thinking about, “How can I do this where I could work 30 minutes in the morning, I could go for a walk with my dogs, I could come back and do an hour, and then I could go and eat lunch with my husband,” whatever. That is what you are trying to build here. Not necessarily just, “I-spend-two-hours-a-day-and-I-am-a-robot.”
Kristin: That’s right. Thanks for the clarification, Shane. But I think your point, Jocelyn, is a good one just being thoughtful and careful about the language that I share at the beginning when I’m making this announcement that here is exactly what you can expect as a member of this community.
Jocelyn: Yeah, exactly. We have learned these lessons the hard way, so that is why I try to tell people up front, you know, just be careful with the language that you use especially don’t use things like “lifetime.” We don’t like that word.
Shane: That word, you don’t ever use that word a lot. Also, have you ever heard the phrase, “Your eyes are bigger than your belly?” You ever heard of that before?
Kristin: Yup, yup.
Shane: Like when you go to dinner, and you’re like, “Whoa, I can eat everything,” and then you are like, “I’m about to throw up.” But the next time you eat, you don’t do that. If you do overshoot, and you do overpromise a little bit at the beginning, and you are like “Whoa, I messed up,” don’t be afraid to just draw a line in the sand, and move forward. Tell your people, “This is what it is going to be moving forward now. We are going to change this.” If some people leave, that is fine. Other people will come. But do not be afraid. Don’t be tentative in the value proposition in it to be too small to get members.
Jocelyn: But, we typically like to underpromise and overdeliver. That is just something to think about.
Kristin: Thank you.
Jocelyn: Alright, Kristin, what else can we help you with today?
Kristin: I like to initially open up the membership to just a segment of my list, and get a beta group started to help lay the groundwork for things. But then, at that point, how do I decide when the time is right to open up the membership to my whole list? Is it after a certain period of time? Is it after a certain amount of content has been established? Or I’ve a certain amount of initial members? Is there a best or better time to make that transition?
Shane: I think there is. What you want to do is get the first group in there and make sure nothing is broken. That is pretty much the point of a beta group. You offer them a cheaper price. You make them a founding member, and they get access to stuff that may or may not work. Some of your links be broken, your payment thing might break. That is what you are going to do with that first list. What I usually tell people is, “Do you have enough reason for them within your community to pay the second payment?” Once you do that, and all your systems are working, that is when you should open it up to your entire audience because you don’t want people to come in and consume all your content in a minute, and the community is not there, there is no reason to join again. The goal is the second payment, and the third payment, and the fourth payment. So if you’ve got the course that could take them six weeks instead of four, then you’ve got reason for them maybe to stay for that. If you’ve got the community talking, and everybody is starting to get to know each other, and you’ve got some stuff developing, then there is a reason to stay that second month.
Jocelyn: As far as numbers go, when you open up your beta, I don’t have a specific number in mind necessarily, but I want it to be large enough where I can get some good feedback, but small enough where there is an urgency to take you up on the offer.
Shane: If you took a thousand people of your subscribers, and maybe these were the thousand people that opened your last email, because they are your most active right now, then you could say something like, “There are only 20 spots available in this beta.” That is manageable. If something is broken, you can figure it out and fix it quickly. But it is not like, “Hey, there is 500 spots open,” and everybody’s like, “Well, I will just wait.” There are only 20 spots available. It’s got to have some urgency behind it, but you do want to keep it small.
Jocelyn: Make it a part of that beta experience to meet with you at the end, and talk about what did you like, what did you not like, what can I improve on moving forward?
Shane: You can do a second beta group, too. This is what people get confused here, because people are a lot of times, “Okay, I did 20 members, now I’m going to open it up to everybody and try to get 500 members.” We actually did three consecutive test groups before we had the Flip Your Life community to where we wanted it. It was like September, October, November. We would keep letting people in 20 at a time to see what was going on, to see what we could provide to get the feedback of those questions. You don’t have to just do one group and then open it to your whole list. You could open it to 20, and then you will have a little attrition. A few people will quit on the second month. You can open another one, so let’s say five people, now you’ve got 35 members. Let’s keep going. Let’s keep testing. Maybe you add a new course at this point. Now you’ve really got content to get them to pay again. Maybe then you can broaden it out to half your list. You open it up to another hundred people. You don’t have to just blow it out to your whole list. You can stair step this and make it more manageable.
Kristin: Got it, that makes a lot of sense. I didn’t even think about layering the beta groups, in one group at a time.
Shane: Oh, yeah, that is how we did it, because same questions you have from question one is, ” How much time am I going to spend here?” I don’t know, let’s see, let’s get 20 more people. Alright, now let’s see what we’re doing. Okay, now how do we align that with what we want? Okay, we’ve got it under control. Let us add some more people and see if we can maintain this. That helps you figure out your systems, and your thresholds. What if hundred people out of that thousands people join day one? Now you are flooded at that point. So you can roll it out for sure.
Kristin: Yeah, I think you just hit an anxiety round of my first question right on the head, Shane, when I open up this membership to a bunch of people, and I would be cool to have 100 members, but at the same time I’m like, Ah! If you layer bit by bit and I’m able to see my threshold and how it is going, I’m able to create a sustainable business for myself.
Jocelyn: Yeah, I love that idea. We are all about slow growth around here. That is just how we build pretty much everything that we’ve done, is it the fastest way to make money? Of course not. But it is a way you know for sure that you can handle it. And for us that is really important because we don’t want to overextend ourselves and then be like, we hate our life.
Kristin: Yeah, exactly.
Jocelyn: That is the most important thing to have is to have a fulfilling life for us, and a fulfilling life doesn’t always been the most money.
Shane: We also think that’s the best way to grow, and we’ve done this before because we’ve had launches. We’ve used the launch model where you are just like, “I’m going to launch, and I’m going to make all this money,” right? But the problem is, you put all that energy, you are about to kill yourself, and then in the next quarter, if you don’t launch, you don’t make any money. So, yeah, you might have had this big 50% increase in revenue, but it hurts because you don’t have it. You’ve got to do it all over again. What if you don’t grow? We were just actually studying our numbers on one of our education sites. It grew 15% almost last year because we have this slow mentality, this slow growth. We capitalize on the busy parts, but it is just, if you lose five, add six. If you lose six add eight. Don’t try to add 500 at once and the whole thing comes tumbling down like a house of cards. It’s actually a better way to grow your business, too. Year-over-year you are going to make more money.
Jocelyn: I think that this strategy kind of depends on what kind of audience you already have. For you, you already have a great audience established. You do want to sort of slow that down. But I think for some people like you want to get as many people in as you can. If you don’t have any audience yet.
Shane: Yeah, if you’ve got 1,000 people on your list, you could just open it up to everybody, and if you do get flooded, great. You just converted 20% of your list. Woo-hoo! That’s another problem you deal with in the real-time. But now, you really could open the door and what if 400 people join?
Shane: You’ve got to have a floodgate, and you’ve got to crack it open a let little come through, and then a little come through, and then a little come through.
Jocelyn: All right. That was some really great information about having a beta group and opening up memberships. What else do you have for us today?
Kristin: As far as the membership community or site itself goes, I definitely see a forum being a big piece and component of that to facilitate interaction, and conversation. But in addition to this piece, how do you decide on the content model to really build your community around, because I think I’ve seen it different ways from webinars being the foundation of it to Q&A sessions being the foundation of it to printables and resources being a main component of it. What direction should I have when going in?
Jocelyn: I think that there are two ways to look at this. The first and most important thing is what does your audience want? What do they expect from you? What is most beneficial for them, and what is going to keep them paying month after month. That is probably the first thing.
The second thing is what do you want? If your audience wants a daily phone call with you, and that is not going to work for you, then that is not going to be the thing that you are going to offer. Those are things that you really have to keep in mind, but the first thing is what does your audience want? For me, my audience on Elementary Librarian, they want lesson plans. One thing that I do is I really try to facilitate the sharing of their own lesson plans with other librarians so that we have a large library and people can come in and get new lesson plan ideas month after month. That is what I prioritized on Elementary Librarian.
Shane: That’s why, on Flipped Lifestyle, we prioritized our forum because what we finally realized is we can have training courses, those are ready to go when we need to answer a question. But most people want to do is say, “I’m here, where do I go next?” That is why we chose a forum or that, is to facilitate that because our audience wanted to ask and get the answer to that question.
In another group, like for football coaches, when I was selling playbooks, football coaches don’t want to talk to you because football coaches are arrogant and full of ego. They don’t want to admit they don’t know something. But what they will do is watch a video. They will go buy a coaching tape, is what we call them. All I had was videos. There was no real place to talk inside of that product because they just wanted to watch the video, they wanted to put their spin on the playbook, and they wanted to go and be the hero, Vince Lombardi Super Bowl coach guy.
That was totally different than Flipped Lifestyle where it was geared more toward the forum, and then the video, instead of the video and if you have a question I’m kind of here. Once you get these people in here, you can simply ask them, “How do you want to do this? Do you want a forum, or do you want a private Facebook group?” We found for Jocelyn’s Librarian site, people would really rather talk on Facebook because it is on their phone, they can get on it at school, and they didn’t have to worry about talking into another place.
Jocelyn: And educators are notorious for being not the best with technology, to put it nicely. They didn’t really understand how to use the forums, but they did understand how to use Facebook. That was just sort of a natural thing for them.
Shane: Basically, whatever you decide to do, try to pick a technology that you can deliver that that facilitates the people that are buying it.
I love what Jocelyn said, too about what you want because we hate blogging. We just don’t have time to blog. It just does not fit our life at all. That is one reason we choose podcasting, and that happens to align with our audience. They like podcasts. But we would have to find something else to do if we did not like that because we just don’t have time to sit down for four hours and type a blog post. We just don’t have time to do it.
Jocelyn: That’s not to say we never do it, it’s just not something that we do regularly.
Shane: What you can do is, let’s say your audience wants a webinar. But you don’t want to do a webinar, right? Maybe option be on your audience’s list is they would like a pre-recorded video, and you were sitting there going, “Hey, I kind of like that better than the live stuff.” Or maybe your A and their B matched. That is what you are trying to do is work that sliding-scale until you can align what they want with what you want, and then build a business around those rules.
Kristin: Great, yeah. That makes a lot of sense. I actually love writing blog posts, and creating visuals and printables and resources and I know that just from the feedback I’ve gotten from my blog, it seems like my audience likes that, too so that could be something.
Shane: And that is it.
Jocelyn: Yeah, exactly. Chances are, if that is how they found you, and that is how they decided to follow you, probably, that is what they are interested in. The way that I would approach that is I would go to them in this beta group, and say, “Hey, this is what I had in mind for this membership. What do you think? Is this going to work for you? What suggestions do you have to make it better?”
Shane: This is a deeper issue, too, because all you hear is, “Ask your audience what they want, and they will tell you, do that, this, that, and the other,”–
Jocelyn: — which is vitally important.
Shane: Which is vitally important, it is. But, you have to align it with what you want, or you are just trading your old life for a different version of your old life.
Jocelyn: And I feel like a lot of times people are like, “Well, everybody says I have to do Facebook live. That is what I need to do, because everybody else is doing it.” Or, “Everybody says I have to talk to my audience on LinkedIn because that is where my audience is, and everybody says that is what I have to do. That is what my competitors are doing, so that is what I have to do.”
Shane: That is usually not what you have to do. We don’t do any live videos almost at all anymore because, like what I said earlier, does not fit our time schedule. We don’t want to be slaved to that 5 o’clock hour, or whatever. We just have chosen that we are going to do pre-recorded stuff and everybody else is doing live stuff, that is fine. That is fine, there’s nothing wrong with either way, you could just pick what you want and move with it.
Jocelyn: Alright, Kristin, We’ve had some great questions so far. What do you have next?
Kristin: I’ve had my blog for six years now, and all of my content is currently publicly available. Do you have any thoughts on how I can best leverage this content to support and promote my membership community?
Shane: Usually, the best way to answer these questions is with curation. We have stuff in our community, too, that is free. It is available on our blog, or maybe even our podcast. We totally talked about it in detail. What you can do is you can curate that content into new forums. One of our master classes is all about vetting your idea. You have an idea for an online business, well, how do you go out in the marketplace to see if that is even going to work? We have this course about that. I also had some free content. We had a couple podcasts about this, and we also had a video that I did showing how to do keyword research with the Google AdWords keyword tool. What we did was we had that new content that we had made for the Flip Your Life blueprint. But then we went in and curated everything we had done talking about the subject and we put it under that in a nice, organized directory. Now when somebody says, “Hey, how do I research and vet my idea?” they go to that forum, then they see that training, but then under it is like, “Did you know that we also had these three podcasts and this blog posts about that?” We curated that to enhance anything that we made new in our forums. Always remember, 90% of the people only see about 10% of your content. They may not even know you’ve got this free content that could help them. But if you will collect them together into nice bundles, that is a great service for your community that not only helps them achieve their goals, and whatever they are trying to do with their content, but it takes that old stuff and it’s new to them so you don’t have to create something new.
Jocelyn: And I would recommend just making sure that you have all of that good free content in your autoresponder sequence so once they finish your auto responder, if they don’t take your offer, then continue to give them value. From my Elementary Librarian list, I send them an email every other week or about twice a month that basically just has to something free and it’s. It might be a free lesson plan, it might be a free resource, it might be a link to a helpful website to for librarians, it might be a link to a Pinterest board.
Shane: Or like an old blog post you wrote two years ago.
Jocelyn: Yeah, because you have to remember that a lot of your audience, they might not be around when you wrote that content the first time. They may have never seen it.
Shane: Yeah, that is how I sold my playbooks, too. Literally, everything and all of the materials I released as blog posts over the six-month period. It was all free. At just wasn’t organized. Basically, what they were paying me for was, “Hey, here is an organized A-Z, step-by-step system of all this stuff I’ve talked about for the last six months.” And people bought it. You can always recycle that old stuff to enhance new stuff, or you can create a whole new course right away. We actually did this. A lot of people love our podcast. It was the third one we did, “How to work with your spouse without killing each other.” People love that thing so what we did was we actually hired a person to create a presentation for it, and then we hired someone to transcribe it, and then our team kind of turned into this almost like a course with a little thing that you print out with a checklist and everything. We just put that into the Flip Your Life Blueprint, and people love it. It was something that we did back in 2014. But it was timely, and it was evergreen, and we curated it in a way that made it more useful now. That is what you have to do with all your old stuff.
Kristin: Would you ever consider creating maybe a teaser portion of some of your most popular content, and then putting the rest behind a paywall with an invite to join the membership? I’ve seen some sites do that.
Shane: That works best when it is a step-by-step process. I don’t know this, I don’t have any numbers on this, but I know as a consumer, when I watch the first five minutes of a video and it just turns off, then I’ve got to pay for the rest of it, that is jarring, and it is almost negative. But if someone is like, “Hey, this is a seven step process, but look I will give you steps one and two to get you started.” It is more like I can go get a result from the first step, and then say, “Hey, what is next?” Instead of just, “Hey, we are hiding some stuff from you, until you give me money.”
Jocelyn: I would say just based on my experience in the education market, I typically don’t like to hold back. I would rather give them things and say I have more in this pay area because I think that especially in education, people are accustomed to getting things for free. When you put that out there, and say, “Well, here is some of it.” It is like Shane was saying, I think that sort of gives them a negative experience with you. You want them to have a positive experience and say, “How can I get more of this awesome stuff?” I don’t know if that applies to all areas. I know that it probably does for sure in education based on the five years we’ve been doing it.
Shane: There’s a truth in online business. It is kind of like the dirty little secret of online businesses. You could literally give away everything for free, and people would still buy everything from you. It does not seem like that. Most people, anytime they pay for anything, they want convenience. That is really what you pay for an almost everything you do.
Jocelyn: Yeah, not too long ago, we bought this dog training series. It was on DVD. But then, Shane started looking on YouTube, and every single video that was in the dog training series that we bought is on YouTube.
Shane: There was nothing that wasn’t in it. But when I bought that DVD, it came with this nice checklist. It came with a nice plan for me to follow. It showed me what order to watch the videos in.
Jocelyn: So, we weren’t really mad about it.
Shane: Nope. I wasn’t mad at all because I had organization, and I had a plan. That is what people will pay for. They will follow you for your content, they will follow you because of who you are, but that they will pay you for the plan. It does not matter if you got everything out for free. They don’t want to sit and look through your blog. They don’t want to hunt for all your YouTube videos.
Jocelyn: People want you to take them by the hand and say, “Here is what you need.”
Shane: A-Z, follow these steps. That is what you’ve got to do. Don’t ever worry about releasing anything. In fact, the better your content is, the faster you should put it out there because it doesn’t matter how good your content is if nobody ever sees it.
Jocelyn: Yeah, and I like people constantly coming back to my site. That is why I give away so many things on Elementary Librarian. I want people to think this is the resource for Elementary Librarian’s. I’m going to come here every single day.
Shane: That is what you’re going to create, basically.
Jocelyn: The more that they come there to get free stuff, they might say, “Hey, this free stuff is really cool. Maybe I could get some additional things if I join.”
Kristin: Yeah, and that is what I want for my site, too. I think that is what my audience is really seeing my site as, and why I’ve built on the audience that I have.
Shane: Do you have categories on your blog of certain types of information? Because you know how earlier, we talked about how you said, “How much content should I put in? I’ve got this one course,” right? Don’t you think you could curate some really cool posts inside your community that would almost be like courses? “My First-Month-on-the job blog pack,” or something. It was just stuff you wrote on the first day on the job. I don’t know what the topics are because I don’t know your niche, but you could package things, and say, “Hey, go to this area of my thing. It is like a course, but really it is just old stuff that you’ve organized.” You could probably take a day or two and just have five or six little course areas like we do in the community. When people get in there, that is going to give them that reason to keep paying because they can’t get through all that at once, basically.
Kristin: That’s a great idea. I love that idea!
Jocelyn: Alright, Kristen, I think you have one final question, right?
Kristin: Okay. I also have a physical product that I sell and ship. Do you guys have any ideas or thoughts for how I might bundle this physical product with my membership site?
Shane: We actually do, because Jocelyn bundles a physical product with her digital product, Elementary Librarian site.
Jocelyn: What I have done, my audience kept telling me, “I really want a printed book.” I thought, you know, these are online products, why can’t you print your own book? But people wanted a printed book. So I did some research with some local printing companies. I figured out how much it was going to cost and the cost is kind of high. I’m not sure what kind of physical product you have, but the cost of the printed book especially one that is as thick as mine was, it was about $30 a book; that’s not even include shipping. I just kind of got the information together, I priced it at $79, and I thought, “Nobody is going to buy this thing.” Well, you would be shocked at how many people bought it. Basically, the way that I have it set up is as an upsell so they will purchase the membership, and they will immediately get a screen that says do you want to add a printed book? When that happens, basically, I have a sequence that goes, my person who mails the books gets notified. She takes care of it, and sends it out, and then the customer gets a notification.
Kristin: Great, I haven’t even thought of doing the upsell portion of it. That makes a lot of sense.
Shane: It’s also a cool way to do what is called a ‘bump’. You can offer trials for your membership. You can offer a dollar trial, or something. “To try membership for a week.” But then, when they are paying for the dollar trial, you can also say, “Hey, buy my physical book right now for 25% off,” and they get it for whatever it is. You are not just getting a dollar from that first transaction, you can bump them and say, “Hey, some of that these people are going to buy a book with that.” I’ve got a friend that does do that with his membership site. He had a dollar trial and he added his book. He has a book on Amazon, he sold the book for $17. It was a dollar trial. His membership is $19 a month. Minus what it costs to make the book. He made more profit off that first transaction and found better qualified buyers and what is funny is the people that bought his book were infinitely more likely to go ahead and pay that second payment because they were so much more invested.
Jocelyn: Yeah. I love selling an upsell at the point-of-sale. We’ve talked about this before in the podcast but that is the best time to bump up what is called your lifetime customer value. You want to make sure that while they have that wallet out, they are ready to buy, they are excited about your membership, go ahead and ask them, “Hey, would you like to upgrade to this package right then?”
Shane: That upsell has to add value which is what you’ve got here. There is something different when you physically get something from a business. That can really submit that lifetime value, and improve it if you can be like all of a sudden, if you are thing as a book, that book might be sitting on their desk. When they login to cancel, they’re like, “No, this is valuable. This book is awesome. I’ve got to go login, see what else is in there.” It could be a perfect upsell for what you are doing.
Kristin: Great, I didn’t even think about the physical product you can propose it in a way that it really adds value to the membership. I hadn’t thought about it that way.
Shane: A lot of people sell their book for cost separately. What is your physical product?
Kristin: It is a planner, it’s for coaches.
Shane: Yeah, it’s a planner. You could position at both ways. You can have one funnel where it is an upsell. You could have another funnel where you were giving it away basically for cost, whatever cost you just ship it and make it. But then, when people buy that, they get up sold into your membership. It does not matter how you use it, but use it because you have this awesome resource. My guess is that if you can get that planner in people’s hands and they are physically writing in it every day, that is going to increase your lifetime value ridiculous for your membership site.
Kristin: Cool! Great!
Jocelyn: All right. Well, this has been an awesome and super informative call today. I think that people in our audience are going to get a lot of value from this, so thank you for the insightful questions.
Kristin: Absolutely, thank you for your time. This has been so helpful!
Jocelyn: We always ever calls by asking our guests what is one thing that you plan to take action on in the next day or so based on what we talked about here today?
Kristin: Yeah, I really, even within the next couple of days, send in an email out to a segment of my list, and see if there might be 20 folks who might be interested in joining my membership as a beta group, so just getting started, and then asking those initial folks what they had in mind as far as how I could provide value within the membership, suggestions they might have, thinking about what I want, at the same time and just getting started.
Shane: I love it. I absolutely love it. There is nothing better than when you open the doors, and you say, “all right, guys, you said you wanted it. Now vote with your dollars.” So that is what you are going to do. I love it.
Well, listen, thank you for so much for just sharing with our audience, for coming on and being transparent, t is so beneficial. Some people are scared to talk about what they want for their business. I think that is what is so cool about the Flipped Lifestyle community in general. It is because everyone is so wanting to help each other. Just to thank you so much for letting everybody listen in to these questions. I know there’s going to be a lot of people out there that is sitting there and going, “You know what? I’m launching mine, too.” They’re going to do that because you’ve inspired them. So, thanks for coming into the show, Kristin.
Kristin: Thank you so much!
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 Computer community, head over to flippedlifestyle.com/flipyourlife and we can help you with your online business, too.
Jocelyn: Alright, next, we’re going to move into the Can’t Miss Moment segment of our show, and these are moments that we were able to experience that we might have missed if we were working at 9-to-5 jobs, still.
Shane: Alright, today’s Can’t Miss Moment is going to Daytona Beach with the kids. We were actually flying down to Florida for another reason. We flew in to Sanford International Airport, which is a little bit outside of Orlando. There is not really anything there. We were getting into town really, really late, like at 9:30 or 10 o’clock. We were just going to drive over to Orlando, or maybe grab a hotel there in Sanford and just sent spend the night and get up, and rent a car and drive to where we were going in the morning. But we kind of, on a whim, just said, “Why don’t we just head over to the beach? We’ll grab a hotel, we’ll wake up and watch the sun come up over the Atlantic Ocean. We will spend a day on the sand, and on the surf and have a great time, and let the kids go see the ocean.”
We did that. We just found a hotel over in Daytona Beach, we made a reservation, we got in a car and drove over there. It took about 30, 40 minutes to get there from the airport. We went to bed, and we woke up, and we watch the sun come up over the ocean. We had a great time on the beach. Me and Anna Jo went on a 30-minute walk up and down the beach to see the pier and go look at the boardwalk and just have a good time. Isaac and Jocelyn laid around and just played in the ocean, played in the sand, build sand castles.
It was awesome to be able to say, “Let’s go to the beach, let’s grab a hotel,” and be able to do that. That was definitely a can’t miss moment. We take for granted sometimes, especially those of us that get to see the ocean all the time and do things like that, but a lot of people never see the ocean. Our kids get to go and see that over and over again, and they got to do it this time. It was really cool to add that on a whim to our trip, and be able to wake up and see the ocean.
Jocelyn: What started out as sort of an afterthought of our trip ended up being one of the highlights. We don’t get to see a lot of oceans here in Kentucky, and in fact, I haven’t seen one until I think I was like 19, or maybe even 20 years old. It was just a cool thing to do when we are able to do couple times a year.
Shane: The Flip Your Life podcast is not just about our Can’t Miss Moments, guys, we’re all about our members’ success.
We wanted to share a member success story with you today.
Before we go, we wanted to share an actual success story from the Success Forums in the Flip Your Life membership. Today’s success story comes from Travis, and the subject line in the Success Forums says, “26 new members, I just gave myself a $754 raise. Here is how I did it.”
Jocelyn: And Travis writes, “Hey Flip Your Life family, I did a two-day push for one dollar trials to my drop shipping course. I’m very pleased with the results. I had 47 sign-ups, 26 of those ended up sticking around and it gave me a $754-a-month revenue bump. But the most exciting part about this is that my monthly revenue, just from this one website, now exceeds my monthly household expenses. In essence, this site alone makes me financially free. The very near passive income this membership site produces more than covers all our household bills including groceries and gas. Pretty cool! Thanks, S&J.”
Shane: That is an incredible, incredible success story guys. If you heard that correctly, Travis was working on a revenue bump trying to figure out how to make more money out of his online business to get to that next level, to bust through those plateaus, to get enough members to be financially free, and dollar for dollar, he just crossed that point.
You just heard someone literally cross from trying to build a Flipped Lifestyle to start living the Flipped Lifestyle. We are so proud of Travis. He is an amazing member, and Travis actually wrote a great blog post about his one-dollar trial case study. We will include a link to that in our show notes. We just want to say, man, congratulations. When you move past the point where you can totally take care of yourself with your online business, that is rare air my friend. Good job.
Jocelyn: We would love to help you write the success story for your online business. At the end of today’s show, head over to flippedlifestyle.com/flipyourlife where you could learn more about building and growing a successful online business with the help of our Flip Your Life community.
Shane: Before we go, we like to close every one of our shows with a verse from the Bible. Today’s verse comes from Proverbs 10:2, and the Bible says, “Tainted wealth has no lasting value.” Keep that in mind while you’re building your online business guys. Always treat every customer with honesty and fairness. 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.