In today’s episode, we help Shira grow her membership site for behavior analysis professionals.
Jocelyn Sams: Hey, y’all. On today’s podcast, we help Shira grow her membership site for behavior analysis professionals.
Shane Sams: 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 that 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? 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 again today. Super excited to bring on another member of the Flip Your Life community. And we have a huge success story to share with you guys today. We are super excited to welcome Shira Karpel to the show today. How you doing, Shira?
Shira Karpel: Hi, guys. I’m good. Thanks for having me.
Shane Sams: Shira told me to pronounce her name just like the Masters of the Universe Shira from our childhoods. So I tried to do that as best as I could.
Jocelyn Sams: From, as our children say, the 19’s.
Shane Sams: From the 19’s. Back in the 19’s.
Jocelyn Sams: One time they said to us, you were alive in the 19’s?
Shane Sams: Isaac asked me the other day, he said something like hey, Dad, how old were you when they invented electronics?
Shira Karpel: That’s hysterical.
Shane Sams: That’s hysterical.
Jocelyn Sams: Okay. Well, we’re happy to have you today. We’re really excited about your story. You had written into us not too long ago to let us know that you have been a part of our community for a while, and you’ve been using our resources to grow a membership site for behavior analysts. Is that correct? And so what I want you to do is tell us a little bit about that. How did you get started in this? What’s your background, and what is your business?
Shira Karpel: So behavior analysis is the science of behavior, and it’s looking at how the impact of the environment affects behavior. There’s so many applications to ABA, which applied behavior analysis. The most common application is with kids who have autism, who might be getting 20 to 40 hours a week of ABA therapy, and that’s an intensive application of ABA. So I would say that’s the most common application of ABA. I got into ABA, I have a masters in education. And then I went on to get a board certification, which is another degree on top of that. So I’m BCBA certified. And I’ve been training and practicing ABA here where I live. And as a BCBA, that means that we assess children who might need either behavior therapy or ABA therapy. Either that’s because they have autism, or they just might need some help managing their behavior, either in a classroom or at home.
Shira Karpel: So we do the assessment. We would do supervision, and then we would very often put a team in place who carries out programs that come from us. So we would create the programs that are individualized for the student. And then there would be a therapist who’s there daily carrying out the programs. And everything we do is data driven. So she’ll be taking data and recording data, and then we’ll review the data to make changes and updates to the program.
Shira Karpel: So that’s what I’ve been doing as a career. And then we got to the point where unfortunately, there’s a huge need for ABA therapists and BCBA’s because of the need for children who have autism and other difficulties. But we found that there was only so much time in the day, and even if we would hire more therapists and have more staff, the amount of work that would take of us to scale just wasn’t going to be worthwhile. We don’t like charging families an extra amount of money so that we get a cut of what the therapists are doing. It just doesn’t seem right to want to scale in that direction. And then I kind of came across this concept of online business through another therapist’s website that enlightened me into this idea. I never thought that my field could actually do something like that. And started the website maybe about a year and a half ago. Our website is howtoaba.com. And that’s where our blog lives.
Shira Karpel: And the blog is geared towards training other AB professionals, just giving them good tips. We also share a ton of free resources. So every blog has its own unique opt-in. So there might be, for a blog that’s talking about one topic, we create an opt-in for that topic specifically to help them.
Shane Sams: Super smart.
Shira Karpel: Either a data sheet or a resource or a worksheet or something that’s very specific so they opt in to that. So we get a lot of good traffic on our free resources page. So we’ve been doing that blog. And then we also found that a lot of professionals, because of the way of getting into the field, a lot of it is hands on training. So there are courses that you take, but a lot of it is just exposure in the field, and a lot of people feel untrained or unprepared or really just thrown in without being totally prepared.
Shira Karpel: So we found that sharing our resources was something we wanted to do to the greater community so that people can come together and help each other and feel more prepared once they are working with a kid, because you often are on your own. You don’t really have another support system where you’re working. So then we started a membership about a year ago. And the membership is called the Behavior Resource. Beyond the free resources that we offer on our blog, we actually offer the real programs that we use in programming for the children. We share that with all of our members. So they’re able to download if they’re teaching a topic with a student. They could just download that program, and it has everything you need, the data sheet, the explanation, all the criteria that we’re required to have on a program description.
Shira Karpel: And we also offer monthly continuing education webinars, so we are certified through the international board to provide continuing education units.
Shane Sams: Love it.
Shira Karpel: So we do that once a month. Currently, we’re only able to provide them for people who attend lives because of just the requirement. We’re hoping to get to the point where we can create quizzes for each one, and be able to know if people watch them. But maybe that’s like a software thing we want to look into. I’m not really sure how to do that. Because we do store the recordings in the resource, and people watch the recordings, but they can’t the continuing education for that. And I know that that would be a big attraction if people could get the units for the recordings.
Shane Sams: So how much is the membership? How much do they pay per month?
Shira Karpel: So we have three options. For $12 a month, you get access to all the downloads, like the program descriptions, the graphs, data sheets, anything like that. For $19 a month, you get all of that plus any recorded video or live video. And then we have a yearly, which is 199.
Shane Sams: And how many members do you have right now?
Shira Karpel: We have 87 plus 48, whatever that is.
Shane Sams: So you have over 100.
Shira Karpel: Our current members.
Jocelyn Sams: So like in each category, yeah.
Shira Karpel: Yeah. In total, we service 178 have come in and out the door.
Shane Sams: Awesome.
Shira Karpel: We have a high retention rate. Not a lot of people cancel.
Shane Sams: That’s amazing.
Shira Karpel: Yeah. We have almost 140 current.
Jocelyn Sams: So let’s kind of back up just a little bit. You do have a business partner, right?
Shira Karpel: Right.
Jocelyn Sams: Okay. Now, is this someone that you have worked with in the past? What’s your relationship with your business partner?
Shira Karpel: Right. So when I got into the field, she was really the one who trained me. We kind of worked together for about six to eight years, building our Toronto business. And a lot of the resources, she’s trained me on, or she’s created, or we’ve created together. And so when I came up with this idea, I thought she would continue to do that and offer more of the mentorship in the community, and I would do a lot of the marketing and settings things up from a technical perspective.
Shane Sams: That’s amazing. So this thing is really young then. You just launched it this year, correct?
Shira Karpel: A year ago.
Shane Sams: And then when you were blogging, did you start blogging with the idea of an online membership or an online business, or was it basically like okay, let’s just blog and then let it grow. What brought you to Flipped Lifestyle? Did you try something before that? How did you end up in the Flip Your Life community?
Shira Karpel: The Toronto business had a blog, and that was more to drum up local business.
Shane Sams: Yeah.
Shira Karpel: And it was around for a long time, so it did get a lot of good hits. So I started on that blog, and then when this became its own entity, we decided to give it a new name and move the blog over. So already then, we had the intention of starting the blog with the plans for something. I really struggled with how to turn this into a business, because I don’t feel like … I tried some other online resources and how to sell online and all that stuff, and a lot of what people said was you have to give people a solution to their problem. And I didn’t feel like I could bring people from A to Z and say I’m solving your problem now. You can leave. I didn’t feel like I could sell them a course, and at the end of the course, they would have a solution to their problem.
Shira Karpel: So I had tried that before I came to you guys, and I offered … I launched a webinar, and I offered, I think, a four to six week course, and we’re going to take you through … I don’t even know what it was. But I didn’t feel good about it, because I didn’t feel like I gave them the solution. Because at the end of the day, they’re still in the same job. They’re still in the same profession. They still have the same struggles, and they just need more resources. So then I kind of came across you guys, and I felt like what you offered in terms of the membership solution was really a great solution for me. I also like the idea of … I feel like I’m providing a lot more value than even the $19. I do feel good about what they’re paying for it. I don’t feel like I’m ripping anyone off. I don’t feel like they’re paying too much for what they’re getting. I feel like it’s something I would have paid a lot of money for.
Shira Karpel: So when I found you guys, and you kind of pushed me to do this community idea, I just feel good about it, and it seems to be working.
Shane Sams: How many ABA professionals are out there? Do you know that number?
Jocelyn Sams: Is this something that’s mostly a Canadian thing? Is it an international thing and pardon my ignorance on this, I just don’t know anything.
Shira Karpel: It’s an international thing. The board is located in the United States in Florida, and it’s becoming a lot more common. There’s lots. I don’t even want to guess the number, but I would say hundreds per year.
Shane Sams: But this has greater reach, too, right? Anyone it seems like in special ed could use resources like this like in schools, like teachers. For example, like what you’re saying about the programming sounds very similar to what elementary school special education teachers use for their behavior problems.
Shira Karpel: Right.
Shane Sams: Not behavior problems, but behavior therapy, right? This has reach that trickles down through the professional into the school system and these resources can even be deployed through other people under the supervision of someone, like an ABA professional, basically, right?
Shira Karpel: Yeah, for sure. And the other thing is like in countries where they may not have access to a BCA or an ABA professional, there’s a huge need to access good resources, because there’s countries in Europe and Asia and everywhere. We’re actually getting a lot of those where they don’t have someone who’s able to provide that supervision.
Shane Sams: Okay. First of all, congratulations. You sent me an email a little while ago, and I read it, and I read it to Jocelyn out loud when you sent us the email because you said something very interesting. You’ve been in the community for a while. You’re not super active in the forums or anything like that, but you’re there. You’re listening. You’re taking action. You’re going forward. And you’ve built this amazing business. This is amazing. This is just the foundation of what could easily become 1,000, 2,000 person membership that you’re serving one to many. And you’re really throwing your pebble in the pond and causing a massive ripple because you’re training the professionals that train other people that help all these kids.
Shane Sams: So if every one of those people reaches 100 kids, like oh my gosh, what is the impact of this business? And it’s not like a course where you’re just like watch the course and move on, you’re like literally helping them throughout their whole struggles, throughout their journey. You’ve kind of opened the door and asked questions, which is what we do. That’s our job.
Shane Sams: We realize this, too. You can’t just solve someone’s problem with a course. What you really can do is solve someone’s next step. But you have to have a dialogue back and forth to know that person’s next step, and that’s kind of what you’ve done here is you’ve created this bank of resources, which is basically a bank of next steps. You’ve opened the door for communication so people can clarify next steps. And you’ve created this thing that could just go out there and help as many people as possible. This is a world changing business you guys have created on top of the fact that you’ve successfully created financial gain from it. And that’s what it’s all about. That is exactly what my business is all about.
Shira Karpel: Right. When I first came into the community, I was really struggling with whether I should create this resource for parents or for professionals, because I felt like parents also need some sort of support and help and all of that, but professionals, you know, there’s that attraction of helping so many more people. And on one of our first calls, I think you, Shane, encouraged me to start with the professionals, and you said just do it. Do it for three months, and then reassess. And we had members. So I just kept going.
Shane Sams: That’s how it works.
Shira Karpel: And I like the idea that we can affect so many more people.
Shane Sams: I love how you said that because my brother and I were actually … my brother lives in Cincinnati, and I’m down in southeast Kentucky. The only way we ever talk is we play Xbox together a couple nights a week.
Jocelyn Sams: Nerd alert.
Shane Sams: Yeah, Jocelyn, she just called me a nerd. You didn’t hear that. But anyway, we were talking and hanging out, and I was talking the other day, he was like how many people listen to your podcast, how many people do your stuff, how many people listen to your lesson plans and all that stuff. And I got to thinking about my US history site. I got to thinking about Jocelyn’s elementary librarian site, and we were trying to do the math of all the people that had read our articles or listened to our podcast. It’s insane to think about how many students have literally read our lesson plans in the country and around the world and how many people have heard our message and our podcast.
Shane Sams: I think one of our Forbes articles is over half a million people have read it. You just don’t realize, and it doesn’t really settle in until you look down, and you say, I have a … I mean, what was it 170 something professionals have been through this thing, and those 170 people have probably touched 50 to 100 kids in the last year or whatever, and these numbers become exponential how much influence you can make in the world sitting in your office in Toronto.
Jocelyn Sams: But the thing about it is if you never would have made a decision, and you never would have gotten started, none of this would have started. You could have been sitting here saying, oh, well, I don’t know which avatar to choose, so I guess I won’t do anything.
Shane Sams: I’ll just stay paralyzed right here where I am.
Shira Karpel: Well, I did that for a long time until you pushed me off the cliff.
Shane Sams: I’m good at throwing people off the cliffs. I’m not the best at parachutes. That’s Jocelyn’s job in our relationship. That’s why we always do the member calls together. So I can throw people off the cliff, and Jocelyn can throw in a parachute on your way down. But your parachute opened, and you were in total control of the landing now, and that is amazing.
Jocelyn Sams: The good news is you got past the mindset struggle of I don’t know what to do, so I’m not going to do anything. You got past that. But let’s talk about maybe something else that you’ve overcome along the way. So when everyone gets started, there’s a number of mindset problems that we have that make us think either we can’t do this, or we shouldn’t do this, or something like that. So what is a mindset issue, a fear, or an obstacle that maybe held you back in the beginning that you’ve overcome.
Shane Sams: Or it could be something that maybe you … maybe there was a roadblock between you and your business partner. That’s another dynamic that comes in here. After you got this launched, you got your first members. What else kind of tripped you up along the way?
Shira Karpel: Well, I will say that part of my hesitancy in choosing to launch is definitely a little bit of imposter syndrome, which I probably still struggle with, because part of me going into the professionals was well, what if somebody comes and says, no, you’re doing everything wrong, or you don’t know what you’re talking about, and who am I to be telling other professionals how to do their job and all of that. So that was scary, and sometimes opening my emails sometimes and just waiting for somebody to respond and say how dare you recommend this, or why would you say that?
Shane Sams: Which will happen eventually, if it’s not already.
Jocelyn Sams: Oh yeah, it’s going to happen.
Shira Karpel: Yeah, but you know what, I’m still waiting. I haven’t gotten anything like that. The feedback we’ve gotten has been so positive in the way people respond to say, wow, you’ve helped me in my profession, and I feel so much more equipped, and the feedback has just all been positive, which I know may not last forever, but that’s okay.
Jocelyn Sams: No, definitely won’t last forever.
Shane Sams: And even if it does, that’s a good example of how few and far between it is, but how the one out of the 100 can impact us, right? Because we don’t get that many either. We say that jokingly all the time, like it’s coming. It’s really literally one in 100 messages that you get.
Shira Karpel: Yeah. So that’s great. And in terms of like … I would say the struggle with having a partner. It’s been great. We’ve done great at dividing and conquering. We get along really well, and we really set out our intentions from the beginning. We knew what we wanted out of this. But it’s difficult because we are both very limited with time. Our schedules are very different. So any time we want to do any kind of live webinar or marketing or even recording videos on our blog and our YouTube channel, it’s been very challenging. We can only really, at this point, get together, not even once a month, we’re able to find time to get together and record videos. Even if we batch them, it gets really tricky.
Shira Karpel: So time is a huge issue in terms of having time for both of us to do things together in terms of marketing and doing videos and that kind of thing.
Shane Sams: Sure. I totally get that. That’s actually a struggle for us. The partnership dynamic we don’t get into a lot. Because we haven’t really had a lot of people with partners on the show. But even Jocelyn and I being married and living together, it’s hard for us to coordinate that perfect time where we’re both dressed, and we’re both ready, and the lighting’s right. That’s a huge struggle coordinating, you know what I’m saying, like getting everybody on the same page at the same time. But there’s also something interesting you said there about you’re so limited on time, but you’re still able to build a business of over 100 members. Like that’s insane. That’s a big thing that people worry about, like well, I’ve got a job, and I’ve got a family, and I’ve got all these things. Well, you guys did it, so why can’t anybody do it? It doesn’t make sense why some people say … some people say there’s no time, and that’s a non starter. But even saying I’ve got limited time, at least you’re spending some time on it, and you’re doing it, and it’s growing, and you’re making it happen with what you have.
Jocelyn Sams: And you didn’t make it a roadblock for you. You didn’t say well, we’re not able to record these videos, so I guess we’ll just wait until we have more time. No. You’ll never have more time.
Shane Sams: Right. It was a speed bump, not a road block, basically.
Shira Karpel: I will say it does get draining, because at this point, it’s been a year. I have three children.
Shane Sams: Yep.
Shira Karpel: I don’t have Sundays with them. I’m usually working on my business because I work full time during the week. My evenings are really taken up by my business, but I am a little afraid that I’m going to burn out at some point soon. So that’s concerning.
Shane Sams: Well, that’s what we’re here for. That’s why we’re talking today. We’re going to figure some of that stuff out.
Shira Karpel: Yeah. And the nice thing about the membership is it has been somewhat low maintenance. Once the professionals are in, they do … and we’ve taken surveys and everything. They are using the resources. They’re not always asking a ton of questions. So I guess one of my struggles is maybe I just feel like I have to put more in, but maybe there’s just enough there, and I don’t need to be so worried about it. I don’t know.
Shane Sams: I think that probably spills back into the imposter syndrome, because you feel like …
Jocelyn Sams: You need to prove yourself.
Shane Sams: Yeah. That’s a good way to say that. You need to prove yourself all the time, like you keep flooding resources and keep doing all these things, which keeps you going, which eventually like burns you out. You know?
Jocelyn Sams: People are probably happy with what you already have. You just have this personal thing where you think you have to provide more for them.
Shane Sams: Yeah. I love the imposter syndrome question, too, because I actually used this analogy with someone the other day. They were really struggling with imposter syndrome, to the point where it was like they couldn’t move forward, right? They were like no, I’m an imposter, right? I’m not the best at this. Who am I to teach this? Right?
Shira Karpel: Right.
Shane Sams: What I said to them, it was like my son, Isaac. Isaac plays basketball. We’re in a small area. We’re in Kentucky, so everybody thinks they know how to play basketball. But you know, he’s got a coach who’s on this team. And it would be kind of like saying only Steph Curry, the greatest three point shooter in the history of the NBA can shoot my son how to shoot a three pointer. Like it would be like that guy saying, well, I’m not Steph Curry. I’m not the best at this. I can’t teach this kid how to do it. And we know on that level, that that’s not true, right? He can teach my kid how to dribble. He can teach my kid how to play defense. He can teach my kid how to shoot a three pointer, because Isaac is behind him in the journey. And like that’s what I always go back other with coaching even.
Shane Sams: Me and Jocelyn are not Fortune 500 billionaires, right? There are plenty of people with bigger online businesses than us by choice or by ability, you know? But that doesn’t mean we can’t help everybody else who’s getting started, who’s growing, who’s building the thing, and I feel you’re getting there, and you still struggle with it a little bit. And we do, too. We struggle with imposter syndrome, too, at times. When we did the live event last year, we really struggled with live event. We were like, are we really the people that should be doing this? But we did it. It wasn’t the biggest live event ever, but we thought it was the best, but there was some imposter syndrome there.
Shira Karpel: I work here in Toronto, and although it is an international certification, I don’t know how people practice in other countries, so is my stuff really going to be helpful for them, do they do things differently in other places.
Shane Sams: The good thing you’ve done though is you’re letting them make that choice. And that’s actually how you beat imposter syndrome is you put it out there, and you don’t choose for people what’s the best information for them. You’re like this is what I offer. Here it is. On my history site, all the time, I get messages that are like, this is not the quality of stuff that … this is not good enough for my class. But then I’ll get a message the next day from another person that’ll say this is exactly what I was looking for. So it does it. There’s no real answer if it’s good enough or bad enough. It’s just that person it was good enough for them. This person, it was not good enough for them. But I’m here to give you a choice, right? And that’s what you’re doing. And I think you guys are wrestling with that really well. It’s pretty awesome. A lot of people never make it to that point, Shira, where they are brave enough to bust past through imposter syndrome to launch. So kudos for you guys for getting through it.
Shira Karpel: Well, thank you.
Jocelyn Sams: All right. Let’s jump into some questions about how we can help you guys get this thing to the next level and grow it. What can we help you with as far as that goes?
Shira Karpel: Okay. So I’m struggling with how to phrase this to in the marketing. Because like I said, I don’t feel like I’m solving an actual problem, that people come in, they get their problem solved, and they leave. In a lot of my copy and marketing materials, I’m not sure how to sell it so it sounds like I am solving a problem. So I struggle with that.
Shane Sams: This one is actually kind of easy. It’s that you sell the support, not the content. This seems like a field, based on what I know about education and also medical stuff, a lot of times these people are working with these kids alone, or they’re working in an office where they’re alone most of the day, and maybe they’ve got a team. Maybe they’re in a school. Maybe they’re in something. But this is such a hard field. Let’s be realistic.
Shane Sams: It’s working with kids. There’s some behavioral problems. It can be frustrating, and you’re alone a lot of the time in the execution of it, or at least with one or two other people. So it’s like that’s usually how things like this are marketed best is you’re not alone. You’re going to have leadership. You’re going to have community. Don’t focus so much on the resources. Use that as more of a … what do we call it? Gravy or icing on the cake.
Shane Sams: Not only that, we’ve got everything you’ll ever need resource wise. So there’s a real tendency for people to only want to promote their content and what people can download. But people don’t care about that. They don’t care about the stuff. They want the stuff, but what they really care about is that they have support, and they feel supported.
Jocelyn Sams: And really, truth be told, they don’t care so much about you, not in a negative way, not saying that you’re not important. But they care that they get their questions answered. And one of the coolest things that you can market on this is that you have ABA professionals from all over the planet who can help answer their questions.
Shane Sams: Yeah. I would be willing to bet if you looked at those 100 and something people, some of them are going to be close to each other, and they don’t even know it. They’re might be two people from Florida in that list. Just knowing that there’s people from however many states. We have members from 25 US states and four Canadian provinces, like all over the world. Just hearing that information is not marketing spin or anything like that. It’s hey, you’re not alone. There’s people around you going through this, and we can connect you to a bigger world, and you can get ideas that you’re not getting, because your states doing one thing, and our province is doing the other. That’s where the promotion needs to really focus on.
Shira Karpel: The reason I think I’ve been hesitant to do that is because there isn’t a lot of activity happening in terms of community and questions and I’m not … we’re not engaging that often, which I expected to, but we’re not getting a lot of people, I think, wanting that part of it. I think they’re happy to go in and get the downloads.
Shane Sams: Sure. But perception is reality. Let me take your example. When you sent me your email, you don’t usually use the forums a lot. I don’t know exactly what you’ve done in the courses or anything like that, but I would assume you’re so busy with your membership that you’re really not getting in there a whole lot, right? But it’s kind of there. And the one thing you pointed to in this whole conversation was man, I remember that one time I needed this one thing answered, I needed to be pushed off the cliff, and I asked Shane, and he told me, and I did it, and look what happened. Like that one thing is worth it, right?
Shane Sams: And a lot of times, we say people come for the content and stay for the community. But in some places, they come for the community and stay for the content. It doesn’t matter what they do when they get into it. You gotta speak to people where they are when they’re trying to find the solution. And the frustration with most people is they’re all alone creating all these resources. They’re all alone with this kid. They’re all alone in this setting.
Shane Sams: And they don’t even know that that’s the real problem. They think they just need to go download a worksheet, right? But really, what’s driving them is that aloneness, is that need for leadership, is that need for community, is that need for someone to just make it easier for them, right? And that’s what you’re providing really. You’re not really providing downloads. You’re providing ease of use. You’re providing a little relief from that loneliness.
Jocelyn Sams: A place for people to ask questions. Just because they’re not asking questions doesn’t mean that the place isn’t there for them to ask questions, right?
Shane Sams: Yes. Sometimes, that’s their security blanket, you know what I’m saying?
Shira Karpel: So even though it might not be me personally engaging.
Shane Sams: That’s right.
Shira Karpel: All that stuff that’s in there would still be considered support and community.
Jocelyn Sams: Absolutely.
Shane Sams: It’s the way you’re presenting, even the worksheets and stuff … or not worksheets. I say worksheets, but all these tools and resources you have for them to download. Even that can be presented in more of a you don’t have to do this by yourself. We’re going to help you with these resources. So now, it’s not, we have 4,000 downloads for any project you do. It’s like no, we thought about you, and we knew you would need this. And we made this for you, and we put it in one place, just like a library made just for you and all the people around you that are like you so that we can all go in together, and do this together.
Shane Sams: So that’s how you … one, that pushes you out of the forefront a little bit because you don’t have to be I’m Shira, and I’m the person who knows all the answers. It’s just no, we got a place where we’re all finding answers and creating answers together, and it’s there for you when you need it. You may only need it once a month. But it’s there for you when you need it. And that’s going to tap into that loneliness a little bit and show people, like that’s the problem you’re solving is you’re making it easier, and they’re not alone. You’re not answering all of their perfect technical questions basically.
Jocelyn Sams: Yeah, and it’s actually a big benefit. When I still had Elementary Librarian, I would say you have the support of hundreds of elementary librarians. It’s not just me. It is my website, and I created it, but I created it for you so that you would have an opportunity to get input of hundreds of librarians. I don’t have all the answers. But here’s a bunch of people from all over the planet who are all doing the same thing, all going the same direction and all here to support each other. Just because they didn’t ask 10 questions today doesn’t mean it’s still not a place that we can all support each other.
Shane Sams: I have an old Facebook group for football coaches about a very specific football topic. And it’s amazing, it keeps growing years after I ever started it. What happened last week, or probably the last two or three weeks, I noticed that dozens of people were joining. I think over 100 people have joined since November 15, just out of nowhere, randomly.
Shira Karpel: Wow.
Shane Sams: But here’s what happened, as people started losing, and their seasons started ending, they’re left with questions. They’re left with wow, did I do my best this year? Man, we were five and five, what is this, what is that. So what did they immediately do? They immediately started seeking out like minded people, groups for football coaches, so they could go in and have somewhere to go talk about this stuff. They weren’t looking for the answers. They weren’t looking for the solution for next year’s problem, like the playbook that would change their life. It was just like man, I’ve gotta go surround myself with people who might know what I can do to do better, right?
Shane Sams: And it’s kind of the same thing here, like that’s how you gotta market. That’s why we market the community way more than our courses. If you go to flippedlifestyle.com/flipyourlife right now, that’s our sales page for what we sell. Go look at it. We do not list our courses. We don’t even list it, because we know that what people really need to know is we do have a plan for you that’s step by step. Here’s the broad swipe of what it does, and we have a community of literally thousands of people from all over the world working to build a better life for their family with online business. That’s what people really need to know.
Shane Sams: The content’s there. I don’t gotta list all the content for you. It’s there when you need it. It’s like a supermarket. You go in and get milk if you’re out of milk, right? But what really is there is twice a month, me and Jocelyn are going to be there on a premium member call. The forums are open 24 hours a day seven days a week, and there’s a huge bank of resources to go pull a book off the shelf when you need it.
Shane Sams: So that should help your marketing a little bit to be able to present that, and maybe even lessen some of that imposter syndrome.
Shira Karpel: Yeah, that helps. That does clarify things for me, makes me feel better about it.
Shane Sams: Is it overwhelming a little bit? How does that compare to what you were doing to present it? Were you presenting this as all the resources or as you and your partner as the expert? What were you doing before?
Shira Karpel: I think we were presenting it a lot as the support, like we’re providing support. Like what we say is resources, community, and support for AB professionals. So the resources was first. But we were always including the community and support. I guess I felt like if I was claiming to provide support, then I should be there more often providing actual support. But I guess it’s still considered support, the fact that they can go in and get what they need.
Jocelyn Sams: Absolutely, yes. And that’s the thing is you just have to frame it in the way you want your people to think about it.
Shane Sams: What we have realized with Flipped Lifestyle, even, of course, Jocelyn and I lead the Flip Your Life community, but what we noticed as the community really exploded and really grew to the point where we couldn’t possibly answer every single question was that it really didn’t matter as long as people got an answer to their question. Like that’s the goal, right? That’s the goal is to point people in the right direction.
Shane Sams: So one thing we’ve even strategically planned out is how we can hire more support in the community to make sure people get the answer. Jocelyn just this morning, we were talking about this, and she was like look, I don’t care if it’s our courses, or we find it for them on Google and point them in the right direction, like that’s the point is to help people figure out what to do next. So we’ve even thought about 24 hour support, maybe, like have people in the community forums, like three shifts, eight hours a time, hire people around the world to where there is always someone there to help them find an answer.
Shane Sams: Because it doesn’t matter if it comes from me and Jocelyn. It just matters that they find the answer, right? And that’s kind of where you are at, too. It doesn’t really matter if you answer their question even. It’s like is the answer there for them. And a lot of times, it’s going to be, so you don’t have to worry about it.
Jocelyn Sams: All right. Let’s talk about where we’re going, as far as like members. What’s your plan to continue to grow the membership?
Shane Sams: Let me ask you this. Are you planning on replacing the other business with this, or is always going to run side by side?
Shira Karpel: I think I will continue … I don’t plan on leaving my job. No. I would like it to continue and this to be more of a side thing.
Shane Sams: All right. What if you had 5,000 members paying you $20 a month, then what?
Shira Karpel: Um …
Shira Karpel: That is really tempting, I would consider it.
Shane Sams: Right, right.
Shira Karpel: Like I said, it’s not demanding a lot in terms of maintenance of the membership on me right now. So other than the technical things, like updating the website and making sure that everything is working. I don’t feel like the members are time consuming.
Shane Sams: Okay. So what is … you said earlier, you were feeling like you’re getting a little bit burnt out though. The marketing thing is easy. We’re going to take action on that, just change some copy. But like, how do we prevent you from becoming burnt out, because I feel like you’re feeling it. You’re looking ahead, like man, I got three kids, I’m working full time, and I’m running an online business. You can’t do everything all the time forever. Where are you feeling the most burn out?
Shira Karpel: Right. So I feel like for the past year, I’ve been trying anything and everything, which is great, because I’ve been learning so much. But I can’t figure out what is that one thing that I should just do more of, and that’s kind of that switch that I can just increase or decrease.
Shane Sams: Where did you get the members? Where did the members come from?
Shira Karpel: That’s the thing. I don’t really know. I use Convert Kit, so I can see if they’ve signed up from my email list, if they’ve been on my email list prior to them joining a membership. Sometimes they haven’t. Sometimes their first thing in Convert Kit is the membership, and they just joined. And I don’t know how they came across the sales page. I do Facebook Ads, but I find it to be very overwhelming, and I can’t quite figure out how to track conversions, because once they pay through PayPal, I feel like Facebook loses that conversion at some point. It can’t track whether the payment went through once it goes to the PayPal page.
Shira Karpel: Sometimes when I promote the next webinar that we’re doing in the membership for the CEUs, sometimes that brings in a lot of new members, if I send out an email to my list, saying, oh we’re doing this month’s topic whatever. That will bring in a lot of people. I’ve tried doing a one dollar trial. I’ve tried doing a coupon code. I’ve tried doing a weekend flash sale. We’ve tried doing … live webinars, I know, can be effective, but they’re just so time consuming.
Shane Sams: For sure.
Shira Karpel: That I don’t know if it’s something I could commit to doing on a regular basis in terms of sales. So I want to find what that sales thing is, and once I figure it out and put a proper system in place, I feel like I’d be a lot more comfortable.
Shane Sams: So there’s a thing there you’re kind of getting a little crossed. There’s a difference between what causes someone to join, like a dollar trial, a free trial, a webinar, whatever. There’s a difference between that and where they come from. You have got to talk to these people who are in your membership and figure out how they found you, because that’s where the funnel starts. We did a survey recently, and we found out that probably 80% of people who find us heard about us in another media, like either one of our … we’ve been in Business Insider and Forbes, like articles. We’ve probably done probably near 100 podcasts in the last couple years, other people’s podcasts. And that’s how people find us is we go get interviewed.
Shane Sams: So our strategy for next year starts there. We have got to get on more interviews, because that’s the best way to grow our brand, right? So you’ve gotta know where these people are coming from. It may be search. If it’s Google search, then you can probably pinpoint how they’re searching for you and then run ads toward that, and then you don’t have to worry about all these live webinars and stuff. You may just be able to drop them straight to your page. They realize it’s there. But you’ve gotta figure out where they come from before you figure out what makes them convert.
Shane Sams: That’s a different part of the chain, you see what I’m saying?
Shira Karpel: Okay.
Shane Sams: And you’re kind of talking about them in the same vein, like oh the dollar trial makes them come, or the webinar makes them come. But that’s not totally true. It’s where they’re coming from is the most important thing, you gotta figure out first. So that’s probably really your next step is maybe a good survey.
Shira Karpel: So I do have a survey that I’ve sent out to the members. Not a lot of people respond. I only have a couple responses. And a lot of them came through a free webinar, which I do have a free webinar that’s recorded.
Shane Sams: How did you promote that though?
Shira Karpel: So the one that was recorded, I had a Facebook Ad going to it for a long time, and they could just opt in and just see it whenever they wanted. The ones that are live also was promoted through Facebook.
Shane Sams: And how many members did that produce? We don’t know that.
Shira Karpel: That’s the thing, I don’t know.
Shane Sams: So we gotta figure that out. That’s where you’ve got to look at in isolation is how did someone get to that webinar. It’s even back one beyond that. Was it the Facebook Ad? Did you send an email list about the webinar? Because some of them came from there, which probably just came from general blog traffic. We’re not going to be able to figure that out right here at this second, but that is what you have to know, because that’s what’s going to eliminate all this nonsense. It’s just oh, most of my people come through search. Okay, then how can I capitalize on that? I’ll create an ad that goes to an evergreen webinar from search. If it’s from Facebook Ads, well, I need a Facebook Ad that goes to the evergreen webinar that does this. And like you’ve gotta know where they’re coming from. And the only way to do that really is to talk to those people. You gotta figure out a way to stir them up. Maybe do a live thing. Don’t do a survey. Like hey, I’m answering questions live. And one of the questions you ask, maybe 20 of them show up. Ask them, how did you hear about us? I’m looking at the chat right now. I’m going to read them out.
Shane Sams: And just let them participate in that way to get some kind of data, and then anyone that joins in the future, I would do exactly what Jocelyn does. Record a quick video. There’s a tool called Use Loom. U-S-E L-O-O-M. And it’s a browser extension. You click a button, you record a video, and it emails them. Every time someone joins, turn that on, say hey, welcome to the community. How’d you hear about us? Email me back.
Jocelyn Sams: And you will start to see a theme.
Shane Sams: A trend. Yep. It’ll appear quickly.
Jocelyn Sams: That’s what you need to do more of.
Shane Sams: If you can get 20% of the people’s data on this, you’ll know pretty much the rest of them true. So if you can figure out how about 20 or 30 of them actually came to the community, you can kind of guess it’s probably going to be close.
Shira Karpel: And I’m finding out how they found our blog, not necessarily the membership.
Shane Sams: How did you hear about us? How did you find out that we existed? Period. Because that’s where you’ve gotta focus your … right now, you’ve got a big flashlight that’s spread out wide. And you’ve gotta laser beam down on the one thing that really matters the most and hammer it, like a nail. And that’s what we’re trying to figure out, where are people coming from. That’s where ad dollars go. That’s where time is spent. That’s where the funnel starts. And then you start working, on well, the dollar trial works better than the free trial or the year works better than the month, or should we raise our price, probably. $19 is really low. You know what I’m saying?
Shane Sams: There’s actually a video in the Flip Your Life community called the sales chain, which goes through this step by step. And it kind of shows you. It’s a 30 minute video. So you might want to go play that in the background.
Jocelyn Sams: All right. It has been a great conversation today. I loved learning more about your business and what you guys are doing and your next steps.
Shane Sams: And we’re super proud of your success because you should really pat yourself on the back. Not everybody gets to 100 members, and that is awesome.
Shira Karpel: Well, thank you.
Shane Sams: That’s the springboard to 1,000 members, which is life changing. Okay?
Jocelyn Sams: So let’s think a little bit about your immediate next steps. So we always like to ask people at the end of the show based on what we talked about here today, what is something you’re going to work on in the next 24 hours to move your business forward?
Shira Karpel: So I think I will look at my sales page and try to make the copy sound more like we’re selling the community and the support, and I will have to figure out where people are coming from.
Shane Sams: And that’s a process. But hey, the process has to start somewhere, right?
Shira Karpel: Yeah.
Jocelyn Sams: Well, thank you so much for sharing your success story with us today, and we cannot wait to see what happens in the future.
Shira Karpel: Well, thank you guys so much for playing a part in our success.
Shane Sams: Hey, guys, that wraps up another amazing interview with one of our Flip Your Life community members. Man, Shira and her partner did amazing stuff because they took action. They were decisive. They didn’t know the right answer. They just knew it was in front of them, and they took action, took the steps, and they went forward, and they made it happen to build a membership over 100 members. Imagine what you could do if you had 100 people sending you money every single month. You could build a business where you can work from home, work for yourself, and change your family’s future. We would love to help you just like we did them inside the Flip Your Life community. All you have to do is go to flippedlifestyle.com/flipyourlife. That’s F-L-I-P-P-E-D lifestyle.com/flipyourlife, all one word. And you can check out our community. Check out all of the great courses that we offer to help you start, build, and grow an online business of your own.
Shane Sams: Thanks for listening today, guys. We’ll talk to you next time. Between now and then, get out there. Do whatever it takes. Flip your life.
Jocelyn Sams: Bye.
Links and resources mentioned on today’s show:
- Shira’s Website
- Flip Your Life LIVE 2019 Tickets & Registration Information
- Flip Your Life community 30-day trial
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