Thinking of starting a membership website?
Listen in on today’s episode as we help our guest set up her online membership to build recurring income.
Today’s guest on the Flipped Lifestyle podcast is Flip Your Life community member, Christina Tondevold.
Christina is a math wizard and mother to four brilliant kiddos.
She offers student-centered courses that nurtures children’s appreciation for mathematics.
As a professional speaker, her powerful and innovative approach guides her listeners into becoming enthusiastic learners, she is often invited to other school districts to spread her engaging teaching style with fellow teachers.
Having multiple sites and product launches brings in either feast or famine.
Tune in as we discuss the best course of action to scale her brand, share our know-how in building and maintaining an interactive membership and a lot more.
You will learn:
- The importance of building your brand.
- Why you should focus on the product that makes you the most money.
- Launching new products.
- Transitioning from the launch model to a membership site.
- Creating aspirational products for members.
- How to build an interactive membership community.
Links and resources mentioned in today’s show:
- Flipped Lifestyle
- Jeff Walker’s Website
- Patt Flynn’s Website
- Mathematically Minded
- The Recovering Traditionalist
- K-5 Math Academy
Enjoy the podcast; we hope it inspires you to explore what’s possible for your family!
Click here to leave us an iTunes review and subscribe to the show! We may read yours on the air!
Can’t Miss Moments
Each week Jocelyn and I share moments that we might have missed if we had not started our online business. We hope these moments inspire you to see the possibilities and freedom online business could provide for your family.
“We just took off for one day, put everything else off to one side and had a great day trip with the kids over at Monkey Joe’s.”
You can connect with S&J on social media too!
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 Christina take her education website to the next level.
Shane: Welcome to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast, where life always comes before work. We’re your hosts Shane and Jocelyn Sams. Join us each week as we teach you how to flip your lifestyle upside down by selling stuff online. Are you ready for something different? Alright, let’s get started. What’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast, great to be back with you again this week. We’ve got a great guest from our Flip Your Life community, it’s gonna be a great discussion today. We’re gonna talk a little bit about product launches, about memberships and all kinds of things in between. Today’s guest on the Flipped Lifestyle podcast is Christina Tondevold –I’ve been practicing that one — Christina, welcome to the show.
Christina: Thanks you two! I’m really excited to get to talk with you guys today.
Jocelyn: Yes, it’s gonna be a great talk about education today. Something that we know quite a lot about. So, before we get started talking about your website, we want you to tell us a little bit about you and your background.
Christina: Personally, I have 4 kiddos. We have an 8 y/o, 7 y/o, almost 5 y/o and almost 3 y/o. I am an the elementary education certified teacher and happen to go into teaching middle school math. From there, long series of events, ended up becoming a professional development provider. I go around to do trainings for teachers in elementary schools — mainly elementary schools — I worked with middle school and high school teachers as well. In person training is what I’ve been doing for 10 years, traveling around doing those trainings, and that has become harder and harder to do with every child that I have.
Shane: Oh, for sure! You have to leave them behind and then drive for a while, then drive back home at night. That kind of grind just sounds like it will wear you out a little bit.
Christina: Yeah! And the last — I don’t know how many years — but I’ve been asked to go out to states outside of my area, so I will leave and be gone for 3 to 4 days to go do trainings, and that gets really hard on the kids as well as my husband.
Shane: So, do you work for a company or is this a freelance thing that lets you travel around and do this.
Christina: It started when I was employed by the State Department of Education to do trainings for teachers in their state, and then I started doing it part-time and I would do some freelance consulting work through my company.
Shane: So, tell us a little bit about the online business that you started out. What are you trying to do online? What are you selling?
Christina: When I started doing the consulting stuff, teachers would ask me for certain things, so I have physical products. I’ve been selling on one website and then this year I have started trying to put my in-person trainings into an online format. I guess I’m more known for building kid’s number sense in pre-K to 7th grade. So, I decided to do just a course on how to build number sense for that age range.
Shane: Okay, when you say number sense is that math? Are you talking about math?
Christina: Yes, just math.
Shane: So, are you training teachers to teach math better or are you giving lesson plans for teachers to use in their classroom?
Christina: I train the teachers to teach math better. I help them understand how kids learn math, so then they have a better understanding of how to use the lessons and stuff they get online and things like that.
Shane: Gotcha! So, basically, what are the physical products that you’re selling? How many websites do you have too?
Christina: I’ve written a couple of books for teachers that have lessons and activities in them. But also have the theory and background behind it, like why this is important to do.
Shane: So, there are more examples from the book is why they’re interested.
Christina: Yes, I also have these cards and stuff that go along how to build kids’ number sense. Playing cards that help kids visualize numbers and things like that.
Shane: And in the other site is selling video versions of you showing up live.
Christina: Yes. Exactly.
Jocelyn: Christina, we always start with why in everything that we do. So, we wanna know why do you want to flip your life with online business?
Shane: Why do you wanna quit the job that you already have to pursue this online lifestyle?
Christina: Along with what I already said about being home for my kids and being able to be here and not have to leave, I also feel like online gives me the opportunity to help so many more other teachers that I can’t reach.
Christina: Because their school district can’t afford to let me come in or it’s just them who wants to learn this stuff and their school district won’t bring me in for just them. It helps me to be able to stay home with the kids but to reach more people.
Shane: And you can only be in so many physical locations in one time. If you go to one school, you can’t go to another school, and maybe there’s a school that would love for you to come but they’re 700 miles away and they can’t afford to get you there. This would allow you to come right into their school and do training even virtually instead of just having to show up physically.
Christina: Yeah. I just got an email this week from a school district in New Brunswick, Canada. They have 180 teachers and to get there it’s so difficult travel-wise. It’s just a big event to have to go somewhere and if I can do that virtually it helps them and it helps me.
Shane: For sure. We actually have a friend that does something very similar to what you’re trying to do, his name is Jarrod Robinson at thepegeek.com, he goes and speaks in places to help them do P.E. better and he is also scaled this in a way to allow him to be in more places at once. Alright, Christina, let’s tell them about your online journey. So far, where are you right now? Tell us a little bit about your monetization. Have you sold anything online? What has been your strategy so far? Are you launching? Are you charging a membership? Let us know exactly what you’re trying to do to monetize this content that you’re creating online.
Christina: So, before I found you two, I had found Jeff Walker’s launch stuff. I started doing that in January 2016, it was the first launch for the online course. I’ve been doing products before that, but the really big online thing happened this winter.
Christina: It went really well, like… better than I expected. I was just hoping for just about 20 people sign up and we ended up having over 250 sign up on our first course.
Shane: Wow! How much was the course?
Christina: I started out at $197.
Shane: Wow! That’s awesome. Actually, that’s amazing.
Christina: It was very surprising that it went that well. So, I was really pumped! It’s a big thrill that you have that many people at once, but then it’s like… now I’ve gotta do that again.
Shane: Exactly… and then the money’s there, but then you have to spend that on your next launch, and it just kinda runs out. You know what I mean?
Shane: So you run into that problem, an endless cycle of feast or famine, and who’s to say that the next launch will be as good as this launch. It gets very unpredictable at that point.
Christina: Yes, it does. I started listening to you guys via Patt Flynn a few months ago. It didn’t take a while of listening to your podcast to realize I wanted to join the site.
Christina: So, I got into you guys’ membership and started listening to all of your podcasts and the more I heard you talk about memberships and seeing your own membership, how you guys had it set up… I loved it! I love the community feel and that’s something that I got for feedback on my first round of people in the course. We had a private Facebook group for those participants and the comments was in the course, they loved all of that. I want to keep the comments and we love the Facebook bit but I hated being in Facebook.
Shane: Yes, it’s so disjointed. Facebook has a lot of distractions. The comments are great, even in the courses, but we don’t really use our comments. We rely on the forums to organize the conversation better, because somebody comments on a random video within a course and a lot of people don’t even see that. It’s not really good for conversation.
Jocelyn: and I find it that a lot of school districts block Facebook, so people can’t even use the materials in school if you do it that way.
Shane: A lot of businesses do that, so they can’t even access it at their point of when they need it.
Christina: I was really struggling on whether I should keep that Facebook group when I do the next course, and then I got into you guys’ membership and I said this is awesome. So, I hired a web person to help me out to build the membership site using my WordPress site and the Buddypress thing and all of that kind of stuff. I have the plug-in but I don’t even know ‘cause she’s doing that for me.
Jocelyn: So, we’ve talked about a little bit about where you are now, let’s help you take your online business to the next level. What is the biggest challenge that you’re facing right now in your online business?
Christina: I kinda mentioned this earlier that I have a lot of different sites. I have my main site with all the physical products, I advertise my consulting, and then I also run a blog about the things that I’m doing and that’s a totally different site, and then I have this new site for the courses and what I call the “Math Academy.” So, should I start condensing those to one brand? And I don’t know how to even start that if I were to do that.
Shane: Yes, you should. It’s very hard to run a lot of multiple things, like it all comes down to, “Should I have one website?” But I love the way you said it, “Should I have one brand?” Yes, that’s the answer to that question. When we have our membership communities, we will put the actual memberships in a subdomain, or maybe even in another domain, but it’s still one brand underneath everything. The problem with having 3 or 4 different websites is you have to manage all of them, and you’re focusing on one thing one day and one thing the next day and one thing the other, if you would just strip it all away to the one thing that’s the most important… we know 250 people gave you $200, okay? There are already probably 2,050 more out there that we can find to be in your membership. If you can sell that many on your first launch, there’s a ton of people that are really interested in this in the marketplace. So, why not just focus on the one thing that lets you scale the biggest and makes the most money and let the other things — for now — move to the side. When you consolidate your brand you gotta have one focal point or it’s gonna get completely disjointed.
Jocelyn: Yeah and with yours, they’re all related anyway. Right?
Christina: Yes. They are.
Jocelyn: Then there’s no reason to upkeep 3 different sites about all this. You can do what’s called a redirect. You basically redirect your other websites to the one that you’re going to use.
Shane: Yeah, you can pick one of the 3 or you could grab a new domain. This could be like a personal brand, because you’re positioning yourself as the expert for teachers on how to teach to do this. This can be a named brand, you can pick one of the existing websites and make that the homebase and do that 301 redirect to bring everything under one umbrella. But you need to start that process of let’s funnel everything to one place and do it here. That way I’ve got one WordPress installation to deal with, I’ve got one membership to deal with and I don’t have to have all this other stuff distracting me from the thing that’s gonna make the most money.
Christina: That makes sense.
Shane: Your relief scale will go to a hundred when you start doing this, because we did this and it just… all the stress went away, of dealing with all the moving parts, because they were all in one place. I think you’re gonna find that it will happen too.
Christina: Yeah, the only thing that I kind of strained in figuring out is which one to go with. Should it be with what I’m known as the most or what I want to be known as moving forward?
Shane: I think it should be what the market wants you to do, and the market clearly spoke when you sold that launch. 250 people gave you $200 and that was very scalable, and probably a very easy thing to use inside of a membership area. They’ve already told you what they want. They’ve already told you what value you’re bringing to them and what they will pay you for it. That’s the thing — once you get something online it doesn’t have to be perfectly your passion like everybody says. If you get something, start swinging the hammer, that nail down in the wood, you know what I mean? So when you do, you’ve got to take advantage of it. That thing is going to become the seed going forward for what ever you are going to scale into.
Jocelyn: I don’t have a problem with you having different brand names, like from your consulting and your membership. That’s fine if you want to have two different brand names, but let’s bring them under one roof.
Shane: Yeah, exactly. You can still offer consulting you, can still offer the other things. They become more like product lines, like Pepsi has Mountain Dew — it’s still Pepsi. They don’t have like separate factories making them. It’s just all under one roof. Some people like the yellow ones, some people like the dark colored one. That’s what you’re going to do now, you’re going to become the brand with different product lines in one place.
Jocelyn: So basically, you’re just going to consolidate everything, like your list from each side. You’re just going to send them a message and say “Hey, XYZ is becoming ABC. We will continue to send you messages as ABC.”
Shane: We’ll help you do this. We’ll go into the forums and we’ll just spell everything out. We’ll pick the best domain, or a new domain, whatever we decide to do. We will look into your traffic and see maybe one is getting more traffic than the others, and we will just push everything there. We will help you figure out how to align it and how to organize it on your website, where this transition happens smoothly and people who come to your website don’t even notice. They just think “Wow, this is awesome and it looks better!” We’ve got a game plan there. We are going to move forward with consolidating everything and focusing on this awesome product that we already know the market wants. What’s the next step for that you need help with?
Christina: My next step is moving from launch to membership. I did my second launch here in May and we built the membership community and put the course inside of it, but I am struggling because the way that my courses have to run — I offer them university credit because teachers need credit to keep their certification, so I have to have an official start and end date. It’s not like they can just come in anytime and start it, but I still see it as I have to launch the course, but I want the membership to be able to be there all the time so people can come in and become a member of what I’m calling the “Build Math Minds” community. They can also take courses at certain times, so I plan on launching the course. When people take the course, they will have access to the membership community for the three months that they’re in the course, but I don’t know if that’s a good idea. I also heard when you guys had a couple from Screw the 9-to-5, they did something similar and they said it wasn’t that great for their community to have that big influx of people to come in through the course.
Shane: This is a content driven community. it’s content then discussion. Some communities are more discussion based, kind of like Flip Your Life. The key point there is, can you handle it and does it fit the product. Your product is fit because it’s a course you have to do from April 1 to April 31st, let’s just say. If you have to do it during that time, that’s just the way it is. Get as many people into it as you can, but you’re going to it have a draw to keep them paying in between those courses to get their credit. Also, is there a way to do it where — there’s a lot of course software out there that you can install alongside your forum where the person signs up, clicks a button near course, starts, and at the end when they do all the content, they get completion. I used to do that all the time for my medical professional development for coaching. Is it government by a University that says you must do it from September to October or do they just have to do it over an eight week period? How does that work?
Christina: I do have something called a Learning Management System. We have that plug in where they go through and once everything is complete, they get a certification of completion; but some people don’t want just a certificate, they need a university transcript of credit and so those options have to be during certain times because for universities, you have to have all the paperwork and you have to sign up in time, and they have to pay the university as separate fee.
Shane: What you’re talking about is easy. The first thing you have is the membership area. It’s there for people who want to get the PD, it’s there for people who want to take your content and do better, and have these discussions, and all those things, and then you do it just like we do the Mastermind in our community. We have a certain point, like every three months, where we take 10 people in and say “it’s time to get credit,” then you charge extra on top of that. So basically, what happens is people join your membership and they’re in it, and then you can use the university credit as what’s called an “aspirational product” so that people have something else. Maybe they want to go get the credit later, but right now they just need the PD, then they’re just in that. You can open that up when it’s time to do the aspirational product–to be in the mastermind.
Jocelyn: So, do you think that something like that would work for your market?
Jocelyn: I don’t think that you have to worry too much about the large influx of people because in our Flipped Lifestyle community, people talk a lot. In our education communities, not so much. Yours might be different, but we really have to pull a lot to get them to come in and to interact.
Shane: With this, I think you will see a burst of interaction when people are using your content. They’re going to talk a lot, but about 20% of them are going to be talking at any given time because everybody else might just be listening in, but when it’s time for their PD or they’re learning, they’ll come in and talk a lot more so you’ll have more of a cycle built in your system.
Christina: That makes sense.
Shane: One key point I want to point out for all the listeners is, you only offer your membership. We say put all your content in one place, but you do need aspirational products. You want your members to not only have what you’re selling them, but have something to work toward and that’s what keeps members in your community. Like we have the mastermind, and we limit the spots not only because we can only take so many at a time but because we want people to look forward to when it’s their turn to be in the mastermind. We have live events where we have 15 spots, that’s it, that’s all you get. We might be coming to your area, we might not be. People look forward to “Hey, when we roll around, I can go to the last mastermind in the area,” so those aspirational products are really important to keep people paying their membership and they give you further ways to monetize your brand later like in those bursts and university credits.
Jocelyn: You could also consider offering them these packages, like for school districts or something. Maybe they wanted to a pay higher price to get access to everything. You could also consider packaging them in that way.
Shane: You could have like a $29 a month price for just a general membership, and then when they have the university credit they can pay up or up sell it; or you can just say $50 a month and when these open, you get access to them so people kind of pay in advance.
Jocelyn: It’s $700 a year or whatever for everything, like everything was included, that would be more for like a school district not paying individually.
Shane: It’s like a tiered program, basically.
Christina: Yeah and that is one thing I’m struggling with, figuring out what next tier should be for school districts who wanna pay for multiple teachers to be in there.
Jocelyn: Yeah, we can help you with that in the forums. I’ve done this for many years, offering school district discounts, so I’ll be happy to help you with that.
Shane: Jocelyn, does it like a business to business question, basically. For anybody out there that might be having an online business to sell to schools or to businesses, things like that, we found that it’s better to be flexible. We have a starting point but every business that comes to you is gonna be different, every school that’s gonna come to you is gonna be different. So, when you get into that… if you put in 25 teachers or 25 employees, I’ll give you a 20% discount per seat or whatever. That might be a $10,000 order, if they don’t want that, we can do it for $9,000, because it’s still $9,000.
Jocelyn: Yeah. We negotiate. Let’s say it’s for $11,000 and they have a $10,000 budget then yeah, I will let you in for $10,000.
Shane: Yeah, you’re going to want to negotiate on those big orders. Do you have a school? We discount. Do you have a business? We discount, and then you start the sales process with them to figure out where you’ll both can come into an agreement.
Jocelyn: Alright, Christina, we like to close the podcast interviews with asking what are you going to take action in the next 24 to 48 hours based on what we talked about during today’s call?
Christina: So, I think my biggest thing is going to be determining what brand I want to put everything under, and then I’ll start talking with my web person about making all that transition of the other websites under one umbrella.
Shane: I think that is a great place to start, because that’s going to give clarity to everything else that you do and I also want to say that you’ve done a great job already, there’s a lot of people saying, “Man! I need 250 people to give me $200.” You know, we have a product that’s desired in the marketplace, now let’s just turn it into a stable, growing, recurring, online business that will give you a predictable income going forward. You’re doing a great job and we can’t wait to get in the forums and help you take it to the next level.
Christina: Thank you both so much for giving me time today and answering my questions.
Jocelyn: Thanks Christina.
Shane: Super call today with one of our Flip Your Life community members. We would love for you to be a member of our community as well. If you would like to join our Flip Your Life community, head over to flippedlifestyle.com/flipyourlife and we can show you how to join today.
Jocelyn: It’s now time to move into our can’t miss moment segment. These are moments that we were able to experience recently that we might have missed if we were still working at a normal nine-to-five job. Today’s can’t miss moment is a trip up to Monkey Joe’s, and Monkey Joe’s is an inflatable place, I guess you would call it. They have lots of large bounce inflatable and things you can come into, climb up and slide down. The kids love things like that so we wanted to take them up there.
Shane: Yeah, I think the kids saw a commercial for it and they asked. So, we just took off one day, put everything else to one side and went out to spend a day at Monkey Joe’s. It was crazy packed in there, there were kids everywhere. We had a great day with the kids, went out to eat and spent some time with them. It was good to just shut everything down and take off for a little day trip at Monkey Joe’s. Before we sign off, we’d like to close every show with a verse from the Bible. Today’s Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6, the Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not unto your own understanding and always acknowledge Him and He will direct your life.” That’s all the time we have for this week. As always guys thanks for listening to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast and until next time, get out there, take action, do whatever it takes to flip your life. We’ll see you then.