Join Callie Willows from The Membership Guys for no-hype and no-fluff discussions with successful membership site owners about the highs, lows and day to day realities of running a paid membership website. Real people, real stories, real memberships.
Changing Your Business Trajectory with Craig Cannings
In the final episode of season five of Behind The Membership, Craig Cannings, co-founder of https://www.freelanceu.com/ (Freelance University), joins us to share the story of how he and his wife Kelly transformed their business after switching to the membership model.
He shares what inspired him to go down the membership route after selling a la carte courses for so long, why they made the decision to adopt the closed-door enrollment model and how they’ve found a way to stabilize growth in-between launches.
He also talks about what it’s like running a membership with his wife, the changes they made to the business during the global pandemic to better serve their audience and how they use badges and certifications to aid member retention… Plus much much more.
Craig is the co-founder and Chief Learning Officer of Freelance University, the #1 learning hub for Freelancers to level up their skills and increase their income opportunities. Since 2008, Craig has been delivering high-impact online training to 1000s of students in over 75 countries. He has been freelancing successfully since 2003 and has design a proven plan for launching a thriving Freelance business in 30 days or less.
“It’s a very interesting space as we see this freelance economy boom, even in the midst of a global pandemic.”
“Now we’re at a really good place. We have almost 800 members in our community and we’re at the highest point we’ve ever been.”
“The membership has allowed me to take control of the business, as opposed to let my emotions or the model control me.”
Connect with Craig
Succeeding with a Small Niche with Lisa Leander
Our guest on this penultimate episode of season five of Behind The Membership is Lisa Leander, founder of https://wibenetwork.com/ (Women in Business Education).
Lisa’s story is a very interesting one. What started off as a planned side hustle targeting a very specific niche audience (possibly the smallest we’ve ever seen with only a few hundred people in the world in the market), quickly resulted in Lisa quitting her job and managing the membership full-time due to the pandemic.
During this episode, she shares what life is like as a membership owner. How she’s tapping into her 10 years of experience as a Director of a membership organization to build the business as quickly and efficiently as possible, why she made the decision to invest in building a team from the very beginning and how Lisa’s personalized approach to recruiting new members has a 50% to 70% conversion rate.
She also talks about why she only delivers live content to her members, how her site is structured to cater for different segments of her members to give them a specialized peer experience and her plans to grow her niche further later this year.
Lisa Leander is an international development and management expert with eighteen years experience managing higher education initiatives in 22 different countries. In addition to leading WiBE, she currently is a Senior Advisor to the Global Business School Network where she previously spent a decade working to improve management and entrepreneurship education globally. During the day you might find her consulting for U.S. multinational companies navigating complex market opportunities in the Middle East, creating complex art creations with her two daughters or attempting to train a high energy German Shepherd.
“It's been really a tough year for anyone in business or launching a business trying to balance your family and your priorities.”
“You can start out scrappy and build towards something great. You don't have to have all the pieces.”
Providing quality content, providing quality discussions, delighting your current members, all helps get the word out.
Connect with Lisa:
https://wibenetwork.com/ (Women in Business Education)
From Founder Member to Membership Manager with Ali McGee Kelly
Our guest on this episode of Behind the Membership is offering an interesting and slightly different perspective on memberships…
Unlike the majority of our guests Ali McGee Kelly doesn’t actually own her own site, she manages https://society.socialmediaexaminer.com/ (The Social Media Marketing Society), a membership owned by one of the world’s biggest social media marketing blogs, https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ (Social Media Examiner.)
In this episode Ali shares what it's like to manage a membership as part of a wider team for a larger business, she talks about the changes the company has been forced to make as a result of the global pandemic and the Society’s unique approach to recruiting guest experts.
She also reveals some changes that have been made behind the scenes to enhance member experience, why the Society has decided to adopt the open door model and how Ali and her team manage content within the membership to ensure it stays relevant in an industry that changes almost daily.
Ali McGee Kelly is the manager for the Social Media Marketing Society with Social Media Examiner. For the past several years, she has pursued an expertise in social media marketing to help businesses capitalize on this relatively new marketing resource. Her passion for making social media work for businesses is evidenced by my MBA thesis where she benchmarked the use of Social Media for small businesses in Central Kentucky.
“I’m not responsible for acquiring the members, but I am responsible for retaining them.”
“We take pride in the level of service and communication we have with outside speakers”
“The interesting thing that I think makes us a little different than a lot of other memberships is, we do not come to the table claiming to be the expert in any one thing ourselves. And this is the same across all of our products with Social Media Examiner. We are acquirers of talent.”
Connect with Ali:
https://society.socialmediaexaminer.com/ (The Social Media Marketing Society)
https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ (Social Media Examiner)
Overcoming a Subscription Ceiling with Sean Wilson
Sean Wilson joins Callie for this episode of Behind The Membership to talk about https://seanwilsonpiano.com/ (Seanwilsonpiano.com), his membership site for Gospel pianists.
During this episode Sean shares the details of his journey so far, how he tapped into a small but engaged audience to launch his membership back in 2017, why his approach to delivering content within his membership has changed and the positive impact the pandemic has had on it’s growth.
He also tells us how he recently overcame his subscription ceiling, now attracting over 100 members a month instead of 40, the steps he’s taken to make engagement skyrocket inside his community and how YouTube has played a huge part in the success of his membership … Plus so much more!
Sean Wilson former math teacher has been playing the piano since he was 5
He helps musicians to learn piano by ear and feel confident playing gospel piano
Featured in LA Today as one of the entrepreneurs you should be watching for 2021
“I think I maybe overvalued content, the importance of it.”
“We're the only gospel music website in the world, actually, that has a roadmap. So, it's really cool and when I'm on YouTube, it's a nice positioning offer .”
“Honestly, I think the biggest challenge for me is kind of getting out of not being so hard at myself.”
Connect with Sean:
https://www.youtube.com/seanwilsonpiano%C2%A0 (YouTube )
Setting Limits on Member Numbers and Quadrupling Income with Vahn Petit
Our guest on this episode of Behind The Membership is Vahn Petit, Founder and singing coach at https://www.vocalize.fr/school-vocalize-membership/ (School Visualize), an online contemporary singing school based in France.
When Vahn made the decision to adopt a child she realised that she needed to make some changes to the way she worked so she could prioritize family time… and a membership offered her the perfect opportunity to do that.
Since launching School Visualize just under two years ago Vahn shares how she has quadrupled her income after niching down to the French market, how she attracts new members using YouTube and how recently introducing a new tier to her membership has enabled her to offer one on one coaching to a limited number of members.
She also discusses how the pandemic has had a positive impact on her membership, how she’s building a thriving community who plan to meet in person soon, her goals for the future and much more!
Vahn has been a singing teacher in contemporary music for 20 years helping her students get the best of their voice with passion. She teaches a diverse range of singers from beginners and self-taught to professionals.
“I'm kind of an idealist, so seeing people from all over the world - because it is not only French people. There are Canadian and people living in Africa and in the Arabic countries. Yeah, everywhere - It's just wonderful.”
“I always have new ideas, so it's not a problem to come up with content.”
“I think that's one of the beauties of a membership is that you can have that relationship with your members where it's a bit easier to say, something's come up. I'm going to need to postpone this, or I need to do this a bit differently this month, and things like that as well.”
Connect with Vahn:
https://www.vocalize.fr/school-vocalize-membership/ (School Vocalize)
Daily sales from psychology driven emails with Rob and Kennedy
With a background in psychology, hypnosis, entertaining and influencing, Rob and Kennedy, owners of https://get.emailmarketingheroes.com/l (The )https://get.emailmarketingheroes.com/league?utm_source=EMH-Blogandutm_medium=Menuandutm_term=andutm_content=andutm_campaign=league (League of Email Marketing Heroes )are no strangers to the membership world.
In fact, they both run successful memberships for their diverse range of businesses.
In this week’s episode of Behind The Membership they’re sharing the story of https://get.emailmarketingheroes.com/league?utm_source=EMH-Blogandutm_medium=Menuandutm_term=andutm_content=andutm_campaign=league (The League), a membership that teaches entrepreneurs how to turn their marketing emails into profits using psychology.
During the episode they tell us how they’ve taken ownership of the email marketing space, growing their membership successfully starting with little to no audience, why they choose to send psychology driven daily emails and how 95% of their member conversions come via email.
Plus they share how they manage their time effectively while running all of their businesses, why they’ve chosen not to adopt the closed-door enrollment model and how their top lead magnet isn’t actually a lead magnet… And much much more.
This episode is packed with a lot of value!
About Rob and Kennedy:
Rob Temple, Hypnotist, Marketer and Penguin LoverBorn in London before moving to Sunderland in the North East of England as a young child, Rob always wanted to be one of the cool kids.So he took up learning Magic as a hobby. Go Rob!
Despite not understanding why this kept him from the popular tribe, he went on to win multiple awards as Young Magician of The Year at The Magic Circle.
After performing close up magic at weddings and children's parties he saw a hypnosis show and convinced his Dad to pay the hypnotist for mentorship.
This lead Rob to moving to the Greek island of Kos for a number of summer seasons where he hypnotised and entertained thousands of tourists in his infamous shows.
Realising that these gigs won't keep knocking on his door, Rob decided to apply his skills to marketing himself which lead to him performing all over the world in places like The Seychelles and for events for royalty.
While sitting around the pool waiting to perform, Rob started accepting offers from marketing companies and coaches to help them apply his skills to their businesses and quickly saw the results he was getting for them.
Kennedy, Psychological Mind Reader, Creative and Theatre LoverRefusing to do PE at school, Kennedy spent extra curricular time in anything and everything to do with the theatre.
Amateur dramatics where he played parts in the likes of The Railway Children and Oliver meant that whenever there was a choice in school, he'd choose the theatre.
His mother discovered his entrepreneurial flare when she emptied out his school trousers to find the 50p coins he'd been collecting from the other kids in exchange for writing excuse notes so they could skip. school.
After seeing someone on TV memorise a deck of cards, Kennedy became obsessed with the potential of our minds and this lead him to study influence, body language, micro-expressions, misdirection and memory.
He combined these skills with his natural wit (or as his mother calls it, his ability to ‘think his way out of anything' into an after dinner show.
Since many of the clients who booked him were large corporations like Yahoo!, Mars, Tarmac and Royal London he spent a lot of time in departure lounges and hotel rooms waiting to perform.
He used this time to coach other entertainers on how to grow their businesses by applying his skills to marketing.
“One of the things that we do is we make it so that we have automations, which sell our membership every single day.”
“I would say 95% of the conversions happen through email.”
“There's no such thing as too many emails if the emails are...
Shhh...this podcast is better than Mike’s!
The MembershipGuys publish two podcasts, this one and the MembershipGuys. The other one is good, but this one is better!
Honest, Refreshing, and Inspiring
As with all of Callie and Mike's projects I appreciate the honest no hype look at how to succeed with memberships while serving your members well. I particularly enjoyed her interview with Shannon of Hand Tool School. Neat to see the passion and desire for excellence come through along with the practical tips. Looking forward to future seasons.
I love to listen to real stories of people with real memberships