Gina is a talented multi-passionate coach, and she is interested in starting a membership. Now we just recently concluded a series about scaling small and one of those episodes is all about how to launch your membership. So if you're thinking about starting your own membership, and you haven't listened to Episode 57 yet, you're definitely going to want to do so after you hear my coaching session with Gina. Gina, when we first start is pretty sure that she wants to start a membership, maybe not 100% convinced. And she's got a lot of questions about what that would look like, how to structure it, and so forth. Well, as you all know, I host the Coach with Clarity membership. It is one of my most favorite things that I get to do in my business, so I was so excited to be able to support Gina in exploring whether a membership model was the right choice for her and what it might look like for her clients and her niche. So I am very excited to share with you a little piece of the Coach with Clarity Membership. And I want to especially thank Gina, for allowing me to share our session with you. So without further ado, here is my hot seat coaching session with Coach with Clarity member, Gina Ramirez.
Lee: What would you like to cover today in our coaching session?
Gina: I'd like to get some clarity around memberships. If a membership would be the best option for me coaching going forward. I have not really explored it before. I'm noticing that everybody's coming up with memberships now. And I started thinking, man I have–, well, I feel like a substantial amount of information, maybe a membership would be a better option for me at this point.
Lee: Okay, I am so excited to dive into this. It's probably not surprising. I love memberships. I run a membership. And I just recorded an episode for the podcast all about launching a membership. So this is very much top of mind to me. So I'm really excited to dive into it with you. What I hear is a little clarity around whether a membership is the right vehicle for your business.
Gina: Right, I have a full-time job other than this coaching that I do so and I'm not planning on leaving that full time job. So in another way this coaching sounds very appealing because it's less energy. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but I have to expand rather than one-on-one coaching or doing groups. So that's another reason I thought maybe this would be a more attractive option.
Lee: Excellent. I would say it's different energy. In some ways, it does require less of the kind of direct expenditure that we do with one-on-one coaching or in group coaching programs. It may require a little more administrative or back-end energy, but we can talk about that in a little bit. So when we conclude this hotseat call, what would you like to walk away with?
Gina: Just the clarity around. Is this the right thing for me in my coaching business? Is developing a membership the right thing and then maybe starting with the logistics of how? I mean, in my mind, I have this idea just because I'm in your membership of what it could potentially look like but beyond that, I really don't have an idea of what this might look like.
Lee: Alright, so we'll get clear on whether this is going to be the best next step for you. And then if we decided is, if you decided is, we can talk about what that might look like. How clear are you feeling right now? Say on a scale of one to 10, one is not clear, 10 is completely, where do we fall on that scale?
Gina: I'm probably at a three.
Lee: Three out of 10? Where would you like to be at the end of the call?
Gina: I'd like to be closer to eight of having some kind of surety that yes or no, you know, leave it behind. I kind of get flighty and think, “Oh, this looks good over here. Maybe I should go down this rabbit hole.” Or maybe I shouldn't.
Lee: So if we can get to 80% certainty, eight out of 10, we'd be in a good spot.
Lee: Alright. Where do we need to begin?
Gina: I don't know. That's a very good question. I'm not sure where to begin with this topic. I just don't know whether it's the right thing.
Lee: Well, one of the initial questions that came up for me as you were sharing your intention for our time together today was, what about a membership program attracts you? Why are you thinking about starting a membership in the first place?
Gina: Well, I feel like I said, I have some good information, a substantial amount of information. So what's the best way to get the information out to people where they're not piecemealing, buying different pieces of it separately, and maybe they could just have it all in one chunk, and maybe that would be better, from their end, you know, on their perspective.
Lee: Versus, say, a traditional course, or coaching, or another offer.
Gina: Yes, and the other part of that is the launching, is the feeling like I'm constantly launching my programs or courses and all the energy it takes to launch. What if I just had a membership, and it wasn't so much of, you know, launching each individual thing?
Lee: Right, you could take more of an evergreen approach to it. So instead of a few big launches, every time of year, it would be open all the time, which is more like mini launches, you know, because you are constantly marketing it and talking about it, but it's not the big launch for, say, a course or a group coaching program or something like that.
Lee: Okay. Tell me a little bit more about the topic for your membership. What you would want to be sharing information about? And who your ideal member would be.
Gina: So my ideal number is a professional woman who's balancing both her professional life and home life, but feels like she gets a lot of energy and who she is, is really tied in with her work, her self-worth really is tied in with her work, and she's not willing to give that up. But she's also falling apart, health wise, wellness wise, you know, in her family life. So my coaching brand, if you would call it a brand, I guess is mind, body, behavior, wellness, meaning that everything is connected, what's going on in your mind is connected to the physiology of your body, and then in turn to your behavior. And so, hoping that resonates with the professional woman, you know, trying to get all of that aligned. So in my Membervault, I have products that relate to productivity, I have a 10-day boot camp in there that relates to productivity. I have a resource library with a lot of different ideas on hormone health and just mind, body, behavior, health. And then I have separate packages for mind, body, behavior, each a different product with probably six to seven modules in each of those products. And then I've got a separate hormone piece, as well. So that's pretty much what's in there. That's what I was thinking, “Well, that's a good amount of information. I'm not sure how that would translate for people membership wise.”
Lee: I think we're onto something here. So I want to ask a few clarifying questions because that can help us see whether the membership model is the right one for you. But also which type of membership model would work best because there are different ways we can approach memberships? So with that in mind, can I dive in and ask some questions? Okay, when you think about how you want to show up in your membership, as the facilitator, as the leader, tell me what that involvement looks like?
Gina: I would like to do some group things as far as, you know, getting on zoom with them. I don't know what that looks like. But I definitely don't want to be hands off completely hands off, but I want it to be something that's self paced for them so that it's unlocked. They can go through all the modules if they wanted to, in a few days, or however they want to take it. But I also want to have some touch point in there that's maybe, I don't know, weekly, monthly. I'm not even sure what that might look like.
Lee: Okay. The reason I asked that question is because I wanted to assess whether we were looking at something that was strictly a product-based membership, or if we were looking at service or kind of a hybrid of the two, and it sounds like a hybrid of the two. There are certainly memberships out there that are 100% product base, where you don't get any sort of interaction with the membership leader, but you do get new content on a regular basis. So it sounds like from what I hear you say, you don't want to be hands off, you want to be involved. Yes, there's content, there's information, that sounds like you've got so much to offer, and at the same time, you want to supplement that with live group calls or something like that. Is that fair to say?
Gina: Yes. And what I know about my people is they need accountability so they like the touch point. Whenever I've offered something that was just here it is it doesn't seem to land as well as when I'm there with them. Not hand holding, but you know, definitely they're a presence.
Lee: That makes a lot of sense, especially given your ideal member, because if they're a professional woman, they're smart, they're accomplished, they're doing a lot. And so it's probably not just a knowledge deficit, it's probably an implementation issue. They need help taking the knowledge they have coupled with the knowledge you're going to share with them and actually putting it into practice. And because of that, I can see how that live component would be really helpful in supporting them in achieving whatever their goals are.
Lee: So it's almost like we would have a content library that they would be able to access. And then we would couple that with, say, a live group component. And you mentioned not being quite sure what that might look like. Can we explore that a little bit? Okay, given that accountability is something that you know, they need. How could we weave that into a live component?
Gina: Yeah, I definitely think that there needs to be some kind of accountability and with what their goals are and how they're progressing through the material. So I'm not sure if you have people who are in all different phases, let's say, are coming in at all different times. How do you rein them all in and get that feedback from them and accountability piece when they're all at different phases? That's kind of the confusing part to me.
Lee: Yes. When thinking about your content. Is it linear? Like is it they need to start with this, and then move to that, and then go from there, or is it more ala carte, they can start wherever they need to?
Gina: It's more ala carte.
Lee: Okay. Which is great, that's beautiful for a membership, because then they can really customize the experience to where they're at. Perhaps then when we're looking at accountability, it's less about ensuring where they are with a specific content piece, but more about where they are in their personal process. So even if, say, there was a monthly call or a quarterly call, whatever it looks like, where they were kind of creating their own roadmap, creating their own journey, and then future calls could be checking in about where are you on your roadmap? So we have kind of an overarching system, but it's still very customized to each member. So they're viewing it through their own lens.
Gina: Oh, I like that. Yeah.
Gina: Yeah, I just have to come up with a roadmap.
Lee: Well, lucky for you, as a Coach with Clarity member, you have access to the clarity mapping tool, which I will make more readily available right now. To be quite honest with you, it's in the bonus course, in session two, I have not really highlighted it in the membership. So I need to do a better job with that. You are welcome to take that as inspiration, as a launching point, you're welcome to use it as is so we can kind of work with you to help create a system for creating a roadmap for your clients. So we've got you covered there. So then that the future calls could be about connecting their work in their process with their plan. How does that feel?
Gina: Yeah, that feels really good, really good. I just have to get motivated people.
Lee: So what I'm sensing and I want to hear if this feels accurate to you. I'm sensing that the idea of running a membership excites you. You've got the content that you need, we're starting to kind of create the process. And it requires a different type of energy than one-on-one and group coaching does, and I get the sense that that's something you're looking for. Is that fair to say?
Gina: Absolutely, yes.
Lee: So really around the membership model, I'm sensing excitement and even clarity. The question is, audience, how do I bring people into the membership? You know, are there people who would actually want this, is that accurate?
Gina: Yes, that's the other thing.
Lee: Tell me a little more about that.
Gina: I just don't know if that's the right thing when I talk to these professional women, it's the time piece, you know, I don't have the time to do something like this. It feels overwhelming. There's too much in your Membervault, you know, when they are looking at it, it's like, “Oh my gosh. There's seven modules, six modules. You want me to complete all that and I've got this going on, and that going on in life.” And so, it feels like maybe it's too much. How do I approach it with them to say, “Hey, you go at your own pace.” You know, that kind of thing, which I've done before, I, “You go at your own pace with each of these, you know, individual products.” But yeah, that's the piece that I keep getting hung up on when I think about, how do I bring people in?
Lee: Okay, so it sounds like one of the key objections that a possible member might have is time. How do I make time for this? I'm already really busy, I've got a lot going on. The beauty of knowing objections in advance is that we can plan for them. And a lot of times when we are creating an offer, and I know you've seen this, it's like get this bonus, and get that bonus, and bonus, bonus, and 8 million bonuses, and it can feel like a lot. But I think when we use bonuses as a way to overcome objections, it can be really powerful. So you can make this available in the membership. But you can also position it as a bonus. And it can be something that is designed to help them answer that problem of how will I make time for this. So whether it's a time management workshop, or a time management, or whatever that looks like, but we are speaking directly to that objection and saying, “We got you covered. Here's this bonus.” So if we think about it as an objection that we can help them overcome, what might that look like for your people in your membership?
Gina: Well, I started doing that productivity 10-day boot camp, the aligned life boot camp, which was all about productivity and time management. And I had a lot of people go through that and say that it was great. So maybe taking pieces from that might be a good idea for bonus.
Lee: I love that idea. I'm all about repurposing existing content that you already have. So if that was well received, and people enjoyed it, and they finished it, that could be a fantastic add on or bonus to the membership. I'm curious if there's any other objections that you anticipate from possible members?
Gina: There's always the price piece, you know, is it worth the cost? Am I going to get what I want out of it, kind of thing? And which is always hard because you get what you put into it? This is what I want to say, you know, you're only going to get what you decide to put into that so, yeah.
Lee: Yeah, and price is always going to be an objection for some people. Before we kind of talk about that. I'm curious if you've thought about what a price point for this membership might be?
Gina: I have not. I didn't even let myself go there just because I didn't know whether it was a good fit for what I have already going, you know, products I already have.
Lee: Alright, are you feeling like it's a good fit now?
Gina: I do feel like it's a good fit. And then I have all these little side questions around what do I do with people who are already in my Membervault? And you know, all of those things. I can't kick everybody out.
Lee: Okay, that's a very good question. Let's come back to that in a minute. What do we do with our existing customers when we're moving into this new model? Okay. Now that we're kind of at the point where it's like this membership, this might be something I want to explore. Can we kind of explore pricing a little bit?
Lee: So I'm hearing they'll get access to this huge content library and Membervault, and if they're going to get access to some type of live interaction with you. A group call, however, often, will structure some additional bonuses, like around the time management piece. So there's going to be a lot there. When you think about how you want to structure that from a payment perspective. We could talk monthly, quarterly annual, what options would you like to explore?
Gina: Probably either a monthly option or a yearly option. Sounds the best to me. Sounds more doable.
Lee: Yeah. I think given your audience, and given your topic, that sounds reasonable as well. And oftentimes, we entice people to join the annual membership by making the rate a little less, so maybe they're getting 12 months for the price of 10. Maybe they get a bonus 30-minute call with you, like there's all sorts of things that we can do to incentivize the annual membership if you want to do that. But having a monthly option also makes it possible for people who aren't able to invest at the annual level. So let's think about price point. And we'll actually, hold on, I'm going to back up for a sec before we talk about pricing, because I think we also need to explore how we're going to introduce this membership to the world. And this may also kind of address the question you had about people who have access already. When I started the Coach with Clarity membership, I intentionally created a founding members opportunity. I'd never run a membership before. I didn't know if it was going to work. I didn't know if there was going to be demand for it. So before doing a huge launch to the world, I reached out to 16 people that had either been a private coaching client in the past or had done a group program or had somehow been connected with me. And I emailed each one of these 16 people individually and said, I'm going to start a membership. This is what it's going to involve, this is what it's going to include. And I'm looking for founding members to spend 90 days helping me develop this. Would you be interested? And of those 16 people, seven said yes, which actually surpassed my expectations. I was thinking, “Well, maybe I'll get four.” Got seven. So then I was able to spend 90 days trying things out with people that understood. Okay, yeah, this is a work in progress. Things might need a little bit of tweaking. I was asking them for their feedback and their input. I asked them for testimonials at the end. But it gave me almost like a soft launch, where I could test out and see what worked, what didn't and how to make changes with people that had agreed to do that kind of work with me. And as a result, they got a founding members rate. So the rate they received was a little bit lower than what I would be offering to people once I did a big launch. So I want to share that experience with you. And then check in with you and ask, what are your thoughts? Do you think that would work for your business? And if so, what that founding members rate might look like?
Gina: That's a good question. I have no idea about rate. Yeah, I just, I have no clue. But that sounds like a great idea, as far as you know, asking people to test it out and letting me play around in there to see what exactly fits for them.
Lee: Yeah. When it comes to the rate, this is also a place of experimentation. You can test it out and see what people are able to pay what they're willing to pay. And also, what's going to make it worth your time. So when we think about the amount of time that you personally will be investing into the membership, what does that rate of return financially need to look like for it to be worthwhile for you? So we could position this as, I'm just giving examples here, for a spectrum, this could be a $19 a month membership, this could be a $300 month membership, could be anywhere in between, it could even be more. So it's more about like finding that sweet spot between the perceived value of the membership, what people are going to see as being like, “Yes, I want to invest my money in this, I know I'm going to get the return.” But also what's going to support you and your work and your life so that it really is worth your time. I'm just curious, like, if we were to check in with your gut, if there's a starting point that your gut is saying, let's start here. At least for the founders, let's start here and see how it goes.
Gina: Maybe for that yearly rate with the founders being somewhere around $700. Maybe. I don't know. Yeah, that's what kind of is coming into my mind right now. I'm feeling right.
Lee: Yeah. Alright. So if we were to look, it could be $700 or if we wanted to do the marketing way we could do $697. We could do like $697 for the year. And with something like that, even $67 for the month would be doable as well. With founding members, though, you'll want to think about whether you want to offer a monthly, because you do need them to be involved long enough that you can get the feedback from them that you can try it out. For your founding members, you may even want to think about a quarterly just to ensure that you at least have that three-month period there or do the monthly but ensure they understand it's a minimum of a three-month commitment. We do want to make sure that they're going to be getting a lot from you as a founding member, but you also need to get that back from them.
Gina: Yeah, that's a good point.
Lee: So $697 for the year, which you know, might be $67 for the month, as a starting point. How does that feel?
Gina: Yeah, that feels about right for founding members. And then once I can play around and tweak it in there, bump it up.
Lee: Yeah, absolutely. Especially as your content library grows. And if you're recording your live sessions, again, that becomes more content for your library. You'll probably be designing other tools based on the feedback that you get from your members, so you'll be providing those two. So the value of the membership will grow as the membership grows. So it will make sense for you to increase the price point on that because the value will increase over time as well. So let me check back in with you. How are you feeling about what we've discussed so far?
Gina: I'm feeling much better. Yeah. Much more clarity around. Is this the right fit for me? And with what I've got going already in the products in Membervault, yes.
Lee: Excellent. So back to those people who already have access to your products. Do they have access to everything in Membervault? Or is it just kind of carve outs?
Gina: Yeah, it's just whatever they purchased. So when they log in, they just see what they have purchased, and the other products that are available.
Lee: Okay. So we could go a couple different ways here. Those I would think would be ideal people to invite as founding members.
Lee: You know, and say, you've already invested in this, you know, what's possible, now you can get access to my entire suite of products plus, get live support from me. Would you like to be a founding member? You can decide whether you want to discount the founding member rate for someone who's already made a purchase with you. I don't know if that's necessary. Maybe if someone has half of the products, you might want to do that. But if it's someone that just has a small product, you may not even need to do that. But I think those people who are already there could really be wonderful founding members. What are your thoughts?
Gina: Yeah, that was exactly what I was thinking with those people who are already in there. They would be the first ones I would tap into. Do you see any disadvantages with going with a membership versus having individual products and marketing those individual products?
Lee: You know, there may be some people who have a very specific need. And so they may not want or need everything in the membership, they may want just that. So if you decide I'm only going to make these products available within the membership, then yeah, there may be a portion of your audience who's like, “Yeah, but I don't need all that.” And so they choose not to invest. That's definitely a risk that you take with the membership. But the other pieces if you know that all of those products work together, you know, and if you were to carve one out, yeah, they'll get that one piece, but they won't get everything. But I think that just adds even more credence to why the membership model is best for your clients, because you're going to be able to walk them through everything, perhaps even things they don't even know they need yet. So yeah, there could potentially be a trade off. And there's benefit that's on the other side of that as well. So it comes down to are you willing to say no, to the people who only want that little bit in order to say yes to a membership?
Gina: Right. Yes, that is what is going through my mind.
Lee: Yes. And there's no wrong answer to that. Certainly, you may decide if there's one or two products that are super popular, you may still want to make them available for separate purchase. And then on the back end, you can let people know, hey, this course is also available in the membership, here's what you get, if you want to join, we'll deduct the cost of the course you just purchased. Because you'll get that in the membership anyway. And so then you can use that as like a second chance of bringing them in the membership. So there's even ways that we could make that work as well. It doesn't have to be either or.
Gina: Yeah, I like that.
Lee: So how are we feeling in terms of clarity? How clear are you feeling about the membership for your business structure?
Gina: I'm definitely at a six now.
Lee: Alright. What needs to happen for you to feel like an eight?
Gina: I think I just need to spend some more time looking at the pricing and trying to figure out how to structure it, you know, what are the logistics now of a membership? I've got the material in there. But what else needs to go into that other than a monthly live call to make it worth somebody's while to spend the money?
Lee: Yes. So this is where doing a little bit of market research can be helpful. So you can certainly take the Coach with Clarity Membership as: a) model of how a membership runs, and you can see what components work there. what resonates with you, what doesn't, what might work for your audience, what wouldn't, you can also look at other membership programs out there to see what they're doing, especially ones that may be targeted more towards your audience. So knowing what the competition looks like, can be helpful and can also help you decide how you want to differentiate yourself. And then in addition, there are so many resources out there specifically for people who want to run memberships, one of the best free resources out there, I was literally listening to this right before I hopped on the call is a podcast called Membership Guys. So it's the Membership Guys Podcast, it's hosted by Mike Morrison, and he and his partner actually run – it's very meta, a membership site on memberships, and I am a member of, they call it, Member Academy. And so they offer so much about how to start your membership, how to launch it, retention, all of that. So there are free and paid resources out there that can help you with the logistics sides as well. But I would say a little bit of market research coupled with some membership sites specific research will get you feeling much more clear and confident about taking the next step.
Gina: Okay, I'm going to take you up on that podcast for sure.
Lee: Yes, it's a good one, Membership Guys Podcast. So we're getting close to that eight out of ten on clarity, we're getting there. And then the other piece was logistics. So we've talked a little bit about that. And we've got some resources for you as well. What other outstanding questions do you have for our session today?
Gina: I don't think anything else has come into mind right now. I just need to dive in and map it out on visual. So I've got to put it on paper and map it out for myself. And yeah, figure this all out to see if it's the right fit, and then start asking people. How many people is good to start a membership would you say?
Lee: Well, having done a founding membership with seven people, I felt like that was a great number. I would say anywhere from four to ten.
Lee: It's hard to do anything, especially with a group component, it's hard to do anything with less than four or fewer than four. And I think really, probably six would be ideal. You also don't want it necessarily to be too big in the founding stage, because you want to make sure these are your founding members, you want to love on them, you want to nurture them, you want to get their feedback. And so keeping it small and intimate at the beginning, will allow for that. And then they become like, the hub of your membership when you launch it larger. So I would say don't go too big, but maybe kind of like that six to eight, maybe six to ten would be a great sweet spot. How does that sit with you?
Gina: Yeah, that's what I was thinking too. But you know, I don't have any frame of reference so I wasn't sure what I should look at. I mean, if I don't get those three people right, in the beginning. Do I keep pushing? Yes, I guess I keep pushing to see if I can get the next few people.
Lee: Yeah. And keep in mind too, like, you really are inviting people into something really cool. They're getting in on the ground floor, they get to be a part of co-creating a membership. And so not only will they be powerfully served by it, and you know, we'll definitely talk about the results, what they can expect. But let them know, like, “You get to be a part of this,” like, “Yes, I'm facilitating it but what you contribute will be so important and I would love to have that opportunity to connect with you in this way.” So when we do personal invitations, when we're really specific about why you think that person would be a great fit in the membership. And then we talk about the results in the process. Again, you're reaching out to a warm audience. These are people who already know you who are already connected. So I suspect that you're going to get some interest there.
Gina: Yeah, sounds good.
Lee: Excellent. So your next step then is to plan it out visually kind of map it out, see what that looks like. And then maybe make a list of possible founding members and start reaching out to them.
Lee: How's that feel?
Gina: That's good. Definitely feeling better than when I first hopped on.
Lee: Well, excellent. Mission accomplished. Anything else you need for today's session to feel complete?
Gina: No, I think that's good.
Lee: Well, Gina, I want to thank you for being on the hot seat today.
Gina: Thank you.
I so enjoyed my coaching conversation with Gina], and I want to thank her especially for allowing me to share our membership call with the Coach with Clarity Podcast community. Now during the actual hotseat coaching call, after we conclude the coaching piece, which you just heard, I then open it up for the members to ask me questions about my process of coaching, why I asked particular questions I did, what I was thinking when x happened, etc. So it becomes a time where we can debrief the call and members have the opportunity to ask questions around the coaching process. So this is one of the ways we build more powerful, more masterful coaches within the membership. I'm also able to share a little bit about what I was thinking, feeling, and experiencing during the call. And one of the things I did share with the members was that this call required me to take a more directive, consultative role than I often take in coaching sessions. The reason I did that, though, was because Gina was very clear about what she wanted, and what she wanted to gain from our conversation. And she was clear that she wanted to hear more about my experience launching and running a membership. So because I knew she was on board with that I definitely took a more directive stance than I typically take in coaching sessions. So that's something that I noticed in terms of the flow and how we structured the session. And my hope is that our time together benefited Gina and by extension you especially if you're thinking about creating your own group program or your own membership. You've also just gotten a sample of what it's like to be a part of the Coach with Clarity Membership. So every month we have one hotseat coaching call. So you've heard an example of one of the sessions that occurs within a call. We also have Q&A sessions, guest expert trainings, and co-working sessions every month. So most months, that's a call every week we meet on Tuesdays at noon. And it's such a wonderful time to be in community with other coaches who are actively working to build their businesses and grow their coaching mastery. And then of course, in addition to the live calls, the members are supported with an ever growing toolkit of resources, templates, guides, bonus courses, video instruction, and even an attorney prepared coaching contract. So if you need a contract for your coaching business, we have one waiting for you in the Coach with Clarity toolkit, so if you have not joined yet, come on over we would love to have you just head to coachwithclarity.com/membership to learn more and join and I can't wait to see you at a future members call. Alright my friends, that's it for me. But don't worry, I will be back in your podcast feed with another episode next week. So if you haven't subscribed yet, make sure you do it that way you won't miss a single episode of the Coach with Clarity podcast. I hope you have a wonderful week and until then, my name is Lee Chaix McDonough, reminding you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.