STU MCLAREN: “There is evidence of people who are launching, not with audiences of tens of thousands, not even with thousands, but with just a few hundred people. This is what the founding-member strategy is all about. It creates an opportunity for you to not wait, because waiting until you have an audience of thousands or tens of thousands is nothing more than procrastinating on the opportunity that's right in front of you. And a founding-member launch allows you to get going, create massive momentum, with just a tiny audience.”
“Here's what I'm talking about. The reason this is one of the fastest strategies to deploy in the marketplace, if you will, is that you don't need a sales page, you don't need launch videos, you don't need a webinar; you don't need any of that stuff. This is not about that. This is about speed. And the real benefit to this is that it allows you to validate whether there's actually interest in what you are considering creating, it allows you to generate money before you create anything, it allows you to create a ton of momentum, and most importantly, most importantly, allows you to generate stories.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.
AMY PORTERFIELD: What if I told you that there was a fast-track strategy that you could use to launch your digital course or a membership site? Have I piqued your curiosity? And here's the cherry on top. You don't have to have a big audience or a big email list to make it successful. I know, I know. Crazy, right? Well, it might seem too good to be true, but it's not.
My guest today is going to prove that it can be done, and he has the exact steps to do it. And during these crazy times that we're living in right now, this strategy is needed more than ever. My guest today is Stu McLaren, and it's not the first time he's been on the show. We spoke all about membership sites in episode 260 because he is the master at teaching how to create recurring revenue. So today, it's my pleasure to welcome Stu back, and we’re going to talk about the strategy that he calls the “founding-members launch.” And he’s going to tell you exactly how to do it, how it will benefit you, how it will benefit your audience, and the different elements that make it actually successful so that after this episode, you could literally go do it. I'm not joking about that. That's how actionable this episode is going to be. And he's going to tell you so many real-life stories of people who have used the founding-members launch to great success. So get ready to be blown away. Let's go ahead and welcome Stu to the show.
Well, well, well. Look who it is. Welcome back, Stu.
STU: Hello, hello, hello.
AMY: I really think we should be doing video because this is always just too much fun, and we should have turned the video on a long time ago because the second I got on this call with Stu, we've been laughing ever since. We've been talking about all the things. I've already seen all the drawings from his daughter, Marla. She came in to visit us. So it's like family time when I get on a call with you.
STU: Yes. And I don’t know if that makes for good video, but it certainly is entertaining.
AMY: Yes, for sure. So we are going to talk about a really cool strategy today. But before we get there, we cannot pretend like the world is not a little bit crazy right now. And so at the time of this recording, everything seems to be changing and evolving and a little bit scary. Now, you and I both believe that there is no better time than to get your course or membership out into the world. Would you agree?
STU: Yeah, because I think one of the things that I, and I know you because we talked about it so many times together in private, is that, you know what, this is also, there's a silver lining here. And the silver lining is that, yes, people have been quarantined, and yes, people are at home, and yes, we're not going to events where we're getting together in large groups. But what has this done? What does this make possible? It means that people have more time. They're at home, and they are looking to do something other than just sit on the couch and watch Netflix. So people are grasping this opportunity to be able to immerse themselves in things that they have wanted to do for a long time, but just haven't had the chance.
AMY: Exactly. And so there's no better time than to get things completed, because a lot of my students, Stu, are still working on their courses or still building up their membership. And I keep telling them now is the time. Like, go, go, go. And here's the coolest thing I've noticed just over the last, even, week. I've noticed that nobody is looking or expecting or even wanting perfection, in the biggest way. When you just jump on and you're like, “Here. Here it is. This is what I've got for you,” people are like, “Thank you. This is so good.”
STU: Yeah. And let's just share the example of our dear friend, Anna DiGilio.
AMY: Yes, let’s talk about her.
STU: So she is, as we like to call her, our business baby. She's an amazing human being, number one. Number two, she's phenomenal at what she does in her expertise, which is helping young kids read. But number three, she's a very savvy entrepreneur. And I want to point this out because in a time like this, as entrepreneurs, we have a choice. We have a choice. We can either hide and retreat and kind of throw our hands up in the air and kind of give up on the situation, or we can look for the opportunity. And Anna is a great example.
So here, people and parents have been quarantined with their kids. I saw a great tweet the other day, Amy, and it was from, clearly, a father. And he said, this is my first day of homeschooling my kids. I'm thirty minutes in, and I have come to the conclusion that teachers should be paid a million dollars a year.
AMY: Amen! Amen.
STU: Because what has this created? It's created a new problem where parents are at home with their kids, trying to juggle everything by still working and still doing everything else, and yet still trying to help their kids move forward in their education and helping them learn, because we don't just want our kids vegging out in front of the TV or on the iPad. We want them doing something productive.
Now, Anna, being a savvy entrepreneur, realized this is an opportunity. Her business is serving other teachers. She has a thriving membership. She has a course that helps teachers, and she makes it easy for teachers to be able to help their kids in the class. But similarly, Anna saw an opportunity, and she saw an opportunity to take those same lessons, those same curriculum that she provides to teachers, and instead make a slight pivot and provide it for parents. And so this is an opportunity, and so she didn't wait. She didn't hum and haw. She didn’t wait to get it perfect. She just got it going. And in the midst of that, our kids, our kids have been tuning in every day at 11:00 a.m. to read with Anna. It has allowed her to create a ton of momentum. And so this is just a great example of not standing still, not getting it perfect, but getting it going, and in the midst of that, serving so many people.
AMY: Yes. And so there's something about these times about getting it going, not waiting, and just jumping to the opportunity, because I love what you said, “Where is the opportunity?”
So crazy. You and I are so similar because I've been telling my students every day, look for the silver lining, and do not feel guilty that during a crisis you are looking for the silver lining, because in a sense, it's exactly like you are looking for the good. And we all should be looking for the good while being compassionate to others.
And so with that, this idea of getting going, moving quickly, it has everything to do with today's episode because you have a strategy that you have said could actually get somebody to launch easily and quickly. Now, is this really true?
STU: Okay, so, yes, it's 110 percent true, and yes, during this episode, I’ll share all kinds of examples of people who are utilizing this. But the bottom line is that this strategy is going to sound almost too simple. And my fear for everybody listening, is that you’ll discount it because it sounds too simple, it sounds too good to be true. And those who don't discount it, who take it and use it are going to experience momentum when they start using this. And so, yes, there is a strategy. It's called the founding-member launch. And I want to help your audience walk through it, because what it does is it creates momentum, and that momentum is going to lead to more and more clients, customers, and results that you're going to help people get in the marketplace.
AMY: Okay. I am dying to know all the details, and what I love is you've agreed to break it all down in this episode. But before you even do, I want to be mindful of those listening that have a tiny email list or a small audience, and they're thinking, “Wait a second. You say the word launch, and I think I need to have ten thousand people to launch to to be successful.” So talk to me about that first.
STU: Well, it's absolutely not true. And every single day in our TRIBE community, I know in your community, there is evidence of people who are launching, not with audiences of tens of thousands, not even with thousands, but with just a few hundred people. And so this is what the founding-member strategy is all about. It creates an opportunity for you to not wait, because waiting until you have an audience of thousands or tens of thousands is nothing more than procrastinating on the opportunity that's right in front of you. And a founding-member launch allows you to get going, create massive momentum, with just a tiny audience.
AMY: Okay, that, I know you've just hooked a lot of people. They have stopped multi-tasking. They're like, “I'm grabbing a notebook. Stu, show me the way. What does this look like?”
STU: Get your milk and cookies, people, because here we go.
AMY: Let’s go.
STU: So here's what I'm talking about. The reason this is one of the fastest strategies to deploy in the marketplace, if you will, is that you don't need a sales page, you don't need launch videos, you don't need a webinar; you don't need any of that stuff. This is not about that. This is about speed. And the real benefit to this is that it allows you to validate whether there's actually interest in what you are considering creating, it allows you to generate money before you create anything, it allows you to create a ton of momentum, and most importantly, most importantly, allows you to generate stories. These are your most-valuable marketing assets. As you begin to continue to grow your business, the stories of people using what it is that you're providing to get results.
Now, the benefits to your audience are plentiful as well, because it's going to allow them to get in on the ground floor at the lowest price possible, and, not only that—and we'll talk about this specifically—you're going to extend that low price for as long as they remain a member. We'll talk more about that in a minute. But it's also going to, they can help shape the direction that you take with your course or your membership, and they get first access and first-mover advantage. So, listen. It is a big win-win for you, and it's a big, big win-win for your audience as well.
Now, you want me to just dig into it, Amy?
AMY: I do. I want you to take us step by step.
STU: Okay. So let's just talk about how the founding-member strategy works. I first came onto this because way back, rewind, almost five years ago, I was in a transition point in my business. And one of my mentors had said to me, “Stu, why don't you double down your attention on specifically helping business owners add recurring revenue to their business, with memberships?” He said, “You literally have a decade of experience working with tens of thousands of people. And you are clearly continuing to experience success with it,” because at the time I was business partners with Michael Hyatt. We had just launched a very successful membership, and I was getting asked nonstop if I would consult people one on one. And so sometimes you have to get hit over the head several times before you realize, like, “Duh, that's an amazing idea.” And I did. And I started focusing on it. And I did a workshop for a small group of people, and it was a huge success.
But then, I could have just left it at that. But no, here's what happened. I decided to use this strategy that we're going to talk about right now. And here's how it worked. First thing I did was I just made a Facebook post. Again, I didn’t create a sales letter, I didn't create launch videos, I didn't do a webinar; I didn’t do any of that stuff. I just made a Facebook post. And in the Facebook post, I said, “I'm thinking of hosting a workshop for a small group of people. And this is what I would essentially teach in the workshop,” and I outlined it. And then I said, “If it's something of interest to you, where you want to add recurring revenue to your business, just send me a direct message if you're interested.”
So long story short, very simple Facebook post where I said, I'm thinking about doing this workshop. I didn't say I'm doing the workshop, and here are all the dates and here are all the materials, and here's what you'll get. I said I'm just thinking about it, and if they were interested, to send me a direct message.
Well, what happened was that I had a whole bunch of people send me a direct message, and I followed up with them one on one, and I filled a second workshop here in Toronto. And then a few months later, my wife and I, Amy and I, we were flying down to Hawaii for our winter getaway. And Amy said to me—she's the smart one—she said, “Stu, why don't we do something down in Hawaii so we can write this trip off?”
STU: Yeah. I’m like, all you Amys are smart.
STU: I said, “That's a great idea.” I said, “Okay.” So I did another Facebook post where I said, “I'm heading to Hawaii, and I was thinking about hosting another workshop.” And lo and behold, we filled a third workshop. And so what happened here was that we had this very simple, very easy, very non-threatening way to gage interest, and when interest was there, we were able to sign people up for the workshops.
Now, here's how it starts. Basically, do you need an audience? Yes. Do you need an audience of tens of thousands and thousands? No. You just need to see an audience of just a few hundred people. And if you follow Amy, your list-building advice, that's going to happen in a very short period of time.
STU: So here's what we do. First and foremost is that you have an idea and you put out an invitation for people to join you before anything has been created or confirmed. And this can be done by email. It can be done by a Facebook Live, a Facebook post, an Instagram post. Wherever you're communicating with your audience, this is what I want you to do. I want you to use that platform. And the overview of the concept is this. First, you share that you have an idea for something that you've been thinking about doing. And then, you cast the vision for what you see that idea becoming. Then, you have an invitation for them to join you, and you give them a call to action to send you a direct message or, in the case of an email, to reply to this email. And so this is how it all works. Very simple, right? Facebook post or email, where you explain that you've been thinking about this idea. And then you cast a vision for what you see it becoming. You invite them to join you, and you give them a call to action to send you a direct message.
Now, again, we can break this down because inside of this, there are some nuances, and I'm happy to walk through them, Amy. But how does it sound so far? Pretty simple, right?
AMY: Okay, it sounds super simple, but almost, like you said, a little too simple, that why don’t you think everyone and their brother isn't doing this right now?
STU: Because here's why people don't do it: because they get held up on three specific things. Number one, perfectionism, which is like, “Stu, oh, my goodness. I can’t go out to the market.”
AMY: This is why we need video, you guys. Can you only imagine what he looks like right now?
STU: But the perfectionism kicks in, which is like, I can't do that. Like, what are people going to think, that I'm trying to sell something, and I haven’t even got it finished? No, I've got to have all my i's dotted, all my t's crossed. It’s got to look pretty. It’s got to do this, got to do that. Perfectionism stops people in their tracks.
Number two is that people have this fear that if I put it out there, nobody's going to buy. But listen to the nuance of how I ask people to respond. I didn't say leave a comment below that says, yes, I'm in. I said, send me a direct message. You want to know why I said that, Amy? This is pulling back the curtain. I'm just being transparent.
AMY: Tell me.
STU: Because I was afraid. What if nobody says yes? So, I'm going to save my ego from the public humility and just ask people to send me a direct message, because nobody knows if I got one or one hundred messages, right? So it saves that public humility if nobody does say yes. So the fear of nobody buying, you don't have to worry about, because that direct message or that email reply shields you from that.
And then the third reason that people really don't move forward on this is that they fear that they're going to look stupid with their audience, that they don't have everything figured out. And this is nothing more than you worrying about yourself. And what I want to encourage people to do is just shift your focus to the people that you can serve. You have got a solution for a problem that people are experiencing right now.
Think of Anna DiGilio and all those parents who are experiencing that problem of, what do I do with my kids during the day? She's got a solution. If she were to worry about herself and get her knickers in a twist, thinking about all the reasons she may look silly because she doesn't have everything perfectly tailored for the parents, she may never get it out there, and she may never help and serve anybody. But instead, she got out of her own way. She didn't worry about herself. She focused on her audience. And as a result, parents like myself and so many others, thousands of others, are tuning in to what Anna is providing.
So the thing that holds people back—perfectionism, fear of nobody buying, and fear of looking stupid—but the reality is, you don't have to get everything perfect; you just got to get it going. And nobody is going to know whether you get one or one hundred responses when you're doing it via direct message. And when it comes to looking stupid, that's just you focusing on yourself. Shift your energy, focus on your audience, and all of that fear disappears.
AMY: Boom. Mic drop. So good.
Now, I’m thinking there's one other reason, and I know you've talked about this before, so I'm kind of cheating. I know you're going to bring this up. Some people are like, I can't do this. I don't have an email list yet.
STU: Listen, at the end of the day, what I want you to realize is that you don't need a massive audience. And I'll walk you through a ton of different examples of this.
Like, the very first one that I'll mention is Wendy Batten. So Wendy Batten didn't have a huge audience. She had a tiny audience of 350-something paint-store retailers. So this is like a super tiny niche. And this is not —again, she doesn't have a huge audience with tens of thousands or thousands; 350-something people. She used the founding-member launch and ended up welcoming fifty-two members; $2800 a month, Amy—$2800 with one. And this is a perfect example.
Not a huge audience, but you need a few hundred people. Yeah. But it's not going to take very long at all to be able to grow an audience of just a few hundred. Again, not tens of thousands, not thousands, but just a few hundred. And so if you don't have a few hundred, then that's where I would put your focus. Go through Amy Porterfield’s list-building resources. She’s got a ton of them out there.
Amy, where would you tell people to go? What's the number-one resource that you would tell them to go that you have? because I know you’ve got a ton of them.
AMY: This podcast. I’ve got tons of episodes around list building, and that's exactly where I'd start.
STU: So, follow what Amy's teaching you, because at the end of the day, she is one of the best teachers when it comes to helping you grow your list. Again, don't get tripped up thinking that you've got to wait until you get to a certain point. Just a few hundred people. We can all do that, literally in the next few weeks.
Now, here's the thing. Once you've got that, just remember that there are five key steps to making this happen. Number one is where you share the idea. Where did the idea come from? Where did the spark come from? It could be a story or a conversation that got you thinking about doing this. But you got to share where the idea came from and why it gets you excited. The idea is number one.
Step number two is the vision. This is where you've got to cast the vision for where you see this becoming. Explain that it's not created yet, but we're going to be co-creating it together. But you've got to cast the vision for where it's going, what it's going to become, and why this is so much more than just version one.
Number one, the idea. Number two, the vision. Number three is the invitation. This is where we got to pull up our big-boy and big-girl pants, and we got to invite people to join us as a founding member. Listen, people are going to be excited about this. People love getting in on the ground floor. People love being able to help shape the future of this big idea that you are sharing. But you've got to invite people to join you. And if you do it in a way that we have talked about, there's no risk. If nobody expresses interest, no harm, no foul. But what you've done is you've saved yourself a ton of time of putting something out that people didn't want. But what if, what if, people do respond? Imagine the excitement and the momentum that's going to come from that. So, again, it doesn't matter if one or one hundred respond, you're shielded from any public embarrassment, so to speak. But it gives you all the upside of being able to try to see if this is going to be validated in the marketplace before, by the way, you pour any energy into it.
So, number one is the idea. Number two is the vision. Number three is the invitation. Number four is the call to action. What do you specifically want people to do? So in my case, I said, send me a direct message, or if it's in an email, you would say, hit reply, and explain to them what will happen next. Explain to them that you're going to follow up with details if you do decide to move forward with this idea or if there is enough interest and you decide to move forward. But explain what will happen after people send you a direct message.
So, number one, idea. Number two, vision. Number three, invitation. Number four, call to action. And step number five is the follow up. So when people do respond, make sure you follow up. Make sure you send them the details. Make sure you talk to them about it.
So this is the five-step process. It's very simple. It's very non-threatening. And people will discount it, because they'll say, “No, Stu. That’s not going to work. It's almost too simple.” But I've got so many stories to share, Amy, of—
AMY: Oh, bring them on. This is my favorite part.
STU: Okay. So you want me to dive right into them?
AMY: I do.
STU: Okay. So you'll like this one because this one actually started because of you. So I made a Facebook post. This was several months ago. And I said, “I just had a conversation with my dear friend Amy Porterfield, who asked me a question. And Amy said to me, ‘We are in the midst of hiring for our team, and there's a couple roles that we have just hired for specifically, as it related to our community director and community manager.’ Where do I go to train these people?’”
AMY: I didn’t know this. I didn’t know this story.
STU: Do you remember us having that conversation?
AMY: Yes, 100 percent.
STU: And you were pushing me. You kept saying, “Stu, you need to develop some kind of training.” And so in the Facebook post, I explained this conversation. And then I said, “And that's when it hit me. That’s when I had an idea. Maybe we should deliver a workshop that specifically shows our process for creating a thriving community so that people who may have a membership or are thinking about a membership and want to hire a community manager to help them manage it can train those people. It’s a place to train those people.” I said, “This is just an idea. But here's where we see it going, and here's what we would be sharing.” I'm following the exact script that I'm just sharing with you here. And I said, “And if you're interested, just send me a direct message.” And so people did. And that ultimately filled that first workshop that you sent your team to, and so many others did as well.
AMY: Okay. That is really cool because Sylvia and Emmory loved that training. It was literally the best of the best. So that makes me so happy.
STU: Yeah, well, you were the spark for it. And so you were in the copy because that's where the idea came from.
AMY: Send me a check. Send me a check. Just joking.
STU: So let me share a couple other real-world examples of this. So couple of years ago at our live event, we host an event every year called TRIBE Live. And at the event, Jamie Swanson, who is just a phenomenal human being, number one. But number two, she's a very smart, savvy entrepreneur as well. And she particularly helps photographers, and specifically, personal-brand photographers. So she was sharing a story up on stage of how she launched her membership using a founding-member script. And she talked about how she put it out there on a Facebook post and how she got responses and so forth, just like what we've talked about here in this episode. And in the audience—and by the way, Jamie ended up welcoming 119 new members into her membership, founding members into her membership.
Now, that was inspiring. And Anna Saucier, who was in the audience, heard Jamie talk about this and was saying to herself, “That’s amazing. That's so simple. I could do that today.” And so Anna, though—you have to know, Anna didn't have a huge audience of tens of thousands or thousands. She had 326 infertility practitioners in her audience, 326. So her goal, though, was to use the founding-member script. And her goal, she said, was to generate $5,000 in the next twenty-four hours. It was an audacious goal. She's like, I’m just going—
AMY: Yeah. That’s a lot.
STU: It’s a lot. It’s a lot. So she did use the founding-member script. She posted hers on Facebook. And she said, “Send me a direct message if you're interested.” And within twenty-four hours—here's the amazing part about this—within twenty-four hours, she generated $5,024, and she had nothing created. No sales. There are no videos, no webinar. She didn't have a members, or didn't have anything. This was just the idea that she was sharing with her people—$5,024.
STU: Crazy, right?
AMY: Crazy town.
STU: I was sharing these two stories last year, and in the midst of that, when I was sharing them, I had a number of questions that came up that said, well, where is this founding-member script? And long story short, we walked people through it, and people started using it right away. And one of those people is a woman named Tasha Cochran.
Now, Tasha did have a bigger audience, but one of the things that she did was she had a segment of about 300 people that she wanted to see if this offer would convert with them before rolling it out to the rest of her audience. Does that make sense, Amy?
AMY: Yes. Good idea.
STU: Super-smart idea. So she rolls with it and used the founding-member script. And it was amazing because she was updating in our community what was happening as she was doing it. And she was like, within the first ninety minutes, she had generated, like, $1,800. And then by the end of the first twenty-four hours, it was over $6,000. And it was crazy, and what happened, it was so inspiring for people that other people started using the founding-member script, and before we knew it, we had all these stories, person after person, who were using the founding-member script and getting their courses and their membership sites off the ground and generating momentum. This is the most important thing, momentum. So I love this strategy. I recommend this strategy everywhere I go because it's about people getting out of their way and just putting it out there and serving people and creating momentum for themselves.
AMY: Okay. So I want to speak to my Digital Course Academy®️ members specifically, because you all have been taught how to pre-sell. It's something, Stu, I’ve been against forever because I used to think that if you put it out there before you make it, it's really stressful to have to get it all done really quickly. Now, this was a limiting belief of mine, because I also know that if you get it out there—and a membership experience is different than a course, but a course, you could do one module at a time, get it created, get it out there. Next week, module two, get it created, get it out there. But also, Stu, what about the fact that, what if ten people, what if twenty people are like, “Yeah, I want it”? How fast do you have to deliver it? What does it look like afterwards?
STU: So, it’s all about managing expectations. And part of the benefit of people getting in at the ground floor is that they are being grandfathered in at founding-member pricing. So let me just kind of walk you through a scenario.
So a couple years ago, one of my Impact Masterminders, his name is Nicholas Wilton. Nicholas Wilton, he teaches people how to become a fine artist, so paint beautiful canvases that we would hang up in our homes, and stuff like that. So he has this course that he was delivering. It's an amazing course. And he called me—his is a twelve-week course, so it's a really long one. He called me at week number ten. He said, “Stu, I'm in a bit of a pickle.” I’m sorry. I take that back. He didn't say “pickle.” That's Stu language.
AMY: That’s very Stu language.
STU: He basically said, like, help me out here. And I said, “Okay, what’s the issue?” He said, “Well, I'm getting toward the end of this course. And I can see that people are starting to ask like, ‘Well, what's next?’” He said, “I know I should be launching a membership site.” He's like, “But, dude, I don't have time. I'm still delivering the course.” And I said, “Dude, no problem. This is where you do a founding-member launch.” He said, “Well, what’s that?” And so I walked him through exactly what we are sharing.
Now, the only difference here and the nuance with Nicholas Wilton was he didn't do a Facebook post and he didn't do an email. He explained the founding-member launch on a webinar. So he invited all of his people that were in his course onto a final webinar. And on that webinar, he said, “During the course, I started to see comments popping up like this,” screenshot, screenshot, screenshot, which were all of the comments, by the way, of people saying, “Well, what's going to happen next? What's going to happen in the community? Where are we going to go? Are we still going to be able to—?” Those were all screenshots he was showing.
And he said, “Those screenshots sparked an idea for me that maybe, maybe, we could find a way to continue this amazing community that we've created during this course program. So I had this idea, and here’s where I see this going.” And then, boom. He started casting the vision for what that membership would look like. And then he circled back, and he said, “Now, here's the thing. None of this has been created. And if there is interest in continuing this community all year long, we will absolutely create it. But it won't be finalized or created for at least two months.”
So he managed expectations. Amy, did you hear that little nuance there? Like, really important.
STU: And so he said, “But if you're interested in becoming a founding member, not only will you be able to help me shape this idea and shape this community, but you'll also be grandfathered in at the founding-member price for as long as you remain a member in good standing. Because when we do launch it, we will absolutely raise the price, but yours will forever stay at the lowest price.”
And so he invited people to join him. And of the roughly 200 people that were in his course at the time—this is crazy stats. People are going to be shocked—but of the roughly 200 people that were in this program, over 180 of them joined, generating $5,400 a month in recurring revenue before he had created anything.
AMY: That is a lot of money.
STU: A lot of money. And so what did he do? He just parlayed that right into developing the site, which he promised would be available two months from that time. So he managed expectations, and that's the most important bit. You got to manage expectations, and you've got to—it’s almost like a fun thing that it's on the ground floor and people can see you develop it and create it as you go in and loop them in, and they're on the inside of it. But you got to manage expectations because it's, remember, it's just an idea that you're thinking about doing. This is not a sales pitch for something that's done. This is an idea that you are thinking about, and people are getting in on the ground floor. So manage those expectations. Super important.
AMY: Oh, I’m so glad I asked that because that makes perfect sense.
Okay, so you just went over the coolest strategy, and you’re right. You said in the very beginning, this is going to be so simple that some people won't even believe it. Like, can you really do that? because it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles. A simple strategy is my favorite.
But to build off of that, I want to talk a little bit about something special that you just released today, that's totally free, and it’s this training experience all about how to launch your very own recurring-revenue membership. And I want you to tell people what they can expect in this free training experience, because many of my listeners are ready to get going. They want to get something out there. And so I want them to watch this training series, so can you talk a little bit about it?
STU: Yeah, well, listen, I'm passionate about this stuff. I don't know if you could tell that.
AMY: Oh, yeah. We know.
STU: I am passionate because here's the thing. Never before has there been a more important time for us as entrepreneurs, as course creators, as people sharing what it is that we have, to create recurring revenue in our business. Never before. It is so important today, and people are realizing that there's a sense of urgency. And this is why I'm so passionate about this free experience, where we walk you through how to launch, grow, and scale a highly profitable membership.
And it starts in part one, as you mentioned, releases today. And this is all about how to validate your idea, because you may be thinking like, well, would a membership site work for my market? And the answer to that is, heck yes. But there are criteria that are going to make a membership more profitable for certain markets. So what we did was in this first part, you're going to get clarity as to whether a membership and what type of membership would be a right fit for your market.
Now, in part two, this is where we break down the question of, okay, but what do I provide in a membership? And so we'll walk you through what to provide. And here's a little nuance. It's really important. Many people think, especially course creators, like, people who create a lot of content like us, the natural instinct is to think, okay, well, a membership is nothing more than me just putting a whole bunch of content behind a paywall and letting people have at it. And we think that the more content we create and deliver, the more value we create and deliver. But that's just not true, because here's what I can tell you. The number-one reason that people cancel from a membership site is overwhelm. And so they're overwhelmed with the volume of content. So then the question becomes, well, what do you provide inside of a membership? That's what we're going to walk you through in part number two. Super valuable.
And then number three, part number three, this is where we zoom up, and we give you the high-level, 30,000-foot view, of the five key areas of a membership. In fact, we're going to give you this incredibly powerful and useful blueprint where we break all of those down into this unbelievable mind map. In fact, last year we had a woman just from this—her name was Cynthia. She just emailed me recently—she had 346 new members join her membership just based off the free information that is coming down the pipeline to you when you come and register for this free experience.
And so this is, to me, all about equipping business owners to include and have more recurring revenue in your business. It's about creating stability so that no matter what happens in the marketplace, you know with certainty that sales are not just going to dry up, they keep coming in every single month.
And Amy, I'm more passionate about this than ever before because I got a message right when all the coronavirus stuff was happening. It was from one of our TRIBErs. Her name is Kasey Hope. And she sent me this message, and she basically said, “Stu, I just want to thank you, because I just had to make the very difficult decision to close the doors on my brick-and-mortar art studio for the next three weeks.” She said, “Normally, I would be struck with fear around what is going to happen. But because I launched my membership site, my online membership site, I don't have that fear. I can still pay my employees. I can still pay myself. And I can continue to move forward. Thanks to my online membership.” And she went on to say, if she didn't have that, the situation would be completely different.
This is why I'm passionate about this, because I talk about it adding stability into the business. But my friends, it creates confidence, that you know no matter what happens in the marketplace, you're going to be able to continue to move forward and serve and grow your business. That's more important today than ever before. Come and join us for this free series. It is amazing.
AMY: It is amazing. It's so good, guys. Amyporterfield.com/membership, that's where you go to get video one totally free. And let me tell you. Stu and his team have put hours and hours and hours into this free training series to make it incredible and valuable. And so, again, amyporterfield.com/membership.
And before I let you go, Stu, I got to say that I want to remind my audience, my listeners, that, well, first of all, let me back up. I have a membership called Momentum. And if you are in Digital Course Academy®️, you can then get an invite, when we open the doors, you can get an invite into Momentum. And everything I know about membership—and it’s a very profitable, very successful membership—everything I know about memberships, I learned from Stu. And when I didn't know what to do, I asked Stu. When I wasn't sure about pricing, when I wasn't sure about how to structure it, when I wasn't sure about marketing, everything came from Stu, and specifically a program that is called TRIBE. And so I just got to put it out there that I wouldn't have a very successful membership without him. This guy knows everything about how to create recurring revenue in your business. Go check out video one. You will not be sorry.
STU: And by the way, Momentum peeps, can we just give Amy some shout outs and hollas on the social? because thank goodness she finally pulled the trigger and moved forward with it. And we're all benefiting because we get more amazingness from the one and only Amy Porterfield.
AMY: Well, thank you. Because it is—I can't believe I'm saying this because I was so timid to do it—but it is one of my most favorite things in the business. And especially now, I have to say, especially now, where we are in a very uncertain time, I have been working even closer with my Momentum members because they are paying a premium price to get access to me and my team. And so we have made a pivot to really focus on how to build their business so that they don't just sustain business during this crazy time, but they thrive. And I have found just like this new passion. I wouldn't have had that without my membership.
STU: I don’t mean to derail you here, but I do know you did hesitate for a while, but now you’re in it. And what is that relationship like with those Momentum members?
AMY: You know, it's so funny because you're asking at the perfect time because I finally had that breakthrough, that aha, that it lights me up to see what they're doing. And I know them on such an intimate level. I know their businesses, I know what they're working on, and I even know a little bit about their families and all of that because a membership is more intimate. Talk about community being needed more than ever now, when we're asked to distance ourselves, we've got to find our communities online. And Momentum has just like come together to rally with each other. So I feel so fortunate that I have a connection with my Momentum members that I never knew it would be this good. And you told me. You said wait until you start to light up every time they tell you something that's going on in their business, because you're going to feel so connected to it.
STU: Yeah. And I'm so glad that you said and brought up the point about community, because this is so important today with the social distancing, with the quarantining. People are craving that connection with people. And so where do they go? Where do they find it? They find it in online communities. And that, my friend, is another big reason why today, more than ever, memberships are critically important to every business. I'm super grateful that you moved forward, because I know, with your Momentum peeps, that they are grateful, and I just know what that does for a business, and I wouldn't want it any more than for my dear friend, Amy Porterfield.
AMY: Well, thank you so much, Stu. I love you dearly. I’m so glad that you came on the show today. This has been really cool. And I know my course creators and future membership creators are going to love every minute of this.
So again, guys, amyporterfield.com/membership. Go there right now before you get busy and you forget to do it, because you're going to love every minute of it.
All right. Stu, thanks again for being here.
STU: Thanks, buddy. Appreciate you.