STU MCLAREN: “There are so many examples of this, Amy, in markets like photography, calligraphy, fitness, and finance and music and art and dog training. Heck, there's Holly George, who's got a membership with hundreds and hundreds of members, teaching how to make balloon animals, for crying out loud. Bottom line is that when you know something, the amazing part about the Internet is that we have the ability to reach thousands and thousands of people who also want to learn how to do the same things. And so it's just a matter of taking what you know, breaking it down, and beginning to teach it inside of a membership.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the 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 a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY PORTERFIELD: If you're looking for a new podcast recommendation, listen up. Entrepreneurs on Fire, hosted by my dear friend John Lee Dumas, offers major inspiration and shares strategies to fire up your entrepreneurial journey and create the life you've always dreamed of. John's been a guest on my podcast many times, and he always delivers. On his podcast, he recently did an episode called “How to Design, Build, Launch, and Grow a Small Company,” and it was brilliant. I get asked questions about starting and growing a business all the time, and this was a great podcast to answer that question. Find more episodes like this by searching for Entrepreneurs on Fire wherever you get your podcasts.
It's been over two years—two years—since I had my dear friend Stu McLaren on the podcast. And the last time he was on, he blew my listeners’ minds. He shared his presale strategy, and we still get people writing into us telling us about how great that episode was. So naturally, I thought it was high time we got him back on the show. And today we're talking about something that both of us strongly believe in, and that's having a membership experience as part of your business.
Honestly, what I love most about having a membership experience is that it allows me to continue the journey with my students after they complete my most popular signature course, Digital Course Academy. For my students, the membership experience gives them the support they need to grow and scale their business in a big way. This was something that was missing from my business, and I kept hearing from my students that they wished they had a place to go to to keep learning after Digital Course Academy was over, and they wanted something to help them keep building their businesses, and they also wanted a community of like-minded entrepreneurs. And so that's what Momentum has become.
So, here's the deal: I want you to dive into this episode if you have a business that you're looking to scale, or if you're looking for a way to further support your students—maybe they’re asking for it; or maybe you’ve thought about adding a membership, but you just haven’t taken the leap—this episode is for you. And for those of you who are already rocking a membership, you're going to want to listen to this because Stu always drops gems that when I'm listening to him, I think, “Oh, my gosh. I needed to hear that for my own membership.”
So the interview is going to be amazing. I can't wait for you to listen in, so let's get to it.
Well, hey, there, Stu. Welcome to the show!
STU: Well, how do you do, miss Amy Porterfield?
AMY: My cheeks are already hurting from laughing, and we just got on. I don’t know how I'm going to make it through this episode, but I have to tell you, I've been looking forward to it all week.
STU: Well, that’s because you burped right before we started, and we both—
AMY: Stop it!
STU: —started giggling. And then we're right into it.
AMY: Okay. I did burp. I had a—you're so rude. You do not tell when ladies burp. I had a protein shake, and I burped right before we went on live, and then he thought that was hilarious because he's a child. He's a ten-year-old boy. And so now we're moving on.
STU: Oh. Okay. Boy humor out of the way, how’s it going?
AMY: It is going well. I'm excited to talk about all things memberships because I said in the intro, it's been two years since we've talked about this topic.
AMY: We haven't had you on the show in over two years, and you've got a lot of cool stuff to share around memberships. So I'm just going to start us off with taking you back. Can you remember the reason why you created a membership the very first time? Like, why did you do it? Like, what was the driving force behind it?
STU: Amy, you're asking me to go back to 2008.
STU: That’s a long time ago. But, yeah. Okay. So back then, at the time, I had a consulting business.
STU: And I'm sure many of your audience and listeners have a similar type of business, and it was a service-based business, right? So people would hire me. I was managing their affiliate programs, and it was basically on a short-term-contract basis. So they'd be coming up for a launch, and I'd be managing their affiliate program during that launch; or some clients I had as an ongoing retainer, and I was managing their affiliate program ongoing. And it was a great business. We were doing mid-six figures in that business, so things were cooking for young, little Stu.
But there was—I had been, in 2008, at that time, I had been married to my Amy for about a year, and we were talking seriously about having children, and I just started to realize a few things. One of them was that the business model that I had, it wasn't going to work long term, because I was burning the candle at both ends. Like, yeah, we were doing really well, but I was working a lot, and the only way to grow that business was for me to work more. And I didn't have any more time to give. So something had to give because I wanted to be a present husband, and I wanted to be a present father.
And this was the point at which it started forcing me to ask different questions. And one of them was, how could I continue to earn more revenue or how can I continue to grow the business without it requiring more of my time? That was one question. The second question that I started asking was, how could I help and reach more people without it requiring more of my time?
That led to a conversation with a mentor of mine who brought up the suggestion of a membership. And I said, “Well, what is that?” And he said, “Well, think of it this way. Instead of you helping people one on one, you're helping people one to many. And it gives you the ability to be able to scale the way you help, and it gives you the ability to be able to scale the business without it requiring more of your time.” That was—so that sold me. And at that point, I began down the membership path and began exploring it, and here we are today.
AMY: Here we are today. I mean, your story is so similar to why I got into digital courses, to move away from the one-to-one type of business that I had, knowing I will always hit that ceiling no matter what, because there's one of me and I can only go so far. So I love that that's why you got into memberships. And boy, have you gotten into memberships.
So the reason I have Momentum, which is a multimillion-dollar membership, is that Stu encouraged me for years to do it. And then we—because in true Amy fashion, I've got to make it a big deal about everything—we traveled to Canada. I was like, “Tell me everything you know.” You don't need to travel to Canada to get everything Stu knows, but that's what I did. And it changed our business dramatically. So I have so much respect and love for Stu, for what he's taught me and what he's got so many others.
So, Stu, I want to talk about different types of memberships because I've seen memberships for, like, two dollars, and I've seen memberships for, like, thousands of dollars a month. It really runs the gamut. So with that, how does someone know what kind of membership that they should create?
STU: I would always start with the type of business that you have right now, because I want you to think of four different types of memberships. First one would be, like, a product-based membership.
So back in the day, Dollar Shave Club was a membership that really made this product-based membership popular. The old way of selling razors was to sell them one off. You have to go into the grocery store. Many times, they were behind, like, a lock and key cabinet. Like, you had to ask somebody, “I want to shave my face this week. Could I get some razors, please?” You know, like, it was just ridiculous what used to happen. So Dollar Shave Club came along, and they said, “Well, hey, listen. Why don't we just make your life easy? You're going to need these on a regular basis. We'll just send them to you, to your house, and just pay us on a monthly basis.” And people are like, yes, please.
And in four years, by the way, that company went from a fledgling little startup to selling for more than a billion dollars. Like, crazy pants.
AMY: I had no idea. What?
STU: Yeah. So they, you know, they took the concept of, like, a product that people would typically buy one off, and instead they turned it into a recurring membership by asking themselves, “Well, how could we position this to be able to make it more convenient, deliver it more often?”
Now, since then, you've seen lots of, like, ties of the month, socks of the month, coffee of the month, tea of the month. There's all these products-of-the-month-type memberships, but these are great examples of product-based memberships.
Another great example of product-based memberships would be, like, subscription boxes. Our friend Sarah Williams, she's a perfect example of this. She had a retail store, and she noticed that her local customers were coming in and they were buying the same types of items on a regular basis. Now, Sarah’s a smart, savvy business woman. She said, “Well, wait a minute. If they're coming in on the regular to buy these anyway, why not make it easy for them?” And so she created the subscription box for women, that includes, like, all the great items that women love, like earrings and bags and t-shirts. And—
AMY: I was curious what you were going to say. Like, Stu, what you women love? Tell me.
STU: Go on. I just know what's in her box, okay? I’m still learning this stuff. I’m still learning.
But anyway, so, she initially started selling it to her local customers. Well, then, that grew, and she now has more than three thousand-plus monthly subscribers.
STU: And here's what—I'll say that—I'll leave a little hook. Ask me as we go on a little bit later to something else that Sarah has done that is one of the things that I think is actually the future of memberships, a huge opportunity for membership-site owners.
AMY: Okay. I won't let you forget.
STU: But a great example, again, of a product-based membership. So a product-based membership’s number one.
Number two would be a service-based membership. So again, instead of relying or hoping that customers are going to come back and purchase the service from you again, why not set it up where it's on a membership or recurring basis, where you know with certainty that they're going to come back and buy from you again?
Couple of examples. There's a barber shop in Toronto. Instead of hoping that their clients come back, they set up a membership. You pay a monthly fee, and you get two cuts a month. Easy-peasy pudding and pie. It's a great deal. But here's the other part about that that makes this amazing for the business owner. They know with certainty that however many members they have, they are going to get paid by the next month. And it changes the dynamics of how we operate as business owners.
Another example, Mary-Claire Fredette. She has a massage business. She joined our community years ago, and we walked through the process of doing a founding-member launch. She did it. And again, what she was selling was you pay a monthly fee, you get so many massages per month.
Now, here's the crazy part, Amy. I recently caught up with Mary-Claire just less than a month ago, and I said, “What's going on? Like, how's the business?” She's like, “Well, Stu, I honestly haven't been doing much with the membership.” She's like, “Because I did the founding-member launch three years ago, and over 80 percent of my members have stayed, and I haven't had a need to do any additional launches because I've been booked the entire time.”
AMY: Come on.
STU: It's amazing, right? So again, she took a one-time service and turned it into a membership. Service-based memberships is number two.
Number three is the one that you and I are most familiar with. This is the one that the vast majority of people listening will absolutely be able to apply, and that is a knowledge-based membership. And this is where, like, we take the things that we already know, love, and do, and our expertise and we help people either solve an ongoing problem or we help them master a set of skills or we make things more convenient for them. But there are so many examples of this.
I got to give a shout out to our beloved friend Anna DiGilio.
AMY: We love you, Anna. Anna is our marketing baby—
AMY: —because between you and me, she always said she learned so much, so we call her our marketing baby.
STU: But Anna’s amazing. She was a teacher for more than twenty-plus years, and she was really good at what she teaches in the classroom, helping kids read and write. And so she ultimately took what she was doing in the class and began providing other teachers those lesson plans, making their lives easier, creating a blueprint for them to help their kids read easier and faster. Well, before she knew it, that membership exploded with thousands of members. So she took what she already knew, all the things that she was already doing, and she just packaged it into a membership.
And there are so many examples of this, Amy, in markets like photography, calligraphy, fitness, and finance and music and art and dog training. Heck, there's Holly George, who's got a membership with hundreds and hundreds of members, teaching how to make balloon animals, for crying out loud. Bottom line is that when you know something, the amazing part about the Internet is that we have the ability to reach thousands and thousands of people who also want to learn how to do the same things. And so it's just a matter of taking what you know, breaking it down, and beginning to teach it inside of a membership.
So, we got product-based, service-based, knowledge-based; last one's real simple: community-based memberships.
AMY: Oh! Tell me more. I didn't know there was a fourth. Okay. I've actually never heard you explain it the way you are right now, and I'm really excited about this. So what's the community-based?
STU: This is just the old-school model of people paying to be part of a group of others who have a shared interest. Now more than ever, coming out of what has happened during the last two years, people feel more divided, more alienated than ever before. And this is where people are craving connection right now. They just want to be with people in a safe environment who have a shared interest. People want to get back to that place of joy, get back to that place of fulfillment. So just creating that container for people is tremendously powerful.
And there's a couple of great examples of this. Levi Kujala has a membership with more than twelve thousand-plus members. And he doesn't necessarily teach a whole bunch of content in there. It's more for people to just continue to jam and learn guitar together. He's got a—
There’s another membership, I think of Tanel, over in Estonia. Now, it's a smaller country. I think the population is somewhere around three to four million people, and he's created this safe place for people in his country to talk about parenting. And it's, again, he's not teaching a ton of stuff. It's more of a community where people can have discussions and support and help each other.
So, product-based memberships, service-based memberships, knowledge-based memberships, and community-based memberships, those are the four types.
AMY: Okay. I'm so glad we went over those. And I think for the community-based, you know how we're seeing a lot of influencers pop up everywhere? I can see influencers taking advantage of that community-based membership. I'm thinking of Skinny Confidential. I don't know if she charges for it, but she has this huge community, and they love to hear what she's buying, what she's working on, what she's into, and that influences their decisions. They would absolutely pay for a community like that. So if you are an influencer, pay attention. There's something for you here as well.
STU: Influencers, I think of, like, musicians. I think of, like, actors. I think of athletes. Like, I think of anybody who has a blog or a podcast or a YouTube channel. People just want to see behind the scenes and just be part of that type of a community.
Amy, you probably know that I’m a huge Adidas fan, and our family loves Adidas. There's a whole thing called the Three Stripe Life. And, you know, bottom line, it's a community, right? And I was so proud the other day because we went into this Adidas outlet, and we’ve got a bunch of stuff and come up to the counter, and the gentleman says, “Are you part of the membership?” And I said, “Am I part of the membership? Of course!” And he's like, “Well, punch in your membership ID.” So I punched it in. He's like, “Well, I got good news for you.” I said, “What’s that?” He’s like, “You get an additional 30 percent off everything because you're a level-four member.” And I'm like, “Heck, yeah!” I'm, like, looking around. I'm like, “I’m a le—” He’s like, “We don't get many level-four members in this store.” And I’m like, “Well…”
AMY: Your eagerness has paid off.
STU: Yeah, exactly.
But it's one of those moments where, like, I'm part of this community, you know what I mean? And it feels good to be part of a community. And it's the same with—this is why Peloton riders like them. Shout out to my Peloton peeps. I'm a big Peloton rider, but you'll see that everywhere because they created this community. We're a part of something. I think it's just, it's a huge opportunity in so many different ways.
AMY: I absolutely agree. I love the way you broke those down.
So the other day, I was asked to help throw a party. I got to be honest: I do not thrive when it comes to throwing parties. For me, it’s just stressful. Did I invite the right people? Did I order the right amount of drinks? And after all the planning, imagine if people showed up and then, like, five minutes later, they left. Like, it makes me nervous. So what does this have to do with online marketing? Well, with HubSpot, dedicated marketing collaboration and SEO tools help you optimize your website and campaigns, so you'll never have to guess why your customers are leaving the party. See what I did there? Easily orchestrate your next big marketing bash with team-collaboration tools like an integrated marketing calendar and in-app commenting so everyone's on the same page. Yes, please. Learn how your business can grow better with ease at hubspot.com.
So here’s the deal: we've been talking about memberships, you and I, for years and years and years. And I've had you on my podcast before, talking about memberships, and I told you, “Stu, I want this to be a little bit different than the past episode because things have changed.” The face of memberships have definitely changed in the last couple of years. So what changes have you seen, and why do you think those changes are important to anyone who's thinking about creating a membership or already has a membership?
STU: Well, you didn't quite say it that way. You said, “Stu, this cannot be boring. My audience needs better.”
AMY: He’s lying, you guys. I did not say that.
AMY: I said, “Stu, get it together. Get your act together.”
STU: Okay. Sorry. All right. I'm prim and proper. Here we go. All right. There have been a lot of changes, especially during the last two years. In fact, so many changes that we had, we completely rerecorded our entire signature program because so much has changed.
Now, here's what I want to share with your audience. There are some big buckets of areas that are changing rapidly that we all need to pay attention to. One, as a membership site grows, what ends up happening is that there's more and more content being added into the membership. Now, Amy, this is a pop quiz for you.
STU: I'm going to put you on the spot. We didn't talk about this.
AMY: So nervous. Okay.
STU: Do you remember the number one reason why people cancel from a membership?
AMY: Too much information.
STU: Too much information, which leads to what?
STU: Ladies and gentlemen—
STU: —winner, winner, chicken dinner.
AMY: I get a prize. I get a prize.
STU: Well, I'm happy that you listen to your own podcast. That is exactly what we said last time.
STU: But, yes. The number one reason that people cancel from a membership is overwhelm. But here's what this means for us as membership-site owners or somebody thinking about creating a membership. As time goes on, it creates more intention on our behalf to organize the content in a way that allows people to be able to find the things that they're looking for to be able to reach the result that they desire. What this means for us is that we just need to continuously look to provide clarity and direction as time goes on. People aren't buying stuff anymore. People don't join a membership because they just want access to a bunch of stuff. They're buying because they want to get a result. So what that means for us as membership-site owners is we just need to be intentional about continuously creating clarity and direction for our people. So content, that’s a big piece. Organizing our content.
Another big piece, we kind of touched on it, is being able to create that safe place for people, because more now than ever, people are just seeking that safe environment where they can truly connect.
You know, I was sharing with you before we got started that there was a piece of research that came out of Canada, where they surveyed more than twenty-five hundred Canadians, asking them about their feelings two years after the pandemic. And unfortunately, the results were pretty dismal. The vast majority of people were saying they feel like life is worse now than it was two years ago. The vast majority of people were saying they feel more disconnected to friends and family and, heck, even their spouses than they ever have before. And people felt like there's more division and conflict than there ever has been, all caused because of things that have arisen with the pandemic. People's travel, travel plans have been changed. People's had surgeries that have been delayed. Like, all these crazy things, right?
And by the way, for anybody that's listening, if you’ve experienced any of this, again, I just want to emphasize and pour my heart out and say, I get it. Like, it's been challenging.
And then the flip side of that was that there was one line there that really caught my attention, and it talked about how over 80-plus percent of people were saying that the pandemic made a lot of big life decisions very clear and very easy for them. And what it made clear was that they didn't want to spend more time doing things that they didn't love. More people were pursuing passions that they had always thought about pursuing but had always pushed to the back burner. People were realizing, like, “I don't want to work in this job that I don't love anymore. I've had this idea for a business, and I'm going for it now.” People were making those big life moves because they realized that there is no better time than now. And it is not about putting things off, putting things off, because who knows what's going to happen?
Similarly, it also, they talked about how people are craving that connection again, and they just want to be able to bring back the joy, bring back the fun, bring back the relationships that they felt they had more than two-plus years ago. And this is an opportunity for us to be able to create that safe container. And it's not about pretending that these hard things are not happening in the world, because they are.
STU: But it's about empathizing with people and connecting with people and creating that safe container for people. So there's that part that I think has changed a little bit is that, again, it's about intention. It's about being more intentional with the way in which we hold that space for people.
Now, the last thing that I would say about major things that have changed is a shift to the way we look at onboarding our new members into a membership, because, Amy, studies have shown that if we create a positive experience for people in the first thirty days of their membership, it can triple the lifetime value of that member.
Now, let me ask you real quick. What do you think are some things that contribute to a positive experience that someone might have?
AMY: Knowing how to navigate through the membership, how to use it.
STU: Having clarity and direction about, like, “Hey, I'm signed up because I want to get this result. Where do I begin? What do I do?” And we’ve talked about this on past podcasts, but that's where the success path really comes into play, is, like, giving people about like, “Okay. Here’s where you are in this journey. But you don’t have to worry about everything. You just have to worry about these few things right now to be able to experience that momentum.” That's a great example. Any other thoughts that come to your mind?
AMY: The other one would be, like, how to engage and get in there. We've noticed that if someone doesn't post in our group and get into our membership and do something, they're more likely not to stay. Is there anything up with that?
STU: Absolutely. Those first wins in the early days. Like, I think of Andrea Ames. She did something beautiful in her membership. Most people have a challenge on the front end as part of their promotion to bring people into their membership. Andrea flipped it on its head, and she had a challenge once somebody joins their membership.
STU: Yeah. She did all kinds of things, like if somebody does certain activities in the first twenty-four hours, in the first seven days, in the first thirty days, she has different prizes and different things. But what happens is people get engaged, people get involved, people begin experiencing those early momentum and wins.
Now, the last one that I would say about that creates that positive experience is connecting people, not just with you, but with other members.
And I'll just share a personal story. You know, because you're a great mentor to our daughter, Marla.
AMY: Love Marla.
STU: Marla and our son, Sam, started a brand-new school this year. And, you know, I don't know if anybody has kids who have started a new school, but my daughter's ten, my son is eight, and they were nervous. They’ve never been to this area. They don't know any kids. And we were nervous as parents. We're like, “Oh, gosh.” We’re like, “Guys, it's going to be fine. Everything's going to be great.” We're trying to be the positive parents, but underneath we're just like, “Please, please make it a good day.” So we walk them to school, and we're having all these—try to talk on the way to school. But the kids are really nervous. They eventually, like, get in the line, and they meet the teacher, they get in line, they’re going to the class, and Amy and I are, like, fingers crossed. Like, please, let this be a good day.
At the end of the day, Amy and I go and we pick them up. And we're waiting there for them, and Marla comes out, and I'm like, looking. I'm, like, okay, trying to gauge how did the day go. And then she comes running. She's got this big smile on her face, and I'm like, “Oh, yeah.” She comes running over. I'm like, “Marla, how was your day?” She's like, “Dad, it was so amazing.” And she's like, “This the best school ever.” I'm like, “Really?” I’m like, “Tell me why.” She's like, “Okay. Dad, as soon as I got in the class, I met this girl, Keira, and she used to go to Montessori schools just like me. So we had that in common.” I'm like, “Amazing.” She's like, “But, Dad, it gets better. She rides horses as well.” And I'm like, “What?” She's like, “We both love horses.” I'm like, “Oh, this is amazing.” And she's like, “Here's what's even more crazy, Dad. You know that new stable that I just started riding at?” And I'm like, “Yeah.” She's like, “Her mom owns the stable.” I'm like, “What?” She's like, “Dad, it was so great.”
Time out. Her whole perception of this school got framed because she made one connection with one other kid.
AMY: Wow. That’s huge. I didn’t even see it like that. Oh, my goodness.
STU: And I’m sharing this because the same is true inside of our memberships.
STU: If we can help our members connect with just one other person, it can make a world of difference in terms of framing up the experience those people have.
So there are all kinds of creative ways to be able to do this, but I want to put that intention out there because that onboarding experience massively influences the way in which it impacts our retention, which impacts our bottom line, and the overall success of the membership.
Now, final thing, Amy, is just this is real simple. There's also an important understanding of the lifeline of a membership and how we need to change our marketing strategy as it grows. In the beginning, we're just trying to get it off the ground. We just got to get it going. This is where the founding-member launch works. I recommend people have a launch plan or launch strategy for the first little bit until they get up to about two to three thousand members.
But then there becomes a shift in terms of the way we market. And great example of this is Scott Paley, in our community. Now, Scott, he's the co-founder of a membership called the Nonprofit Leadership Lab. And he and his business partner, they help other nonprofit leaders. And they got to that two- to three-thousand-member mark, but they had started to plateau because they were adding just as many members during a launch that they were losing, so to speak, in between moments.
So then, he shifted to an evergreen model and a launch model. They combined both. And what has happened is by incorporating the evergreen model, he now has more revenue to be able to buy ads and do the tasks and dial that process in. And as a result, they, in a year time, went from twenty-five hundred members to more than forty-five hundred members, and they continue to grow and grow and grow each and every month.
Now, do I recommend that the evergreen strategy be utilized in the beginning? No, because it takes time and it takes money to be able to get the ads and the whole funnel dialed in. But at some point, we've got to modify and adjust the way we market as the membership grows.
So there's a bunch of things that have changed. I just verbally vomited on you on a whole bunch of them. Hopefully, your listeners will be able to take some things away.
AMY: I enjoyed every minute of it, so that's good stuff.
I was thinking while you were talking. Do you think there's certain types of online businesses that work better with a membership than others?
STU: Yeah, I think businesses like manufacturing, selling tires as an example, they would be difficult to turn into a membership. I think that businesses that are super easy are anything where you are teaching people stuff.
STU: That's our bread and butter. You and I talk about this all the time. Like, it's such low-hanging fruit. If you have got passions, if you've got expertise, if you've been doing things for a long time, or if things come easy to you—and for a long time, my wife—you know, but for the audience, like, this is my Amy. Amy Porterfield’s my Amy number two. My wife is my Amy number one, for clarification.
AMY: And shout out to Amy number one. We love her dearly. Probably the nicest person I’ve ever met, second to Stu. But yes, we love her.
STU: Well, thank you for that.
So, for a long time, she used to say to me, she's like, “Stu, I wish I was good at something.”
AMY: Oh, that breaks my heart that she said that.
STU: Yeah. And she would say, like, you know, she’d talk about her friend Ingrid, who is, like, you know, later on in life, discovered that she's, like, this incredible artist. And she's like, “Like, it's so obvious she's got this incredible talent. And all of a sudden, like, it'd be so easy to build a business around that.” She’s just like, “I just wish I was really good at something.” And I was like, “Hold up, Babes. You are really good at something.” And she's like, “Well, what?” I’m like, “Babes, you are the best host.” Like, Amy, she puts on the most spectacular birthday parties and gatherings. With our Airbnb business, she's an incredible host. She gets five-star reviews, rebookings, referrals, which allows us to charge premium prices, three times the average nightly rate in our area.
STU: How does she do that? She's an amazing host. But here's the kicker. It comes so natural to her. It's like she doesn't even realize that it's a skill set. And this is part of what I think so many people don't see is the gifts that they have and the way in which they can take the things that come natural, the things that they've done their entire life, the things that they don't even think twice about, and create an entire membership business or course business around those skill sets. And so any time that you're teaching people something, helping solve a problem, or thinking about what you're already doing and how you can turn it into a recurring membership, like the product-based memberships, like the service-based memberships, it’s a home run.
AMY: Yes. I'm so glad you used Amy as an example because so many people don't even realize what they're sitting on. They have a gold mine, and they don't even know it because it comes so natural to them.
STU: I'm sure you see it in the course market, too, right? Like—
AMY: Oh, all the time. Yes. That's why I love talking about memberships and courses, because there's so much overlap in terms of how you teach and what you can teach and what value you can add. So it just, I mean, we always say peanut butter and jelly, right? Or even better, peanut butter and chocolate.
STU: Exactly. I forget, though, are you the chocolate, or you the peanut butter?
AMY: I'm the chocolate because [unclear 35:21]—
STU: I figured that.
AMY: [unclear 35:22]. I’m delicious.
STU: That’s true. Nobody wants a mouthful of peanut butter. I get it.
AMY: No. You can be the peanut butter.
So tell me this. If you were to make a case for an entrepreneur to start or, in a lot of cases, those who are listening, to add a membership to their existing business, what would it be? What would you say?
STU: Well, I would say it’d most likely be a knowledge-based membership. And within that, there are a few different types of knowledge-based memberships, and we've talked about them, I think, on one of the past podcasts.
STU: I’d encourage people to go listen to that as well. But at the end of the day, here's what I want you to realize: as entrepreneurs, we have this magical ability to be able to design our business however we want.
STU: And with that, I want everybody to realize that if you try something, if you start something, and you don't like it, guess what? You can stop it, or you can change it. So don’t ever let an idea sit idle because you're afraid of what it might be or how it could roll. What I want to encourage everybody is to not make decisions from a place of fear; make decisions from a place of possibility, a place of opportunity, a place of positivity. Because here's what you and I both know, Amy, and we see it time and time again. Many times, people don't have clarity around exactly what it might be, and so they wait, and they procrastinate. And they wait, and they wait, and they wait. And they're waiting for that perfect time, that perfect time when everything's going to align.
Well, recently I started learning how to surf with my kids, and I want you to imagine my kids are out in the water, and there's some pretty big waves, and they're surfing with instructors, so they're on the same board as the instructors. I'm on my own board.
STU: And there would be waves coming, and I particularly think of my son, Sam, with his instructor. His instructor’s name was Namaka, and he was amazing. And we were bobbing and waiting, bobbing and waiting. And Namaka and Sam, they turn around, and it didn't even look like it was a wave. And he'd start paddling, and then, boom, they're both up, and they're surfing. And I’m like, “What?” And then he's back again, and, boom, they’re up again, and they're on another wave. And I look at the other instructors, and they're like, “We don't know how he does it, because he just seems to be able to catch any wave, where we were making the incorrect decision. We were waiting for that perfect wave.” And during that time, Namaka and Sam, they weren't waiting. They were rolling. They were taking whatever was coming with them, and they were rolling with it. And they caught twice as many, three times as many, waves as we did.
And I'm sharing this because this happens in business and in life. We're sitting there, bobbing and waiting for that perfect wave. Don't sit and bob and wait for the perfect wave. Just start paddling. And because in that paddling, you're going to gain momentum, you're going to gain clarity, and it's going to lead to more opportunity than you could have ever imagined. But none of that will ever happen if you just sit idle and bob and wait.
STU: So what I would say for everybody is just start exploring the idea. You don't have to have crystal clarity around exactly what it's going to look like. But just start exploring the idea, start with a founding-member launch, gain some momentum that way, and then let it lead you to the clarity. Let it lead you to where you ultimately want to be.
AMY: Well, you just set me up like a pro, and you didn't even know my next question. But first of all, some people are like, “What's a founding-member’s launch?” Well, you got to get in Stu's world to learn about that, and he will absolutely blow your mind. But to get into Stu's world and learn more and more about memberships, how to get started, what it looks like, hear other stories that will inspire you, Stu’s got something pretty cool. So today is exciting because it's actually the day that you're hosting the first of a series of live workshops. So can you tell us about these workshops? What are they? Who are they for? And how can my listeners join?
STU: Well, once a year we host a free workshop where we go deep, and we talk about all of these ideas. So if you’re sitting there thinking, “Okay. I could potentially see what a membership might look like, but I don’t know if my market would be a good fit,” come and join us because we're going to walk you through a way to assess whether your market would be a good fit for a membership, and you'll know exactly whether it's a good fit. Or you might be thinking, “Yeah, but I don't know what to provide inside of my membership. How would I structure the content?” Come and join us. We're going to walk you through something that we talked about earlier, the success path and how to set that up. Or you might be thinking like, “Well, how would I market the membership and grow it?” We're going to be talking about all of that, too. And it's all free.
Here's the kicker, though. It is live, and when I say it's live, I'm legit. It's live. And so come and join us, because you'll be engulfed in the positive momentum, you'll gain clarity about how it fits with your membership, and I will tell you that we have people who will launch memberships during the free workshop.
STU: And it's because people get swept up in the positive momentum of what we're teaching and how we're breaking it all down, and before they know it, they have not only launched their memberships, but they've made sales, and they've gained all kinds of momentum during the free workshop. So come and join us.
AMY: I've seen that happen. I could totally attest to that. So here's the thing. It is today. The first live workshop is today. So go to amyporterfield.com/workshop. So amyporterfield.com/workshop, literally right this minute. Don’t even let me finish this podcast. Go there right now so you’ll know the dates, times. Make sure you show up. Put it in your calendar. It will be worth every minute. And Stu will entertain and inspire the whole time. He makes everything fun. There's a reason why this man is such a dear friend. So you will have so much fun. Go check it out. Amyporterfield.com/workshop.
Now, if you want to multitask, go sign up for it right now, and in the meantime, Stu, you don't know this, but I've got this new thing on the podcast where we do rapid-fire questions to end it. Are you ready?
STU: Ooh, okay.
STU: You didn’t tell me this. Okay.
AMY: I know. But this is going to be good.
AMY: It has to be rapid fire, though. So are you ready?
STU: Okay. I'm ready.
AMY: Who is someone that's inspiring you at the moment, and why?
STU: My wife, 100 percent, because she's exploring a new creative side of her that she's never explored before, and I think she's nervous and anxious about it, but at the same time, she's moving forward with courage, and it's opening her world, and I can't wait to see where it leads.
AMY: So cool. She's doing exactly what she's meant to be doing, I know it.
What was the last membership that you joined, and why?
STU: I join memberships all the time. I joined a parenting membership.
STU: Yep. Because my daughter is ten, going on what feels like eighteen.
AMY: She is such a little teenager.
STU: I know. And I feel like I need to be more prepared than I probably am as a father in that arena, just to navigate today's landscape with social media and all that kind of stuff. So, yeah, I joined a membership on parenting.
AMY: Such a good way to get those lessons in.
What is the best advice you've ever received?
STU: Oh, I've received a lot of good advice over the years.
AMY: Yeah. That’s a hard one.
STU: Okay. I'll go with one that first came to mind. A mentor of mine once told me, “Don't go into it; grow into it.” And what he meant by that was, like, oftentimes, we think that we have to—it's an all or nothing. Like, we have to do everything all at once or we can't do it at all. And what he was sharing with me is, like, “No, that's not the case, Stu.” For example, like, when I was looking to hire the first person on my team, I was so anxious, and I was so nervous because I felt like it had to be somebody full time. And I didn't know whether I was ready to hire somebody full time. And he said to me, “Stu, you don't have to hire somebody full time. What if you just hire somebody for five hours a week?” And I was like, “Oh, well, that feels a lot better.” I'm like, “Okay.” And five hours led to ten, and ten led to twenty, and so forth. But I grew into it. I didn't go into it. And I think that this piece of advice applies to all areas of life. If we just eased into it and we grew into it, we would do more things that we wanted to pursue.
AMY: I love that. I've never heard you talk about that.
Okay. Final question. What are you most looking forward to this year?
STU: Well, I have missed people, you know, and I am an introvert by nature, so I have actually really enjoyed the two-plus years of being introverted.
STU: But there's a part of me that has just missed those hanging out with dear friends. Like, you and I—
STU: —like, we haven't seen each other, like, in person for more than two years, and I miss that. I just miss—
STU: —I just miss hanging out and just laughing and experiencing life with friends and family that I love. So that's what I'm most looking forward to is just having more of those hang-out moments with dear friends.
AMY: Absolutely. I hope there's tons and tons of moments this year.
Stuy, you know you're one of my most favorite people on the planet. I love you dearly. Thank you so very much for sharing this.
And if you haven't done it already, amyporterfield.com/workshop. Thank me later. You’re going to love every minute of this live experience. And it’s totally free.
Thanks again, Stu. I can’t wait to connect with you again.
STU: Thank you. See you, everybody.
AMY: My heart literally bursts open when I think about the accomplishments of those in my membership experience. If you're in Momentum, shout out to all of you. I love you dearly, and it's such a wonderful experience to work with all of you. And the thing is, it just brings me so much joy to not only watch my Momentum members realize and step into their potential through the membership, but also to watch how they commit to their dream, and they go for it, and they put in the work, and they reap the benefits.
Adding a membership to my business has been such a game changer for my students, for myself personally, and for the growth of the business. So I want to challenge you to really sit with the idea of what a membership would look like in your business, or if you already have one, how could you take it to the next level? To help you get some clarity on those, I want you to go to amyporterfield.com/workshop and join Stu over the next few days live and learn as much as you can from his workshops. That's amyporterfield.com/workshop. I'll see you there, and I can't wait for you to dive in.
Thanks for joining me today. I'll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.