Implement A Membership Site To Serve More People And Make More Money While Having More Freedom – The Key Is Knowing Your Ideal Audience
About Jennifer Dopazo
Jennifer Dopazo started Candelita as a way to offer website design, brand identity, UX/UI design, and membership sites to the new entrepreneurs of the world. She is often sought out by solopreneurs desperate to get off the hamster wheel of discovery calls, blogging, writing emails, and 1-to-1 client work, so they can prioritize what truly matters to them. Jennifer believes we can all influence more people, while still spending time with those we love the most. That is one of the biggest reasons why she’s pivoting her business to focus on building membership communities.
When Jennifer started her business, she was working a lot, and doing all the things she saw everyone else doing. It was draining. She was doing so much work but not for the right clients. The guilt of saying no to anything that came her way, so she said yes to a lot of projects that didn’t fulfill her.
By not saying no to projects she didn’t want to work on, she started to get burned out.
The Ideal Client
As she started talking to people, she realized that the people she wanted to work with were the people that she wants to develop a relationship with and can envision having dinner with. It’s a new characteristic to attach to your ideal client avatar.
It’s important in professional relationships to have boundaries and to align values. Have hard conversations before you sign the client to be sure that you are aligned and have similar goals and desires to serve others. It’s possible to have these conversations with the people you truly want to work with.
Trying to Follow What Other People Are Doing Doesn’t Work
As individuals, we need to do the processes, and things and work with the people that are aligned with ourselves in order to succeed. Doing what other people are doing will not allow us to be authentic or connect with the people we want to work with or are meant to serve.
When we try to mimic others, we don’t feel natural and feel good about our work.
Your brand identity is everything that represents your business outside of you as a personal brand. The elements that make you recognizable, and memorable. These include your logo, your color palette, and your typography.
Implement a Membership Site
Jennifer realized that her skills in website design were beneficial for designing membership sites. She began testing her processes and services to see what she aligned with. By being aligned in her business and working with her ideal clients she was able to design the life she wanted. She could close her computer at the end of the day and focus on her personal life and the people she cares about.
Implementing a Membership Site is Like Opening the Junk Door
When thinking about narrowing the scope of your business, think about the junk drawer. There are so many things in the drawer that don’t inspire you, that you don’t use, that you no longer need, etc. Think of your business in the same way. Whatever doesn’t fuel you or you don’t feel is beneficial to your clients, stop offering it, or change it. Jennifer started focusing on memberships by doing this exercise.
Building a Membership Community
When is a good time to implement a membership site? Building a membership community is similar to evaluating and streamlining your processes. Be very clear on who this is for, and what is the transformation you want them to experience. Imagine a timeline, where the client is starting, and where they will be in a year.
Start with what your process is today. What are you teaching people? Walk through the process with the client, from the first engagement all the way through to delivery. Doing this will help you create a framework for your membership. Think about how can you help them go through the same steps and get the same results as a group vs. 1-to-1.
Create and provide the tools the clients need to accomplish this, videos, PDFs, workbooks, etc.
Think about how you can translate what you are already doing so that the clients can do the work at their own pace. Make sure they have enough time to do the work. Your lessons need to accommodate the client’s schedule. This goes along with knowing who your ideal client is.
Again, you have to know your ideal client well.
Before You Implement a Membership Site, Know What Your Clients Want?
Before creating a community, ask your former and current clients what they would be interested in as far as a membership goes. Get feedback before designing and implementing so that you are answering the needs of your ideal audience. Ask the clients if they would be interested in participating in a beta run of the program.
If you don’t want to invest in a site for the beta program, have people join you for the videos for the duration of time you think is necessary for them to complete the program successfully. Do the program live and gather feedback. This will help you avoid frustrations.
The key is to not overwhelm the members of the site. People need the time to implement the work. One of the success metrics for memberships is whether or not people implemented the work. The goal is for people to actually interact with the community, do the work and implement it.
There is no magic in implementing a membership site. It comes down to how the members feel. Do they feel they have enough time to learn and do the work, or are they feeling overwhelmed? Sometimes we overwhelm people because we are so excited, we give them so much, and then they can’t accomplish it all. It’s best to start slow, and not give too much
When implementing a membership site, think about having monthly themes. Your implementation will depend on what you are offering and how much each member will need to do. Be sure and check in with your members as you implement so that you know that you are going at the right pace.
Getting genuine feedback is very important and will help you frame the program going forward.
Cost of Implementing a Membership Site
The cost of a membership site depends on what the implementation looks like. Jennifer works with people to set up Kojabi, Teachable, and other similar platforms. She also does custom WordPress membership sites that offer features the template platforms don’t have.
Jennifer recommends starting with a platform and using them until you run into limitations. Once you run into limitations, think about a custom site. This will give you an opportunity to know what is working and what isn’t.
Pricing to set up a membership ranges from $3500 on one of the aforementioned platforms, up to $6500 or more for a customized membership site.
The plugin Jennifer referenced is Accessally.com, founded by Nathalie Lussier. The Plugin works for WordPress.com. But Jennifer likes to use a separate website because otherwise it can get very heavy and slow and hurt your SEO. She said that it’s easier to troubleshoot when you have two separate sites.
Jennifer believes that we can all influence more people, while still spending time with those we love the most. She believes that membership communities are the way to accomplish this. Memberships allow you to help more people while spending the same amount of time.
Memberships are very scalable. Working with 1-to-1 clients takes more time than doing the same thing for more people in the same amount of time.
Implementing a Membership Site vs. Group Coaching
Memberships are recurring payments. They could be a course for 6 weeks, a class, or group coaching. It’s the same idea, people coming in paying monthly, quarterly, etc. while having access to something, learning, and doing the work.
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