What I Learned From Launching a Member Community

What I learned from launching a member community

About three months ago I proposed a question to Sam, Emily, and Alison, the Practice of the Practice team. We were on a Zoom call and rather than look backward, I wanted to look forward. We ended up talking about member communities, support, e-courses, and how to genuinely help people.

I asked them, “What would transform the entire private practice industry?” As we talked, we brainstormed a mishmash of:

  • Community
  • Training and courses
  • Videos
  • Facebook support
  • Cool giveaways
  • Personal hand holding toward success

Interview Your Ideal Client for Your Member Community

But, before you launch a member community, it’s usually good to talk to people that might buy what you have. So I scheduled 15 interviews with people that were just starting a private practice.

I asked a few questions:

  1. What’s been hard about starting a private practice?
  2. What support would have been helpful?
  3. If you could dream of a solution, what would be on your wish list?
  4. How much would you pay for that service?

I got so much amazing information from these interviews! People said things like:

“My program did nothing to prepare me to have a business. How big of an office do I need? 1,000 sq/ft or 5,000 what to pay? What are my options? How to research what to do. I want to be thinking about the bigger picture, but I am spread thin and overwhelmed. I wish I had a background in this stuff, like an MBA. I’ve only worked in schools, this is a departure from everything I know.”

“I know costs will come up and hit me in the face, I have a plan but I don’t know what costs are coming. I don’t know if $1,700/month is good for rent! Should I share space with people, everyone I’m graduating with is 24, but I’m 34. My husband does well, but I don’t want to be a money suck. I haven’t been working for 3+ years, the business piece I feel least prepared for.”

“What leads to results? Less “oh I feel like”? Focused discussions that don’t waste time. What’s working for me. Here’s a mistake I made. There’s no central place to go when I want to hear from other people.”

From these interviews we created a landing page with our best jab at creating something people would find helpful. If had three areas:

  1. Training: The webinars which are saved as videos, Q&A, and short videos within a Facebook Group
  2. Community: One thing that most online courses miss is long term relationships. So we place people in a 6-8 person group based on their priorities of time, stage of practice, and location.
  3. Feedback: We want to give practice feedback on websites, Psychology Today, and marketing materials

But beyond just reflecting back what people want from a membership community, we also saw what they needed.

Personalized and caring help!

How to Make a Membership Community Stand Out

So we decided early on that Emily Hale, our Director of Details, would have a 30 minute meeting with every new person. She’d cover:

  • What to expect
  • Have you logged on and received all the resources
  • Do you know when the webinars are?
  • Where are you stuck? Then give people podcasts or freebies to help in that area

So that was what we dreamed up, next we:

  1. Created an invitation page, we have 196 people opt-in for the 50 spots.
  2. Had emails so people could automatically have the launch date in their calendar
  3. Promoted the launch date

Launching a Member Community

Then launch day came.

  • At 10:03, three minutes after the doors opened: 28 people had purchased!
  • At 10:07, 35 people had purchased
  • 10:28 38 people
  • Then at 11:00 until 7:00 pm we held at 42 people. I sent some email blasts out, but then I realized that for some reason PayPal had 42 people as the cap, not 50!

When I opened up the last eight spots, they filled right away.

What I learned from this launch

  1. Test every aspect of the purchase sequence.
  2. Let people know that you’re doing your best (especially with a first one) and give a discount to the first guinea pigs, so they’ll be more flexible if you screw up
  3. I need to have 4x more people on the wait list than spots
  4. Give a guarenteed ROI: Each month we’re going to give away more than we charge so that the ROI is always at least 1:1
  5. People’s Paypal email is not always the same as their work one, so if a list is automatic, you might get the wrong email

What can really happen with Next Level Practice?

There are three ways that I see this next level of Practice of the Practice helping:

  1. Financial
  2. Impact
  3. Access.

Financials for a Membership Community

Let’s look at the financial for a member community

These are the gross numbers:

  • First cohort $55/month x 50 people = $2,750/month in gross revenue or $33,000/year
  • First + Second (another 50 at $77/m) total of 100 = $6,600/month in gross revenue or $79,200/year
  • Third cohort of 100 at $77/month, total of 200 members = $14,300/month in gross revenue or $171,600/year
  • When we hit 500 members that would be $37,400/month in gross revenue or $448,800/year
  • When we hit 1,000 members that would be $75,900/month in gross revenue or $910,800/year

The impact of a Member Community

Already, even though we’re in the first week, it’s amazing to see the support that people feel. I’ve seen comments like:

  • “This is exactly what I need!”
  • “I’m a newbie too!”
  • “That’s so good to hear, I am so scared of marketing too!”

When people come together with a common goal, magic happens. So whatever I do to listen, teach, and hold accountable folks in the group, it will have a larger impact.

Groups have more Access

What can we create for our members if we have $2,750/month coming in? What about $79k/month? For example, we created 50 logos that everyone can have designed for them free. We can pay Sam to create all sorts of amazing things and we can all have access. Instead of each person hiring a designer, we can have one for everyone.

Since most people aren’t in the same market, it doesn’t matter if we have similar branding. If it works, use it!

So the collective becomes more valuable than the individual. How cool is that?!

As well, as everyone levels up, we can create more for the growth and scaling phases, so Next Level Practice becomes the start to scale training for every level of practice. Our plan is for it to become as essential to a successful practice as a website.

How to get your invitation

Each year, we are planning to launch spots for 500 people in paced out cohorts. To get access, you have to request an invitation. Then when the next cohort opens, be first in line! I’ll see you in there!

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