“So how did you start this membership?” was a question recently asked of me by one of our members.
“Do you want the short version or the long version?” I asked.
“I’d love to hear both,” he asked.
The short version, I explained, isn’t very sexy. This person is a founding member of Membership Freedom, a new, niched down membership that we are officially launching on September 12th. The founding members are invite only. But the idea for this membership hit me quickly. We have been running a monthly call for membership owners inside the Total Life Freedom Community for a few years now. Each call about memberships was engaging and extremely full of collaborative energy. So I had a thought. What if we created a niched membership only for those looking to build and grow a membership of their own to give them time, money and location freedom?
After a solid run of market research, we have a robust founding membership and a launch in September with huge potential.
The short version sounds easy, huh?
But here’s the long version.
It really started eight years ago. That’s when I began doing business coaching. It’s amazing to think that the very first people who came to me for coaching were photographers who were looking to get out of debt. Ironically, that’s so far from what I do now. I don’t even talk about getting out of debt any longer. I found that the people I attracted generally had a scarcity mindset around money. And I attracted them because I probably did as well.
Not long after, I realized that I had much more effectiveness- and fun- helping people focus on earning more money doing work they loved than trying to be as frugal as they could be with the money they had. I was still only working with photographers, because that’s the world that I had known for two decades.
Eventually, I realized that instead of doing one-on-one coaching, I could create a membership where I could deliver value in a more effective way. That’s where the Business of Photography Academy was created.
Around the same time, I created my first mastermind for business owners. Because of the success I was having coaching photographers, I was now getting other business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs coming to me for coaching. I was also leading a mastermind for a group called the Dad’s Edge Alliance, which was for dad’s but geared towards the business owners of the group. That gave me the experience and push to begin my own membership and mastermind in my own brand.
From there, The Freelance to Freedom Mastermind was born. Within a year, the name was changed to Total Life Freedom Mastermind. Six months later, the Total Life Freedom Community was created. Recently, we created a lower priced option with Total Life Freedom School. As the years went on, the focus of the group pivoted many times. As it should. Staying the same is the best way to become irrelevant.
I knew that I had to keep my pulse on how we could always be serving our ideal client the best way. That’s why we made the more niche decision to focus on online business owners. That made the focus of our group narrower, but much more specific. Because of that, we attracted more like-minded entrepreneurs, and the ones who weren’t part of the target audience would fade away. That was exactly as we wanted it to happen. This now leads us to the launch of Membership Freedom, which this client was asking about.
If I had the time and space to go deeper, you would see many more pivots throughout that time frame. Many of them weren’t successful by our standards.
One of those was the launch of Youth Entrepreneur School a few years back. That was an example of not understanding the audience well enough and not explaining how it would work in enough detail. And what I thought it was turned out to be very different from what it became. The idea was that the parents and kids would work together on the kids’ business venture. But we quickly found that many parents weren’t involved. So now we were having to keep all of these kids accountable for their business idea when it was the parents who wanted them to do it in the first place. I have three kids of my own already to annoy with my expectations. I realized that I didn’t want more.
Businesses that work well are usually birthed from the experience of businesses that didn’t work well. Yet each of those pivots was vital in becoming clearer and more confident with each level that we advanced to. With that experience and knowledge, the shifts made are more concise, calculated and less risky.
Back to the original question. Where did this start? It started when we finally decided to take action. To take on that first client. Even if it wasn’t the perfect business, or the best idea, or the “thing I can do forever”, that’s how it started. But it continued because we were always open and excited about the idea of pivoting. And each pivot happened when we knew we could evolve and improve.
So my advice to you is this- START! Whether it’s with your first coaching client that will eventually lead to a membership, or it’s taking something that you already do and starting that first membership, or taking the success you are having and adjusting it to make it better and more suitable for yourself and your audience.
Start. Pay attention. Pivot. Repeat.
Have an AMAZING week!