I successfully launched my first Membership this year
Here’s what I learned
In September this year, I successfully launched the Spirited Living Membership. Like a few projects this year, it was a first for me.
I already had several online, global communities which I was holding space for in parallel – all related to various content: Shape Shifting and Intuitive Healing being the larger ones, my private client community and then a couple of smaller online course groups. In addition, with the publishing of my book, new guided meditation tracks, blog posts and The Modern Crone podcast, I also started to regard consumers of my free content as a community.
Each of these communities was engaged and loving their content runs, and there was also a lot of overlap between them, yet they required equal attention. All of the participants had one thing in common – they were spirit-seekers!
I wanted to find a way to bring them all together, find economies of scale in the interaction and support and create one automated container, so I could focus on what I do best – unique content creation that inspires and enables community engagement. With all of this in mind, Spirited Living was born.
In my business of coaching other practitioners, I am being asked more and more about community building and content development. Here are six key headlines for launching a membership:
- Get clear on what a membership actually is…and benchmark, benchmark, benchmark!
I quickly realised that the word ‘membership’ is used in very different ways. Some call their subscriber list a membership. Others offer discounts and priority places in current offerings for an annual fee, yet neither of these are membership models. So, to cut through the misuse of the word, I tapped my network and sourced the names of 10 growing memberships within my arena of wellbeing, energy, healing, meditation and spiritual enquiry, and I stalked them.
I looked at their structure, platforms, content types and regularity and pricing. The memberships in my arena that have gained traction and continue to grow are all
- Have a fully engaged space-holder
- Bring to members, content, experts and experiences that are difficult or impossible to access elsewhere, and
- Give members a lot of choice and value.
There is also some fabulous free content out there from membership experts. I gained a lot from Stu McClaren’s free content amongst others.
- Know your target members
This was an easier task for me, as I already had clear communities that I was looking to convert. I already knew their demographics, curiosities, and engagement habits, at least enough to craft a starter offering for Spirited Living. In essence, they are people like me, with busy lives, a deep curiosity to know themselves and live with meaning and purpose, and above all, they are free-thinkers and experimental.
I started to craft various forms of content, from static to dynamic, short-form and long-form and decided to make everything available in the Members’ Resource Library once it went live. This has proven to be very useful already, with subgroups of members repeating courses together. GOLD!
The demographics of members also informs timings of live offerings such as masterclasses and coaching to accommodate time zones as well as recording accessibility and durations. Modern life requires flex, and so Spirited Living provides this as much as possible for members.
- Content is king and consistency is queen
My courses, writing, keynotes, podcasts, and how I teach and coach are unique to me. I create it all from my own personal practice, studies, explorations and insights. My content has always been my most valuable asset, and the creation of Spirited Living led to a few big insights and actions around this key asset.
I audited every course I had run for the last ten years and realised that I was sitting on a mountain of amazing content. I estimated I had enough for the next five years of the membership, even if I didn’t write one new idea down. Therefore, a part of my membership content plan became content repurposing and supplementing with new guided tracks and introspection tools. I decided to alternate repurposed content with newly written content for members, and this way, existing clients from my older offerings, plus new clients all get a wonderful fresh feast to explore.
I invested more in content production. Graphics, music production and post-editing are now on formal retainers, with much clearer deliverables. For a small business, this necessary investment for growth can be a little edgy, but it has been worth it. With a new streamlined team, I had six months of high-quality membership content in the can before I launched, therefore allowing me a lovely spaciousness for my creativity and a much better end product that wasn’t compromised by a crushing deadline. It has also allowed me the time and attention for my other non-membership projects.
I engaged an Intellectual Property lawyer and tightened up the protection of my content. It’s hard to believe, but I have found the ‘spiritual’ industry to be the worst that I have worked in for content appropriation and imitation. With my renewed view of content as my prize asset, it made sense to invest in its protection. I also obviously needed a whole new set of terms and conditions and policies for the membership itself. Everything is clear and watertight, protecting both members, myself and my content.
- Find the right platform and invest in the tech
There are several great membership platforms out there, all with slightly different strengths and areas yet to be developed. I formulated the business plan with second horizon ideas in place, because when choosing a platform, it needed to evolve with the membership.
I have been working with Marie Nadal Sharma, Founder of Them You & Me for over five years now. Marie architected the relaunch of my website www.daniellevandevelde.com which has been a fabulous evolution of my ‘shopfront’ and we work together very well. It was a no-brainer for me to ask Marie to handle the membership tech side. She started with a simple comparative study of platforms and given my membership vision and planning, Kajabi was the clear winner.
Find a great tech team and work on a collaborative platform, especially with someone like TYM which excels at work programming and automation. It has created a smooth and successful launch, fantastic automation and ease for members and it has given me invaluable peace of mind so I can stay focussed on engagement and fantastic content creation.
- Live accessibility
Group Coaching has always been a powerful element of my courses and communities, and I wanted to include it in Spirited Living too. I didn’t anticipate how important this was for members. The monthly live Group Coaching sessions, across three time zones, are booked-out weeks in advance. As the number of members grows, I will need to open more sessions or lift the numbers cap. For now, I have also introduced the main takeaways from the sessions for those who can’t make a coaching call. The private Spirited Living Facebook group helps with questions and queries in between, as well as very beautiful sharing and support between members.
There are also live check-ins on Zoom for various courses that we engage in together and our Spirited Masterclasses with experts and elders are proving very popular.
- Stay flex and ask your members what they want
In my onboarding welcome video for new members, I stress the importance of their feedback as we go. In retrospect, in the excitement of the launch, I have probably piled a bit too much content into the first three months. The membership market smarts say that overwhelm is the number one reason people do not renew their memberships. I think the engagement and sharing combined with the coaching where we can reiterate the library and ability to come back to content when ready or able, is key.
However, at year-end, I will be asking my founding members how we can evolve Spirited Living. I have a huge menu for 2024 ranging from courses in Chakra Cleansing, Intuition, Relationship Alchemy, Working with the Old Gods and Magic and the new and improved relaunch of my signature course Shape Shifting, alongside the Minipods, Masterclasses and Coaching. I’ll be taking votes on priorities and slowing things down a bit so we can go deeper together.
Spirited Living is open and growing. If you’re interested in joining a beautiful community of spirit-seekers to help you live a spirited life, you are very welcome. Take a look at upcoming content and events at www.spiritedlivingwithdani.com. You could also join us for the Wonder of Spirit retreat in Singapore this November, where we will be having a fabulous program of events suited to all levels.
If you are a practitioner in the holistic wellness space and you are interested in learning more about generating passive income streams, content production and social media presence, do get in touch.
Please visit my website to explore courses and useful content to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living. You could also explore more about a spirited life in my book, ‘Spirited – A guide to your innate spiritual design to transform your life’, which is now available. See stockists here.
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