157: Running a Successful Membership that is ALL about the COMMUNITY (Featuring Zac Small & Craig James)
Today we’re doing a few things differently, so get ready: we have two guests and zero “traditional” online courses involved. But don’t worry, because my discussion with Craig and Zach of Fraternity of Excellence is still super-relevant to many aspects of having a more typical online course business or membership model.
“Don’t let the fear of not being perfect when you launch keep you from launching.”
– Craig James
In This Episode, We Talked About:
“Inside a membership community, it’s all about relationships.”
– Zach Small
- (0:40) Dr. K is back: where was he and what do lizards have to do with it?
- (6:18) Our Asheville, NC recommendations + David’s ideal Instagrammer
- (8:47) Getting recognized “in the wild”
- (10:27) An update on my quest for the ultimate course platform
- (11:37) Creating course content with other teachers and how I’ve set up compensation
- (14:25) Setting the stage for today’s interview
- (17:09) Why and how Craig and Zach partnered to create their membership site
- (21:06) The 4-Hour Workweek mindset versus the community-based membership model
- (21:35) Bootstrapping and their early business models
- (24:35) Figuring out pricing with nothing to compare to
- (27:38) The challenge of communicating value in exclusivity
- (28:56) How Craig and Zach would change their approach to pricing if they were starting over
- (30:27) Who their audience is and how they provide value to their niche
- (33:18) How Craig and Zach’s offer has evolved
- (36:25) A favorite story of how their group impacted one of their members
- (39:11) How Zach quit his day job as their membership grew
- (42:53) Getting started with their site and figuring out best tools and software
- (46:21) Slack, “babies,” and focusing on the end goal
- (50:47) Is the paid version of Slack worth it?
- (53:00) How Craig and Zach make sure their membership never gets too big for its own good?
- (55:32) The pen name dilemma
- (1:03:41) Live events: how important are they?
- (1:07:19) What Craig and Zach do to prevent member churn and encourage community-building
- (1:10:35) Dealing with trolls and naysayers
- (1:15:40) Making partnerships work
- (1:18:43) Advice for new and aspiring course or membership creators
- (1:22:19) David’s questions about the appeal of membership to me
- (1:24:08) App development stories (plus an AI interruption)
- (1:31:25) A not-so-shocking reveal
- (1:34:36) Thinking about the challenges inherent to partnerships
- (1:38:26) How I handle trolling plus how David avoided impersonating Michael Scott
- (1:48:46) Finding the line between trolling and constructive criticism
- (1:50:14) Wrapping up
That’s all for now, folks! See you on the next episode of The Online Course Show.
Links Offers and Tools: Resources and Recommendations:
- Chandler Corbin
- Tupelo Honey Cafe
- Pizza Mind
- Paid Memberships Pro
- Episode 95
- David’s video about running
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