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Why I Closed My Membership

content creation made easy

I loved running my Content Creator's Studio membership! It had a 90% retention rate and was fulfilling creatively -

So why did I choose to close it down in October 2022?

That's what we unpack in today's episode of Content Creation Made Easy.

Why should you listen in? Because our offers are the reason we create content in the first place.

If you have an offer that's not working, you're spending time creating content marketing that's wasting your time.

Press play to get the scoop on why I had to make this difficult decision - and how it might help you in your business and your marketing content!


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Full Transcript

Hey. Welcome to this week's episode of Content Creation Made Easy. I am your host, Jen Liddy, and this month I'm going to be talking about how our content needs to align with our offers.

And it seems kind of obvious, right? Like, no shit, Jen.

But a lot of times we're creating content and that doesn't really speak to what's going on in our offers.

And sometimes we're just creating content to check off that we've created the content.

So this month I'm going to talk about more Aligned Content Creation in service to your business because that's why you create content, not just to check it off the list

But before we talk about aligned content, I want to talk about aligned offers. That's why today I’m telling you the story of how and why I closed down my Content Creator Studio membership when I realized it wasn't in alignment for me as a business owner and service provider. So let's get into it.

I'm really excited to unpack this for you. Let's talk first about the membership model.

The membership model can be anything you want it to be. It can be it's great for scale and you know, everyone's like scale, scale, scale, scale.

And scaling might look different for you. It might not be a course, it might not be a membership.

Scaling for you might mean I'm a private service provider, I work one-to-one with people, or I work with very small groups, but I charge more and I see them less or I give them less access.

Scaling doesn't always mean I created a course or I created a membership. So I want to start by saying that.

But a membership model can be great for scale. That recurring revenue that you can count on. There's lots of different ways to do a membership, right?

Like your membership can be information-based or community-based or TRANSFORMATION-based. Whatever your goal is, there's no one way to do this.

Then of course, there's the launch cycle. There's the launch open door, closed door, do it again in six months model.

There's the people who have the Always Open model. That's what I had. An always open model.

And then there are people who do a hybrid of yes, it's always open. And three times a year we're going to do a big push to launch people into it.

That's really effective too.

There's no one right way to do your membership now. If you've been part of a membership, you know, there's so many different ways to do it and there's so many different levels of membership.

There's the “I'll just stay in this because it's cheap and I might be able to use it one day.”

Then there's memberships that have a huge impact on you. There's some that are done really, really well.

I'm part of a few memberships that are absolutely incredible and there's ones that are just like “Meh, I know I can go there when I need something!”

There are memberships where the responsibility of the coach is very high and that person has to show up and really be very visible and very present.

Then there's memberships where it's really more on the participants to engage.

And again, I am part of all of those kinds of memberships. So the membership model is exciting and it's fun and your personality makes a big difference in how your membership is going to look.

I will say that I think the most important thing about a membership is, is it serving your customers and clients?

Because sometimes giving too much information is a disservice to your people. So some people get into the middle of their membership and they're like, oh my God, I just can't keep up.

Well, they probably started over delivering or the clients are dropping off, members are dropping out because they can't keep up.

So it's a tender balance and it might not be right for you, or it might be right for you.

This podcast is not to convince you one way or the other.

This podcast episode is all about when I realized that the membership model as I had created, it wasn't working for me and what I did about it. So let's dive in.

My membership was called the Content Creators Studio. And the goal of it was to help people make content creation easier and better so they could leverage their brilliance and attract clients. People need clients. That's why we are in business. You're not here for a hobby, right?

I created the membership model because after 2020, I had been doing so many different types of one-to-one work. I was doing contracts, I was doing curriculum design for people, for industry. I was doing one-to-one work, I was doing copywriting. I mean, I was all over the place. And so I was a little burned out in 2020, even though it was the biggest profit I had ever had in my business.

I thought, “Oh, you know, if I move to a group model, I'm a former English teacher, I'm a former professor, I love teaching people, I'm a really good teacher, maybe I want to be teaching!”

A membership would help me do that. I could impact more people. That was a goal of mine. And how I set it up was, let's see, I set it up in January of 2021 and I started out with a couple of calls a month.

And then I realized, Wow, people need a training. So on the first week of the month, I would give them a bite size training, a coaching call the second week, the third week was content planning together, because people always get confused on how to actually plan their content.

The fourth week wound up being content feedback, which was an amazing value for the members. I then realized, “Oh, people really need implementation time!”

So I added in a once a week coworking call, which was great because I would just get on and I would co-work: it wasn’t like I had to coach or consult or anything.

So basically they got two calls, options for two calls a week and everything was optional. You didn't have to do anything. There was a library of information, there was a community: it was a lot.

And the price point was $37. Then it raised to 47 and then it raised to 57 at the end, so it was on the more affordable side and they were getting a lot of value for it.

And I never missed a week. There was one time I had to cancel a call, but honestly, I was just really able to keep up with it and I enjoyed it so, so much.

What I want you to know is my goal as a business owner was to have the studio be like “all roads lead to the studio” and have the studio be my signature program.

To make the money I wanted to make, which is $20,000 a month, I needed to have 200 people in my membership at $97 a month.

Now I knew it was value was great, and $97 a month was a totally reasonable price point, but I had never raised it to that before. Also, 200 people in a membership. I just want to break this down for you.

If the number of people on your email list is usually a percentage, is converting from your email list is usually about 1%.

So you might get 10% opting in for something free, but 1% are usually converting to customers.

If I wanted 200 people, that means I would have to reach 20,000 people or have 20,000 people on my email list.

And that just kind of hit me one day like, well, this is going to really take a long time.

My current list I think is like 2500. And again, it always kind of hovers at that because I purge my list every three months from people who aren't active.

If I wanted to impact a lot of people, I thought the membership was the way, but then the numbers started to hit me.

But what really happened was I got off a call in September with my members and they were like, they're so engaged, they were so amazing.

A couple of new people had just joined and they were also amazing and I knew them deeply because it would be the same eight to eleven people who would show up for the calls, and because there were eight to eleven people, I could engage with them deeply.

I knew their niches, I knew their habits, I knew what they were struggling with and I could speak to their businesses specifically. So one day in September I got off the call and I just was like, I just love this group so much.

These women are so amazing.

Then I thought, how could I serve them like this if I had 200 people in my group?

Now I'm going to say if you have a membership, you know that maybe about a third of them show up, which had been my experience for sure, 33 people in my group.

Eleven people were showing up on the call. So it was all very like on paper, exactly as it quote, unquote should have been.

But I got off this call. I'm like, I enjoy these people so much. I love working in this way so much. How can I ever get to 200 people? What would that be like?

Would I be just a question and answer machine?

 There would be so many fewer people I could serve in terms of getting my hands on their stuff and looking at their stuff. And it just kind of hit me like, okay, I know these people. I love these people, but I can't only work with eight to eleven people who are paying $37 a month. That is just an unsustainable business model, right?

So then I thought, “Okay, all right, well, you like working in this way. Is there anything you can change about the current model?

I couldn't raise the price because I had promised that it would be the lifetime pricing. So to raise the price would have been way out of integrity, in my opinion. Taking something away would have been out of integrity.

There wasn't like anything I wanted to do differently. It was just the money didn't line up. I loved everything about the Studio. I loved the way I had set up the four calls. I love the way I could learn about them.

It just monetarily wasn't working. And then I had to think like, OK, well is a big membership even for me? Am I the kind of person who wants to have 200 people in my world and basically answer questions instead of really impacting in a different way?

I really had to take a whole weekend and process this deeply. And I wound up talking to my coach, my therapist, my husband, who is an entrepreneur, and just like working through all of it because I was really worried you're going to disappoint people.

You've worked so hard on this offer. You've written all the content for this offer.

You've tweaked your sales page within an inch of its life.

You've just gotten it exactly where you want it.

What if you just keep hanging on and then you can fill it?

And I was like, I don't know that I want to fill it with 200 people. So that was a really big AHA for me.

THIS is the moment of like, is your offer in alignment with what you want to do as a business owner and what you've set out to try to achieve as a business owner?

I sat down and I thought, what do I like about my business, okay? I like helping people, I love knowing people, I like teaching people a lot and I'm actually a really good teacher.

I love seeing people actually implement, and I love showing them how to shine and be visible.

Those are the things that really I was getting to do inside the membership. Then I had to do the less touchy-feely stuff. I had to assess how profitable it was.

I realized between the calls and the prep and the planning and the review of content, I was spending 17 to 21 hours a month.

But my assistant Jessica reminded me that I was doing way more than that and she had pointed out a couple of other things.

I realized I was spending dozens of hours a month on a membership that was bringing in a total of about twelve hundred dollars a month.

That just didn't make sense financially. I also had not considered that I hired help, assistants who helped me with all the aspects of all this stuff!  I was paying them.

Not to mention like the membership site that I was paying my Kajabi membership, all of the expenses around this stuff, my software, my time, my extras.

I hadn't taken all of that into account. But when I did the math, I was only making twelve hundred dollars a month. And that is not enough to live on. So that was nowhere near my goal, right?

So I had to really sit down and say, “What is it going to look like? Do I want to try to really grow this to 200 people? And will I be able to serve in the way that I want to serve and impact people in the way that I want to impact?”

And I sat with it.

I didn't take months to make this decision because I knew in my body I was really trusting my intuition that something was off.

Sometimes I get there, but it wasn't that I felt resentful or angry, it wasn't any of that.

It was just like, I love this so much, how can I do more of this and make money doing it, right?

So within the week, I had decided to close it down. I knew it would be a hard transition because my active members were so engaged and they were getting so much incredible value and they would tell me that all the time and I knew they would be disappointed.

Again, I had to process that, do a lot of personal work around disappointing people and quote unquote, quitting.

And I'll talk more about that another time. But I just want you to know that I very intentionally decided that this wasn't working for me as a business model.

It wasn't helping me meet my profitability goals. It wasn't aligned. Ultimately it felt good doing it, but it wasn't aligned with my business goals.

I just got to a point where I couldn't make decisions anymore based on how it felt.

I'm not running a hobby, right? I'm running a business.

So I wanted to encourage you to think, what are the offers in your business that you don't enjoy?

Like maybe, for me, enjoyment was not the problem.

I was enjoying the hell out of it.

But maybe you have an offer that you don't enjoy very well.

For me, that was I didn't enjoy in 2020. I was doing a lot of speaking, and I just didn't enjoy that.

I didn't enjoy writing curriculum for other people, and I didn't enjoy writing copy for other people.

I've decided I love doing that with people.

So what are the offers in your business that you're not enjoying?

It's okay to admit it, and I think that's a thing we need to say. I don't enjoy public speaking. Like, I don't want to just get up and speak for the sake of speaking.

I want to either teach something or do a workshop where I'm hands on with you. But I don't like, dream of being a speaker on a big stage. And that's for some people, that's the dream. Like, making 12,000 $20,000 a time doing that, that's just not my dream.

And that's okay, right?

So what are the offers in your business that you don't enjoy?

Second: what offers are not profitable, but somebody has told you you need to keep going, and maybe that somebody is you?

Maybe it's because you've dumped so much money into it or so much time or effort, or you've written the sales page and you've written all the emails that go with it, or it's just like, branded so beautifully.

If it's not profitable, what's the next step here?

How can you make it profitable?

For me, that would have been having to grow my business to 20,000 people, and that's just a lot of hustle that I don't have the energy for right now.

Or, you know, is it something you need to shift, close down, etc. And what offers take energy from you that you no longer have? That's the third question.

So the first question is which offers don't you enjoy?

What offers are not profitable but you think you need to keep going with?

And what offers take your energy that you no longer have the time or energy to give?

I want you to think about that.

I’d never really assessed these things, and I'm going to tell you why.

I loved my Studio. I loved everything about it. But if I was going to be honest, the always am honest, I will say I hated having to market it and then not having people join.

So maybe there was something wrong with the offer.

Maybe that's not what the people wanted.

Also, I hate launching, so that's why I kept it open all the time. Right.

I hate when I want to join something that's not available to me right now. So I always want it to be available to people, and there must have been something not working because it was very hard to get people into it unless they had had a personal touch with me.

That's normally how people would join.

But I just wanted you to start thinking about your own offers and are they aligned with your business goals, with your enjoyment, with your energy.

 It's really okay if something is not working to start to give yourself permission and grace to start saying, I don't know if this is right for me. I'm not sure what's next.

I said that for about six weeks.

I said, I don't know what's next, I don't know what's next.

I hope that that gives you some space to breathe in the next few weeks as you think about your offers, what you'd love to put on the table next year, what you'd like to take off the table next year, and really think about what's going on with your business, your energy, your profitability, and your enjoyment.

Because all of it matters when you're designing a business, because you can't market it if you're depleted by it.

Next week I will talk more about this idea of aligning your content with your offers. But I just wanted to start by saying, Are your offers aligned?

 What am I offering next?

Well, I've decided that I love working with people in a small group or private manner.

So I'm offering the what I'm calling the Magnetic Words Power Group.

Its a three-month group for people who have something they want to cross off their list.

Like, I have a landing page in a sales sequence that I want to tweak or I've been wanting to work on my website forever…

Those things that’ll move the needle in your business.

It’s for you if:

I don't have a content plan.

I don't have a lead magnet.

I don't have welcome series.

Something that you just want to cross off your list and you'd love feedback and support and eyes on your stuff.

That's what this Power Group is going to be about. It's limited to five people. I actually have only three spots left for it and that will be launching in early ‘23.

If you're interested, please reach out to [email protected] and let me know.

I'd love to hear if you're interested and if you're if now is not the right time, perhaps in the future to join a different Power Group cohort, but the goal is for you to leverage your ideas and turn your words into money in your business, because that's why you're in business, ultimately.

I hope this was helpful. I’d love to know what you think!

Leave me a comment or a review because it really helps other people find us. And I'm looking to impact way more people on this podcast in the upcoming years.

Thanks for listening. I'd love to speak to you. Bye!

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