30 Apr Entrepreneurs: How I Launched a Membership Community
[NOTE: This post continues a series exploring the topic of entrepreneurship. While my focus has and will continue to be on Facebook ads, I have plenty to share about what I’ve learned while building my business.]
A product launch is one of the most stressful decisions an entrepreneur can make. You plan. You overthink. You second guess. You worry that no one will buy.
I often talk about how the best thing you can do in a situation like that is to simply wing it. Don’t fear the unknown. Don’t overthink it. Launch and react.
That was the case with my first product nearly five years ago, when I launched a Power Editor training course. I wasted weeks and months worrying about it. One night, I simply sent an email with a PayPal button. No course existed yet. The rest is history.
Five years later, I still struggle with product launches. In particular, I struggle with launching a product for my entrepreneur community because it’s brand new for me. A new audience and no history that would provide me confidence in the results that I can expect.
Well, I finally launched a product for my entrepreneur community early this morning. In typical fashion, I did it mostly on a whim. After weeks and months of overthinking it.
Here’s a recap of how all of this went down in a matter of hours…
The PHC – Entrepreneurs Dilemma
Back in January, I decided to expand my content and begin writing a weekly blog post on the entrepreneurship topic. This was a big pivot for me, after focusing exclusively on Facebook advertising for the past several years.
As a result, launching a product on this topic wasn’t as easy as launching a Facebook ads product. While I have a large built-in audience, it’s not clear how much interest I’d have in a product for entrepreneurs. It was a lot like starting a business from scratch (with some advantages, of course).
I emailed my list a couple of times, asking for feedback. Each time, I took a step back. Each time, I felt less sure of myself.
Do I have enough interest to launch a community for entrepreneurs? Do I need to get focused on a specific type of entrepreneur? How do I add value without overextending myself? What other free options already exist? How do I price this? Would anyone even sign up?
“Whom Is This For?”
I recorded a Pubcast with John Robinson yesterday at 10am, and I spoke about my issues with figuring out my intended audience for an entrepreneurship product. Check out this unedited excerpt as I start thinking this through…
The moment I described was extremely important. Getting that feedback from Emeric felt, at the time, like a punch to the gut. It was a step backward hearing that he’d have no interest in a general community for entrepreneurs. But it made a lot of sense, once I brushed off my own sensitivity.
I have experiences as an entrepreneur that may apply to all entrepreneurs to a point, but I can provide the most value to those who are attempting to build a similar business. Like Emeric was saying, an entrepreneur building an app may find minimal value in my community. Someone with a brick and mortar business will also find less value.
But someone building an online business selling digital products? An entrepreneur focusing on blogging, list building and memberships? Yeah, I can help this person.
I compare it to how I found my own niche with the advanced Facebook ads topic. My content originally lacked any focus at all. I wrote about Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and even Google Plus. I wrote about blogging. And when I wrote about Facebook, it could be about personal use, privacy settings, basic marketing or advertising.
It wasn’t until I got hyper focused on advanced Facebook advertising that I found my footing.
The Starting Line
At about the 20 minute point in my conversation with JR, an idea suddenly strikes me…
This is how my launches often happen. I can’t be talked into it. Suddenly, an idea strikes me and it gains momentum. Instead of planning for two weeks, I take that momentum and launch immediately.
The wheels started turning. What’s funny is that this is a true lightbulb moment. I’m distracted for much of the conversation from that point forward as I start polishing the idea.
The Beta Launch
Recall that this conversation was happening at about 10:25am at this point. I conducted my weekly PHC – Elite webinar at 2pm. At 1:45, 15 minutes before that webinar would begin, I threw together a slide and officially announced my intentions to launch a PHC – Entrepreneurs community…
So I went from being frustrated by the obstacles in front of this community to officially announcing it within a span of four hours.
Immediately after finishing this webinar, I put all of the groundwork in to create tags, the Facebook group, checkout form and Infusionsoft campaign.
At 1:13am, I launched the beta to my PHC – Elite community with an email.
PHC – Entrepreneurs Email Announcement
I decided that I’d launch this beta to PHC – Elite members only. This would help control the beta, but it also allows me to get this product in front of my most valued customers first.
By opening the beta to PHC – Elite members only, it is also a nice added perk for membership. Indirectly, this launch also adds value and motivation for anyone thinking about joining PHC – Elite.
Following are the important details describing this community to those invited…
Hey, XXX! I made a big announcement during yesterday’s PHC – Elite webinar, and you may have missed it. I’m taking the plunge and launching a new PHC community for entrepreneurs!
This is a really big deal for me. It’s the first time since my business started nearly six years ago that I’ve created a product for something other than Facebook marketing. I’m excited, and a little bit nervous!
Go here to sign up for the exclusive beta at only $9/month:
If you’ve followed along at all, you know that I’ve been agonizing over this for a while. I started writing content for entrepreneurs during the first week of 2017. I even started a free webinar for entrepreneurs, too. I wanted to create a product as well, but I’ve struggled to pull the trigger.
It wasn’t until recording an upcoming episode of the Pubcast with JR yesterday that it finally came together. I’m ready to launch this thing!
Of course, I have some normal jitters about this move. While I have some expectations regarding whom this group is for and what the content will be, this isn’t yet finalized. And I’m still not sure just how many people will sign up.
That’s why I launched it as a beta, for a very small and excluive group. And you’re included!
THE PHC – ENTREPRENEURS BETA
I decided I’d launch PHC – Entrepreneurs, but make it available ONLY for PHC – Elite members right now as a beta. This is an exclusive invite! While I will write about this for the public, only PHC – Elite members can sign up right now. And only PHC – Elite members will get the beta price of $9/month (for life).
There are many things I need to figure out about the final product, and I hope you can help me get there. One of those items on the checklist is price. Something I heard from prospective members is that they don’t want it to be too cheap — they want it to be more exclusive, to keep out the “riff-raff.”
For now, though, only PHC – Elite members can sign up for $9 per month. So there won’t be any riff-raff. And even after the beta period is complete, you will continue to get access for this dirt cheap price. But I fully intend to raise the price (probably significantly) — and you’ll help me determine what that price should be.
Join me here:
WHO IS PHC – ENTREPRENEURS FOR?
Something I’ve realized is that this group shouldn’t be broadly for all entrepreneurs. I understand that there are many different niches within entrepreneurship, and not everyone will value the same information.
As a result, I’ve decided — at least initially — to focus on entrepreneurs with the following characteristics:
- Online, digital based
- Minimal emphasis on physical, brick and mortar
- Digital products and memberships
- Minimal emphasis on physical products
- Blogging and list building
- Webinars and ebooks
- Education and training programs
Basically, everything above describes my business. That doesn’t mean that your business needs to be exactly like mine to find value in this community, but the more commonalities, the better!
I also believe we should have common core values. Here are mine:
- Honesty, integrity and transparency
- No shortcuts
- No get rich quick schemes
- Priority is lifestyle over getting rich and famous
PHC – ENTREPRENEURS TODAY
As of today, PHC – Entrepreneurs will consist of two primary things:
- Private Facebook group for entrepreneurs like you
- Regular webinars and other live events to discuss entrepreneurship topics
It’s brand new. This community is in beta. But this is what you can expect — at minimum.
YOUR ROLE IN PHC – ENTREPRENEURS
You have a very exclusive opportunity to help me build this community, and I’m excited to have you involved!
I’m launching this in beta because I still have some unknowns that I need finalized. You can help me bring together the following:
- What resources should be available?
- What content should be created?
- What topics should be covered?
- What value should be provided?
- How much should this cost to guarantee optimal value of members?
I will constantly poll you and even consider group meetings to help bring this together. I envision this being a two-month process before we make an official launch.
LET’S DO THIS!
I’m so excited to get this going in beta, and I’m pumped to have you involved. This is such a big move for my business — I feel it! — and I can’t wait to see where it goes.
This beta opportunity will go away once the community is launched to the public. But if you sign up now, you’ll continue to get that crazy $9/month price as long as you’re a member (without interruption).
If you still need that link to sign up, go here:
This is beta, so there’s no landing page yet. Everything you need to know is in this email.
If this community isn’t for you, that’s perfectly fine. It’s not supposed to be for everyone!
If you have any questions at all, just hit reply.
As mentioned at the top, launching a product may be the most difficult step. That’s Phase 1, and it’s complete.
Over the coming days and weeks, I am going to soak up everything I can from the members of this new community to help determine it’s ultimate direction. I’ve created a survey as the first step to get a better idea of what they want to see covered and how.
Where do we go from here? We’ll see. Maybe the community never gets off the ground, and that’s perfectly fine. I launched in beta, and I can always close it down.
But without taking this plunge, I’d never know for sure. I can’t wait to see where this goes.
Yes, It’s a Closed Beta
I want to clarify that this beta is only available for PHC – Elite members right now. There won’t be any exceptions.
That’s difficult because I know that there are many in my audience that will be a good fit for this and would benefit immensely from this community. I only ask that you remain patient as we iron out the details.
If all goes well, expect an official rollout by July. If you can’t wait that long, join PHC – Elite first!
What are your product launches like? Are they carefully planned or due they erupt in a blaze of inspiration and chaos like mine?
Let me know in the comments below!
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