How to Create a Successful Membership Site with Stu McLaren (TRIBE)

– Hey, what’s up everybody,
Navid Moazzez here, and today I’m super-excited
to have Stu McLaren on. He is the former cofounder
of WishList Member, he’s interacted with tens of thousands of membership site owners over the years, and he’s also ran his own six and seven figure membership sites, and he’s worked with so
many people, influencers, not so well-known people in
a wide variety of markets, and he’s also the creator of TRIBE where he helps people like
you create membership sites and create more recurring
revenue in your business. And once a year or so he
runs a TRIBE workshop. And even if you’re not even
interested in membership site, I think this is an amazing workshop because the production quality, as someone like myself
I care about this stuff, as you can see here. It’s amazing, like the cinematography and everything is great on the workshop. So I highly recommend you check that out. You can go to to just kind of experience that, and always Stu is gonna share
some great tips there as well, but today we will dive a little
bit into some of that stuff and also some, who is
TRIBE for, who is not for, and stuff like that. So a warm welcome, Stu. – Awesome, buddy, well,
listen, thanks for having me. I was joking around with you, I’m like, where are you in the world? It’s like I’m, where is Navid? (laughs) But it’s super-fun
to be able to here with you. – Absolutely, so yeah, if people haven’t heard
too much about you, maybe they have been living under a rock and not seeing the impact you’re having. Can you tell us kind of a little bit the quick back story of, I mean, kind of the WishList Member days and what you were doing there, and I guess what you’re
doing now a little bit with TRIBE as well? – Yeah, it’s interesting, obviously when we look
back on our careers, we start to see like how
one thing led to another. And that’s absolutely the case for me, I used to have a business where it was a consulting-based business and it was going really well, but the problem with it was that I was trading time for money. And so although it was doing really well and I was running multiple
six figures a year, the problem with it was that my schedule was determined by my client’s schedule. And even worse is like
when they were busy, that meant I was busy, and even worse is like when
multiple people were busy, or launching at the same time, that meant that my calendar
with absolutely chaos. And so I literally had just gotten married and my wife and I, we were talking about raising a family and starting a family. And the writing was on the wall, like I could not continue to run that business the way I was running it and be a great husband
and/or a great father. And so I knew I had to make some changes, so ultimately when I was talking
to some different friends and mentors and colleagues and stuff, one of them mentioned that I
should start a membership site. And I had no idea what that meant, but he said like, look, what
you are doing for your clients, you could teach so many
other people how to do it, and you’d have way more leverage and you won’t be trading
your time for money. Instead now you’d be able
to have a lot more leverage into your business and
support a lot more people. So I started going down that path and I looked at creating
my own membership site. Now I’m fairly technical, I’m comfortable around
computers and technology, but, man, back then, this was in 2008, the technology was not what it is today. I was way over my head, I was dealing with things like htaccess and server files and settings, and it was just way above me. And I remember complaining
to a friend of mine, Tracy, and I said to him, I’m like, dude, I just wish this were easier. And he’s like, well, he was
trying to talk me through. And I said, no, man, I’m struggling. And he said, well, why don’t you just
create your own solution? And I said, wait, did you not
hear what I just said like, if the tech that’s
actually bogging me down, like how the heck would I even
go think about developing, I’m not a developer. And he said to me, he’s like, well, Stu, you’re pretty clear on what you want. He said, I have a developer
that works with me. He’s like, why don’t we just team up and create a solution together. And ultimately that’s what we did and that became WishList Member and over the next six years I dedicated my life to
growing that company, and we went on to serve tens of thousands of membership sites owners. In fact when I sold my
shares in that company, we were serving over 70,000 online communities and membership sites. And so during that six-year
period, I learned a lot. I learned a lot from
being behind-the-scenes helping tens of thousands
of membership site owners. I learned what most people were doing and their site would
kind of, they take off and then they’d plateau
or start to drop off, and then I saw what this small group of membership site owners were doing whose sites were growing year-over-year. And I’m like, what are they doing? So I started paying attention to them and I started to see that they were using a lot of counterintuitive strategies, things that we wouldn’t
normally think that would work whether it’d be with the content or their marketing or their
retention, but they were working and they were working
year over year over year. And so ultimately what I did
was I learned all of that and I took that material and I’m like, I wanna try this stuff myself, I wanna try with my own membership site. And so I partnered with Michael Hyatt, we created a membership site
and things just took off. In the first week we
welcomed 1100 members, in the first year it was 2500, and then the second year it was 4500 and the third year it was 6000. This site just kept growing
and growing and growing, and people started saying,
Stu, how are you doing this? And ultimately that led me to doing a whole bunch of
one-on-one consulting, and then I started doing some workshops, and then that has led me to where I am now where I’m showing the TRIBE process and formula with literally
thousands of people who are launching membership
sites successfully in all kinds of different markets, from photography and calligraphy
to fitness and finance and music and health and art and dog training and so many more. Botton line is, is that
like that set of strategies that I learned from
being behind-the-scenes working with tens of
thousands of people, it works. And so now we’ve put it
into a standardized formula that anybody can utilize, no matter whether you have
a product-based business, service-based business,
knowledge-based business or community-based business. And that’s what gets me
fired up every single day is to help people generate a lot more recurring
revenue in their business. – That’s amazing, I can
see you’re fired up, Stu. (laughs) That’s amazing. I mean, I actually saw the
growth that you had first, like helping a lot of
influencers like Michael Hyatt as you were mentioning, and now I think I see
like every day new people. I mean, first off either FREE TRIBE group or the membership community you created, and also the paid one you have. So many people are raving about
the success they’re having, and this is not kind of
in marketing or business, this is in all kinds of markets
that you were mentioning. Similarly kinda what
we were doing also with Virtual Summit Mastery
and helping people in. That’s something maybe you
could get into a little bit is a fantastic combination
actually to combine and– – Totally. – Hosting a summit, grow your audience, and then in the backend doing something with the membership site, but before we kinda get there, I wanted to see kinda who is this for? Can this work for anyone? Can this work in any market? Who is this prime for what you are doing and what you are teaching, Stu? – Well, listen, from our
experience this is working, like we work every single year with literally thousands
and thousands of people in all kinds of different markets. We also work with people
who have no audience or a tiny audience and successfully launch a membership site, all the way to people who have
well-established audiences, New York Times best-selling authors who have established multimillion
dollar year businesses, but they don’t have
recurring revenue in it. And so what we do is, we work
with the gamut of people, but the bottom line is that
the strategies are the same, whether it’s you’re working with somebody who is in the earlier stages, whether you’re working with somebody who has got a more seasoned business. The fact of the matter is, is that the strategies
itself are the exact same. The only difference is where
people should put their focus because I’m not a believer that we can do everything all at once, I’m a believer of like, our
progress happens in stages. And so it’s about identifying what stage are we at in that progress, and then zeroing in on the few things that we need to focus
on right there and then to make the most amount of progress. And that’s what we
ultimately help people do. So we have people who are
launching membership sites like Michael Kilpatrick as an example. He helps farmers. Farmers, Navid, farmers. He’s got a membership site
that he helps farmers with. And he’s had tremendous success, multi-five-figure launches
with helping farmers. Specifically he did one, he’s got one that helps
people grow lettuce faster and easier. Lettuce, crazy. Anyway, we got people in all
kinds of different markets, think of Leslie Vernick. She is in the relationship market, and so she helps
specifically Christian women who are in bad marriages. So she is doing incredible work there. There is examples like Dana, Dana helps parents who have
got challenging children or there’s like Anna Saucier who helps fertility practitioners or there is Nicholas Wilton
who helps people learn how to do fine art painting. There’s so many examples,
we can keep going. There’s Kathy Kawalec who helps people specifically with dog training. The number of examples in all kind of different
markets is incredible. And here is the crazy
part about this, Navid, we’re obsessed, the thing
that we’re obsessed are, we’re obsessed over
helping people get results. And because of that our obsession, the reason we obsess over is because we know the most valuable
marketing asset in our business has nothing to do with me, has nothing to do with our TRIBE content, it has everything to do
with the stories of people, just like you said, every single day people in our community
are posting their results that they’re getting in
their membership sites. And that is the most
valuable marketing asset are those stories. And so, we used to send a video crew to go and capture these stories. In this last 12 months we’ve
had more success stories than we’ve ever had before, so much so that we started
a whole new podcast that’s just sharing these
stories every single week, hundreds and hundreds of people in all kinds of different markets. And the cool part about this is now, you’re starting to see businesses who are a product-based business, and we don’t have to look around. Big-name companies that
we are familiar with, like the Amazons, the Apples,
the Netflix, the Spotify, they’re all transitioning towards
a recurring revenue model. And we see companies like
just the other day I was in, it was a couple of weeks
ago, I was in San Francisco and I’m walking through the mall, and I’ll go to get a green juice, I come up to the counter
and I see the menu and on one side it says member pricing, and on the other side it
says non-member pricing. So being the membership
guy, I said to the girl, I said, what is this all membership thing? And she’s like, well, it’s pretty simple. She said, you pay $10 a month
and you get two green juices and every green juice thereafter is at the member price of $5 versus $6.50. I’m like this is brilliant. So here’s a company who
has taken one product, their green juice and has
turned it into a membership and the value there is tremendous. Not only for the members themselves they save a whole bunch of money, but it’s also tremendously
valuable for the business itself because they no longer have to hope that people are gonna come
back and buy from them. They know for certain that those members will be spending with
them every single month. And we see this in product-based business, we see this in service-based business, like Mary-Claire Fredette
who’s come through TRIBE, so she has a massage business. The challenge that she had is that some months she is book solid, other months it’s very sporadic. And so her cash flow is
like all over the place and she never knows what
month is gonna be good and what month is not. And so she was looking for a
way to even out her cash flow, and so the way she did it was she rolled out a membership site. And so now she has a
small group of members, 17 of them who come in every single month or who pay her every single
month for a one-hour massage, but the cool part about
it was that she increased the value of each of those
members because a lot of them when they came in for a 60-minute massage upgraded to a 90-minute massage. And so for her what it’s done is it’s just created a lot more stability in terms of the cash flow in her business. And so we see it in
product-based businesses, in service-based business, of course, in knowledge-based businesses. This is where our bread-and-butter is, is working with thousands of people who are teaching other
people different things whether it’s teaching them new skills, whether it’s teaching them
habits, whatever it maybe, it’s about helping people make progress in some area of their life. And we see this knowledge-based business is prime for a membership site. You talked about your
audience with summits, it’s like, oh my gosh. If you’re helping people in a summit, then the membership site is
the perfect backend to that because inevitably people are gonna learn a whole bunch in the summit, but here’s where the gap
begins to be created. It’s learning it is one thing,
implementing it is another, and that’s why a membership
site is so incredible for those of us who are
teaching people stuff because it’s about supporting
people in the journey of implementing it and making progress. And, of course, we see in
community-based businesses where it’s about bringing people who have a shared interest together, that is a super-popular thing. And, yes, there are Facebook groups and all that kind of stuff, but people are willing to pay
a premium to be surrounded by people in a more deeper,
intimate environment. And so we see that,
that taking off as well. So at the end of the day, we see people in all kinds
of different markets, in all kinds of different areas of their business growth and journey, but the reality of it is, is it’s about helping them identify what are the key things to focus on with where they are in
their stage of the business. And that’s why we see so much progress. – Yeah, totally, Stu. And, I mean, I couldn’t agree more, also what he said there in the beginning with student success. That’s something we focus on a lot. From time to time we also do this high-quality success stories
and go on shoot stories. And, sometimes just kind
of capturing them on video, but that’s kind of the most
powerful marketing tool, as you said, not me, not what’s really in the program so much, it’s like helping people get results, that’s what matters at the end of the day. – Yeah. – But really what I wanted
to kind of focus on, there’s kind of, I guess
two types of people here. It might be someone starting from scratch, like in a knowledge-based business, for example, they want to
build their brand, authority. So can they launch a membership site? I know some people out there, they might say, you need
10,000 email subscribers before you do this and stuff like that. So what’s your philosophy on this? I’ve heard different schools, so I wanted to kind of start there first and then see kind of
what your thoughts are. – Well, truth be told, I
mean, I used to believe that. I used to believe that
you need an audience of at least 5000 people to have
success with the membership, but here’s what I’ve learned and I’m so grateful for
getting smacked upside the head by our TRIBE in learning this lesson is you don’t need tens of thousands, you don’t need thousands. In fact you only need a few hundred, and we got tons of examples
of this like Wendy Batten. So Wendy Batten, she helps
paint store retailers. We’re talking a tiny niche,
paint store retailers. She’s a bricks and mortar
stores that sell paint. That’s her market. And so she didn’t have tens
of thousands or thousands, she had literally 400, roughly
460 people in her audience, but when she launched her membership site, she welcomed 59 of them, generating $2800 a month
in month number one. Now, over the course
of this past 12 months, that membership has grown
to over 100 plus members, part of her membership, but it
just goes to prove the point, you don’t need tens of
thousands or thousands, she just had a few hundred. Or there’s Marianne Kane, Marianne Kane, she had some urgency to launch her membership site
because she was having a baby, and her membership site helps women with kettlebell workouts. And so she launched
her, she had about 250, she welcomed 52 members
into her membership site. Again, helping her
generate a ton of momentum. Or one of my favorite
stories is Anna Saucier who was at our TRIBE Live event last year, and she was so inspired
because all these stories of people that I talk
about, they’re real people. And so she was hearing from them, seeing them speak on stage and she was getting so inspired
by hearing their stories of just not getting it
perfect, just getting it going. And so she said, you know
what, I’m gonna launch, I’m gonna do it right here
while I’m at the event. And now, listen, she
didn’t have sales videos, she didn’t have a webinar, she didn’t even have a sales page, didn’t even have a checkout
page, none of that stuff. And she definitely did
not have a big audience. She had 326 people in her audience, 326, but she went for it anyway and her goal was to generate
$5,000 in the first 24 hours. So here’s what she did, she used one of our
founding member’s script, she was inspired by Jamie Swanson. We can talk about her after if you want. Jamie Swanson was sharing how she utilized this
founding member script. And so Anna said, I’m gonna use it. And so she basically took that script, and it’s basically a
script that says, hey, here’s the vision for what
I’m looking to create. And it cast a vision for the
community and the membership and it’s upfront, you’re
upfront in saying like, I don’t have everything figured out, but here’s why I’m so
passionate about this, and if you’d like to join
me as a founding member, I’ll forever grandfather you in at the founding member price. So when we do raise it, when we go to the general public, you will always have the
founding member price. So essentially she used the script, obviously massaged it and so forth, and she sent it out to her audience, and the call to action was really simple because she didn’t have
anything else setup. She said, if you want to
join me as a founding member, just send me a direct message. They would send her a direct message and she would send them a PayPal link. And here’s the crazy part, Navid, 326 people, not a massive audience, she generated $5024 in that 24-hour period and that has given her
tremendous momentum, again, as she continues
now to grow her membership. So I share it with you because there are endless
numbers of stories of people, not with massive audiences,
but with a few hundred, but here’s the advantage you
have with the smaller audience, and people don’t think about this, but it’s an absolutely
real-world advantage. And that is, is that you will see way higher conversion rates
with the smaller audience than you ever will with a bigger audience. It’s because you’re able to develop a more intimate relationship
with that audience. And in the world of membership sites, we talked about, we just hammered it home, and that the most
important marketing asset you can have in your
business are the stories. And so in the beginning, I love starting with small audiences, I love getting people in, and I love being able to go
in a intimate environment and really help them get results because those stories that
you get from those people are going to be massive for you as you begin to really scale
and grow the membership. So in the beginning it’s all about like doing the best with what
you got available to you, and I can tell you, you can
create massive momentum, not just with tens of thousands,
not just with thousands, but with a few hundred people. – Yeah, that’s incredible and
also I’m really impressed, then that says something about you and the kind of community you’re building. You actually have
thousands of members here, you remember them by
name and their stories. You are like me, I’m also, I remember kind of the people who
share and stuff like that. That’s actually not so many influencers, they remember all their
stories by name like you. So that’s also says something about what kind of a TRIBE
you’re building with– – Dude, I love these
people, man, I’m obsessed. – Yeah. – We take great pride in the stories and the people and their progress because here’s the thing. For me this is much bigger than even just helping
those business owners. It’s about the impact, the extended ripple that is happening through membership sites because when I think of, we
mentioned Leslie earlier, she’s helping these women, these women who are in broken marriages. And I think about the
ripple effect of that, if she can help those women
and repair those relationships or get out of a dangerous relationship and the impact that it has
on the families and the kids or I think about, we
mentioned Dana and her and helping parents who
have challenging kids and the ripple effect that that will have, not only on that family unit, but on those kids
themselves and their future. Or I think about even Levi Kujala, he has a guitar membership site that has exploded since TRIBE. He took it from a $30,000
a month membership, which was doing pretty good, but in the months after TRIBE, he went from 30,000 to 52
to 74 to over $100,000. Now it’s a multimillion dollar membership with 6000 plus members, but here’s what I love
about his membership. Yes, it’s about learning guitar, but he specifically helps serve veterans. And he does these amazing things because the future of
membership sites by the way is combining both online
and offline components. And so he started
experimenting with these, and he started having these jam sessions, and he’s got these vets
who are learning guitar, dusting off their old skills and they’re getting up on stage and they’re jamming together, and he’s created this
unbelievable community. And it is transforming lives, and I just share this with you because what we do is much
bigger than just the money, it’s what the money makes possible, and the impact that that
extended ripple has. And so I am very deeply connected to that. So when you ask about
remembering these people, yeah, I remember them because I’m passionate
about them, I adore them, I love the impact that they’re having, and I’m deeply connected to it. – That’s awesome, that’s awesome, and I think you should be. And, I mean, you should,
if you’re watching this, you think, okay, is any
program for me like, I mean, TRIBE, you should
definitely join a program that they actually, today the teacher or the educator actually
they care about you, they want you to get results. And that’s how what we believe in with Virtual Summit Mastery
and the programs we offer. That’s exactly what Stu
does with TRIBE as well. So I wanted to kind of
shift gears a little bit. We talked about the beginners and people have a very small audience. What if you’re, let’s say
you’ve hosted a summit, you maybe have a few
thousand people on your list, maybe you even have an online course, you have maybe even a high-ticket offer or something like that, and maybe even making money
every month from these things, but it’s not actual recurring revenue. So how can actually it’s a little personal because I’m wanting to kind of, I’m in a high-ticket offer VSM,
you make money every month, you have applications coming
in and stuff like that. And we sometimes sell our
existing customers as well, we used to get them to
become repeat buyers, but how can someone like me or someone in my audience who
are in a similar situation add the recurring revenue
with a membership site. What will you do there? – Well, it’s pretty
straightforward and simple because if you, let’s just take somebody who is running a course. I have no doubt that if
you are running a course and you pour your heart
and soul into that course and look to really support people, there is no doubt in my mind that you’ve experienced
what I’m about to share. And that is you get to work
at the end of the course and your people start to almost panic. They’re almost asking questions like, well, wait a minute, what happens next? Are we still gonna have this community? Well, wait a minute, I’m gonna be trying to
implement this somehow. Can I still get support? They start asking these types of questions because they’re in panic because they realize like, well, the end of the road
is right here like now. Now they have to be out
on their own implementing, and that scares the
living crap out of people. And so here’s why a membership
site is so important, not only for you as the business owner, but for the success of your people because it’s about being with them now on the journey of implementing
what they have learned. It’s the natural extension to
what you have already done. So if you’ve got a course and you’ve already taken
people through that, that is amazing, but there is this huge gap
between learning what to do and implementing what they have learned. And that’s gap gets filled
by a membership site because it holds people’s hands. And what you’re gonna find
is that when you go deep with your people like this
with a membership site, they are going to see more
progress than ever before, which is only gonna help you, again, this backfill,
if you will, the course, and of course, people
roll into the membership. And so, at the end of the day, when people are making progress, they do not ever want to
leave a membership site. I’ve never heard of somebody canceling from a membership site because they’re making too much progress. So as long as you focus on
helping people make progress, they’re never gonna leave. And what that does for
you as a business owner is it creates a tremendous
amount of stability, tremendous amount of stability because no longer are you
going through this fluctuation of a launch and no launch,
a launch and no launch. As an example, Andrew
Krauss over in Australia, I mean, he had a great business, but it was very much dependent on the success of his launches. And he had one launch in particular that did not go well. He had a bunch of personal challenges that he was going through at the time, specifically like a breakup and it was a challenging situation, and the launch did not go well. And here’s what happened is it created a whole bunch of cascading effects, meaning like it put him in
a serious financial pinch. And so what happened was he realized there and then that he couldn’t continue to keep going through this
up-and-down roller coaster when it came to his income. And so he needed more stability, so he rolled out a membership site. Now his market he serves
real estate agents, and it’s a very simple membership psyche, he essentially provides
them Facebook ad templates each and every month, that those real estate agents
they don’t have to think, they just use the templates
because they know they work, they swap out the details for the houses and off to the races. And so it’s a super-easy membership site, but here’s what happened is that created tremendous
stability in his business. And so then what he did
was he realized like, heck, what I’m doing
for real estate agents, I could do for financial planners. And so he started a second
membership site for them, and the same thing applies. And so he went through
that roller coaster, evened it out with memberships. Another great example is
Susan Garrett, same thing, but she had very successful launches, but she still felt the stress and the pressure of those
launches performing. And so when she rolled out
her membership, I love this because she rolled it out
to a small test list first. So she didn’t rolled it
out to her whole audience, she rolled it out to a
test list of 1600 people. Now admittedly these were 1600 of her best clients and customers. These were people who’d
already gone through some of her courses,
but she rolled it out, but Susan has an unbelievable relationship with her audience. And of the 1600, over 1100 of
them signed up at $30 a month. And, again, this is for dog training. So you can do the math on that in terms of immediate income that that added to her business
every single month. So if you’ve got a course, you absolutely should be
thinking about a membership site because not only is it gonna help your people get better results, which is what we’re all after, but it’s also gonna give you tremendous stability in your business. And if you’ve already got
an established audience, I can tell you that your people
are wanting more from you. I mean, how many of us
have seen a great speaker or listened to somebody
on a virtual summit and thought, gosh, I
would love to learn more, or read a book and we’re like, ah, I would love to follow
up with the author on this, but very few people have
anything to continue with them on an ongoing basis to
take what we’ve learned and go deeper and develop
that level of mastery because here’s the bottom line, just because you’ve heard it once, it doesn’t mean that you’re
going to have it mastered. I mean, just because I
learned how to play guitar does not mean I’m gonna
be the next Eric Clapton. I’ve got to work at it,
I’ve got to implement it, I’ve got to practice it, and that’s what a membership provides. It provides that safe playground for people to really master the material. And so it is a service to
your people and your audience and it’s also a tremendous benefit to you as a business owner because
it adds that stability. We got tons of examples, like from New York Times
best-selling authors to people who have got large influencers, who got large audiences
on Facebook or YouTube or Instagram and leveraging those audience to create membership sites. Bottom line is that, it is
the best business model, not only for your people to
help them get better results, but also for you as a
business owner as well. – That’s awesome. And I’ve seen this come up
sometimes in your community, like why isn’t TRIBE (laughs)
membership like, I mean, I’ve seen that come up sometimes, but I think you have
kind of your response, I’ve seen your response to this. It’s actually a very good response, so maybe you can share that here. Why to try your membership and maybe you already really
have some kind of thing, like you mentioned here, TRIBE
is an online program course, and then you basically have
something in the backend where people can get
ongoing support afterwards, after the program is over. So can you talk to that
a little bit as well? – Yeah, it’s about identifying
the path for people. And so for us, just like
what we were saying, what’s the benefits of a course? A course goes deep where you’re
teaching people new material and you’re immersed with
them during a period of time. And that’s exactly what we
do with TRIBE as an example. We go deep, we download
everything that we know about growing a membership site and we specifically focus on the 20% that’s gonna get 80% of the results. So we don’t get into the
weeds about everything, what we focus on are the few things that are gonna get the
biggest bang for your buck. And so that’s what the course
does, we go deep on that, but inevitably just like
what we’ve talked about, there’s a period of time now where people are going to be
out on their own implementing. And so we do have a membership site that supports people
after the actual course. And so we’d like to (mumbles) not only do we created, but we use it too. It’s the same thing. When I’m teaching this stuff, we are absolutely using
it, modeling it as well. The only reason that
people just don’t know about our membership site is because it’s only offered to people who have come through our course, because for us we go
deep on this material, and then the membership is
all about supporting them and the implementation of it. And so there are different
types of membership sites, and you got to get clear on
what type is right for you because there’s a
frontend-focused membership, which is different than the
backend-focused membership. So we have a backend-focused membership, but if we had a
frontend-focused membership, the content strategy and
the marketing strategy would be totally different than what it is with our existing membership. So there’s a reason that we have a course, and it’s because we go deep
with people in teaching them about our concepts and our formula, but similarly we do support
people on the backend with the backend membership as well. – That’s awesome, I mean, that’s actually, that’s a really interesting
approach actually. I don’t think so many
people have talked about like the frontend and backend-focused. Is there any differences in, I guess, the price points of memberships like that? Obviously it depends on market and it depends on what you offer, but I think my audience
here who is watching, they’d like to know a little bit what is good price points to think about or anywhere you may, I know you talk that about
this even deeper in TRIBE, maybe a little bit hitting
on that here as well. – Yeah, well, again, let’s go back to frontend and backend-focus. So if it’s a frontend membership, generally the price point is
gonna be a little bit lower. And the reason being is because you’re trying to
get as many people into that because the frontend membership site really serves as a way
to not only help people, but also it’s a great frontend
for any backend products that you may have because
those members are gonna be your highest qualified people
for any high-ticket offer that you may have. So we want to get as many people in there, so typically what you’re gonna see again, this varies dramatically
depending on the market, but we see anywhere as low
as, I’ve seen $5 a month all the way up to, I’d say on average for
a frontend membership, we’re looking at anywhere from $5 a month all the way up to $100 a month. That’s typically the range. Now for a backend membership site, the price points are actually much higher. Typically we’ll start on the
low-end of roughly $50 a month, and will go upwards of 500
to even $1,000 a month. And so what’s fascinating is that with the backend membership site, you’re gonna earn a lot more per member, but you’re gonna have fewer members because typically they’re gonna come on the backend of a course. On the frontend membership, the volume is gonna be way higher, but the price point is gonna be lower. So they both have their
advantages and disadvantages, and it’s not that one is
better than the other, it’s just about getting
clarity around the purpose that the membership site has in your overall business strategy. Does that make sense? – Yeah, totally, I mean that gives me actually some ideas of what you can do. And I think this is not
so often talked about, in terms of the frontend and then backend, then the different price ranges and how it fits into your business. So maybe in my case if I had something with Virtual Summit Mastery,
I could continue to offer, maybe have a coaching
program with ongoing support, but maybe I could offer
something different with a backend focused one after they had gone through it. They maybe have success already, similar to kind of what you’re
doing with TRIBE I guess and have something extra for them. So I think that could
possibly work for me, but again, you kind of, you
got to know your business and where you’re focusing
and stuff like that. So I think that’s very,
very important here, but I wanted to get into a little bit. I know you teach a lot about
this also in the free workshop, even more in the paid
program TRIBE obviously, but how do you create the
content or do you have, what’s your content
strategy for creating for, I know you’re busy, how do you actually
come up with new content for the membership you guys offer, and how does your kind of
students do that as well? – Yeah, well, great question. So your content strategy is really driven by the type of membership
site that you’re creating. So we’ve talked about frontend
and backend but within there, there’s actually different
membership models. So there’s like, what we
call a publisher model, a UPS model, a coaching model,
a community-based model, a combo, there’s lots of
different types of models, a drip model, but so getting
clear on the type of model that you have is really gonna help you get clarity around the content, but in terms of crafting
a content strategy, this is a really important take away that I want everybody to make note of. And that is that often
times as content creators, we think the more content we create, the more value we provide,
but it’s actually not true. In fact, the number one reason that people will leave a membership site and I’ve seen this across all
kinds of different markets. The number one reason
that people will leave a membership site is not
because your content isn’t good, it’s because they’re overwhelmed
by the volume of content. So as soon as that seed
of doubt is planted that they can’t keep up, it’s just a matter of
time before they quit. So this is an interesting and it’s counterintuitive to way we think because normally we’d
think the more we give, the more value we create,
but that’s not true. And this is what I want
everybody to write down. The value does not come from the volume of content you provide, the value comes from the speed of which people are able to implement
the information you provide. So it’s not about volume, it’s about speed of implementation. And so that is good news for all of us because that means that
not only is it a disservice to provide a ton of
content for our people, and that they’re gonna quit, and then not gonna make
the kind of progress, but that means that we don’t
have to create as much content. Now even with that said, there
are smart ways to do this, like when I partnered with New York Times best-selling
author, Michael Hyatt, he’s just coming up with his New York Times best-selling book. He is in high demand as a speaker, he is getting asked to
speak all around the country and in any given year he’d speak anywhere between 30 to 40 times a year. So he had a day on the front and a day on the back for travel. That meant he was gone
over 100 days a year. So when I met with him, he
is ridiculously busy already, and on top of that he
was publishing his blog every single day of the week, and he had a weekly podcast. So this guy had no time
to be able to produce ongoing content or to be stuck
on any kind of content segno. Now here’s the good news for everybody, we developed a content strategy for him that essentially would
require six days a year, six days, six to produce
a year’s worth of content. And here’s how we did it. We would have three two-day video shoots, and during those video shoots we were back to back to back
to back to back recording, but after those video shoots that would produce anywhere between six to eight months worth of content, and then that would just get scheduled. And so when I exited my
partnership with Michael, all on good terms I just, I was shifting gears to
focus on what I’m doing now. When I left we had more
than a year’s worth of content already in the queue. So if they did nothing, if they created no new
content from that day forward, they still have new content coming out for their members all throughout the year. And so a content strategy
is really important. This is not something
where we just kind of throw a whole bunch of
stuff into a members area and kind of hope our
members find some value, and off they go, no. We wanna be very intentional
about what we’re providing, how we’re providing it and the timing of what we’re providing. Now let’s give your listeners just a quick couple of rules of thumb. Number one is that I would never provide more than one primary
piece of content per week. And on top of that I would never exceed more than an hour’s worth
of content in a week. If you get beyond an hour, you’re expecting way
too much of your people because there’s no way that
people can not only carve out a time to consume that, but there’s also the
time to implement that, and that’s on top of everything
else they got going on. Look, I’m a father with two young kids, I can tell you that these spare hours are far and few between. So when it comes to content, we don’t want to overload people, we want to give them
bite-sized pieces of content that is easy to consume
and easy to manage, so that they can
implement and get results. And so even if our TRIBE experience, one of the major reasons why we have so many people having success like hundreds and hundreds of people is because we are very intentional about the content strategy, so that we deliver
high-value content in a way that’s easy to consume, that creates very quick
implementation and gets results, and the same thing applies
for membership site. And so the bottom line is this, is that like it’s not about
the volume of content, it’s about the speed of implementation. It’s about people being able
to implement the content. That’s number one. Number two is that less is more. Less is more. So don’t overwhelm them because if you overwhelm them, that’s when you’re
gonna see high turnover, but if they’re making progress, if they’re consuming the content and they’re making
progress they will stick. And lastly, given that it’s
about getting smart with how and when you produce the content. We don’t wanna be doing
it on a ongoing basis where you’re constantly scrambling. Like that to me I see
that sometimes happen with people who haven’t
gone through TRIBE. And what it’s an indicator to me is they just haven’t given their content strategy serious thought. It’s just kind of like they’ve been flying by the seat of their pants and just kind of hoping and
winging it and so forth. And the bottom line is that
with our content strategy, we want to have a strategy
so we can get ahead, and so that way it’s not creating stress, it’s actually stress-free because we’re so far ahead of
ourselves and our membership. So hopefully that gives your audience and listeners a few tips
and ideas in terms of how to manage the content and
how to do it in a smart way. – For sure, Stu, this is great, and also counterintuitive kind of. A lot of people they think they’re gonna just throw content at them but, I mean, this makes a lot of sense to just kind of have bite-size
content in a membership, and not to kind of overwhelm you. Everyone as they’re
busy, they can obviously, they get overwhelmed by all
these free content out there, so in your membership you’re
gonna give them this path. And I know you go really deep
on this also in the program, in the workshop also you talk– – Can I give you one example of it, Navid? (mumbles) So I’m thinking of Paul Evans, so Paul Evans runs a membership site called Teen Life Ministries. And essentially what he does
is he helps youth ministers. And in the beginning when he
launched his membership site, he had a whole bunch of stuff
inside this members area. He had like, he was producing
content on a weekly basis, he had a community and he
was active trying to get people engaged in the community, he had a bunch of other deliverables, but he sent out a survey to his members and he said, if there was only one thing, one thing in the membership
site that you could keep, what would it be? And so the overwhelming
majority of people responded and identified the one thing that his members valued the most, and here’s what it was. His members are youth ministers, and so bottom line is that
the vast majority of them do this on a part-time basis. They have a full-time job and then they are a youth
minister on the weekends. And so they don’t have a lot of time, and so the number one
thing that they valued from the membership was
a PowerPoint presentation that Paul would give his
members each and every week. And essentially the ministers
would download that PowerPoint and it was basically their
sermon for the Sunday. And so he ended up
stripping everything away from the membership site, so like 75% of what he was providing, he even got rid of the community because people weren’t
there for the community, they didn’t need the community, and he just focused on the delivery of that PowerPoint presentation, therefore cutting his
workload down dramatically. And he did not see drop off because of it because his members were
only there for the one thing. And so it’s interesting because it’s like, again, as you pointed out, Navid, sometimes we think that we gotta provide all this content, all this value, but at the end of the day it’s about identifying the needs of your people and delivering the content in such a way that it meets those needs
in the shortest timeframe, so they can use it and implement it. That’s exactly what Paul did, cut a ton of work off his work schedule and made it certainly a
lot easier for his members to find exactly what
they were looking for. – Yeah, totally, and I love that. And as we shift gears here
and kind of wrapping up this, obviously Stu, once a year, he is hosting this TRIBE workshop, that’s free to sign-up for, so you can go to And still what can people expect in this besides the high-quality
production your team, you and your team they’re known for, what they’re gonna learn
in this free workshop and what’s going down there? – Yeah, so it’s a three-part workshop, so part number one we go
deep in helping you identify whether your market is a good
market for a membership site. So we have a whole assessment where we walk you through
it and we talk you through the characteristics of a great market. And this obviously is
very important to know because you don’t wanna be
starting a membership site in a market that’s not gonna be conducive for a great membership. So in that first part,
that’s what we go deep on. Second part of the workshop, we walk you through the number one piece that you need in your content for every single membership site, especially if you have a
knowledgebase membership. If you’re missing this one ingredient, you’re gonna be in serious trouble. This one ingredient drives not
only your content strategy, it drives your marketing, and it absolutely drives your retention. And so we walk you through
what that one piece is, and so we start, we’ll
tell you what it is, we’ll walk you through it, and we help you start
crafting it for yourself. And then the third part of the workshop, we pull back the curtain, this is our whole membership loop and we’ll show you the five areas of a successful membership site, and we go in detail about what they are, we’d give you a downloadable mind map, which in granular detail maps everything out. In fact (mumbles) she watched just this one part of the workshop, took the download, the blueprint, and she used it to launch
her membership site. And I’m telling you we have
multiple people like Thembi who have just used the blueprint to launch their membership site, and that happens in the
third part of the workshop. So we do this one time a year, this is it. It is an amazing all
hands-on deck experience. I’m available, I will
be doing Facebook Lives and Q&As to help people
go through the material, answer any questions that pop-up, but we do this one time a year, and when we do, we are all hands-on deck. It’s gonna be amazing. – Yeah, I love it, and I know you’re gonna be
super-active also in the free, you have a free Facebook
group part of this. I mean, the workshop itself is amazing, I think you have some comments
and stuff like that there. So I highly recommend
you sign-up for this, go to and you learn a ton, and you see also kind of behind-the-scenes of a really successful and really cool launch and how you should actually
serve your audience. So that’s what I recommend. So thanks so much, Stu,
for coming on here as well and sharing some value with my audience. – Well, thank you, buddy. And, listen, I’m super-pumped and excited for the people in your audience because, listen, summits are a great way to get people into your world, and now it’s about extending
that learning experience and serving them overtime
with a membership site. And that’s what I am excited
to help your people do because I know not only the value it’s gonna create for their audiences, but I also know the stability that’s gonna create for
them and their business. And that for me is the number one reason why we should all be looking towards adding recurring revenue
to our businesses. – [Navid] Awesome, thanks, Stu.

11 thoughts on “How to Create a Successful Membership Site with Stu McLaren (TRIBE)

  1. Want to create a successful membership site around your passion and add recurring revenue to your business? ➡️➡️➡️Then be sure to check out Stu McLaren's FREE TRIBE Online Workshop here:

  2. I love Wishlist Member and use it for my own site. The most recent update makes it even better. This was a highly valuable conversation, thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Great content, thanks. Question – what tech are you using to get the quality so high? This doesn't look like a Zoom call?

  4. Awesome! How do you do that cool fade feature when you switch from you to Stu? This is amazing timing for me Navid! I used Wishlist for my summits and I just woke up today thinking about starting a new membership site. Thank you! Great work.

  5. Wow, that's crazy how much you can do with a small, targeted email list, and it's super motivating to hear these cases studies. I'm pumped to build a list with my first virtual summit and use it to launch my site.

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