Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

 

I've never heard of anything like this. What do you do exactly?

Our team helps leaders of membership programs with everything they need to run a successful membership community. The people who contract with us run associations, trade groups, or have a membership component to their business or nonprofit organization.

From start-up planning, to growth and retention strategies, to extra hands that can do behind-the-scenes support, we make it easier to attract, engage and retain all the members you need.

How long have you been in business? 

Since 2005.

 

So basically, you do membership sites?

Among many, many other things. 

I often joke that the best thing about using our team to create your membership site is that we're NOT website developers.  We actually have to use the systems that we set up.  We work inside membership software every single day, supporting our clients.  So, we know what actually works and what's going to be a complete nightmare for you to have to maintain once the launch is over.

Are you an Association Management Company (AMC)?

No, our team provides a wide array of behind-the-scenes supports, but we do not manage an association (or any other membership) in its entirety.  We typically work in close relationship with an Executive Director or Business Owner.

Are you a Certified Association Executive (CAE)?

No, I personally hold a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Eureka College and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.  My Masters specialization was Policy, Planning and Administration.

I have more than 13 years of real-world experience supporting the operation of membership-based organizations, including associations, trade groups and membership-based businesses and nonprofits.

Can you help me with my marketing?  

We are not a marketing firm, but we absolutely can support your marketing efforts and our team has extensive experience with online and offline marketing strategies. 

We understand, develop and support marketing funnels, automated email sequences, sales copywriting and more.

Just set up a consultation to discuss your specific needs.

I want my clients to get results, so if I don't think that we have the necessary expertise in-house, I can refer you to someone who is better suited.

 

Do you recommend specific membership software?  Can you help me with (insert anything here) software?

In a pinch, we may be able to trouble-shoot a wide array of software, but for ongoing support and maintenance, we specialize in:

  • Wild Apricot – for associations and membership-based nonprofits
  • Mighty Networks – for online communities
  • MemberPress – as a WordPress plugin
  • Simply Cast – for multi-channel communication
  • Simplero – for all-in-one information product sales, email marketing, auto-responders, etc.

There is NO perfect software.  Everything we've ever worked with has pros and cons.  If you're struggling with a software choice, set up a free consultation and I'll be happy to chat about your functionality needs.

We don't do much in the arena of e-commerce (like online stores with inventory), but if one of our clients needs to sell a few products to supplement membership income, we can typically recommend and support something that will fulfill the requirement.

 

Where is your team located?  Do you use cheap off-shore labor?

Our team is 100% US-based and best-in-class within our various areas of expertise.  We currently have team members in the US Central Time Zone and US Pacific Time Zone.

Our entire team is comprised of US-based, English-speaking professionals, holding post-secondary degrees or specialty certifications in their respective areas of expertise.

Is it expensive to work with you?

Everyone's definition of “expensive” is different, but I believe the benefit that is received from contracting with our team far outweighs the investment required.

At the high-end, clients contract with my team for about what it would cost to hire an employee, but instead of getting just a single person's expertise, they are able to tap into an entire team of specialized expertise.  

For those who aren't ready for that level of financial commitment, we offer a a free level in The Joy of Membership Community and lots of great webinars that address common issues. 

My membership isn't making money yet, but it's a really great cause and I know it's going to be big. Can I pay you a percentage of future sales?

You'd be shocked how often I am asked some version of this question.  It is a belief that is rooted deep in the nonprofit sector where volunteers often contribute expertise for free.  However, this question also comes up from many ‘heart-centered' or ‘social-minded' entrepreneurs and businesses.

I understand how hard it is to start up from scratch.  I've done it myself.  I've seen countless clients do it.  Bootstrapping sucks.

The truth is that no matter how much I love an idea or believe in it, I simply don't have the time to consult one-on-one for free.  Instead, I give generously of my time and share extensive resources inside the Community where many can benefit.

So that's where I suggest you start.  Absorb what you can there.  Put your ideas in motion and get some cashflow going.

Membership is a business model.  If you're not getting people to pay to join, something is broken in your concept or your member experience.

 

Can I work with you hourly?

We do not typically work on an hourly basis.  Our services are usually delivered by retainer or with flat-rate project-based pricing.

In some rare situations, we have allowed clients to pre-purchase a package of hours that may be used a la carte when it has been unclear how much time would be needed for their work. 

Wouldn't it be cheaper for me to find someone on Upwork (or other freelance site)?

Maybe.  You might get lucky and find someone who is a perfect fit to support you.  

You might also get stuck with someone that promises the moon and can't actually deliver.

Our team is experienced, educated and all of our services are guaranteed.

 

I'm fairly certain I could find someone for a cheaper hourly rate.  I can probably have my daughter, neighbor, high schooler help me.  Why should I hire your team?

If you can find someone awesome to support you more affordably, it absolutely makes sense to do that.  Use our team for the expertise that you can't find.

However, keep in mind that it is rare to find someone who can support you with all the various areas that our team has expertise. 

When you contract with us, you do not have to worry about hiring and training one person who has to be all-the-things to you.  You also do not have to coordinate a bunch of different freelancers/contracts.  One contract with us and we pull in exactly the right expertise that's needed to get your work done.

 

I don't run a membership.  Can I still work with you?

Our team's specialty really is membership and we prefer to stay focused on our area of brilliance. 

If you don't need that type of expertise, you'll likely find it more cost-effective to work with a generalist virtual assistant.  

We are happy to provide a recommendation.  Just drop a line through our Contact Form and we'll point you to someone we think would do a great job for you.

 

Does membership still work?  I've been told that it's really hard nowadays to make it work.

Membership has changed.  What worked 5-10 years ago will NOT work today. 

If you're planning to just take some content and put it up online behind a paywall, you're probably going to struggle to make it work.

But human beings are still social creatures.  We love to gather around causes that we believe in.  We love to talk about issues that are important to us

If you design a membership that actually has impact and stimulates conversation and action around something that people believe in,  you can absolutely make membership work.

 

I have an idea for a membership, but I'm not sure if it will work.

There are never any guarantees.  You have to test a membership concept just like you would test any product or service.

I have 5 questions that I always ask, just as a first screening for any membership concept.  You'll want to be able to answer “yes” to all 5 before you start building.

1) Do your intended members want something to change?

2) Are they looking for a solution and willing to spend money toward making the change happen?

3) Are the intended members already engaged with you in other ways – or do you have easy access to the intended audience through strategic partners?

4) Is the desired change something that can be improved over time?

5) Do you really care about uniting people around this and leading them toward the desired change?

If you can't answer “yes” to all 5, then you need to do a little more work before diving in.

I also have an Exploratory Workshop that may be helpful.  In total, it's about 90 minutes of video content which you can instantly access and move through at your own pace.  The goal of the workshop is for you to definitively know whether membership is right for you by the time you're done.

 

How do I start working with you?

The best place to start is a with a free consultation.  Just fill out the form here and you'll be automatically directed to the online calendar where you can book a day/time that works for you.

What does it mean when you say your services are 100% guaranteed?

My team delivers what we say, when we say, in the way that we promised. If we don't, I refund your payment.  You can read more about our Guarantee here.

 

What if I have more questions? 

Just use the Contact Form or set up a Free Consultation if you think you might want to work together.  A consultation is the best way to see if there's a good fit.