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Last Updated on September 14, 2022
Wondering if membership websites make sense for your business? Learn the pros and cons of this business model, get tips on the do’s and don’ts and how to take a ‘do less’ approach to your business (where you’re working less but earning more!).
You’ve likely heard a ton about membership websites over recent years as they’re becoming a really popular way for consumers to learn new skills, be a part of a like-minded community, and get results that take them from where they currently are to where they want to go.
For entrepreneurs, having a membership site is an incredible business model because it creates recurring revenue for your business–in turn resulting in a sustainable business that gets rid of feast or famine and all the stress that comes with financial instability and not knowing how you’re going to generate income in the coming months.
But how do you decide what to include in membership websites? How do you know what people want? How to come up with fresh content every single month without stressing out? How do you find experts to bring into your membership? What membership site platform (Kajabi, Memberspace, Thinkific, etc.) is best?
We talk all about this and so much more in today’s episode, including how to change your relationship to time and energy, what it looks like to take a holistic approach to life and business, and how to save time and reduce stress by doing less (all while making more money!).
Our special guest today is my personal business mentor, Kate Northrup, an entrepreneur, bestselling author, speaker, and mother who has built a multimedia digital empire with her husband, Mike Watts, that reaches hundreds of thousands globally. They are committed to supporting ambitious women to light up the world without burning themselves out in the process. Kate teaches data-driven and soul-driven time and energy management practices that result in saving time, making more money, and experiencing less stress.
Kate has a membership of over 1,000 entrepreneurs called Origin® Collective that’s about infusing more feminine energy into your business and reclaiming your time, and she has also helped over 5,000 students heal their relationship with money with her signature Money Love Course. Her first book, Money: A Love Story, has been published in 5 languages, and her second book, Do Less: A Revolutionary Approach to Time and Energy Management for Ambitious Women, is now available wherever books are sold.
Kate’s work has been featured by The Today Show, Yahoo! Finance, Women’s Health, Glamour, The Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Wanderlust, The Huffington Post, and more. Kate and Mike live with their daughters in a cozy town in Maine.
Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!
If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.
Also, please leave an honest review for The Success with Soul Podcast on Apple Podcasts so we can improve and better serve you in the future. Plus, you could be featured on a future episode during our listener spotlights. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.
And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts to get automatic updates. My goal for this podcast is to inspire those who seek flexibility and freedom in their lives by making something happen with holistic, soulful, step-by-step strategies from me and other experts.
Kate Kordsmeier 0:00
And we're back with Episode 24 of the Success with Soul podcast. I'm your host Kate Kordsmeier. And today's episode is so good. First of all, my personal coach Kate Northrup is here. You've probably heard of her before as a best selling author, a speaker and a multimedia digital Empress with her husband, Mike watts. Kate's work has reached literally hundreds of thousands of women globally. She is famous for doing less, and I can personally vouch for the fact that she has totally changed my life and my relationship with time, and my energy and my cycle and my business. And really, Kate is like the embodiment of Success with Soul. She's super data driven and strategic, but equally soul driven, as she just takes such a holistic, spiritual approach to her business. And what she teaches helping her students save time, make more money and experience less stress. Yes, please. She's got an incredible membership called the origin collective. That's all about infusing more feminine energy into your business so you can reclaim your time and she's also helped over 5000 students heal their relationship with money with her signature money love course. I'll admit I am the groupie of all groupies when it comes to Kate Northrup, I am a member of her mastermind group. I've read all of her books, I've taken her courses I'm in her membership. I have her planner that I use every day. And today we're digging into memberships from the other side of things, why you should create a membership and how to make it successful. I cannot wait to share this amazing woman with you. So without further ado, let's get into it. You're listening to the Success with Soul podcast with Kate Kordsmeier x journalists turned CEO of a multi six figure blog and online business. But it wasn't that long ago that Kate was a struggling entrepreneur who lacked confidence, clarity and let's be honest money. But all those failures, experiments and lessons learned helped Kate create a thriving business that impacts thousands and brings freedom, flexibility and fulfillment to her life. If you're ready to do the same and make something happen with holistic, soulful, step by step strategies from Kaden, other experts, you're in the right place. here's your host, writer, educator, Mom, recovering perfectionist, bookworm and sushi connoisseur Kate Kordsmeier. Welcome, Kate. I'm so so so happy. You're here.
Kate Northrup 2:53
Thank you. I'm so happy to be here.
Kate Kordsmeier 2:55
Yeah. So in the intro, I was explaining that I have known you while I should say I have known of you for a while and then I have had the pleasure of actually knowing you for about a year and it has been such a great year as a part of your mastermind and Gosh, I'm just feel really grateful to have you in my life. Thanks Kate. Me. So, for those of you who have not heard of Kate Northrup before and her work, I'd love for you Kate to just give everybody kind of your quick background. Yeah, so I am an author. I've written two books one was called money, a love story, which feels like I wrote it in a different lifetime. And it's still a good book.
Kate Northrup 3:47
I just is like a very different time and then I run another one called do less a revolutionary approach to time and energy management for ambitious women. And I am an ambitious woman. I am a mom. I have a five year old and a two and a half year old. And I live in a small town in Maine and I have an online business where I work with ambitious women to have more by doing less and really, like allow themselves to let go of thinking that they have to do and hold all the things. Hmm,
Kate Kordsmeier 4:24
yes, I love it so much. And this do last is how I first learned about you. My friend Molly Cahill actually was managing my Instagram at the time. And we were always trading book recommendations and stuff and she said, You have to read this book less. And it was right after my son was born and I think I was still even on maternity leave maybe and I was like, I don't even know that I could handle doing
something like reading a book right now.
And ended up getting it the audio book and listening to it on my walks and then was like, completely transformed. Since then and started, so Kate is a big proponent of cyclical living. And maybe you can just kind of give people another little background on what that means exactly.
Kate Northrup 5:09
Mm hmm. Well, oh my gosh, it just means so many things. So try to give the the brief version, which is basically that cycles are everywhere. If we start to look, we've been programmed to believe that everything is linear, right from birth to death. It's just linear, like, from the beginning of the day, to the end of the day, success paths, you know, projects like that. It should be linear, like we start somewhere and we end somewhere, and the goal is the destination. And we should always be improving, is basically what we've all been taught by patriarchy. But actually when we start to look below the surface, we realize that everything is cyclical, we're always coming back around and it gives us so much more space to breathe. So From a woman's menstrual cycle to the lunar cycles to the seasons to the way pregnancy works in the four trimesters to the life cycle of a project to astrology, just like everything, we are always cycling, we're always coming through these phases and the way that that serves us as women entrepreneurs specifically, but really anybody who wants to align themselves more with feminine energy is giving ourselves permission to be where we are. There's so much energy that we waste, beating ourselves up for not being somewhere else. And just being able to locate ourselves in time and space. Whether that's like, I know what phase of my period I'm in and I know what day of my menstrual cycle or I know what phase the moon is in and therefore I know how that's impacting me energetically. I know how that's impacting my children. I know what's going on with the moon in the stars and how those energies might be impacted me in the world. I know where I In the lifecycle of a given project, whether it's in the pre launch phase, the launch phase, the post launch phase, the pause, all of these things just help us to locate ourselves because the world is so chaotic and out of our control. And so I just find so much solace and peace in locating myself and my business in cycles. And then I can really get into this sweet momentum. Because when we're working cyclically, there's a sense of flow and momentum that can happen in a very different way than if we're trying to work exclusively linearly, where it's like from point A to point B. Right?
Kate Kordsmeier 7:43
And there's really, I mean, in both ways, there's no end I guess, but it feels more like when you're working sick, cyclically, I was
say that circularly siculus secularly.
There's more of this feeling of like, there. ramp up phase and then you're in something and then you're winding down. And then you're pausing, like you said, and that feels so much more, especially for women in line with our energy cycles. I think one of the things that I took, like was such a mind blowing new information to me when I read do less was that Yeah, men's bodies have that 24 hour cycle, where every day is essentially the same. And women are not that way at all. And it was like a lightbulb moment of, Oh, that makes so much sense why my husband can live life like this, and I can't, and vice versa. So I loved that. I also loved how all of these cycles really do end up kind of overlapping and that there's so much similarities between you know, that whatever the phase of the moon is in and that that, you know, a lot of times women are bleeding at the full moon and I'm you know, I'll let you kind of know Go into maybe some of the the overlap there and just with the seasons and and all of that, but I thought that was so fascinating.
Kate Northrup 9:07
Well, I mean, you can sort of like go all in on this or just a little bit. Of course and all in person. I'm like, Where's the cycle? What's happening here and I started to learn about this when I got my period back after my first daughter was born. And I hadn't had my period for like two and a half years, really, just through a variety of circumstances. And so I was kind of excited about it and fascinated, and I started to learn, oh, you know, period is much more than like you need a tampon or you're trying to get pregnant or not get pregnant. Like that's basically what we're taught. It's so much more than that. There are these four phases that affect us really differently and give us superpowers different superpowers at different times of the month. And interestingly enough, those same four phases are mimicked by the energetic phases of the moon. So the moon Phase is the same energy as the new moon, which is the same energy as winter time it's a rest and reflect period. The energy of the follicular phase which is the six days ish after you're done bleeding is the same energy as the waxing moon is the same energy as springtime. It's an it's an initiate and plan and get things going New Beginnings phase, the oscillation phases, the same energy as the full moon, which is the same energy as summertime, it's the time of fertility, and cross pollination and peak magnetism. Energetically right and literally, and then the luteal phase, which is the 10 to 14 days before your period starts is the same energy as the waning moon, which is the same energy as autumn. So it's the time of winding down and turning back within and it's the time of details and wrapping things up. And so when we begin to see like a weak net now And then I always get this question, well, what if I don't start my period on the new moon. So that's not a goal. Sometimes you will, sometimes you won't, doesn't matter. The whole idea is to know that your body is nature, we are animals. So we're doing this amazing thing and we and we can just use it instead of trying to ignore it or try to medicate it away or try to work against it because the whole world has been set up for a 24 hour time model, which is for testosterone dominant people, but estrogen dominant people have this 28 day experience of time. And so we need to elongate our productive cycles and our productive phases and know like, oh, during this time of the month, I feel like doing this thing and therefore I'll get the best results doing this thing. Like for example, I'm having my period right now I'm on day three. I did happen to started on the new moon this month, that hit that Like almost never happens. So but the whole idea is I know for me, this is is a week of rest and reflection. And I've actually spent time sitting in my office reading a book during my workout. So that's like a great example of how to utilize this time. versus if I'm oscillating, I might probably not do that, because like, I won't feel like it. And be I know, I'm going to be the most verbal and the most communicative and the most magnetic during that time. And so that would be a time that I might batch my podcasts or do a bunch of video stuff or do a bunch of interviews or whatever. And if you don't have a menstrual cycle, for whatever reason, you do have the moon and so I recommend if you have a menstrual cycle that's regular and unmedicated. Follow that to check out what energy you're in and the different phases and how to organize yourself. And then if you don't follow them, but if you have both. You just go with your body first and then let the moon add a little flavor of another energy.
Kate Kordsmeier 12:59
All right. It's salt and pepper.
Kate Northrup 13:02
Yeah, we like go with what your body is feeling. Yeah,
Kate Kordsmeier 13:06
well, I just thought this was such a revolutionary idea to me when I first came across it and it definitely once I started implementing it in my own life and using your do less planner and I became a member of Oregon and then your mastermind so I'm all in on the Kate Northrup game. But it really does make a huge difference because time is linear and time is static, but energy flexes. And when you start working with your energy, man, you could be so much more productive and happier. And it was just so beautiful. And I love that you said like, it's just nature and there's two quotes that I've heard from you a few times now that I want to share here because I think they're so beautiful. And the first is that nature never rushes but everything always gets done. I love that zoo.
Kate Northrup 13:58
Yep, Uh huh. From my Yogi tea bag
I learned this
But it is so perfect because you know, like the universe is always looking out for us. It was on a video shoot day where we were shooting a bunch of origin content and at the time the woman who was running our company was having a cup of tea in my kitchen and she was like, Oh my god, hey, look at what the quote is on my teabag string.
Kate Kordsmeier 14:24
I love that. I love that.
Oh, now I'm thinking the other one I'm wondering I'm sure it was from you in some way. But it goes nothing in nature blooms year round, you kind of thing. I'm totally butchering it. But I just think when I started tuning into the cycles that it was like, Oh, right, I don't need to be go, go go. 24 seven, nothing in nature is like that. So it's almost like gave me this permission to like, it's okay to rest nature rest. Yeah.
Kate Northrup 14:54
Okay, so I didn't really want to get into all the cyclical living stuff because I know you have So many resources out there already. And if you're not following Kate already, please go do so instead, I want to talk a little bit about origin and your membership community. So tell us what is origin. So origin is my membership community. It's called origin collective. And it is about 1000. People who identify as female, learning to grow their businesses while doing less. So utilizing self source scheduling, which is a methodology of organizing around yourself, as opposed to organizing your life and business around everyone else. And the DLS methodology, which includes cyclical planning, so we all practice these things together, we bring in experts, and it's all about looking at Okay, how, how can I basically take the wisdom that's out there, whether it's about launching or webinars or growing your email or whatever and Do it in a duet.
Kate Kordsmeier 16:02
Yeah, I love it. This is like now such a thing that we're always my friends and I, my team and I were always saying like, is this do less? Let's how can we make this more do less? It's not like it's truly this verb that we use for everything now. So I love that. Tell me why why a membership instead of a course.
Kate Northrup 16:23
Yeah. Well, I would love to tell you that like this was some grand master plan. But here's what actually happened. So I was at James Wedmore his wedding. I don't know if you know, James, but he's our I mean, I have no of James but amazing. I love James and he is like the most Whoo, online marketing guy I know, which is why I love him. And I ran into Stu McLaren at the wedding. And I had known Stu for years do is like the membership guy. Yep. And he was just asking me about my business at this Time, very casual conversation and I was like, you know what's due? I am on the launch roller coaster. I feel like we and we had a high six figure business at the time. But I was like, I feel like I am living the launch to launch. Actually, I am answering your question now that I realized this was quite strategic. Here's an example. This is the do less way that Julius way is you follow the signs, listen to yourself. You listen to the guidance, and then you look back and you're like, wow, that was really strategic. But they didn't waste all this time and energy being strategic, because it turns out our intuition is incredibly strategic. So no, and he's asking me about my business. I'm saying I live in launch to launch and it's a little exhausting. And he was like, Had you ever have you ever thought about starting a membership? Like this is his little promo movie Hey, I said yes, because James has been trying to get me to start a membership for years. But every time I think about it, I'm just like, Oh my God, then I'm stuck on the hook forever. And also, I don't know what it would be about because at the time I was more known for my so my book money love story and my course the money love course.
Kate Kordsmeier 18:23
Okay, that was gonna kind of back up and just say you, you said you were running a very profitable six figure business then that was with your
Kate Northrup 18:31
money, love story corn, which is still out there. And it is like the little Engine That Could course in terms of results for our students, and revenue for our business. So we love that. Yeah, um, however, I was very clear that I was not going to start a membership about money because I sort of felt like I had said what I had to say. I had an ad. And so it just was like, I was like, I can't sign up to talk about that every month, and so on. knew that my special sauce is community and connecting, like I always knew that whatever I did, it was really easy to get people rallied around it. But I was like, Stu, I can't watch a membership that's like, hey, come just like hang out with me.
Kate Kordsmeier 19:18
I bet it would have actually been very successful.
Kate Northrup 19:25
But like, I wouldn't have known what I was doing. So anyway, cut to about four months later, I got my period after my daughter was 13 months old. And I started geeking out on my, on the menstrual cycle on the moon. And then I got this whole idea. I was like, Oh, I'm gonna write a blog and make a cheat sheet about how to organize your financial action steps around your menstrual cycle or the moon. And so I called this blog post, you can still go find it, you can get the cheat sheet. If you just like search shoot. I think it's called let nature be your financial planner. Oh, cool. Okay, well link to that in the show notes What? I'm sure I know it's there. And so I was like having a best time researching and I was like, Oh, you could do these financial steps during ovulation. And you could do these things during your menstrual cycle alone and just have the best. And I was like, Mike, my husband, this is so much fun. Last time, I'm going to teach a course. In the New Year, this is around October. I teach a course in the new year for women entrepreneurs to plan their promotional calendar for the year around the moon and their menstrual cycle. And he was like, honey, that's your membership. He was like, that's not a course that's a membership, because that's going to require some ongoing support and training just because it's so different. Yeah, more than the mainstream mentality. And I was like, you're right. That is my membership. And so, at the time the membership was focused on entrepreneur moms, because I was like, so deep in that over time, it's it's not at all. It's really for all people who identify with feminine energy and we don't talk about anything mothering specific. We never did. I just, and then I realized that and then I realized we had so many women who were like, I'm not alone, but I want to join Is that okay? So I was like, of course. So we just the whole positioning. And so that is why I did it as a membership, not a course because I really wanted the recurring revenue. That felt like an exhale to me. We with a new baby, and I just really wanted to feel like the way I was running my business was more restful and membership has allowed us to, not really like I mean, we still launch our membership, right? Because there is naturally a little bit of attrition But I just love how relaxing it feels. And I love knowing like being able to really easily project out how much revenue is going to be coming in. And I love not having to watch.
Kate Kordsmeier 22:13
Yeah, okay, so let's dig into a little bit of that because the first thing you said in the beginning was Stu want says you should do a membership and you're like, I don't want to be on the hook forever. So how did you get past that? or How are you not that as a membership?
Kate Northrup 22:30
Yeah, this is a good question. I mean, I just I think that because the topic of growing your business while doing less and and what we talked about with embodiment and cyclical living and like smashing the patriarchy and just all like, I could live this is my calling, like, I am living my calling and so I can't imagine ever not doing it, because I can't even believe that I mean, I just got off our monthly in depth. coaching call. I just finished for origin. I just finished those. And I'm like, I can't believe it. This is what I get paid to do. And we know we sound so cliche people say this all the time, but I'm just like, I would do this for free. And I love it so much. So creating the content, curating the experts, planning the curriculum, it's just it's such a deep dry. A little while back, I was going through some boxes in my mom's basement of childhood stuff. And I found this whole little packet of papers that I had created with my sister when I was about nine. Maybe we were like eight and 10 or something. I was eight. And it was for the Brookside Academy for girls. And we had this pretend school. And it was all like it was the curriculum, and it was the welcome letter, and it was the menu for the dining hall. And it was like all about curating this incredible experience for these young women. And I found it and I was just like, oh my god, like, I'm doing this Um, so I guess all that to say, I don't feel like I'm on the hook because it's so joyful. And then the other thing is, if you're if you're listening and you're thinking about setting up a membership, my, my advice to you is a obviously pick a topic that you feel like you could talk about for the rest of your life, if it is a model where you are creating the content. Also, you know, be a content creator if you're gonna start a membership. content, creating content, to me is so easy and so joyful. So it's just like, no big deal. It just flows but if that were challenging for me, like I would never set up a membership where I had to, like edit photos, or like, do some sort of graphic technical something. I just, I just I can't. So you know, that's just me. So that and then also, I would say, Say, really set it up so that you're delivering a series of things each month that feel like what you actually want to be doing. We know that seems really obvious, but I think we can get so focused on what people want, or what we think people want. And yes, of course, you know, whatever offering we put out, there needs to be something that people will buy, but they will be way more likely to buy it if they can feel the alignment that you're so excited to provide. So I don't feel like I'm on the hook for origin because every deliverable is like something I want to do anyway, and I also can batch them. So I could very easily, quite frankly, other than the live coaching sessions, I could very easily batch the origin content in like a week or two a year.
Kate Kordsmeier 25:55
Yeah, I know. That's what you do. I know as you're saying, I'm like, Man, that would be a great idea. I mean, but then sometimes I think it's hard when you batch too far ahead, then no COVID comes up and you're like, we have to redo everything now. And I think this
Kate Northrup 26:13
year in particular, has perhaps shown the bachelors that you might want a little more flexibility. I'm really grateful. I didn't batch the way I had planned, because we really needed to do some pivoting around world events and supporting our members in what's actually happening. Not some pre planned thing. That being said, like I do get out ahead of it enough, so I'm not rushing to throw things together.
Kate Kordsmeier 26:37
Yeah, yeah. I think you know, a couple months is always like a nice buffer to have. But yeah, just thinking like, Man, what if you had done everything in January for all of 2020? And you would just like, well, we'll just have to hold that for next year. Yeah, yeah. Well, do you feel like this is a topic though? Like could you ever see yourself like With money where you just go, I feel like I've said what I needed to say, that is possible.
Kate Northrup 27:08
That is totally possible. And also like, I also want to say, so I've been doing origin for three and a half years, I've had this membership. And if I decide that I no longer want to run it, you know, I'll just close it. Right? I don't know. I mean, I think that I was talking to a girlfriend of mine who was like, tinkering with having a membership for years. And every time we would talk, she go, how's it going? And better than that, and I was like, I'll just call her Brenda. That's not her name. But I was like, Brenda. Listen, Brenda. Like, let's borrow your freaking membership. And if you don't like doing it, you can just close it. And she was like, Oh, wait, I think we just have this idea that if we start something, you know, and this comes from parenting styles, right? How many of us were raised by parents who wouldn't let us quit anything? Mm hmm. Now I was not raised by those parents actually, my mother was like, yeah, you don't like it. You don't have to go anymore, thankfully. But I remember my friends like they would hate basketball. Like they hated it for years. But their parents were just like, once you start something, you have to stick with it. And I'm just like, why? why they have the memory of hating basketball and the child in their childhood, like, what purpose? Did that serve them? So I think we need to unravel some of our assumptions. Now. Does it mean you're going to be a business flake and like, start something and bail? No, you got to give it the old college try. But if if five years from now, I'm just like, nope, this this chapter is complete. That would have been a phase of a cycle, and then we could close it down and that would be absolutely fine.
Kate Kordsmeier 28:43
Yeah, there you go.
quick update y'all. You already know on some level that doing all the things isn't the best way to grow your business right? But between the Instagram ads enticing masterclasses and those always promising digital courses. It's nearly impossible for your intellect alone to know what to focus on to get the best results with the most ease. The thing is giving all the power to your shiny object prone mind to decide what's best for you and your business is the surest path to overwhelm this, I know. So you have two choices The way I see it. One, keep floating in your sea of half finished projects and half baked ideas, or to save yourself massive amounts of time, energy and money by learning how to unequivocally know you're doing the right thing at the right time, using a tool that you've always had, but you just never knew how to use before. I'm talking about your body and your menstrual cycle. Yes, really. I couldn't be more excited about my friend and mentor, Kate north. That's upcoming free 28 day experience called right thing right time, you'll learn how to let your body lead your business. So you'll never worry about making a wrong decision. Again, if you're feeling relieved at the thought that this is actually possible to be a part of a community of business owners choosing to operate in this new paradigm that's using metrics of ease sustainability, fulfillment and flow at the forefront of their strategic plans and execution. And I invite you to join us in this powerful circle where you'll learn how to grow your business while doing less. Go to Katekordsmeier.com/rightthing to sign up today. And don't delay if you want in on this because the experience kicked off a few days ago and will actually only be available for a few more weeks. Again, that's Katekordsmeier.com/rightthing to participate. I'll see you there.
So then the other thing you mentioned was wanting to get off the launch roller coaster. But you do launch for origin, right? So it's not open all the time. Right?
Kate Northrup 31:12
Yeah, we chose that style a because to set it was better for us to know what he's doing. I like did all the things he said to do and it works. So I just figured I would do that too. I think you and I are similar in this way. Like, we'll just we're just like, give me the checklist. I'll just do the things. Yeah. Yeah. I'm great.
Kate Kordsmeier 31:34
Why am I gonna try and reinvent the wheel totally.
Kate Northrup 31:39
Do and of course, you know, we've tweaked over time and it's not like I'm following it by rote. But certainly right out of the gate. I was just like, tell me what to do. The other thing that I really love from a cyclical planning standpoint is that we have these phases in origin. So we have what I call the fertile void and the fertile void is Between launches when we're really in the mode of being with our members, and serving our members, and we have this, like, this sweet container, you know where we're in there with them. And then we have the pre launch, which is kind of like the emergence phase, the springtime, the follicular, if you will, of moving into that's a pre launch. And then we have that time of, I call it visibility, you know, same thing as oscillation Full Moon, like, doors are open, come join us visibility. And then we have the combination phase. And so that's the post launch that sort of that autumn energy, the luteal, where we're wrapping things up, we're doing a post launch launch analysis, where, you know, tying up bits and bobs of you got this bonus or that thing or, you know, all that stuff, onboarding people and serving them and so, the reason I didn't want to do an open enrollment plan is that felt like being on the gas all the time, so the woman felt like not This isn't that I'm not launching anymore. This is that I am launching 24 seven 365 days a year. That is super unsustainable. And so now we do one to two public enrollments a year, one to two waitlist enrollments a year. And a few occasional, like if you're in this funnel, you get invited as an upsell or a down seller across all right, got it. Okay.
Kate Kordsmeier 33:27
So that brings up a great point too, because I so in terms of launching, that's how you sort of think of it in terms of cycles, but what about planning out your monthly content through that lens of cyclical living?
Kate Northrup 33:40
Yeah, so we did try in 2020.
everything is going to be 2020. We thought we were going to do this. We had planned out this really beautiful 12 month curriculum, which which we have delivered everything. We have planned Maybe with the exception of one lesson so far. And so I got really geeked out and I was like, okay, there'll be these four phases. And each one of them will correlate with something from the upward cycle of success. And the upward cycle cycle of success is basically what I took, I extrapolated the menstrual cycle and the lunar phases and the seasons, and I applied them to seasons of a project. So project planning, project management. So I call that the upward cycle of success. And those were the fertile void emergence visibility in combination. Those are those words that I was using. Uh huh. So I was like, What if we thought about each one of our lessons and how they would plug into that and then we'll have these key themes and one will be about like foundations one will be I can't remember what they were. Essentially what I'm saying is it was done and no one knew like only to question it. To use as our community manager. So we've sort of just like allowed that to be what it is. So what we do instead is we have these monthly themes. And the monthly themes serve to get everybody organized around, like we know what's going on. And then we highlight during, if it's during my how to less than that month or during the Maven masterclass, will highlight like, Hey, this is a really good skill to implement. If you are in the combination phase of a project, or Hey, like, practice this when you're in oscillation, so we just try to pepper in the pieces about cyclical living, living and when different things might apply and when to lean into them versus when to let go of them. And that seems to really work. And in terms of project planning, and your content planning and editorial, I try to be at least three months out, knowing what's coming next. There's a few reasons for that. One, it helps me organize the lesson so that they work together and there's some Sort of linear, like linear progression because even though everything's cyclical, I want people to feel like they're getting somewhere. And that's really important in a membership, that people feel like there is trackable growth and progress. Always. Unless it's like Netflix, which is just not in my mind. Netflix was I mean, but this is a this is a mastery and education based membership. And then I also do that so that I can tease upcoming content, which is one of our retention strategies. So if I can let people know what's coming, then they're more likely to stay to get it. And then I'm able to weave things together. And then it also just helps keep us organized so we can get you know, the experts on board and get everything so that I'm not like last minute, needing to text somebody like Oh, hey, can you come do this interview with me next week? Because that's just disrespectful.
Kate Kordsmeier 36:51
Yeah, yeah. So when you have experts on Do you ever like do you have to pay people to come be the experts in your message membership. Do you just use your beautiful network that you've created here? Or how does that work? Like what could other people expect if they wanted to bring experts into their membership?
Kate Northrup 37:10
I love that question. So, so far, I have not paid experts to come in. It doesn't mean I wouldn't actually there's one exception to that. And that was because we brought we did a month in June focused on anti racism and healing, you know, healing racial trauma. So we did pay experts that month, because there was a variety of reasons which I don't need to get into, but it just felt like the right thing to do. So mostly, I have been able to invite experts from my network. So the vast majority of experts who have come in I knew somehow, or they were I was introduced to them through somebody I knew and they've been said yes. Because either, you know, I had spoken in their thing, or I had given them a bonus of this or, you know, they're sort of just this reciprocity feeling. Right? And so far, that's how it's gone. Now, that's three and a half years in, especially in a year in 2021. Anyone like I'm at home, not getting on X, not getting on airplanes, not going to conferences, not really meeting new people in the same way I usually might in my life. You know, who knows, I might need to change my tune and I'm open to it. I'm super into it. Yeah. Um, the exception to that also is that we have a resident astrologer in origin who helps us with our cosmic weather reports Jeanette Lewis, she's at inner sun alchemy on Instagram, and she's doing monthly content. So of course I pay her for that. Right, right.
Kate Kordsmeier 38:54
Well, I think that's good to know because I'm sure people you know, if you're considering doing a membership, there's of course many ways you could do it. But one great way is if you don't want to have to be the one creating all of the content that you can bring in experts, and just, you know, getting people prepared for what does that look like? But I think probably even though you know, these people, like there's benefit to them to coming into the group, or getting exposed to this new audience, and so, you know, I mean, I hate the term pay for like, exposure as your payment. As a former freelance journalist. I was like, Yeah, I'd rather the cheque please. But that
Kate Northrup 39:32
Yeah, right, because that's like a byline versus. Right, right. So I'll tell you what the exchange is right now you know, and this is whatever date is in July of 2020. We're recording but you know, you will publish this which is that they get a membership to origin for free for a year, which is thousand dollars something value then they Get also the exposure, which is and then they also get the exposure on our sales page and talking them up in the next launch, which goes in front of higher audience on social email, all of that. So that also is additional exposure. So yes, there's the membership of 1000 plus people, but then also there's the exposure for being part of the launch and like being part of this part of this community. And I want to be clear that my guest experts are not preparing content ahead of time. So while everything they share is really actionable, and it's different than our than like them coming on our podcast, for example, them coming on our podcast is more of a conversation that could really go any number of ways and you never replaces when I inviting them as a Maven masterclass, they are talking about a specific topic and so it'll be far more like this is a class This is just a chat, but they don't have to prepare that ahead of time. So it's not like I'm saying like, Hey, can you come for 60 minutes to teach to my group and you have to spend hours preparing ahead of me pay them for that. Right? Right. That makes sense. So okay, that brings me to two follow up questions.
Kate Kordsmeier 41:18
One I want to get to is about how you determined pricing for your membership. But before we do that, I would love to just talk about I know that Stu, I'm in tribe for the first time this year at that stews, membership or stews course I should say about memberships. And he says that one of the biggest mistakes membership creators can make is trying to give too much that they put too much stuff in there. So how did you decide what the things were going to be that your members received each month? So this was a bit of trial and error.
Kate Northrup 41:55
out of the gate, what we offered was a how to lesson which is like you on our In a month, it's 20 to 30 minutes. So I know people are busy and I just want to give them the 20%. That's going to get them 80% of the results. So this is not like, let's say the masterclass. So for this month or not the master class, but how to lessen this coming month, it's on how to get noticed in a crowded marketplace through media and PR. So it is not everything you needed to know, or ever wanted to know about media and PR it is do this 20% of the 80% to get you 80% of the results. Because the vast majority of us don't need to know the rest of the 80%. If we would just do the 20% we would get the results we needed and we could move on. That's really the goal of the How to lessons and I'm really good at distilling like, okay, just do these three things and forget first, right, because I'm not a perfectionist, and so I think that serves in this area. And so, the next thing is that we always offer the Maven masterclass, so we always offer it the you know, 45 to 60 minutes long form conversation with an expert. And then we used to do a q&a with me. And then over time, we transformed that into a group coaching call. Because a q&a it was really random and all over the place, I used to do one on Facebook Live. And it was just like, it was really fun. But it was like sometimes we were talking about green smoothies. And then in the next breath, we were talking about, like, you know, building your email list, and that was just like all over the place. And it wasn't, it wasn't that sort of focused energy. And so we did that pivot and we also used to do an emperor spotlight we call all of our members and verses because we all have an empire of one size or another. And so we used to do an emperor spotlight every month but what we were getting feedback on from the members was there others you're sending me too many things. So the one that was the least engaged with was the Emperor spotlight. Okay, I went away and so now in any given month, it's four or five And people are getting three new pieces of content a month. And in total during the month, that is an investment of about two and a half hours of time. And we also offer it on our origin podcast, which is really been a huge bonus for our members so that they can listen to it on their podcast app, they literally never have to log into the membership if they want to consume the content. Yeah, I just learned about this last month and was like, Oh, my gosh, this is gonna change everything. Now I can be caught up all the time. Yeah. So when when somebody joins, Is there like a path that you put them on? Or do they just get access to all of this content from the past? Like, how do you make sure you don't overwhelm people when they first get in? Yeah. So when you join origin, we have what's called the self source scheduling roadmap. And this was inspired by Stu also, he talks about you need to have a success path so that people know where they are in time and space. So similar to living, like you have to help people up to identify where they are and where they're going. And so our success path is five stages of the self source scheduling roadmap. And it has just a checklist that you go through. It's like, you know, listen to this how to lesson, put this in your calendar, download a menstrual tracking app, you know, so it's like little things that you just check off each phase, I think has about five, five checkmarks that you go through, when you have to go through the self source scheduling roadmap to unlock the rest of the content.
Kate Kordsmeier 45:38
Kate Northrup 45:39
Yeah. Now, in all fairness, we had some people who just didn't want to do that. So we made it so you can literally just check off all the boxes if you want and skip it. Just you know, full disclosure, it was just becoming like, because then anyway, I don't need to get into that where you got emails from people being like, I
want to watch this and I can't get
Unknown Speaker 45:59
yeah So we just were like, if you want to skip the whole thing fine do but we encourage people to take the time to invest because it really sets them up for understanding how everything else in the membership fits in. And so that really, that really helps. And then once they have done that, then they get access to the full library, which is totally searchable. And then they get access to all the new content that comes out every month also. Now the one thing that's really important about that is that we message that origin is not like a it's not like a course syllabus, in that you're supposed to do all the reading and do all the assignments. It's more like a gym membership in that, you know, you look at the group fitness schedule for the week and you go to the three or four classes that you go to, and you don't beat yourself up for the fact that you did not go to every step. Have a class on the schedule, your membership because you're not going to all the classes. So it's not like that. It's really like, Come take what you need. It's here for you This is there is no destination in origin there's no behind in origin. And that just takes some repeated messaging. Yeah,
Kate Kordsmeier 47:21
yeah, I'm sure. Because I, I mean, just with my core six figure blog Academy, we have people all the time that are like, Oh, I'm so behind. And, like, that's not a thing. There's, there's no way to be behind because you're exactly where you need to be. And this is here for you whenever you need it. But yeah, so what kind of technology was required for you to set some of this up?
Kate Northrup 47:45
Yes. Well, you know, so many lessons over the years. We decided that this at the time, I am very particular about design and wanting things to work a certain way. So when I say I'm not a perfectionist, I actually just really excessive about the way towels are folded and I'm really obsessive about the way a user experience works in our members area. So we've invested a lot of money in the in the, in the mid five figures, and you know, has increased every year. And WordPress members area. What's awesome about this is we can get it to do everything we want. What's not so awesome about this is it's all custom coded. So when I want to change or update or whatever, you know, our developer has to do it. And she's awesome. So it's fine. I'm supporting a woman on business. But if I were to start over again, I would probably build it like in kajabi or Thinkific, or one of the platforms that's designed just you just like upload a video and then your membership is created. Right. So you know, live and learn to open learn. Oh, sorry. We use that. community is on Facebook on a Facebook group. And then we use this thing called transistor FM to have the podcasts, the private podcast. Okay. Then we connect ontraport which is our CRM payment, all the things ontraport with the WordPress membership using access ally.
Kate Kordsmeier 49:20
Okay, awesome. I've been thinking about access ally for our checkout system. I use Sam cart right now. But Laura sprinkle told me that access AI is her preferred affiliate program and so I was like, Oh, I
Kate Northrup 49:35
switched to that also a woman owned business. Oh, okay. I do like that. Yes, Natalie. Something right. Yes. Yes. She's going to be our Maven masterclass expert in September, in order, all about analytics and metrics and how to make it all work together and how to know if all the effort and energy you're putting in is actually working so that you can sort of do less of Phi Beta JOHN metrics in analytics.
Kate Kordsmeier 50:02
Oh, that is so up my alley. I'm glad I'm gonna be able to watch that one. So, okay, you mentioned money. Let's talk about money for a second. First, how did you determine the pricing for origin?
Kate Northrup 50:14
Yeah, well when it comes to pricing, so my first business or well, final second third business, whatever was that I was a Fung Shui consultant in New York City. And so no way I did not know that. I love it. Oh, that was one of my businesses. And I quickly learned when the great thing about like being in in a field that is so uncommon is that you realize like there is no going rate. And so you just make it up. And so I really into just like determining pricing based on what I feel, because I'm not a doctor. I'm not a lawyer. I'm like, always out here hanging on hanging out in the on the fringe, where it's like, I'm inventing something. Thing new or doing this weird thing that nobody knows how much it costs anyway. So that doesn't mean that I'm going to like, you know, please people, but it just means like, I just feel how it feels and see how it goes. So we started out in our beta launch with $20 a month. So I said, Okay, the first hundred women who join, you get this at $20 a month and you'll be grandfathered in forever at your $20 a month price. 50% of those women three and a half years later are still part of the membership or maybe a little. So that was great. I did that because I didn't there was no membership when they joined. I made a video in the video was like I'm doing this thing here's vaguely what it's based on. It's gonna be great. You want to join. So that was our launch. And we only invited people who had ever invested money with us before. So because I just knew that the video would not be convincing to somebody who just found out or was like, right But for somebody who already had that know, like, and trust factor, I knew they'd be gay. So we got our first 100 people. And then our first public launch, we launched at $30 a month. And we said that that price was going to go up. So we said, this is our first public launch, you can get in for $30 a month, we will raise the price next time. So get it. And that was a hugely successful launch. And then the next time we launched, we launched that $37 a month, and we kept it at 37 for a few launches after that. And each each one of these incremental increases, people could we were big, our grandmother, so they were like I was like you join now as long as you remain a member in good standing, you keep this price forever. And then last summer, I did something really bold. And I just was like, You know what, like, I want people to treat this membership with reverence. I want them and it's not that we had a problem by any means, but I just like was really really craving, a level of conversation and engagement that I knew was going to come from a higher level of investment. Mm hmm. And I wanted people to take this so seriously. And so I raised the race. And we so we so we created that 12 month curriculum, we made some significant upgrades to the membership, like adding in the podcast, like changing it from a q&a to an in depth group coaching session, we changed some things about the membership, we added these takeaway guides and, and quarterly packets, like we made the content easier to consume in a variety of ways. And we raise the price to $97 last summer, and that was so great, because I don't know like there's just something about people making that higher investment that they just engaged or committed or more committed, and then they just get results because $7 a month now I understand everyone's in different your financial situation. So it's all relative, but $30 a month, $37 a month, it's like, well, I can either log in or not login, like, it's the cost of a meal out, you know, so whatever. But 97 like, I like if I know if I'm paying that, like I'm logging in doing nothing, that's an investment. And so it's been great. And I am so psyched about that. We do offer scholarships also. So we have always, as part of our enrollment periods, we have some full scholarship spots, and then some partial scholarship spots because access is really important to me.
Kate Kordsmeier 54:38
Yeah, that's awesome. And so do you, what percentage of your, uh, you don't have to give an exact number if you don't know it, but like, how much of your overall revenue from all of your different projects for your business comes from your membership?
Kate Northrup 54:56
It's about 50% Okay. So what what else looks up your big number? Yeah, so the rest is book royalties, speaking, the mastermind incubator, which is kind of like an in between the membership and the mastermind. So it's more of a mid level product, sales of the money left course and sales of the do less planner. And did I say affiliate things? I don't think so. Okay, so those would be those would be the rest. Yeah.
Kate Kordsmeier 55:31
So that's good. I mean, you're super diversified, obviously. But you kind of have this core product that you can count on. And,
Kate Northrup 55:40
yeah, I mean, honestly, you know, I'm really freedom oriented. And so I love that like, I Mike and I could live our exact same lifestyle and just just change the way we're running our business and we could very easily live with with only the origin and Come. And that feels really great because there might be a season in our lives where we want to do that. Yeah, I love that.
Kate Kordsmeier 56:09
So I know we're coming up in the end here. I mean, I could ask you a million more questions, but I think we'll wrap up with the kind of lightning round questions I ask everybody that comes on the same five. Don't overthink it, just first thing that comes to your mind. So what is your favorite way to make time for self care?
Kate Northrup 56:28
I'm reading. I just really love to read and having this office outside of the home has changed my life and I know that not everyone can have that. But like, even if you can go sit in your closet, just like being able to close the door is really,
Kate Kordsmeier 56:45
really nice. Yes. Okay, what is one tool or strategy that you use to help with time management? I feel like
Kate Northrup 56:54
Kate Kordsmeier 56:57
Yeah, so usually when I ask people this like, okay, Northrup my answers like local planning.
Kate Northrup 57:03
And specifically my doula.
Kate Kordsmeier 57:05
Yes, big fan of the doulas planner. What is the most powerful business or mindset book you've ever read?
Kate Northrup 57:15
Oh, I mean, so many, but I would say my favorite of late was the calling by rha goddess. Whoo. That's our homework for the mastermind.
Kate Kordsmeier 57:26
That's on my to do list for today. Okay, let's see, what is your favorite? Or do you have like a mantra or an affirmation that you tell yourself on the reg? Yes, I'm working with one that Rob gave me actually which is the more I relax, the more money I make. Oh, I might have to steal that. That's good. That's real good. Okay, obviously the podcast is called Success with Soul. So tell us what Success with Soul means to you.
Kate Northrup 58:01
Success with Soul means making decisions based on what feels right. As opposed to what looks right. Hmm beautiful. I love that.
Kate Kordsmeier 58:13
Thank you so much for being here tell everybody where they can find you.
Kate Northrup 58:17
So you can head over to KateNorthrup.com/list and get my free weekly planning do less rituals. So if you want to have a do less have more week you can check that out. And then on Instagram at Kate Northrup Thank you Kate. Thank you.
Kate Kordsmeier 58:39
Thanks for listening to the Success with Soul Podcast the place to be for holistic online business strategies and achieving more with less,
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