In this episode of the Membership Site Success Podcast, I interview Brittany Lynch.
Brittany is a Google employee turned online entrepreneur, and she’s totally crushing it online while traveling the world.
Brittany drops gold nuggets of entrepreneurial knowledge all over this interview…so check it!
Items Mentioned In This Interview
- The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss (book)
- The Dynamite Circle business group
- Brittany’s Training Program on creating a lifestyle business by selling a combination of Physical + Digital Products
- MindMeister – Brittany’s preferred mindmapping tool
- Trello – Brittany’s (and mine!) preferred project management tool
- ScreenFlow – Screen capture software
- Brittany’s DIY beauty product club – step by step training to make all natural DIY beauty products
- Brittany’s Success U membership program – featuring interviews with lifestyle business entrepreneurs monthly
- Brittany’s main site – http://idealme.com
Vic: Brittany is as a successful online entrepreneur, who used to work at Google. She has a unique approach to running her online businesses, often combining the sale of physical products and information products to maximize profitability. Welcome Brittany.
Brittany: Thanks for having me.
Vic: My pleasure and the very first question jumping right into it is how did you get into online entrepreneurship?
Brittany: I grew up in a really entrepreneurial family. I think I was really fortunate to have that experience ‘because I was kind of made aware that there’s other ways to live your life than working for someone else.
And obviously there’s nothing wrong with that, that’s a great path for certain people but I think just with that upbringing, I was made aware that I could work for myself early on and so I started thinking that way, so I guess in a way I really kind of fell in to it.
I started my own businesses when I was young. From traveling to shoveling snow and going door–to-door selling home-made candles and then as I got older, Google started getting popular and I just for whatever reason liked the company and I ended up getting a job there working in the Adwords department, so their online paid traffic department.
And I always was there kind of with the end in mind that I would go back and work for myself again. And so when my contract ended I decided to start my own business and initially I was doing services for other people, helping them basically run an online advertising campaign.
At that point I was living in Sweden and because of the language barrier and I didn’t have a work visa and I couldn’t work in the country, so I kind of turned to the internet and turned to how can I optimize my time a little bit more and trying to envision the Adwords services as information products around, how to use Adwords and how to use paid traffic.
Well I just evolved from there and I was kind of fortunate to have a strong business grow year after year.
Vic: That’s actually a great segue because I think a lot of people out there in internet land are contractors or service providers or even product service providers but they don’t really own their time yet and they’re looking at membership sites or the recurring model as a way to sort of solidify their income month to month and reclaim their time, so that they’re not really having to work so much or do everything themselves.
So let me ask you this, how did you sort of become attracted to the membership site or recurring model; what is your thought there?
Brittany: Well I mean you kind of touched on it, I mean just the idea that you have recurring income every single month is beautiful and the service industry has recurring income, so I was charging monthly service fees but I was still working specific hours in order to make that income and so with the information marketing model I was just to able to leverage my time a little better and kind of literally make sales of my membership site while I was sleeping and be able to make money whether I was at my desk or not.
And I freed up my time a lot more and that was really important to me because I love to travel. My mom lives in Indonesia, and I grew up there when I was younger, the rest of my family was in Canada.
So freeing my time from working at a desk was really important and a membership site can maybe, unlike an eBook, provide a little bit more stability if you have a certain number of members and how much you charge them and you got extra dollars coming in month after month. So that stability is really nice.
Vic: And can you talk about one of your membership sites?
Brittany: Yeah, sure. I’ll give you an example of my latest membership site. It’s targeted towards DIY like Do-it-yourself kind of an audience, specifically relating to soap making and candles and that type of thing.
And basically it kind of evolved out of my interest in that niche and I think having an interest in the niche is really important. So I had an interest in this niche. I started to build an eBook on this product and from that I created a Facebook group and I had some of the customers on this Facebook group and I started to see questions like my members are asking for a training video on how to make a lotion or how to make soap and different recipes from that sort of thing and there are recurring questions and when I saw that I realized there was demand for every month or more often even having a video tutorial of how to make a certain type of soap or body lotion or something along those lines and so that what I kind of went off of, this would be perfect for a membership area. So with membership sites and with stand alone products for that matter as well. I really love that my customers and prospects tell me what it is that they want.
Vic: That’s a really cool idea using Facebook. How are you getting those people into Facebook? Are you adding them through a funnel or are you getting their emails somehow?
Brittany: Yeah exactly. So how my funnel kind of looks is, I send traffic to a squeeze page and in the squeeze page, after we get their email, we up sell them into an eBook and then from there to my email sequence, my first three emails, I let them know about my Facebook group and it’s a really nice value add to my members because they’re able to learn from me directly but it’s also great for building relationships because groups are really like hyperactive relationship builders.
If you look at email marketing it's kind of a one way street. A Facebook group, you can communicate two-ways, they can ask you questions back and as a result you’ll be able to build trust faster and all of that other good stuff which translate directly into increasing your profit.
Vic: What kind of profits can people get with membership sites?
Brittany: I make a solid six figures a year with my membership sites and I think five figures, six figures, seven figures that’s all possible when people are doing it online with membership sites.
I think the most important thing is when you’re starting a membership site, set a goal and if it’s a thousand dollars a month. But then translate that in how many members you need and setting a financial goal is great but you need to translate it into an actionable plan.
So how many members you need in order to achieve your desired income, and goal is kind of a good next step and then from there you can reverse engineer into a little bit more into how many people you need to come into your sales page in order to make that number of sales.
Vic: That’s very much in line with the four hour workweek concept of sort of break down what you need to do on a daily basis to make it look more doable basically and if you need three to five people a day to earn six figures then that’s a lot less intimidating than "I need to make six figures."
Brittany: Oh yeah. That makes, I find, a huge difference when it comes to taking action. People will have a goal of making six figures a year online and that can be rather intimidating, but when you break it down it’s only $274 a day and so how does that translate into how many memberships you need to sell, how you need to get them to join your program. I definitely believe in this philosophy.
Vic: Very cool. So how do you grow your membership site? How will you get people into your funnel? What kind of tactics do you use for getting traffic, for getting traffic and sales?
Brittany: That’s perfect. So there are kind of two big ways that I do it. Number 1 is I build my own funnel. So I set up a squeeze page and on the thank you page, I up sell to stand alone eBook and then from there I up sell them to a membership program.
I often find that it’s more difficult to make your first sale as a recurring fee. You have a higher conversion rate selling another product first which is one fee and then up sell it to a membership site. So that's generally what I do and then once I have people in my email list, I promote the membership club through email marketing.
So that way, I’m kind of in control of my own destiny and I can kind of turn on the traffic and turn it off as I can see it fit. Now the other way which made it more appealing to people who are gonna spend money on paid traffic right off of the hop is joint ventures.
So I work a lot of joint ventures. I spent a lot time kind of developing relationships in my industry and I would encourage you to started develop relationships is your space, whether it’s with bloggers and authorities in your niche because having two inventories is a huge asset.
I’ll be able to go with my partners look at my new product and see what I’ve promoted and nine times out of ten and most from ten times out of ten they promote for me because of our relationship. I work a hundred and five hundred dollars on a webinar and then on the back end I’ll up sell to again recurring membership program.
Vic: I totally agree Brittany. I didn’t really realize the role of relationships in business until maybe the last year or so. I’m sure many people can relate I’m kind of a technical person, sort of leave me alone and do my work. I don’t really care about people. Not that I don’t care about people but I don’t bother to build relationship and schmooze and all of that kind of thing, but what I found in the last year is that had I not joined this group, that’s the dynamite circle, and had I not joined a mastermind to build relationships with people who can help me and whom I can help and sort of pass the beer test - would I wanna sit down outside of this business context and have a beer with this person? are they cool or somebody I don’t want to work with? - That has been so helpful to my business and probably responsible for the exponential growth for the first time in my business’s life.
Brittany: Yeah. Masterminds are fantastic. I actually noticed the most growth in my own business as well when I joined the mastermind group so I definitely, highly recommend that to someone. I think it’s not necessary when you’re first starting out but once you kind of started to make some money online, it’s a great way to take it to the next step.
Vic: For sure. You can fool yourself; you can’t fool a whole group of people who hold you accountable.
Brittany: And then you said the beer test. I love that phrase. Then that I’m working amazing in the Mastermind group.
Vic: Okay so, one thing that you sort of glossed over is that I know you like to use physical products because physical products convert better. You sort of like to use them as well to get them in your funnel. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Brittany: Yeah I mean I have this philosophy that combining the physical products with the information products equals high conversion rate, high profitability.
So with physical products, let’s say cupcake molds. There’s a common value of associated with that. Someone is selling a silicon cupcake molds and you tell them it’s $10, they’re probably gonna accept that fact fairly easily because that fits with their value they’ve seen in the real world.
Whereas if you’re saying “Look this is a $10 eBook on How To Make Cupcakes” and it worth of $10, it’s hard for them to necessarily believe that right away because they don’t have as much experience with it.
And so you’ll be able to assign value to the physical products a lot easier, and so I like to use physical products as a way to get people on to my mailing list. Either selling physical product from the front end or running free giveaways on physical products and then on the back end, up selling and crossover in the information marketing whether It’s a eBook or a monthly membership program often both because that’s high profitability comes in.
Vic: Okay. I know you actually offer training on this and I know this because I’ve worked with you in the capacity of helping you set up your membership site and maintain it and everything. So for anybody who is interested in sort of learning about the combination of physical products and information products, where can we send people to check it out?
Brittany: Yeah. So it’s idealme.com/lifestylebusiness and the course really does center on creating a lifestyle business with the concept that you mention with the combination of physical products and information products and I talked a lot about setting your goals, how do you achieve your financial goals and also your lifestyle goals, so you’re not tied to your desk and you’re earning money, because many members who've actually joined in that program are already making six figures or even seven figures a year, but they’re tied to their desk and so they wanted to free their time a little bit more. So we really go over that in the training program.
Vic: Okay very cool and for you people listening, it’s idealme.com/lifestylebusiness, is that right?
Brittany: Yeah. /lifestylebusiness
Vic: Yeah and I’m gonna put the link in the transcript and below this recording. And one thing specifically I’m going to ask you about Brittany was your sort of use of webinars ‘cause I noticed that you always seem to be doing a webinar and how has that worked out for you? How do you sort of orchestrate those?
Brittany: I love webinars, I think it’s because I don’t really like to write. I don’t think I’m the best writer in the world, I know my spelling's absolutely awful and so I find running webinars a lot easier than writing sales copy or even creating products. So I use webinars for two purposes. 1. to sell, and 2. to create products. So number 1, I use webinars to sell my products a lot of my products are mid to higher price point.
When you have products that are mid to high price point, webinars what I believe are kind of the best way to sell those products because you were able to build a relationship with your prospect, so it will be faster to build up trust.
They can hear your voice and get to know you a lot faster than with just written copy and so I love sales webinars for that reason and you can also get to interact with the audience, so it’s a lot of fun. But they can also be used to compose your products.
So if you’re the type of person who maybe doesn’t want to maybe sit down and write a 20 page PDF to use as your information product or even as your recurring monthly membership, you can compose it on webinars. You don’t necessary have to have an audience but it makes really easy to record it and create an information product really fast and I often really pre-sell my products.
What I mean by that is I will sell live trainings and then will convert them to recording and do an evergreen model where I can continue to sell it after I've done the work. So I’m getting paid before I actually to do the work where I pre-sell products and that can be a huge motivator for a lot of people, especially when you’re getting started. There are a lot of reasons why I love webinars and those are the few of them.
Vic: That’s very cool and I also noticed that my most successful client financially speaking, I guess, money wise. All run webinars, all partner with JV’s and all offer premium priced products, all three of which you do.
Brittany: I think that those are important. A lot of people are nervous about selling a product that’s in a higher price point and when I first start starting out, I think my first price point was at $47. So actually higher than] what a lot of people start at, but not too high and you can get intimidated but it’s all about the value and you think “Can I deliver a thousand dollars of value or $500 of value” whatever it is and the value subjective to the person who is purchasing it but you were able to make a million dollars or whatever your income goal a lot faster by selling fewer of product that’s in the higher price point.
Vic: For sure and I think it also holds you kind of accountable when you charge it in a higher rate or a higher price point. Because if somebody pays you 500 bucks, you’re going to be thinking crap I really need to deliver on this, otherwise they’ll let you know and they'll ask for a refund.
Brittany: Yeah definitely, it really does. Like whenever I have a new product that’s a medium or high price point, I always got a sense of anxiety. I can’t sleep for a little while because I really wanna make sure that I’m delivering a lot of value in the training program and make sure my customers are happy. So that’s really nice proof to it, for both the customer and yourself.
Vic: So just a few more questions and we’re gonna wrap up Brittany. One thing I wanted to ask you was, are there any kind of specific tools that you feel like maybe your top 3 tools or web apps that you really feel you help your run your business smoothly or that really contribute?
Brittany: Actually there are. I really like this question. There’s two that I think that are absolutely crucial, maybe a huge different in my business. The first one is Mindmeister and you could use any mind mapping tools.
What it is a mind mapping tools and this is something I actually more recently I got in to which is mind mapping and I find that I have a thousands of thoughts in my head in the given moment. And I have so many projects on the go and then I’m the type of person who gets really excited with ideas and I want to do them yesterday, so managing all that could be somewhat difficult and can get disorganized and chaotic very easily.
So using mind mapping, I found as really help me create concise plan for everything that I want to get done. My goals, organizing next steps, to do’s, that sort of things. I love mind mapping, Mindmeister’s a great tool. The next thing I would say is kind of stand me from that is Trello], such a really awesome productivity to do list program.
What I like about it is it’s very simple basically you just have three boards, to do, doing and done and you drag your task between the three. And I like it very simple, I like it that’s not over complicated and I can just drag it down and drag it over once it’s done. So I kind of use Mindmeister and Trello in together.
Mindmeister for the big picture and Trello for little steps you need to get done and fulfill that mind map. And then finally, this is a little more boring but actually crucial for my business, its screen flow, and then what I use to record training videos and anytime to share something with my students.
Vic: Yeah, I’m gonna stick on trello, I think it’s really smart the way they built it because if you think the way you write a to do list just on a piece of paper, that‘s what trello is essentially imitating in the digital world. You write something down, you’re working on it, and you know you’re working on it, maybe you circle on it then when you’re done and you cross it off.
Brittany: Yeah and it’s awesome.
Brittany: And it’s so rewarding dragging something to get done to category.
Vic: Do you have a team to help you? That collaborate on trello with you?
Brittany: Yeah so I have a personal board and I also have a team board where we can kind of assign tasks and just keep in mind what is on other team member’s priority list which has been really helpful and we’ve tried all sorts of different tools that are more advanced but we really like trello the most.
Vic: And in terms of running specific in running membership site. What kind of manpower, what kind of human resources do you budget for when you’re launching or when you’re maintaining the site?
Brittany: Really for running a membership site, so fist I should say I’m a really bad designer and I’m really bad at technology things and that’s how we get connected cause I was desperately needed help right? So when it comes to running a membership site and you really helped me a lot with that which is awesome because without you, I don’t know what I would do and then I have a virtual assistant who helped with often creating report on webinar.
I send him the webinar, get him transcribe it and create like work sheet out of it and then myself, I plug it in, you don’t need a big team that you can run it all yourself, you don’t need a technical person or a VA to do it especially when you’re getting started, but that’s kind of my system.
Vic: Right on. And let me ask you this, what are you working on right now? In terms of membership stuff and where can our listeners find you?
Brittany: I’m working on a number of different memberships. Like Do-it-yourself club, I also have my success eMembership club where I feature a new life style business every single month and talk about how the audience can achieve the life style business like that and also you can find more information about that in idealme.com.
Vic: Awesome Brittany, thank you so much for coming on. It was really cool having you. And thanks for your answers; you can tell that you’re really professional; you can tell that you’ve been doing this for a long time, you really know what you’re talking about and I think our listeners are going to get a lot of value out of your recording.
Brittany: Awesome, well I appreciate you having me on and I hope that the answers are valuable for those who are listening and just to kind of sum up, choose a niche that interest you and break it down into a plan and an overall goal and take action and you can build a really successful and profitable membership site and it’s really nice for a lifestyle business.
Vic: Okay, thanks Brittany.
Brittany: Thanks Vic.