Launching a Group Program and Membership Site

July 14, 2015

This is a very common question I receive from clients… how do you create and launch a group program?

I launched my very first program, Foundations for Unshakable Joy™ back in February of 2012. It was an idea that came to me while I was participating in a high level mastermind program in 2011. I had the idea maybe mid year, but my coach and mentor said it wasn’t good (in so many nice words), so I shelved it… but I never forgot about it.

Nope, this isn’t one of those “I shelved it and then rediscovered it 10 years later” stories. I never forgot about it. In fact, the program idea and concept continued to tug at me for the rest of the summer and early fall. I’ve since learned that this is a key indicator that I have a SOLID idea. It comes to me and it sticks. It lingers, nags at me and tugs at my soul until I bring it to life.

So in the late fall of 2011, I sat down and wrote an expanded outline. I had already outlined the program for my coach, so I simply expanded and finalized the sub-sections. I toyed with some bonus ideas and guest experts as well. When I finally got to work, IT POURED OUT OF ME. The entire program was written pretty quick, then refined a few times, and edited by my first ever assistant (who I hired for that very purpose and was TERRIFIED about – another post, definitely).

The first thing I did was offer a beta version.

I had a small meetup group going in Hawaii at the time and I invited 10 lovely ladies to be the first to work through the program. I offered it for free, so no one really worked on it, but my intention was to get some feedback on the materials and hopefully some testimonials as well. Those that did some of the work said what they’d done was great, but I didn’t really get full feedback or testimonials.

From there, Foundations launched on February 7th as a “home study PDF” program for $97 ($58 early bird pricing) and I had a whopping 10 people buy. I was THRILLED. I knew two people where going to buy… a friend, and a friend of a friend. So when sale 3 – 10 rolled in, I was ecstatic! My mentor always said, if one person buys, you know there are others out there who will too… and I had 10! But then… I had maybe two more sales and it kind of petered off.

I decided to relaunch Foundations that following August as a live group program. I redid my sales page, create a membership site, raised the price and put it out into the world with the hopes of getting 25 signups. I got three. Since it was supposed to be a group program, I decided I didn’t have enough people for a lively one and offered them all one on one coaching for the entire six weeks. 🙂 All were thrilled and it turned out to be just fine.

I relaunched again in February 2013 as a group program and had eight people join me! The following launch in September 2014 there were eleven people in the program. When I launched Mastery this January, 34 beautiful souls signed up and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

How to Launch  a Group Program

The Process:

We talked about this a little already in the Facebook group, but I highly recommend starting with an outline. Outline the main points you want to touch on within the program and keep it at 6 – 8. These become your main “modules” or “lesson” that you’ll teach on weekly. From there, break down each main point into 3 – 5 sub points. These sub-points can then become your sections within each module.

So if you sign up for Foundations, you’ll see that each weekly module has 3 – 4 sections within it that are individual tools, lessons or exercises supporting the main focus for the week. From there, break those sub-sections down again into teaching points within each section.

After you have a solid outline for what you want to teach and in what order, start writing! Tackle it one main bullet and sub-point at a time and just write, write, write. Once you get it all out on paper, THEN you can start refining it into a program! You don’t have to write it perfectly the first time, you just have to start and get it all out on the page. When you refine, simply read back through what you’ve written and edit, delete or add where you see fit.

The Tools:

  • OptimizePress: This is the WordPress theme that Mastery and Foundations are built on. It has templates for sales pages, squeeze pages, blogging, and membership content. It also organizes the content in a smart and automatic manner, which you’ll see if you join Foundations live. You don’t have to use a special theme though, this is really just good if you have a lot of content and need different templates.
  • Wishlist Member: This is what I use to make content members only. It allows people who sign up to register for a username and password within the site (like you did), and allows me to make certain content “members only” and therefor private. You can also have different membership levels, which is great if you’e automating content. So if you wanted to share weekly content every Monday, you’d simply upgrade all the members to the next level at the right time.
  • WP Affiliate Platform + WP eStore: This is a shopping cart plugin that works with Wishlist and MailChimp (as well as some other email marketing providers). It automates the entire process. If you go to my sales page and buy the program, you’ll automatically receive an email from MailChimp with a link to register as a member on the site. It’s the most affordable shopping cart plugin I’ve seen (though I think WooCommerce is free, but I haven’t used it) at $60. You can also get the affiliate plugin for another $20, which allows you to have affiliates. That means if I want to promote your program, I can sign up through the site and get a unique affiliate link. On the back end it would tell you how many sales I generated and how much to pay me. Again, if you sign up as an affiliate for Mastery, you’ll see exactly how it works. 🙂
  • Screenflow + Keynote: These are the programs I use to create videos for both my Three Essential Mindset Shifts video training series and for program content. I create my slides in Keynote (which is Mac’s version of PowerPoint) and I record the slides and my voice using Screenflow. I edit the videos in ScreenFlow and/or iMovie and voila! Professional videos.
  • Blue Snowball Microphone: This is the microphone that makes me sound awesome and professional. It cuts out quite a bit of background noise, is relatively inexpensive, and is easy to use. Plug it in and start recording!

The Big Tip:

Don’t let perfectionism hold you back!! I’ve refined Foundations four times since it’s inception and I’m sure I will again in the near future. Get it to a good place and do your first run with two or ten people, or however many sign up. Get feedback, pay attention to what works and what doesn’t, figure out what’s missing and then go back and make it better. It’s a process, and you’ll perfect it over time. 🙂

Questions? Comments? Thoughts?

You may also like
Revolutionizing the Industry
Big Things Are Coming