094: Lessons on a stress-free way to launch a membership – with ElevatED

Monique Achu and Nadia Lopez are the founders of ElevatEd, a boutique firm that focuses on empowering women in education. In this episode, they join Ward to discuss how they approached their membership without stressing for perfection.

✍️ Show Notes

📄 Show Transcript

This transcript is computer generated, please excuse any errors 🙂

Ward Sandler: Hi, Monique and Nadia. Welcome to the Membership Maker. We’re happy to have you.

Monique Achu: Hi there, Ward!

Ward Sandler: So, ElevatEd is a boutique firm that offers a program that focuses on personal development and sustainability for women. How long have you been doing, ElevatEd for?

Nadia Lopez: I want to say we started 2017 after we went to Michelle Obama’s Becoming Bookstore, we came up with the concept.

Ward Sandler: That’s great. That’s great. And it’s just the two of you, right?

Monique Achu: Yes. It’s us, the dynamic duo.

Ward Sandler: Awesome. So then when things aren’t perfect can be challenging, right, so can you kind of give me a little bit of the origin story of how you’ve done this? How you’ve started your membership and what exactly has it been for you?

Monique Achu: When we started, we actually tried out a couple of things and we wanted to think of what is an easy way, like a one-stop shop that people can come sign up for events, classes, help us build community. And so we had some trial and error with some other things. And then when we found, MemberSpace, actually from Nadia had experienced that from someone else. And so then I was like, oh, let me try it, cause I do like kind of the backend stuff. Let me try this out. And it just ended up being the right fit. So it was like I had one stop shop for us, so everyone could sign up, it could be integrated with our website. You could pay, it could be connected to our Stripe, and get things going. So it really was super helpful in order for us to feel like a seamless organization.

Ward Sandler: Right. So you had mentioned you started the organization in 2017. So when you first started, were you even using any software at that time or was it more manual?Like what was kind of like the day one? Look, what about look like?

Monique Achu: You know, honestly our need to do this was different back then. When we initially started ElevatEd, the thinking was we would do work via like events. So we launched our organization off the Bootsy conference. That’s how we started it. It wasn’t until of course pandemic hit and we realized that we need to be able to connect via virtually with people. How do we do that? How do we offer things? How do people build community? How do they come in and pay for our Events and our classes, how do we do that online? That’s how we then found MemberSpace to be the place for us, to be the platform for us to use.

Ward Sandler: I gotcha. So there were some needs that you’re like, all right, how are we gonna do this? And then you found a solution eventually. Um, and, and tell me about the pricing. What do you guys charge for your membership?

Nadia Lopez: So we don’t do specifically a membership. We do it based off of the different types of services we provide or the activities that we’re going to have in terms of sematic events. So when Monique was explaining, when we first launched, we used EventBrite because that’s just made sense because we were having a conference. But EventBrite is only tied to an actual, let’s say like those type of events, one off you can’t continue with the same platform. So what I found that was really helpful with MemberSpace was the fact that we can connect it to anything that we’re offering. So if we’re having a conference, if we’re going to have online class, if we’re going to have a webinar, we can literally just set it up on our website and we don’t have to keep ordering a new link or that, let’s say a new link, but we can, we can manage our own MemberSpace account. Whereas the other platforms don’t offer that opportunity. So we have it connected to our Roadmap to Freedom, which is one course that is an evergreen course that we offer for our vision class, and then we also have ongoing coaching sessions that we provide throughout the year that we also provide through MemberSpace as well. And usually those are different.

Ward Sandler: Gotcha. So there’s not like, you know, some like small, medium, large plan that’s like a recurring monthly, that’s just not how your business model works. Okay. Gotcha. Is that something you’d ever consider or right now you’re kind of good with, with the one-offs type payments for things.

Nadia Lopez: So we will consider it. And that’s the good thing about MemberSpace, right? Like we can think as big as we want to, we can determine when we want to do it. And we don’t have to feel like the pressure of making a decision. Now we do it based off of what we have as an availability. So we have thought about creating our membership program for our audience, but we also want to make sure that there’s something to offer for that. Like, we don’t want to just put something up and then folks are like, okay, we’re excited, but where is it? So, that’s something that we can add on. So to anyone who’s listening, that’s the great thing about MemberSpace that you can grow as a company and as well as your vision and your ideas and evolve and still stay with this platform.

Ward Sandler: Yeah, I think that’s a good point. And again, I don’t want this to be like a commercial for MemberSpace but I think just interesting in general for businesses. Cause like from where you start with day one to where you are, you now, a year later, five years later, you know, if you’re lucky 10 years later can be way different and to imagine that you’ve got it all figured out on day one is just not realistic. And you know, it’s a pain in the butt for you. It’s a pain in the butt for your members, your people, if you have to move platforms, especially if they do it multiple times. So I think starting with day one with a flexible platform, just starting with a flexible platform makes a lot of sense, because you’re gonna add, remove, tweak, evolve things over time, and you gotta be, you don’t want your platform to hold you back. If it’s like, Hey, we have this awesome idea or Hey, our members are telling us they want this recurring value concept, and we’re gonna charge monthly. You don’t want to be like, ah, we can’t do it because our platform doesn’t work that way. Like that’d be terrible. So I think that’s really smart of you guys that you picked something that you knew would be flexible down the road.

Nadia Lopez: Which is interesting that you say that because when we did, when we first started, the platform that we use for the course actually did n’t work out. So we had to change the platform for the course, but then MemberSpace allowed us to continuously still charge folks. So they didn’t experience anything like, oh my God, we have to start over. That was what made us excited. Like this is a really good platform for us to use, for what we need. Awesome.

Ward Sandler: Awesome.Yeah. That’s wonderful. All right. Well, Monique and Nadia, I really appreciate you coming on the Membership maker, really, really great stuff. Could you share with the audience a little bit more about ElevatEd in terms of if they want to learn more about ElevatEd, learn more about you, where should they go?

Monique Achu: Yeah, you can visit us on Instagram at @ElevatEdBlk. We’re also on Facebook at the same address. Then there’s our website where you can look at enrolling for classes, programs, which is www.elevatedblk.com. And if you want to send us an email for anything, you have questions [email protected] is the email. So we are there and we’d love to hear from those who are interested in personal development and sustainability,

Nadia Lopez: And we have an amazing merchant line also.

Monique Achu: Oh, yes! We do.

Nadia Lopez: For those who are considering, or maybe are already in MemberSpace, it’s has made life for us easier. And so we do appreciate it. And this is not like we’re getting paid for this, it’s not advertisement whatsoever, but I think it’s important because the thing that we we spoke about is that everyone wants to be perfect, right? And you don’t have to be perfect, but you need tools that are gonna make your life a little bit easier. So MemberSpace has allowed us to be imperfect and everything else, but we perfectly get that money. So we appreciate that.

Ward Sandler: Excellent. Well, thanks again!