095: Having faith in your membership when nobody else does – 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 to have faith in your membership even when your members are not rushing through the doors.

✍️ 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: All right. 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 the issue that I think a lot of business owners or an organizations like yourself have is, you know, what, if no one comes, what if we don’t get any members? What if we don’t get any customers, what if nobody signs up? So tell me a little bit about your journey there in terms of like having faith in your idea, even if maybe the response isn’t super big at first.

Nadia Lopez: Well, we had the luxury of opening up a school together. And, through that process, we were supposed to have, let’s say, 81 scholars at the time. And we started out with seven and then 14. Then, you know, then it slowly progressed. The following year, we tripled our numbers from 45 scholars to 125 scholars. And so we have been really used to those who are supposed to be there we’ll be there. And then based off of what we provide, the numbers will grow. So we actually never get scared about the numbers. It’s kind of like, maybe that’s all we need right now. Maybe having less is good, because especially when you’re rolling out a new product or service, you want to get as much feedback as possible because some people want a thousand people in the room and then there’s all of these kinks and you’ve let down a thousand people, right? If we have 10 people in the room and we’re working out the kinks, 10 people a little bit more gracious, they will allow you some grace. They understand that you’re just starting out and you work out the kinks. So that the next time, the transparency of what you’re going through is well received, and those individuals are going to share their experience, but then you’re able to market yourself, having worked out the kinks accordingly. So, you know, we’ve done that and we see that the people that are joining us within the MemberSpace community growing, Aand so we’re like, we’re okay with that. We think about the long haul, as opposed to the immediate like boom of everything.

Monique Achu: And it’s the strong belief in our product. Also, we we’re very much about quality over quantity at times. And we know like, this is good. What we’re doing is good. They will come because we believe that the product we’re offering. And when I say product, our courses, classes and programs online. Like this is good stuff. So it’s okay to start small and grow because what we’re giving it’s going to work. We’re planting the seeds. And we’ve always believed that from the school to now doing ElevatEd, like we are planting the seeds. I will say sometimes I do be like, oh my God, we got two people signed up, but I also then go back to the core. And like this is us. This is what happens once we know the right people are going to be there for the right time, because our product is good.

Ward Sandler: Yeah. Like you’re like setting the foundation of a house. Right. It’s like, you’re making it solid to begin with and we can grow from here. Maybe it doesn’t get built in three months. Maybe it takes a little time. Maybe construction gets a little delayed, but that’s okay. Because you focused on the foundation, you know, it’s rock solid. I think the other thing that that’s really, you know, smart of you guys. You’re thinking about in terms of, okay, we don’t have like a million members right now, but what can we do with the ones that we do have, we can get, we can get direct feedback, right? You can go, you can be over the top with customer support, with communicating with them. And that’s the kind of thing you can’t do once you get to a certain scale, right? If you had a thousand members. You just can’t do that. So to take advantage of the position you’re in now to make everyone that’s in the community now feel super special and feel heard. I think that’s just a really clever way to kind of it’s where you’re at and you’re making the most of it. And I’m sure people are kind of resonating with that and then that’ll make them evangelical. Hopefully they’ll want to spread the word about ElevatEd, right? In terms of like marketing, what are you doing right now to kind of get the word out about, about ElevatEd?

Nadia Lopez: So we do a lot of social media posts, whether it’s IG Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. We purchased a couple of ads, but I think a lot of the traction has come from the emails. So with everyone who signs up from MemberSpac, we have their emails and anytime we’re rolling out a new class or maybe there’s something that someone wanted to sign up for, but couldn’t afford it at the time or didn’t just, they didn’t have the time to do it, Monique has really been diligent about utilizing the emails that we’ve captured to send out the information. So we’ve seen a lot of traction through that because you know, social media could be a hit or miss. You don’t know when people are usually on. And but the is just, I think that just kind of like that. One-on-one field. Cause the way we even craft the emails are very much like you’re part of the family. Hey, you know, we just want to reconnect, let you know what’s going on. So that’s been helpful.

Monique Achu: I think there’s also, you know, of course, word of mouth between people in our offering. Like for instance, for Valentine’s we did that. We did like a free small event. We call it the Vision of, of Love and something just to encourage and empower women. So doing small installations as well. Like we’re like, come join us. There’s this is like free also I think has helped because then people get a little taste of what we’re about, what are the types of things we can do. If we can do this in this short amount of time, imagine if you’re part of the course or you enroll in the program.

Ward Sandler: Yeah. I mean, that’s almost like offering a free trial if you were doing like a traditional membership. Hey, you can try it out. Here’s what we’re about. If you want more sign up for the real thing, or sign up for the big event. So I think that’s really clever, and I also agree with you about email. Like a lot of people kinda look down on email marketing, it’s like kind of old school, or like, I don’t know about that. It’s all about Instagram these days, but like you said, you don’t have control over the social platforms. You don’t have control over their algorithm unless you want to pay a bunch of money for ads, which is probably not a good idea for most folks, and every year, the amount of organic views you’re going to get is going to go down like from the algorithm, right? Because they’re optimizing for people that pay for ads and they’re going to meet, keep, keep weighing it against that. So I think it’s really smart that you’re investing in email and kind of like focusing on that, because I’m a big believer that that should kind of be the core of your marketing and social media and everything else. That’s all great. Right? You gotta be out there. You gotta be present, but emails that you control, you can always move your list to a different platform. If you don’t like it, you control. If you send the email people get it. And it’s that simple.

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!