060: Empowering Members Through The Foods They Put In Their Bodies – with Sarah Kaminski

Sarah Kaminski, founder of sarahkaminski.com joins Ward to chat about how she helps simplify food for real people via her membership offering of recipes, meal plans, and online community.

✍️ Show Notes

📄 Show Transcript

This transcript is computer generated, please excuse any errors 🙂

Ward Sandler 0:06
Hey Sarah, welcome to Member Maker.

Sarah Kaminski 0:37
Hi Ward. Thanks for having me today. Sure thing.

Ward Sandler 0:40
So what is your business and who you’re helping?

Sarah Kaminski 0:42
So I actually offer two types of memberships. I offer the vege out project meal plan series, which is a plant centered meal planning service and a search engine portal of over 275 plants centered recipes that are designed to help busy people eat more veggies. There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to eating more plant foods like you have to be 100% vegan or vegetarian or you have to eat like a rabbit, you don’t get enough protein, or you have to give up all the foods that you love. And I’m here to help people kind of bust through those myths and just incorporate more plants into their, into their diet, then I do that with weekly meal plans, grocery lists, batch prep and meal planning hacks and recipes that come together in about 30 minutes. I’ve also worked in the wellness field for over 10 years and over time, what I’ve realized is that there’s this idea that just because someone works in the wellness space that we tackle self care with grace and ease and I know that anybody in the wellness field that’s listening to this knows that that couldn’t be farther from the truth. So just last fall, we created a space for women wellness professionals to simplify and streamline self care, just a place to take Off the pressure and the guesswork and be surrounded with other women in the field that quote unquote get it and just be supported along the way. So the sort of second layer to the work that I do is the well together collective. It’s a soul nourishment community for women, wellness professionals. And while this is completely separate than the meal planning service, the veggie out meal plan series search engine portal is actually an embedded piece of that membership as well.

Ward Sandler 2:27
Very cool. Yeah, it’s nice to have two different types of businesses going. And I think most people would agree everyone could eat more vegetables. That’d be a good thing. Yeah. So yeah. How did you kind of come into these these two different niches? Let’s start with budget one first.

Sarah Kaminski 2:42
So the journey of the niche right? plant centered nutrition has always been my thing. It’s like one of those things that I’ve been insanely passionate about, it’s completely changed my life. And since starting my business, about five years ago, I’ve dabbled in so many different niches. From fitness, nutrition accountability, to weight loss to self love. And it wasn’t until about two years ago that I was finally just honest with myself about what I was deeply passionate about. And that’s when the meal plan series was born. And I’m in total alignment, and I really never looked back.

Ward Sandler 3:17
That’s cool. So when you were kind of exploring those other avenues, what made you decide, you know what, I’m going to really focus on the meal service side of this kind of wellness journey. Why did you decide on that, and what was kind of the first steps in terms of building an audience there?

Sarah Kaminski 3:33
So I actually I mean, in terms of building my audience, I started back in like, 2011, just on my personal Facebook account, sharing what I was doing and how I was living and at that point, I was a teacher. I wasn’t doing this type of work professionally or being paid to do it in any capacity. I didn’t actually have a paid offer until 2015. And at that time, it was more around health and lifestyle. While coaching, by that time in 2015, by the time I was monetizing a lot of people just in my warm audience and friends of friends that had been following along, were eager to work more closely with me or to begin learning for me. Since that time, I’ve continued to grow an organic following on Instagram. And I also offer live workshops and classes just locally in my area to make connections. More recently, I’ve offered streamed cooking classes, which has actually been a really big hit, especially just like with the nature of the way that things are in the world right now with people spending more time at home. So I’m always just looking for creative ways to connect with more people.

Ward Sandler 4:46
Yeah, that’s great. And of all those different places that you’ve found and growing an audience would you say one is by far like the number one channel or is it kind of evenly distributed? You know,

Sarah Kaminski 4:56
I feel like in reflecting back, I mean, I’ve tried to growing my audience and a lot of different ways, I’ve used paid traffic paid advertising to grow my following and my audience. And while I feel like that does bring in like a large influx of people, they’re not always the right people. So for me, I feel like the most effective approach to growing my audience has been just smaller targeted groups of people who really care about the work that I do, and are interested as opposed to, you know, it’s like that idea of 10 quality people as opposed to 100 people, most of which don’t really care. Does that make sense?

Ward Sandler 5:40
Yeah, but But what I’m what I’m trying to get at is is the actual channel of how you find those 10 qualified people. Is there one way that you’re finding that more than others such as the live events versus Instagram,

Sarah Kaminski 5:50
you know, I will say it’s probably between, you know, sharing tags on Instagram. So you know, there are a lot of different other things businesses and individuals just on Instagram that I stay connected with. And just by tagging and sharing one another’s content is a really great way to gain visibility in terms of, you know, targeted followers and people that you know, will engage in what I have to offer. I think that the live events are really effective as well. Either approach, I think is a smaller, you know, I’m gaining a smaller group of people with every tag or with every live event. But it’s those high quality followers as opposed to, you know, a big huge influx of people that maybe aren’t the people that are going to eventually invest in what I have to offer.

Ward Sandler 6:42
Yeah, I think a lot of people just sort of assume like more traffic’s better, right, but more traffic and also lead to more questions, more support. And like you said, you’re providing all this for folks that might not even be a good fit in to begin with. So you’re kind of wasting your time you’re wasting their time. So it’s just not it just doesn’t make sense. So to focus more on quality traffic over quantity, I think isn’t always as intuitive as it sounds when you say it out loud.

Sarah Kaminski 7:07
Yeah, yeah. And you know, I didn’t think that way for a long time. I think we sort of living in a world where it’s like, Okay, how many followers do you have? Or how many people do subscribe, subscribe to your email list and you know, 1000 unengaged subscribers on my email list or followers on Instagram don’t really matter. You know, I could have where I could have just 100 really engaged subscribers or followers. And that’s, I think, what really matters.

Ward Sandler 7:36
Cool. So why don’t we move on to pricing a little bit? So could you explain what the pricing is for both the memberships you mentioned? And then also just kind of riff a little bit on how you think about pricing for your business?

Sarah Kaminski 7:48
Yeah, totally. So for the meal plan series, I basically just asked myself, what would I pay for a meal planning service? Like what would I pay to be able to log in each week how a meal plan with a grocery list done for me and a community to connect with. And just, you know, all of the resources that I would need kind of packaged all together with like access to the search engine, everything that I was providing inside, I asked myself what I would pay for. There’s a lot of free recipe content and meal plan content out in the world. So you know, how could I sort of set myself apart and make my pricing again, you know, what would I pay for it? I started at $25 a month. And since we started, we’ve sort of wavered between $24 and $29 and changed our offer a little bit. For the last two months, we’ve been at sitting at $24. And that feels really good. And I feel like the feedback from the people that are engaged, that feels really good and manageable for them as well. For well together collective. We wanted it to be accessible to any woman wellness professional who wanted to be a part in the coaching world in the wellness world. They’re all of these like high Ticket coaching offers out there. And we wanted to really set ourselves apart from all of those big sort of outlandish offers and make this really accessible and valuable to women in the wellness space. So we offer two different membership options within well together collective. We have a core membership, which includes weekly curated, guided meditations and journal prompts. We offer weekly challenges and exploratory book series. And we also include a movement philosophy, the veggie out meal plan series search engine, and then we also have a community component. So we have an online community in a platform called mighty networks. It’s basically like a Facebook group but not on Facebook. And then we have an expansion membership monthly coaching component, which is a space for members to come exactly as they are ask real time questions, share openly and just connect with other women in our field on a deeper level. We offer the core membership without that monthly coaching for $39 a month and the expansion membership, which includes the monthly coaching at $49 a month, when we very first launched, we offered a founding member rate at $29, which included everything and that really helped us to build our initial community, get the pieces moving, and those members have that monthly price locked in for the life of their fluid membership.

Ward Sandler 10:30
Gotcha. And for the women wellness, how long has that been around?

Sarah Kaminski 10:33
We just launched earlier this year, so three months. It’s a baby Sto.

Ward Sandler 10:38
Gotcha. So so far, what’s kind of been the feedback on the pricing. You said 29. Two was kind of the founding member rate, and now it’s 39 a month with 49 a month if you want to include that coaching aspect.

Sarah Kaminski 10:49
We haven’t had any pushback. I mean the people we’ve sort of found that like the people that want this and and need it. There’s no push back on price. at all whatsoever, you know, you do have those conversations with people that are like, well, I’m just not really in a place to take on a recurring monthly cost right now. But we haven’t had any pushback for the people that need it. It’s sort of like when people are ready for it, and they, you know, sort of feel called that they need this layer of support, accountability, camaraderie, then they don’t really think twice about it.

Ward Sandler 11:25
Right. All right. So then for the veggie out service, how long has that been around?

Sarah Kaminski 11:30
A year and a half? Yeah, about 18 months.

Ward Sandler 11:34
Okay, so you’ve had a little more time to see how the market feels about that one. He said it’s been between 24 and $29 a month. Have you experimented with the pricing aside from plus or minus a few dollars? And also do you offer any kind of annual or quarterly or is it only monthly?

Sarah Kaminski 11:49
You know, we don’t yet and it hasn’t been out of my sort of like realm of thought to begin to offer a quarterly maybe six month or annual option and an addition to the monthly option, I think I’m sort of think I’m at the point with the meal plan series and thinking about, like, what the long term vision for that is. And I’m not sure that I have quite landed on it yet. So I think it’s difficult for me to the way that it’s currently structured, I don’t know if it’s going to be this way, forever. I think I’m building such a large amount of resources inside that it’s just going to sort of it’s going to evolve and grow. And with that, I think the offer is going to change. So if anything, I think once I have feel really good about the amount of content that’s inside, the monthly price will probably lower because my hands on engagement with it week to week will be less if that makes sense. So right now I’m you know, updating new content every single week. And I think it’s going to get to a point where the search engine is going to be so robust that I don’t even know that I’m going to need to be adding and creating new content, I’m going to be able to just be pulling in feature content that’s inside. And when that happens, I think I’m going to feel comfortable probably lowering the month to month and then offering, you know, like a monthly or I’m sorry, an annual option to that as well.

Ward Sandler 13:12
Yeah. So once you get to the point where you’re you kind of have enough content, which it sounds like you’re approaching, have you thought about like a lifetime membership option instead of a monthly? Because from like, from the customer’s perspective, right? Are they getting anything new each month? Or is it just access to the same great pool of content? You know what I mean?

Sarah Kaminski 13:30
So right now, we’re constantly adding new content. I mean, we’re adding new content every week. And when we add that new content, we’re featuring a meal plan with a grocery list within like that search engine portal. So I envisioned sort of long term that, you know, we continue to add to that search engine, but we’re maybe just not as actively, you know, week to week featuring those new recipes. I’m not really sure what it’s going to look like for the long term. But I really do like the idea of having a lifetime membership. I think that that is definitely not an option that we would rule out.

Ward Sandler 14:07
Yeah, cuz I would just imagine like, for example, the meal prep and the recipes. Those are all things that if I’m a member, I can just get to write and I could technically download or copy them somewhere all at once. I want to go crazy, right, like in a weekend?

Sarah Kaminski 14:21
Yeah, you could. And we’ve actually thought about that. And to be honest, when we started, we didn’t include all of the archived meal plans. So all of like the past content we didn’t have inside for that reason. I was like, Well, what what’s gonna hold somebody back from just coming in and, you know, printing off everything. But I think it was actually a conversation with, you know, just added value with one of your support people on your team that helped me to sort of realize that that is like such an added value piece to be able to be a pool from that archived content that we’ve started to include it so people can access you know, all paths Last month meal plans, I think people get really pumped about like, okay, what’s going to be the new thing that’s going to be featured this week, even though they know they have access to all of that old content? It’s just that sort of like anticipation of like, what’s gonna come next? What’s gonna come next?

Ward Sandler 15:14
Yeah, that makes sense. And also the idea that you’re kind of curating this library of content to present something featured. I think that helps people too. Because, you know, let’s say you have 100 recipes on there. It’s like, Okay, do I really want to go through 100 recipes and figure out what I want to make? It’d be easier if you just say, Hey, this is a really good one. And this is what we’re talking about this week. And it’s like, Okay, cool. You made you made the choice for me, you know?

Sarah Kaminski 15:36
Yeah. I mean, a lot of people will say like, Well, why would I pay for something like this? When I have Pinterest and Google, you know, our search engine portal has just over 275 recipes. They’re all plant forward recipes. And that content, like I said, is growing every week. But you know, you can type in something like, you know, broccoli recipes. If you type that into Google, you’re going to get like hundreds and thousands of Search results and you don’t know if they’re going to be any good. And you don’t really know if they’re like, you know, good for you. So we take all of that guesswork out. And instead of like, you know, hundreds of thousands of broccoli recipes, you’re gonna get, you know, a dozen or a couple dozen. So it helps to kind of eliminate that feeling of overwhelm, especially for somebody that’s just getting started.

Ward Sandler 16:21
Yeah, I mean, you could extend that argument to almost any course ever that’s being created. You technically could Google for those answers and Glenn comb through, you know, thousands of pages of content and kind of come to the same conclusion that the course does. But you’re paying for someone to do that curation and research for you to say, here are the best options based on what you care about. So I think that totally makes sense to have people basically pay for your curation of a quality, you know, data set, essentially.

Sarah Kaminski 16:51
yeah, totally. And I’m a big fan of outsourcing to anything that you know, if, if you’re not good at it, or you hate doing it, like fine Find a way to be supportive. Just outsource it. You know, in this case, obviously, it’s like for meal planning or if you feel overwhelmed by like, you know what’s healthier, how can I easily get more veggies in, but even something like housecleaning or you know, business resources, business coaching resources, things like that, you know, find a way to outsource it and be supported.

Ward Sandler 17:19
Okay, so do you have an example of something that you’ve tried in the business that just didn’t really work? And, you know, do you know why?

Sarah Kaminski 17:26
So I’ve done a lot of things that haven’t worked, right. I think that’s part of just growing a business right is being able to just like, continue to just show up and figure out what works and what doesn’t work as I think a sort of specific examples, and I mentioned this a little bit earlier, but growing my audience with paid Facebook advertising, that was not successful for me, I did gain a lot of followers, but they aren’t, you know, quote, unquote, my people. I feel like another thing that didn’t work for me was trying to sell a program or service to a niche That didn’t make my heart sing, you know, that wasn’t like in total alignment with what I loved. Like when I was selling, you know, programs that were geared toward weight loss, like, sure that’s great, but I’m not really passionate about weight loss, I don’t feel like that’s going to necessarily change somebody’s life, you know, what I offer? Now, you know, weight loss is often a byproduct for people that want that goal or setting out to achieve that. But that’s not the selling point, right. The selling point for me is like, just incorporate more plant foods and reap all of the benefits. And that feels so much more powerful to me. And I feel like I can speak just more truly to that as opposed to selling to weight loss. Another thing that I tried in the past was offering high end one on one coaching packages, and it just didn’t work for me. And that’s actually what brought me to the membership model. And I’m so grateful to be able to have these two platforms to share, build community and share so many incredible leaders. Horses at a price point that feels, you know, easy to talk about and easy for people to say yes to.

Ward Sandler 19:07
Awesome. So how can people learn more about you and your business, Sarah?

Sarah Kaminski 19:11
Oh, my contact info is on my website at Sarah kaminski.com.

Ward Sandler 19:16
Great. Alright, so anyone can feel free to check that out. And Sarah, thanks again for spending time with us.

Sarah Kaminski 19:22
Yeah, thanks so much.