Kelly Vrchota

Memberships Are More Than Entry Level Offers With Kelly Vrchota


TRANSCRIPT AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED [00:00:00] Hey, Hey, today's guest Kelly Vrchota is a membership strategist, helping coaches create and grow memberships to impact more people without overfilling their calendars. Hey Kelly, welcome to the show. Diane: show. Kelly: Dan. Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here. Diane: So before we dive in, let's do a quick intro to you and your business. Kelly: Okay. So I'm a membership strategist. I lived in the United States and I work with coaches who are looking to grow or create a membership so they can impact more people without overfilling their calendars. Diane: when we first had a conversation about memberships, you actually made me think about them quite differently. I couldn't really see a space for them in my business because in my head, a membership is a low ticket entry point community that feeds your high ticket offers, Kelly: Right. Diane: They're either your core product or that's where they fit into your business. When we were talking about it, you were suggesting to me, well, have you thought about putting them anywhere else in your business . So can we walk through how memberships fit in at the beginning, middle end of the customer journey? Kelly: Yeah. So I think a membership can be, you know, for a coach, it can be a little bit different than your typical membership. That might be a $7 meal planning membership. And so if you can think about where you put that membership, it can go on the front end to kind of warm up people to feed them into your higher level. One-on-one coaching that they become warm. They'll say, oh my gosh, I need to go further with Diane. Cause I really, she gets me and I, I need to go deeper. They can go on the backend, like at the end of a course, or at the end of one-on-one, it's a container to keep them in your world. It keeps them in your space to keep them connected to you. They still have access to ask you questions and there's this community component where we're all on the same journey and we're in this group. That's a safe bet space to carry us through. Diane: I guess if in the retainer space, you kind of already all speak the same quote unquote language, Kelly: right. They've got the foundational stuff. Diane: It's almost like if at the beginning you're start teaching. The language then [00:02:00] when they're in your container, they're becoming fluent in the language. And now they're in a container where they all speak. The same Kelly: Absolutely. Diane: So why should. Every kind of coach course creator be considering membership. Kelly: Let me give an example. So my very first client that I worked with was a good friend of mine and she was a coach for adoptive and foster parents. And so she was working one-on-one and her. Which I heard her say pretty much daily was as long as I'm on this planet, no family will have to do this alone. I said, fantastic mission, but you're not going to get there making that kind of impact only doing one-on-one. So we went into the, course model, the ma at the time it was webinar model. There was this disconnect because the families didn't have the space to be able to say, okay, now I tried this and I want to access, you know, ask you, well, what do you think about this? Because that piece was, it was one and done because it was a course. And so we discovered the membership model built that into our business and it was transformational for her, but it was also for those families because they had this access to keep working with her. And there was this connectedness in this community and that community. You know, lots of times that that will be where, why somebody will stay in a membership is the community. And she passed away in 2019 and three years later, this membership has still continued on, there is this core group of parents who stay in this membership because they're connected to one another. And then they're in this safe, vetted space. Diane: It's interesting. Cause we, we talk a lot about, in the entrepreneur space about legacy, and wanting to build a business that carries on without us or wanting to have made impact in the world. But I never really heard anyone talk about community existing beyond. As that kind of impact measurement. Kelly: I was, I was really surprised by it. I, you know, and when I look at it, cause I'm still. I'm still part of it, you know, a little bit. And I still see it and I just I'm floored by it that three years later, they're still active paying members because they feel so [00:04:00] strongly and connected to one another. I, it, it overwhelms me in the best of ways. Diane: while that's amazing what I do want people to focus on the word that you said there is paying members. It's not that they just exist as a community that willing to pay to be in that community. So I guess membership without community is probably not the success model that will. Kelly: Right. I think, you know, there are memberships there without community, but I think. You know, if we look at the last two years, we're all just craved connection, community, all those things with the pandemic, but that's, what's going to keep people staying there and it, and it's a different one. It's a paid model. It's different than a free Facebook group. It's a safe, vetted space. You know, you could go on there, say something that you're struggling with in a free Facebook group, that's free and you're going to get. A lot of crap out there sometimes, but if you've got the safe space that you can share some really hard stuff and you've got this connection there, it's a different feel. Diane: Let's talk about what memberships could be. So you mentioned like the non buck, recipe one, I think you said. And I'm seeing that a lot with people in maybe more the social media space or the copywriting space. We're seeing like the $9 membership. I feel like Liz Wilcox is a copywriter, was the first one to do it where you can join a membership for like nine bucks. So you get like template and stock, right? So that's obviously super high volume content only membership. And then I have another friend who has, who has been on the show, Liz Henson, who has a membership that is, I think, more expensive than that. And, but hers is pure coaching based you get access to her in a group setting for like a couple of times a month. I think it is. I mean, there's other stuff that's in there. We can definitely link the list. Episodes. People can go look at it. And then I guess there's somewhere in the, between where there is some content or coursework and some community. What do those [00:06:00] models look like and how do you decide, where on the membership spectrum? To show up. Kelly: No, I think it's really. It's important to look at, like what works for you as entrepreneur, as a business owner, as a coach, whatever you want to call it and design it. So it works well for you and serves you well and your members. Well, it doesn't have to be one or the other, and it can be a really hybrid model. It can be that you have. Access to coaching once a month or twice a month, or maybe there is I've had clients that have done a oh, what's the word? Kind of like, working hours. They come and let us work together. We're in the same space and we can chat. It might be a Q and a session and it might be content. You can, you can have both pieces of it or only one kind of piece of it. Diane: When we think about the beginning and the end, so where we put the membership at the start and at the end of the customer journey, I can see all of those models kind of working for. The beginning piece, right? We've all seen those kind of intro spaces, like learn this thing, but I'll also show up once a month or once a quarter or whatever. When we think about that end model where people don't traditionally think about membership, Kelly: Yup. Diane: what sort of models work really well in that space? Because those are people who have done your one-to-one with you, right? So you have hopefully served them at the highest level that you have. Kelly: right. Diane: What are we putting into that membership at that end? Kelly: I think at that end, you know, You know, quote unquote graduated, you know, it puts them in this space where they can still have access to you. So it's like they still have this kind of coach in their back pocket. If they have something that comes up, they need to ask a question or whatever, and it also puts them in this community piece of it. So I think in those parts of that back end part, you can have. A Q and a once a month, you can have this community that they're in. There are people who have done the same similar work that's in, you know, in the same space. Like you talked about speaking the same jargon, the community piece of it's important at that point. And I think occasional access, access to the coach to be able to pull out a question when I need it. Diane: [00:08:00] And then, so we've talked a little bit, has come up a lot. What do you see working really well as community builders within memberships? Kelly: Right. I mean, you can have things where you might do. Let's say a wine down Wednesday that we just gather and we connect and have conversation as, as a group. It can be things that. You know, prompts per se in a group, but where we're, we're celebrating each other's wins, or we are bringing a question and not only the coaches answering the question, but Hey, I've tried this Diane, you should, you know, have you thought about this? You know, just really kind of focus on relationship building, I think is the best. You know, if you can look at that, you're building connections and relationship, not just looking to get people in to engage on a post. Diane: so follow up question. When you say relationship building with you or with. Kelly: With each other, you know, I think that's, what's going to build a strong community that, you know, especially if it's on the backend, they already have a relationship with the coach. They already have that, that really deep relationship. Now it's about working in, in building those relationships with each other. Diane: And I guess when it's at the front, you are more of the central point because the goal is to get them, to see you as the expert and to upgrade into that higher ticket. Like you said, off the back end, they've already done that. Now. They just need community. Like we're in this together. I kind of Kelly: Right. And they stay in this container with you, you know? So like I'll have coaches that they'll have them when they graduate, they go into the container of the membership and then they get to the spot where they hit another bump in the road. And then I'm like, you know what? I need to go back and do some one-on-one work with you. I just, you know, they're in your space already. They're already there. And so it's easy to flip them back into one-on-one coaching and they're still part of that community piece of it. Diane: so, this all sounds lovely, but I'm assuming it's not as easy as that. what are the challenges around having a member? Kelly: One of the, one of the challenges that people seem to. Trip up a lot, as they want to share all the information, they want to just give them everything, [00:10:00] you know, that they know. And so it's like pouring it all out and for them, the members can't take it in. So I think really being strategic of making sure you're not giving too much, because if they become overwhelmed, it's the biggest reason they're going to leave a membership and then really kind of setting it up, I think, to make it. You know, simple that it's not overwhelming for the member, but that is also something that doesn't have to be overwhelming for the coach as well, because at the end of the day, nobody really wants to pour more onto their plate. Diane: Yeah, I think for a lot of people that, like, that's a really difficult line. I mean, that's a super difficult line for me. It's also why I prefer to work like one-to-one or in VIP days, because once I spot the problem, I just want to solve it. Right. And so I think if I had that early membership, I would have to somehow restrain the fire hose of information the 10 grand group program would appear in the 47 bucks a month membership accidentally. Right. So, maybe the end of a program membership kind of landed a bit more with me because they already had everything. Kelly: Absolutely. And I like, I mean, that's why I liked that back end. I think, you know, at that point you're really just focusing on. On community. And you're focusing on that. They still have access to you, but they've already done all the deep work. They already have all the knowledge, you know, you can still give them access to if you have trainings, put it in a vault or whatever, but it doesn't even have to be, it doesn't have to be content heavy nor I don't think it should be at that end. Be content heavy. It's about support. Diane: We are very much taught when we come into business, like the value letter, here's the little purchase and then here's the bigger purchase. And then here's the next biggest purchase. But we're talking about going from like high ticket signature program, signature course into membership of the back end. And I know we're not talking necessarily like a 47 bucks a month membership off the back end. It's. Going to be significantly higher, but it's still probably significantly less than your one-to-one. Kelly: Absolutely. Diane: So do you see people [00:12:00] get tripped up by going low ticket after high ticket? Kelly: Sometimes, but I think if you just kind of look at it differently that it is about continuation it's about the long, the long run. I mean, for the most part, people aren't going to stay in coaching year after year, after year one-on-one coaching. So it's a way to continue supporting somebody at a, at a much different level. Cause it's obviously at a much different price point, but it's about duration. Diane: And so let's talk about price point while we're on it. Let's talk about ranges for memberships. Cause I keep saying the 47 back membership, but let's be real. Most memberships start at 97 Kelly: right, right. Diane: days, right. Gone are the days of it's either the super cheap nine bucks a month or it's somewhere around the a hundred bucks. But how high can net action. Kelly: I think it really depends on who your audience is. Like if you're like, if you're a parent. It's a very different price point than if you're a business coach, you know, 1 97, 2 97. I've seen him even as high as 5 97 or 6 97 a month, especially for, you know, business coaches because their members are, you know, they're in the habit of investing in themselves and they see the value of that versus a parent is a different, you know, we're not always willing to put our money there. Diane: From a business perspective, it's much easier to demonstrate a financial ROI. Kelly: Right. Exactly. Diane: So it's easier to be like, well, yes, you're giving me 300 bucks a month, but how much money are you making off of being in this community? And you being able to do X Y set it in your business. Whereas as a parent, you're thinking of the opportunity, cost of that money. So the concern, the B to C, you have to outweigh that opportunity cost of what else that money could be used for. Kelly: Right, right. Diane: And. I've never seen it, but I'm really curious about, is there some kind of like finite membership? I feel like when people talk about quote, unquote, most minds, these days is going to talk about high ticket masterminds. What they really mean is a really high priced membership[00:14:00] because it's often content driven coach led, you know, true mastermind is a small intimate group of people equally masterminding, Kelly: Correct. Yep. Diane: But I feel like that retainer membership that we've been talking about, the alternative that we actually see this these days in business is actually the quote unquote high ticket mastermind, the 10 20, 25 30, but it's limited to like a year. Kelly: Right, Diane: But often, like you're offered the opportunity to wrap. It's just a membership that you have to join for a year. Kelly: right. Diane: So is there some kind of definition that allows people to be like, okay, I'm dealing with a membership versus I'm dealing with something else in my business or does it really not matter what we call it? Kelly: I don't think it matters what we call it. I mean, I think, I think there's the terms that we all know, we know mastermind, we know membership, you know, does your audience know that, you know, what appeals to them, but really I think if you can focus on what is, what's the transformation that they're going to have, what are they going to get out of? It, it doesn't really matter what we call it, Diane: maybe that is the differentiator. Is that the, the limited high ticket group program or mastermind or whatever it is is for a specific transformation usually. Whereas the membership is usually, I guess, more support on. Kelly: Right. Right. Especially a membership on the end of coat coaching, Diane: We were talking about length of, membership. So if you're having a problem with churn, the thing to start, you know, if you're not getting converted, You look at well, like, Hey, am I booking sales calls? And you go all the way back. Right? So if somebody is seeing a lot of churn and they're losing people. Like a lot of memberships are like, you have to join for three months kind of thing. And then I think you probably see a lot of churn at the end of those three months. Would you say the first thing to diagnose is like, what does the community look Kelly: Absolutely. And like, what does that look like when somebody comes in? Are they onboarded well? So [00:16:00] right away, they know where to go find the things. Is there a focus where should they put their energy and connecting them with somebody else? So whether that might be, if you have Oh, I'm trying to think of what you'd even call it. I can't like a men. I met a membership buddy. Exactly. I was thinking the welcome wagon, but maybe that's a term that's only here and from a bajillion years ago, but you know where somebody, you know, you, that you build this relationship, you walk in and you have somebody that you can say, Hey, come sit at my table with me, come sit, you know, sit by me for, you know, this lunch period type idea, you know, and building those kinds of things in from the beginning. And then really looking at what's it looking like, are they showing up for things? Are they, you know, Can you, you know, can you, if they're not showing up for things, can you do some surveys for your members? W w what kind of things do we want to see? What, what would help you, you know, and then looking at are they engaged? Are they, you know, again, showing up, are they, you can add things like gamification people really like that. You know, I, my husband is a, he rides in the winter. He rides his bicycle on his, on swift, and they have points and I, he has. Your typical person that I think, oh, he would totally fall for the game of vacation. There he is. Biking is like, I got it's double points this weekend. So I'm going to bike an extra two hours. You know, the points mean nothing. He gets nothing with it other than a virtual little badge, but there he is falling for that game of vacation. So people really do like that. And that's a way to really get your members engaged in showing up. Diane: right. I love that as like a climbing stairs. I'm someone who will fall for gamification every single time, hands down. Right. That's the way to keep me. So yes, I can relate to that. So is there anyone who shouldn't have a memory. Kelly: Oh, if you're playing the short game membership probably is not for you. A membership is a longer game thing. You know, there is going to be time invested in it and money invested in it. And all of that, you know, it has the potential to be a lifetime asset to your business. It's, you know, predictable recurring revenue coming in, but you have to be willing to. Set aside [00:18:00] time to do it and really foster that community. And so if you're not in that brain space, then probably a membership, wouldn't be for you. Diane: Yeah, that makes sense. I think a lot of people, we see the, the membership messaging tends to be very like, look how much money you can make, but often the people who all those testimonials and those examples have been nurturing. A warm audience for ages and have all they've done is given the audience an opportunity to, to step in and pay them. Versus like you said, if somebody's starting from scratch, that's a really long-term Kelly: Yup. Diane: strategy because you have to do that build Kelly: right. And I find my clients do best if they, if they're coaches that they have done that they're established one-on-one coaches. So they have this process that they're taking their people to. They understand their people inside and out, and they do the best. And, and a lot of them will have, you know, the goal of revenue, obviously the goal of time, freedom, obviously, but they also want to impact people and that. It's giving them this, this place to be able to serve and impact a lot more people than just one-to-one. So if, if, that's kind of a core driver, in addition to those other two pieces of revenue and time freedom, I think then it's a really good match. Diane: So I'm obviously not a memberships person. I don't have one. I don't think I've ever had one. I might have one in the future, but I have no plans at the moment. So is there anything you wish that everyone knew about memberships or you wish that I had asked you about membership? Kelly: I just wish everybody knew that it didn't have that. There's not this one size fits all. It can be customed designed to work for you. It doesn't have to be okay. All these other people are telling me we have to do all these pieces of it. It can be just as hybrid mix of what works best for you and your. Diane: I love. I try to drill into people [00:20:00] across business, but even for me, I've always thought that membership was really formulaic and, you know, fill in this box in this template and that's how you set it up. So that is very good to hear. So to finish up, I always ask my guests a couple of questions first up. What is your number one lifestyle boundary for your business? Kelly: My number one, lifestyle boundary. I have weekends totally blocked off and I, you know, I, if I choose to hop in there, I do. But you know, it's, it's pretty hard, fast rule these days on the weekends. Diane: define weekend for me. Kelly: Mid day, Friday till Monday morning. Diane: I was like to ask that question because I do think for some people, it means like a three-day weekend for some people like you it's. Lunchtime, but other people it's like Friday night, but I also do a bit of planning on Sunday. So I always like to define the weekend as well. Okay. Finally, what's the worst piece of cookie cutter advice you have been given as an entrepreneur? Kelly: Oh boy. I guess I would say. That to go broad in the beginning and not niche down. And I did that and I was doing all the things and serving all the people and just taking on clients. And, And, really, as I niche down now in the past couple years, I'm like, this is my sweet spot. And I'm in a spot in my life that I get to do what I love and how I serve best. So once I niche down, things really shifted into place for me. Diane: Did you need to go broad to learn what you wanted to niche down on? Kelly: Probably I probably needed to go broad in that sense of like, what did I want to niche down on, but I didn't need to take on some of the clients I took on, you know, they just weren't right. Fit clients for me. And I felt like, oh, I should just say yes to these things. And, you know, once I got clear in my head of who I wanted to work with and saying no to some other people that shifted. And then as I niched down, even more than that was a better fit. Diane: right. Do you think like maybe you were too broad for too long? Kelly: Yes. My messaging was just too broad. And so, you know, it was like, when you speak to everyone, you [00:22:00] speak to no one. Diane: so true. Well, this has been great. I've loved chatting through memberships, which is an area where I don't really feel like I have a lot of expertise. So I think it's been really helpful to give everyone a different perspective. And I love that idea of. Retain a model for a membership. So where's the best place for everyone to carry on having this conversation with you, or if they need help from you customizing what membership could mean to them. Kelly: Yeah. So I'm on LinkedIn a lot. That's kinda my platform of choice and it's just Kelly ricotta. And then my website is So I'm always happy to hop on a call with somebody if they just want to talk through a membership idea or kind of unravel some stuff and get some clarity on is a membership good fit or what could they could be doing differently. Diane: Awesome. Thank you very Kelly: Thank you. It was fun.

If you think of memberships as low ticket offers to warm up your buyers for a high ticket offer, think again.

Kelly Vrchota walks you through how to use memberships throughout your customer journey and what makes higher ticket memberships successful.

Key Takeaway

Memberships should be custom designed to work for you. It can be just a hybrid mix of content, community, and coaching that works best for you and your people.

We talk about

  • How memberships fit in throughout the customer journey
  • Why everyone should consider a membership
  • How to decide how much content, coaching, and community to include
  • How to diagnose a churn problem
  • When you should absolutely NOT have a membership
  • Kelly’s lifestyle boundary for her business
  • The worst cookie-cutter advice Kelly’s been given on her lifestyle business

About Kelly

Kelly is a Membership Strategist, helping coaches create and grow memberships to impact more people without overfilling their calendars.


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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this podcast episode and article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article or episode. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Diane Mayor disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.