Ep 120: How To Build and Manage A Membership Site with Chris Ducker

Author and serial entrepreneur, Chris Ducker has built an income stream by following a simple formula — show up every week and create content that answers a question or solves a problem. This insight comes from today’s conversation with Chris, in which he candidly explains the steps he’s taken to create his successful subscription service, Youpreneur Academy..

Early in our discussion, we talk about his subscriber numbers, retention rates, and what he does to manage his website. From video training to blog posts, we chat about what his members get out of his service and why he no longer needs to upload huge amounts of content per month.

After touching on why he charges dollars for subscriptions, we dive into a key part of his offering — the community aspect. As Chris explains, entrepreneurs need to speak to and learn from their peers. In his case, this includes mega-successful business people who have only started to build their personal brands.

We then discuss his tiered subscription model, why email is the king of his marketing funnel, and why you should aim to get users onto your website and away from social media platforms. Tune in for more on what you can do to nail your online subscription model.

WATCH THE INTERVIEW

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE BELOW

KEY POINTS FROM THIS EPISODE

  • Introducing author, serial entrepreneur, and Youpreneur mastermind, Chris Ducker.
  • How Chris retains his membership numbers for the Youpreneur Academy.
  • Why Chris hasn’t been adding loads of new content to his service.
  • Creating content in batches and featuring prominent thought leaders.
  • Deciding on the amount you charge users, and in what currency.
  • How Chris adapted to doing business in an international setting.
  • The importance of having a community of fellow entrepreneurs to speak to.
  • Details on Youpreneur Academy’s multi-tiered subscription system.
  • Hear how Chris sells Youpreneur Academy at a low-price point.
  • Building your content strategy around always answering a question.
  • Why Youpreneur’s email list is their main conversion tool.
  • Getting people into your funnel and away from social media platforms.
  • The value of having a virtual assistant when building your personal brand.

TWEETABLE MOMENTS

“If you want your recurring, reliable income, you need to show the heck up every month.” — @ChrisDucker [0:05:14]

“When you first get started as an entrepreneur, it’s good to have something to go to beyond Google. People that you can speak to and learn from.” — @ChrisDucker [0:12:55]

“When you create content, always answer a question. That’s it. It will have a long-form effect on having customers find you and then converting them.” — @ChrisDucker [0:17:12]

“You don’t own the platforms you use. Google owns YouTube. Mark Zuckerberg owns Facebook. Your goal is to get people onto your website and email list — tools that you control.” — @ChrisDucker [0:20:13]

ABOUT CHRIS DUCKER

Chris is a serial entrepreneur and author of the bestselling books, “Virtual Freedom”, and more recently, “Rise of the Youpreneur”. 

 Based in Cambridge, England, he owns and operates several businesses, that combined house over 350 full-time employees around the world. He’s also a trusted international business mentor, keynote speaker, podcaster, blogger, as well as the founder of Youpreneur.com – the world’s fastest growing personal brand business education company. 

 Chris hosts the annual Youpreneur Summit, which is held in London each November and is the self-proclaimed ‘Proudest Brit’ doing business online! 

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Chris Ducker — https://chrisducker.com/

Chris Ducker on Twitter — https://twitter.com/chrisducker

Chris Ducker on LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisducker/

Youpreneur Academy — https://www.youpreneuracademy.com/

Rise of the Youpreneur on Amazon — https://amzn.to/36iC17w

Virtual Freedom on Amazon — https://amzn.to/3kcrmAc

Virtual Staff Finder — https://www.virtualstafffinder.com/

Youpreneur Summit — https://www.youpreneursummit.com/

Jay Baer — https://www.jaybaer.com/

Pat Flynn — https://patflynn.com/

Gary Vaynerchuk — https://www.garyvaynerchuk.com/

Brand Builders Group Consultation Call — freecall.brandbuildersgroup.com 

Take The Stairs  https://amzn.to/2ZAJNUS 

Hey Brand Builder Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for tuning in to listen to this interview. We are so excited to bring you this information and wanted to let you know that, Hey, there’s no sales pitch coming from anything that we do with this is all our value add to you and the community. However, if you are somebody who is looking for specific strategies on how to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and we offer a free call to everyone that’s interested in getting to know us and is willing to give us a chance to get to know them and share a little bit about what we do. So if you’re interested in taking us up on a free strategy call, you can do that at brand builders, group.com/summit call brand builders, group.com/summit. Call. Hope to talk to you soon on with the show. Chris Ducker is easily one of my favorite Brits and probably like I’m literally the only British person. You know, I think that is not true. That is not true. I would say that Not true. I know quite a, quite a bit of British people, quite A few Brits, But man, he is amazing. I met him through Jay Baer, which just, we have close personal friends. Y’all know how much I love Jay Baer. And one of the reasons I love Chris because he’s a real entrepreneur in addition to being a, a phenomenal personal brand. So he’s written two books that are awesome, Virtual Freedom and Rise of the Youpreneur, but he owns and operates real companies. In fact, he has 350 full-time employees, mround the world. He’s got businesses in different countries. Umne of which is called virtual staff finder. For those of you looking for virtual assistance, we’ll, you know, we’ll talk more about that later. Um,t he’s also a blogger, you know, he’s a podcaster he’s, he’s got a great following. He’s built a huge personal brand himself. Uh,’s a speaker. He hosts an annual summit, u,,lled the Youpreneur summit, which, u,ually I think is in Cambridge or in England and is in London. Okay. So he doesn’t event every year. And you know, we have a lot of overlap in terms of friends and audience and philosophy. And anyways, I just loved this guy and I, I, you need to know about him and what he does in his businesses and specifically his online business, which is the smallest part of how he makes his income because he’s got real companies doing real stuff. But he has a really big Academy called Youpreneur. It’s a membership Academy and I wanted to talk about how we built that and what does it take to really month in and month out manage a membership site because there’s good things and there’s bad things. And so anyways, Chris Ducker, my favorite Brit, glad you’re here. I’m glad I just want you to keep talking about me. This is great. I could listen to you for hours. Well, AJ always tells me she’s like, your introductions are too long. And I, and I, you know, I listened to everything. most everything AJ tells me, but I think it’s important cause I want you to know how much I love you. And I want, I want you listening to know every person that I bring on is here for a specific reason of someone that I learned from. And, you know, there’s you do so many of those things, but youpreneur.com, which is really the Academy, the membership site. I feel like Chris people, I feel like so many people get excited about a membership site. They start it, they run it for 15 months and then they’re like, this sucks and I’m out and you’ve done it. So how long have you done it? We we have just hit our fifth year at the Youpreneur Academy. Which is fantastic. I mean, throughout the course of that time, gosh, I don’t know exactly how many people have swung through those doors. If I had to put a number on it, I’d say probably around about 3003 and a half thousand people have joined that period of time. We float anywhere between, you know, based on pre, you know, promotions and kind of mini launches to our lists and things like that, or float anywhere between kind of like six 50 to nine 50 members at any one time. So it’s a good sticking rate as well. I think the majority of people stick around for about a year and a half or so. Uyou know, but, but here’s the, here’s the big thing. I think the one reason why memberships, mome and go so quickly is because man it’s work that people that people think that it’s like passive income or something equally as sexy. And it’s definitely not passive. It’s probably about the most, you know, other than say, like coaching one-on-one or as well, we do, we do. One-On-One like, it’s That you guys, you guys would not be good poster Childs for the idea of passive income, but that’s your model you see, and that’s what everybody loves about you. And so look, here’s the deal. If you want that recurring reliable income on a regular monthly basis, you need to show the heck up every single month as well. And we do that. We do that through, you know everything from, you know, video training that goes live every month, right? The way through to a massive archive of stuff. We, the funny thing is actually we don’t produce that much new content on a monthly basis anymore. We’ve been gone well, we’ve been going five Years, five years. You Can talk about building relationships and, you know, providing solutions to people’s problems and packaging, your experience, which is what we do and what we’ve done, but what we, what we have been doing really successfully over the last year and a half or so is going in and revamping stuff and re kind of touching stuff up to bring it kind of more up-to-date and things like that. But there’s still a lot of stuff. I mean, without a doubt, the most fun that I have with the Academy is our monthly chit chats, which is where I get to sit down 99% of the time in person. Cause as you well know, I travel a lot and we actually usually, you know, when we’re at a conference or something, I’ll hire a suite and we’ll bring a crew in for an entire day and we’ll film like six videos in one day and then that’s our content for six months. You see? Uand you know, we actually, even though I haven’t recorded anything since March this year, which is the last time you and I saw each other in San Diego,uwe we’ve still got content good until like February next year. So, you know, we’ve Six hours. So you batch are, are, are those like six hour long videos or are there They run for about 30 to 40 minutes on average? I mean, how long are you going to actually honestly sit and watch two people talk to each other with like, you know, two different camera angles, you know, like people’s span of attention, pretty poor nowadays as it is. Right. But we, you know, we, we, we do great con you know, we’ve had some incredible people that we’ve sat down with over the years and that Strikingly mediocre people like Jay Baer and Elsner Pat yeah, Pat Flynn, I know that given a large, large number of very average, average people, [inaudible] one time just wore the pants. I,uyou know, I think what it is is that that’s me, I’m more of a talker than a typer. So, you know, I like to podcast, I like to do video work. I like to speak on stage and I like to coach and train people. And so everything else that revolves around the Academy and then also the incubator, which is kind of our higher level membership, which is more kind of one to group coaching. So if you imagine, Are you comfortable sharing the prices with just like, so we were totally, yeah. Kind of give us a sense of like how many people and how difficult it is. The, the Academy is 39 us a month. That’s it that simple, right. I know I’m American, but we do have people who listen, but I appreciate that the, the th the, the U S translation, but I’m, we travel a lot. We are quite international, Actually. It’s funny, you mentioned that on genuinely, because, you know, we, we have a massively like big worldwide audience as well. We’re very blessed like that. And so the question actually did come about, you know, what are we going to do? How are we going to charge? Are we gonna do it in GBP? Are we gonna do it in Euro? Are we going do it in the U S you know, USB? Those are really the only three currencies we talked about when we launched you know, online and Euro was kind of ditched pretty much straight away because people in Europe are used to paying, you know, in USD for stuff online. The, the, you know, the British pounds things was a conversation that went on probably for too long, purely, just because of the fact that I’m British. And since two years ago, we’ve now been based here, back in England. Whereas obviously, as you well know, we’re over in the Philippines for 18 years. Right. So just, just for everyone to catch that, like you built these businesses living and operating and doing business in the Philippines, you moved for 18 years from England to the Philippines. I mean, that’s a, I don’t know. I mean, you’re definitely my favorite Filipino. Like, I don’t know. I don’t think I know very many and that’s, that’s amazing. Yeah. And I’m pretty sure you S you were charging us dollars when you were in the Philippines. I’m selling a very international membership site. Totally. And I mean, you know, our businesses, you know, the, the larger of the businesses is fundamentally a B2B call center facility. So we, you know, we bill in USD and we pay all our bills and Philippine pesto, and it’s very, very profitable. And so with the Academy, it, the USD, it was just, you know, the other conversation, a lot of people have this who maybe are not, US-based, they’ll have this issue of if I’m going to write in English, obviously if I’m in Germany and I’m talking to a German audience, I’m writing in German. But if I’m international outside of the United States and I’m writing content in English, do I go with a U S spelling or do I go with British spelling? And that was an open discussion that we actually add to have. But, you know, we went, we do everything in American English. We do everything in USD billing mainly because of the fact that internationally pound for pound, the U S way of writing and charging for products and services online specifically is more universally accepted. So for your, all of your podcasts listeners slash viewers that are listening to this, there you go. I’ve just solved the problem. Well, that is, and it makes me not feel quite as such a self-centered American. Even though that, that you, you know, so that’s interesting that that’s actually really helpful to have your perspective of that’s a conscious decision that you’ve made is just kind of the most transferable or universal. You know, The thing is, you know, ever since my know, ever since I kind of got in, you know, left school and I didn’t go to university or college as you guys would call it. And so I went straight into the workforce strain and sales and marketing for a publishing company. I only ever had two jobs in my life prior to setting up my own firm. And,uit, it’s always, I’ve always dealt with people on an international setting. So pretty much from week one, I was talking to people all over Europe, for example, based in the UK, mhat when I went over to the Philippines, you know, set up the firm, et cetera, et cetera, I, you know, instantly knew that America was our big melting pot of prospect of customers. So, you know, it’s just one of those things. I’ve always done business on an international setting. Uh,u know, everything from time zones to international dialing codes, they’re all up here, baby. I don’t need to look any of them up so, Well, yeah, I mean, you got tired, you got dialing codes, you have currency, you have taxes, there’s you have the writing. Like, [inaudible] like, like you’re saying the American English those are a lot of things. So, so $39 a month also gives you a very, you know globally affordable you’re factoring in certain countries that it’s like 99 a month. Like our lo our lowest price point is 99 a month, but you’re, you’re able to probably capture a much, a large percentage of the, of the world that maybe the 99 a month. Isn’t The thing is, look, this, this is the way I look at it. Right. whether you’re just getting started online and you want to learn, you know, you want to learn how to build an audience properly and to, you know, become, I always say, you know, that you’ve got to try and become somebody’s favorite, right? So whether you’re looking to become somebody’s favorite podcaster or blogger or YouTube, or live streamer or whatever it might be when you get started, it’s good to have something other than just non-stop Googling that you can go to, that you can converse with other people that are in a similar situation and kind of learn from and brainstorm and you know, that kind of stuff. Right. But then the flip side of that kind of beginner coin is that there are people inside of the Academy who have been in business for 10 plus years, who are already running very profitable businesses, but I’ve never considered personal branding, or as I call it building the business of you ever before, it’s something they’ve never done. And so, yeah, I’m, I’m profitable. I make money. But I’ve got no idea how to you know, build, build my website out properly to position myself as an expert. I’ve got no idea how to utilize my uniqueness as a person and my personality and my experiences to be able to bring in additional business et cetera, et cetera. Right. So this is, you know, the Academy really kind of just like it ticks all those boxes at a low price so that anybody can really afford it. Some might say, well, why don’t you just give it away for free? The reason being is because I didn’t give anything away for free. It’s really that simple. My time is a premium. And if it requires my time, even just a couple hours a month, if you want it, you’re gonna have to pay for it. It’s really that simple. And so that’s why, you know, that, that’s one of the reasons why we got around to,ulaunching two years ago, the incubator, which is like, kind of like the next tier, mhich ends up, you know, it’s like 2,500 bucks for the year and us dollars. Yeah. And, and, and, you know, that is, you know, more time with me each month as a group one to many, no, one-on-one coaching one to many. Um, you know, it’s a smaller group of people, uh s up being around about a hundred people or so at any one time, some people come, some people go, um,a uh,i great because you know, those who do stick around for that entire year plus, uh,t see incredible, incredible growth. Uh, ioesn’t take much. And, and, and even though you, you said you’ve been kind of hovering steadily between 600 to 900 members, you know, 40 bucks a month. That’s still, you know, whatever 20, 25, maybe $30,000 a month. And you’ve got, you got expenses, you’ve got some staff and stuff, but that’s, that’s a, a nice, healthy stream of consistent revenue that helps like pay the bills. And then the incubator becomes a little more profitable and a little more time. And then, you know, most of your time, your personal time, you’re actually putting into these other, other businesses. And so how do you, how do you fill it? How do you fill the membership? Okay. So I, I really love that it’s work, like hearing in that truth is important. How do you go about filling it? Like, do you do the big push twice a year? Like open cart, closed cart? Is it always open? Do people come and go, do you have affiliates? Do you run ads? Is it social? Is it Google, YouTube? Like, how do you actually sell the thing? Right. Like, how do you, how do you get people to pay money for this? So we don’t do any affiliates. We don’t do any Google ads. We do a little bit of Facebook advertising, I guess we probably drop a couple of grand a month, us on Facebook ads for it. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s a low price point. So you’re going to look at like cost per acquisition, feature, new customers, Right? Someone’s got to stay a long time, Incubator incubator a little bit more. That’s a little easier to kind of warrant pushing more ad spend behind because it’s that 2,500 price point, right. Or if I have to drop a hundred bucks, 150 bucks to acquire a customer all day long, I’ll do that all day long. Right. But with the Academy a little bit different, I’ll tell you what we do. We produce [email protected], both from a blogging perspective. So written content along with graphical content. So infographics, Instagram stories we’ve got something that we do on my Instagram account called carousel wisdom, where people have to flick through and it sits on the grid. People love those. We do the podcast on a weekly basis, and there’s just one very simple formula that we follow to every single piece of content that we create. And this is what we teach our clients as well when we’re coaching them. And it’s just as simple as this, always answer a question, that’s it. If you can create a piece of content that always answers a question, or for want of a better term, provides a solution to somebody’s pain point, regardless of what that might be. If you can do that with every piece of content that you create, it’ll have a long form effect on prospective customers, not only finding you, but then having those actually convert into paying customers for you. And, and by the way, that’s not a $39 like product strategy. That’s just a strategy for selling online. Consistently periods show up every single week, over and over and over again, with whatever piece of content that you feel most comfortable producing, but just make sure that you’re always answering a question or solving a problem. If you do that, people will find you You’re constantly building trust. You’re, you’re blogging, you’re podcasting you you’re, you’re putting out that content. And then how do you what’s the conversion mechanism? Is it just, you literally send them an email and say, click and go to this. Like, here’s what it is. Click go to this, there’s a sales page. This is what’s included. It’s 39 bucks a month and sign up. Sure. Ah, I mean, it’s, that’s pretty much it, you’ve just, that’s it’s I don’t like to complicate things out. And so you know, it, it, it really just comes down to obviously, I mean, we’ve, we’ve rewritten and rewritten them rewritten our landing pages, not sales pages. We tested things out. We know what you know, what terminology to use on our ads, but, but we never actually ever, will we ever spend money on cold audiences? All of the ads that we run are run to warm audiences, meaning they’ve either visited our website. They’re either on our email list or engaging with us or at the office. So they’re all pixeled. They’re either pixeled audiences, or they’re an email list, custom audience that you have. But for us, I mean, without a doubt, email is King. I mean, that’s yeah, you visit youpreneur.com. You’ll have multiple opportunities to get onto our email list. We have a great opt-in that we provide called the personal Brown roadmap. And it’s just a simple 10 step kind of checklist, 10 things to kind of pay attention to when you’re building a personal brand. Uwe get an average of around about a hundred organic opt-ins every single day and just every day, every day. Yeah. Every day, if we run ads that will double, triple that. Right? So this, this is because the website has been around long enough with, you know, four or five, 600 pieces of content on it that Google is indexing us for all of our search terms, right? This is why the blogging is so important. Cause it’s like social media over time gets less valuable, but blogging content over time gets more valuable. The website. Exactly, exactly. And I always say like, social media is great. You should absolutely utilize those platforms. Use that. Absolutely. Make sure that you’re focusing in on maybe one or two of them that you really like yourself, but his, the brutal reality of it, you don’t own those platforms. Google owns YouTube, Mark Zuckerberg and his friends own Facebook. You own Chris ducker.com or Rory vaden.com. You can control those. So you always have to utilize those other platforms to get people back to your hub. And then your number one goal as someone building a business online is to get them on your email list. And we went through five or six different opt-in magnets before we settled on the personal brand roadmap, which has been updated two or three times over the last three, four years. So it’s fully up to date links work, you know, resources are good, all that good stuff in it. But the fact of the matter is that once people are in that funnel, we can not only serve up more content that will obviously help and help them, but we can then obviously, you know, let them know as, and when we might be running promotions, you know, white, this is a good fit for them, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I stay away from launches. It’s not my style. It’s too stressful. Um, I do like running promotions two, three times a year where, We’ll, we’ll very rarely Discount anything we do, but we’ll add on certain bonuses to it. I stand behind our pricing because I feel like what we do is truly worth it, but I don’t mind giving somebody a free access to, you know, five videos for a month to learn how to XYZ, whatever it might be. Well, I love it. You can see this, as we’ve mentioned, several times, you preneur.com. So this is, you know, several of our audiences, the perfect audience for this. So you guys go, go watch what he’s doing, check out what he’s doing, get on his email list. And I mean, Hey, Everything, copy, swipe them and take them for yourself and get them 30, 39 bucks a month. I mean, it’s, it’s like 39 bucks a month. I mean, that’s like what you, you, you, you spend that on like sliced deli at the, at the grocery. So is there anywhere else you would drive people to Chris, Chris Ducker? Where do you want people to go? I wouldn’t be much of a personal brand entrepreneur myself, if I didn’t have Chris docker.com. So that’s what it’s all about. Really. Chris ducker.com at Chris Docker, Instagram, there are two spots And we’re going to talk more about virtual staff finder because we have a bunch of people who need help running our system, that we teach them, that we call the content diamond for managing social. And I need to talk to you about virtual staff finder because we need to see if we can hook up a deal for our audience on that. So Would love to do that. Everybody should have a virtual assistant if they’re building, you know, a personal brand and Yeah. Helped just over 10,000 people in the 10 years we’ve been in business, actually find that. So yeah, we, we know a thing or two about it. Let’s do that When you come back and talk about that. But anyways, Chris ducker.com check him out. He’s awesome. Cool guy. We love him. Appreciate your pre-state your transparency buddy. And showing us just like how straightforward and simple It’s work, baby it’s work. I’ll do the work. You gotta do The work, the unsexy work. That’s what you gotta do. You gotta do the unsexy work. I like it. Wish you the best. My friend. Thank you, brother.

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