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Ep 242: Building Million Dollar Membership Sites with Alison Lumbatis

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Today on the show we are very happy to welcome an amazing entrepreneur and friend!

Alison Lumbatis runs a successful fashion blog that receives loads of traffic, and houses a great membership program with over a hundred thousand paying members!

On top of all of that, Alison recently released her book, The Ultimate Book of Outfit Formulas, which shot to the top of Amazon’s bestsellers list.

In our conversation, we hear from Alison about what enabled all of this incredible success, and the continued journey of personal development that is central to all entrepreneurs.

Alison comments on how fulfilling and enjoyable this process of learning has been, some of the simple steps she has applied to ensure successful launches, and the different frameworks and models that have come to suit her particular business.

Alison is such a great example of someone carving out the personal brand of her dreams, and looking at her story truly shows how this is possible for anyone with drive and passion.

So, join us today to hear it all!

KEY POINTS FROM THIS EPISODE

  • Alison’s route from a career in engineering to blogging and entrepreneurship!
  • The first launch that Alison had and the specifics of her rates and numbers.
  • How Alison mapped out her seasonal launches in response to her first program.
  • A look at where Alison and Get Your Pretty On are currently at.
  • The membership model that has brought Alison so much revenue and customer loyalty.
  • Alison’s evolving approach to launches and how she has scaled her operation.
  • Marketing and promotion and the important work that occurs between launches.
  • How Alison managed to achieve such high rates of customer retention.
  • The ethos of kindness and support that Alison intentionally instilled in the community from the start.
  • Alison’s biggest lessons about membership sites and the importance of ‘stickiness’ and scarcity. 
  • Investing in your skills and learning; how Alison has continued developing her abilities.
  • The launch process of Alison’s book, The Ultimate Book of Outfit Formulas, and the lessons she learned.
  • How Alison engaged the power of a ‘street-launch team’ for her book release.

TWEETABLE MOMENTS

“Sometimes it’s just about that one small thing that makes a huge difference in every other part of your life.” — @alisonlumbatis [0:03:18]

“From the beginning, I knew I wanted to democratize personal style.” — @alisonlumbatis [0:06:33]

“I really want to front-load the year, and get as many people as possible to sign up for that annual membership so that they are locked in, they are with us for the entire year.” — @alisonlumbatis [0:13:39]

About Alison Lumbatis

Alison Lumbatis is an entrepreneur, author of the #1 Amazon bestseller The Ultimate Book of Outfit Formulas, and the founder of the lifestyle blog Get Your Pretty On.

After over a decade as a telecom engineer, print model, and actress, Alison reinvented herself into a global online influencer, growing GYPO into a leading resource that helps women rediscover their worthiness through their wardrobe.

Democratizing style for ‘every body’ and budget, she’s served over 100,000 members through her “Outfit Formulas” program and attracted an online audience of millions.

Now focused on helping women find purpose post- parenting, Alison’s helping women over 40 engineer formulas to create confidence and purpose in their next chapter.

Her insights have been featured in Forbes, Redbook, and Life & Style Magazine, among many others. A sought-after speaker and podcast guest, Alison speaks to fighting feelings of unworthiness and the magic of reinvention to making the next chapter the best chapter

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Alison Lumbatis on Instagram

Outfit Formulas

Get Your Pretty On

The Ultimate Book of Outfit Formulas

AJ Vaden on LinkedIn

AJ Vaden on Twitter

Rory Vaden

Rory Vaden on LinkedIn

Rory Vaden on Twitter

Take the Stairs

Brand Builders Group

Brand Builders Group Free Call

Brand Builders Group Resources

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Stitcher

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Apple

RV (00:07): Hey brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you, you know, there’s no big sales pitch or anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand builders, group.com/podcast, brand builders, group.com/podcast. We hope to talk to you soon. RV (00:53): Well, I am honored to introduce you to a friend of mine and AJ’s Allison. Lumbatis, who we have now known for a few years. And I remember meeting her for the very first time I was actually teaching at Lewis Howes mastermind. And I specifically remember when Allison walked in the room and I could immediately tell, I was like, oh, she’s, she’s got the it factor. She’s got it. She’s sharp. She’s funny. She’s social. She’s just awesome. And the more I’ve gotten to know her, the more that I have continued to like her. And you might know her, you, you, you may have seen her online. She runs a very large blog lifestyle blog around fashion called get your pretty on. Her website is highly trafficked. And she has a membership program that’s built around that too. That has had a, to over 100,000 paying members, which is what we’re gonna talk about is how the heck did she do that? And she also just recently released a book the ultimate book of outfit formulas, the ultimate book of outfit formulas became number one on Amazon. And so we just adore her what she’s up to and felt like you need to hear Allison’s story. Plus she’s awesome. So Allison, welcome to the show. AL (02:09): Thanks. Rory. The feeling is mutual RV (02:12): . So tell us about how you get started. You were, you were an engineer. Yeah. And then suddenly you get into fashion and blogging and it becomes this membership. And now you’ve got this book and like you know, tell us about the early stages of your kind of personal brand journey. AL (02:33): Yeah, it’s crazy. I mean, how do you get from engineering to stylist and entrepreneur? It’s, it’s a huge leap, but I basically created the program that I needed at the time. And I had been working from home. I was in corporate America for 14 years, got the opportunity to work from home, which was an amazing blessing, but I realized very quickly within about three months of working from home, but I was never getting out of my yoga pants. I was not fixing my hair. I was not putting on makeup. I think a lot of people can relate to that during the pandemic. A lot of us were working from home for the first time and realized just how quickly things can spiral downhill when you don’t have that built in accountability for getting ready in the morning or having to keep hours or be in an office. AL (03:15): So I really started blogging from a place of this. Doesn’t feel good. I’m not motivated to get dressed every day. And it’s affecting not just the way I feel about myself, but so many things in my environment, too. Like the house is getting messier. I’m not doing laundry as much. I don’t feel like going on date nights anymore. I mean, it was literally affecting so many things. And when I sat down and thought about it, the first thing that popped in my head was can get dressed again. Like that’s a super easy, really tangible step I can take in the right direction. And sometimes it’s just about that one small thing that makes a huge difference in every other part of your life. So that’s why I started blogging. I wanted to start sharing what I was learning and blogging felt like an accountability partner to me when I did not have one at the time, I didn’t have that office to go into. AL (04:00): So even though I was only getting dressed for me and to feel better about myself and to get into a routine, what ended up happening is that a lot of women found me and the blog grew organically to around 50,000 page views within six months, which was crazy. And I was still working in corporate America at the time, blogging on this side, really to just enjoying this creative outlet that I had. And I really didn’t start out thinking this was gonna be a business at all. I had done little things on the side in the past, I’d done some life in business coaching. I had run a personalized gifts business. So I had dipped a toe into some entrepreneurial ventures, but nothing like this, where it was just true, really a passion project and something that I was doing because I was loving sharing what I was learning throughout the process. AL (04:48): It didn’t become a business until about two years later, I took a severance package from corporate and I decided to just really go all in on it and, and throw everything I had into just serving and serving and serving the commute. But what happened is I ended up with three months left in my bank account of my severance oh, wow. We had cut that back drastically. We were a two income family. So my husband and I just really made sacrifices and, and cut back for me to be able to do this. But I finally got to a point where I thought I’ve built this huge audience. I have this community around what I’m doing. I’m not really making any money. And that’s when the idea for outfit formulas was born. I went to my readers, I went to my followers and I said, if I could do something for you that would make your life easier. AL (05:32): What would that look like? And there was all of this overlap on those responses that came back to me. My reader said, please just give us a shopping list, tell us what to go out and buy each season and tell me what to friends to add to my closet and then show me ways to pair it up. So I inadvertently created a capsule wardrobe, which I didn’t even know what it was at the time. I’m not a trained stylist. I’ve just learned as I’ve gone on through this process and journey. And I was thinking, I’ll be really excited if 50 women signed up this first time out, the gate 500 women signed up. And I knew right then and there with that first launch that this was going to work and I was going to be able to replace my income. And the rest is history. We’ve, we’ve grown in season over season. RV (06:13): Like the first, the first, the first launch, like, you know, because I, I think I mean, obviously you’re familiar with our brand builder community and, you know, personal brands you bump into ’em a lot. And I think, you know, people see whoever Dean Graziosi, Tony Robbins, Jeff Walker, Brandon Behar, they see people launch these huge high dollar offers. Yes. And kind of go, oh, that’s you? That, that’s what it looks like that. But how much was your first, how much were you charging? AL (06:43): My very first program was a whopping $10. Bam. RV (06:47): 10 bucks. AL (06:48): yes. RV (06:49): Uhhuh, but you had 500 people sign up. AL (06:53): I did, yes. And then I think I went to $19 shortly thereafter. I, we played around a bit with pricing between 29 and 39. And I’ve ended at $39, which is where we’re at right now and seems to be that sweet spot. But from the beginning I knew I wanted to democratize personal style and I knew I could look at this membership. One of two ways, either we’re doing the high dollar, you know, appealing to a much smaller niche, or I’m doing something at a lower amount that I’m gonna be able to reach, you know, potentially hundreds of thousands of women. And that’s the path and the route that I decided to go with my pricing. So while we’re at 39, now that seems like such a huge difference between, you know, my $10 launch that I did back in 2014 RV (07:35): Uhhuh . But that is really huge. And one of the, one of the things that we’re big believers in is that when you’re first starting out with your personal brand, you need customers more than you need revenue. Like you have to have that win. And like you, you had that 500 people bought something. I mean, it was 10 bucks, but they, they bought something. They said, I trust you. I want to take this deeper. I wanna, I want to, I wanna give it another shot. Now at the same time, it kind of freaks me out to go, well, you gotta sell a lot of $10 somethings to replace any type of corporate income that you, you once had. So, so 500 times tens five. And so you did $5,000 in your first launch. How long did it take you to get to where, you know, you you’re making enough money consistently that you could like support yourself on it. AL (08:31): In that first launch, I realized a few things, number one, that this was going to be a seasonal launch. So I knew that I was gonna have recurring revenue and I would be able to, you know, basically have new product to sell to the same customers four times per year. Along with that, I also started to play around with creating evergreen programs in the business and, and realizing that, you know, I could upsell them into other programs and have other offerings available to them. And on the back end of that launch, it was actually around a $25,000 launch because the program sales weren’t the only way that we were getting rev or that I was getting revenue at the time. Oh, I was also doing affiliate sales on the back end of that. So every piece of clothing that they purchased through this shopping list in this caps wardrobe, I was earning affiliate commissions from all of the retailers that were on the list too. AL (09:20): So that’s always been a really big part of my business model is get, is getting those affiliate sales on the back end. So really just thinking about ways that once you get that customer and you’ve earned their trust, you know, what are some other ways that you can offer, you know, of what they want and be able to continue to bring revenue in, not just from the membership income, although now, you know, nine years down the road that has absolutely overshadowed everything else. But back then I had to get really, really creative when I didn’t have as many customers. RV (09:52): Yeah. Well, that’s interesting. So even like a brand builders group, you know, we’re are helping people set their strategy and then they ultimately go, I need execution. I need someone to edit my videos, do my social media posting, like, you know, do my Facebook ads, blah, blah, blah. And we started to step down the path of trying to do it and quickly realize there’s so much here for so many people. And we did the same thing. We said, let’s spend our time curating a vendor list of trusted providers that the whole community can use. And if somebody doesn’t do a good job, like we’ll just stop using them and, and do affiliate fees that way. And that’s been super powerful for us is, is just answering that question. How can I serve my current audience in a deeper way? You know, and it, and it brings business to you. So, all right, so that’s 2014. So today you have a $39. It’s not 39 a month. It’s $39 a season. So it’s really like correct $13 a month, but they pay for a season, a season it’s worth. So like, where are you at? Give us a sense of the scope of where you’re at today? AL (11:02): Well, it’s, honestly, you know, we’re, it’s a seven figure brand now, and it’s amazing to think about that. And, and where I came from 2014 to today and, and I have a team of 10 people supporting this and it just keeps growing season over season, year of after year, we grew during a pandemic, you know, it’s, it’s something where I’m able to really meet women where they are, those who are in transition or rebuilding a wardrobe, or just don’t know where to start, or just don’t want the decision fatigue of deciding what to buy each season or, or how to get dressed every day, they get an email or they get a notification on their phone that tells them exactly pair up and how to put it together. So I think that the best part of it though, is RV (11:43): Every day for a whole season. AL (11:44): Yes, yes. Every day for a whole season. RV (11:46): And it’s for three months, you tell ’em what to wear. AL (11:49): Yes. And it’s created from pieces on that shopping list and they’re able to shop their closets and, and find items that are on there, check them off and then go out to the stores to fill in the blanks. And the beauty of that is they can either shop my links, which they’re more than welcome to do, or they can shop in their favorite stores. Some women shop exclusively in thrift stores and find everything that they need for the list. Others are going to Neiman’s and finding the things that they need for the list. And as is, they’re able to follow the formula, which is really just a framework of bottoms. Anything you wear on your lower half tops, topper, shoes, and accessories. Those are the five variables. And we mix and match them in different ways to create different looks every single day. That is RV (12:27): So cool. And you just had a, so you had a hundred thousand, you’ve recently crossed us a hundred thousand people who have purchased at least one season and they’re all women, right? Yes. AL (12:38): Well, we have a men’s wear program as well, but , the women are buying it for the men. So that goes to show you, like, I think for the most part we’re dressing our guys. , RV (12:49): That’s definitely true in the Vaden household. Yeah, that’s so cool. I, I mean to go in, in basically a five year, I mean, five years from zero to a hundred thousand customers, and I just think it’s cool because you, you, you know, you hear always about, oh, the million dollar launch and a multimillion dollar launch, da da, but like to say a hundred thousand customers. Now you have a hundred thousand people that trust you, which will be whatever, you know, that number grows and grows and rose. I think we don’t, we, we underestimate the importance of a customer and we often overestimate the value of just revenue by itself and be like, mm. Having a lot of people buy from you is, is super valuable. So, so let’s talk about the membership model for a second. So you do a I think memberships are one of those things that I, I kind of feel like, especially for personal brands, like so many things, it’s almost like this holy grail of, you know, it’s like this facade of going well, gosh, if, if I had a thousand members that were paying me a thousand dollars a month, that’d be a million dollars, a like, that’d be 12 million a year, but I don’t think people realize how hard it it is for the membership program and like just what it takes. RV (14:06): And, and, and that now, do you, do people pay monthly or they only do a, they buy a season at a time. AL (14:15): So we have two you different ways that they can sign up. They can either subscribe seasonally by purchasing, purchasing them one off, or we have an annual membership. So at the end of the year, I open up memberships from November through March of the following year for the next year’s membership. And with the annual membership, we offer a lot of perks, bonuses, early access because I really wanna front load the year and get as many people as possible to sign up for that annual membership so that they are locked in that they’re with us for the entire year. We have around an 85% customer retention rate, which is insane and amazing, but I also involve my customers in the process every single season. I allow them to give their input on what I’m creating. What pieces would you like to see repeated in this capsule? AL (15:01): What trends are exciting you the most? What did you like the most about the pieces that we had in our capsules this past year? What stores would you like to see? All of, of that data comes back in my team, boils it down, and then we incorporate as much as we possibly can into the next season. And when you’re launching four times a year, you have that ability to just course correct and easily add things in, especially if it’s not gonna be a huge investment, but just really make the program more valuable and keep your customers excited about it. When they’re involved in that process, you better believe when that cart opens. They are the first ones there, ready to sign up. They literally wait up until midnight the night before the people that aren’t annual members and even our annual members, when we open the memberships up, they wait until midnight and they are right there signing up and ready to go. It’s I love RV (15:50): It. Like black, black, Friday, Walmart, like knocking people, knocking each other over to say, like, get into your membership. And I’m glad it’s AL (15:59): Virtual. RV (16:00): I mean, the outfit formula, AL (16:02): I want my shopping list. RV (16:04): So so you mentioned that you launch, okay, so you, you have the annual, so they don’t really pay monthly. You have, you can basically buy a season at a time or you just pay for the pay for the year. Correct. But you, AL (16:19): We do a payment plan option too, for the annual membership. So if they do wanna break it out into payments, they can do that. RV (16:24): I gotcha. Okay. And then the four times a year, when you go through a launch, what do you do? Like how do you, you launch this thing and, and, and maybe talk a little bit about how you, how you used to do it. Like when you were first starting and you didn’t, you know, I mean, now you’ve got a hundred thousand of people in your database that are, are buyers. You gotta, you must have way more than that in your, in, you know, just in the, the database. But like, if you have, what are all the steps you would do to, of like sell a season or launch a season? Sure. AL (16:57): So our launch cycle is about six weeks. From beginning to our cart opening in the beginning, R it was, it was me I was, I was doing it all. I cobbled together the systems on the back end, I was like copying PayPal code buttons into my browser and, and creating password protected, you know, WordPress pages. It was so rudimentary, but over the course of the second year, that’s when I really invested in technology and learning, you know, what it would take to really just get in a space of being scalable and starting with the end in mind, and being able to say, I wanna be able to serve hundreds of thousands of members. What does that look like? And how can I build a technology now in order to allow that to happen? So I think that was one of the best decisions that I made early on was really just investing in doing that. AL (17:42): And then, you know, we work in as sauna. Everything is in a seasonal launch project. So every season, my business manager and I sit down and we look through all of the tasks that are in that project and everything that gets assigned out from tech support to customer support and graphic design, to marketing. And we take a look at it to make sure that everything still makes sense, and we wanna continue doing all of these steps, or if we need to add something else in or, or take something out again, because we’re launching so frequently, we are able to just really course correct and, and fix things as they come up or add things in so that we can be super nimble and, and, and change at the drop of a dime, which we had to do last year. We had, we had to shift and pivot in all those good things. AL (18:26): But it takes about six weeks. From the time I start gathering the Intel from our existing customers of what they would like to see included in the capsule to me, really just heading out and doing trend spotting. I go into the malls, I go into stores, I look at items. I go online, I do tons of, you know, online shopping window, shopping to choose items that I feel would work well in the capsule. Then I do my creative part, which is actually creating the capsule. Once that’s done. I hand that off to my team and then everything from that point forward, I’m not necessarily involved in it’s all the downstream stuff from creating the PDFs and the graphic design to loading everything into the membership site, to, you know, really going out and sourcing links from forever, everyone from petites to plus sizes and, and everything in between from budget friendly to higher ends. It’s like everything. We, we try to cover it all just to truly make this as easy of a process for our customers as possible. And then, you know, once all of that is done loaded into the membership site, then the very last thing we do is launch our sales pages, open our cart and, and they sign up it sounds so magical. Right? RV (19:35): well, yeah. So when you, you, you launch a sales page, so you say whatever, it’s the fall season, you know, 20, 22, 21 or whatever is this winter season, summer season. And then do you just email your live us? Do you run ads? Do you do webinars? Do you do podcast tours? Do you try to get on TV? Do you like, is it a little bit of all the above? AL (20:01): Yes. It’s a little bit of all of the above, but I’ll tell you what works the best. So between launches, we’re really working on capturing as many leads as possible and growing our list because our newsletter list can it’s at about 10%, which is crazy, but that’s the place where I really am able to nurture any of our new leads that come in to really explain the program to them, to give them value. I send them a newsletter on a weekly basis with tons of freestyle resources and advice. And I think that that’s really the key to that really high conversion numbers. So we work really hard on the list. I do, you know, podcasts perform extremely well. So it’s, it’s a lot of different things that are going on in between those launches to really ensure the success whenever we do launch and, and really focusing on those repeat customers too, and getting them into the seasonal programs and then ultimately selling them into the annual memberships at the end of the year as well. RV (20:55): So it’s really building the list and sort of building the trust. And then when the launch happens, you basically have just emailing and saying, Hey, it’s, it’s live, it’s open sign up for yes. You know, the, the new season. Exactly. And, and then in terms of, you’re just using whatever lead magnets, PDF downloads, maybe a video training, like whatever you’re using, just normal stuff to get people onto your email list. And then it’s the value every week through the newsletter building the trust in advance. And then just letting ’em know the cart is open. AL (21:24): Yes, definitely. We run a lot of Facebook ads to our or freebies too. So that shows us right away, like what’s performing well. And we actually make money on our lead gen, which is crazy, but how, for the most part, they sign up for freebies and then they end up purchasing something from me either, you know, an evergreen program or they end up enrolling into the seasonal program. So although it is really done as a lead magnet, we’re converting on all of those leads that are coming in and making, making money on our ad spend, which is crazy Uhhuh RV (21:56): . How do you get 85% customer retention? So what, what does that number mean first of all, and how do you, how do you make that happen? AL (22:08): So the 85% customer retention is really our customers that end up continuing to purchase from us and coming back year after year, I have some women who have been with me since 2014 and have done every single season, every single annual membership. I would say the majority of our customers have been here for at least four years. And the beauty of the program is at while some people don’t, they don’t technically graduate out. Sometimes they’ll take a break and take a year off or take a season off or whatever, if they feel like they have enough clothes or, you know, they’re in a good place right now, and they don’t need as much guidance or advice, but then they can jump back in at any time. So that’s why I decided I did want to offer the option that people can sign up on a seasonal basis instead of just getting locked in for the full year. AL (22:51): So again, I think that a lot of this has to do with involving the customer in the process, but also building the community around the program. We have an extremely active community. Our Facebook group has hundreds of posts per day. It’s a little bit overwhelming sometimes for the members, but it’s really a space for women into explore style where they feel supported. They don’t feel like they’re intimidated by anything. There are a lot of women in there on this journey that have never felt stylish in their lives that have never just gotten a compliment from a stranger on an outfit that are experiencing this for the first time, or that have a particular body shape. And they’re able to come into the group with thousands of other members and say, I’m struggling to find, you know, a pair of HighEd jeans, that’s flattering for my body type. AL (23:34): What are you finding? And, and then there’s tons of immediate feedback that’s coming in through that group. Or they snap selfies in the fitting room and say, which one would you choose this one or this one? And they’re getting that immediate response from people in the community. We’ve had women from Germany and Finland that have flown to the us, like we’ve built up this huge community. They have girls nights out in certain cities around the us. And, and it’s about so much more than the clothes it’s about really just supporting one another and the beauty of female friendships and support and the way that it can be done in the right way. We see so much, you know, so much negativity online and it’s just a space that is so opposite of that. That is truly special, especially in this day and age. And I think that that’s really the secret sauce, something that I never expected to happen. Did you create RV (24:23): That on purpose or did that, like, did, did, did it happen just sort of organically or like, how did that happen? AL (24:30): I think, you know, I was really intentional about this from day one. I wanted it to be a place where it was kind of a mean girls free zone, where women were giving their opinions, but delivering them with love where honesty was appreciated, but in a way that, you know, it wasn’t critical or hurt anybody’s feelings. And it was really about setting the tone. You know, I was very involved in the Facebook group early on and was in there, you know, trying to get people to engage in setting the tone in so many different ways of this is how we treat each other. This is how we’re kind of supportive to one another. And then it just took off on its own. And kindness spreads just as quickly as negativity does. And we really, in the past, you know, however many years of doing this, I can count on one hand the amount of members that we’ve even had to go to and say, Hey, we can’t, you can’t say that, or that’s not appropriate for this group or whatever, like moderation in this group of thousands of women is not a big deal simply because we do set that tone. AL (25:29): And we do have them agree to guidelines for behavior in the group. And I think we just kind of attract that more of that coming in, that when people get in that group and they’re like, oh, wait, this operates differently. This is either a good fit for me or this isn’t a good fit for me, then they stay or they leave and that’s, that’s perfectly fine RV (25:46): Is the only, the only the active members are in the, in the Facebook group. AL (25:51): Yes. So we start a new Facebook group every season, which is another reason why we feed them into this new group and everybody wants to be in that group with their friends. So I think that this is another key to success for the program is, is closing down the previous seasons group and then starting fresh and new each time we launch a program. RV (26:09): Interesting, fascinating. Is there anything that you’ve learned about a membership that like now that you’ve been doing this, you know, cuz cuz you know, like at brand builders group, you know how we talk about the, the paids P I D S and the five ways to make money and there’s, there are information pro is one of ’em and inside of that eye is there’s video courses, assessments, certification programs, membership sites. And I feel like membership sites were really hot for a while. People got to, they, they caught a taste of wow, recurring revenue is a really amazing thing and the community like you’re talking about. But you know, then sometimes it’s like back to the video course because it’s like, well, if I could sell a video course for $500 versus offered as a membership site for 40 bucks a month and they only stay for four months, then I’m not, you I’m losing money. Like what have you learned about membership sites and making them successful that you kind of go, if you’re thinking about starting a membership site, now this is what you should know. Or like, this is what I didn’t know then that I do now. AL (27:18): Yeah. So I think, you know, one of the keys to this is really creating something that’s sticky me, meaning you keep them coming back for more. Right. So with a seasonal program, you’re automatically, you’ve got that stickiness built in that keeps them coming back because there are new trends. Every season, there are new ways to wear things, you know, where our wardrobes change seasonally. So that is sort of built into my program and, you know, back early on when I was evaluating this, do I wanna evergreen programs to where I’m just selling people into figuring out, you know, your closet staples or building your wardrobe, or do I wanna do something that I’m going to be launching four times a year because it is a lot, it is a lot of work. It’s a lot for me, it’s a lot for my team. I’ve kept coming back to the stickiness of doing the seasonal model. AL (28:02): So if you have something where you can keep people coming back, then absolutely. You’re not, you know, I do have to keep the funnel full. I do have to do all the lead gen. I have to do things between our launches, but I think that this worked out really, really well. You know, stickiness works out well for a membership type model. You also have to generate a little bit of scarcity and that’s sometimes difficult to do when you are working in a membership model. Like how do you create scarcity of something that, you know, people have the opportunity to pay for on a monthly basis? And so I had to look at ways that we could build that into. So, you know, some of the things that I do is we release our shopping list, you know, on the day that it opens to the public, our annual members get the shopping list early. AL (28:45): What happens is that we sell out the pieces on that list at almost all of the retailers on there. So say we put a sweater on there from Nordstrom within 24 hours, that sweater usually sells out if that’s the pictured item and the capsule, most of the women want that. So there’s that scarcity there of, I’ve got a sign up early. I wanna get my shopping list to you as possible, cuz I don’t want the pieces on this list to sell out. I wanna be the first one in line. So really just kind of getting creative with ways that we could create a little bit of scarcity with that, especially in something that if you’re not closing cart and you’re keeping it open, which I do, we allow people to sign up throughout the entire season. We eventually discount the seasonal program toward the end. AL (29:27): But you know, really just kind of thinking through ways that we can create that little bit of FOMO for, for our customer base has been important. And then again, you know, I always go back to the surveys and the feedback and you know, collecting that information. If you have an audience now, if you have followers, if you’re, if you are out there anywhere on social media or you’re blogging or, or doing whatever, you’d be amazed at how much you, how much you can get from that feedback. If you’re thinking about launching a membership model, you know, it’s great for passive income and a lot of ways, if there’s something that you teach or a course that you do, that you could put into that you can do in a video series or something that you can make sticky or release new content on a regular basis. That’s really what it’s all about. Like how often are you willing to release new content, then you might wanna look at a membership model RV (30:21): Mm-Hmm and, and one of the other things that I I, I love about you is you, you are, you invest into yourself a ton, like obviously I met you at Lewis’s mastermind and then through brand builders and everything, like how important has that been along the way? Like, have you always done that? I mean, here you go from starting this kind of random blog about stuff that you not random, but like, it was just kind of like a project, like a hobby. It was like a hobby about, Hey, I’m I’m, I should be dressing up. I don’t have a reason to dress up. And then it turns into like an accountability system for yourself. And then it turns into, you know, this business and then it turns into this whole community and this whole movement that you have now. And so you have really become, I mean, a true powerhouse entrepreneur, like have you always done a lot of personal development and business development or really just in recent years or like it’s, how important has that been in your journey? AL (31:26): Honestly, it’s been the thing that’s moved the needle more than anything else, you know, just really continually investing in myself. My, my second year of doing this, I joined my first mastermind, which was on course development. And that’s when I learned about that technology, you know, that I would need for this membership. I, I didn’t know what I was doing and I wanted to get involved in something that would shortcut that process for me. So that was really my first experience in a mastermind. And I’ve enrolled in something every single year since then. And honestly like whenever I feel stuck, that’s when I know I need personal development. I need to be investing in myself. I need to get involved in something and just being a member of brand builders, you know, I’ve, I shared this not too long ago with a friend of mine. AL (32:08): I feel almost like everything that I learn in brand builders. It’s about a six month lead time until I’m applying it in my business in some way. Like, I feel like I’m already equipped and I have that knowledge. And even though at the moment, maybe I’m not implementing it immediately, but I’ll be go through the trainings and I’ll, I’ll learn something that’s just completely eye opening in six months down the road, low and behold, I’m implementing it. And just the 15 PS last year in our annual memberships for the first time ever, we had cold leads that had no idea what the program was that were signing up immediately without knowing much about outfit formulas at all. Because we used the 15 piece to do our annual membership sales page, my team, and I sat down and we hammered it out and it was so incredibly effective that we suddenly had a problem we hadn’t prepared for before. And that was when cold leads come in and they don’t really truly understand the program and the education process that we needed to do on the backend of that, cuz they didn’t have that nurture that was happening, that other people were having. So I just am totally a proponent for investing in yourself and continuing entrepreneurship is really a personal development journey, honestly. Like that’s what it is. And that’s what I’ve learned more than anything. And honestly it’s what I enjoy more than anything too. RV (33:25): I love that. That’s so cool. Yeah. You know I know Hillary is your strategy. She mentioned that to me about the 15 piece, but I had forgotten about I had totally forgotten about that that I copywriting for those of you just listening, it’s we’re using that we’re using, we’re using jargon 15 pieces, our little like copywriting formula. Well I, I think so one of the things that happened was to that point, you went through our bestseller launch plan. So I re I very much remember like, okay, like here comes Allison through through best on our launch plan. And then you did it like you did this launch and you hit number one on Amazon. Like, so tell us about the book and the book launch and like what worked for you there since it’s just like fresh. I think, you know, for, for that piece of it specifically so if those of you, if you miss said early on, we said, it’s the ultimate book of outfit formulas, the ultimate book of outfit formulas. So get your pretty on is the membership community and, and the kind of like brand, but the ultimate book of outfit formulas was the book. So can you take, tell us about like the launch and like what did, what happened? What did you learn? How did it go? Like what worked, what didn’t work? AL (34:42): Honestly, Roy, I just followed every single step of be seller launch plan. And I think, I , I don’t know if it was you or Hillary, but somebody, I, I remember texting and saying it worked like it worked, we hit number one, like immediately we hit, we were instantly number one and in a competitive category, it was in fashion design on Amazon. So honestly the, just implementing every single bit of that strategy and planning at least six months in advance and looking at, okay, what’s the timeline for this launch. If you wait until the very end, you’re not gonna get everything done and it’s gonna be extremely difficult to have everything in place that you need to for the pre-orders and, and getting those pre-order bonuses in place. And all of the, everything that I learned in bestseller launch plan my team and I were able to take that, put it into an Asana project, assign things out as we needed to. AL (35:32): I brought on somebody who handled my street team for me, which was a huge weight off my shoulders and it just worked. It, it, it was, it was amazing. I mean, I was not entirely surprised that everything just came together the way that it did, but, you know, just taking those strategies. And I, I think that instantly what we wanna do is push it for our audience first and that’s not necessarily the best thing to do. So I learned like that there is a particular order that we need to do this in and following all of those steps was really key to it hitting that, that bestseller status. And that’s something that we’re always gonna have. So yeah, I’m, I’m really pleased with the way that this book launch went. It was traditionally published book. So I learned a ton this time around that I’m gonna take into, you know, I’m almost done with my second manuscript and I’m already, you know, I’ve got pages of debrief notes and I’m ready to go. I’m I just feel like it’s gonna be even that much more successful this time around. RV (36:32): I love that. And you’ve got the, the, you’ve got an asada project already built for it. Like you, yes. Run this AL (36:39): Rinse and repeat right. Make it easy, work smarter, not harder. RV (36:44): I, I, I love, I, I love this so much. Alison, like you mentioned the your street launch team. Yeah. So this is one of the things that we talk about, you know, a lot of people do this. It’s, it’s basically getting a team of why didn’t you tell us, so what is a street launch team? And then what did you have, how did you find those people? And then what did you have them do? AL (37:09): So a street launch team is essentially the people on the street, the word of mouth that are out there sharing about your book, but they’re doing this in a very coordinated and organized way. So you’re providing them with the graph ethics, with the quotes, with all of the assets, to be able to easily share on social media and to talk about your book and generate buzz about it so that when the time comes and, and you’re, I’m sure that anybody who’s kind of observed a launch from the outside has seen all of these big influencers doing this, where it seems like, oh my gosh, everybody’s talking about this book right now. Like what’s going on? Like, I’m excited. I wanna know about this book, right? So this is what your street team is doing for you. They’re creating that buzz in a way. That’s not necessarily these huge influencers that are doing this for you. AL (37:49): So so that’s exactly what it is. And I hired somebody to come in and do that for me, who managed my street team for me, who, you know, we had a Facebook group or we were doing contests and having them, you know, submit their, their reviews. I mean, they got early access to the book. They got, you know, a digital preprint of it. So they were able to read the book and really give honest reviews on multiple outlets for it. So it really just creates all of that prework before the book even comes out so that when it does launch, people are able to read reviews on good reads and target and Amazon and all the places and see what this book is all about in the words of people who have actually read it. So I highly recommend it. And if you’re able to have somebody else handle that for you, it takes a lot off the shoulders of the author because you are gonna be involved in so many other things. I did a podcast tour leading up to my launch as well. And that was, you know, that was taking so much of my bandwidth, that I was just really happy that I could turn this over to someone else to handle. RV (38:52): I love it. I mean, just so cool. I mean, you execute all this stuff. I mean, you, you execute and that’s what it’s like. So much of it is simple. I mean, people don’t realize it’s like on the one hand, it’s really freaking hard. On the other hand, it’s a pretty straight line. It’s like, okay, you have a lead magnet, you give somebody something of value, add ’em to your email list, give them value every week. You, you know, let ’em know something’s available, have a, have a sales page with the 15, P’s have, have a few bonuses on there. Like, and I just, I just, I love this story so much and it makes me so happy to, to, to see when people like you are, are winning Allison. And if y’all, you know, check out the book, so it’s the ultimate book fit formulas and you know, get your pretty on, obviously is the community and everything. So Alice, Allison, where do you want people to go to learn about you or stay, stay plugged in connected to what you’re doing? AL (39:49): Yes, definitely. So you can check me out at Allison Loba on Instagram. If you wanna see all the personal life stuff, my horses in my little mini farm, I live on or you can go to alpha formulas.com if you’re interested in learning more about the program. RV (40:03): So cool. We’ll put a link to that in the show notes, as they say. And Allison, thank you for being here. Thank you for just sharing your story. It’s such a great journey. It’s it’s just beautiful, I think, to, to see where it’s gone and you’re just your heart for serving people and helping people with something that you once struggled with. I mean, it, it, it just captures the essence of, you know, we, how we always are talking about your most powerfully positioned to serve the person you once were. Yes. And that’s what you start doing. And then you go, how can I serve my audience in a deeper way? How can I add more value? How can I make this easier? How can I make it easier for them to buy and and then just continue investing in yourself and just, I mean, we feel so lucky to know you and just be your friend and just excited and honored to like see you winning and knowing that you’re like, just getting started. I mean, I it’s, it’s hard to imagine where way you’re gonna be in five or 10 years. So thank you for, for all of this and we wish you all the best. Thank AL (41:04): You, Roy. I totally appreciate the influence that you’ve had on my business and, and personal life. I appreciate it.

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25 of the World's Most Recognizable Influencers Share Their Tips on How to Build and Monetize a Personal Brand

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