Episode 362

How to Create a Recurring Revenue Membership Site with Kay Peacey from ActiveCampaign Academy

Kay Peacey is back again on LMSCast as a guest! She is from slickbusiness.co. She is a shining example of an expert, somebody who really cares about their community. She has built a successful training-based membership site around her expertise on ActiveCampain. She took a whopping 5 years+ time to record the course materials for ActiveCampaign. So, you can imagine how much value and insight we are going to get from her.

In this episode, we are going to learn about what she has done so far, her decision-making process, some of the important bits, etc. We will also try to know about the training stack she uses, the product suite, and many more!

At the beginning of our discussion, she tells us about the free resource which is her Facebook group named Automate Your Business With ActiveCampaign. Then she told us about the wonderful free training course she made with LifterLMS. If you’re curious, you can find the course by searching Accelerated ActiveCampaign. We got to know about one of her major achievements with her ActiveCampaign academy that is available on the slickbusiness.co website.

One of the notable discussions on this podcast is about Melissa Love and Kay Peacey both using LifterLMS and collaborating with each other, helping each other in different business aspects. They even worked together using the EASY Framework! And FYI, Melissa has also been a guest in our podcast a couple of times!

There are some very detailed discussions about strategy and pricing but we will not give a spoiler here. Please listen to her directly explaining the whole story with a very detailed process.

We encourage you to visit LifterLMS.com to learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us!

Transcript of the Podcast

Chris Badget:
You’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking to create, launch, and scale a high value online training program. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of LifterLMS, the most powerful learning management system for WordPress, state of the end. I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show. Hello and welcome back to another episode of LMS Cast. My name’s Chris Badgett and I’m joined by a repeat and very special guest, her name is Kay Peacey. She’s from slickbusiness.co. She is a shining example of an expert, somebody who really cares about their community and somebody who’s built a successful training based membership site around her expertise. Kay, welcome back on the show.

Kay Peacey:
Thank you, Chris. It’s a total pleasure to be here with you and I’m loving the intro. Keep it coming. I’m just going to polish myself up a little bit here. Feel the glow.

Chris Badget:
There’s going to be a lot of polish here because your story is interesting, what you’ve done, and the decisions you’ve made and how you did it. We’re going to get into all that. But for the listener out there who’s kind of interested in course creation or membership sites, what is in your training stack? What is the product suite, if you will, even if it’s some free things, and then what do you call them and what’s the really quick what each one of those are?

Kay Peacey:
Great. Okay. So we have sort of to get into my world, the freest of free places is a big Facebook group called Automate Your Business With ActiveCampaign, which is hosted by me, and you will find that on Facebook. And then the next step is I have a really, really wonderful free training course, built with Lifter, of course, and that one’s called Accelerated ActiveCampaign. And we linked that from all over the place, because it is the starting point for anyone who wants to get better at ActiveCampaign. It doesn’t matter where they’re at, you want to start there, Accelerated ActiveCampaign. And then when you are ready to dig in and get access to me and the team, and really start some lasting committed improvements, we have a membership. And this is my proudest thing, my proudest possession, it’s my baby. I’ve been building towards this for a long time. It’s a membership for ActiveCampaign users. It’s called the ActiveCampaign Academy and you can find that on my website, which is slickbusiness.co.

Chris Badget:
That’s awesome. We’re going to dig into all that. One of the things, I’m like a total membership site nerd and I was looking at your site, I think it was about a month ago I was looking at it, and I was looking at your pricing table, and I wonder if you could just briefly go over the stack of what’s included. It’s not just courses. So what is inside the membership, if you will?

Kay Peacey:
Okay. This is such a good question. Now it took me a while to pin this down. This is partly why I was late coming out the gates really with this membership. I wanted to do it much sooner, but I knew I needed to get the framework right so that it would work for people who are actually in businesses, in real life businesses doing real life stuff with ActiveCampaign. So the structure we came to in the end, and we did a lot of work with beta students to figure this out, what actually works in terms of their learning. So we have courses in there. Courses, right. Everyone knows what a course is. You go, you consume it, it’s pretty much meant to be done in the order of the lessons and you can work your way through and mark complete. Great, courses.

Kay Peacey:
So we have courses that explain particular features or particular themes and stuff like that. Then we have element number two, which is resources, and the resources are complete walkthroughs, top to tail, of a whole process, because when you automate anything or you build any tech stack, it’s literally never about just one feature, one thing. Where is this one setting? It’s the strategic approach, how you make a plan, what tech you’ve got to play with and then how you’re going to build it and document it. It’s all of those things to make a successful automated process of any sort. Okay. So the idea with the resources is that they will bring in real use cases. So say, a launch webinar. It’s a classic. Most businesses will need that at one time or another, the resources area is where we’re going to put a full walkthrough.

Kay Peacey:
I call it nose to tail. It’s like nose to tail eating. You’re starting with, okay, I would like to achieve such and such process. Where do I start? You’re going to go look at the resource. Okay, so that’s number two. Number three is our community. And I am thrilled with our community of members. It’s a private member community where you have direct access to me and my team and that’s where you can ask, it’s really, ask me anything about ActiveCampaign and I’m there, I’m all over it and I give you detailed responses. And we are now turning it into a really rich, even more resources, because we have a library area in our community now. So we are stashing all the links to all the vetted help docs. The stuff where I’ve been in there and I know that help doc is actually useful. So we have a library where we drop the link to the useful stuff.

Kay Peacey:
And then the final element is the office hours calls. And so, office hours calls, we run them twice a week, every week, which is a lot. But the reason I do them twice a week, every week is twofold. One is that often with ActiveCampaign work, you can be stuck and being stuck is really unpleasant place to be. And my mission is to move you forward from being stuck as quickly as possible and getting on a call in a group with other people who are working with ActiveCampaign and with me right there to answer your exact question. So you get your few minutes and in that time we move you forward and you’re not stuck anymore. And they’re the best part of my week, I absolutely love them. But it’s also to cater for people who are scattered around the globe. We’ve got people all over the world in different time zones. So we run them twice a week, so that everyone gets a fair crack at the whip to get to an office hours call.

Chris Badget:
Wow. That’s awesome. We’ve got so much to dig into here. For those that maybe they don’t know what ActiveCampaign is or what your niche is, can you just describe kind of who you help and what it’s all about?

Kay Peacey:
Sure. Sorry. So it’s like, we turned over three pages at once there. I’m sorry. I’ll go back. I’ll go back a step. Okay. So ActiveCampaign is the marketing automation platform. It’s for [crosstalk 00:06:32]-

Chris Badget:
I use it at LifterLMS. We use it.

Kay Peacey:
Yeah. Loads, and loads, and loads of businesses use it. Typically, it’s the one that people move onto when they’ve got fed up with one of the more limited platforms or they’ve got overwhelmed by one of the more technically complicated and expensive platforms. Okay. So it’s a really strong middle market contender in email marketing automation, but it’s not just about email marketing, it’s automating right across your business. So it’s your data storage, it’s your automation, it’s your emailing, it’s your internal processes, it’s the heart and the hub of your business when it’s done right. Okay. But for small business users, particularly, wow, that is a steep learning curve when you step into that platform, it is too much. It’s too much. I remember that feeling. I was completely wildly overwhelmed by ActiveCampaign when I first looked in there and literally, this is my living now.

Kay Peacey:
So I had a natural aptitude for this sort of thing, but I was completely overwhelmed and over faced by it. And it took me a long time to dig around and find the right training resources, and figure out what order to do them in to make any sense of it at all, and then how to strategically put stuff together so that it would actually make business things happen on autopilot. So my mission now is to make that journey so much easier and so much faster for small and medium business owners and the people who work in them, so that they can actually leverage the enormous power of ActiveCampaign to make their working life easier, and their business better, and their customers feel happier and sell more stuff. And that’s pretty much it.

Chris Badget:
So just to put kind of a timeline on this, how long as of this recording, have you been involved with ActiveCampaign? When did you first start using it?

Kay Peacey:
I think five years. Maybe five and a half now.

Chris Badget:
Five and a half years. And as of this recording, how long ago did you launch your membership?

Kay Peacey:
Three months.

Chris Badget:
That’s awesome. So this was a journey. This is a journey. And what can you tell us about the launch of your membership? How did it go?

Kay Peacey:
Oh, it was amazing. I am so glad that I did it and I literally never ever want to have to do that again, basically. So it was a long time coming for me because I was a reluctant business person in that I didn’t set out to become a business owner or a world leading ActiveCampaign expert. But what happened was that I started off as an expert, and then lots of people are asking me questions, and then I became a consultant, and I’m getting paid more and stuff like that. But then there’s only so many people you can serve doing that and that was a really ongoing frustration for me. I wanted to help more people because I knew the answers and I kept giving them away for free, which is, that’s great, but not really very sustainable.

Kay Peacey:
So I needed to make this transition and I finally plucked up the courage to make the transition. That was about one year ago from where we are now. And to get from where I was then, which was solo entrepreneur with no team around me, I was doing purely consultancy work, to get from there one year ago to having this membership that’s been out there for three months has been a really long investment of time, and passion, and energy. So the process really was about putting in place the positioning, so to get the authority to get in front of everyone and build the audience enough to do that, then to decide the framework to put it in. That took a lot of time and I’m really glad now, I’m so glad that we took the time to think properly about [crosstalk 00:10:14]-

Chris Badget:
Time well spent.

Kay Peacey:
… is this a set of courses? Is it master classes? Is it workshops? How do we make it so that ActiveCampaign becomes a thing that you can step into and learn to meet the needs of your business quickly? That’s probably where I spent the most time. So then once I’d finalized all of that, that was in about June of this year, which when I say that, it seems like such a short time ago. It literally wasn’t until June that I committed to, this is a membership, that question is now off the table, this is going to be a membership, let’s get some beta students in and start the launch machine going. So then I took a lot of advice on how to launch something, because I’ve never done it before.

Kay Peacey:
I can do the mechanics standing on my head. I’ve done it lots of times for lots of people, but actually doing it yourself is a whole different ball game, because you have to step into those areas of promoting what you’re doing and owning it in confidence and all of the wheels that need to turn to make that happen and getting a team around you to make it possible to launch at that scale. Wow. So the next six months was… In fact, it’s less than six months, isn’t it? Maybe four months of head down, pure work, daily grind, getting everything ready to launch. And we went with a live webinar launch funnel, which was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Loved it.

Chris Badget:
That’s awesome. So you mentioned launching and then going, you’re glad you don’t have to do that again. So is your plan to just kind of be like evergreen from here?

Kay Peacey:
Yes.

Chris Badget:
Just take that launch pressure off. And I mean, every business has to launch at least once.

Kay Peacey:
Yeah. And I genuinely, I’m really glad that I did it because it gave me a whole different insight into what it is like when you are launching. And I’m saying this from the lens of someone who’s very technically accomplished in terms of making that process as easy as possible. I know how to work a website and a webinar tech, and integrate it all to ActiveCampaign, and automate all my funnels, and set goals, and purchase tech and all of this. But my goodness, there are a lot of moving parts in there. And it was enlightening to me that even as someone who is so accomplished on the tech, it’s so hard to do that. You have to bring a lot of yourself to the table.

Chris Badget:
Yeah, for sure. And if you’re listening to this and you’re using ActiveCampaign or thinking about using that, I would definitely recommend going to slickbusiness.co and check out ActiveCampaign Academy by Kay. And it took you five years to do all this, but you’re kind of a technology nerd like me, so I can only imagine figuring out ActiveCampaign if you’re not necessarily tech inclined, gosh, you need somebody to help you just fast track that learning curve, which is exactly what you do, which is amazing.

Kay Peacey:
Exactly that. And that’s one of my chief pleasures in terms of now being present with my launch batch of members. We have a hundred plus members in there and honestly, I am so happy because finally we are in a place where we can get in a room twice a week and talk about what they need right there, right then, and constantly be building a bank of resources, so that as well as having a conversation and showing something with a screen share, or having a conversation about strategy, or how to think about it, how to put it together, we’ve got a resource then or a course that says, this is exactly how to use this specific feature. So this week I’ve put together some training on deals and pipelines, which just so desperately needed by people who work with ActiveCampaign. And we’ve been talking about it a lot, but now being able to combine those conversations and quick posts in the community. Sometimes someone only needs, it takes me 10 seconds to reply to a post to say, oh, you need such and such a feature, here’s the resource enough, and off they go. Fixed. Moving.

Chris Badget:
Efficient.

Kay Peacey:
Oh, the relief. The relief, because I do believe that everyone’s pass through ActiveCampaign learning is different. I really believe that. And it comes from two places. Every business is different, your business structure is different, your tech stack is different, the people you have are different, but also, you as an individual, whether you are a team member or the business owner, your state of play in terms of working with tech and automation and strategy as well, all of those things need to be taken into consideration when you come up with a plan to do something, to automate something. Because if you overreach, if you try to do something too complicated, that’s either not needed, or you don’t have the time for, or the budget, or the tech skills, it’s going to crash. You can see it coming a mile off. Well, I can see it coming a mile off now, because I’ve done it so many times. And I just love being present with people to steer them safely through that and fast. What a kick.

Chris Badget:
I love the phrase, condense decades into days. You can take something that you can really save somebody a lot of time and help them create incredible value while that advice or that training may create a quick fix. That could be a decade of knowledge and wisdom that focuses that decision, which is awesome.

Kay Peacey:
Wow. I completely agree with that. And I think ActiveCampaign is one of those tools where the more time you spend with it and the more you go deep with it, the more intimately you get to know it. And I recognize that I’m a weirdo on this front. I have gone deep into ActiveCampaign and inside my head it’s like the matrix, I can see the path to anything. But it wasn’t like that to start off with, that’s taken me five years of obsessive thinking about ActiveCampaign to get here. But what I really love is being able to deliver that to my members right when they need it, so they can just crack on with running their incredible business.

Chris Badget:
That’s awesome.

Kay Peacey:
That’s a thrill, right? That’s the teacher thrill.

Chris Badget:
Absolutely. And you mentioned like a hundred or so members on the launch. I’m sure as an expert you have this imposter syndrome, oh, I wonder if anybody’s going to buy this thing? Who am I to teach this? Blah, blah, blah. Once you got into your launch, what other kind of signals started happening in the launch that were like, I think we’re going to make it, I think it’s going to be okay, I think I’m going to be okay?

Kay Peacey:
Oh, that is such nice question to ask. Because it’s so human, isn’t it, when you put yourself on the line? And I think that’s one of the things that I personally found really hard to do because I didn’t set out to be a business owner, I didn’t want to do a launch, but I was going to anyway. So I was really pushing my personal confidence boundaries very hard at that point. So one of the moments that was really significant, I’m going to well up a bit talking about it, so I did a series of three live webinars over three days at different times of day in the UK so that we could be live and present with the different time zones across the world. And when I did the first live webinar, I think it was my first time ever doing a solo webinar. It was an hour long. I had prepped and prepped and prepped, as you can imagine. It was beautifully structured. I knew that it was all the things I wanted to say. The adrenaline was going crazy in me. It was really an extraordinary experience and I like [crosstalk 00:17:39]-

Chris Badget:
It’s like a moment.

Kay Peacey:
Yeah. For me it felt like getting married or getting… I tell you the one I used most was getting ready to go into childbirth.

Chris Badget:
Okay.

Kay Peacey:
That’s how it felt to me. You know it’s coming, it’s imminent, it’s going to happen, whether you like it or not you are doing this and you got to get through it. Live, right there, right now. So the internal me is going completely crazy. Anyway, so I managed to get through this webinar and I missed a huge chunk of it.

Chris Badget:
What do you mean you missed it? Oh, you [crosstalk 00:18:14]-

Kay Peacey:
I skipped a big chunk of my planned webinar and then I had to go back to it. I was like, oh my God, I missed a bit. So I had to go back. This is on the first run. The second run was better. We recorded that one and it’s better. But the first run, so it was live, it was my first ever live launch webinar and I was just so pumped on adrenaline that various things went wrong. But also there was this crazy excitement going on. It had a huge turn up rate. I had so many more people who had registered for this webinar than I was expecting. So it was enormously exciting. The chat’s going crazy. We ran a prize draw and gave away a consult call with me. And it was all spinney wheel and people getting excited. Whoop, whoop. So that was amazing. And then I got off the call and you know that moment where you’ve just done something, it’s like coming off stage at a gig and you feel like you’re going to faint. And I got off the call, ah, like that. And I looked over there when my slack channel is where I get my notifications and I could see that we’d sold 25 memberships before we even closed the webinar.

Chris Badget:
On one webinar. That’s awesome.

Kay Peacey:
Yeah. And that moment was that first moment of, okay [crosstalk 00:19:27]-

Chris Badget:
I’m going to make it.

Kay Peacey:
… I think we might be okay. I think we might be okay. But it has this air of unreality about it still at that point. And I think it didn’t really sink in until we went past 50 sales the next day and quite a substantial number of them were annual. They came straight out the gates into the advanced annual subscription and that felt like a real validation of, yes, this is what we want and we trust you.

Chris Badget:
That’s awesome.

Kay Peacey:
That felt really nice. Yeah. That felt lovely.

Chris Badget:
Do you have that webinar video as part of your evergreen sales process or how did you [crosstalk 00:20:04]-

Kay Peacey:
Not yet.

Chris Badget:
Okay.

Kay Peacey:
It’s not done yet, but yes, that’s very much on the cards for January to make sure that webinar is available as part of a funnel. So right now, because this is a very new membership, I mean, we’re only on months three, and so you’ve got to get all of your systems in place. I’m having to learn how to run a membership. And again, I’ve done it so many times in terms of the backend tech for people, but actually being the leader of the ship involves a whole new layer of decision making, team management, systems and just connecting. And for me, I always prioritize connecting with my members. That is the most important thing. I will always put that first. So right now I’ve been very focused on getting that membership really settled in. Really settled in. And then next year is all about amplification. And then that webinar’s coming out again, the recording.

Chris Badget:
That is so cool. Could you kind of at a high level let everybody listening or watching know what the structure of that webinar is? Kind of like, or even just some tips, what kind of sections or components to create the hour experience?

Kay Peacey:
Yeah. I’m just going back to how we put it together. So I had a lot of amazing coaching, which I just couldn’t have done this without, which was from Melissa Love.

Chris Badget:
That’s awesome.

Kay Peacey:
I have to name check her, because there’s no way that webinar would’ve been so effective and well put together without her input. So the structure that I used came from Melissa and it involved the introduction, the reassurance that you’re in the right place, I’m going to help you with ActiveCampaign.

Chris Badget:
It’s for you.

Kay Peacey:
We talked about pain points. So I know that you are feeling this, this, this and this right now, and here’s what we’re going to do. Oh, and we did a little potted history of me, very quickly. Like here’s how I got to where I am. Because we recognized, well, Melissa knew that there would be people at that webinar who had never been in my audience before, which there were, and I would never have thought of that. So we did a little potted history of Kate and how I got where I was.

Chris Badget:
Why you can trust me and how [crosstalk 00:22:11]-

Kay Peacey:
Right, right, right. So it’s all that establishing trust, telling them they’re in the right place. I wouldn’t have done any of that. I’d have been straight into the crazy teaching. What do I know about a webinar? So you ask someone who does know. Melissa Love knows this stuff. She tutored me. So then we spent a while picking out four themes, four learning points to use in the webinar and we trailed them from about six weeks before the invitations even went out to the webinar. So we were laying the trail of cookie crumbs ready for this. And we ended up calling it EASY ActiveCampaign. It’s an acronym, E-A-S-Y ActiveCampaign. And they stood for environment, which is the tech and tools that you have to play with because you need to understand, what have we got to work with here and what features have we got? Then A was for activity, which is what you do with the tech and the toys that you have to play with. So you are going to build automations, you are going to think about processes and automate things.

Kay Peacey:
Then we talked about strategy. That was the S for strategy. Why it’s important to know what you’re trying to do, make a plan and write the plan down and refine it, and know what your outcomes are, your desirable outcomes. And then Y, which was my favorite one. Y was for you, the human at the heart of your business. So we had these four, I think we called them pillars. Melissa talks about the most pillars of content. And what that enabled us to do was to take this sort of quite squidgy thing, which is, I want to help you get better at ActiveCampaign and frame it up into something that was comprehensible, memorable and deliverable in four pillared segments in a webinar.

Chris Badget:
So even if somebody didn’t buy from you, the webinar would’ve been of value to them?

Kay Peacey:
Definitely, because it’s a way of thinking about ActiveCampaign. It’s a way of thinking. And in fact, it’s a way of thinking about any process or aim in your business. Make it easy. You need to know what’s your environment, what activity you need to carry out. Strategy actually has to come first, but we couldn’t come up with an acronym that had the S at the beginning.

Chris Badget:
You had to make it EASY.

Kay Peacey:
We had to make it EASY. So the S is in third place. And then remembering that it’s you that is the heart of the business and that you need to get your skills or your team need to build those skills. And ideally you’re going to have an expert and a teacher that you trust to help you do that more quickly, because you don’t want to be on your own struggling and having to reinvent the wheel. So it was kind of like, it ended up being a bit of a universal truth thing, but all with rock solid ActiveCampaign implementation examples. And then the next thing we did, which is the segment that I forgot to do on the first run and had to go back to, was run through a real use case scenario and talk about how that strategy, the EASY framework would apply in that scenario. And the scenario was a red carpet VIP inquiry. So somebody makes an inquiry to your website, what are you going to do? What’s your process? And so we did a real example and then I pitched.

Chris Badget:
See, most people get scared because they think all I got to do is pitch, but that was just a little last part of the very end of all that, right?

Kay Peacey:
Yeah. That was like almost the afterthought.

Chris Badget:
You mentioned Melissa Love. I just want to highlight, she’s been on this podcast a couple times. She’s a great example of somebody who built a membership site with LifterLMS as well. So go check her out. And one of the really cool things is, you talked earlier about building community and stuff like that, sometimes it takes a village to raise a child and when you and Melissa, I’ve watched you both help each other with your unique skill sets, so you guys know each other and just that you amplify, you fill in the others, you’re better together. And then you both were able to launch your own products out of it. It’s really a beautiful thing. Leveraging each other’s strengths. It’s pretty cool.

Kay Peacey:
We were chatting the other day and we had a little bit of a moment of like, oh, we are so business married. And I love being business married to Melissa because you are right, it’s sort of a symbiotic relationship in a really good way for our businesses. Very complimentary skill sets. But when I started out, I had nothing. Melissa was the one who brought me into all this and it feels like such a privilege to have grown in skill and experience and knowledge to be in a position where to be business married to Melissa, that feels great. Really nice.

Chris Badget:
That is cool. That is cool. I wanted to talk about another kind of like packaging thing. A lot of people get hung up on packages and pricing and I think what you have is like, there’s kind of two layers, there’s a version of the academy that has lot of stuff, and then there’s another version that has everything or more of this stuff, and then you have a monthly or an annual payment option.

Kay Peacey:
Oh, okay.

Chris Badget:
So that’s kind of, to me, it’s a really clean thing. Like, okay, I can come in at this level or I can get everything and do I want to pay monthly or save a little bit and really commit and do annual? Can you tell us anything you learned around packaging and getting that figured out?

Kay Peacey:
Oh, yeah. I mean again that [crosstalk 00:27:33]-

Chris Badget:
And what does the market actually do? You mentioned some people went annual and stuff like that. How did it kind of shake out in terms of are you glad you have it structured this way or you learned something?

Kay Peacey:
Yeah. I don’t think there’s anything that I would change at this point. I need to watch it, but it’s probably too early to tell at this point of how will that play out in the longer term. Because in that launch, I think for context it’s important to bear in mind that some of the people on that very first webinar who jumped straight in and went to annual have been waiting a really long time for me to get something out.

Chris Badget:
So you had a relationship, their trust?

Kay Peacey:
Yeah. We’ve been working at that trust and I have given a lot of valuable content. There was a huge amount of trust and positioning and authority invested in those relationships and so my hunch is that those guys were the ones who went straight in on advanced annual. But there were some surprises in there for me too as well. So names that weren’t on my radar who went straight to annual as well. So there’s always stuff going on under the surface that we don’t know about. So my intention with the pricing structure was that it should be simple enough to be comprehensible and that it would be appropriate for a variety of businesses to be able to access the training that they needed when they needed it.

Kay Peacey:
So being able to come in for just one month and then leave if that was what you needed to do, that was important to me. Because if you’re a business on a low budget, you can do a lot in a month in the academy with ActiveCampaign. You can have a really significant improvement in one month on the essential level. But equally I wanted the annual because that makes sense for us as membership owners and some people are definitely in for the long haul. I say, I have about probably 20% of my members right now are ActiveCampaign service providers. So they’re people who are making this their [crosstalk 00:29:23]-

Chris Badget:
Implementers.

Kay Peacey:
Yeah. They’re implementers and they’re in. They’re in for the long haul. So they’re the ones who are getting annual advanced plan. So the other factor for me was around the fact that ActiveCampaign is not one product itself. This marketing automation platform has different levels of plan. Okay. So if you are an ActiveCampaign user, you may be on the light plan, or the plus, or the pro, or the enterprise and [crosstalk 00:29:51]-

Chris Badget:
I think I’m on the pro.

Kay Peacey:
I can tell you, you are on the pro.

Chris Badget:
Okay.

Kay Peacey:
We talked about this before. You are on the pro. So there are a whole ton of features that kick in at plus level that are not available on light plans. Now, to me [crosstalk 00:30:03]-

Chris Badget:
Oh, that’s interesting.

Kay Peacey:
… it would seem grossly unfair to me, to effectively charge people for training on stuff that they don’t even have access to.

Chris Badget:
Interesting. That’s cool.

Kay Peacey:
I think that would be mean.

Chris Badget:
And it’s overwhelming. It could create some overwhelm.

Kay Peacey:
Overwhelm, yes. That was going to be my next point, the overwhelm. People who are on the light plan, and the light plan by the way, is ridiculously capable on ActiveCampaign. It is such great value. Such great value. You don’t necessarily need to be on the plus, or the pro, or the enterprise. I think I was on the light plan up until about eight months ago in my own business. You can do a ton on there. Anyway. So the people who were on the light plan particularly, or who were on higher level plans, but are not ready yet to be dealing with the complicated stuff or just, they’re not using it, or they don’t have the time yet, any of those reasons, I wanted them to have a more accessible price point. That was really, it felt important to me.

Kay Peacey:
So we created it with two levels, essential and advanced. And essential level is if you are on the light plan and that’s all you need, great, you want to be on the essential level of my ActiveCampaign academy. Because you just don’t need to know about the content that’s in the advanced. You just don’t need that. So great. Hooray. But then if you are on the plus, pro, or enterprise plan, in order to get the content that relates to those features, which is deals and pipelines, accounts, deep data eCommerce, Facebook audience integration, those topics are really important deals and pipelines particularly is incredibly powerful and I want to put really high quality content out for this. And so I need to charge more for that membership and you’re going to need more access to me. So on the advanced level, they get double access to our office hours calls as well. So [crosstalk 00:31:58]-

Chris Badget:
Very cool.

Kay Peacey:
… it’s great, because it means you can be in a call with me every week to keep you moving.

Chris Badget:
That’s awesome. When I saw your pricing and stuff, I’m like, that is a really good structure. One just quick question there, maybe without going into the specific price point in case you change it, how did you think about how to price the month or the year? Was there any kind of calculation of like, oh, well they’re paying this much for ActiveCampaign, maybe this would be tied into that or how did you kind come up with that?

Kay Peacey:
That’s such a good question. I found that bit really tough. Really tough. Partly because of self confidence and a business-to-business membership pricing is different to a business-to-consumer pricing and I found it quite hard. It was quite an isolated bit that to pin down the pricing.

Chris Badget:
It’s something you can [crosstalk 00:33:00]-

Kay Peacey:
I think I probably did [crosstalk 00:33:00]-

Chris Badget:
… over time. Go ahead.

Kay Peacey:
Sorry. I was going to say, I think we did look at how much are they paying for ActiveCampaign. I think we did factor that in, but we thought more about how much is this going to benefit them? What is this worth to a business? And in that sense, it’s really under priced right now, if I’m honest. But that’s what you do when you launch and when you are in a fledgling membership. And it’s a new thing, no one else has done this in this way. This doesn’t exist anywhere else. And so you are asking people to take a leap of faith with you and come on in. And so we were somewhere in between all of those conflicting influences on pricing.

Chris Badget:
It’s tough.

Kay Peacey:
Yeah, its tough.

Chris Badget:
How about this concept of the MVP or minimum viable product? You said it took nine months to kind of launch this thing. How did you come to a point where you decided, okay, this is enough in the box of what they’re getting on day one the first time the door is open? Because what I see is a lot of people get stuck in what I call the course creator cave and the years start ticking by and they haven’t launched. How did you kind of have that sense or planning or sense when you got there that this is enough to launch with?

Kay Peacey:
I got pinned down basically by Melissa who made me put in a launch date.

Chris Badget:
That’s awesome.

Kay Peacey:
That’s the only way. That was the only way we could get me out of the course creator cave. And I still want to get back in there. I still want to. I would happily spend all my day, every day, creating course content for my existing members and stop doing any marketing or sales activity because where I’m happiest is in the course creation. So you are absolutely right, it’s a total trap. And the only way that I got past that was to be pinioned by the people around me who made me commit to a date and put a schedule in and stick to it. And that meant that I had to sacrifice, not all of them, I had to sacrifice a lot of stuff that in my heart and mind I thought had to be in place. I thought we had to have X, Y, Z, and all the other letters of the alphabet. They all had to be in there before I could possibly launch because otherwise it wouldn’t be fair. But having a launch date and a launch program and having to get this webinar out and my team rolling and keeping it all rolling, that was the only thing that kept me on track with that.

Chris Badget:
Did you set the at launch date at the beginning of the nine months or after you were in there and Melissa saw that maybe you’re never going to launch unless we pick a date? How was that?

Kay Peacey:
Well, you remember I said it was in June that I said I’m going to do a membership? We set the launch date that day.

Chris Badget:
That’s great. So kind of at the beginning of the commitment process.

Kay Peacey:
Yeah. But the thing is, you’ve got to bear in mind Melissa knows me really well and she’s had to do an intervention on me before. So she knows. We’ve learned what levers are necessary to help me, to support me as a human and as a person to stop getting in my own way.

Chris Badget:
That’s great advice. And I love how it’s just tied to that human nine month gestation. It just feels like you can just run the metaphor all the way through and then you have a baby that you need to nurture and grow on the other side.

Kay Peacey:
Totally. That’s so true. I had my getting ready to give birth music, I had my track that I play in my headset before I went on the webinars, I had a particular track that I played really loud out on the back deck, getting pumped for it. It was amazing.

Chris Badget:
I know you’re still learning or probably optimizing, but you’re such a system’s person, which is something I love about you. Now that it’s launched, what’s the monthly rhythm for continuing to evolve the membership? For example, I know you have the office hours events on the calendar, you have course creation time blocks in your schedule, what’s the rhythm just to both keep it moving forward without putting undo expectations on yourself of what you can add in a month?

Kay Peacey:
Oh, that’s a great question as well. So this is something I’m still evolving, I think definitely. Because when you start a membership it’s quite heavy need on the system side of things. So I had plans today to do some course recording, but I had some system stuff that needed to be done today, because if I didn’t do it today, it was going to cost me more time overall. And so there’s a bit of a juggling act going on there. My aim is to have one full day per week just on content creation for my members.

Chris Badget:
That’s great.

Kay Peacey:
Half a day a week on content creation that’s public and free, so that’s my weekly topics that go into the free Facebook group, which are excellent. And turning those into blogs and amplifying those messages. I think I’ve got half a day on email marketing, which again right now has not made it back to the top of my pile. That keeps having to get overridden because we need to get our onboarding properly in place because otherwise our new members coming in aren’t getting a great experience probably right now, but that’s my next priority. So we’re still juggling a little bit there. Sorry that wasn’t a very helpful answer.

Chris Badget:
No, it’s good. I mean, I love that. It was helpful. Okay, you have one day a week that it’s all adding value to members. Even just that one, I have that in my schedule on Wednesdays, I call it a deep work day. My highest priority happens that day.

Kay Peacey:
Because to me, if I’m not serving my existing members and if I’m not getting into course and resource frameworks, the stuff that’s in my head, then every single time someone needs to know that I have to personally deliver that knowledge to them. And that’s not good for me.

Chris Badget:
That creates motivation to productize that knowledge.

Kay Peacey:
That’s my motivation is that this and my intent. It was weird after I did the launch because the launch was so all consuming. It kind of felt like falling off a cliff when I’d got to it and I was like, oh, now I’ve got 125 members. Ah, now what? So I’m still working on my weekly routines to make sure that they are getting served well, I’m not going to burn out, but we do need to keep extracting. It’s like mining the brain, that has to keep coming out because otherwise it’s a catch 22 where every time someone needs to know something, the only place they can get it is by asking me personally in that moment and that is not sustainable. And it’s also not the best way for them to learn because my teaching is generally better in terms of structured teaching, it’s going to be better if I have planned it, thought about it, if I have an example, a screenshot, I can do a video about it, we can have annotations, checklists, all of that. I want them to have that as well.

Chris Badget:
That’s awesome. I love how in your expert journey, your clients, your customers, your colleagues, they literally pull the product out of you. They force you. It’s awesome. It’s not like you’re trying to push something on people. You’re trying to help more people solve the same problems as scale without you exploding with one-on-one consulting for everything.

Kay Peacey:
Exactly that. And honestly, it feels like a relief every time I’m able to make the time to get something into a course. Oh, and we’ve developed more of a workflow now for course creation. So I have someone else who’s doing the video edits and someone else who creates the lesson posts and that sort of stuff. So our workflows are constantly evolving to make that process easier for all of us. We document everything as we go and that means it’s all available immediately in our community. It’s really easy for everyone to find anything that’s in our whole resource base.

Chris Badget:
That’s awesome.

Kay Peacey:
And it’s also really member driven as well. One of the things that we learnt during the beta phase, which was really important, so from June, I invited in some beta students, I think we had 13 beta students who came into this fledgling membership that pretty much had nothing in it at that point. And the office hours calls started right from the beginning and that was where we took the cues for, okay, this keeps coming up, so the that’s going to come to the top of the list for making a course about this thing, because everybody needs this. So up that comes on the list. And that’s been fascinating for me because I think you’re absolutely right, I know how I think about ActiveCampaign is as a consultant, but it’s not the same as what a business person coming in and needing ActiveCampaign training to help them move forward more quickly. What do they need first? And so this membership is very driven by what keeps coming up in office hours. What do we as a community need next?

Chris Badget:
That’s awesome. Well, let’s get into the tech a little bit. You’re a technologist and you’re awesome with systems and whatnot. What do you see as the essential tools in your training based membership site business? What’s the tech stack? Obviously you’ve got ActiveCampaign. What else?

Kay Peacey:
I got ActiveCampaign, I got LifterLMS, that’s the easy ones. So I’m on Divi in WordPress. So Divi is my page builder. And again, Melissa Love features in that choice because she is incredible at designing beautiful stuff using Divi and WordPress and Lifter. And I use WooCommerce for sales cart and the reason I do that is because it integrates beautifully with ActiveCampaign. So you will not find me using ThriveCart or any other external cart because I want that deep data integration with ActiveCampaign. Because it removes a ton of disconnect and problem and saves hours of work. WP Fusion, my favorite plugin of all, really. It’s the one ring that joins them all. It just connects. Every WordPress user is connected to an ActiveCampaign contact and WP Fusion is what sends the data fluently back and forth between my sales domain and my education domain. They’re getting information to and from both from ActiveCampaign.

Chris Badget:
So you have separate sites for the eCommerce and the [crosstalk 00:43:01]-

Kay Peacey:
I do, yes. So my main site has the blog and the static pages. Any landing pages and stuff like that is on the main site and the WooCommerce checkout stuff, all of that is on the main site. And then the education site is purely for education. So the courses and resources and a bit of member support, that’s it.

Chris Badget:
That’s awesome. What do you love most about LifterLMS or how does it help you? What are the benefits there or how do you use it?

Kay Peacey:
Oh, it’s just so fluent and easy to use. I just, I really enjoy working with it. I enjoy how easy it is to create any lesson style that you want because we’re using the Gutenberg Block builder in there. We can create anything that you want and then frame it up inside a Divi layout. So you’ve got the layout control, you’ve also got all the flexibility of the Gutenberg Blocks. And I just, that whole course building structure where you’ve got lessons inside a course, and it’s really fluent as a creator to go in and shuffle the order of stuff or rename something, that’s all really easy and fluent to do. But the thing that’s benefited me most at this point launching into this membership is being able to use the membership layer over the top of the courses. That has been absolutely pivotal.

Kay Peacey:
Without that I would’ve been really stuck. Because what it means is that now when I create a new course, which I’m doing fairly frequently is adding new material into this membership, it’s really easy to just auto enroll all of the existing members. And just flexible, fluent, looks great users love it, I have nothing not to like about this. And do you know what I’m really excited about with LifterLMS, right? Is when this membership reaches a point of maturity where I can start to look at the other things, quizzes and certificates and gamification and all of those extras, I have never been in a position where in my business we’ve wanted or needed to use any of that. I’m really excited. I’m going to be getting me that LifterLMS universe bundle.

Chris Badget:
That’s awesome.

Kay Peacey:
I’m like, yes, finally.

Chris Badget:
A question I get a lot, which maybe you can help me with, is why WordPress versus a membership tool like Kajabi or something like that? I know you’re very skilled technically, but just like in your course, you’re helping implementers use a complex tool like ActiveCampaign, why WordPress over hosted SaaS or hosted software solutions for memberships and courses and stuff?

Kay Peacey:
Oh, I think for me that one is twofold. It’s about building on someone else’s turf and being tied into that platform. So without speaking about any of the other platforms in particular, often they actually retain ownership of any video that you upload to that site and they make it very hard for you to get it back out again or to protect it. So if something goes wrong in that relationship, you have no ownership of your assets and no protections and that always really bothers me. But from a technician’s point of view, it’s always about the integration. Every single time I worked with clients who had their learning content on a third party SaaS platform, we just had such a big headache trying to get any sort of student tracking, or engagement monitoring, or even just getting them enrolled on something, everything was so hard, so difficult to do.

Kay Peacey:
It puts in all these technical barriers and often those technical barriers are complete roadblocks. So you’ll find that the platform, these third party learning platforms, as brilliant as they are, and they really do have their place for someone who’s earlier in their course builder or membership journey, they have their place, but there comes a point where you’ve got to get out of there because barriers are up. The walls are closing in and these platforms will not let you get your data out of them. So sometimes, for example, they’ll let you export a CSV, but there’s no way of having a dynamic web hook or feed to something to update it with. Have they logged in or have they visited this course? To me, that information is absolutely critical. I need ActiveCampaign to know when they’ve done their first login when they finished their first course, because ActiveCampaign is the partner to your education site. And if they’re not talking to each other that’s not going to help you in your business. You’ve just tied your hands together behind your back.

Chris Badget:
That’s awesome. Do you remember why you first started or the scenario around why or when you started and you selected LifterLMS for your learning management system? Is it because Melissa [crosstalk 00:47:39]-

Kay Peacey:
You know what? I’m going to say, it’s Melissa.

Chris Badget:
Yeah, okay.

Kay Peacey:
But I would’ve gone away from it years ago if I thought there was a better option. I’m not hesitant to move away from stuff. I don’t know. I promise I don’t do stuff just because Melissa does it. I like to think she’s following me now, I’m just saying.

Chris Badget:
You help each other.

Kay Peacey:
We help each other. So I’ll give you a good example. And I know we were talking about the tech stack earlier and I forgot to mention one that I’m very enamored of right now, which is my community, for my members, my paying member community, we’ve just moved to Circle as our community platform.

Chris Badget:
I’m seeing a lot of people use that in conjunction with WordPress. And do you like it? Are you happy?

Kay Peacey:
I am loving it. So happy. But more important than that, the members are getting a better experience because… Okay, so previously we were using the classic, the closed Facebook group, but we all know there are issues and problems with that. But the major problem, actually, there were two sides to it, for me, as the business owner that were really problematic. One of which is the integration side. There’s no real way of automating people coming in and out of a private Facebook group and that is a massive time drain. Yeah and it leads to errors and a poor experience for everyone basically.

Kay Peacey:
So I wanted something that I could automate and Circle answers that need. But I also wanted something that had the feel of being sociable, but also had sufficient structural capacity to become a resource in itself. So what I’m loving with circle is that we’ve been able to create a library area for our members and we’ve been able to separate out our essential level stuff from our advanced level stuff. So we are reducing overwhelm, we’re making all of our content more accessible and keeping all of that community feel. I’m thrilled with it. Actually, one of the features that I love most about it, which I didn’t even know when I signed up for it is that you can embed it right there in your learning platform on WordPress.

Chris Badget:
Oh, that’s cool. I didn’t know that.

Kay Peacey:
It’s so cool. It’s so cool. It puts a little bubble down in the bottom corner and all you have to do to get into the community is click on the little bubble. Up it comes, ask a question, have a quick browse, take a break, chat with your ActiveCampaign buddies, click away, squishes back down, carry on with your course. Wow.

Chris Badget:
That is cool. Wow. That’s that’s super cool.

Kay Peacey:
Because that’s what we’re all looking for from our communities, we want them to be meshed in with the experience of being in there and learning. And so when I saw that feature, that was it. I was all in then. I was like, yes, this is the one for me.

Chris Badget:
Well, I could keep going for hours with you, but we have to land this plane. I want to kind of end it with just whatever you have to say to somebody who’s considering doing this. They’ve been consulting for a while and they’re kind of feeling that if I could just productize this and maybe they set a nine month launch date, that seemed to really help focus your efforts, and one mini question before you start, when you did launch, how many courses were inside the membership approximately?

Kay Peacey:
I think it was 11.

Chris Badget:
And for you, a course is how many lessons?

Kay Peacey:
It really varies. Probably average 10 lessons.

Chris Badget:
And total time per course for the actual content on average?

Kay Peacey:
Video consumption or time to do it?

Chris Badget:
Just like video for now.

Kay Peacey:
Video, probably about an hour. And of course I have all this documented. I have an air table that stashes all this.

Chris Badget:
So you basically had 11 hours of training at the launch point, approximately. And the lot goes into making it. That’s not 11 hours to create. I know there’s a ton of time that goes in to create that. Well, what final words do you have for somebody? And we’re going to encourage people to set a nine month launch date.

Kay Peacey:
Nine month gestation period.

Chris Badget:
What final words do you have for them and any final thoughts about LifterLMS to share?

Kay Peacey:
Okay. I think probably the most important part of that gestation period for me was getting beta students in really early. Really early.

Chris Badget:
So they’re in there when course one drops or [crosstalk 00:52:08]-

Kay Peacey:
Yeah. They’re in there before it even exists. So I put a call out for people to come on that journey with me, and they were paying right from the beginning, at rock bottom, real low price. And the exchange was very clear that you get locked into that price for life for as long as you stay subscribed and in exchange for that, you’re going to of come on a journey with me over the next three months. So they knew the time scale coming into it and we are going to get in and we’re going to create this together from scratch. And I had a really great response to it. I think actually I invited people and I picked a selection of people from across the range. With my people, I’ve got a real big range of total beginner to people who want to do this for a living. So we picked a range of people and I learned so much from them. That’s the key thing, was spending time with them for a good two months and that was how the structure of the courses and the memberships became clear. This is taking a leap of faith, but bringing some of your people along with you.

Chris Badget:
That’s awesome. Okay. Thank you for being a shining and expiring, inspiring example [crosstalk 00:53:22]-

Kay Peacey:
Expiring?

Chris Badget:
No, you’re just getting started. An inspiring example of a course creator, somebody building a training based membership site. Go check out slickbusiness.co. She has a free course called Accelerated ActiveCampaign. So if you’re using ActiveCampaign and you want to kind of round out your understanding and really get a much better footing with it, go check that out and go check out ActiveCampaign Academy. That’s at slickbusiness.co. Kate, thanks for coming on the show. We really appreciate you.

Kay Peacey:
Thank you, Chris. It was a pleasure as always.

Chris Badget:
And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMS Cast. Did you enjoy that episode? Tell your friends and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode. And I’ve got a gift for you over at lifterlms.com/gift. Go to lifterlms.com/gift. Keep learning, keep taking action and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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