I was so excited and shocked to open my email up yesterday to see that my case study for The Membership Experience (formerly TRIBE course) was in the top 5 of Stu Mclaren’s membership site contest!! I’m so excited to share more about my story over the last 6 months and how Stu and The Membership Experience have helped my husband and I re-design a business we LOVE. Because, work should be fun, right?!
Here’s the video that is in the top 5 of the competition.
Note: The Membership Experience cart opens April 25th, 2022. If you reading this before that date, make sure you check out the FREE Membership Workshop running now. You can register here.
If you are just here for the first time, my name is Anna Runyan and I am from San Diego. My husband and I have a business that we run together called Classy Career Girl International and we serve women who are in career transition and help them find a career they love or start a business they love. We’ve had this business for about 10 years and we also have three adorable daughters.
BEFORE The Membership Experience 2016
The problem with my business in 2016 was that I wanted to make a bigger impact and help more people. I was very burnt out on individual coaching and traveling to speaking events but I absolutely love teaching others. I also wanted more freedom in my life because my husband and I tried for years to have kids and now that our daughter was here, I wanted a business I loved. I wanted to be a role model for her and also just to be able to go to the park with her in the middle of the afternoon rather than take client calls all day.
I had already made the switch to membership site model and I actually had two of them running but I could barely keep up. I was so stressed and unhappy and actually had some health issues happening too. I was not a good mom and I had a lot of regrets because I was missing out on my daughter and her life. In the summer of 2016, I didn’t go outside once because I was working to get more members but I was plateauing at 50 members in each membership site, which was not paying the bills. I was launching something almost every week and I was terribly sick of launches.
What I didn’t share on the video though is….
What I didn’t share on the video is how tough a time I was having in my personal life right before I joined The Membership Experience (formerly TRIBE course) and really throughout the entire course. Through the month of August 2016, I was dealing with my third miscarriage which was absolutely devastating. I knew I needed some kind of change especially after a doctor asked me about my stress level. I knew I needed a drastic change in my business because it couldn’t just keep going at the same stressful and overwhelming pace.
I have always made big investment decisions after my miscarriages. Yes, I am in this 1% club that I never wanted to be in. My losses push me to do things I would never have done. I thought, ok if I am not going to be pregnant for the next 6 months, what can I do instead? How can I actually turn this devastating experience into a positive? How can I make something of my next 6 months without growing a sweet baby? I needed to grow SOMETHING! I knew I needed to put everything into growing my business instead so when our second child did arrive someday we would be in a better situation. (Here’s the podcast I did when everything was falling apart).
I knew I needed to put my focus into something else. Honestly, I really just needed a distraction. Through the pain and the tears, I was so inspired by Stu’s free Membership workshop when I saw it advertised on a Facebook ad. It was the vision of having a perfect business that Stu talks about that I needed so badly at that time of my life.
Another thing I didn’t mention in the video is that I already tried a membership site in 2014 and I had to close it down. I couldn’t keep it up by myself and with a baby on the way so I said goodbye. It plateaued at 50 members and I was basically doing everything wrong when it comes to membership sites I have learned now. Even so, I knew the membership site model was for me.
Changing From Speaking/Individual Coaching to Membership Sites
Before The Membership Experience (formerly TRIBE course), we were doing ok. I was proud that I had turned my individual and group coaching business into two membership sites. I also had published a book in 2014 and had been doing a ton of speaking including being flown to Brazil to speak to 800 women. It was amazing but I started saying no to speaking opportunities and being pretty picky about where I put my time when my daughter was born. I just couldn’t leave her to travel for a speaking event.
We were floating by, a year prior living with my brother and not having to pay rent was a life saver. We barely scraped by a few hundred dollars a week for childcare so John and I could really focus on our business for a couple of hours per day together.
I was proud of myself. I knew membership sites were for me. I knew I could help more people and do it in a more streamlined fashion than working with someone one on one. I knew membership sites could give us the freedom and lifestyle that John and I wanted in our lives. I was loving running the membership sites but every time someone quit and we would review our numbers, I would be devastated.
How were we going to make it? One person in and one person out. It was looking more and more like the Get Ahead Club that I had to close down in 2014… We definitely were not making enough to cover our bills quite yet….
Enter Stu McLaren
I’ve known about Stu for years since I’ve always used Wishlist Member which he co-founded so I knew he was the expert when it came to membership sites. I’ve also watched the growth of Platform University with Michael Hyatt and knew he was behind that. I knew whatever he was teaching I needed to know.
I started seeing some videos ads he was running on Facebook over the summer of 2016. They were extremely high-quality video ads so they stood out. I learned that everything Stu does was high quality which is something I strive for in my business as well. His free Membership Workshop was so motivational to me because I was going through a really tough time in my life. I watched every video and did every worksheet in the free series. I knew this program was for me, but I had to wait for doors to open.
I Decided NOT To Join The Membership Experience
Here’s the funny thing. I actually didn’t join The Membership Experience at first. Doors weren’t open and I needed something to invest in because of how down I was at the moment. I needed to make a change and so I invested in another woman’s program instead before TME doors opened. The next day, she called me back and said her program wasn’t available anymore and would give me my money back. Well, that was the sign I needed. That same day The Membership Experience finally opened, I watched the Livestream with 10 inspiring business owners with my husband and I knew The Membership Experience was what I needed.
My Thoughts Before Investing in The Membership Experience
I didn’t know if The Membership Experience would work for me because I wasn’t just beginning my business. I wasn’t brand new to marketing and membership sites. I thought I would just watch the last 2 modules on retention and growth because I had everything else figured out (not true). I was hoping this would eliminate the stress of keeping my head above water. The investment was a stretch and outside of my comfort zone, I’m not going to lie.
But, I knew if The Membership Experience could help me get and KEEP just 15 more members per month, it would pay for itself. I needed better retention rates and he had a whole section on retention. I grabbed the payment plan and said a prayer.
When you have a membership site you think in the numbers of members you need to afford something new in your business. So my monthly member rate was $39/month so I just needed 15 new members per month and I needed to keep them to make this TME investment worth it! That really wasn’t that much (and I ended up doing it in just a few weeks later after I purchased).
It’s silly to think about the investment being an issue now. We now have 550 members MORE than we had before The Membership Experience paying us monthly. If you do a simple calculation ($39 multiplied by 550), you’ll see that my investment in TME was way beyond worth it. I cringe that I almost bought some other woman’s program that would have led me nowhere. Yikes!! (Be careful where you put your money!!)
WHAT The Membership Experience WAS LIKE:
The Membership Experience opened my eyes to how I could re-launch my 2 membership sites so they would be way more fun for me and less stressful.
When I joined I thought I can do this! I had no idea that in the course, I would learn so much about Facebook groups and product launches. I even learned how to conduct case study interviews and do way better market research and so much more.
Stu put SO MUCH into this course. I listened to every Facebook Live he did every weekday while I was out for a run or taking my daughter to pre-school. This course and Stu was my positive voice and cheerleader when my personal life was very rocky. Literally, I took the course in between doctor appointments and counseling appointments while I was in a depressed state of fog at that time. I felt like I was frozen but I just did what Stu said and followed his advice.
I got results business-wise and that’s all great, but personally, The Membership Experience pushed me through a really tough time. Around the end of the course, as I started putting my 90-day launch plan together, I felt like I got back to normal. I was helping people and my members were so excited about the changes I was making in my membership sites. It was the dramatic shift that I needed.
I was able to stay positive and grateful. I was able to be the example for my members and everyone that reads my blog that even though things don’t go as planned and you have some rocky moments, you can still pursue your passions and goals. I hope that my experience is helping others which is why I am sharing way more this time than ever before about my pregnancy losses.
Tough times are rough but they also come with an opportunity for change and growth. I can’t even tell you how much I have grown in the last 3 years. I am blown away and things are starting to all make sense a little more than before. I know God has a plan for all of this.
My Favorite Part of The Membership Experience
My favorite part of the course material was that it was doable. It didn’t take long. I could take the first lesson and actually make a change to my membership sites as I went. It wasn’t hours and hours of training materials. He just told me exactly what I needed to hear. I loved his Facebook Lives answering real questions and hearing his experience working with so many other membership site owners. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told John, “Well Stu says…” 🙂
Also, the community is amazing and always willing to help. Through The Membership Experience Facebook group, I found 3 other women to join a mastermind group with. We are all membership site owners encouraging each other and giving each other ideas. It’s so nice to know other people who are also growing the same type of business model as me who also have the foundation of what Stu teaches.
The worksheets made my life easier. I also loved the launch and retention modules which helped me the most. I used the launch module and added 70 new members in my January 2017 launch.
I had always been scared of launching but Stu taught me how to plan ahead and make it fun not stressful.
Our last launch in June 2018 we added 150 new members and then we turned all of our funnels evergreen so I could take 3-month maternity leave when my second daughter, Sienna, was born in August 2018. One of the best things about membership sites is that I can design my work around my schedule. I have the freedom and flexibility to spend time with my family and I don’t want to miss a thing. They grow too dang fast!
What I didn’t like about the program…
At times I did feel like it was a little basic. I wanted module 5 at the very beginning but I had to wait! But, Stu knew what he was doing and it allowed me to slowly start implementing what I was learning. I also didn’t like that there were no real-life membership site examples. That’s why when The Membership Experience opens up again, I’ll be sharing my BONUS EXPERIENCE with real-life examples of how I grew to 500 members in one year. Just make sure you use this link to join so you get my Bonus as well as ALL of The Membership Experience bonuses.
Also, I felt the program was geared a little more to new business owners and less for someone who already had a membership site. I wanted more training on how to have an evergreen/automated membership site. (This is another training I’ll include in my Bonus Experience if you join with my link).
I was also bummed that I couldn’t make the meetups when they happened so I didn’t get to connect in person with the TME team….yet. I think there will be a meetup in August 2019 for the next TME group that I definitely have on my calendar!
I also would love a good resource list for membership site owners which was not included in The Membership Experience too. I’ll be adding a membership site resource list to my BONUS EXPERIENCE though so if you join this next round, you’ll get the very best that Stu AND I have to offer if you join through my link. How cool is that!
I know a lot of people in the group had technical challenges and the course really wasn’t set up to help them navigate the tech stuff. But, I know in the new version that Stu is working on a solution to this issue so that is great. Also, in my bonus experience, I’ll have a tech tutorial of exactly what we did to set up our membership sites on the tech side.
Also, like I said before, The Membership Experience community was big and sometimes overwhelming. This is why I got a close group of four other TME participants in a closed mastermind to help each other out. If you join my BONUS EXPERIENCE through my link when it opens, I’ll make sure you get access to a special bonus with me so you’ll have a smaller community to bounce ideas off of each other and mastermind with.
AFTER The Membership Experience
If I didn’t join the The Membership Experience, I would not have this peace. The recurring model is amazing. We re-launched one of our membership sites in January 2017 and we finally got to the place where our expenses are covered just by the number of members we have. Now we can breathe and enjoy life, go on a date night and I am definitely going outside a lot more this summer.
With what I learned, I stopped my involvement in one of my membership sites and it’s now running on autopilot with an increase in retention. Since The Membership Experience, we’ve gone from 100 members to nearly 650 members between both our membership sites in 2 years. Both membership sites’ retention rates went from around 60% to 87%. We don’t have to always be launching. We are less stressed and provide more value to our clients. I am really excited about our plans for the future.
We can now grow our team, hire people and expand and have our expenses paid for. I am a better mom. I know my priorities. I have changed my business to match my strengths and I have gotten the help I needed. I can now focus on making a BIGGER impact, like giving back to organizations and charities that I am super excited about.
I am taking much better care of myself and my health now. I have time to exercise every day and get some lovely vitamin D outside. I am happy with where I am and grateful to be here right now without wanting anything more. I am not searching for the next bright shiny object or business trick that will make everything better.
And to the guy next to me helping me make it all happen (no it’s not Stu)….it’s my husband, John!
Our marriage has improved. We have time for each other. We can relax and not worry about how we are going to pay rent next month. My husband is amazing. Thank you babe for sticking by me and our business through the rough times…the times where I have these great ideas and I know this is going to work. I am an entrepreneur. I have a million ideas. Some worked and some didn’t but I knew we would eventually reach this point of peace, freedom, and happiness. I wouldn’t be here without you believing in me and us and Classy Career Girl. The ability to help people and do what we both love, together, side by side, and enjoy this fun life is more than I could ask for. It was my dream and now we are living it!
Thank you to the entire TME team and if you are reading this, just take baby steps and imperfect action. It won’t be perfect when you start but it will be so worth it in the long run.
I take The Membership Experience every year. In 2019, it really changed everything for my business. I think some business owners don’t continue growing and learning. Since I’ve stuck to one mentor, each year I implement a little more of The Membership Experience. I pay to upgrade each year to take it again and I joined his mastermind so I can grow.
If anything I just keep taking baby steps forward. This last year was tough. We did the hard work behind the scenes to prepare us to grow and put systems in place for the future. I’m excited to take it again and really implement all of our behind the scenes changes we made.
If you want similar results for your business, I invite you to meet Stu.
Time to come clean and share my secret! Meet my membership site mentor, Stu McLaren!
If there is one person that has had the most impact on my business, it’s Stu McLaren. He co-founded the platform that I host all of my courses/membership sites on, Wishlist Member, and his signature course, The Membership Experience, completely changed my business this last fall.
Stu has a FREE workshop that is the BEST of the best. Not only has he helped me but he also helped Michael Hyatt, James Wedmore, Amy Porterfield, Jeff Walker, Dave Ramsey, Kate Northrup and MANY other successful business owners you probably already know….
This workshop will inspire you no matter what type of business you have right now and you’ll quickly see how to use AUTHENTIC marketing because Stu is one of the most authentic people I know. You’ll also see how Stu uses his business to give back and influence the world. He’s inspiring to me and I think you’ll see why. Plus, the quality of his free stuff is above and beyond anything else out there.
Disclosure: If you decide to join Stu’s The Membership Experience, I am an affiliate and will receive a commission if you use my link when it opens up. If you join with my link, you’ll also receive my Bonus Experience to help you take the The Membership Experience and put it into action over the next 90 days. I’ll show you in detail how I got 500 members in a year. More details coming soon!
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