entrepreneurship

Why Your Business Should Have A Membership Program

I don’t think there is anyone in the world that wants to do the same thing forever. I’m sure that at some point, Beyonce is going to stop dropping records and stop going on tour. 

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Think about it. If you look at everything you’re doing as of today, do you see yourself doing that in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years? The whole concept of working until retirement is insane because who said that I wanted to do this for 20+ years. I barely want to do it for 2 lol 

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With that said, what would you say if I told you there was a way to make money in your business by putting it on autopilot? 

You’d probably tell me to exit stage left but hear me out. I want to introduce you to the idea of implementing a membership program in your business. For the sake of this blog, we’ll define membership as a recurring fee (usually monthly) someone pays to access a particular service/product. And note, I will be using membership and subscription synonymously throughout this post. 

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Membership programs allow business owners to better predict or project their revenue. If you have a membership where you charge people $5/month to access your offer and you have a goal of grossing $1,000/month from that membership, then you know you need to have at least 200 subscribers per month to hit that target. This business model requires less labor than having to continually attract and convert new customers because the focus is on how to retain current customers. 

According to McKinsey & Company, 15% of Americans have signed up for one or more subscriptions to receive products on a recurring basis. It is projected that the subscription eCommerce market is expected to reach $473 billion by 2025. Yes, you read that correctly – $473 billion. That is a 2,389.47% increase from 2019’s $15 billion revenue. The biggest consumer benefit of enrolling in membership is convenience.

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That monthly gym membership you pay for so you can get access to top-tier athletic equipment to reach your body goals, you do that because it’s convenient. You do not have to build your own home gym by purchasing expensive equipment. That Amazon Prime subscription you pay for to ensure you get your deliveries in 1-2 days and occasionally, even on the same day, you do that because it’s convenient. You can order a dress on Wednesday and get it by Friday for that wedding you’re attending Saturday without leaving your house or having to deal with traffic and long lines at the register. The point is, we will pay for convenience. So ask yourself, what do you (or can you) offer your customers that would make them interested in paying a recurring fee for convenience? 

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I was working with a client that was launching a body sculpting business. Her business model requires her clients to see her often to ensure quality results. As we’re discussing her pricelist, I suggested she implement a “sample platter” membership where she meshes in different services that allow people to get a small sample of the services she offers. These clients are not able to come in often but they are willing to come in and get the experience, so they opt-in for a monthly “self-care” day.  

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I was working with a fashion designer that was looking for ways to bring in more passive income in her industry. I suggested she start a “lookbook” subscription where she curates different looks every month or season based on trends and her expertise. She would promote it to fashion enthusiasts, especially content creators because they will be the ones to take her subscription ideas and bring them to life. When others inquire about how they came up with those looks, they would reference her subscription which would increase enrollment.

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I share those two examples to show you that no matter what industry you are in, you can start a membership program. The beauty of this process is that it does not have to be perfect to start. Look at how many times Netflix has changed up its subscription model. When it started, you were only allowed to get a limited number of physical DVDs per month and now, we have streaming access to over 17,000+ titles at our fingertips. Learn as you grow.

I’ll be doing another write-up to specifically highlight all the benefits of implementing a membership but in the meantime, if you need assistance with developing a quality membership offer, let’s set up a time for me to brainstorm with you

Until Next Time,

LOLATHEMANAGER

entrepreneurship

Why You Should Share Your Price List

So the topic of transparency in pricing was the subject of EntrepreneurGram a few weeks ago and now that Al Gore’s internet has had some time to breathe, I want to share my take on it. 

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I remember when I started my entrepreneurship journey back in 2019 with no blueprint and simply gleaning from the so-called gurus on social media. I saw that everyone, or what felt like everyone, who was providing the same services as I did never put their price out there. You had to set up a meeting to share your vision and they will create a price specifically for you. It really bothered me because as a consumer, comparing price lists is how I determine who I can work with.

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For instance, for my birthday party last year, I was trying to find a caterer and I appreciated everyone that had their rates available so I could compare accordingly. I do not like wasting my time so I would rather go on your website and see that this is not a relationship we can have right now than set up a meeting only to find out within the first few minutes that you’re out of my league. And as a business owner, you just wasted your time too.

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And why is that? Why are business owners hiding their price list? I understand you want to get that lead magnet but it’s a useless lead if you are truly not in their budget. My catering budget was $2,000. My party was an upscale lounge vibe so I wanted cocktail hour food – small plates that could fill you up paired with my open bar. So I knew going in that my budget was firm regardless of who provided the service. It was always the ones that did not have a price list that gave me a hard time because they either wanted me to increase my budget or cut back on what I wanted.

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As a business consultant, I feel like it is my duty to let you know that you need to be open with your pricing. Whether you shop at Forever 21 or Neiman Marcus, the price for their products are listed. Now, I know what you’re thinking “my price depends on what they get” and I feel you. I get that. But you should have a minimum price that you are willing to work with and that should be listed. 

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I was working with a client that designs custom evening gowns and when we walked through her customer experience, I had to explain to her that one of the reasons she is not getting the money she wants is because she’s not upfront about her price list. If I want a custom gown and don’t know how much they cost, I probably don’t have a budget in mind. I am willing to set up a consultation with you so I can get some understanding but when we have that meeting and you tell me the gown is going to cost me $800, I am running out the door because my brain cannot process that. I was not ready. 

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However, if you as a designer know that for the basic of basic gowns and labor, your starting rate is $600, now every prospective client that reaches out knows that they need a minimum of $600 to work with you. Both of you benefit from this situation because you are getting the client and the money you desire while they get the gown of their dreams.

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I see way too often business owners that get so excited they finally get a lead that they settle for the short end of the stick. And the reason for this is your lack of systems, procedures, and a solid price list. You should know the base price of what you would charge for all of your services not only so you can justify why you are charging the price you charge but so you can assess how your business is operating. 

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Personally, my favorite people to get serviced by are hairstylists, nail technicians, and make-up artists. Every time I book one, I love looking at their price list because NOTHING catches you by surprise. Everything has a base price and add-on fees. The final price is not the problem for the customer; the problem is when they have to guess what the final price will be because they don’t have anything to work with. 

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Lastly, a friend and I were talking about this and realized many business owners do not know what part of the customer’s journey they want to be part of. If you are a product photographer and you want to work with new business owners, your rates will not be the same if you were interested in working with established businesses that are not new to professional product photography. The latter is willing to pay top dollar because they understand the importance of professional photos and how that can convert to sales. 

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I say all that to say, if you are not someone that is transparent with their price list and/or their base price, I highly recommend you revisit that concept and see how that changes your business clientele and structure. Then come back here and let me know how it went. 

I’ll be doing another write-up with the benefits of sharing your price list but in the meantime, start thinking of your base.

Until Next Time,

LOLATHEMANAGER

Uncategorized

Why I Became An Entrepreneur

It should go without saying but I don’t ever want to assume. I did not always have this entrepreneur mindset. I know you see my journey and it looks as if entrepreneurship was embedded in me from childhood — IT WASN’T!! I was a teacher and graduate student with hopes of just making ends meet. Nothing too “crazy”. However, I was never truly happy with the cards I had and was always shuffling (changing jobs, careers, ideas).

In 2018, I attempted to purchase my first home in South Florida and was approved for a whopping $75,000. I was shocked! At the time, I was making about $45,000/year with a $500 car note, no credit cards, and over $70k in student loans. If you know anything about South Florida, you can’t even buy a shack in Miami for that price so I was hurt. I looked high and low and could not find anything within that price frame so my home ownership dreams were cut short. If I had the mindset I have now, I would’ve bought something in another city or state and used that as an investment property to eventually get what I really wanted.

In the summer of 2019, my Florida teaching certificate expired and I was jobless. Being jobless is not something I worried about because (1) I had a few months’ expenses saved and (2) I always have a job so I figured it was something temporary. 

Before I knew it, six months went by. All my savings were gone, all my credit cards were maxed out, I had absolutely no money coming in, I was sinking into a deep depression, I was fighting to finish my master’s program, and I still could not get a job. Yall, it was sad. I was sad.

Then an opportunity came about for me to get a job with a significant pay cut at the end of the year and my mind started racing. My thought was, you did everything that society told you to do. You went to college, you got basic jobs, you saved, and you still got the short end of the stick. At that point, I knew that I needed multiple streams of income. It didn’t matter how much I had saved because there was nothing coming in to replace it when it was used. 

That is how LOLA MGMT was born. The first business I launched under that name was a social media management and virtual assistant business in summer 2019. However, because I was so stressed and depressed with everything that was going on in my life, I didn’t give it the energy and mindset it needed to flourish until the beginning of 2020. At that point, I made the executive decision to no longer save and invest all the money I make.

I know what you are thinking — NO SAVINGS!!! Yes, no savings but you have to understand where I was coming from. I had the whole 3-6 months’ expenses saved and it wasn’t enough to keep me afloat. Now that I was making less money and didn’t even have much to save, I figured I would just invest it in business.

It started with me investing in a business coach. I think I spent about $2,000 on a business coach and though it sounds like a lot of money, I was determined to NEVER have another year like 2019 ever again. I made bi-weekly payments for that coaching and I didn’t really like it. I learned really quickly that her coaching style didn’t match my learning style AND business needs but I appreciate the experience because I learned a few things. The biggest takeaway was learning how not to be afraid to make big investments in me. 

And since then, I have done some amazing things. None of the things I have done has completely and consistently replaced my teaching salary but the fact that it has even generated any money is what keeps me going. To see an idea come to life AND make money is mindblowing to me. I have learned so much on this journey from how to take risks, not being afraid to look and sound silly/crazy, building a team, separating finances, bookkeeping, like so much. 

I still don’t know if I have found the thing that makes me excited to wake up in the morning that I am willing to do for free. However, I will say that being the boss is something I love and I am excited to see what else is in store. As always, thank you for joining me on this journey and I leave you with this inspirational video.

Until Next Time, 

LOLA THE MANAGER

Uncategorized

How To Start A Brand Ambassador Program

Brand Ambassadors cost money and if you don’t have the right setup, you will be wasting money without realizing it. Keep Reading!

A Brand Ambassador is someone who is paid (through a stipend, commission, or product/service) to represent your company/brand. Small Businesses like yours can benefit from having ambassadors because it allows you to reach a wider audience — especially online — and increase sales! However, where a lot of business owners miss the mark is when they don’t have a system in place.

Whether you pay your ambassador via stipend, commission, or product/service, you need to have a plan in place to make that money back at least twice.

Example: You sell clothes. You have a friend that’s a fashion blogger with a thriving following on Instagram. They agree to partner with you. You give them FREE products to wear (worth $150) and post about on their Instagram. No one visits your site. You lost money.

Now there are so many variables to that example I just gave but many small businesses have experienced something similar because (1) there was no real marketing strategy & budget set up and (2) there was no ambassador program system in place.

So here are some things I believe you need to start a brand ambassador program. Take Notes!

The first thing is to create a list of what your ideal customer looks like. This is the person that would be your ambassador. What do they like and dislike? How do they carry themselves? What type of person do you want to represent your brand? You don’t want to ask random people on social media that don’t align with your brand because they just want to milk you dry. Also, one thing to note — large following doesn’t always mean guaranteed sales. 

The next thing is to create your program incentives. As a small business, you may not be able to pay the person a hearty stipend but you can allow them to make money through commission. HOW?

Give them a discount code to promote when they share your product. At the end of each week or each month, they receive a percentage of every sale that came in using that specific code. This pushes the ambassador to put in a little more effort in promoting the product because they benefit from the sale. It’s a win-win for everyone.

After that, you create a set of program policies and put it in a nice little contract. You need to tell the ambassadors EXACTLY what they need to do as well as when, where, and how they need to do it. Explain payment. Explain the program timeframe. Explain early termination. ALLADATSHXT!!! That contract is going to separate the moochers from those that are truly interested in the partnership and willing to do the work it requires to maintain that partnership.

EXAMPLE

  • Program Timeframe – 3 months 
  • Salary – 5% Commission per sale w/ code BA2021 
  • Instagram Promo – 2 posts per week (one on feed, one on story), tag @lolathemanager in each post and caption, use hashtag #LolaAmbassador2021 in each post, posts on feed must stay there permanently for the duration of program
  • Promotional Material – 1 FREE item of your choice will be shipped free of charge at start of the program, if no sales equal to or greater than the cost of the free item is generated, no other product will be sent out.

Another incentive is giving the brand ambassador a discount code to use for when they want to make their own purchases from you.

If you gave them a 5% off code to use for promotional purposes, give them a 10% off code for personal use. And no, they would not promo the personal code because that decreases their commission. Also, you can put that they can’t do that in a contract.

Then you want to create an application or way for people to show interest in your program. For example, you can create a Google Form where prospects provide their name, contact information, social media details, and answer the “why do you want to be a brand ambassador for our company”. Have a deadline for people to apply, look through all the applications, and then select the ones you believe will be the best fit for your company.

And lastly, advertise that you are looking for brand ambassadors via social media or newsletters (if you do email marketing). You may be tempted to just share the big news with your friends and family in hopes that one of them applies but remember what I said earlier about your ideal customer. That person may be a stranger and that is okay.

The ultimate goal for your brand ambassador program is to build relationships and increase sales. Your ambassador can potentially get your product in front of someone who wants to collaborate with you in the future, that is why building relationships is important. These ambassadors will put your name in rooms that you are not even in. 

One thing I would say to add the cherry on top would be to offer a “Thank You” gift at the end of the program. Creators often don’t feel celebrated and appreciated so to send an unsolicited Thank You will end things on a good note and like I stated earlier, you never know who they’ll talk to.

I hope this has helped you figure out how to start your own brand ambassador program. Remember, it does not have to be perfect. You’ll learn as you go. This is just a starting guide. Let me know how it goes. I am rooting for you. 

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER