Questions about exclusivity and paid community models

(Sarah Hawk) #1

I’m excited about our next member spotlight. This time I’ll be putting questions to @Nicole_Niss who is CM at YEC – a paid community that leverages the power of exclusivity (I wish I was under 40 and earned over $1m).

YEC started life as an open, free community and transitioned into its current model. Here is your opportunity to ask questions about monetisation, subscription models and exclusivity. Post them in this topic and I’ll include them in my interview.

Calling in a few people that have asked related questions in the past:
@robertkmaaye @meglio @Darren_Gough @Dave_Charbonneau @jessicamalnik @lostintime

(Anton) #2

Are there any criteria you believe can be used to judge the social aspect based on the existing and potential target community members? The goal is to answer the main question: is it possible to turn a particular free/open community into an exclusive one?

I don’t know which questions should be considered, but some that cross my mind are:

  • richness of the members (can they pay?)
  • status in real life (do any of them feel over average or not)
  • connections (who they can invite)
  • beliefs (they they need exclusivity and related services)

I guess there might be much more factors to judge and measure.
Please elaborate if my question makes at least some sense.
Many thanks!

P.S. Also, is it not true that every single case is very individual, and what works for one community might not work at all for another one, even if they are quite similar.

(Robert Maaye) #3

Thanks for tagging me in @HAWK

I would assume that when making such a transition there would be some resistance from members? So my question is how did she approach handling any member negativity she encountered?

Also if time permits I’d be interested to know what in her opinion the 3 most important things are for a community to consider when looking to make a similar transition (free to paid not necessarily exclusive). I appreciate there will be
way more than three but I just thought I would make it a manageable number!



(Nicole Niss) #4

Hey all! Nicole here :slight_smile:

Just wanted to hop in and clarify that we’ve actually already been on a paid model for about 3 years now! Looking forward to answering your questions further.



(Sarah Hawk) #5

Were you working in the community when the model changed @Nicole_Niss?

(Nicole Niss) #6

I was not @HAWK! I joined the company a little over a year ago. We do still have some members who do not pay, though, as we did a grandfathering system - so it definitely still affects us!

(Sarah Hawk) #7
  • How frequently you change your pricing model (or did, to get to where you are now)?
  • What made you decide to go down the closed/paid road?
  • Do you have any insights from your audience around how important the exclusivity aspect is?
  • Aside from content and networking opportunities, are there other benefits that members get for their fee?

[Note: this is a reminder for me since I’ll be putting the interview together.]

(Dave Charbonneau) #8

What comes to my mind: I started a Facebook community (surprised I went that way, @HAWK?) and I plan to, at about a thousand members, find out if we have members who would rather have a paid community at a fairly low pricepoint ($10 to $30/mo, perhaps?).

This is keeping in mind that I also have a paid community, off of FB (coming soon) that runs $70 to $120/mo.

Good idea? Simply ask people if they want more exclusive access and greater functionality beyond that of the free community?

(Sarah Hawk) #9

Last call for questions before I compile the interview for @Nicole_Niss

(Sarah Hawk) #10

Totally missed this! Yes, very surprised. Glad you reached a decision though. How’s it panning out?

(Dave Charbonneau) #11

@HAWK It’s panning out like those American tourist traps where the kids pan for gold. Very slow, and not a whole lot of glitter to show for it. :smiley:

That said, I am SO grateful to you and @richard_millington for letting me know that s.l.o.w. is the way to go for a quality community. Also for the advice to not set great expectations (I’m seeing others do that, or simply tossing out content and questions, but getting very little interaction).

The approach I used to find my core members was to start a video-cast and invite the Guests of the programs to come into the community; while inviting those who are watching or listening to the programs to connect with the Guests inside the community (as well as for other things, like creative listbuilding).

I’ve recorded about 15 episodes and have about 30 people in the Comm. AND, I just published the first episode today! (They are published within the comm first, later they are to be published at the Facebook PAGE, the blog, and YouTube. Later to all the audio podcast platforms, but I just don’t have time right now for those).

So we have about 34 in the comm. There’s not a ton of activity, but there is some, and I’m connected personally thru the show or otherwise with a little over half of the Members. In fact, @irreverance joined the group, is very supportive, and, well… there’s other news but I’m not certain I can say it here. I’ll say I’m very pleased he’s in the comm and I’m super excited for what he’s working on.

Right now I’m trying to keep up with my shows along with an online biz networking idea that @irreverance offered to the comm. I’m hoping that once I get into a groove, I can focus more upon the onboarding techniques as well as do some writing or speaking on video.

Whew! THAT is how it’s going. :slight_smile: . Thank you so much for asking (I need a review in my own head, sometimes!).

(Sarah Hawk) #12


Yup, it can definitely be a slow game, but you’re doing things right. Hang in there! I’m excited for you.