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SPI 428: Inside the Start of an Online Membership Community with Kevin Fremon

These days, people are missing each other and craving support, and building an online membership community hosted on a membership platform is an amazing way to help solve that problem. When you can bring people together, and if you facilitate that and create that space, you can better serve your audience—listen to them, support them, and all the great things that can come with that.

So today, I wanted to bring somebody on who’s just getting started building a membership community. His name is Kevin Fremon, and he’s an entrepreneur who’s in the middle of creating a new space for those he wants to serve. I’ve had Stu McLaren on the podcast before, who’s dialed in on everything you need to know about membership websites, but we’re getting a student’s perspective today.

You’ll also hear some moments in this podcast about something that my team and I are creating related to this.

Check it out. And, if you like it, don’t forget to subscribe.

Today’s Guest

Kevin Fremon

Kevin embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and has a true passion for creating memorable brand experiences. His thesis to building an impactful business is by taking a radically customer-centric approach to knowing, caring, and engaging with those you serve. He’s co-founded three companies over the last two decades; a full-service digital branding agency, a venture backed stock photography startup acquired by Envato, and as a side-hustle created a website theme product for the HubSpot platform with sales now grossing over a million dollars with ZERO in ad-spend.

Kevin works with creators, leaders, and entrepreneurs via his charity-based mentorship program and online community at lightbulbmoment.com while advocating for the pursuit of TIME wealth. He teaches strategy and tactics that marry active and passive income streams together in order to help people step off the hamster-hustle wheel and build a business around their life, NOT a life around their business.

website: KevinFremon.com
community: LightBulbMoment.com
YouTube: KevinFremon
Instagram: kevinfremon

You’ll Learn

Resources

SPI 428 Kevin Fremon

Pat Flynn:
This is a hot topic. You know, in fact it was always a hot topic and something that a lot of my audience, you, have asked me about. I brought Stu McLaren on to talk about this. And today I wanted to bring somebody on who’s actually in the middle of building what it is that we’re actually talking about today. And his name is Kevin Fremon. You can find him at Kevin Fremon, F-R-E-M-O-N.com. And what is he building? He is building a membership community and he’s literally just getting started. And I love pulling these stories out because my audience can, and I’ve heard better relate to those who are right in the middle of it, versus those who often come and they have some incredible success to share, and it can be often hard to relate to.

Pat:
It can be hard to have somebody who’s gone through the motions who has dedicated that time and effort and has made all the mistakes to remember what it was like just at the start, which is why I think this is really key. And when it comes to building memberships, and what I’m talking about is a community. An online community, hosted on a membership platform of a certain type. And we’re going to talk about a few options that are available today. But Kevin’s building this because he wants to have a space created for those who he wants to serve. Again, like I said, this was always a very important thing and something that’s been around for a while. This isn’t anything new, but it’s definitely something that is, like Stu said Stu McLaren, not too long ago and Stu McLaren is sort of the king of memberships and creating them. And he has this amazing tribe of thousands of members who he’s helped serve, but we’re getting a student’s perspective today.

Pat:
And the amazing thing about this is today, especially with the pandemic and COVID-19, everybody locked up at home, people are craving community. People are craving support and building a membership community is an amazing way to solve that problem. And when you can bring likeminded people together, and if you sort of facilitate that and create that space, you can heighten your brand. You can increase your authority, and most importantly it can better allow you to serve your audience, to listen to them, to support them and all the great things that can come with that. So today we’re talking with Kevin and you’ll hear some moments in this podcast about something that my team and I are actually creating related to this.

Pat:
And in fact, you’ll hear hints of it today and next week and make sure you hit subscribe so you don’t miss this. Matt Gartland my CFO and COO of SPI Media. We’re going to have a really, really amazing conversation about what it is exactly that we’re building. What does it mean and how you could potentially get involved too. But more on that next week, but first of all, hey, thanks for coming in. I appreciate you. Let’s hit that music.

Announcer:
Welcome to the Smart Passive Income podcast, where it’s all about working hard now. So you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he recently discovered he could actually grow a full beard, Pat Flynn.

Pat:
What’s up, everybody welcome to session 428 of the Smart Passive Income podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. My name is Pat Flynn here to help you make more money, save more time and help more people too. And today we’re talking with Kevin Fremon who is starting a membership. In fact, he just recently launched it and we’re going to talk about how he launched it, and what it’s been like in there, and how he is using this platform to communicate and have conversations and the types of conversations that he’s happening to hopefully give you perspective on what is possible. And you’ll find out that it’s not in fact a giant community yet, and it’s a slow start. And I think there are reasons for that. And we’ll talk about that as well, but I’m very proud of what Kevin has done.

Pat:
Kevin, in fact is one of the members of our SPI Accelerator program. And this wasn’t even a thing when he came in to that program about seven months ago. And to see this being created and the connections he’s creating with his community now, it’s just unreal. And I cannot tell you how excited I am about how this is going to pan out in the future. And we’ll have to have him come back on the show to talk about what happens next. But you’ll also find Kevin, if you’re interested YouTube. He’s an amazing storyteller, a great friend, and I’m so excited to introduce him to you here. Kevin, F-R-E-M-O-N, Fremon. Here he is. Hey Kevin, welcome to the SPI podcast. Thanks for being here, man.

Kevin Fremon:
I cannot tell you how excited I am to be here. Literally Pat, for the past five years, I’ve been visualizing this very moment and it is here. So thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.

Pat:
Thank you. And I remember you because Flynncon last year was when we really first met in person, and you gave me this giant hug and I was like, “What happened? Why do I deserve this?” And you’ve told me a lot more about your story. You even became a student in my accelerated program, and now you’re building these amazing communities and just helping so many more people. You have these successful products online. I’m just so stoked to have become your friend recently. And I just wanted to invite you on for a number of reasons. Number one, I want to dig into your story a little bit, because I think it’s going to be very inspirational for people.

Pat:
And number two, your work and effort into building a new community, literally from scratch lately has been really inspiring because as many of you will hear next week, Matt and I have been building something related to this that we’re excited to talk about, but we’ll save that for later. But you’ve been just digging into a lot of the weeds of how to bring people together in your community in a very interesting way and I want to unpack that as well. But let’s start with you, Kevin, and your experience in entrepreneurship and kind of where did this all start for you? I know you have some incredible sort of ups and downs in this arena.

Kevin:
Yeah, absolutely. It’s funny that you mentioned community and that’s going to be the topic of our conversation today because literally for the last 12 years, I have been building communities both on the technical and design side and also on the human side. And there has absolutely been a tremendous amount of ups and downs. It’s actually what has helped me kind of come to this realization of what I would call like the three Cs of community and we’ll get to that later in the show. But my story goes like this. When I was 23, I basically said goodbye to the corporate world and started off on a journey of my own as a creative, as a designer, as someone who knew that I just wanted to step into entrepreneurship. And I remember the first big project that really kind of set the course for a lot of my journey forward.

Kevin:
And coincidentally, that was actually a community. This referral came in to myself and my cousin, who at the time had this design and branding business where we would build web products for other entrepreneurs. And this client came in and said, “I want Wikipedia meets Facebook meets Web MD. And I want it to be a community of people to expose all modalities of medicine and health.” And of course my cousin and I look at each other, having just started this new business and look at our client, potential client, and say to them, “We got this, we can do this, let us build you a quote and we’ll get moving on this project.” This turned into our first million dollar project. And we worked on this community for a good three years, developing a really robust platform and learning a lot about community building. And so it was that moment where I found this real love for helping entrepreneurs build products, build community, that ultimately help the world.

Kevin:
And so as we move through that journey, I had this wild idea of my own because I wanted my own concept. I wanted to build my own community. I didn’t want to actually build another product for another entrepreneur and then have it leave because it was something I was so passionate about. And this was in the time way before Will It Fly?, way before the lean startup, way before any of these amazing books like your own had come out. And I honestly was pretty much delusional in my idea for a community that we were building. And I say delusional in the best sense of the word, because I had this grand vision that was ultimately unvalidated, but I was very charismatic about this concept. And honestly, it was the biggest learning lesson of my entrepreneurial life because it literally took me to financial rock bottom.

Kevin:
I lost everything, including my marriage. I had to shut down my design agency and startup and literally start from scratch. And it was at that moment where I really had kind of a fork in the road and I could either choose to go towards the corporate life in tech or I could just risk it all and try it again. And so of course, I tried it again, and this time I had quite a bit more success. And this is even a cooler story and it’ll kind of move towards the community I’m building right now. But the second company that I cofounded at the time, this is when Instagram was becoming really popular and I’m a photographer. I’ve always loved taking pictures. I’ve just had that creative itch. And I was listening to this great podcast, and this is probably around like 2011 ish about building passive income streams. You probably know this host. His name is Pat.

Pat:
I’ve heard of this guy. He’s pretty terrible I heard though.

Kevin:
He’s kind of a jerk. No, your podcast literally changed the course of my existence, and not only that, but the course of hundreds of thousands of other people. And it was right around 2011 where we were in an incubator program, here in Los Angeles, about a month in, and the concept that we were working towards didn’t work. And as an Instagram fanatic and always posting photos, I recognized this opportunity, an unrealized opportunity for people that love to take photos and the fact that they are building this incredible inventory of photography, these digital assets that are under utilized. So we had this concept for a company that would help creative photographers earn passive income by selling their photos as well at the time canvas artwork, but what turned into frame prints.

Kevin:
But the beauty of that story is I learned such a valuable lesson from like literally failing and going broke to really validating the concepts of a business idea. And from a simple value proposition that I commented on 10 people in Instagram that I didn’t know, 10 people and sending them to a landing page with the value proposition of sell your Instagram photos as canvas artwork, literally overnight and this is no exaggeration, we had 5,000 signups. What we ended up doing is we created this three-step landing page. It was literally like how can we do the simplest thing to convey our value proposition and then get someone into the next step, which would authorize with Instagram. And then the next step would be some incentive to share their Instagram handle, to get people back to our landing page. So we had this nice viral coefficient that kept that growth loop just churning.

Kevin:
48 hours and we were at 10,000. And by the end of demo day, which was two months later, we were able to pitch to venture capitalists that we had come up with this concept and had 100,000 signups from this simple light bulb moment that I had as an Instagram user. And so that has taught me a lot about community building as well, because that’s exactly what we did. But the piece that was missing for me there was how can I take that learning and that approach and actually impact other creator types, other entrepreneur types on a more impactful level to teach them how to actually take the ideas that they have and bring them to life in a very smart and in a very pragmatic way that reduces the risk of them going through what I went through, which was terrible. So that kind of brings me to the community that I’m building today. But I appreciate you asking about my story.

Pat:
Yeah, no, it’s great. And it really frames sort of why you’re doing this because that’s the part that was missing. And I think that’s the part missing for a lot of people, creatives especially and entrepreneurs, who just feel very lonely, who want to connect with other people, who need people who can hear them in their voice and what they’re doing and not like necessarily a close family member or a friend who might think they’re crazy, or it’s just some fun hobby they do. Like it’s a serious thing. And so, for you to be able to create a hub or an area where these kinds of interactions and communication can happen beyond just like here’s some content or a course, speaks highly to this sort of idea of wanting to serve others and help others too. So tell us about this community in terms of like, you’re literally still in the middle of building it, right?

Pat:
This is why I wanted to bring you on. And it’s just so fascinating to me, the progress you’ve made, which it’s only been a few months literally since this was even an idea for you. So take us through the steps of how you created this so that somebody listening on the other end can perhaps sort of follow your lead and learn from the wins that you’ve had. You’ve had some wins and you’ve had a lot of learning experiences again. And if you could pass this on to us as well, that’d be really helpful too.

Kevin:
Yeah, absolutely. So you’re right. I mean, this was literally two months ago when the community actually launched. And that is when I opened up the doors and started to bring on some of the what I call founding members. Prior to that, what I really wanted to do is jump into this in a very calculated, but evolutionary way of learning about the community that I want to build and not kind of fall in the trap of getting overly perfected with whatever it might be. So about three months ago, probably at the beginning of second quarter, I ended up building a landing page where I started to experiment with a lot of language around the value that I wanted to bring to this community, and start to identify this term of “creator,” which is ultimately who I’m trying to attract into this community.

Kevin:
And through just constant feedback loops, leveraging the people I know on Instagram, leveraging other groups that I’m a part of including yours to just give me some like really solid feedback on how to start to move towards actually building out the community has been just an amazing part of that kind of iterative approach. But the other big facet to me that was important was to find the right home for the community. And I felt like I had three choices and it sounds like this is something that you’re actually going through too. So I’d be really curious to know what you think, but the three or four choices in my mind were Slack, Facebook groups, there’s a company called Mighty Networks and then there’s a new company called Circle.

Kevin:
And I wanted to find something that really fit well and we could grow with, and while Slack is awesome and I use it, it just didn’t fit the bill. Facebook groups isn’t something that I was a real fan of, just I’m not a part of Facebook groups or Facebook. And so finding something that worked well for my use-case and can create kind of some deep connections was ultimately probably the biggest researched event of building this community. But I’d be curious what your take is in terms of how you think about community and the platforms that exist.

Pat:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this is the mechanism by which these connections can happen and these moments that can help a person want to continue to come back and further their experience in both the community itself and in their life. So it’s definitely an important decision for sure. And for me, I wanted to put myself in the shoes as somebody wanting to come into our community. And whenever I go into a community, I’m always thinking about, okay, well, how am I being treated? How am I feeling welcomed? How much freedom do I have? Am I overwhelmed? Am I guided at all? These are all important sort of considerations. So when it came to the technology decision of a membership site platform, which you’ll hear more about next week, it really came down to, where is there room for experience?

Pat:
Where is there room for magical moments, right? And I think a lot of these platforms do offer all different kinds of magical moments. But for the specific kind of person that we are hoping to get into our founding members group and the experience that we’re hoping that they’re having, it really comes down to those moments and how often a person can feel comfortable coming back in and hopefully seeing more things that make it more and more valuable every time they come in, versus something that might feel a little bit too, like Facebook groups, for example like you said, I’m not a big fan as well in terms of just the communities that I’m a part of. I like it for bringing people together in a free way that’s sort of low friction, and it’s a way to have conversations and that’s fantastic, but it only goes so far.

Pat:
And then Slack also has some really great things as far as the archiving, which is where Facebook lacks and the way to sort of structure where conversations happen about certain items. Very, very good on Slack, very, very poor on Facebook. But what’s cool about Circle, which is what we’ve landed on as well. And full disclosure, we’ve loved it so much that both Matt and I, Matt my CFO and COO have become advisors to the company. So Circle.so, we are going all in on it and we’re very excited about the future of it. It was founded by a couple ex Teachable members who branched off and started this company and very reputable, very, very excited, still very early on. And it is just … I know you’ve chosen Circle as well for your primary hub too, really cool.

Pat:
So I’m also just excited about to hear your experience in that platform. And also just in general, now that you have people in your community and we’ll talk more about like how you got them in there, and sort of whatnot soon, but now that you have this community and they’re in this platform, what’s it been like? Tell us how it’s been feeling to have people that you can directly connect with and they’re connecting with each other.

Kevin:
Yeah, honestly, I find myself just smiling like a giddy kid some days when I’m in there and seeing the interaction from people. This is a fun story and this is something that kind of geeks me out. There’s a community member, his name is Hayden and he is a success coach. And so the other day we have this space called knowledge dropping, and he had shared this whole exercise that he went through with the whole topic of completion. Meaning oftentimes, especially if we’re ambitious and we’re always doing a lot of things, there can be goals that we don’t hit, tasks that we don’t accomplish, clients that we lose and there’s this like mental energy or a mental spend of not completing something that can be really draining. And so he shared this whole journaling exercise with the community about his two week experiment, daily journaling to get to completion and how it kind of changed the way that he’s able to focus his energy.

Kevin:
And it’s in those posts where the community and people within it are able to basically give their experience and their lessons to the greater community, which is just like has my hands in the air in just complete excitement. And so I just, I love seeing other people that have that desire to kind of give back in whatever way, shape or form. And so this leads me a little bit to what I mentioned earlier, the three Cs of community. Honestly, I have been using this acronym or like these three Cs forever. And it’s literally helped me frame how I want the experience to be if someone comes into the community and what that I want them to experience within it. And so the three Cs basically go like this.

Kevin:
The first C is culture. The second is connection. And then the third is camaraderie. And a great way to think about culture is community is just that. You have to think about it like growing a team, growing a company. And you have a team. So I’m curious like how do you think about like the culture that you’re bringing on?

Pat:
I mean, it’s the most important thing. It’s something that influences our work, obviously. It’s something that influences our friendships. It’s something that influences our personalities and how we interact with each other. It’s almost like a code, right? I saw a movie the other day, John Wick. I don’t know if you’ve seen John Wick.

Kevin:
Yeah. Of course.

Pat:
There’s a culture within the community that he is in with the way that the coins are used and that on certain grounds, there are certain areas where business is not supposed to happen. I’m not trying to spoil anything for you, but that’s just a part of how that world works. And there’s an understanding and there’s a work ethic behind it. There is a communication is a part of that as well in terms of like, hey, if there’s a problem, it’s in our culture that you’re supposed to have a meeting together so you can work things out together now, before it blows up later, right? Those kinds of things become a part of the culture.

Pat:
Also we have in our culture, a thing that we do every Friday on the team called retro, where every Friday the team comes together and each person goes around and talks about the biggest win they had in their work and the biggest struggle. And then also open up to talk about the biggest win they’ve had in their personal life and their biggest struggle. And allows us to communicate with each other and understand where we’re at both personally and business wise, so we can support each other, help each other out. And we get to know each other and be stronger together. And that’s very much part of our culture. It’s a part of our culture too, within Slack, which is where we communicate as a team to have some fun and to show gifs when we’re trying to be [inaudible 00:22:49]. And to have a channel where it’s called giggles, where we just put jokes in and it [inaudible 00:22:55] a little bit.

Pat:
Little things like that become a part of just the way and how you feel about the thing that you’re being involved with and I think that’s absolutely huge. I love that you’re starting with that because I’m curious to know what sorts of things have you’ve done in your community to influence culture and how to structure that. Is that even something that you can come in early when you’re starting out and saying, “I want the culture to be this,” or does it sort of take a life of its own after you’ve set a few rules here and there?

Kevin:
Frankly, I think you have to be incredibly intentional with culture early on. And that’s something that I learned building a startup with people in the room. And the same thing and the same principles go for building an online community. And you mentioned John Wick, which by the way, I’ve seen all three, like I love those movies. You talked about the code, well, I mean, I call that like the manifesto. And being able to have that kind of rallying cry, that set of rules that people not only abide by, but want to live by, which honestly end up kind of mapping up to having similar values of the people that are coming together. If you can share a similar set of principles or values, that’s how you create that really dynamic, rich culture of a shared understanding.

Kevin:
And so some of the ways that I’ve been able to do that early on with a culture is to be really intentional about bringing on this founding team of people who can kind of set the stage in having intelligent conversation threads. People that will engage, but engage in a really thoughtful way, is a big part of kind of setting the stage for new people to come in and say, “Oh, wow. Christian here, who’s a community leader in Light Bulb Moment is really giving some thoughtful feedback and is always engaging with people, not just with a quick one or two sentence, but he’s giving some thoughtful response.” There’s times in our community where myself or other members like Christian will post a Loom, which is this great screen recording software where you can just record your screen and share a link.

Kevin:
We use that a ton in the community because you can just embed it and play it right there. But it’s these little actions that become really visual as someone kind of comes in and gets used to like what is actually happening here. So from a culture standpoint, that’s some of the things that I’ve really kind of set out to do so that it’s just, it makes it easy to really understand what’s cool here or what’s okay and how people should act, which we used a ton of gifs in there as well.

Pat:
That’s cool, and I remember in regards to the manifesto, which is almost like a war cry, like you say, or this is what we stand for. That’s really important to bring the kind of people in that you want into this membership and so they understand who else is there too. And I think that was one of the first things you did even before you even chose what your platform was. Like you worked on, well, who do I even want in here to begin with? How did you define who the members were going to be like and who you reached out to you because you can have the entire world in there, but you build a place for the entire world, it’s not going to feel like it’s for anybody. So how did you define who’s in there and who’s it for?

Kevin:
Really, what I wanted to do is I wanted to build a community of people that I ultimately want to hang out with, which are typically creative types, people that love talking and expanding upon ideas, entrepreneurial types, people that are ambitious really at the end of the day. And that’s where I’ve really kind of coined and landed on the term is I’m building a community of ambitious creators. And what I really wanted to do is not narrow too heavily towards I only want designers in this group because I am a designer.

Kevin:
Actually, I want to be able to leverage a really multifaceted, multidisciplinary group of ambitious people that have some level of whether it’s a creative background or just—creative is not maybe the right word—but this propensity to want to actually build something from nothing. And that could be a video, it could be a photo, it could be a podcast, it could be a company. It could be a variety of things. So I really wanted to kind of create like a narrow net, but just wide enough so that there was a lot of value in an experience as like a collective within the community.

Pat:
I love that. Thank you. How did you get people into your community to begin with? I’m curious.

Kevin:
Sure. I mean, largely I’ve been leveraging a lot of my Instagram network and creating content that people resonate with. I’m a firm believer in model, don’t preach. Meaning if I can model the behavior and attract the people that resonate with what I’m doing, the content that I’m creating, whether it’s on Instagram, being transparent about what I’m working on in my life or on my YouTubechannel where I’m talking about my productivity hacks and my whiteboard system. I want people that see that are inspired or motivated by that, but more so are motivated to do something more with their life or their business and ultimately grow. I mean, that’s really what we’re all here to do is just grow and become better versions of ourselves and help more people.

Pat:
Yeah. So when you built this community or you had it ready, I’m curious about the specifics of, how did you find your founding members? Is there a landing page, a wait list application process? Like take us through the sort of experience that you offered for people there at that start?

Kevin:
Yeah, let’s talk about the nuts and bolts. What I wanted to do is I wanted to create a landing page that had a really simple sign up form. And so the first thing I wanted to do was understand, of the people landing on the page and signing up with this little form, which captured their name, their email address, and then allowed them to self identify as a creator type. And so I had things in there like a designer, a photographer, filmmaker, YouTuber, writer, podcaster. I wanted to really get a sense early of who was coming to that page and where I was getting the most interest. Now like I said, I’m a designer and I have a photography background. So of course I got quite a few of those and I’m on YouTube. So I got people coming in from those channels, but that was the first step in my kind of landing page flow.

Kevin:
After that, the person was sent to a TypeForm where I created a questionnaire so that I could understand at a deeper level, what are the things that they’re working on? Where do they show up with whatever they’re creating the most, whether that’s on YouTube, whether that’s a website they’re building, a product that they’re building, some of their challenges that they’re facing, what they’re hoping to actually gain from being a part of this community. And then I also have this little section where I asked them if they wanted to become a founding member. And then if they said yes to that, that would open up more questions about the experience that they have, how they would want to interact, what they could share with the community.

Kevin:
And it just really helped me gauge the amount of not only interest, but also true desire that people have as they fill out that questionnaire, which is always so interesting. Sometimes you get long paragraphs and other times you’ll just get like one quick sentence. So it’s really easy to gauge like the level of excitement and like true enthusiasm that people have by asking them questions like that.

Pat:
I like this. It’s almost like a pre-validation process because you’re not selling anything on the landing page. You’re not asking people to pay for anything yet at this point in the journey, but you are selling the idea of the community. You’re getting people to go from landing page to fill out the form, to go from form to fill out the TypeForm to give more feedback to you. And to then even say, yeah, I’d like to be a part of something like this and be a founding member or not. What were some of the most interesting or eyeopening responses that you got in your questionnaire? Anything that comes to mind that really helped you understand more or inspired you or kind of made you wonder a little bit more during that process?

Kevin:
One of the questionnaires that came in was from one of our community members. His name is Brendan and he, Brendan is awesome. He helps people become more confident on stage and speak publicly. He has a channel called Master Your Talk, I think on YouTube, fantastic content. And so I was going through his questionnaire and towards the bottom, he had filled out something about saying he’s a true like go-giver. And he really just wants to be a part of this and provide as much value to everyone in the community based on what he knows himself. And it was in those moments where I knew I was attracting the right people. People that didn’t want to just come into the community and suck value out, but wanted to gain value and give value. And so that really helped me realize that I’m on the right track in terms of how I’m actually bringing people into this product, into this experience, into this community and ultimately serving them and helping them serve others within.

Pat:
That’s really cool. And then at what point in the process, and I’m sure we’re pretty close now, are you actually asking them to then take action with you? They filled out yes I want to be a founding member. What happened next after that?

Kevin:
As I was kind of reviewing a lot of the questionnaires that came in, I had reached out personally to the community members with a video or with an email if I knew them and asking them if they would like to become a part of the founding team and thanking them for all their enthusiasm. So when building a community early on, I think it’s really important to be as high touch as possible. And ultimately that’s not scalable, but when you’re starting to build that culture part of the three Cs, it’s absolutely necessary to first and foremost create that connection with your founding team members and the best way to do that is to be high touch. Learn from them and kind of seek their feedback and opinions and help them help you grow the community.

Kevin:
And so I leveraged a lot of these early people with showing them concepts of the community, helping them helping me build the spaces or all the little like categories within the community, and really leveraged a lot of their opinion and expertise so that this community felt more like ours, not mine, but I want this to be like ours. And so it was a great experience early on just to send them small surveys prior to launch. And then once the community launched, invite them in and continue to get that initial feedback until we were all ready to open the doors and start ushering new members in.

Pat:
That’s really cool. What is the price plan, if you don’t mind me asking for your community?

Kevin:
Yeah, that’s a great question. So right now it is a paid community and there’s two price plans. There is a starter membership for $10 a month, which basically gives you access to the entire community itself, which has a ton of value. And then this resources area, which is going to be, and or in the process of being built right now. Or for $25 a month, there is an added benefit of having office hours with me. So you get like these one-on-one 15 minute chunks of time each week available. I have basically an hour set up on my calendar where four people can book in time. And then we’re also doing monthly Zoom calls where anyone in the community can join the Zoom. And we have different topics. Last week we had our first one, which was awesome. And we talked about landing page design strategies. And I went through this whole training and did some landing page design reviews, which is really fun.

Kevin:
The best part about it is this whole membership-style paid platform, it all goes to charity. And that’s something that is really important to me and a real big differentiator. So a hundred percent of the proceeds every month go to a charity that the community votes on. And actually today at the time we were recording this podcast, I did our donation. We donated $295, which is—we’re still early—to the Alzheimer’s Association. And so it’s just, it’s really cool to create a community that really thrives on giving back in multiple ways.

Pat:
Yeah, that’s great man. And this is the start, right? I think a lot of people listening to this are going to be surprised about the number that was just mentioned because we didn’t really discuss how many people got in yet. And as we go further into this discussion, I want people to realize that this is just the start of this. And Kevin’s providing a ton of media and access, a ton of personalization in this, because you have these other successful businesses that are running. This is completely separate from all that, in a sense. You have stuff that’s automated, passive income coming in in totally different ways, which is really cool. And now you’re building this membership program and all the proceeds go, like every single dollar goes to charity, which I think is really commendable. And thank you for doing that. That’s really awesome.

Pat:
And you’ve been leveraging your Instagram audience and your growing YouTube channel. Again, make sure you subscribe, check him out. Kevin Fremon, F-R-E-M-O-N. And you can check out the Light Bulb Moment as well. But I think hopefully this gives people inspiration that you don’t have to create something amazing with a thousand members right up front, right? You have super fans and members in there that are just like so cool to hang out with and start with. And I’m curious to ask you, like how are you going to continue to grow this? What happens next? You’ve had these founding members in, which is like you said, your beta members and you’re still building it. But you’re literally in the middle of building it out, which I think is so cool and you’ve had people step up and almost help shape it with you. What are the next steps to help bring more people in, and what are you envisioning for the future?

Kevin:
First off, thank you for identifying and talking about this is very early. Like we’re very much at the beginning stages. And to speak to that just for a moment, the very beginning stages, the first few months, first six months of building a community is a really special time to be high touch to learn a lot so that as the community does grow, the people that are then coming on have a very thoughtful experience. And so while yes, it sounds really glamorous and awesome to like launch something a thousand people and all of a sudden, boom. But you learn so much early on that it’s well worth the time to take it slow in the beginning and really learn a lot from your audience, from your customers, whatever that might be. And so now, as we’re starting to learn a lot more about what creates this awesome experience, how to get people into the community and engaging and sticking and finding value, really the next step is twofold.

Kevin:
One it’s to continue to create even more rich content in order kind of bring in like-minded creators that want to be a part of something where they’re going to get support, where they’re going to get accountability and put them in a network. So content is going to be a huge part of my strategy. And that’s just mostly video content on my YouTube channel like you mentioned, thank you very much. The other part is, I think that the whole saying of good people attract good people is absolutely right. And so how we can incentivize and/or get some of our existing members to continue to show their progress, talk about their success, share the value that they’re getting from the community will attract other like-minds. And so to me, this isn’t about fast growth to a million users. Actually, I’ve capped this at a thousand.

Kevin:
I have a max of a thousand people that I want in this community, and I’m in no hurry to get there. I want the right people in the community and the people that are going to find value. So my approach to grow this is in a way that’s a lot more thoughtful and that the right fit matters most. And so of course, I come from a startup and a growth background. So I want to experiment with some ad traffic just to test the waters on different landing pages or value propositions that we’re putting out there. We also just started our Instagram account to start kind of adding value through our Instagram, which is Light Bulb Moment Official. But really it’s just a matter of just this methodical approach to continue to add value outside of the community, to attract more people into it to get even more value.

Pat:
Love that. Really quick in case anybody’s curious about where to go to find more info about the Light Bulb Moment community, where should they go?

Kevin:
LightBulbMoment.comPat:
I like it, Light Bulb Moment. Why light bulb moment? You had mentioned that word earlier in your story. Like why is that the community?

Kevin:
It’s a community because I have always loved the concept of having an idea, and I’ve always used the term like, I just had this light bulb moment. I mean, my past companies are all the thoughts and crazy ideas. And let me be honest man, I have a lot of them. It’s this moment of epiphany where this light goes off in our minds, whether it’s a business idea, whether it’s a strategy related to a current business, whether it’s something in our own personal life that changes the course of our own trajectory that is happening all of the time. And so I thought, what better way to commemorate this idea of like constant ideas, constant changing and improving, as having these light bulb moments and actually doing something with them.

Pat:
That’s really cool. I also love what you said earlier about the 1000 members and the cap. And this is important. I think because a lot of people think that when we are building membership sites, we want like tens of thousands of people in there. And I think a group can be really strong and relatively smaller in force and just as powerful, if not more because of that. And we’ve all heard of Kevin Kelly’s 100 True Fans and how that can support you. I mean, you get a thousand members in there, each paying you 10 bucks a month. I mean, that’s an absolutely crazy amount of charity money that’s going out every single month, right? Like how incredible is that?

Pat:
And it’s just a thousand people. I mean, it’s a thousand people, that’s a lot of people when you’re just starting out. But once you hone in on who it is that you’re serving and what works and people bringing in more people and the kinds of culture that you’re building and the communication that happens and the connections like you said, very doable, very achievable. And I’m so excited to see this continue to grow as we build it out. Any final words before we finish up here Kevin on the connection and the camaraderie side, how are you building that into this program right now, early on in the start of your community here?

Kevin:
Yeah. Well, just what you said about the thousand-person cap. And part of that is really around this idea of connection of the second C in community. And that is by having a defined max of people allows for more opportunities for true and deep connection where people aren’t lost in the noise. So when someone posts a new topic or responds, it doesn’t necessarily get lost in the shuffle. Now a thousand people is still a lot of people, like a hundred people is a lot of people, but the intention there is to provide more opportunities for connection. One of the things that we’re going to be doing with the Light Bulb Moment community is even jumping on Zoom calls so people can hear one another’s voice, see them on video. There’s been feedback that I’ve gotten already after one of our first Zoom calls where people immediately started to engage with one another, even outside of that Zoom call.

Kevin:
And so it’s those sorts of moments where I think that the power of what we’re able to do online and facilitate can really create those kind of deeper level connections. Just to quickly touch on the camaraderie and then we’ll be through our three Cs. Camaraderie is a really big part of it as well. And I think this is to say that, when people come together and they feel like there’s this sense of camaraderie is when everyone has an aligned mission or like driving generally towards the same direction. The charity component is definitely a piece of that, that has helped drive everyone towards this kind of common goal.

Kevin:
And there’s other aspects of what we’re doing in the community that really help people feel like they’re part of something with others that they know. And the more that we can kind of have those aligned missions, those aligned visions, whether they’re a weekly challenge that we get everyone kind of on the same beat of the drum, it’s those moments where we really kind of build that rah, rah, high fiving each other virtually moments that really sink that camaraderie piece in. And so that’s really, like if you can nail the culture, the connection and the camaraderie in the community, you basically won.

Pat:
Absolutely. And I know you’ve read Superfans and many of the listeners have read Superfans as well. And there’s a specific chapter about magical moments and a specific chapter about bringing the community together. And you’ve done just that. And you’re starting out with already doing what you should be doing. And I can just imagine where this is going to grow into and like kind of winning together, losing together sort of thing. I think that that’s really important and this is what gets people to continue to come back and to feel like they’re a part of something, which is really what this is all about. When you can feel included in something, when you can feel like you’re a part of something, you’re more invested in it, for sure. You’re more likely to continue to show up. And I love that you’re building that and paving the path and an early user on Circle. And I’m super excited to dig deeper into it myself and just man, super proud of you and just everything you’re doing just awesome. Where might people go to find out more about you besides lightbulbmoment.com?

Kevin:
You can always go to kevinfremon.com or better yet, my YouTube channel is a great place, which is just my name. I love creating content and showing up and actually engaging with the people that subscribe to my channel and creating conversations there. So those two places are fantastic along, with Instagram, where you can catch my shenanigans on my Instagram stories daily. But I really thank you for asking and I couldn’t be more stoked to be sitting here talking to you on this podcast. And I just want to like tell you how much I appreciate you again, Pat. Thank you for all that you do for all of us, for me and everyone that extends past me.

Pat:
Thank you, Kevin. I appreciate that. I can highly recommend your YouTube channel for sure. An amazing storyteller. You shoot wonderful video. Definitely check him out, and check out the Light Bulb Moment. Lightbulbmoment.com. Kevin, thanks so much man. I appreciate you. We’ll talk soon.

Kevin:
All right. Thanks Pat.

Pat:
All right. I hope you enjoyed that interview and chat with Kevin. You can find him again at his website, Kevin Fremon, F-R-E-M-O-N.com, LightBulbMoment.com for the membership community. And then of course check him out on YouTube because that’s where he does all of his great stuff behind the scenes, behind the camera, behind the computer editing these great stories, definitely an underrated creator in my opinion. And I’m happy to push more people his way because he’s definitely somebody that can absolutely make a difference. So Kevin, thank you so much for your time today.

Pat:
And I know I speak on behalf of everybody, just keep doing what you’re doing and keep sharing and hopefully we can bring him back on to talk about what has happened since this episode. It will be more like a before and after, right? Like right at the start of this and what this turns into. And I’m so excited to learn more. So thank you so much, Kevin. Thank you so much to everybody who has listened to all the way through the episode. I appreciate you so much. Make sure you hit that subscribe button on your podcast app, if you haven’t done so already. And if you happen to be listening to this on the website, just go find the podcast Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn on any of your favorite podcast apps. Hit subscribe there.

Pat:
I appreciate you so much, and make sure to come in next week, when we talk about what we have at SPI Media in store for you in relation to a membership and an early access opportunity. We’re going to talk about exactly why we’re doing it, what we’re positioning it as and how it can be helpful. And you’ll find out really quickly whether it’s for you or not. So come in next week, looking forward to serving you there and that’ll be in episode 428. In the meantime, you can check out the show notes, smartpassiveincome.com/session428. Once again, smartpassiveincome.com/session428. Cheers, take care, stay safe and all the best. Peace out. #TeamFlynn for the win.

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