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SPI 681: Community-Powered Business Growth with Chris and Danielle from Money Ripples

Without building a community around your brand, you’ll be left behind. That’s the flag I’m planting in the ground, the line I’m drawing in the sand. But for your business, what exactly is the role and value of bringing people together?

Today, I’m exploring this topic with Chris Miles and Danielle Hollembaek from Money Ripples. You see, they recently hired SPI CEO Matt Gartland and me to consult as they built their community.

We want to share this process with you because the benefits for their company are already becoming apparent. Chris, Danielle, and I will discuss every step of this journey, from setting up a Circle community to creating an engaging space that people come back to again and again [affiliate link].

This is a great episode for anyone looking to build a community-powered business. We uncover powerful takeaways on guiding a social network audience to your membership site, time management, creating superfans, and more!

If this chat inspires you, check out our community help page to learn more about starting and running a membership business!

Today’s Guest

Chris Miles

Chris Miles, the Cash Flow Expert and Anti-Financial Advisor, is a leading authority teaching entrepreneurs and professionals how to get their money working for them today! He’s an author, podcast host of the Money Ripples Podcast, has been featured in US News, CNN Money, Entrepreneurs on Fire, BiggerPockets, and has a proven reputation with his company, Money Ripples, getting his clients fast financial results. In fact, his personal clients have increased their cash flow by $300+ Million in the last 13 years!

Danielle Hollembaek

Danielle Hollembaek is a seasoned marketing professional having worked for multiple national and international companies in her career. She graduated in 2018 from Syracuse University with her Master’s in Communications and has been in the marketing field for over five years.

Danielle’s passion for developing businesses is what initially brought her to Money Ripples, but her belief in our mission to improve the lives of our clients and those around them is what keeps her motivated in growing the business.

You’ll Learn


SPI 681: Community-Powered Business Growth with Chris and Danielle from Money Ripples

Chris Miles: As business owners, we’re always marketing, right?It’s that ABM, right? Always be marketing. We’re always marketing, we’re always reselling our clients over and over. It’s not like it’s reselling the dream, but it kind of is. It’s, it’s really reselling the value that you’re trying to offer and deliver. And remind them of that over and over, and the community helps do that for you, right?It helps them realize, oh, this is why I’m here. This is why I’m engaged. And the more engaged they are with our content, with our community, with everything that we’re doing within that mission, that’s when you know that they’re there for life, right?

Pat Flynn: If you’re not building community around your brand, you will be left behind. I’m saying that straight away. That’s the flag that I’m planning in the ground, the line I’m drawing in the sand. You have to be building community around your brand or else you’re gonna be left behind. Now recently, Matt, CEO of SPI Media, and I were both hired by another brand.

We don’t make this public that we do this, although we, I guess right now are, we were hired by another company to help them build out and consult on the creation of their community. And this brand is Money Ripples with Chris Miles and Danielle Hollembaek, and we’re here today with them, both of them, to talk about the experience of what it was like to build this community.

Why, you know, Chris has helped several clients with investments and generating passive income, and he has several higher end clients. And you know, you might not think, okay, each individual client may actually want to be a part of this community, but we’re gonna see exactly how this was built out.

Danielle offers a ton of tips for helping increase engagement and just kind of wrap our head around this idea of building a community so that your clients, so that your students, so that your followers and subscribers can have a place to come together and connect. And so many incredible things happen when you do that.

So, sit back and relax. This is Session 681 of the Smart Passive Income Podcasts. And if you are curious about building a community yourself too, well make sure you get all the tips here. Make sure you unlock the story that this is hard because it’s actually a lot easier than you think. Danielle will attest to that.

And then finally, at the end, I’ll tell you where to go to get your next steps so that you can build a community as well. Shout out to Circle as well, which is mentioned several times here because they just make it really easy. if you wanna check that out. But here they are, Chris Miles, and also Danielle Hollembaek from Here we go.

Announcer: You’re listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, a show that’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, because he is got a teenager, he now knows what bussin, no cap and mid mean. Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Chris, Danielle, welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thanks for joining me today.

Chris Miles: Hey, happy to be here, Pat.

Danielle Hollembaek: Yeah, thank you.

Pat Flynn: Chris, I wanna start with you. Money Ripples is a brand that is making waves in the financial industry. I wanna talk about kind of. How you got started with that and where you come as far as background and why Money ripples?

Why does this exist?

Chris Miles: Yeah. You know, it started out really me as a kid. Like I, I was raised, like a lot of people were, you know, like, it wasn’t like I was raised a silver spoon in my mouth or anything like that. I mean, I was raised by parents that taught good values, but they just didn’t know much about money, right?

Money was always a scarce thing. You know, for example, my dad would always say things like, Hey, we can’t afford this. Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know, what do you think I am, made him money, you know, all those kind of things he would say all the time. And so I, I didn’t wanna grow up that way. So like any kid, any teenager, you wanna do a different path from your parents.

And so I wanted be somebody who had control of my own time, my own freedom. And so I wanted to go more of the business route. But even after, as, as I went into college, I realized I needed to have real business experience to actually do that. So I ended up dropping outta college, became a financial advisor because that was the first thing that came up and I realized, hey, you know what?

If I can learn about money and if I can even give my dad some of his life back, cuz he thought he would work until he died. I thought this might be worth it. Well, long story short, few years go by and the next thing you know, I’m the one teaching my dad about money, right? Even though he’s the one, he was like the penny pinching, tightwad type of saver, you know, paid off his debt early and including his house.

He stuffed his 401ks. He did everything you were supposed to do. But then when he had me come meet with him, he was 61 years old. It was right after y2k, and he said, Hey Chris, what can I do now? And I looked at his money, I said, dad, and looking at what I see right here, If it weren’t for social security, you better help you die in five years because that’s when you’ll run outta money.

Okay, what do I do? I don’t know, dad, you did everything right. Like that’s it’s, you did exactly the way you’re supposed to. And it really bugged me, like it bugged me to death that the kind of the inspiration that got me to become a financial advisor. Was the very thing that now was being shaken, right? My, my faith was being shaken in that industry because I realized it wasn’t working for him and it wasn’t just him.

When I started to really open my eyes and look at people around, right, like the other clients I had as well, they weren’t financially free either, and neither were any of the financial advisors in my office. So why would I keep following the same exact path that my dad had done, financial advisors have been teaching that still hadn’t worked.

And of course when the students ready, the teacher appears, that’s when, you know, I had some friends that were in the real estate game that taught me about real passive income, right? You talk about smart passive income, we talk about passive income on the real estate side, and they’re like, Hey, this is how we became financially free in our sometimes twenties, thirties, and forties.

And I started to learn from them and I was able to come financially independent myself after I quit being a financial advisor. I said, I’ll never go back again. And I’ll just try to go on this learning path. Well, as I did that, I was able to become financial independent when I was 28 years old. And, and that’s when I kind of had to ask myself, what am I gonna do?

You know, am I just gonna be comfortable with my time and being with my family and just live a quiet life, which would be, you know, great. I mean that’s like the dream for everybody, right? Is just to be able to be, work optional. You work cuz you want to, not cause you have to, but when as time went on, I realized that one, people kept asking me how I did it and then two, I just loved teaching.

That’s my real passion is just being a teacher. So I came outta retirement in 2007, started teach people how to do that, how to get outta the rat race and that kind of thing. And eventually, you know, after I did, I started one business in 2007, dropped outta that one, and then 2012 launched Money Ripples.

And that’s really what the whole purpose of that’s about is creating that ripple effect through people’s lives, right. Because I had, I had seen how many lives we had already blessed those previous five or six years and, and the ripple effect it created within themselves, their families, their communities, and ultimately across the world.

And that’s, that’s really what we wanna do, is create a ripple effect of freedom and prosperity for those around the world where they are free. They’re really free people. When you’re free, you have the ability to bless more lives. And that’s what I really feel like I my on this planet to do is help people do that, to liberate them.

Pat Flynn: I love that. When it, when I was in architecture pre 2008, I was reading a lot of financial blogs and really diving into the world of finance. I, I almost wish Money Ripples had started sooner so I can, so I could get on there earlier cuz I was reading blogs like, get Rich Slowly by JD Roth and, you know, a lot of these people who, who we know old school, Trent Desmond from Simple Dollar, what would you say, Chris, is the Money Ripples philosophy when it comes to, to money. You know, a lot of people like JD was like, you know, very diligent with, with putting into your 401K and, and you know, enjoying life after your 65 kind of stuff, which I was on that path for a while until I got laid off. But what is the Money Ripples philosophy specifically when it comes to finances?

Chris Miles: It’s basically what my . Shirt says. Cash flow. Yeah. Cash flow equals freedom, right? I mean, the philosophy is this, that. You know, what I learned is it wasn’t about how much money you have in the bank that really creates freedom. Many of the clients that we work with are like the Dave Ramsey graduates. You know, like they learn to be good te tight wad savers like my dad was, right?

And then they realized they weren’t free. Like even if they paid off all their debt they still didn’t have cash, cash flow, income coming in that would be able to help them feel safe. And that’s really what we’re about is creating that passive income. We’re kind of like Rich Dad Poor Dad applied, right?

We actually are helping people learn how to do the very thing he talks about in that book. And creating enough passive income where you do, you are financially independent. You work because you want to, not because you have to. And that’s ultimately like kind of our goal, right? Is to get people free. And so that’s, that’s the real thing.

It’s like, it doesn’t matter how much you have, it’s not about how much money you have, it’s about what your money’s doing for you to be able to create enough passive income and freedom to have choices and options in your life.

Pat Flynn: That’s so good. That’s so good. And it’s very clear the mission’s clear the statement.

It’s very much contained outside of what I see a lot of other people are talking about in the world of finance. And again, this is why I wish I had found it earlier. Danielle, when did you come into play with Money Ripples? Was it Right, right away in the beginning? How did you and Chris find each other and then start working together?

Danielle Hollembaek: So, no, it actually was many years after Chris started Money Ripples, I guess going on two years this summer it’ll be two years that I’ve been working with Chris. And it is a little bit of a crazy story because I actually had just had my second son and I was looking through jobs. And I was like, ah, you know, I worked for the travel industry.

It was right at the end of Covid. Things weren’t looking great. And I was like, okay, well let’s just see what’s out there. What? What’s there? Well, this job popped up immediately and Indeed. And I was like, Hmm. Money Ripples. That sounds. It’s kind of like it’s me. Like I’m looking at the core values, you know, these are really applying to what I like.

Then with a little bit more into the business about passive income and investing and real estate. My husband already was a property manager. We had wanted to start doing passive investing. My mentor was teaching us kind of how to start doing it. So I was like, okay, this sounds like the perfect fit.

Let’s apply. Didn’t apply for another job. Got a call a week later and got the whole interview process going. And I swear in our first interview, Chris and I both are like, it just seemed right, like it wasn’t even an interview. We just kind of knew at that moment. That’s cool. But yeah, it was, it was great.

I mean, perfect fit, best company I could have ever found cuz it, everything just aligns with who I am, what I believe in, and then seeing our clients, thing we get to work with. It’s just people that, you know, I would choose as friends, but they’re, you know, I don’t have to do that cuz they come to us. So it’s awesome.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. That’s great. And I know you, I mean, we’ve been working together with your community recently, and I know that you take such good care of your clients, you’re always talking about your clients and those are your number one people. What did you come on for, what was the, what was specifically the, the position that you had applied for Danielle?

Danielle Hollembaek: Yeah, so I am Chief Marketing Officer for Money Ripples. Little do a little bit of operations here and there too, since we are, you know, a smaller team of people. But honestly, you know, it’s been great cuz our main business is marketing since we are a consulting coaching business. So yeah, it’s, it’s been awesome and that’s where my whole background is in, is marketing.

So yeah, I, I’ve really enjoyed it.

Pat Flynn: That’s great. And it’s funny you say that because. A lot of times when we talk about your brand and growing it is related to who your client is and it’s focused on them. That’s what builds the marketing story. So, prior to you and I and Matt working together on the Money Ripples communities, which again we’ll get into later, we want all of you listening to get excited about creating your own communities, cuz you’re gonna see how a business can really start to enhance the experience that a person has within your brand.

And this is so important today, especially as things are becoming, you know, information is freely available everywhere. Now it’s about the experiences that you’re creating in, in and around that. But prior to Danielle, the communities coming on, how are you working with clients? What was that client experience?

Danielle Hollembaek: Like, yeah, so I mean, before we had you guys helping us with the community, where now clients communicate day to day clients still had a little bit of a community feel, cuz they’d be in one group call every month. So they get their one-on-one with their coaches, they can contact their coach, you know, whenever they need by phone, email.

But that’s more of like a personal relationship just with your coach. So in the VIP calls, I got to have a little bit more open discussion where they’re asking questions. You get to know a little bit of who everyone is, especially if you’re on all of those calls. But we didn’t have anything where clients actually could reach out to each other and be like, Hey, how did this investment work for you?

Or hey, you know, well, how has this strategy worked? Have you done it before? So, you know, we’ve had clients since many ripples been around more than a decade, we’ve had clients that have worked with Chris. You know that long and they are in that community and they can say yes. You know, seven years ago I started doing this and this is what it looks like now.

So a new client gets that little taste of like, okay, so maybe immediately, you know, I’m not getting this huge ROI, but in two to three years, look, look what’s happening. This like, this guy’s financially free now that can be me in five years.

Pat Flynn: So there were little moments of, of your people connecting with each other, but, but nothing really formal, Chris.

Like, what was the, really the, the, the spark that made you wanna now formalize the community and go even bigger with it?

Chris Miles: You know, it’s, it’s funny because I had to get my ego out of the way a little bit because when I would do the events, I used to do events where there were three day events, you know, live events in person, and I would just try to shove down as much content as possible, right?

I would just load ’em up, try to over-deliver on so much value. And as time went on one, I got exhausted. Right? Cause it’s so exhausting to that. Even when you bring in guest speakers still, when you’re the main person on stage, you just, I, I would collapse by that weekend. But what I sort of noticed there was a trend or a pattern happening and part of it was happening within myself cuz I notice I stopped doing as much on the coaching side.

Even though we have coaches and mentors in our business, we started doing more with masterminds, right? More community based type things where the community would actually help out other people. And when I started to, in my live events, I started to have longer breaks, for example, or I started to let the other people talk to each other right when I started to open up that time.

Many of ’em would give me feedback at those events saying, you know, Chris, like I love what you do and I, and everything you taught is amazing. You’ve, you’ve blessed my life. But talking to Jim over here, absolutely just, this was the biggest thing I got outta the event was be able to talk to this person or talk to these other people and get their experiences.

Cuz Chris, you’re great, but you are already where I want to be. I wanna talk to other colleagues that are in the same place as I am, deal with the same struggles and fears that I’m currently dealing with to make me feel like I’m not alone in the world. That I actually. You know that it’s not unique to me, that maybe my fears are just like other people’s.

And then they gave me some insight in how they were able to overcome those fears and I could do, and for my ego, that was hard to accept. I thought, well, at first I thought, well, that’s great. I thought, well, yeah, but why am I wasting my breath? Right? And I think that’s when I realized that a community helping each other.

So even when we do Zoom calls, I start to have people talk to each other more and more and then say, oh, can I talk to this person offline? I have to like make these email introductions and everything else. Now, it just makes it so much easier with the community. You’ve helped us set up that we don’t have to try to play middleman, right?

We can actually let them serve each other, which actually further bonds community creates. I mean, we even tell people when they come in, we say, welcome to the Money Ripples family. This helps gel that family environment. It gets people to feel like we’re part of the same team, even if we’re, we’re kind of the, the weirdos, right.

We’re the, you know, we’re kinda like Steve Jobs talks about, we’re the kinda like the outcast in a sense. You know, like we’re the, the rebels. Okay. The misfits. We’re misfits, right. We’re the ones bucking the status quo to do what we’re doing financially, which is why we’re become financially free while the rest of the world is not.

And we want that to be bigger, you know, so be able to kind of move the ship forward together as a crew versus just being all about Chris trying to help people do that is just a huge perspective shift and and has blessed my life big time.

Pat Flynn: It’s literally the same story that we had at SPI. We hosted an event.

It was great speakers. I was on stage, et cetera. We did a survey. The survey was like Pat, the time with the other people there was my favorite part. It’s like, well, why did we even set this whole thing? Well, we could just have a room and put people in and they’d be fine and they’d be getting value. And then 2020 hit and we’re like, well, let’s create that room, but make it virtual.

So we ended up creating SPI Pro and then later our All Access Pass and all this stuff. And it’s just been amazing. And it’s been really cool because, and I think this is how you found us. It’s like you’ve heard that we have created this amazing thing and, and wanted something similar, and you did that.

So Danielle, when you, when you had this idea to now bring this online in a more formal fashion, What were the, what were the maybe curiosities that you had around that? What were the stories you were telling yourself about now, formally having to do this? Did you feel that it was gonna be easy, hard, possible, what was going through your mind?

Danielle Hollembaek: Well, I would say I had some doubts at first just because time-wise I was like, okay, this is gonna be a huge chunk of time to build this community out and man, it is going to just drain me to have to write all this content and then have to figure out how you put it all into this Circle program, like what is Circle? But then once I started to look a little bit more into what Circle was, how easy it was to use, Chris had suggested you guys as consultants to work with us, which honestly a hundred percent that made this process go from me spending weeks and weeks on something to spending basically one week really getting everything planned out into Circle and out cuz you guys gave us that roadmap. That was the number one thing that made my worries go from like, okay, this is gonna be such a difficult task that I just, it’s gonna take me over a month to do it. From it being okay, this is very achievable. You know, we have the manpower to do it.

I definitely know that we have the clients who want it. Mm-hmm. And you know, it’s gonna be a success because we set it right from day one. That’s how you really make it successful throughout.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. Well first of all, thank you for saying that. That’s really kind. But it just shows you that it’s not as hard as, as it seems, right?

Yes. The platform Circle is great cuz it, you know, that solves all the technical situations. But as far as like, announcing this and launching it. I know there were also, we had some conversations that were specifically around that and the hard parts of that, right? It’s like, sure, we can get people on Facebook or wherever cuz they’re there already getting people to come over to something, another thing they have to sign in for is a challenge. How did you battle that? How did you get people interested enough to go along with this idea of yours to bring everybody together.

Danielle Hollembaek: I mean, honestly, it came down to letting the clients know early enough on, before we launched, we do these weekly market updates.

So I would just put announcements at the bottom and it’d be like, Hey, in two weeks we are launching this community. Look out for it. Give ’em a little blurb about what it’s meant for. Did that as a little ramp up two weeks before, and honestly, when it launched, we had within the first night I sent it, I sent it a little later at night on a Friday night, like the email to sign up.

We had 40 clients before even the end of the night log in, set everything up, and at least check out what it was. Even if they weren’t already commenting on things, they were in there. So I saw that and I was like, okay, like any worries I had about anyone using it, the fact that 40 people already have logged on, that’s great.

I mean, I know they’re very interested in it.

Pat Flynn: That’s great. Chris, what do you think encouraged your clients to sign up so quickly for something like this? I think, you know, we talked some notes about this, but with some of the older clientele as well, you know, being a little bit more not as technically savvy, for example, like what gets a person like that to just instantly figure, like, figure out how to do this and join forces with others.

Chris Miles: It’s not easy. I mean, that’s the thing. I mean, I mean now granted a community in general is not easy. I mean, if you’ve ever tried to run a Facebook page, you know, like a group pub page or something like that, you know, like I would get some people engaged a little bit.

We even have like a Money Ripples Facebook page and, you know, for just fans to follow and, and even then, like eventually like it gets quiet and it’s like crickets. Doesn’t matter if you have hundreds of people in there. If they’re not talking to each other, it’s really difficult. I like some of the strategies you guys have suggested that I know that Danielle had implemented.

Like for example, if we did a video and it was like a video that was saying, Hey, this is a new update. You have to go to Circle, you have to go to the community page to find it. You can’t get this information anywhere else. Can’t go to YouTube like we would usually do for posting or videos. You have to actually go to this page, you know, if there’s gonna be a live event, go to this page.

Right. So it, it kind of forced them. To use Circle, right? It forced them to kind of get in the community and as a result, it got them to also start to see each other’s posts, start to talk a little bit more. And, and I know we’re trying to do things to incentivize people, so like, you know, give ’em like little incentives or rewards for being the most active user and things like that.

So giving people some of that, those kudos. So it’s not an easy overnight thing, especially for people that normally wouldn’t be on a community page like this. Most people aren’t big on social media that we have in our, in our system. They’re just people that say, ah, Facebook sucks, you know, or you know, especially since 2020, it’s almost like people don’t want to have anything to do with something that’s a community-based type of platform, but they wanna be connected, right?

So getting them to use it and just getting them in the habit of doing it over and over. I think that repetition is what ultimately is kind of pushing people past that finish line for sure.

Pat Flynn: And then also a big shout at the Circle because once people get in there, it’s very intuitive. People know how to like, kind of are already familiar with it from the beginning.

Danielle, what, what have been some of the biggest surprises that you’ve experienced now that you’ve been helping to put this community together? And I know you have some other team members who are helping to manage it as well. What has been really neat for you to see happen? And what has made doing this all worth it for you, you think?

Danielle Hollembaek: Oh, it’s definitely the client interaction with each other and how grateful they are. That we created this community. You know, Craig, he speaks, is one of our coaches. He speaks to clients all the time, and one big thing that they talk about is how much of a value a community has added for them. Because number one, they feel like they actually know who else is in this program, and they know people who are like-minded like them.

You know, like Chris said, we are the outcast in the world because not everyone understands or, you know, thinks that this type of investing works. So people don’t talk about this with their families or their neighbors cuz they’re gonna be called crazy. So they love having the fact that, oh, we have these friends in this community that I can go there and beyond just talking about passive income.

You know, we can talk about our life and what’s going on. We can actually make real friends through this community. And the second thing that for me has been, it’s pretty rewarding to see is people who maybe were less active as clients, didn’t ask as many questions, maybe weren’t in there as much. I see them in their liking posts, you know, starting to get like a little bit more warmed up to who we are.

And you know, they’re starting to reach out more. They’re starting to post themselves. So it’s just good to see, okay, maybe they just needed that outlet. To go to because they didn’t wanna constantly be emailing Chris or Craig or be asking questions in those monthly calls. So it’s nice to just see that less engaged clients now have a place to go and you know, they’re more involved in the Money Ripples family.

Pat Flynn: Chris, are you finding that the community, now that it’s built, right, it took some work to get here, but has it actually been helping you save time? Is it, are you finding that is of value to you as the owner to have this? Or are you fine that it is taking quite a bit of time and, and energy to manage still worth it, but you know, how has it helped you beyond just like helping your clients?

Chris Miles: Yeah. There’s definitely a habit that has to be created with managing that kind of page, you know, so I think the most difficult part is it’s not super time consuming. It’s, it really is more about just getting the new habits established, right? Because, I mean, I probably was easily wasted way more time on social media than I ever did talking with our clients, you know, so it’s just switching those habits over. Once you do that, it’s actually not that bad. And, and kind of go along with what Danielle said is, you know, there’s so much benefit for those clients to talk to each other, right? To get experiences from each other. Because sometimes for me, like I can say something until I’m blue in the face, and then someone just happens to say it a little bit differently and it, it gives them that light bulb moment that they figure, oh, Now I get it.

You know, it’s like being a parent. I’m a parent of eight children. Right? And so, you know, you tell your kids something over and over and then they hear one thing on YouTube or on from a teacher at school or something, they said, did you know, I’ve been teaching that for five years. You know, myth, listening the whole time.

You know, it’s just like that, like your children where they just happen to get it and, and it doesn’t matter. Like take your, check, your ego and take it aside. It doesn’t matter where they get it. The fact is it glues them together as a community. It glues them. It even gets them to sell it more. And the one thing I, I teach, you know, even our, our coach, like she mentioned Craig, one thing I was just talking to him about this last week is that even though you’re coach delivering value as business owners, we’re always marketing, right?

It’s that ABM right? Always be marketing. We’re always marketing, we’re always reselling our clients over and over. Like we, it’s not like it’s, I’m not like wanna say it like, it’s like reselling the dream, but it kind of is. It’s, it’s really reselling the value that you’re trying to offer and deliver. And remind them of that over and over, and the community helps do that for you, right?

It helps them realize, oh, this is why I’m here. This is why I’m engaged. And the more engaged they are with our content, with our community, with everything that we’re doing within that mission, especially when they’re buying into those mission and core values that we have, that’s when you know that they’re there for life, right?

That that’s when you know that it’s become a part of who they are. And they also become the best referral sources too, because they’re, they’re gonna align with other people that also align with our core values and invite those people in. I mean, having that community element seems like such a small, in many cases it might seem like, seem like it’s an unnecessary thing, allows you to have so much more leverage with these people and allow you to be able to create so much more and sell them on what you’re offering so much more too.

Pat Flynn: For sure. I mean, they almost sell each other with all those interactions, yeah. That are there. And as we have to hear people come for the content and they stay for the community. And That’s so true.

And it’s, it’s so cool to see because you know, Matt, and, and, and myself, we’ve been consulting Chris and Danielle and their team on this community. And so we were there even before it was created. And to see it now flourishing into a point now where you wake up and there’s conversations happening that you don’t even know were happening and, and questions are being answered.

And that’s one less email in your inbox, like su such like a benefit to have. And you had mentioned engagement. The more engagement that there is, the more likely a person is to stay and refer it and, and whatnot. So Danielle, what are some strategies that you figured out early on or, or that, or you started to implement that encouraged those who are maybe a little bit more quiet and and maybe weren’t as interactive.

How did you encourage those people? To become more engaged and start interacting more.

Danielle Hollembaek: Yeah, so actually per your guys’ request, we started, if it was a subject that we knew, hey, this client is just a rockstar at this, they definitely should be answering this question, we would start tagging people in it.

So Craig, he’d go in there since he, he knows what people are investing in and what they really know, and he’d go in there and tag three people and say, Hey, what are your thoughts on infinite banking? What are your thoughts on, you know, This oil and gas investment. So he’d go in there and just kind of call people out a little bit, but it worked because they’d get the email and then they jump on and be like, oh, what does Craig want from me?

And then they’d like, oh, okay, yeah, I’m doing this. Let’s answer this question from this client. And that would cause, instead of just one or two comments on something, it’d be seven or eight because other people are interested in whatever they’re talking about. Then ask that client like, Well, I have this question about it and this question.

So really kept the conversation going. That was like number one for us. That really got people talking. But the other thing is having the live events pretty scheduled like a month ahead of time, right in Circle cuz you know, we did a few live things before, like the monthly calls we’d have operators do like special calls every once in a blue moon.

But now we do one spotlight for an investment deal every month we try it to do possibly two. That’s kind of what the goal is going forward is we, we’d like to have two. We do our VIP calls right in Circle, and then if anything else, you know, fun, unexpected, a new operator comes on, we let them do a little spotlight for the month and everything is kept right there.

We even did a social to open up the whole community. And we had about 25 people jump on and, I mean, this social was thrown together like within a week. I was kinda like, okay, well we gotta do this and we gotta make sure everyone kind of can meet. But I was very happy cuz it was at like eight o’clock at night for some people, depending on where you were across the country and went on, started talking, started to get to know each other and you know, that’s something I wanna do again. Now that we have more clients coming in, it’s just really good for them to get to know each other that way. And we just did some fun, like q and a, you know, round table, Hey, who wants to answer this? I wanna do some games.

And another one, cuz it just brings that community together even more outside of, you know, education. It’s nice to have like actual fun things that you guys do together.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, yeah, for sure. And that’s the cool part about this. Beyond people just consuming your content regularly or on a blog or on a podcast, it’s now they can have an experience that goes beyond the content with other people, other weirdos, right.

That are, that are out there and to the people who are there with each other, they’re not weird anymore. They’re welcome. They feel like there’s a sense of belonging, and that’s so key, especially now because like I said earlier, information is becoming so freely available everywhere. You gotta create these experiences now and that’s what’s gonna keep people on for longer.

I love what you said about sort of tagging other people if you know that they can contribute or you know, that they’ve had experience with that before. That has worked so well for us and even for me, I even tell Jillian, our community director, like, Hey, if you see somebody who has a question that you think I can help out with, just tag me.

Because then I get the email and if, if, if I get the emails like from Jillian, it says like, Hey Pat, I think you have something to say about this, or, I think you have something to contribute to this conversation. I can’t not go in there like I have to go, like, it would be very rude of me to not come in if somebody tagged me.

Right? And that, that’s the kind of feeling that people who are maybe a little bit more quiet or don’t even know where to go, even getting that notification in the email that says, Hey Jim, I know you’ve had experience with with this before. Would you have any tips to offer here too? And it’s like, wait, what?

What’s going on? I need to click and go in. And then I see people talking about it, and now I’m not questioning, well, I don’t know if people are gonna like this or not. It’s like, oh no, I, I, I was called to this space. Let me say something. And then you get that immediate sort of, you know, the, the, the normal social media endorphins that come in when you post something and people like it, and then reply.

That’s all built in here, but for good reasons, not because we’re trying to send ads in front of people’s faces all the time. Right. And I think that’s the big difference here is this is a community on a platform that you control and you can kind of do like, kind of create whatever experience you want now in, in a safe space.

Chris, what’s the future of the Money Ripples community? What’s, what’s it looking like? What are some plans that you have on, you know, not just growing it, but even furthering that experience with your people in there.

Chris Miles: Yeah. I know one thing we’re just starting to launch within that community alone is, is even having little mini mastermind groups, right?

Like, so people can band together on a smaller scale, not just being a very big one, which can be intimidating for some people. Having those like little groups, almost like pods that they have where they’re able to talk with each other and be able to ask questions of each other in a more intimate environment.

And we’re kind of guiding that along obviously, cuz it’s just brand new for them. So we’re trying to help establish patterns. But that’s been great. But overall, I mean, and, and here’s the thing I, I’ll say this is another side benefit I just realized when Danielle was speaking, is that, when she mentioned the social right and getting people engaged, whenever we did our monthly Zoom calls, you know, our VIP calls, it’s in the middle of the day, so we know that people have businesses or they have their, you know, their W2 jobs, whatever they’re doing in the middle of the day.

Most people never jump on live they’ll listen to the recording. What I’ve noticed lately over the last few months is that our numbers have significantly increased on the live recording and that’s been in in very impressive as well, is to see that now people are feeling more engaged. They want to show up.

Even if they’re not talking to each other, they still are feeling like they’re part of that community. They wanna be involved. And, and that’s what I’d really like to see as happening in the future of Money Ripples, right? Is I really want that community to, I mean, still have boundaries, make sure it’s in check.

Because especially when you deal with investing and money type subjects, you gotta still police it and moderate a little bit and make sure that people aren’t saying, Hey, here’s a great gambling type investment to do cuz make people lose a lot of money. You don’t want that to happen, right? But, but really to have that community help support each other. People kind of stand out as almost mentors within the community, which we’re already starting to see some people that have a lot of experiences and and, and things that they can share. That’s what I really want, is I really want people to feel like they are a part of the community even if it’s all virtual.

Like they, I wanted them to feel like, oh, I know that person, or I feel like I, I’m getting to know these people and that this is my tribe. And that’s really ultimately what I want to have happen. Cuz our, our ultimate vision, right? Our goal is to have 1000 people financially independent by 2030. And that cannot happen unless we have a strong community helping support each other to make sure we get there.

Granted, as coaches, we can help do that, but that’s a lot of work. But to have that community help really just help alleviate the burden, right? So the weight is not all on our shoulders. We can be able to use that leverage to help move the company forward in the future. That’s the only way we can have at least a thousand families financially independent.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. Your community almost coaches itself in a way with that, and that’s what I always say about community creates a life and a heartbeat of its own, and it can serve in so many different ways beyond just what a single individual can do. And I, I love what you said about kind of like the, the live streams becoming more and more populated now.

It almost makes me feel like they’re so connected that they don’t wanna miss out. They wanna be live with their buddies now and, and not miss something. And that’s, that’s when you start to really know that people are connecting to, to, to something. So kudos to, to you Chris, and, and, and Danielle for what you’ve created.

Danielle, maybe let’s finish it off with you here. And then we can direct people to where, where they should go if they’re curious about Money Ripples and, and all the things. A person listening to this who’s now encouraged, who maybe they have a lot of one-on-one clients and they’re thinking like, maybe I can bring my one-on-one clients together.

Coach them through the objections that they have in their head right now that I don’t know if this is possible. What would you say to them right now to help them understand that? Yeah, it actually is, and maybe some first guiding steps for them.

Danielle Hollembaek: Like I said, I had a lot of doubts at first. Main thing for me was time, and I know as someone who is a coach, someone who’s a business owner, time is what really, you don’t have enough of ever. But Circle makes it so simple, so easy. They literally give you templates for how to build your community out. All you have to do is put your own content in there, which all of us have built out probably a Facebook group that has some content you can borrow from.

You already know community guidelines, if you’ve had any sort of community, anything before and you have videos, you know, everyone makes videos, so if you wanna post some videos in there, some welcomes. It’s super easy. It doesn’t have to be super high production. It’s just about getting it put together and getting it out there.

Because that was, for me, the biggest thing was all the content I’d have to write all the time building. That stressed me out. But no, once you get in there, you’ll see how easy it really is, and it’s not just you. One thing that I love about our community is it’s not just Chris posting in there. It’s not just me posting in there.

We have a community manager. We have our coach posting in there. Our community manager, Leah, she alone, has made this process a million gazillion times easier because she can just post for me. I write something up super fast, she makes it look pretty, puts an image on there, gets it out to the community.

Super easy. So if you have even one person helping you, this is so doable, so achievable, and it doesn’t have to be anything super high level, super high production. All people want is a place to talk, a place to be together, and a place where you know, they know that they can reach you, they can talk to your team, they can be a part of your company, so don’t overthink it. I have been known to overthink a lot of things, so don’t, don’t be me. Don’t overthink it. Once you get into it, you’ll be fine because Circle makes it so easy. And if you really, really, really do need help, I highly endorse Pat and Matt. They have been awesome.

Awesome, awesome, awesome. They are amazing.

Pat Flynn: Hey, thank you. I, I appreciate that. Thank you Danielle, so much, and Chris, and congrats to you and what you’ve built here and what you are building in your entire community. Who, who just lifts each other up. Where can people go to learn more about your brand and, and the community specifically as well, in case they wanna check it out?

Chris Miles: Yeah. The best way you can do this, you can always go to You know, and, and really just can get engaged there. We got a lot of content and things like that to help you figure out how to get engaged and how to, how to do that more. I even invited you to follow our YouTube channel. We have the Money Ripples YouTube channel.

We have the Money Ripples podcast channel as well where you can follow our stuff and, and really just. If anything, just get some great content. You know, who knows, maybe it’s something that’s a great fit for you too, that will help move your life along to that next phase that you’re looking for as well.

Pat Flynn: Love it. Chris. Thank you so much, Danielle. Thank you as well. And look forward to our next call that you, me, and Matt and the group will have together. But thank you again. This has been awesome.

Chris Miles: Such a pleasure. Thanks.

Danielle Hollembaek: Yeah, thank you.

Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoy that interview with Chris and Danielle and congratulations on the success of your community.

Matt and I are both so stoked that it is flourishing, it’s taking off, conversations are happening now. As Danielle said, it’s not as hard as you think, but it still requires a little bit of effort, a little bit of work, and I wouldn’t say that Matt and I are necessarily “for hire” for this thing.

This was experimental for us to see if we were able to help out, cuz we knew we had a lot of information and experience to help out, with SPI Pro having been built a couple years ago and now our All Access Pass, et cetera. This has been a, an incredible experiment and I’m so just so grateful to see this community over at Money Ripples continue to flourish and, and we do wanna help other people.

And the best way to help you right now is to actually for you to go to If you go to, you’ll be directed to the best place to get help. Now, that will change over time, which is why it’s community help, not community webinar or community training or community challenge.

At the time that this episode comes out, we’re actually in the middle of a community challenge. You’ve heard us talking about it quite a bit. If you are on our email list, you know that a challenge is happening right now. We also have a community course becoming available inside of our All Access Pass.

Coming to you soon, but best place to go to right now for you. If you wanna check out the best next steps for you is No spaces, no dashes, nothing. Go there now. We’re excited to help you out. I hope this was helpful. And again, check out Money Ripples.

Thank you to Chris. Thank you to Danielle, and thank you for listening all the way through. I appreciate it. If you wanna get all the links and resources mentioned here in this episode, Again, Thank you again. I appreciate you and I look forward to serving you in the next episode.

And remember,, if you’re ready to build your community in the best way, it’s not as hard as you think. Go check it out. Thank you.

Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media, and a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Catch you next week!

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