Behind The Membership: Baking For Business
Who doesn’t love a little bit of baking every now and again?
There’s nothing quite like sinking your teeth into a sweet piece of sponge cake or baking cookies for the entire family.
But what does it take to build and grow a baking business that stands out?
Amanda Schonberg is a chef, award winning baker and marketing enthusiast who is passionate about helping bakers to create a profitable and successful business.
She's even built an entire Entrepreneur Community for baking enthusiasts who want to build a brand they can be proud of.
Like most things in life, launching and running a membership site hasn’t always been plain sailing for Amanda.
We got the opportunity to catch up with her and hear about the ins and outs of her journey to building her membership to the success it has become today.
Keep reading to find out more about Amanda’s delicious Entrepreneur Community and how she has helped fellow food entrepreneurs become the go-to baker in their communities…
Can you tell us a little bit about what the Entrepreneur Community membership actually is?
The Entrepreneur Community is a monthly membership for bakers, cakers and food entrepreneurs and what it does is focus on the business side of things.
As creatives, many of us spend all our time in the kitchen making dough…
But we don't necessarily focus on the business side of things that can help us make our dough.
And that’s what the Entrepreneur Community is all about.
It gives members the tools, education, and resources they need to operate a thriving baking or food entrepreneur business.
What do you provide members with every month as part of that?
I provide what I like to call the four Cs:
In the community, we have a private group where members can dive in and ask questions every day.
I have a policy – my head doesn't hit the pillow until all questions are answered.
The next one is classes. Every month, we create a masterclasses that covers a particular topic.
In the past we've invited some amazing six-figure and seven-figure industry experts to come in and give classes.
We've had representatives from Yelp come in to teach classes, Pinterest experts, and different people that can help us thrive in those areas.
The next ‘big C’ is captions. A lot of food entrepreneurs make something beautiful but then struggle to share it on social media effectively.
We provide them with monthly social media captions so that they can have conversations with potential and existing customers and better market their products.
And then lastly is coaching. Every single month, we have a coaching call where we go over our sales, wins, and victories.
Is the membership open all the time or do you run launched throughout the year?
So the first year I had it, it was closed…
But moving forward I've decided to switch to the open enrolment model.
Have you previously had a membership?
I launched this membership just over a year ago, but I have had one before.
I’ve been teaching within the membership framework for about five years and when I first initially started my first membership, I had a business partner.
We had that membership for about four years before ending our partnership.
However, I knew that this was how I wanted to teach.
Naturally, I am a coach and class person and I believe in paying for things with money instead of time.
So, the minute my previous membership ended, I was like, “Okay, I want a better membership, a different membership. How am I going to make this thing just take off?”
Then, I found you guys, and I decided to launch the membership I have now.
Is it still the same audience as before?
Yeah, it's still the same audience…
But what I've found with this membership, is that it’s global.
That was something I'd never had in the past. We only had local people based in the US.
Now, with everything I've learned, I have students in nine different countries – and I'm so grateful for that.
So it's the same audience but on a wider scale.
Did you find it difficult making that transition to a new membership, especially in terms of your audience?
My old business partner actually got to keep the membership.
So they still operate it, but parting ways like that is almost like a divorce…
So people made the choice whether to go with mom or dad.
I'm really blessed as some of my students have been with me personally for a long time.
I always tell my students – whatever you choose is your choice.
I believe that as creatives, we can't run a business successfully if we don't have that business background pushing us, so I was okay with whatever they chose.
But I kept a lot of my favorite members, so I'm happy with that.
Going back to five years ago, what inspired you to move into a membership model?
I used to teach on Periscope. I would be on the app watching and would sometimes see other bakers doing demos.
I started out by giving them tips, then eventually started going live myself.
When I first went live, there was another young lady who was always on at the same time as me.
Since we knew we had the same audience and didn’t want people to have to choose who to watch, we formed a natural alliance.
We had never met in person, only online, but that’s where it all started…
We kicked off our business which was amazing, and the experience taught me so much.
It was an amazing four years where I got to show up and serve people in my community.
What makes having a membership worthwhile?
It’s definitely my students.
I’ve always put people over profits.
Even though I’m running a membership and I do charge a fee, it’s my members’ triumphs and breakthroughs that keep me going.
What are some valuable lessons you and your members have picked up?
Each time I get testimonials, it’s amazing to see.
But I also value sudden “aha” moments from my members because there’s a lot to be learned there.
Sometimes as content creators and business owners, we tend to focus on certain ideologies and get into habits….
But that’s when I feel it’s time to teach something else.
With a lot of my students, they focus on lead generation.
They think that making something and posting it on Instagram is as far as they should go.
So, I encourage them to go out to the local community and get listed on directory sites, which helps them generate leads and more interest in their business.
It’s scary for most of them, but once they put that advice into action, it always pays off.
That’s what gives me the drive to just keep going.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge for you starting your membership?
The biggest challenge for me was honestly was just stepping out in faith.
Sometimes I've thought “Gosh I have start all over again, is this worth it?” and have wondered if the past five years have been a loss…
But having faith helped me go for it, and once I did it was amazing.
I was very aware that if it failed or succeeded it was all on me – And it succeeded.
I'm grateful that I had that faith.
What's working well for you marketing to attract new members?
So basically showing up and being authentic with my audience.
My focus is on helping – I share tips and answer questions – and these I find are the biggest things that attracts new people.
Once you give people a little bit of help they want to learn more – to see what's behind the doors.
In terms of content I generally go live on social media weekly, release a tip on YouTube regularly and am planning on starting a podcast this year.
Once you attract your members, what do you do to get them to stick around month after month?
I think members stay because they see other members win.
I have a no question unanswered policy and people seem to really appreciate that.
I also put people on a roadmap, so they have a very clear starting point.
There's a lot of content inside the membership and I don't want to overwhelm them so I focus on a success path that helps them learn from the ground up.
And then after that it's all about the community – we host monthly giveaways, shout out members during coaching calls and so on.
I'm blessed because retention is amazing.
Roughly how much time do you spend on your membership each week?
I'd say anywhere between three and five hours.
I use Thinkific for the classes and have a small but mighty team to help me.
I have a group moderator who is a teacher in the industry and an Assistant who is also our Community Manager.
I also outsource the creation of social media captions that we give to our members each month.
I don't know if it's because I've been doing it for so long, but it really doesn't take up a huge amount of my time.
What one tip would you give to anyone thinking about starting a membership?
I’d definitely recommend joining the Membership Academy because you need accountability and direction.
Also, make sure you put systems and automations in place and remember that you don’t have to do it alone.
Finally, just go for it.
Don’t be afraid, just believe in yourself and keep serving your audience.
When you serve your audience first, they naturally look to you for more information.
That’s a gift that keeps on giving.
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