Membership Geeks

Experimenting by Closing the Doors to her Membership with Varvara Lyalyagina

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Varvara Lyalyagina from Start Blog Up joins Callie for this episode of Behind the Membership to talk all about her membership for Russian speaking entrepreneurs, The Studio.

In this episode Varvara's talking about how she is succeeding with her membership despite it being for a market not as familiar with the membership model, and why she has decided, after a year of being open all the time, to experiment with moving from an always open model to closing the doors and only letting new members in at certain times.

Varvara also talks about the emotional challenges of running a membership and learning not to take cancellations personally, the power of members promoting your membership for you, and how adding a personal touch with things like video and gifts is aiding her retention. And Varvara also shares her strategy for running online parties to both engage existing members and attract new ones, plus more!

“I made the decision to experiment and to close the doors because I participated, for example, as a speaker at some events and people came to me and they were saying, “Oh, you know what? I know about your membership. I'm thinking about joining.” And there were so many good people and I knew that it would help them, but they really needed this incentive to join. They needed this push. After closing the doors now I have people who thanked me for closing the doors and for making this decision for them basically. So I'm experimenting, I will see how it goes to the end of this year…

Listen in to hear about:

  • How Varvara came to start her membership for Russian creative entrepreneurs after initially looking for a coach
  • The benefits of focusing solely on the Russian speaking market despite it being less familiar with memberships
  • How the membership now provides 70% of Varvara's income
  • The struggle of balancing creating membership content with public content and promotion
  • Why Varvara is experimenting with moving from being open all the time to running limited launches instead
  • Learning not to take cancellations personally and the challenge of embracing a membership mindset
  • How showing what the membership includes, and getting other members to talk about it, boosts sales
  • Celebrating with online parties to promote the membership – balloons, cake, dancing and all!
  • Improving engagement and retention with personal videos, gifts and more
  • And much more!

Connect with Varvara:


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