The excitement is overwhelming! The possibilities are endless! You know you want to join a particular program or membership and you know that it will 100% meet your needs. That is, if you can actually take advantage of it. You’re already overwhelmed as f*%$, can’t seem to make any more time for yourself or your needs, and literally have no idea how you’re going to make room for ONE MORE THING. Still, you are pulled by a deep knowing that something has to change, and you’ve found the program or membership that will help you with this change. But… how?
Day after day, my colleagues in the business consult/coaching space come up against the same kind of feedback from new members or potential clients of programs: “I don’t have the time and/or the bandwidth.”
Well, it’s also common in the coaching space to dismiss people who say this as “having an objection” that is supposed to be addressed with carefully crafted sales questions. Or a person who states they don’t have time is painted as “not ready” and passed over.
I think it’s a different issue. I think people aren’t sure how to engage in programs, because they are a relatively new thing in our field, or, the onboarding process is poorly laid out, or, there isn’t an onboarding process that tells people how to engage with the program or membership.
Because of this, I decided to write out the best way I’ve found to begin a new program or engage in a membership you’ve recently added to your life. As the founder/creator of both memberships and programs, I’ve learned that it’s less about someone being ready and more about people not having the tools and mindset to incorporate something new.
The Mindset Part
- Adjust your expectations of yourself. You will not get through all the content in the amount of time you think you will. Slow down, it’s okay! Especially if you’ve joined a membership, it will take a few months just to get the lay of the land an incorporate into the culture and resources. The people who create these things do not expect you to drop everything and focus soley on their offer (or at least they shouldn’t, in my opinion!). We know you have lives!
- Gird your loins for the firehose of information that will come your way. The programs and memberships that are worth their salt will have decently robust onboarding emails, calls to get set up, information pages on how to use the program or membership, etc. We who create such things know that you will be fire-hosed, and we also want you to rest in the fact that you can ALWAYS go back and reread emails, or log in to the members area, to learn about how to use the program or membership.
- Commit to adjusting your schedule in a real, tangible, and managable way. Trying to fit “one more thing in” will lead to overwhelm. Trying to “fit in 20 minutes in three times a week, when getting ready for the day” leads to success.
- Trust your gut. If any program or membership shames you for a lack of progress, or blames you for misunderstanding, that is a toxic environment. Your questions are valid, even if we creators know that we’ve already answered them somewhere. There is co-responsibility in all business relationships. You are responsible for taking advantage, creators are responsible for telling you how to do so.
- Don’t play the blame game. Again, there is co-responsibilty. It’s easier for everyone if you’re doing your due dilegence, within your capacity. We can’t be in control of your success, but we can be here to help facilitate it!
The Practical Part
- Create a bookmark folder on your bookmark bar in your browser. Add all the links you will need to be part of the program. Video conference links, FB pages, Mighty Network spaces, member dashboards, program dashboards, booking links for coaching, etc. Keep it all in one bookmark folder easy to get to.
- Look at your calendar and figure out the realistic amount of time you can give… even if it’s only 10 minutes a day, DO THAT.
- Schedule it like you would any other appointment, in your calendar, with a reminder. This is a new habit, give yourself the gift of reminders and appointments to help you!
- It will take some time for you to figure out what rhythm works best for you. You may be an “everyday for 10 minutes” kind of person, or a “three hours once a month” type person. There is no wrong way!
- Create a folder in your email client and label it to your program/membership. As soon as you see emails from said program, put them in the folder.
- If you’re super fancy, you can create an auto-filter that will boop it in there for you.
- Read onboard emails thoroughly. Please do NOT skim the emails – for the good of you! There is usually a TON of info in them.
- “Whitelist” the email address(es) that these emails come from, or add them to your address book, so they don’t go to spam or promo or some such nonsense.
- Ask for help! If you’re confused, lost, or feel like your missing some important info, ask the leaders of the program or membership. Chances are you just need to know what direction to be pointed in, and can take it from there.
- It can be helpful to us creators, too! You never know! We may have overlooked an important communication point and you’re helping us to discover a gap, a messed up website page, a missing piece of content, or some other thing that would be helpful to everyone.
- Again, bookmark or folder up any key information so that you know where it is for future reference!
- If you’ve joined a program or membership and there is no onboarding, this is probably because it is new and they are learning. Stick with them! If it’s been around awhile, you have a right to be concerned. Trust that gut of yours!
- Decide what the most important thing you want to get out of the program or membership is, and tackle that first.
- If it’s a membership with a library of goodies, like Sarah Whitten’s Aligned and Aware, or an online course like Shannon Coates’ Vocal Instrument 101, you’ll need to decide what is most valuable to you to learn first, search for that topic, and have at it. It’s okay to skip around.
- If it’s a time limited program like How to Run Your Voice Biz Without Hating Your Boss (link coming soon!), or Jessica Baldwin’s Clarify Your Artists Identity, or Sara Campbell’s Branding Bootcamp, you’ll have a schedule of tasks and classes, so make some decisions about what you want to come out of the program with and what you’ll allow to be “post program” work.
- If you’ve got a hybrid program, like Meredith Colby’s Neuro-Vocal Method Certification, you’ll have a little bit of both – make your 1:1 appointments early and get “listen to modules” time on the calendar.
- If it’s an ongoing community based membership, with ongoing content AND community aspects, like The SpeakEasy Cooperative, decide what you need to learn first, and if learning information is more important than application, or if application is more important than information. This will help you determine how you’ll spend your time – interacting with the community, watching and ingesting content, or a little bit of both.
What You Put in is What You Get Out – sweet freedom!
I think the biggest encouragement I can give to you is that it will never be the “right time” – kind of like getting married or having kids or a new puppy.
Waiting to “have time” doesn’t need to be a thing if you are graceful with yourself, and allow yourself to go slow, lurk a bit, and take your time.
Not only am I the creator of such things, but I am an active participant in many of these things, too! I’ve had to learn how to manage my own self-talk around “wasting money” or “having time” and give myself the slow and fluid environment to change the pace at which I absorb such spaces.
When I show up, these spaces show up for me. When I take a break, I am still encouraged and emboldened by lurking. There’s no finish line! I get to determine by outcomes.
We often hear “what you get in is what you get out” used as a way to chastise people for not showing up. And that can be true.
Still, I think it can also be freedom to us – that we get to determine our ebb and flow, our tasks and work, and our enjoyment of the programs and memberships we enjoy!
Facebook Live Monday!
I’m going to talk about this on Monday, January 24, at 9am pacific, over on the faithculturekiss FB page…. and I would love if you would join me.
I want to have a frank discussion on what to expect around programs and memberships, and how to get the most out of them… because they are ubiquitous, they all have pros and cons, and we creators really want them to work for you.
Take the leap, join a program or membership! They really can be an incredibly delightful way to learn new things!
All My BeastyBoss,
P.S. We’ve had a wonderful crop of #freshveggies over in The SpeakEasy Cooperative in the last few weeks. If you are one of our new members, we’ve got you covered with onboarding. You’ll get your eight email Welcome Wagon sequence, your complimentary meeting with our Community Manager and Advocate Christin to learn how to use SECO, and we even have a robust members dashboard that will get you allllll the goodies, like the event calendar, the member profiles area, and the training library – over 100 videos for you! Just ask us if you haven’t found something that you need!