Interview of a Financial Coach and Membership Owner

Interview of Membership Owner Liz Sowers

In this episode I interview Liz Sowers, a hairstylist who became a financial coach for women and the creator of two online membership programs. She used what she learned in Stu McLaren’s The Membership Experience (formerly known as Tribe) to create her membership programs and to gear up for her upcoming course launch.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • How Liz made the transition from hairstylist to financial coach
  • How Liz started one membership and ended up with another
  • How the lessons we learned in The Membership Experience (formerly known as Tribe) apply to launching everything from digital courses, ebooks, and other products as well as memberships
  • How her membership program complements her one-on-one coaching practice and her courses.
  • How a membership allows her to serve more of her community

Links mentioned in this episode:

The Membership Experience Guide:

Liz Sowers Website:

Liz Sowers Instagram: @themoneystylist

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Transcript of the Interview of Liz Sowers:

Welcome to the Candace Duff Show where Candace Duff – coach, author, entrepreneur, and so much more brings you advice, interviews, inspiration, and education to help you write that book, achieve that goal, and live the life you were meant to live.

Today’s episode is sponsored by The Membership Experience by Stu McLaren (formerly known as Tribe) – the quintessential course for learning how to create membership programs. 

If you want to learn how to launch a successful and profitable membership site, then go ahead and get this free guide given to us by Stu McLaren here:

Welcome to the Candace Duff Show. This is your host Candace Duff and I'm so glad that you're here to join us today. I have somebody very special – a fellow tribal alum (which is now going to be called The Membership Experience) and her name is Liz Sowers. Welcome, welcome Liz.

Liz: Hi, thank you for having me, Candace.

Candace: Thank you for coming on the show. So Liz, I know you and I are fellow Tribe alumnae. When did you first hear about Stu McLaren?

Liz: So I first heard about Stu back in 2017. I started following him on social media and then finally took the dive and registered for Tribe in the spring of 2018.

Candace: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Liz: Yeah. So, my name is Liz and I am a former hairstylist. Although we never get away from it, right? When you have a trade, like you're always doing that trade. So, I still actively do hair. But I worked in the beauty field for well over a decade and when the pandemic hit, I pivoted a little bit because a lot of things changed in our industry, and I have a little one that has an auto-immune issue. And so, you know, there are lots of things happening at one time. So. I pivoted and fell back on my finance degree and started coaching women that I used to help behind the chair with their beauty needs.

I started coaching them on their money and then it just kind of flourished from there. And then that's what I do now today – it's a couple of years later. So. that is me in a nutshell.

Candace: So that makes you a finance coach, basically.

Liz: Yes, I am a financial coach that specifically works with women.

Candace: It's funny because I also specifically work with women. I'm a book coach and I work with women. And I love doing that because we need to stick together and all the help that we can give each other.

Why The Membership Experience (f/k/a Tribe) is an Amazing Program

Candace: So,  . . .  how did you end up joining Tribe?  

Liz: Sure. So, I had actually taken Tribe prior to the pandemic. I took Tribe in the spring of 2018 and right after taking it, I went to Tribe Live that summer, and it was an amazing experience. If anyone here is listening, Tribe Live is amazing.  You’ve got to do it. I think they still do it now that everything is kind of switching gears with the pandemic and we're kind of coming out of things. But it was an amazing experience. I would do it over again in a heartbeat.

So initially after going to Tribe in 2018, I started a beauty membership that I had some clients go through. Then I got pregnant and when you just start making a family, things change. So, I fell back upon the membership idea when I pivoted in 2020 to financial coaching.

And it was just a way of being able to serve more people than just a one-on-one coaching aspect would allow me to serve. So that's the beauty of a membership is that you can serve the masses without feeling overstretched or like your plate is too super full.

Candace: I started in 2018, too and when I first went through Tribe, I didn't actually start a membership right away. I learned a ton of marketing ideas through based on the training that we got during Tribe. Why don't you describe for us some of the training and some of the things that you enjoyed about the course and the experience.

Liz: Sure. So, the course itself is amazing. Like just separate from Tribe Live, just taking the course is amazing.  There’s so much in there. And I love how Stu brings in so many experts in different fields so you get to learn from more than one person. That's huge in my opinion. That's huge.

So, yeah, you're right. He teaches you a lot about marketing, about launching things in general. So you could apply this to more than just a membership. Like if you’re someone who creates digital courses and digital products like eBooks and the like – if you wanted to launch something like that.

There's things that you could take from Tribe’s lessons in order to learn how to launch things. And it's just Stu – Stu’s energy. I think the thing that I want everyone to get is it's not just a regular course. Like his energy is insane. He is so passionate about what he does and about teaching what he does and the way he does.

It's just, it's contagious, which is why after I went to Tribe Live, I came home and my husband was like, what happened to you? I was just on. Yeah, I was just on fire with ideas and immediately I was like, I’ve got to start a membership.  It didn’t end up being what I'm doing today -the same membership idea –  but still nonetheless, it just goes to show that when you're around people who are passionate about what they're doing and what they're teaching, it just becomes, it becomes like a wildfire. There's so much that Stu has to offer and he brings in so many people to teach you different things that maybe aren't in his wheelhouse, but he knows so many people that he can bring them into his circle.

So, yeah, there's, I don't know if that was specific enough, but there are lots of things and you don't just have to apply it to a membership, but if you are thinking about a membership, this is the only training I would suggest in my opinion. You will learn all the things, all the things. Yes. I definitely agree with that.

Candace: I mean, if you're going to do a membership, this is definitely the way to go. So, it helped you to start your first membership?

Liz: Yes, absolutely.

Candace: Did you do it like while you were doing the course or right after, or how did that work out?

Liz: So of course, as I was taking the course in April and I was listening to all of the lessons, my wheels started spinning and I got ideas. And then I decided after taking the actual course to go ahead and go that summer to Tribe Live. And then as soon as I was at Tribe Live, I was like, I know I have to do this. And that's when I started formulating what membership I was going to create.

Candace: So when you started your second – the membership you currently have now – did you take a refresher course?

Liz: The version of Tribe that you get when you go through Tribe, that version is always available to you. So, I actually ended up refreshing by going back through it one more time and just reminding myself of all the things and all the wealth of knowledge that Stu has to offer.

But yes, I did have to, because, you know, there was some time that passed between those two memberships that I have, and I needed a refresher course. But it's nice that once you purchase, that's always there available to you for a lifetime.

Candace: I agree. Definitely. Now I remember something that's Stu did during the course.  He did these things called 10 in 10’s where he answered questions in supposedly 10 minutes, but they always lasted longer. I mean, I just love him because he gives so much. What did you think about those? What did you think about the coaching sessions during Tribe and other aspects of the course?

Liz: I thought they were, I felt they were absolutely like, like you said, he just keeps giving. He over gives in my opinion. I think it's amazing.

So, you definitely get your money's worth because like you said, you get the 10 in 10’s. There are so many coaching aspects as part of the program and yeah, I agree. You expect it to be like a, like a 10 minute thing and it never was. Because he's wordy and that's okay with me. Like, I'll sit there all day and listen to him because he's so passionate about what he does.

Even without the live aspect it’s pretty amazing and worth it for sure, because it’s like five or six years later and I'm still using the program.

Candace: And I think that's because Stu teaches you marketing skills, organizational skills, membership building skills, and things that you can use no matter when you're using it.

Liz: Yeah. And I think that was the thing I loved most about it Candace. Because I'm a little bit of a perfectionist at heart. So just the fact that he does a lot of timeline work and like lays it out for you and has you understand like what a launch consists of when you are launching something. And he makes it so easy to understand and organize your stuff when you're applying it to what you're doing. I love that aspect of it as someone who is like really type A, that was, that was key for me, for sure.

Candace: For me too because he takes you step by step by step and I’m launching my own membership next month. So I've been following the course that I bought, you know, and actually got the refresher in 2021.  But I've had it since 2018 and I went through the 2018 version and started putting together my success path and all that stuff that he talks about in the materials to start my membership.

Liz: And I love that he takes you step by step by step. You don't have to feel lost. You don't have to wonder where you're going. You don't have to wonder how to do this.

But the tools inside of the course that you've taken through him – the tools that will help you write out your prelaunch emails and your launch emails, all of the copy that's in there.

Candace: Those are the amazing templates, email templates, and all those tools.

Liz: Yes. So amazing. Like I said, in and of itself, that would be worth what we paid for the course, just not having to write copy and think about all that.  The templates and you know, the dates and how that works out.

How Creating a Membership Program Helps You Serve Your Audience

Candace: It's just amazing how he lays it out. It really has it all. All right. So, tell us about your membership when you first started it. What was your membership about?

Liz: Sure. So, the current membership I have now is not the very first one I started. The current one I have now, it's called the Wealth Journey Inner Circle.

And so, like I said, I'm a financial coach and initially I just opened this. In May, it'll be a year. I was looking at that. It'll be a year in May that I've had it open and running. I launched it to a very small group of followers because I was just barely starting out as a coach. And, you know, you have your circle and you launch it to the people that you know.

And so, my retention has been pretty good. I've only had one fall off in this whole time, so that's not too terrible. But you know, the group that started small, there was only six of us to start with. And I was okay with that because honestly, you know, at first you want to feel like, you know what you're doing. You want to feel comfortable with everything.

And so, I have my founding members that are there, Now, I'm pivoting a little bit to how I drive people in there. So, as Stu talks about in the course, he talks about an open membership versus a closed membership. And a lot of people find success in the closed, the closed style of membership.

So, that's kind of what I have with mine. I decided to keep it closed and only launch so many times a year. And he goes into how to do that and how to strategize that too. But I, I’m now finding that, as I coach people through my one-on-one coaching, I like to have that membership as an accountability factor.

So it kind of gives them a place after we've coached for six months together that they can still go for accountability for support. For extended knowledge on the financial coaching that I do. So, it's just kind of been a beautiful transition into that. It wasn't how I intended it when I started it. I thought I could just serve more people by having a membership, but then I found a lot of people with financial coaching need a lot of one-on-one.

Which I'm here for that. But then I was finding afterwards, they were like, well, now what do we do? Like, what can we do if, if we don't need one-on-one, but we still need you, what do we do? And I was like, oh, this is perfect. So, the membership allows for that extended accountability and it's affordable for them.

And time-wise it saves me because I'm able to serve all these people still. So yeah, it's, it's been really kind of a beautiful accident that it happened like that- that I realized it was something I could do. And I'm launching a course in May – my first course and I'm intending to push people into that membership after the course too so they have that longevity and accountability and the coaching.

Candace: So I'm over here nodding really hard because, as a book coach, you know, people don't always finish their books. I mean, a lot of people do finish their books, but then they want to market their books afterwards.

They want to relaunch, they want to do another book, or whatever the case may be. So, after the six months or the year or whatever it is of coaching that they have, they always want to stick with the community, which is one of the main reasons why people join memberships, for that accountability, for that support and just for that sense of community.  They always ask what's next.

So, you know, most coaches and most course creators don't realize that a membership is a really useful thing to have available to your members. The other thing is not everybody can afford one-on-one. There are so many people out there who need financial help who want to learn how to write books that may not be able to afford us one-on-one or even at the group rates and may prefer to be in a membership program to get, you know, some support.

Liz: Yeah, absolutely. And that, that is – the nice thing is a membership is just so it's flexible in the sense that like you are able to use it, to serve your community in whichever way you can. Like you said, if someone can't afford it, there's always that option. You might not put it out there.

It might be a way to funnel people for accountability after coaching, but that's always there in case you do meet someone that isn't ready for coaching, but would like some other options. So, it helps you have options when you go to serve the people that you serve. For sure.

Candace: Because we serve them for a reason. Right? We really want to help.

Liz: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Candace: So you initially did a founder’s launch, as Stu calls it, where you go to your existing email list or your existing people and offer them maybe a discounted price or something to join, and then you open it up to the public later.

Liz: Yes.

Candace: So have you done launches after that?  I mean, do you still have the six people?

Liz: I still have my founding members in there and I have, I have put, I have done a couple of people in one-on-one coaching, because it is quite expensive and I funneled them into there as well.  Some of them have left since. I am planning after my launch of my course in May.

So, at the end of May, when that is over into June, I plan on going ahead and opening it at that time to those people that went through the course, but also to the general public. And so, this will be the first time, technically, that I have had it open since I launched it a year ago, because there are a lot of reasons.  I had a lot of balls in the air.

Candace: And it will have only been a year. I mean, you get a membership for a year. It makes sense.

Liz: Yes. And you know, when he goes through that part of the training where he talks about like, how many times should you open or launch during the year? Like there's like soft launches and, and, um, things that you can do.

I just in this, over this last year, I've just done so much transitioning and trying to figure out, like, what does my business look like? How do I want to serve? That I just didn't want to add that to it. But now I feel comfortable having written the course and knowing what I intend for the membership.

Now, I feel comfortable having launches. And I plan on opening to the public about three times a year from here on out. So starting in May being the, being the first cycle of that for me.

Candace: Okay. Yeah. And what platform did you put your membership on? Is it in Kajabi?

Liz: So, that's been part of the issue too, because Candace, I am not a technology person.

Like I am not tech savvy. I like get hives. I don't, it's not my thing. I want to just teach people about their money. I don't want it. I don't want to do the tech part, but, as an entrepreneur, a lot of times you have to wear a lot of hats. So, I'm learning. Last year when I first launched everything, I was following, I had met Nicole Walters.

I don't know if you know who that is.

Candace: Yes.

Liz: So we, I met her at Tribe Live and then I've followed her ever since. And I had taken a course from her and she suggested Samcart, and it was kind of new, it's a newer platform. So, I've been using them and I, I love it. They've started having a place where you can house courses and stuff like that.

So I have my membership in there. Currently I don't plan on changing it, although I have seen Kajabi and how pretty it is, but I don't know. I can't speak from the tech aspect. Like if it's user-friendly or not, I just do know as a user, like it's pretty and it looks nice and it looks organized.

What do you use? What are you planning on using when you launch?

Candace: I'm not sure, but it's, I think Stuart came out with a new membership site – Searchie – which is a search program. But apparently it's going to be a full blown membership platform. I didn't realize that. If it allows you to search or allows people to be able to search through your membership for the things that they're looking for, I think that would be a huge leg up on, what we've had before. If I don't do that, I may put it on ClickFunnels as I'm already on there. I've used Samcart. I didn't really know it really viable for memberships.

Liz: No. It's okay. Yes. Now they, it’s a new thing I think they added like six months ago where they have like a course aspect too.

Candace: So, yeah. And I'm already on Teachable for my courses. If push came to shove, I would put the membership on ClickFunnels if I didn't move over to Stu’s new membership platform, which I don't know why I wouldn't.

Liz: So I'm pretty sure I have to look at that. Definitely. I did not realize that was the thing that was happening.

Candace: Yeah. I don't know if it's open yet or whatever the case would be, but I remember him announcing it in connection with his upcoming course and by the way, he's renamed Tribe to The Membership Experience.

Liz: Okay. So I had kind of heard a rumor on that, but I wasn't sure if that was true, so. Okay. Yeah.

Candace: Apparently some people had issues with the name Tribe.

Liz: I have no idea, but I've heard that too.

Candace: Yeah. Yeah. You know, I mean, people have issues about everything. All right. So I love the fact that you have a membership about finances for women. 0I know it's a big thing, especially for me, because I'm not necessarily on top of my finances the way I need to be. And I know I'm not the only woman to ever say that on the face of the Earth or person for that matter, you know?

Liz:  Yeah, definitely.

Candace: Interesting. All right. So where can we find you?

Liz: So I am mostly on Instagram. I have a Facebook page, but I'm mostly on Instagram. I'm a creative person. So I love that visual aspect of Instagram. So you can find me @themoneystylist. That's what I go by The Money Stylist. Because I used to do hair now I spend all your money. So @themoneystylist on Instagram and I have a website, it also, it's my name”

And you can find me either place. If you're on my website, I do have a freebie that you can get right at the top of the page. I have a free – it's like a quick lesson, a video lesson on my five minute budgeting method because I, in my coaching, I like to make everything simple and sustainable. And so I try to break everything down to be quick and easy.

And so that's just a quick lesson that I do about how to keep your budgeting very simple. And within five minutes every month,

Candace: All right. And then I also heard a rumor that you're coming out with a course pretty soon. You mentioned that.

Liz: Yes. Yes. So I have a course it's called Smart Spending and it's going to launch at the end of April. I'm opening it up.  It will be a five week course that I do live with everyone who's part of it. Then, like you heard me say on here too, afterwards, you'll have an option for extended accountability in the membership group. Yeah. So I'm very excited about that. It talks all about aligning your spending with your values and your goals in life, which is another aspect of coaching that, that I think is something that I do differently than most people.

I talk a lot about alignment with our money, so that is different. I haven't heard that before.

Candace: All right. Well, it's been a pleasure, Liz. Thank you so much for coming on with me. And I really appreciate that.

Liz: Thank you, Candace.