The Community Strategy Podcast: The nexus where online community strategy meets intentionality

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Episode 42: Find Calm building a wellness community with Dr. Jody Stanislaw

by Deb Schell
July 11th 2021

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Thank you naturopathic doctor. And she's lived with Type one diabetes since the age of seven. She works with Type one diabetics online through her consulting practice teaching life changing skills to manage Type one and offers a premium program as well as online courses in her membership community on the Money network. Um during the covid 19 pandemic she decided to make inspiring facebook live videos every day to share optimism and tips for how people can cope with their Type one and stay healthy and positive in these challenging times debate. She's had over 100 and 50 live videos since March 2020 and those videos have reached thousands of people allowing them to learn how to learn about others who have Type one and know that they're not alone with the growth of her social media following and the success of her ted X talks sugar is not a trait which has over two million views. She was moved to create a membership community to bring together those who are challenged with the type one diabetes in a safe online space.

Welcome jodi to the fine, come here podcast. Thanks for being here. All right, thanks Deb yeah, I'm so glad to have you. Um I'd like to like share a little bit more in depth about what the journey was there too, you know, comment coming to the concept that you would like to have an online community. What was that process for you like? Well, I've done private calls with clients around the world now for Almost 10 years and once I started doing daily Facebook lives to inspire people to get through covid, I was getting an incredible um reach and feedback and people are loving my videos and people are getting such great results from my little tips I was sharing and I was like, well I need to monetize this and maybe I don't need to do these big Investment, you know, private three months programs and maybe I just, you know, do one training video a week for thousands of people and then I can reach more people and, and not have to keep repeating myself every day To five different people every day.

Right? So um, once I saw the effect of just five minute videos every day, that's when I started seeking out a platform for a membership program, How did you come across the money networks? I actually am friends with somebody who's friends with Gina Bianchini. So my girlfriend was like, oh my friend Gina organized this thing, so you should check it out. So I was going to head towards the car hobby route because I'd always heard of Punjabi and um, then I liked kind of the unique features of mighty networks and Punjabi always felt like kind of like this big, expensive animal that I didn't want to kind of have to learn how to tame. So affordability and flexibility and maybe functionality are the reasons. And then you also knew somebody who recommended it. So that, that sounds sounds really great. Um, when did you open up your or rented from the, from the decision of that you wanted to go with the money networks? How long was it between that and when you actually opened the doors? Oh, um gosh, a long time.

I mean I've been thinking about a membership program. Um, you know, it's kind of hard, it's like things evolve and I don't know when the first seed of like I should do a membership program, the seed of like, you know what I really should stop doing just nothing but private and I should make online courses. That was the first idea is like, you know what, I'm just gonna make online courses because then I get my content out there in a package that people can buy and that was definitely, oh Gosh, I made a whole bunch of courses and then I was like, wait a minute I should build a community around these courses. So that was probably like 2019, something like that. Um and then I talked about, I did um, what's his name? I did like this three month program in early mid 2019 About how to build a membership program Or I know that would be 20 20 it's called tribe. Um I don't know if you've heard of him, but anyways, I thought about it forever and then I didn't finally launch it until I hired somebody because I'm a one man show, I run everything by myself and I'm a doctor and I'm taking to patients and then I have to write my emails and I run the credit cards and then I manage my calendar and and I was thinking, oh my gosh, I do not have the bandwidth to also now create a membership program, but so I went on up work and I was like, I need a project manager, I need an assistant, I need somebody that I can bounce ideas off of.

So I hired this woman in Bulgaria for 40 bucks an hour, who I was like I love her and she started making an outline for me last early Or late last year, like November December of 2020 and she goes okay well we're going to launch in january, I'm like okay okay I guess we're doing this and So I now have 50 paid members at $47 a month. Um and then 200 free members um in my mind the network. Okay so basically um About a year ago you were looking at doing it and doing the money network is what you wanted to do and then you ended up hiring somebody to kind of like get that fire going to to start it, basically start the kindling there and and opening it up then um in the beginning of this year. And so um beginning of 2021 is what you're saying. Yeah, yeah I've had an open out just for five months, yep. Yeah so the first five months of um of opening, how has it been as far as you said, 50 members um paid. That's great.

Um And and how how is that going? And is there a conversion that you're doing with the um you're bringing people in for free and then you're inviting them into courses, how is that working for your community? Well I'm kind of frustrated. I think I'm thinking about taking it down the free portion because I think people think they're going to get a whole bunch of value in the free and I'm like no you're not gonna get value in the free. All the free is just the activity feed. Um The paid members get a live training video from me every month and I'm really passionate about helping people get training like and my I have I don't have much activity on the the home activity feed. Like I don't know, I need help with figuring out how to get that going because people aren't posting in there. I mean some people are But maybe like one Max 2 a week, which obviously is not enough. Um and I post like every day is share your wins friday and every Wednesday is um you know it's a pole and so I have some automated stuff going in there, but You know with 200 people in the free, you know, I don't know if they have turned their notifications off, I don't know if they even remember that they signed up as a free member.

You know, I've been doing like I had a I signed up, I had a free webinar for them to Join and I had like one person join. So I'm thinking about just not giving people the free option because if they're anxious or eager enough to want to be a part of my program and they're going to the landing page and they're opening up their account. I think I want to just eliminate the free part because once I get them in it seems like I lose them. So if they are eager enough to go to the landing page and sign up for something, I think I want the only option to be my paid because the free members aren't getting anything, they're not doing anything. I don't see the point of them being there. At first. I was thinking, well it's the first step into the funnel and then the next step is to get them to upgrade. But my ability to upgrade Them has been like zero. Thank you for sharing the vulnerability there and honesty and um, that's a challenge that a lot of money on our coasts have that I work with all the time. Um Are you the person that you hired as she continued on as a community manager or is helping you in that role of support?

Um No, she doesn't go into the mighty network and comment at all only I do. Okay. So it's, it's a great um awareness that you just found of like this isn't really working and I think you just showed how much value like you're already giving so much to these paid people that it makes sense to maybe re restructure at this time. Maybe there's like a restructuring that, that you're kind of thinking about. Um I think for a lot of money network hosts, they feel like um they want to have that free space to like get them in but then it also has another step involved and so for a user experience um you know, it doesn't, it doesn't really lead to a really clean user experience when you're, when you're asking them to kind of like jump here and jump there. So it's, it depends on like your strategy. So sometimes that works for some people and sometimes it it just doesn't and so you have to like try it out, see if it's gonna work and you did. Um So that's kind of cool that um you're kind of recognizing that now but um that you're like open to like, okay, well the next thing.

Yeah, because I think that's part of being a money network host um and being a community leader is just seeing what works navigating through the road and seeing what works. And so you have some people that are, are you having any live calls for the free people? No, for the page space. Like what did the page space people get? We get a live call every week. Okay, so they get a weekly live call with you so they can like, it's like, it's like a coaching call. Um I am training them how to dose insulin better. Yeah, I am, I'm a physician and so I helped them and I also have type one diabetes myself. So I am um and there's a whole toolbox of tools that type ones need to be able to grasp to know how to manage their blood sugar levels properly. So I always tell everybody, you know, I suggest a minimum of six months of membership for you to get the full toolbox of tools. And my analogy is like you can't learn japanese in an hour. It's a whole set of things that we need to learn together. And so um I have a different topic every month and um the first call of the month is more concentrated training and then the other three calls are more application in Q.

And A. Like okay so you what did you learn in the first call and how did you apply it? And what are your questions? Yeah. That's great. That's a great philosophy, the content calendar that you have set up sounds like with the monthly themes and then you're using the monthly themes to create your maybe your prompting questions and maybe a pole or something like that in there I'm guessing. Um No I just um I just the first monday of the month I teach the new topic and then each week we discuss the topic I bring out more pieces of that topic that they need to learn and then I leave time for Q. And A. But I don't really do if they have questions they can post it in the activity feed and then I have um I added a topic question for live Q. And A. So it's like they can't make the call live, they put it in the activity feed, they tag it as a question for live Q. And A. And then I'll screen those and answer them during the live call. But I don't I don't, so that's how I collect their questions.

Yeah. That's a great way to do it. That your kind of crowd sourcing before the call, then you're like, you know those are the calls that you're like pointing out, what are the questions that you're answering? Yeah. And some weeks nobody posts any questions and some people and some they do like that doesn't, that's just one way um you know, I was hoping that the um than the people that you know there's that core group of people that are on every single live and they never Missed one. And of the 50 people that are paid members, There's still probably 30 people I've never met that, I've never seen online and I'm kind of like, Do you guys know you're getting charged $47 a month? Are you watching like I know you can look at how many you can look into your members list and see how active they've been and a lot of them haven't been active and I'm like, Which makes me sad because I really want to get what I teach out to people, but it's I mean, even though I'm quote happy that I have 50 people, it doesn't seem, there's I think the max I've ever had on a live call is perhaps 15, maybe 20.

And so there's 30 plus people that I don't even know if they're doing anything, you know? And so yeah, I'm getting paid, but I'm not, that's one goal I have, but the second goal is actually to really teach people and engage them. So I, you know, how much longer are they gonna keep paying if they're not watching anything? I don't know, are they going to start watching something, you know? So that's a bit frustrating. That's a good point to look at the people who are showing up like the you have a really great success rate with a certain group of people, like people that you said just keep showing up and maybe asking them during the call, like why are you showing up all the time? Like how is this helpful? Because that's the other question I was gonna ask you, like, what are your members really loving about your space right now? Like what is there favorite part of whether it's a function of the money networks or it's just something that you offer in a feature that in your community. Um Well I feel like I'm pretty confidently answered that managing blood sugar levels is an overwhelming task that most people don't know how to do well. So I have Type one myself which immediately gives an immense amount of credibility to them.

They love that I understand their struggles and what they go through every day. Since I go through them every day. And I'm teaching them strategies to how to have more stable blood sugar levels. And they are like, oh my gosh, this is so helpful. I am feeling so much better. And type one diabetes can be a really lonely condition where no matter how many people that you're surrounded by, love you and want to help you, they don't know what it's like. You know, nobody knows how it's what it's like to be a type one unless you have type one. And so they love logging in once a week and being like, oh my gosh, here's a whole family of people that get me, I love this. Like I love it. And people say like, hey my my husband and my wife and my kids love me. But they didn't get it. You know? And so they love the community. And then the third benefit is the motivation. It takes a lot of motivation to continue to take care of your blood sugar levels on a daily basis. So they're either learning something new there. Either feeling motivated to stay on task and they just love the community. Mm hmm. Do they connect with each other? Are you seeing like that They're like connecting with each other and they're relating Since you're saying about this whole idea of um just feeling like this is their tribe because they can all relate to each other.

Yeah. And I see them occasionally chit chat on the mining network platform, but not much. But I really know that they know each other now online and everybody knows Paula, everybody knows steve, everybody knows Lorna right? I've got Lorna in Scotland and I've got you know ruth and new Zealand and everybody's like how's steve doing in new york? And you know, they definitely have have I think they've created a kinship, you know, because they're getting to know each other. Yeah, it's funny, I just had a podcast interview with the community. I have been in location Indian. It's all about travel and so like we kind of all, we're all trying to leave our 9-5 jobs and become location independent, which is the group and so like you relate to somebody as soon as you get in there because they're kind of like get your struggle. So um And I have two friends With Type one but I I could never understand what they're going through. So I feel like a community for those from my friends who are, who are struggling with this. That would certainly be something that they would want in their life and we want to be a part of something like that. That is a community of people who really um just get it.

So I think that's a great offering that you have and, and that you're going through it and then you've, you've kind of, you know, learned so much through the process that, and now you're sharing all of this, this amazing experience. And um I also kind of like, with engagement, it really depends um on, like, on what you look at as engagement, because sometimes, like, people showing up on the zoom calls that means they're engaged might not mean that they're posting a lot and some people just don't either have time to post or they're just, you know, it's more about creating that safe space for people sometimes, and so if you're doing that and they're being vulnerable or sharing in either um zoom calls or sometimes they're posting on in the community, that's all okay. And, and not everybody that when you're talking about number number wise, I think that's a ballpark average for a lot of communities that start out because they're still just establishing the culture of what we do here, what this space is about and and who, who is going to be here and like, it's still really new um, community that I'm in, that I've been in for four years we have that culture going, so as soon as we have new members come in, you know, the other members are like, welcoming them in and saying like, you know, there's a lot about, like, concierge onboarding that we talked about and, and that's really helpful and you can't Always do like a one on one call with somebody, but even just like checking in and the messages, I know that I talked with somebody in Australia and he was saying, you know what really works for him is like direct messaging.

And so like if he has somebody that can like message or he sometimes I said because he was talking about hiring a community manager and I said, what's really great is when you get somebody from your community and they volunteer to maybe reach out to a couple of people. And sometimes like if there are super, if they're like a super fan of yours, like you, those people that are always showing up every week on these calls, they're like obviously very invested and I'm sure that if you said, hey, would anybody be willing to like maybe create a post or maybe, you know, just whatever it is that you feel like would be helpful um to get more people to connect with the member with the rest of the members? Um that's one strategy that you could start implementing is just saying, you know, those people, like why are you first of all, why you keep showing up? Because that's something that you can then learn to keep doing of like a good thing that better, really working for people because I have a lot of people money network host that hire me and then I work with are like well how do I get the people to interact and like what I've learned is to go the opposite way of like go to the people that are actually showing up first and say why are you showing up and like what's really like so that you as somebody network host.

No like okay this is what's really working and then maybe there's some strategies and things that they tell you based on like conversations to resume call. Or maybe you have like a a survey that you put out to a couple of people and you say, hey I just want to collect some information so that I can really make this space really valuable so that you get you know that I'm serving you in the in the in the right way and that you are getting what you need. Um so you know just collecting some information from them and then being able to say okay well here's what we can guide some of my content. Maybe you addressed and maybe you change something what you're doing and that's just that's what community is all about is just like building it with them is the biggest thing that I talked to people about every day. You know asking asking them to be part of the process. They will especially if the like you said there's a core group of people that are showing up all the time and just asking them um a couple of questions and getting some information from them and being able to then kind of maneuver and change your strategy based on what they tell you using the words that they say in your content and your copy because then that's relatable.

Um, you might get more, more people engaged. Then you might as you start to change and you might some of the people that maybe we're shy in the beginning, maybe they're just sitting back and you know, they're just not sure. They're just not sure what they're, what they're gonna do and maybe it's just that little like somebody else starting the conversation, you know. Mm hmm. Yeah, no, that's, yeah. To just ask them to get involved with welcoming new members and sharing. I did ask them to share some testimonials on the activity feed and that was helpful. Very cool. Yeah. What money Network feature do you like that? You really seem to use a lot. But its events. Yeah. Well I do my events every week, so that's pretty easy. Um, I guess the main reason why I went for it was that it was, it had an activity feed that was non facebook because I was trying to um, attract people that are kind of on facebook overload or that, uh, don't want to be part of facebook, but to be honest, I don't know, I mean there's, there's not much any of activity on the feed though.

Um, so I've often wondered if if, I mean that was literally that one of the biggest reasons is number one, it didn't cost as much as good job be and number two it had its own, you didn't have to have a separate facebook page. But I'm almost wondering if that was kind of not a good idea because okay, so the whole world, is it on facebook, but guess what a majority of the world still is and everybody is familiar with facebook and everybody knows facebook and it's a very easy known, you know, entity. Um I kind of forgot about all the technical questions I was going to get when I first launched my membership and it made me realize I really wish I had a tech support team because I don't really want to be, you know, how do I get the events and how do I where do I post this? And how do I post that? And what does the heart mean? And you know, what did I post this in the right place and I can't log in and what's the U. R. L. And I was like, oh goodness, well mari mari never coasts uh, does have a support for members. Um they have one for hosts and they have one for members.

They do, but it's not um not not good but it's just it's they are, they're definitely a small company that's growing fast and so I think that they do the best they can to respond to people, but they can't always assist. And so yeah, that's another reason why a volunteer or a community manager even if they're like coming in there every couple of days, you know, once a week even um to just check in is really helpful to have somebody just check in with people um instructional tutorial, like some videos or maybe just some people don't like videos. So I've done screenshots as a community manager. So if you're trying to guide them to do to do something sometimes if if they're all like we found out that our community was like The one community was managing was all mobile users, pretty much 99% of them were all on their mobile device and we had done training on the desktop and it's a different user experience. And so what we learned was, well we have to identify are you using a mobile device or are you using your computer?

And most of them said mobile. And then we re strategize and said, okay, well we're going to create some, you know, a video, but we'll also because not everybody wants to watch a video or like that isn't always helpful because that's not how everybody learned, Everybody learned a little differently. And so we created some written content and then we had some screenshots and that seemed to work really well to just guide people when there was a specific question and you can create some training and templates that, you know, the welcome and the on boarding process of when you're like first starting out with a new group of people in a, in a course and just walking through all the basics of saying, hey, did everybody log it? How are you logging in? Is everybody know where to get the course content like just that, just that little, that little bit. Um, yeah, I have, I have made it, I've collected all of the, you know, the questions that that was so helpful for my kind of initial founders launched in january. So I have an automated email that as soon as they sign up they get the email and it says, you know, here's what you need to know and we did make a training video to how to navigate the site.

And um, then it's also in the table of contents for the paid people. And there's also a start here article in the featured section in the new member section. And so that was, that was a really good process for that first initial launch to kind of realize all the holes that were missing in terms of just the tech and how to Yeah, that's great. Yeah, that's a super important step. Um, as far as the activity feed, I think that going with money networks obviously because I'm a money network proponent, much better than facebook. I would rather be on. Um, I'm in 20 million networks right now, I'd rather be on a money network than facebook any day of the week. Um, because of all the distractions that come with, but I would say, you know, it's about like that cultivating and sometimes it doesn't always mean that people aren't engaged. It just means maybe they're not ready. So sometimes people like take a little bit to like share and also just like having those posts, like whether it's you or whether it's another person, um, that's posting up, but this is a safe space.

Like, you know, you can certainly share anything. Um, I had a conversation with somebody just before this call, uh, that she's the community manager. Um, and she's talking about in her, you know, in her messaging to them, this is the same like she's saying the word safe space in every call. She's saying there's no stupid, there's no stupid question in every call and just like really getting through that, that this is a safe place and you are welcome and really encouraged to the, the spaces here for you to, to ask questions and to learn from each other and uh, you know, just kind of basically putting that out there in a very literal way. Sometimes it's helpful for people to understand because they might think, oh, well is this something, um, not necessarily like a code of conduct, but, but just that general culture of, of things that goes back to like the culture that you create in the community kind of thing. So that might be something that's that you work with with some of these people that are really engaged and so excited to I hope I can talk to you again and learn more about the heck I was going in a couple of months, I have to check in with you and see how things are going.

Well that's a really good idea about saying the safe space thing because I'm a very out going forward. I am not shy and I forget to you know, so I don't initially think about that, you know, I forget that other people need a little warm up so I thank you for that reminder for sure. And um just just to let everybody else know. I do, I just just open the fun come here community for money Network host exclusively. And so in in mighty networks in fine calm here. Um we're working on building some of these strategies and I'm actually working with co creating my content with the money network hosts who are in there and they're telling me their challenges and then we're kind of creating some solutions whether it's a template or whether it's an actionable item that they can uh take a tool and then implement it in their own community and we're kind of just comparing and contrasting like what's working for you in your space, what's working for me in my space and collaborating around that. And so when you have a space where you can really co collaborate and having the conversation, people are then, you know, maybe they're not so shy once they see other people are commenting, then they're like, okay, well I know it's okay now, but yeah, I think a lot of us out outgoing people are like, don't, don't have that perception.

And then um, I've really learned a lot of talking with people in the last year that you have to create that space and, and because not everybody is going to, you know, be vulnerable right away or want to share with their, you know, personal life with just complete people that they don't know right off the bat there. They're just not gonna do that. Other people are like, I'm an open book, I'll tell you whatever you want. So it's just really about knowing your members and getting to know them. And then, you know, maybe the one of the people I talked to a few weeks ago, money Network host was saying he actually reaches out to people who are not doing the program and saying, is this for you? I mean his program Is like $250 a month or something like that. So it's quite a bit more and he doesn't have as big of a membership, but they're more. Um, you know, intentional and act active because of the higher cost and it's a medical community for medical professionals. But um if he sees that they're not being active, then he kind of reaches out. It's like, you know, is there a person?

Maybe it's a personal thing because I think sometimes we take it so personal as like the host of like why aren't they coming? They don't like my content or they don't like something I'm doing, or why aren't they? Why aren't they doing anything? And it might have nothing to do with any of that. It might, but it might not. They might. Some people have Kids and yeah, I've always I've always assumed is that people are busy. Yeah, because type one it takes a lot to invest in wanting to improve your health. And um so I get that a lot of people don't prioritize that. Yeah, that's tough, but well, it's glad I'm so glad that you have a space for um these people to congregate and to feel like there's a space for them and you're creating a safe space, which is amazing for type one, I have a few friends that are, and so I will definitely be sharing this community with them to let them know about it. Um if anybody else is interested or wants to get to know you better or learn more about you, where can they go to find out more about you. My website, definitely the best Um place I'd love for you to join the crew.

It's my, my thing is called the Type one diabetes crew. My my network name because um my intention is that we're learning to navigate our blood sugar levels which is kind of like you know navigating the ship and we have to you know we do it better when we have a crew of people to help us navigate these rough waters. And so I have like pictures of sailboats in the in the program and everything um because the word diabetes or I'm going on a tangent but I always like explaining this, the word controlling diabetes is very deflating for a lot of people because everybody's like oh are you out of control and it just sounds like you're failing. So um type one diabetes crew. And that is the network name. If you want to learn about me and all the offerings I have you can simply google dr Jody diabetes those three words. And I always just say that because I think it's easier to remember dr Jody diabetes but I'm happy to also give you my website which is Doctor Jodie N. D. So that's D. R. J. O. D. Y.

And as a naturopathic D. As a doctor. And you can also just email info at dr Jody N. D. Dot com. Okay good. Sounds amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with building a community on the money network. So I'm excited to hear what how it goes for the next six months for the rest of the year. And hopefully you will thrive in that space and it will be, I'm sure amazing for transformation for all of the members. Um for everybody listening, if you do want to join, please join her crew. I love that. And that, that's a great, and now it just, it makes it fun, right? It makes it something you want to join a crew is something I want to, I want to be a part of your crew, like that's I can relate to that, so I really like that. Um so thanks for sharing your, your strategy behind that. And if anybody's interested, definitely check out dr Jody and if you guys have questions for for sure there will be some resources in the show notes for links to grab there. And until next time.

I hope you're finding calm any day that it is in this moment, whether it's day or night, morning or evening, afternoon, find calm and take care and we'll talk to you next time. Bye. Yeah. Mhm.

Episode 42: Find Calm building a wellness community with Dr. Jody Stanislaw
Episode 42: Find Calm building a wellness community with Dr. Jody Stanislaw
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