Create recurring revenue with online memberships & downloadable products (Part 2) (Interview with Tracy Steen)

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Highlights from the interview

[08:26] – What she does every month to make sure her members get to see so much value and keep signing up

[14:42] – How she sets up her membership site to create recurring monthly subscription income

[29:55] – Top 5 tips for any aspiring online trainer to focus on

[37:11] – If Instagram is working for her

About our Guest

From Therapist, turned Fitness Trainer, and now a very successful online entrepreneur

This is the second part of a two-part interview with Tracy Steen, and if you haven’t heard the last one, you should definitely hear it.

Listen to the last episode, because Tracy is a successful YouTube entrepreneur who has 25,000 YouTube subscribers and makes Ad revenue and sponsorships from her channel, in addition to having a membership site and even downloadable products.

Here’s the second part of our two-part interview.

Edited transcription of Fitness Business Secrets Podcast, Episode 19

What she does every month to make sure her members get to see so much value and keep signing up

[08:26] Kristy: I have some questions regarding your funnel.

You have this amazing membership site, and then you also have this challenge that you did. You mentioned the 80 people who were in your challenge were not necessarily members. Is that right? 

Tracy: Right.

Kristy: These 80 people, maybe they came from YouTube or you talked about your challenge on your YouTube.

Tracy: Yes, I promoted the challenge on YouTube.  

Kristy: So, that’s your lead. You got these leads in. These 80 people sign up for your challenge, which I think I saw on your site is $40. 

They worked with you for that month. How many of those converted? You said 60 stayed for a second challenge.

Tracy: Yeah. Right now, probably in the next three or four days, I’ll offer to them to be a part of the membership. I’ve already had a number of ladies emailing me saying, “Please keep this going for the next month.”

I messaged one lady earlier and I just said , “The membership is identical to this. It’s the same format and the same private Facebook group. The only thing different is I don’t have like a star chart challenge.” I give them a little challenge every day during the special time. 

I’ll find different ways to add value to their membership as well. So, I don’t know how many will convert. From reading the room, I feel I’m going to get at least 50%, but we’ll see. 

Kristy: That’s incredible. Those are good numbers. I totally agree that you have to offer value. I’m just amazed you’re actually able to carry two groups, the challenge and your membership group.

Tracy: Well, I’m not carrying them differently. I’ve actually included all the members into the challenge as well. For the month of March and April members, we’re going to do a little extra.

So, the format is very similar. They get their workouts every Sunday and an email. I kept that format the same.

They get a little extra ability to text me or have me check their food logs. The members get a little bit extra in terms of accountability.

Kristy: Please continue. I’m really interested to hear what you do that creates so much value where they’re basically staying. You mentioned you email them a workout every day. 

Tracy: On the weekend, they get a week’s worth of workouts. I structure the workouts for muscle gaining, fat loss, health, and longevity. Everyone’s told me what their goals are. I don’t give everyone an individual plan, but I have a full one week calendar for advanced and for beginner workouts.

I draw largely from my YouTube catalog. Every week, each advanced and each beginner gets an exclusive workout that isn’t posted on YouTube. It’s predominantly a strength workout. 

This is good because as a personal trainer, I know what changes and sculpts bodies. Resistance and strength training is going to give you that sculpted look. 

This is good because as a personal trainer, I know what changes and sculpts bodies. Resistance and strength training is going to give you that sculpted look. 

A lot of people on my YouTube channel seem like they like cardio, such as hopping and jumping cardio. But, I’m like, “Let’s bring this down and really sculpt the body.” I think what’s been valuable for them is they’ve seen their bodies change.

They get five workouts a week. At the start of the membership and of these challenges, like my March Melts Away and my Spring Melts Away, I give them a lot of nutrition coaching as well. 

I’ve created many coaching videos on nutrition talking about everything from the glycemic index to macronutrient and micronutrient counting, to your carb tipping point, and to eating intuitively. 

We explore all those options with people. Every time new members come, we think, “They’ve heard this before.” But, it’s so good to just reiterate what we said again last month, and then just turn it a different way or put a different twist on it so that people can really get ingrained with what I’m teaching. 

One of the things that I’ve seen happen is a year later, when a new member comes in and people welcome her and everything, it’s all my old members that are like, “This is what you’ll learn with Tracy. This is what I’ve learned. It’s taken me a year, but I’ve learned this and that.”

They’re great testimonies for the work that we’ve done together. It’s exciting to see the things that you are putting out there actually make a difference. 

It’s exciting to see the things that you are putting out there actually make a difference. 

As a former therapist, I’ll do things like I’ll see a person’s food log or I’ll see a comment on YouTube about, “I threw the baby out with the bathwater today and ate the whole cake.”

I can really explore that with people. I can sort of open up the layers of the onion and dive deep into the psychological component of their lives and just say, “Let’s talk about this a little bit more because last week you seem to be doing good.

I know you had that email from your boss and it said this, so can we explore what that looks like and why that was a trigger for you.”

I’m helping them shift their life not just physically, but psychologically in their wellness by looking at things like sleep, relationships, and mental health. Last week, we had a mental health first aid instructor come on and talk about our mental health and how important that is for health in general overall.

There’s lots of value like that. 

That is a lot of value.

How she sets up her membership site to create recurring monthly subscription income

[14:42] Kristy: I just want to make sure because it sounds like a lot of stuff that you do offer them.

I know that you have the weekly emails and it sounds like they get a program and one new workout that’s not on YouTube a week. 

Then, they get access to the Facebook group, and you also provide recipes and nutritional guidance. Is that through the Facebook group or through email? 

Tracy: Well, not everyone is on Facebook, so I always do a recap in their Sunday email saying, “If you weren’t on Facebook, here’s what we talked about this week.”

I’ll add a video clip if I’ve done a live. The other day, we were talking to the mental health first aid instructor, and he gave us a whole bunch of notes. So, I made notes and I put that in a PDF file or in the email. That’s a great reference for them to even refer back to.

On my private Facebook group, I have it all in files there, so they can always look at that. They get a sort of a refresher every week of what we learned during the week, things to think about, and points to consider. 

Kristy: I love the recap email. It’s so smart. You’re right. Not everyone’s on Facebook and they just reiterate the content you created over the week with that email. 

You mentioned something really big, which is you really kind of dive deep. You read their food log or something. How much food log checks or work out checks do you do?

Because that seems it would take the most amount of time since it’s so personal. How many members do you have?

Tracy: Right now, it’s only around 25 members, but in the program and with the challenge, there’s about 75 people in total. I’m hoping to continue that.

It is a lot of time. I always advocate for them to take my six-week accountability strength program, which is a more in depth program and it costs more. We keep food logs every day, and there’s the constant checking, so it’s really in depth. 

I’ll get them to take a screenshot of their macronutrient chart. Just from the chart alone, I can see whether they’re on track or not. That’s a really quick test for me.

I’ll get them to take a screenshot of their macronutrient chart. Just from the chart alone, I can see whether they’re on track or not. That’s a really quick test for me.

If they send me their chart and it says 190 grams of carbs, 30 grams of protein, and 100 grams of fat, then I’ll be like, “Red alert. How could I take a look at this chart a little bit more?” Everyone’s added me as a friend on MyFitnessPal and I can log on there if there is something that really stands out.

Generally, after the first week, people kind of get an idea of how to chart their food and the goal that they’re going for. With all my coaching on the lives, I’m constantly talking about, “What is your goal?” 

If your goal is for fat loss, muscle gain, to increase muscle tissue, maybe it’s just for longevity, or maybe your only goal right now is to eat for your health, then all of that is going to look different.

I try to do a broad sweep as opposed to a real specific, but I do highlight those general goals of, “Maybe this is your arena or this is what you want or need to do if you have that goal.”

I spread it out like that, so I don’t have to specifically ask and talk to each person. Having them send me their screenshot of a macro chart is a real quick way for me to just go, “Kate, you need a little extra look. What happened today and where’s your protein?”

That’s actually really great fuel for me to go, “I need to do a live video tomorrow and talk about how to increase protein content in our daily meals and six cheap protein ideas.” 

Then, I’ll make a YouTube video about it and then I can cross promote that YouTube video on tons of different places like Instagram and say, “Do you want to know six cheap protein ideas? If you want to know more than that, join my membership.”

I haven’t done any Facebook ads on anything yet. My business coach just said to me today, “You need to kick that up into high gear and start to advertise the membership,” because she thinks I should be way higher than I am right now.

That’s a whole other learning curve or hiring someone to manage that for me. I have a lot to learn and a lot to do still, but I feel like I’m going in the right direction, so I’m happy with that. It just needs to keep going. 

Kristy: I completely understand. You have a lot of success. It’s kind of making that next step that still does take a lot of time, and in a sense, giving up some business because you have to put more time into that.

Tracy: It’s true. With COVID-19, this is a great opportunity to just go, “How do I really launch myself online? What are some of the things that I can start right now and even see a little bit of kickback?”

But, for a year, I didn’t ask for anything. I just gave. At the end of every workout, I do a stretch with the people and I sit down. I start to stretch, and then I rip open their souls. 

I have a little psychological chat. We talk about life, where their life is going, what the broken parts are, and where I can help them.

I think from there, the people who have always commented on the end is like, “I loved your talk today. It was so meaningful for me here.” 

Then, fast forward. I see those people in my groups and my challenges. They have become my tribe. The people who believe in what I’m doing. 

What do you include in your membership?

Kristy: It’s working. The other question I had was, because I think everyone’s thinking, “Exactly what do I include in my membership?” 

I think those personal touch points really create value. How often do you have them screenshot and how often do you do a personal kind of reach out with your clients? 

Tracy: That’s a good question. There’s always people who are going to be requiring additional help. Then, there’s lots of people that are going to be quiet and maybe fall between the cracks.

When you have more members, that’s difficult as well to try and go, “Where’s that girl again? She hasn’t said anything in like a week. I hope everything’s okay.”

I guess that’s the downside of having more. That’s the upside of diversifying and having a program that’s smaller but more expensive where you could pay attention. That’s the VIP package, the gold standard, or the diamond level, if you will. 

I know my coach has always said, “You need to keep offering that expertise for people who need it and keep mentioning that there’s additional help available if you need it.”

By and large, in the Facebook group, I’m on there multiple times every day. Of course, I see on my phone every time a notification comes in and I respond. Sometimes it’s just a quick response or a tertiary response. 

If I see something that triggers me, then I’ll either do a little private message or sometimes I message right in the group there because I know it’ll be food for thought for everyone.

If I see something that triggers me, then I’ll either do a little private message or sometimes I message right in the group there because I know it’ll be food for thought for everyone.

They posted it right in the public forum, so I think, “Let me just try to see what’s going on here and open this up a little bit.”

It’s different for everyone, but I definitely try. Every day I feel like I’m engaging on a personal level, and who knows if this grows bigger or if I’ll be able to do that.

I think when I crossed that bridge, what I’ve gained is knowledge from all of the clients that I’ve worked with. Now, I can create content based around those experiences, then I can go, “By and large, or in general, women have dealt with this issue.” 

This is what I need to make content around, and give value, answers, and solutions for people who struggle the same.

Kristy: It’s a good point. For your videos, you mentioned your phone. How do you edit your videos? Because they look really good. How long does it take you?

Tracy: It takes a long time. It’s not for the faint of heart. If you’re getting into this, don’t think that it’s going to be simple. People are like, “Just hire someone to edit.”

That will cost so much money and you would make no money. Maybe eventually, I’ll get there when every other stream has made more. In those beginning stages, you’re like, “You’ve got to do it all yourself.”

So, I bought a camera two years ago. I had done them on my phone for a bit. It was a Canon M10, and then very shortly, within a half a year, I upgraded to a DSLR. Just this last year, I bought a new lens. 

As I’m seeing my quality and the quality of my colleagues who I’m in the same bracket with, I’m thinking, “I need to up my game.”

I have a Rode mic on the top of my camera to make sure that the sound is okay. I have lighting to make sure that the lighting’s okay, but that was all I purchased as I went along and found the necessity. 

I edit on a software called Wondershare Filmora. I bought a subscription to that. I have a subscription every year to Soundstripe, so I can have all ability to monetize and it’s all royalty free music, but I pay for it.  It takes about five hours to edit a one hour workout. 

 Kristy: Oh, wow. 

Tracy: It’s long, maybe four hours. For the 30 minute videos, I can edit in about an hour and a half or two hours. It’s a lot. It’s a long time because you’re making the promo and then you’ve got to watch through the whole screen. 

You’ve got probably about seven different pieces because most cameras don’t film longer than 20 minute clips, so it breaks it up into all these clips. Then, you’ve got to make it all flow, put music in the bottom, put all your time on there, and all your instructions. 

I’ve learned from the subscribers over time what is valuable to them like having the timer. Everyone wants that, so that’s what I’ll do. 

 Kristy: That’s amazing. What about preparing for the workout? I’m guessing that’s also additional time. 

Tracy: It’s additional time, and part of what I do is use my own clients as Guinea pigs. I’ll often give them a workout and then I’m like, “I’m going to film this today because this was a good one.”

My poor clients,  they’re like, “Have you done this yet, Tracy?”

I’m like, “Nope. You’re the first here, my Guinea pig.”

One of the things that people have said about my child is that the workouts are always different and unique. They’re like, “It’s never the same thing. How do you come up with these things?”

I do quite a bit of research thinking, “What did I do last week? What do I need to do this week?”

I do quite a bit of research thinking, “What did I do last week? What do I need to do this week?”

With YouTube Analytics, I see what does well. So, of course, I’m going to do more of what does well. Sometimes I test the waters with new things and I just want to see how that does. 

I want to see who writes and comments below. Maybe they’re someone that would really benefit from my strength calendar or from my membership where there’s more strength training versus jumping and hopping. 

I’ll put out something like a chest and tricep workout, which technically won’t do that well because it’s very isolated, but women who want to scope their upper body and increase strength there love that kind of workout. Then, it gives me more insight. 

YouTube is very helpful for that. You see exactly what people are watching, how long they’re watching, when they’re watching, who they are, what age they are, and where they live. It’s helpful because now I know who my audience is.

Who is your audience?

 Kristy: Who is your audience?

Tracy: My main audience is women of ages from 35 to 55 years old. Mostly the highest margin is between 35 and 45, then it’s 45 to 55, and then it’s 25 to 35. It’s someone who likes intense workouts. These workouts are not for the faint of heart.

I have very few beginner workouts on my channel. If I have proposed a beginner workout, they do not do well. 

Interestingly enough, there’s quite a few people who are in my membership and in the programs who click on the beginner calendar when I offer advanced and beginner because sometimes they’re shorter and not as intense.

The advanced workouts are go, go, go. Sometimes you’re tired or you might have come off an injury or an illness, and you just need to slow down a little bit and not be so aggressive. 

Kristy: What softwares do you use for your membership site to manage all that? I know you mentioned what you use for video editing, but what membership software do you use? 

Tracy: Well, I don’t have that yet. WordPress is on my website, so they have stuff accessible to them there. MailChimp is how I funnel everything, so that’s how they get all their emails. Everything’s automated. All the calendars that people sign up for, that’s all automated.

All they have to do is click the link. I see money in my PayPal. It automatically sends them the calendar, and I do nothing else. Even with something like an advanced calendar 2.0 or 3.0, people are like, “There’s a new one out.”

So, they keep ordering. It’s interesting that way.

Top 5 tips for any aspiring online trainer to focus on

[29:55] Kristy: That’s great. This has been really great information. I’m thinking that people are going to be super inspired by your journey and what you’ve accomplished.

I know you’re going to accomplish more great things because I know you’re talking about your future and your membership site.

What would be the five top tips you would give any aspiring online trainer to focus on? 

Tracy: For someone who wants to grow online?

Kristy: I would imagine somebody who really has no revenue online. They have maybe a few videos and they’ve done well as a personal trainer, but now they’re like, “Covid-19, I’m ready. Where do I even start?”

Your YouTube channel’s two years old and well populated. I don’t know if you feel like it’s a different environment. Do we have more to fight against to get more attention since there’s so much more stuff online?

What would be your initial tips for someone to get started?

Tip #1: Figure out what type of trainer you want to be

Tracy: First of all, you really have to figure out what type of trainer you want to be, what you want to offer the people, who your people are, and what you can bring to the table that’s different from other people. 

I kind of had an ace in my back pocket with having been a marriage and family therapist before I became a trainer. That is my purple cow, as Seth Godin would say. 

That’s the thing that makes me stand out, that I can help people move into a healthier life not just physically, but psychologically, emotionally, relationally, and mentally. 

You don’t have to be a counselor. You could be anything. Really begin to hone in on what it is that you do differently. Maybe it’s a different group that you specifically train. I know a lot of people who train older people. 

I think it’s really figuring out who you are and who you want to target. I think you need to learn as much as you can.

One of my friends, Paula B, owns a YouTube channel as well. She’s got about 75,000 subscribers. She’s growing right now, and she’s in her fifties. She was a runner, and now does sort of cross training. That’s her niche, to women who are 50 and over. A great little niche. 

I think it’s really figuring out who you are and who you want to target. I think you need to learn as much as you can. There’s a lot of technical elements to putting things on YouTube, but there’s a lot of help on how to do it. 

Tip #2: Invest on learning – how to start a YouTube channel, how to put a video, upload a video, how to edit a video, or how to use a camera

Tracy: You go onto YouTube itself, and you can search how to start a YouTube channel, how to put a video, upload a video, how to edit a video on Filmora, or how to use a camera. Most of us have a lot of time right now, so make this your learning time. I am full in it. 

For people who think, “It doesn’t work.” How much time have you actually spent investing in what it takes to learn this stuff? 

If you went hard for a week, eight hours a day just learning, you would know so much more about how to do it than if you just kind of sat on your laurels and thought, “Well, it doesn’t work. It’s too hard. It’s too saturated.”

If you are unique enough and you bring some value to the table no one else has brought, yours will grow because your audience will find you. But, you’ve got to learn how to find your audience. That means you’ve got to watch YouTube videos or listen to podcasts.

You can read books and listen to podcasts like this on how to go about that, and there’s a lot available. You’ve just got to spend some time going, “I’m doing two hours of coursework today, and that means maybe an hour of podcasts and an hour of YouTube videos. I’m just going to learn how to do it, and then I’m going to practice it.”

Tip #3: Just start something

Just do something, whether it’s on your phone or without a microphone. Who cares?

Tracy: I think my third tip is to just start something. Just do something, whether it’s on your phone or without a microphone. Who cares? Maybe you’re editing with iMovie on your phone. That’s great. Let’s just start there. Put it on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Find the people that you’re targeting, make content for them, and really ask them, “What do you need? What’s something I can help you with right now during COVID-19?”

“I’m a mom and I’ve got little kids, and it would be really great if I could just do a 20-minute activity with them.”

“Great. I am going to put together a little 20-minute workout you can do with the kids.”

Tip #4: Give your client value and exactly what they need in the moment

Tracy: It’s giving your client value and exactly what they need in the moment. 

Maybe this is point four. I think part of what I feel is really important is to figure out the type of person you want to be on YouTube.

For me, it’s really come from listening and reading content that helps me become a better person. I looked at people like Jordan Peterson, Brene Brown, or Simon Sinek, where I’m sort of just listening and enveloping the truth of what they talk about.

I listened to them and I’m like, “That resonates with me. That’s the type of person I want to be. That’s what I want to give back.”

Maybe like Chase Jarvis using creativity and how you can use that to better yourself. I think as you really envelop that information, you start to develop your own person, who you really are.

For me, what I’ve seen is that person is what attracts other women to me. Now, I’m more authentically me. I’m more real. I care less about maybe what other people think because I’ve learned to increase my self-awareness. 

I think what’s really important to do is to not only learn the technical side, but learn to increase your own self-awareness in this time as well, because that’s going to make you a better person. It’s going to help you read the room and to see what your people want. 

Tip #5: Answer everyone who asks you a question. Talk to everyone.

Tracy: I guess my fifth tip would probably be to answer everyone who asks you a question. Talk to everyone. Engaging with everyone is going to help you figure out more about the people that you want to help. Even if you have one viewer on a video, engage with that person.

“Thanks for watching. What’d you think about the content? What could I do differently? What could I do better?”

That’s one more than you had yesterday. I think to really appreciate every single person as they’ve come. I still answer every message that comes and I respond to every single thing.

I think that’s helped me tremendously to get to know the people. Even on Instagram, it’s like little voice messages in the DM. “Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate that.”

So many times people are like, “It was amazing to hear your voice. I can’t believe you talked to me. That’s so great.”

They think you’re something special when you’re like, “It’s just me.”

If Instagram is working for her

[37:11] Kristy: I like that technique. That is a technique I’m going to put down.

Just a quick question. Is Instagram working for you?

Tracy: It is. I think by September last year, I didn’t have many subscribers on there. I think it was about 3,000 subscribers. I’m almost at 6,600 now, so I’ve grown by 3000. 

What I’ve done is I look at my most popular post. It was a short video under a minute of 20 different cardio exercises. I just put it all together. Every move was two seconds long. I did it for 27 seconds.

It got thousands of views, and probably 300 new followers. So I’m like, “That works well.” 

So, now I repeated that. 20 different ab exercises, 20 different BOSU exercises, and etc. You go with what works. You see, “That sparks something. Let’s head down that path and see what’s going on there.” 

I think it’s always trying to be super creative. I’m constantly thinking. My mind is worrying. I’m like, “What’s next? How can I make this better and more creative and more exciting? How can I engage with people?”

Then, I’ll get a glimmer of what resonated with people. I’ll tell you what resonates so much with people is broken, authentic, and honest Tracy. People are like, “We’re on to that so much.” 

Not that you have to spill your guts on social media because I’m not a big fan of that either. Just be authentic and honest saying, “I struggled too, or this is what my life’s like right now, and it’s hard.”

People are like, “Wow. That’s me. I love that.”

You don’t want to do that every time, but I know that now about people that we connect as humans over things like that.

You don’t want to do that every time, but I know that now about people that we connect as humans over things like that.

As often as I can bring those things about and just encourage people with where they’re at, I think that’s really a great growth strategy too. 

Kristy: I love it. It ties into what you said in number four, which is learning about yourself and being aware, and so you’re authentic. 

Thank you so much, Tracy. I think you’re an incredible inspiration, especially for women trainers to get out there and start on business. 

It’s okay if your business blows up in a year and a half because you spent a year learning for one part, and then you’re giving a ton of videos. It’s okay to start somewhere. It was one of your sub points, “You should just get started.” 

I love it. Well, it’s been awesome. Thank you so much for your time, Tracy. If you guys are on my Facebook page, make sure to check out her YouTube channel and her Facebook page.

How can they find you on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram?

Tracy: If you Google, “Move Daily Tracy Steen,” you’re going to find me on all those platforms. For YouTube, it’s just Move Daily Tracy Steen. On Instagram and my Facebook Business page, it’s Move Daily Fitness. 

Kristy: Awesome. Make sure to check her workout. It’s really interesting and you’ll definitely learn how to set up your online fitness business.

Stay connected with Tracy! Check out her social media below.

Tracy Steen

Facebook: Tracy Steen
Website: Move Daily
Youtube: Tracy Steen

Kristy: Thanks, Tracy. I really appreciate having you on the show today. 

Tracy: You bet. Talk to you soon.

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