What I learned from my membership with Teaching Sells

Brian Clark is an internet “legend”. When he speaks, the tech savvy sit up straight and listen… so back in November, when he and Tony Clark launched their membership Site Teaching Sells, I signed up immediately.

Those of us who jumped on the bandwagon quickly were called the “founders”….. and we got 3 months of membership for what we were told was the price of a single month’s membership. Within the first few weeks, the site underwent a MASSIVE overhaul.

My first impression was not a good one.  Most of the content was merely “selling copy” to sell members on the benefits of launching a membership site.  The problem?  We were already sold and we’d already bought our ticket.  We sat down, ready for the show and instead were treated to a sales pitch on why we should be there.

For me, it was worth the price of admission to see how Moodle/Amember worked together.  (Very well and I was impressed.)  I had been previously disappointed with Amember and its ability to integrate with php nuke. (In a word… it doesn’t… but you don’t find that out until you purchase and read the install directions for the plug in!)

Then, the “meat” of the site began appearing as the tutorials began showing up.   Teaching Sells started with a robust offering of Camtasia tutorials.  The problem?  Camtasia is a commercial product and they’ve done a really nice job of providing training materials for their product.

What would have been another “worth the price of admission” would have been a series of Moodle tutorials.  Moodle is an open source online course management system.  During my 3 months of membership, I never got a tutorial on the basics of Moodle.    Because of it’s open source origins… learning Moodle is a “trial by fire” experience.  Video tutorials would have been welcomed.

In all fairness, I noticed that content development seemed to get a “burst” with approximately 2 weeks left in my membership so it’s possible that it’s a very robust program now.  I saw on the web site that they now have 9 content modules available and they’re offering a $1 preview.

Despite my disappointment, I consider the money well spent for several reasons.

  1. Addressing Different Learning Styles:
    As I perused the video clips, I realized that I really wanted a written version that I could quickly scan and assimilate. It pointed out to me that as I develop content for my support site, that I take heed of a lesson I’ve already learned: different learning styles require different methods of content delivery.

    When I began plans for my support site, it was my plan to populate the site with how-to videos. However, feedback from my beta-testers let me know that many of my clients prefer their tutorials to be written. However, videos are SOOOO much easier to create….. I was tempted to “ignore” my beta tester feedback.

    The Teaching Sells experience clearly illustrated for me the importance of providing instructional content in as many formats as possible. The old “Tell them what you’re GOING to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them” holds true in training as well as public speaking.

  2. First Impressions are Lasting Impressions
    Teaching Sells once again taught me that first impressions were lasting ones.  My experience with the site clearly illustrated to me the importance of creating the BULK of your content BEFORE you issue invitations. Towards the end of my membership run, the rush to fill the site was on and it may be well worth the price of admission now. Considering that they’re offering $1 preview, I would assume that the content has been “filled out”.
  3. There’s no such thing as a set it and forget it web site.
    In one of the lessons, the student is told that they have two options for their membership site.  They can either continually add fresh content or they can continually add new members.

    I’ve had many, many clients speak wistfully of a membership site because for some reason there’s the crazy notion out there that membership sites are a “set it and forget it” business.   If you’re not adding content… then you won’t be adding new members…. and both require a lot of effort.

    I’ve spent the last 6 months creating content for my future membership web site.  I have a client who completed her membership site in less time, however it was not her first stab at launching a membership site either.

    It’s both of our opinion that you “pay up front” when you put together a membership site.  There’s a LOT of time invested up front pulling together quality content.  Then, you get to start promoting the heck out of the site.  The primary goal of both of our “membership” sites is to take the support pressure off of us in our businesses instead of hoping to “get rich without working hard”.  Because trust me, pulling together a membership site is HARD WORK!

For me…  the investment in Teaching Sells was worthwhile…. but this is a conclusion I’ve come to after considerable introspection after a rather knee jerk reaction (or two) leading to a few hasty and harsh comment on a couple of blogs.

In the end… isn’t that what the internet is for… so individuals can irrationally lash out with impunity at nameless, faceless strangers in a public forum?

In other words…think before you comment.  I wish I had.