I'm taking you behind the scenes to reveal some major shifts happening in my business, especially with the Savvy Social School.

I'll be unpacking the reasons behind our move from an open membership model to a focus on individual products. So brace yourselves because I'm getting real about everything—how member feedback shaped this decision, the challenges of live events, and even how my personal life, including a new pregnancy, influenced the direction of our business.

Plus, I get transparent about the financial nudges that pushed me to this big pivot. If you think this is just a story about the Savvy Social School's evolution. Think again.

It's a deep dive into the tough decisions and the path to alignment between business goals, personal capacity, and the ever-changing marketplace that all businesses have to face at some point.

So tune in to get the nitty-gritty on the lessons learned and discover the exhilarating next steps for our community.

In this episode of the podcast, I talk about:

  • Addressing confusion about the Savvy Social School waitlist
  • Why this new focus is best for my business right now
  • The feedback and community trends that helped me make the decision
  • A beautiful thing that has happened since changing models
  • The Future of the Savvy Social School

This Episode Was Made Possible By:

Riverside All-in-One Podcast & Video Platform
Visit Riverside and use the code DREA to get 15% off any Riverside individual plan. We use it to record all our podcast interviews!

Fab Fiesta
To celebrate my 10 year anniversary, I'm throwing a Fab Fiesta from April 15-24, 2024. 

For 10 days, I'm rolling out 10 exclusive offers – each day, a new surprise. And because I love a good party, I’m slicing prices by 50%. Want in?

Watch the Episode Below:


Andréa Jones (00:00):
I got this Instagram message recently that said, I've been listening to the podcast for two years. I'm excited to join the Savvy Social School, but when I went there, I saw a wait list page, what the heck happened? Are you still accepting members? In today's episode, I want to talk about it. Let's get into it.

Before we get into it, this episode is sponsored by Riverside, which is the All-in-one podcasting tool we now use for our show, and y'all, they feel super luxurious. Riverside is the All-in-one podcasting and video platform that gives you studio quality recordings right inside your browser and y'all, it's super intuitive and easy to use. Once you're recording is done, you'll be able to automatically download separate audio and video tracks and edit it all within a few clicks. It's really very easy. So head over to Riverside and you'll get 15% off. That's one 5% off using my code Drea, DREA at checkout. But y'all, it's free to get started. So click the link in the show notes and get started today.

Hi. Hello. Welcome back to podcast. So in this new era of mindful marketing, there are some things that are shifting in my business and one of my values is transparency, but I haven't really publicly talked about this because I didn't want to be one of those business owners who was doing a blowout sale or a going away thing or a huge announcement. So I just didn't, but that message made me think about the repercussions of not talking about something. So I want to talk about the Savvy Social School today, where we were and where we're going, and use this as an example to bring a larger depth of conversation to the podcast. It doesn't necessarily have to do with social media marketing, but I do think it has to do with positioning and marketing in general in the business.

Hopefully I'll listen to the three-part series about pivoting because we are a new podcast now. Welcome to the Mindful Marketing Podcast, and part of this pivot for me was also looking at my offers and my offer suite and how I wanted to show up there because honestly, deep down, I'm still a social media lover. Social media is my main boo. It will be for the foreseeable future. I don't see myself divorcing from social media. I love it. I love teaching it. I love facilitating workshops. I love talking about it, and there are so many other things that I do in my business that I also want to talk about. So that's where we are. What happened to this AbbVie Social School? So in 2023, I went through quite a lot of changes in my business and in my life. I got pregnant. I also had a challenging year in the agency.

I had to let go of six people. Our client list went down drastically because of the economy, the pandemic kind of bubble of revenue that was infused. Things like the PPP loans were running out. People had to pay back huge tax bills, and my ideal clients weren't able to afford our offers for a while there. So that sets the stage for this. Then the retreat happened, and as I've talked about in previous episodes, hosting a live retreat really is a catalyst for me for a lot of the changes that I've made in my business. I recognize that I deeply crave intimacy in my business, and so I was exploring how to do more of that while also maintaining community in my business because community to me is the reason that I'm doing all of this in the first place. I love, love, love that piece of it as well.

At the end of the year, I did it as one does examine your offers, examine your business, really do a breakdown of everything that's working for you and that's not. And one of the most challenging things throughout the year was the school. In 2023, we went through a number of pivots to try to increase revenue and retention. So at the beginning of the year, we raised the price. It went from $57 to $97 a month. We also changed platforms about halfway through the year. We were before that point on teachable hosting all of our courses. The year prior 2022, we moved from a Facebook group to a Circle community and then Circle introduced courses, and so it made sense for us to move from Teachable to Circle, and I have a whole podcast episode about that. I'll put in the show notes why we made that choice, but I'm loving Circle honestly, when I hear other people have memberships on Circle, I'm more likely to sign up because I'm like, oh yeah, I love Circle.

I'm on there all the time. So that changed things. Then almost immediately after that switch, I got pregnant. And for those of you who haven't been pregnant or have no plans of getting pregnant, it is very physically mentally challenging. And this particular one for me was very mentally and physically challenging. I'm prerecording this. I'm still in it, so it feels like I'm exhausted. And if you watch a video of this, I'm sitting sideways. My belly is so large, I can no longer just face forward. It's a thing. So it's been a whole process. And then in analyzing things, we looked at things like our exit surveys. We looked at what people were saying as they were leaving and just noticing our community.

It was challenging to commit to the $97 a month on a monthly basis. And so they'd sign up, do what they can with that month and then go pause or cancel and then go implement in their business, which totally fine. I don't have anything against that. However, that's not sustainable and that's not really what this was meant to be. Combine that with, I started learning from a gal named Lizzie Goddard this year, and she creates a ton of offers. She has a lot of offers in her business. She's what she calls this playground model, which was fascinating to me because I purchased something very specifically from her. I want to learn a specific thing, and then I ended up literally buying everything because I'm really fascinated with the business model. And so I started testing out some of the things that she teaches and I was really enjoying the results.

So that all culminated to the beginning of this year where I was looking ahead at what to do with the school. I'm pregnant, our retention is down, our revenue is down, and I spend the most time trying to fix this membership. That was challenging for me. So what I'm going to do is we're going to take a quick break. When we come back, I'm going to play for you most if not all of the video that I released to my members at the beginning of this year so that you have context on what I told them. And then I'll give you more context because it's been a few months since I've made that announcement. I will play that video and then when we come back, we'll talk more about what happened since then. Here we go.

[Podcast Ad break] It's our birthday and I am hosting a birthday party. So online, Andrea is celebrating 10 years of business. I cannot believe I started this business in March, 2014, and here we are 10 years later with this birthday celebration. I am doing a 10 day super sale. And I'm not talking about like little 10% off here, little 20% off there. No ma'am. We are doing 55 0, 50% off select of offers throughout this 10 day birthday sale. But the catch the kicker is you have to be signed up to our email list to get the offers that are coming out every day. So you can sign up by going to online drea.com/birthday to onlinedrea.com/birthday. Sign up, put your little email address in there, and then every day of the sale, I'm going to email you what's on sale for that day. And you only have 24 hours to grab that offer and away you go. Away you go. So if you're ready to celebrate our birthday with us, come to our Fab Fiesta and let's have fun. Let's have a party. I'll see you there. [Podcast Ad break]

Hello, hello, hello to everyone in the Savvy Social School. I am doing a live stream today to share some very important announcements and updates to those of you who hold a Savvy Social School membership. I'm going to talk about the why and the what, but I also want to say never fear. If you are a member, you're still a member, but we are making some significant changes to our business model and we're changing some of the key deliverables that are included in the Savvy Social School. So first I want to talk about the why we started the Savvy Social School in 2018. Prior to that, I actually had several individual courses, my main one being a Canva course that I started in 2016.

But in 2018, we changed to the membership model, and I love the membership model. I love being in community and support. I love being members in other people's memberships. But as we reached our peak in 2022, we had our best year ever in the membership. I started really spending heavily and investing and building out the membership. We raised our prices in 2023, but the economy just did not agree with all of that. We had a very rough year. I know a lot of you watching this video, listening to this reporting also had a rough year in 2023, and the Savvy Social School did not do well, mostly because our members were struggling to maintain a membership. I can't tell you how many times people emailed asking if they could pause or postpone because of unforeseen circumstances in their business. And so that led to a very low revenue year for us in the Savvy Social School and low retention for our members.

So not only were we not producing the revenue that we needed to sustain the membership, we were also not really helping y'all because you would come in for a month and then you would feel bad about not being able to take advantage of your monthly fee and dive into all of the materials or show up live, and then you'd cancel with that bad feeling, that bad feeling of man, I really didn't accept the most of this situation. So that's kind of a recap of what happened in 2023. We also, in 2023 though, started releasing additional offers. So you've noticed we release additional offers separate to the Savvy Social School, which is a first for us. Typically, everyone is funneled into the school, everyone becomes a member. But last year we started having our smaller products like Be Your own B-roll, our Content maximizer bundle. We started selling the Instagram template bundle, things like that to really help support you.

And those actually did really well. And then tied into all of this and why I am making these changes is personal life. I know it's kind of hard sometimes to talk about personal life as a business owner, especially because it does impact so many people, and I've really struggled with this, but I got pregnant this year. Last year, I guess this year is 2024. So I'm currently still pregnant. I'm due in a month and two weeks, sorry, two months and two weeks. I'm seven months in. It's is been a journey. Plus I'm chasing after a 20 month old who's very vibrant and takes a lot of energy. And so I've been leaning on more asynchronous support. So what that means is simply I prefer to have a way of communication that I can come to at any point. So live sessions are actually very challenging for me, and those of you who have small kids or extenuating family circumstances may also understand this challenge of not being able to show up live.

And that's another thing that kept showing up time and time again in our member feedback surveys and in the exit surveys is that a lot of people were saying, I love the courses, I love the templates, I love the challenges, but I'm really struggling to show up live. So if that's you, I'm right there with you. Okay. There's also a cost to running live sessions if I'm not the one to show up. So with my first pregnancy, I hired in a bunch of guest speakers to come in and teach in the school. There's the cost of that. There's a cost of my team facilitating those sessions instead of me. It is costly in a financial capacity as well as a time capacity for everyone involved. On top of all of this, I do have a second membership. Those of you in the Savvy Social School Pro, if you know that's my mentorship program.

It's for social media professionals, and I spend a lot of time in that membership as well. So not only am I running an agency and I'm a content creator because I have the podcast, the YouTube channels, the social accounts, I'm also running two memberships. So with that being said, we have decided to change. I say we, it's mostly me. I have decided to change the business model of the Savvy Social School. What does that mean for you? Well, in short, the Savvy Social School will not be sold. Hints full will not be sold as a membership product. Now, don't be scared if you already have a membership, you forever have access to your membership. And I'll talk about all of that in a minute. But for new people coming in, it's probably starting around February because we still have to flip over all the websites and all of our funnels, but we're going to test out not having an open membership model.

Now, there are lots of people who run this membership model in the online business space. They have closed membership models versus Open. So ours has been open. You go to savvy social school.com, you join, you can become a member at any time. Some people run closed membership models where you only have a window of time to join and you only have a chance one chance to join. So we we're going into the closed membership model temporarily, potentially forever. The reason being again, is all of those reasons I listed before and we're going to on selling individual products. So if y'all like a little BTS behind the scenes moment, that's the reality of it. Okay, so what does that mean? If you hold a current membership, so if you hold a current membership, you still have access to all of the things you currently have access to with one exception.

All of your courses, you still have access to them. And any new courses that I create, as long as you remember, we have access to all of them. Okay? So you have access to all of the courses here and going forward, for instance, yesterday or two days ago, we just released Airtable like a boss for our members only. You also have access to that, okay? You'll have access to all of our challenges, past challenges, future challenges. As long as you're a member, you have all the templates, you have the feed podcast, the trend savvy, the content ideas, you can ask us questions, you're in the community. So you have all of that going forward. So that's not changing. The biggest thing that's changing is our live events. Our live events, we are drastically reducing and eliminating a lot of the live events for all of the reasons that I mentioned earlier in this video.

Now, that's not saying we won't ever host live events. I love live events. I'm super excited for the LinkedIn challenge. Next week, we will most likely do the Instagram challenge again, plus host pop-up live events throughout the year. But we're no longer going to be hosting our monthly live sessions. And those of you who've been in the school for a long time have seen us shift those sessions over the past two years because we really have been trying to encourage members to show up live. But the data is saying, y'all can't show up live. We've tried Study Hall, who remembers Study hall? We tried doing business coaching sessions, we tried live workshops. We are currently trying the business Spark sessions, and for a membership that has about 170 members to only have two or three people show up for each of those is a signal to us that it's not working in that model.

So we're no longer hosting our monthly spark sessions or accountability sessions as a part of your current membership. Now, this video will be emailed out to all of our members personally. You will have the option to cancel your membership if you want. I want to be fully transparent about this. I'm not the type of person to try to sneak this in and hope you don't notice, right? That's why I'm making a big deal about it, making a big announcement. It's a big deal for me. It's a big deal for me because I've spent the last six years hosting live sessions in this membership model, and it's not as impactful as I want it to be. So with that, I just want to thank you all for being a member. Whether you've been here for a month or the whole five years, this is not the end of the savvy social school.

Absolutely not. We are just shifting away from the membership model as a selling point for the school because again, the data is showing us that most people like to come in, consume the information that they need, and then go and do that. And I'll leave a wrap up this video with this thought. One of the things that really impacted me when I was working on this with my accountability coach, Becky Mollenkamp, who's here in the school, was this idea that I'm spending so much time trying to make something work with a group of people. Y'all signaled to me like, Hey, this model, this way of delivering this content isn't working for me. And instead, I can spend all of that time and energy making something that works so beautifully for y'all, for me, and for you. So that's what I'm going to spend my time doing over the next year.

I'm committed to creating way better resources for you here in the school. We've already spent so much time improving everything. Y'all have seen it. The improvements just in the past six months have been astounding. I'm so proud of them. And so I want to focus on that rather than focus on making a membership model work. If you have any questions, my DMs are open in the community. Gem on my team will be emailing all of our active members to give them an option. If you want to opt out, no hard feelings, I definitely want to give you that option. Those of you want to stay, you still get access to so much. There's so many resources in here, and this isn't saying that we won't ever do live session ever again. This isn't saying that we won't ever open up the membership again, it's just saying for now, this is decision that makes the most sense for me as I head into pregnancy and as I explore creating other offers.

Thank you so much for your understanding, your kindness, your generosity. Oh, ginger, I see in the chat I'm staying. Yes, ginger, one of the first members, if not the first. I appreciate that. But we will follow up after this video goes out to everybody. And if you have any questions, of course we're here to answer them. But happy New Year, happy 2024. Feels like the year of shifting for a lot of people. And I'll see y'all in the community, which will always be here for now. I mean, I say always, but I love community. This community space will always be here. Alright, thank you. Thank you. I'll see you very soon. LinkedIn challenge, I think is the next thing coming up. All right, have a great week everyone. So there you have it. I decided to change models, business models so I can focus more on delivering products that make more sense for my business, makes sense for my clients, and makes sense for me personally.

And also be completely transparent in that this decision did come from a place of financial consideration as well. I think a lot of business owners in their marketing do not talk about this. It's almost like a little bit shameful to say, Hey, this program, while it also wasn't working delivery wise, it wasn't working financially, so we had to make some shifts. I think not enough people talk about that, which is why I wanted to have this podcast episode. And it's the reason why I didn't make a big deal out of it on social media. I had it as a PS in an email. And then this week actually, we've reopened the doors to new members because of our Fab Fiesta sale. And so new people can join this week, but it's not going to be open all the time because it's not our focus and it's not really where I want people focused all the time.

So what has come from this, a beautiful thing that has come from this since changing models, is that I've had people come into my ecosystem who would've never done that before. Prior to 2023, I wasn't really selling individual things. I'm trying to think. I think you could purchase visually savvy individually, but I don't even have that anymore available. So prior to 2023, your only choice of working with me was go into the Savvy social school and get everything. And what I recognized after moving to this model is that you don't need everything. And you may just need a solution that helps you for today until you realize that you need everything. And again, this came from my work with Lizzie Goddard. I bought one course, it was the beginning of 2023. I bought one course to solve one problem, and then I bought another course, another course.

And then I was like, oh, I just love this whole thing. Give me everything. And so I think that that is my goal with The Savvy Social School eventually. So will the business model change in the future? Perhaps maybe once I get a better handle on what everything includes, because I do have another membership, as I said in the video, that is ultimately my everything package is I want professionals, people who do social media as their business. They're really the only people who need everything, in my opinion. And so that's everything. And then some. But for the people who are like, I don't need the live sessions. I don't need one-on-ones, I just want all of your horses. I kind of want that to still be an option that's on the table sometimes when I'm able to facilitate the onboarding of those folks and really get them in appropriately.

So what happened to the Savvy Social School? It's still here. If you're listening to this, we're just about at the end of our Fab Fiesta. You can still join, but we're closing the doors. I probably won't open them again until maybe do a Black Friday sale. I don't know. It depends on how my life is going at that moment, how finances are going at that moment. This is how business owners make decisions. We look at what to market based on what people need, and then also what we need as business owners. And so I wanted to be transparent about that. I don't think enough people talk about it. So let me know what you think. Send me a DM on Instagram. I'm at onlinedrea. I'll probably be slower to respond. I have a newborn, but I'm working from the bed for the next couple of weeks as I transition my personal life as well. Anyway, thanks for listening to this shiny new episode of the podcast. I'll be back soon with another one. Bye for now.