CK #31 - Let Me Update You

February 18, 2022

We're making some major changes here at Life in English. Let me update you real quick!

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[00:00:00] What's up, my friend? This is Coffee with Kaizen number 31. And I want to take this time to update you on a few things happening here at Life in English. All right? So let me update you because I'm about to upgrade you.

[00:00:23] So my friend, I've been watching a lot of videos and listening to podcasts about how to build the community and how to run a successful membership business because at the end of the day, that's what Life in English aspires to be at the moment. You know? A creative education platform that provides the content, community, and support you need to learn English and grow as a person. Now, the way the business is attempting to sustain itself is with the subscription revenue of its members.

[00:00:48] In other words, we charge a monthly fee for access to our podcasts and services. And that way Tony Kaizen can pay all his bills, his employees, his business expenses, taxes, et cetera. And then take the rest of that money and reinvest it into the business so it can grow and improve even more rapidly. That's the basic idea here. But here's the thing I noticed that although the content I make is valuable, it's not necessarily the most valuable aspect of what I'm offering. Because you can find podcasts anywhere. You can listen to my podcast for free. You can find millions of videos on YouTube or buy a bunch of courses. You can even look for a language exchange partner for free. But we all know how difficult that can be.

[00:01:27] And it seems to me that the one thing that everyone needs but doesn't have is a high-quality community of people who all have the same genuine intentions and objectives to practice more of their English and to become fluent in English and also make some friends while they do it. So the real value of this Life in the English project is the community itself. And I noticed that even though the quality of my work is good and it's improving every day, the quality of the community and its culture need a major improvement.

[00:01:56] So getting back to my point, I've been consuming a lot of information about how to build a great community that people want to be a part of, as well as creating a sustainable business model so that I can support myself and do this work full time. Now, the search for this knowledge led me to realize that there are a lot of things about the Life in English membership that I can improve.

[00:02:17] Number one, my sales page. And one thing I noticed is that I've done a pretty poor job of explaining the true value of the Life in English VIP membership because in my mind, access to hundreds of podcast episodes with interactive transcripts and vocabulary guides that teach and explain real English and a community of language exchange partners, plus a native English-speaking teacher and private lives study events all for 10 dollars a month sounds like a no-brainer. Right? Like if I was learning a foreign language and I had access to everything that I'm offering here at Life in English for ten bucks, I mean, how could you not - especially if you support that teacher and their mission and you, you know, you identify with the way that they teach and you really get value from the things that you've learned from them. It's like, how could you not support? You know what I'm saying?

[00:03:06] I guess the point is if I would pay that much money for, you know, just basic entertainment like Netflix, then I would definitely pay that much money for my education. That's really what I'm trying to say. But I think a lot of people don't even really know what Discord is or how it works. I also think I don't talk enough about the private conversation group and how it works. Because the Discord server is literally the solution to every intermediate English learner's problem. I can understand spoken English, but I have no one to speak with, so I can't speak well. Well, now you've got a place where you can practice with real people any time you want.

[00:03:40] So I think I need to do a better job of communicating the value of each of the membership benefits and also give examples of them being used. I think this will convince a lot more people to at least give the community a try. You know? Because when you can see how something works, you can start to imagine yourself using or doing that thing, which makes it much easier to actually try it. You see what I'm saying?

[00:04:01] So another thing, number two that I think can really use some improvement is what we call the onboarding process. So, you know, once we convince someone to join the community, they need to be welcomed into the community so that they feel like they belong here. Right? Well, how have I been making all that happen up until this point? Sending a fucking email with 4 main points you need to know about the membership. No video, no phone call, no instruction manual, nothing. And this approach works well enough because you obviously were able to join and figure things out, but a new member of a community needs to be oriented. They need to know where to start, how to start, and they want to experience the dynamics of the community. That's impossible for me to facilitate that process with a fucking email. You know what I'm saying?

[00:04:49] So I'm working on a process that will help a new member integrate into the community in just a few simple steps. First, I have a welcome video with me thanking them for joining and letting them know that they made the right decision. Next, I'll teach them how to use the website and all its features on both the computer and a smartphone. Because some people use one or the other or both. And then I'll do the same thing for Discord. Show them how to use it on a desktop. How to use it on the mobile phone, right? And finally, I'll give them some recommendations on how to actually get started. For example, how to introduce yourself to the community, how to approach other members for a conversation, or how to share your own interests and culture with the community, how to use the transcripts and the vocabulary guides and the animated captions, and all those things properly. You know? 

[00:05:35] The idea is to get them using the Premium features as fast as possible because once you experience all the benefits of this membership, it's really hard to say that it's a waste of money, in my opinion. So when a new member can quickly see that I'm not like, you know, a scammer selling some bullshit and that it's, you know, this membership is actually going to help them improve their English, they're much more likely to stay and really invest themselves into the community and their education, which makes the community better for everyone. You see what I'm saying?

[00:06:05] So the third thing I think can really use some improvement is creating and or providing resources for students to self learn, right? So another thing I noticed is that most members in the group will only get online and interact if I'm online interacting, and I can understand that because a lot of people are shy and they don't have much skill when it comes to getting to know new people or keeping a conversation going with a stranger. Right? But you've got to remember that the goal is to have thousands of members in this community interacting all the time. I can't always be there to facilitate every group discussion. Especially right now, because I'm not able to do this full time. So there are days when I simply can't be online to chat. You feel me? But I also had to remember that everyone in this community is here because of me. Everyone is naturally looking to me for a direction. 

[00:06:57] So my plan is to create some type of or actually multiple resources that will help people get better at introducing themselves to strangers and making conversation with them. Because I'm here to support you, but part of that support is teaching you how to support yourself. You see what I'm saying? So anyway, some ideas I have for useful resources are things like simple guides on how to improve your communication skills and have better conversations. In other words, how to share yourself with other people and encourage them to share themselves with you. Right? Also lists... Some type of creative list. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it, but an interesting and creative way to share interesting conversation topics or debate topics. You know? Things that you can use to get conversations started or keep them going when you're trying to do a language exchange with somebody and maybe you run out of things to say or you get stuck in the conversation, things like that. Just little tips and tricks that you can use to keep the conversation going or take the conversation in a different direction. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:07:56] And I also want to find other ways to help people or encourage people to stay active on the Discord server. Even if you don't have always... you don't have always?! Even if you don't always have time to talk. You see what I'm saying? Because I understand people are busy or they have different schedules, but that doesn't mean you cannot be involved on the server. You can still interact every day, even if you don't have all the time in the world to talk every day. You know? 

[00:08:21] And I also want to find a way to create some type of search engine or directory that would recommend music, movies, books, series, content in general based on your current English level and your personal interests. But I have no idea how that would work, exactly. So if you know any talented web developers, please let me know. You know? I'm going to eventually reach out to my developer friends at some point to see how something like that would be built. But one thing at a time, right? One thing at a time, my friend.

[00:08:51] And that takes me to my next point of improvement, which is facilitating community events. Now it's going to take some time to teach people the culture that I'm trying to create here at Life in English. So in the meantime, while the community is still in its infancy growth stages, one thing I'm going to start doing is hosting live events for the entire community, maybe once a month or every two weeks or every week. It just depends on everyone's schedule, including mine, and the type of events that we're going to have. You see what I'm saying? But we can watch movies and videos together. We can listen to music together and have discussions about it. I can host group discussions in which we pick a particular subject and talk about it extensively in order to increase vocabulary and comprehension and public speaking skills. 

[00:09:34] Which actually takes me to the next idea, which is doing something like Toastmasters. And just in case you don't know what that is, it's like this organization, this network of people who all have the common goal of getting better at public speaking. So at a Toastmasters event, you would go meet these people in this public place and you might have a subject that you need to talk about in front of this group of like 30 or 40 people. And the whole idea is you just practice public speaking with people that are actually encouraging you and want you to do better. They want to see you improve.

[00:10:05] So I'm trying to figure out a way to implement that same activity, that culture into our community. You see what I'm saying? Where every week, maybe a different member has to give a speech in front of the entire community and we can give them feedback and encouragement and ways to improve and that type of thing. I just think it would be valuable and really helpful because it's not just about language, it's about communication, it's about confidence and things like that. And that's a cool little activity that helped me gain confidence, and I think it'll do the same for you and the other members. You know? 

[00:10:34] So this way, we'll have the perfect mixture of hosted group events, but also independent interactions between all the members. And what could be better than that? I mean, that's really a situation in which you have everything you need. Content, people, practice, mistakes, lessons... You know what I'm saying? Just the best of both worlds, of all worlds. If I can say it that way. You know? Now the fifth and final thing in terms of the membership or the community that I want to improve is the type of content I create. And I don't know why, but I really don't like the word content, bro. It's like such a vague and trendy word that's used to describe literally anything that's created by anyone. Like, Oh, I love your content. You know I'm saying? Anyway, anyway, that has nothing to do with my point.

[00:11:20] Let me stay on track. I've been thinking a lot lately about the best way to use my time and energy to improve Life in English. But the problem is that I'm juggling too many balls at the same time. From the research, the writing, the recording, the editing, the publishing and the sharing of the audio podcast, the video podcast, YouTube vocabulary and grammar lessons, short social media videos to promote the brand, working on future courses, promoting the Life in English membership, trying to find ways to improve the membership and add more value. These are just a few of the things that I'm constantly working on, you know, to grow this business. But when you're trying to do everything at once, you're typically doing nothing or you end up doing nothing. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:12:05] In other words, you're spending time and energy, you know, you're moving, but you're not making progress. So I had to take a step back and really decide which activities would bring the most impactful results to move the business forward. And the thing I hate doing the most by far is preparing those YouTube video lessons. Now, to be honest with you the only reason I started doing them is because I knew that YouTube is a search engine. People go on the site to search for specific videos. And most English learners on YouTube are looking for English lessons. Like, five ways to say thank you or five grammar mistakes you're making, or three phrasal verbs for food, et cetera. And don't get me wrong, those types of lessons are extremely valuable, depending on your current level.

[00:12:52] And that's the point. Most people who follow me have already reached an intermediate level and don't really need to sit and watch vocabulary and grammar lessons. What you need is to start consuming things made for native speakers and having conversations with real people. So I've been doing the YouTube lessons as a form of content marketing, simply as a way to attract more people to Life in English. Expose them to my podcast and thus the Life in English community. But the problem with that is, number one, I don't enjoy making them, so they drain so much vital time and energy from me. Number two, my core audience doesn't really need them, so I end up attracting two different audiences and I'm not giving 100% of my effort to either one. And now my audience is divided between two types of content and this type of content like grammar lessons and vocabulary and videos and stuff like this, although it's valuable is really not what my brand is about.

[00:13:45] When I say brand, I mean my culture, my lifestyle, my philosophy when it comes to teaching English, language, culture, that type of stuff, communication, et cetera. My whole philosophy is really about living your life in that language, just talking to real people. Of course, you're going to look for lessons and for more formal stuff like that. But once you get to a certain level, it's just about living your life in that language, from the... the music you listen to, the movies you watch, series, books you read, people you talk to. It's just about actually using the language. That's the whole philosophy. Right?

[00:14:17] So for me to then go and make boring grammar lessons just to attract people who aren't even at the level of the stuff I really enjoy doing just doesn't really make sense when you stop and think about it. Because then what I really enjoy doing and what you guys really need starts to suffer because I'm taking time and energy away from that and putting it into something that I don't really want to do and isn't really helpful in the long run, I think. You know? And it just becomes one more thing to manage and to think about when the whole point of starting my own business and working for myself was to be able to do things the way I want to do them, not the way I have to do them. You feel me? 

[00:14:55] So it just dawned on me that I don't have to, like, keep doing anything that doesn't serve me, my business, or my customers. I can simply focus on what I like doing the most, what my community enjoys and needs the most, and what's truly going to make a difference at the end of the day. So from now on, I plan to focus solely on the podcast and, you know, some short English tips for social media and stuff like that. And I can make the same video lessons that I did for YouTube, but just condense them into 60-second clips that are so much easier to prepare, record, edit and post. And I also reach a lot more people on TikTok and Instagram than I do on YouTube. At least at the moment. So it really makes more sense to dedicate more time and energy to those platforms, since the goal is to reach as many people as quickly as possible.

[00:15:40] Now, YouTube just takes a lot more time and effort, and energy to grow, especially when it's not clear exactly what type of videos people can expect from you every week. But anyway, I'm happy to say that I'm slowly gaining clarity on what I want to produce and exactly how I'm going to produce it. And I'm also gaining clarity on what you guys really need in terms of support. So slowly but surely things are improving around here. You know?

[00:16:06] And that's ironically how it works with any skill or project you're developing. You just get started. You bump your head. You figured things out. You have wins and losses. You laugh, you cry. You want to quit. But you stick with it. You stick with it. You know what I'm saying? You start to get the hang of things and you gain the confidence or the experience, which leads to confidence that you need to move forward and really do something great or become someone great in the process. You know? 

[00:16:35] So in terms of the membership and what I'm producing, those are things that I really think can use an improvement and those are the things that are getting the majority of my attention right now. You know what I'm saying? Not on the business side, which is not necessarily different from the membership part, but on the business side I think three things that can be improved are the pricing strategy, you know? Because I've been experimenting a little bit with the price of the membership because it's kind of hard to find a sweet spot or a perfect number in between what I need to run the business successfully and how much you can actually pay every month. You know? There's not really any secret formula to figure out what that number is. You kind of have to experiment and figure out how much money do I need to keep the business going and also make money so I can pay my own bills. Right?

[00:17:22] But also at a, at a price that won't break the bank for your customers. And when I say break the bank, I just... I really just mean a price that's too much for your customer. So I'm trying to figure out what that number is and the strategy behind it. Like, what's the reasoning for it and why does it make sense? And at the moment recording this episode, you have two choices, right? You can do the 5 dollar membership with less benefits or the 7 dollar membership with complete benefits. Before it was like 7, 12 and 36 dollars, and you had a bunch of different choices. And there's different strategies that I won't talk about now behind those pricing decisions or those, those yeah, those prices. There's different strategies behind those. But now I think it makes much more sense to offer just one flat rate, one simple price. But if you want to pay every month, it's this price. If you want to pay every three months, it's this price with a little discount. If you want to pay once a year, you get an even greater discount.

[00:18:17] So the price is really the same, but making a longer commitment, you obviously save money with a better price. You get the discount that way. And I just think that keeps pricing very simple, very direct and very transparent. You know? There's no strategies or manipulation or psychology hacks. It's just, this is the price and it's this price because of the value that we provide and also what we need to keep the business going because obviously without revenue, there's no business. So I'm going to work on that a little bit more. And the only reason I'm telling you this stuff... Actually in a second, I'll tell you why I'm telling you these things. But as far as pricing goes, I think that's going to be the strategy going forward until I find the perfect number and the perfect, you know, business model to sustain consistent revenue at a price as mutually beneficial or mutually acceptable by everyone involved. You know? So that's one thing.

[00:19:13] I feel like there was more I wanted to say there, which is why I'm kind of rambling. But anyway, I'm going to move on to the second thing, which is how we attract and keep members in the community. Because right now, so far since I launched, the cool thing is that I've done almost zero marketing. I haven't paid or really done many videos or talked about it too much in terms of marketing the membership. And we're still getting like one new member every week for the past, I don't know, three months, I think. Maybe four, I can't remember what month we launched. But like three or four months ago. And that's cool considering that we're not marketing at all. But I want to go from one member a week to, you know, 10 members a week and then 10 members a day. You see what I'm saying? I mean, like, really grow this thing into what I envisioned it to be.

[00:19:57] And not only how to attract more people, but how to keep them. And that goes back to the first half of this episode, which was me talking about how to provide more value, how to make the community more enjoyable and get more people engaged and really get you guys using the language so that you see the benefit, you feel the results in your process. You know? So not just getting new members, but keeping them because it's so much easier to focus on current members than it is to get new ones. You see what I'm saying? Because we can be a very profitable business and very high quality community, even if it's not 50000 people. It could be 1000. It could really be 500. You know? 

[00:20:35] Because the community is only as good as its members. And I know it's my responsibility to start to train the members to start - really would change - to change their behavior. You see what I'm saying? That's really what you're doing when you're teaching culture. You're teaching new ways of behaving or interacting with people. And essentially, the culture I'm trying to create is one in which people are not afraid to step out of their comfort zones, approach new people and make conversation. You know? Forge relationships. And the techniques that you can learn, that you can study, learn and apply to actually get that done. Because it's not enough to just say, "Hey, how are you doing?" or, "Hey, I want to speak English with you". Right? There's so much more than that when it comes to making a connection with a stranger and then sustaining a conversation and then having interactions that make you both want to talk to each other again. You know?

[00:21:25] So I'm getting off topic here. But I just think that's a really, really important part of sustaining a business like this one. It's all about the community, and we have to figure out how to attract quality members and keep them. Right? And the last thing in terms of business, I think, is finding other ways to generate revenue because what that does is allow me to have more money to not only enjoy my life, but invest into the business so that you can keep the price of the membership as low as possible. Because the monthly expense is very different from a one time expense. It's much easier to spend $200 one time on one product or one course than it is to spend $200 every month for a membership. Right? Like, if Netflix cost, you know, 8 dollars every time you logged in, you would never use it. But it's just 8 bucks a month or 10 bucks a month.

[00:22:13] The price has to be, you know, realistic in terms of how much money I'd pay every month for this ongoing service. But a product, you can price it much differently. So I think things like merchandise I really want to get into selling T-shirts and things like that. Coffee mugs, stickers, things that you only have to buy one time and they're just cool little things that you can buy if you want to support me or represent the brand, represent Life in English and the culture and the community. And that way it's not all about trying to make money off with the membership, but we can generate money in other ways. Because at the end of the day, it is a business bro. You know? And I think that brings me to my last point, because I see I'm rambling here.

[00:22:54] So my final thoughts. Just understand that I'm the type of person who learns as he goes. See what I'm saying? I started this business with no real idea or plan or vision of how I'd make it truly successful, so I've just been figuring things out along the way. So I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, man, for even giving me and my project a chance. You know? Your support truly means the world to me, because it's with the support of people just like you that I'll be able to build this business into something that is truly beneficial for everyone involved. Because it's really not every day that someone decides to support your work by giving a portion of their hard-earned money to you every month. But that's what you've done for me, and I don't take that lightly.

[00:23:39] So I'm working hard to make Life in English and this community the best place to be if you want to learn English, make some cool friends and grow as a person. You know what I'm saying? So that's your update for this month, my friend. Now you know where we are with Life in English and where we're headed. And I'm going to start doing these updates more often because I want you to be involved in what's happening here. I think being transparent with you about how things work is the best way for you to understand exactly what you're investing in and why it's so important. You know what I'm saying?

[00:24:08] So that's kind of what I was trying to explain earlier is the reason I'm telling you like, how I think we can improve in terms of business or how the business works, the strategy or the thinking behind the pricing model and the thing the projects and events I want to start doing. For you to really understand all these details, I think allows you to understand what you're paying for. And when you understand what you're paying for and you understand that it's not just about money. 

[00:24:31] But like... I should say that differently. It is about money, but when you understand where the money's going and why it's important, I think you can sleep a little bit easier knowing that you're, that you're paying money for this thing. You know? When you don't really understand it, there's a lot of question marks and you have all these questions or doubts about why things are happening or why things cost what they do or why this person says these things, you know, then you just are left to make your own interpretations. But I think when businesses are transparent, it's much more easy or, excuse me, much easier to get invested. You know what I'm saying?

[00:25:04] So, yeah. That's really it, man. I could say a whole lot more about that, but I'm trying my hardest to work on my rambling and shit. I just wanted to give you a quick update, man. So I think that's it for now, my friend. Hit me up on a Discord channel if you want to talk about any of these subjects, business, life, English, community, you know, all that type of stuff. These are some of my favorite subjects so I could talk for days. But like I said, my goal is to really get you guys more involved in this community because that's what I'm trying to build at the end of the day. You know? So hit me up on Discord, man, if you want to talk about these things or talk about anything, really. You know? But that's it for Coffee with Kaizen number 31 is in the books. So, my friend, I will talk to you later. Peace!

[END OF EPISODE]

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[00:00:00] What's up, my friend? This is Coffee with Kaizen number 31. And I want to take this time to update you on a few things happening here at Life in English. All right? So let me update you because I'm about to upgrade you.

[00:00:23] So my friend, I've been watching a lot of videos and listening to podcasts about how to build the community and how to run a successful membership business because at the end of the day, that's what Life in English aspires to be at the moment. You know? A creative education platform that provides the content, community, and support you need to learn English and grow as a person. Now, the way the business is attempting to sustain itself is with the subscription revenue of its members.

[00:00:48] In other words, we charge a monthly fee for access to our podcasts and services. And that way Tony Kaizen can pay all his bills, his employees, his business expenses, taxes, et cetera. And then take the rest of that money and reinvest it into the business so it can grow and improve even more rapidly. That's the basic idea here. But here's the thing I noticed that although the content I make is valuable, it's not necessarily the most valuable aspect of what I'm offering. Because you can find podcasts anywhere. You can listen to my podcast for free. You can find millions of videos on YouTube or buy a bunch of courses. You can even look for a language exchange partner for free. But we all know how difficult that can be.

[00:01:27] And it seems to me that the one thing that everyone needs but doesn't have is a high-quality community of people who all have the same genuine intentions and objectives to practice more of their English and to become fluent in English and also make some friends while they do it. So the real value of this Life in the English project is the community itself. And I noticed that even though the quality of my work is good and it's improving every day, the quality of the community and its culture need a major improvement.

[00:01:56] So getting back to my point, I've been consuming a lot of information about how to build a great community that people want to be a part of, as well as creating a sustainable business model so that I can support myself and do this work full time. Now, the search for this knowledge led me to realize that there are a lot of things about the Life in English membership that I can improve.

[00:02:17] Number one, my sales page. And one thing I noticed is that I've done a pretty poor job of explaining the true value of the Life in English VIP membership because in my mind, access to hundreds of podcast episodes with interactive transcripts and vocabulary guides that teach and explain real English and a community of language exchange partners, plus a native English-speaking teacher and private lives study events all for 10 dollars a month sounds like a no-brainer. Right? Like if I was learning a foreign language and I had access to everything that I'm offering here at Life in English for ten bucks, I mean, how could you not - especially if you support that teacher and their mission and you, you know, you identify with the way that they teach and you really get value from the things that you've learned from them. It's like, how could you not support? You know what I'm saying?

[00:03:06] I guess the point is if I would pay that much money for, you know, just basic entertainment like Netflix, then I would definitely pay that much money for my education. That's really what I'm trying to say. But I think a lot of people don't even really know what Discord is or how it works. I also think I don't talk enough about the private conversation group and how it works. Because the Discord server is literally the solution to every intermediate English learner's problem. I can understand spoken English, but I have no one to speak with, so I can't speak well. Well, now you've got a place where you can practice with real people any time you want.

[00:03:40] So I think I need to do a better job of communicating the value of each of the membership benefits and also give examples of them being used. I think this will convince a lot more people to at least give the community a try. You know? Because when you can see how something works, you can start to imagine yourself using or doing that thing, which makes it much easier to actually try it. You see what I'm saying?

[00:04:01] So another thing, number two that I think can really use some improvement is what we call the onboarding process. So, you know, once we convince someone to join the community, they need to be welcomed into the community so that they feel like they belong here. Right? Well, how have I been making all that happen up until this point? Sending a fucking email with 4 main points you need to know about the membership. No video, no phone call, no instruction manual, nothing. And this approach works well enough because you obviously were able to join and figure things out, but a new member of a community needs to be oriented. They need to know where to start, how to start, and they want to experience the dynamics of the community. That's impossible for me to facilitate that process with a fucking email. You know what I'm saying?

[00:04:49] So I'm working on a process that will help a new member integrate into the community in just a few simple steps. First, I have a welcome video with me thanking them for joining and letting them know that they made the right decision. Next, I'll teach them how to use the website and all its features on both the computer and a smartphone. Because some people use one or the other or both. And then I'll do the same thing for Discord. Show them how to use it on a desktop. How to use it on the mobile phone, right? And finally, I'll give them some recommendations on how to actually get started. For example, how to introduce yourself to the community, how to approach other members for a conversation, or how to share your own interests and culture with the community, how to use the transcripts and the vocabulary guides and the animated captions, and all those things properly. You know? 

[00:05:35] The idea is to get them using the Premium features as fast as possible because once you experience all the benefits of this membership, it's really hard to say that it's a waste of money, in my opinion. So when a new member can quickly see that I'm not like, you know, a scammer selling some bullshit and that it's, you know, this membership is actually going to help them improve their English, they're much more likely to stay and really invest themselves into the community and their education, which makes the community better for everyone. You see what I'm saying?

[00:06:05] So the third thing I think can really use some improvement is creating and or providing resources for students to self learn, right? So another thing I noticed is that most members in the group will only get online and interact if I'm online interacting, and I can understand that because a lot of people are shy and they don't have much skill when it comes to getting to know new people or keeping a conversation going with a stranger. Right? But you've got to remember that the goal is to have thousands of members in this community interacting all the time. I can't always be there to facilitate every group discussion. Especially right now, because I'm not able to do this full time. So there are days when I simply can't be online to chat. You feel me? But I also had to remember that everyone in this community is here because of me. Everyone is naturally looking to me for a direction. 

[00:06:57] So my plan is to create some type of or actually multiple resources that will help people get better at introducing themselves to strangers and making conversation with them. Because I'm here to support you, but part of that support is teaching you how to support yourself. You see what I'm saying? So anyway, some ideas I have for useful resources are things like simple guides on how to improve your communication skills and have better conversations. In other words, how to share yourself with other people and encourage them to share themselves with you. Right? Also lists... Some type of creative list. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it, but an interesting and creative way to share interesting conversation topics or debate topics. You know? Things that you can use to get conversations started or keep them going when you're trying to do a language exchange with somebody and maybe you run out of things to say or you get stuck in the conversation, things like that. Just little tips and tricks that you can use to keep the conversation going or take the conversation in a different direction. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:07:56] And I also want to find other ways to help people or encourage people to stay active on the Discord server. Even if you don't have always... you don't have always?! Even if you don't always have time to talk. You see what I'm saying? Because I understand people are busy or they have different schedules, but that doesn't mean you cannot be involved on the server. You can still interact every day, even if you don't have all the time in the world to talk every day. You know? 

[00:08:21] And I also want to find a way to create some type of search engine or directory that would recommend music, movies, books, series, content in general based on your current English level and your personal interests. But I have no idea how that would work, exactly. So if you know any talented web developers, please let me know. You know? I'm going to eventually reach out to my developer friends at some point to see how something like that would be built. But one thing at a time, right? One thing at a time, my friend.

[00:08:51] And that takes me to my next point of improvement, which is facilitating community events. Now it's going to take some time to teach people the culture that I'm trying to create here at Life in English. So in the meantime, while the community is still in its infancy growth stages, one thing I'm going to start doing is hosting live events for the entire community, maybe once a month or every two weeks or every week. It just depends on everyone's schedule, including mine, and the type of events that we're going to have. You see what I'm saying? But we can watch movies and videos together. We can listen to music together and have discussions about it. I can host group discussions in which we pick a particular subject and talk about it extensively in order to increase vocabulary and comprehension and public speaking skills. 

[00:09:34] Which actually takes me to the next idea, which is doing something like Toastmasters. And just in case you don't know what that is, it's like this organization, this network of people who all have the common goal of getting better at public speaking. So at a Toastmasters event, you would go meet these people in this public place and you might have a subject that you need to talk about in front of this group of like 30 or 40 people. And the whole idea is you just practice public speaking with people that are actually encouraging you and want you to do better. They want to see you improve.

[00:10:05] So I'm trying to figure out a way to implement that same activity, that culture into our community. You see what I'm saying? Where every week, maybe a different member has to give a speech in front of the entire community and we can give them feedback and encouragement and ways to improve and that type of thing. I just think it would be valuable and really helpful because it's not just about language, it's about communication, it's about confidence and things like that. And that's a cool little activity that helped me gain confidence, and I think it'll do the same for you and the other members. You know? 

[00:10:34] So this way, we'll have the perfect mixture of hosted group events, but also independent interactions between all the members. And what could be better than that? I mean, that's really a situation in which you have everything you need. Content, people, practice, mistakes, lessons... You know what I'm saying? Just the best of both worlds, of all worlds. If I can say it that way. You know? Now the fifth and final thing in terms of the membership or the community that I want to improve is the type of content I create. And I don't know why, but I really don't like the word content, bro. It's like such a vague and trendy word that's used to describe literally anything that's created by anyone. Like, Oh, I love your content. You know I'm saying? Anyway, anyway, that has nothing to do with my point.

[00:11:20] Let me stay on track. I've been thinking a lot lately about the best way to use my time and energy to improve Life in English. But the problem is that I'm juggling too many balls at the same time. From the research, the writing, the recording, the editing, the publishing and the sharing of the audio podcast, the video podcast, YouTube vocabulary and grammar lessons, short social media videos to promote the brand, working on future courses, promoting the Life in English membership, trying to find ways to improve the membership and add more value. These are just a few of the things that I'm constantly working on, you know, to grow this business. But when you're trying to do everything at once, you're typically doing nothing or you end up doing nothing. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:12:05] In other words, you're spending time and energy, you know, you're moving, but you're not making progress. So I had to take a step back and really decide which activities would bring the most impactful results to move the business forward. And the thing I hate doing the most by far is preparing those YouTube video lessons. Now, to be honest with you the only reason I started doing them is because I knew that YouTube is a search engine. People go on the site to search for specific videos. And most English learners on YouTube are looking for English lessons. Like, five ways to say thank you or five grammar mistakes you're making, or three phrasal verbs for food, et cetera. And don't get me wrong, those types of lessons are extremely valuable, depending on your current level.

[00:12:52] And that's the point. Most people who follow me have already reached an intermediate level and don't really need to sit and watch vocabulary and grammar lessons. What you need is to start consuming things made for native speakers and having conversations with real people. So I've been doing the YouTube lessons as a form of content marketing, simply as a way to attract more people to Life in English. Expose them to my podcast and thus the Life in English community. But the problem with that is, number one, I don't enjoy making them, so they drain so much vital time and energy from me. Number two, my core audience doesn't really need them, so I end up attracting two different audiences and I'm not giving 100% of my effort to either one. And now my audience is divided between two types of content and this type of content like grammar lessons and vocabulary and videos and stuff like this, although it's valuable is really not what my brand is about.

[00:13:45] When I say brand, I mean my culture, my lifestyle, my philosophy when it comes to teaching English, language, culture, that type of stuff, communication, et cetera. My whole philosophy is really about living your life in that language, just talking to real people. Of course, you're going to look for lessons and for more formal stuff like that. But once you get to a certain level, it's just about living your life in that language, from the... the music you listen to, the movies you watch, series, books you read, people you talk to. It's just about actually using the language. That's the whole philosophy. Right?

[00:14:17] So for me to then go and make boring grammar lessons just to attract people who aren't even at the level of the stuff I really enjoy doing just doesn't really make sense when you stop and think about it. Because then what I really enjoy doing and what you guys really need starts to suffer because I'm taking time and energy away from that and putting it into something that I don't really want to do and isn't really helpful in the long run, I think. You know? And it just becomes one more thing to manage and to think about when the whole point of starting my own business and working for myself was to be able to do things the way I want to do them, not the way I have to do them. You feel me? 

[00:14:55] So it just dawned on me that I don't have to, like, keep doing anything that doesn't serve me, my business, or my customers. I can simply focus on what I like doing the most, what my community enjoys and needs the most, and what's truly going to make a difference at the end of the day. So from now on, I plan to focus solely on the podcast and, you know, some short English tips for social media and stuff like that. And I can make the same video lessons that I did for YouTube, but just condense them into 60-second clips that are so much easier to prepare, record, edit and post. And I also reach a lot more people on TikTok and Instagram than I do on YouTube. At least at the moment. So it really makes more sense to dedicate more time and energy to those platforms, since the goal is to reach as many people as quickly as possible.

[00:15:40] Now, YouTube just takes a lot more time and effort, and energy to grow, especially when it's not clear exactly what type of videos people can expect from you every week. But anyway, I'm happy to say that I'm slowly gaining clarity on what I want to produce and exactly how I'm going to produce it. And I'm also gaining clarity on what you guys really need in terms of support. So slowly but surely things are improving around here. You know?

[00:16:06] And that's ironically how it works with any skill or project you're developing. You just get started. You bump your head. You figured things out. You have wins and losses. You laugh, you cry. You want to quit. But you stick with it. You stick with it. You know what I'm saying? You start to get the hang of things and you gain the confidence or the experience, which leads to confidence that you need to move forward and really do something great or become someone great in the process. You know? 

[00:16:35] So in terms of the membership and what I'm producing, those are things that I really think can use an improvement and those are the things that are getting the majority of my attention right now. You know what I'm saying? Not on the business side, which is not necessarily different from the membership part, but on the business side I think three things that can be improved are the pricing strategy, you know? Because I've been experimenting a little bit with the price of the membership because it's kind of hard to find a sweet spot or a perfect number in between what I need to run the business successfully and how much you can actually pay every month. You know? There's not really any secret formula to figure out what that number is. You kind of have to experiment and figure out how much money do I need to keep the business going and also make money so I can pay my own bills. Right?

[00:17:22] But also at a, at a price that won't break the bank for your customers. And when I say break the bank, I just... I really just mean a price that's too much for your customer. So I'm trying to figure out what that number is and the strategy behind it. Like, what's the reasoning for it and why does it make sense? And at the moment recording this episode, you have two choices, right? You can do the 5 dollar membership with less benefits or the 7 dollar membership with complete benefits. Before it was like 7, 12 and 36 dollars, and you had a bunch of different choices. And there's different strategies that I won't talk about now behind those pricing decisions or those, those yeah, those prices. There's different strategies behind those. But now I think it makes much more sense to offer just one flat rate, one simple price. But if you want to pay every month, it's this price. If you want to pay every three months, it's this price with a little discount. If you want to pay once a year, you get an even greater discount.

[00:18:17] So the price is really the same, but making a longer commitment, you obviously save money with a better price. You get the discount that way. And I just think that keeps pricing very simple, very direct and very transparent. You know? There's no strategies or manipulation or psychology hacks. It's just, this is the price and it's this price because of the value that we provide and also what we need to keep the business going because obviously without revenue, there's no business. So I'm going to work on that a little bit more. And the only reason I'm telling you this stuff... Actually in a second, I'll tell you why I'm telling you these things. But as far as pricing goes, I think that's going to be the strategy going forward until I find the perfect number and the perfect, you know, business model to sustain consistent revenue at a price as mutually beneficial or mutually acceptable by everyone involved. You know? So that's one thing.

[00:19:13] I feel like there was more I wanted to say there, which is why I'm kind of rambling. But anyway, I'm going to move on to the second thing, which is how we attract and keep members in the community. Because right now, so far since I launched, the cool thing is that I've done almost zero marketing. I haven't paid or really done many videos or talked about it too much in terms of marketing the membership. And we're still getting like one new member every week for the past, I don't know, three months, I think. Maybe four, I can't remember what month we launched. But like three or four months ago. And that's cool considering that we're not marketing at all. But I want to go from one member a week to, you know, 10 members a week and then 10 members a day. You see what I'm saying? I mean, like, really grow this thing into what I envisioned it to be.

[00:19:57] And not only how to attract more people, but how to keep them. And that goes back to the first half of this episode, which was me talking about how to provide more value, how to make the community more enjoyable and get more people engaged and really get you guys using the language so that you see the benefit, you feel the results in your process. You know? So not just getting new members, but keeping them because it's so much easier to focus on current members than it is to get new ones. You see what I'm saying? Because we can be a very profitable business and very high quality community, even if it's not 50000 people. It could be 1000. It could really be 500. You know? 

[00:20:35] Because the community is only as good as its members. And I know it's my responsibility to start to train the members to start - really would change - to change their behavior. You see what I'm saying? That's really what you're doing when you're teaching culture. You're teaching new ways of behaving or interacting with people. And essentially, the culture I'm trying to create is one in which people are not afraid to step out of their comfort zones, approach new people and make conversation. You know? Forge relationships. And the techniques that you can learn, that you can study, learn and apply to actually get that done. Because it's not enough to just say, "Hey, how are you doing?" or, "Hey, I want to speak English with you". Right? There's so much more than that when it comes to making a connection with a stranger and then sustaining a conversation and then having interactions that make you both want to talk to each other again. You know?

[00:21:25] So I'm getting off topic here. But I just think that's a really, really important part of sustaining a business like this one. It's all about the community, and we have to figure out how to attract quality members and keep them. Right? And the last thing in terms of business, I think, is finding other ways to generate revenue because what that does is allow me to have more money to not only enjoy my life, but invest into the business so that you can keep the price of the membership as low as possible. Because the monthly expense is very different from a one time expense. It's much easier to spend $200 one time on one product or one course than it is to spend $200 every month for a membership. Right? Like, if Netflix cost, you know, 8 dollars every time you logged in, you would never use it. But it's just 8 bucks a month or 10 bucks a month.

[00:22:13] The price has to be, you know, realistic in terms of how much money I'd pay every month for this ongoing service. But a product, you can price it much differently. So I think things like merchandise I really want to get into selling T-shirts and things like that. Coffee mugs, stickers, things that you only have to buy one time and they're just cool little things that you can buy if you want to support me or represent the brand, represent Life in English and the culture and the community. And that way it's not all about trying to make money off with the membership, but we can generate money in other ways. Because at the end of the day, it is a business bro. You know? And I think that brings me to my last point, because I see I'm rambling here.

[00:22:54] So my final thoughts. Just understand that I'm the type of person who learns as he goes. See what I'm saying? I started this business with no real idea or plan or vision of how I'd make it truly successful, so I've just been figuring things out along the way. So I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, man, for even giving me and my project a chance. You know? Your support truly means the world to me, because it's with the support of people just like you that I'll be able to build this business into something that is truly beneficial for everyone involved. Because it's really not every day that someone decides to support your work by giving a portion of their hard-earned money to you every month. But that's what you've done for me, and I don't take that lightly.

[00:23:39] So I'm working hard to make Life in English and this community the best place to be if you want to learn English, make some cool friends and grow as a person. You know what I'm saying? So that's your update for this month, my friend. Now you know where we are with Life in English and where we're headed. And I'm going to start doing these updates more often because I want you to be involved in what's happening here. I think being transparent with you about how things work is the best way for you to understand exactly what you're investing in and why it's so important. You know what I'm saying?

[00:24:08] So that's kind of what I was trying to explain earlier is the reason I'm telling you like, how I think we can improve in terms of business or how the business works, the strategy or the thinking behind the pricing model and the thing the projects and events I want to start doing. For you to really understand all these details, I think allows you to understand what you're paying for. And when you understand what you're paying for and you understand that it's not just about money. 

[00:24:31] But like... I should say that differently. It is about money, but when you understand where the money's going and why it's important, I think you can sleep a little bit easier knowing that you're, that you're paying money for this thing. You know? When you don't really understand it, there's a lot of question marks and you have all these questions or doubts about why things are happening or why things cost what they do or why this person says these things, you know, then you just are left to make your own interpretations. But I think when businesses are transparent, it's much more easy or, excuse me, much easier to get invested. You know what I'm saying?

[00:25:04] So, yeah. That's really it, man. I could say a whole lot more about that, but I'm trying my hardest to work on my rambling and shit. I just wanted to give you a quick update, man. So I think that's it for now, my friend. Hit me up on a Discord channel if you want to talk about any of these subjects, business, life, English, community, you know, all that type of stuff. These are some of my favorite subjects so I could talk for days. But like I said, my goal is to really get you guys more involved in this community because that's what I'm trying to build at the end of the day. You know? So hit me up on Discord, man, if you want to talk about these things or talk about anything, really. You know? But that's it for Coffee with Kaizen number 31 is in the books. So, my friend, I will talk to you later. Peace!

[END OF EPISODE]

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Transcript

[00:00:00] What's up, my friend? This is Coffee with Kaizen number 31. And I want to take this time to update you on a few things happening here at Life in English. All right? So let me update you because I'm about to upgrade you.

[00:00:23] So my friend, I've been watching a lot of videos and listening to podcasts about how to build the community and how to run a successful membership business because at the end of the day, that's what Life in English aspires to be at the moment. You know? A creative education platform that provides the content, community, and support you need to learn English and grow as a person. Now, the way the business is attempting to sustain itself is with the subscription revenue of its members.

[00:00:48] In other words, we charge a monthly fee for access to our podcasts and services. And that way Tony Kaizen can pay all his bills, his employees, his business expenses, taxes, et cetera. And then take the rest of that money and reinvest it into the business so it can grow and improve even more rapidly. That's the basic idea here. But here's the thing I noticed that although the content I make is valuable, it's not necessarily the most valuable aspect of what I'm offering. Because you can find podcasts anywhere. You can listen to my podcast for free. You can find millions of videos on YouTube or buy a bunch of courses. You can even look for a language exchange partner for free. But we all know how difficult that can be.

[00:01:27] And it seems to me that the one thing that everyone needs but doesn't have is a high-quality community of people who all have the same genuine intentions and objectives to practice more of their English and to become fluent in English and also make some friends while they do it. So the real value of this Life in the English project is the community itself. And I noticed that even though the quality of my work is good and it's improving every day, the quality of the community and its culture need a major improvement.

[00:01:56] So getting back to my point, I've been consuming a lot of information about how to build a great community that people want to be a part of, as well as creating a sustainable business model so that I can support myself and do this work full time. Now, the search for this knowledge led me to realize that there are a lot of things about the Life in English membership that I can improve.

[00:02:17] Number one, my sales page. And one thing I noticed is that I've done a pretty poor job of explaining the true value of the Life in English VIP membership because in my mind, access to hundreds of podcast episodes with interactive transcripts and vocabulary guides that teach and explain real English and a community of language exchange partners, plus a native English-speaking teacher and private lives study events all for 10 dollars a month sounds like a no-brainer. Right? Like if I was learning a foreign language and I had access to everything that I'm offering here at Life in English for ten bucks, I mean, how could you not - especially if you support that teacher and their mission and you, you know, you identify with the way that they teach and you really get value from the things that you've learned from them. It's like, how could you not support? You know what I'm saying?

[00:03:06] I guess the point is if I would pay that much money for, you know, just basic entertainment like Netflix, then I would definitely pay that much money for my education. That's really what I'm trying to say. But I think a lot of people don't even really know what Discord is or how it works. I also think I don't talk enough about the private conversation group and how it works. Because the Discord server is literally the solution to every intermediate English learner's problem. I can understand spoken English, but I have no one to speak with, so I can't speak well. Well, now you've got a place where you can practice with real people any time you want.

[00:03:40] So I think I need to do a better job of communicating the value of each of the membership benefits and also give examples of them being used. I think this will convince a lot more people to at least give the community a try. You know? Because when you can see how something works, you can start to imagine yourself using or doing that thing, which makes it much easier to actually try it. You see what I'm saying?

[00:04:01] So another thing, number two that I think can really use some improvement is what we call the onboarding process. So, you know, once we convince someone to join the community, they need to be welcomed into the community so that they feel like they belong here. Right? Well, how have I been making all that happen up until this point? Sending a fucking email with 4 main points you need to know about the membership. No video, no phone call, no instruction manual, nothing. And this approach works well enough because you obviously were able to join and figure things out, but a new member of a community needs to be oriented. They need to know where to start, how to start, and they want to experience the dynamics of the community. That's impossible for me to facilitate that process with a fucking email. You know what I'm saying?

[00:04:49] So I'm working on a process that will help a new member integrate into the community in just a few simple steps. First, I have a welcome video with me thanking them for joining and letting them know that they made the right decision. Next, I'll teach them how to use the website and all its features on both the computer and a smartphone. Because some people use one or the other or both. And then I'll do the same thing for Discord. Show them how to use it on a desktop. How to use it on the mobile phone, right? And finally, I'll give them some recommendations on how to actually get started. For example, how to introduce yourself to the community, how to approach other members for a conversation, or how to share your own interests and culture with the community, how to use the transcripts and the vocabulary guides and the animated captions, and all those things properly. You know? 

[00:05:35] The idea is to get them using the Premium features as fast as possible because once you experience all the benefits of this membership, it's really hard to say that it's a waste of money, in my opinion. So when a new member can quickly see that I'm not like, you know, a scammer selling some bullshit and that it's, you know, this membership is actually going to help them improve their English, they're much more likely to stay and really invest themselves into the community and their education, which makes the community better for everyone. You see what I'm saying?

[00:06:05] So the third thing I think can really use some improvement is creating and or providing resources for students to self learn, right? So another thing I noticed is that most members in the group will only get online and interact if I'm online interacting, and I can understand that because a lot of people are shy and they don't have much skill when it comes to getting to know new people or keeping a conversation going with a stranger. Right? But you've got to remember that the goal is to have thousands of members in this community interacting all the time. I can't always be there to facilitate every group discussion. Especially right now, because I'm not able to do this full time. So there are days when I simply can't be online to chat. You feel me? But I also had to remember that everyone in this community is here because of me. Everyone is naturally looking to me for a direction. 

[00:06:57] So my plan is to create some type of or actually multiple resources that will help people get better at introducing themselves to strangers and making conversation with them. Because I'm here to support you, but part of that support is teaching you how to support yourself. You see what I'm saying? So anyway, some ideas I have for useful resources are things like simple guides on how to improve your communication skills and have better conversations. In other words, how to share yourself with other people and encourage them to share themselves with you. Right? Also lists... Some type of creative list. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it, but an interesting and creative way to share interesting conversation topics or debate topics. You know? Things that you can use to get conversations started or keep them going when you're trying to do a language exchange with somebody and maybe you run out of things to say or you get stuck in the conversation, things like that. Just little tips and tricks that you can use to keep the conversation going or take the conversation in a different direction. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:07:56] And I also want to find other ways to help people or encourage people to stay active on the Discord server. Even if you don't have always... you don't have always?! Even if you don't always have time to talk. You see what I'm saying? Because I understand people are busy or they have different schedules, but that doesn't mean you cannot be involved on the server. You can still interact every day, even if you don't have all the time in the world to talk every day. You know? 

[00:08:21] And I also want to find a way to create some type of search engine or directory that would recommend music, movies, books, series, content in general based on your current English level and your personal interests. But I have no idea how that would work, exactly. So if you know any talented web developers, please let me know. You know? I'm going to eventually reach out to my developer friends at some point to see how something like that would be built. But one thing at a time, right? One thing at a time, my friend.

[00:08:51] And that takes me to my next point of improvement, which is facilitating community events. Now it's going to take some time to teach people the culture that I'm trying to create here at Life in English. So in the meantime, while the community is still in its infancy growth stages, one thing I'm going to start doing is hosting live events for the entire community, maybe once a month or every two weeks or every week. It just depends on everyone's schedule, including mine, and the type of events that we're going to have. You see what I'm saying? But we can watch movies and videos together. We can listen to music together and have discussions about it. I can host group discussions in which we pick a particular subject and talk about it extensively in order to increase vocabulary and comprehension and public speaking skills. 

[00:09:34] Which actually takes me to the next idea, which is doing something like Toastmasters. And just in case you don't know what that is, it's like this organization, this network of people who all have the common goal of getting better at public speaking. So at a Toastmasters event, you would go meet these people in this public place and you might have a subject that you need to talk about in front of this group of like 30 or 40 people. And the whole idea is you just practice public speaking with people that are actually encouraging you and want you to do better. They want to see you improve.

[00:10:05] So I'm trying to figure out a way to implement that same activity, that culture into our community. You see what I'm saying? Where every week, maybe a different member has to give a speech in front of the entire community and we can give them feedback and encouragement and ways to improve and that type of thing. I just think it would be valuable and really helpful because it's not just about language, it's about communication, it's about confidence and things like that. And that's a cool little activity that helped me gain confidence, and I think it'll do the same for you and the other members. You know? 

[00:10:34] So this way, we'll have the perfect mixture of hosted group events, but also independent interactions between all the members. And what could be better than that? I mean, that's really a situation in which you have everything you need. Content, people, practice, mistakes, lessons... You know what I'm saying? Just the best of both worlds, of all worlds. If I can say it that way. You know? Now the fifth and final thing in terms of the membership or the community that I want to improve is the type of content I create. And I don't know why, but I really don't like the word content, bro. It's like such a vague and trendy word that's used to describe literally anything that's created by anyone. Like, Oh, I love your content. You know I'm saying? Anyway, anyway, that has nothing to do with my point.

[00:11:20] Let me stay on track. I've been thinking a lot lately about the best way to use my time and energy to improve Life in English. But the problem is that I'm juggling too many balls at the same time. From the research, the writing, the recording, the editing, the publishing and the sharing of the audio podcast, the video podcast, YouTube vocabulary and grammar lessons, short social media videos to promote the brand, working on future courses, promoting the Life in English membership, trying to find ways to improve the membership and add more value. These are just a few of the things that I'm constantly working on, you know, to grow this business. But when you're trying to do everything at once, you're typically doing nothing or you end up doing nothing. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:12:05] In other words, you're spending time and energy, you know, you're moving, but you're not making progress. So I had to take a step back and really decide which activities would bring the most impactful results to move the business forward. And the thing I hate doing the most by far is preparing those YouTube video lessons. Now, to be honest with you the only reason I started doing them is because I knew that YouTube is a search engine. People go on the site to search for specific videos. And most English learners on YouTube are looking for English lessons. Like, five ways to say thank you or five grammar mistakes you're making, or three phrasal verbs for food, et cetera. And don't get me wrong, those types of lessons are extremely valuable, depending on your current level.

[00:12:52] And that's the point. Most people who follow me have already reached an intermediate level and don't really need to sit and watch vocabulary and grammar lessons. What you need is to start consuming things made for native speakers and having conversations with real people. So I've been doing the YouTube lessons as a form of content marketing, simply as a way to attract more people to Life in English. Expose them to my podcast and thus the Life in English community. But the problem with that is, number one, I don't enjoy making them, so they drain so much vital time and energy from me. Number two, my core audience doesn't really need them, so I end up attracting two different audiences and I'm not giving 100% of my effort to either one. And now my audience is divided between two types of content and this type of content like grammar lessons and vocabulary and videos and stuff like this, although it's valuable is really not what my brand is about.

[00:13:45] When I say brand, I mean my culture, my lifestyle, my philosophy when it comes to teaching English, language, culture, that type of stuff, communication, et cetera. My whole philosophy is really about living your life in that language, just talking to real people. Of course, you're going to look for lessons and for more formal stuff like that. But once you get to a certain level, it's just about living your life in that language, from the... the music you listen to, the movies you watch, series, books you read, people you talk to. It's just about actually using the language. That's the whole philosophy. Right?

[00:14:17] So for me to then go and make boring grammar lessons just to attract people who aren't even at the level of the stuff I really enjoy doing just doesn't really make sense when you stop and think about it. Because then what I really enjoy doing and what you guys really need starts to suffer because I'm taking time and energy away from that and putting it into something that I don't really want to do and isn't really helpful in the long run, I think. You know? And it just becomes one more thing to manage and to think about when the whole point of starting my own business and working for myself was to be able to do things the way I want to do them, not the way I have to do them. You feel me? 

[00:14:55] So it just dawned on me that I don't have to, like, keep doing anything that doesn't serve me, my business, or my customers. I can simply focus on what I like doing the most, what my community enjoys and needs the most, and what's truly going to make a difference at the end of the day. So from now on, I plan to focus solely on the podcast and, you know, some short English tips for social media and stuff like that. And I can make the same video lessons that I did for YouTube, but just condense them into 60-second clips that are so much easier to prepare, record, edit and post. And I also reach a lot more people on TikTok and Instagram than I do on YouTube. At least at the moment. So it really makes more sense to dedicate more time and energy to those platforms, since the goal is to reach as many people as quickly as possible.

[00:15:40] Now, YouTube just takes a lot more time and effort, and energy to grow, especially when it's not clear exactly what type of videos people can expect from you every week. But anyway, I'm happy to say that I'm slowly gaining clarity on what I want to produce and exactly how I'm going to produce it. And I'm also gaining clarity on what you guys really need in terms of support. So slowly but surely things are improving around here. You know?

[00:16:06] And that's ironically how it works with any skill or project you're developing. You just get started. You bump your head. You figured things out. You have wins and losses. You laugh, you cry. You want to quit. But you stick with it. You stick with it. You know what I'm saying? You start to get the hang of things and you gain the confidence or the experience, which leads to confidence that you need to move forward and really do something great or become someone great in the process. You know? 

[00:16:35] So in terms of the membership and what I'm producing, those are things that I really think can use an improvement and those are the things that are getting the majority of my attention right now. You know what I'm saying? Not on the business side, which is not necessarily different from the membership part, but on the business side I think three things that can be improved are the pricing strategy, you know? Because I've been experimenting a little bit with the price of the membership because it's kind of hard to find a sweet spot or a perfect number in between what I need to run the business successfully and how much you can actually pay every month. You know? There's not really any secret formula to figure out what that number is. You kind of have to experiment and figure out how much money do I need to keep the business going and also make money so I can pay my own bills. Right?

[00:17:22] But also at a, at a price that won't break the bank for your customers. And when I say break the bank, I just... I really just mean a price that's too much for your customer. So I'm trying to figure out what that number is and the strategy behind it. Like, what's the reasoning for it and why does it make sense? And at the moment recording this episode, you have two choices, right? You can do the 5 dollar membership with less benefits or the 7 dollar membership with complete benefits. Before it was like 7, 12 and 36 dollars, and you had a bunch of different choices. And there's different strategies that I won't talk about now behind those pricing decisions or those, those yeah, those prices. There's different strategies behind those. But now I think it makes much more sense to offer just one flat rate, one simple price. But if you want to pay every month, it's this price. If you want to pay every three months, it's this price with a little discount. If you want to pay once a year, you get an even greater discount.

[00:18:17] So the price is really the same, but making a longer commitment, you obviously save money with a better price. You get the discount that way. And I just think that keeps pricing very simple, very direct and very transparent. You know? There's no strategies or manipulation or psychology hacks. It's just, this is the price and it's this price because of the value that we provide and also what we need to keep the business going because obviously without revenue, there's no business. So I'm going to work on that a little bit more. And the only reason I'm telling you this stuff... Actually in a second, I'll tell you why I'm telling you these things. But as far as pricing goes, I think that's going to be the strategy going forward until I find the perfect number and the perfect, you know, business model to sustain consistent revenue at a price as mutually beneficial or mutually acceptable by everyone involved. You know? So that's one thing.

[00:19:13] I feel like there was more I wanted to say there, which is why I'm kind of rambling. But anyway, I'm going to move on to the second thing, which is how we attract and keep members in the community. Because right now, so far since I launched, the cool thing is that I've done almost zero marketing. I haven't paid or really done many videos or talked about it too much in terms of marketing the membership. And we're still getting like one new member every week for the past, I don't know, three months, I think. Maybe four, I can't remember what month we launched. But like three or four months ago. And that's cool considering that we're not marketing at all. But I want to go from one member a week to, you know, 10 members a week and then 10 members a day. You see what I'm saying? I mean, like, really grow this thing into what I envisioned it to be.

[00:19:57] And not only how to attract more people, but how to keep them. And that goes back to the first half of this episode, which was me talking about how to provide more value, how to make the community more enjoyable and get more people engaged and really get you guys using the language so that you see the benefit, you feel the results in your process. You know? So not just getting new members, but keeping them because it's so much easier to focus on current members than it is to get new ones. You see what I'm saying? Because we can be a very profitable business and very high quality community, even if it's not 50000 people. It could be 1000. It could really be 500. You know? 

[00:20:35] Because the community is only as good as its members. And I know it's my responsibility to start to train the members to start - really would change - to change their behavior. You see what I'm saying? That's really what you're doing when you're teaching culture. You're teaching new ways of behaving or interacting with people. And essentially, the culture I'm trying to create is one in which people are not afraid to step out of their comfort zones, approach new people and make conversation. You know? Forge relationships. And the techniques that you can learn, that you can study, learn and apply to actually get that done. Because it's not enough to just say, "Hey, how are you doing?" or, "Hey, I want to speak English with you". Right? There's so much more than that when it comes to making a connection with a stranger and then sustaining a conversation and then having interactions that make you both want to talk to each other again. You know?

[00:21:25] So I'm getting off topic here. But I just think that's a really, really important part of sustaining a business like this one. It's all about the community, and we have to figure out how to attract quality members and keep them. Right? And the last thing in terms of business, I think, is finding other ways to generate revenue because what that does is allow me to have more money to not only enjoy my life, but invest into the business so that you can keep the price of the membership as low as possible. Because the monthly expense is very different from a one time expense. It's much easier to spend $200 one time on one product or one course than it is to spend $200 every month for a membership. Right? Like, if Netflix cost, you know, 8 dollars every time you logged in, you would never use it. But it's just 8 bucks a month or 10 bucks a month.

[00:22:13] The price has to be, you know, realistic in terms of how much money I'd pay every month for this ongoing service. But a product, you can price it much differently. So I think things like merchandise I really want to get into selling T-shirts and things like that. Coffee mugs, stickers, things that you only have to buy one time and they're just cool little things that you can buy if you want to support me or represent the brand, represent Life in English and the culture and the community. And that way it's not all about trying to make money off with the membership, but we can generate money in other ways. Because at the end of the day, it is a business bro. You know? And I think that brings me to my last point, because I see I'm rambling here.

[00:22:54] So my final thoughts. Just understand that I'm the type of person who learns as he goes. See what I'm saying? I started this business with no real idea or plan or vision of how I'd make it truly successful, so I've just been figuring things out along the way. So I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, man, for even giving me and my project a chance. You know? Your support truly means the world to me, because it's with the support of people just like you that I'll be able to build this business into something that is truly beneficial for everyone involved. Because it's really not every day that someone decides to support your work by giving a portion of their hard-earned money to you every month. But that's what you've done for me, and I don't take that lightly.

[00:23:39] So I'm working hard to make Life in English and this community the best place to be if you want to learn English, make some cool friends and grow as a person. You know what I'm saying? So that's your update for this month, my friend. Now you know where we are with Life in English and where we're headed. And I'm going to start doing these updates more often because I want you to be involved in what's happening here. I think being transparent with you about how things work is the best way for you to understand exactly what you're investing in and why it's so important. You know what I'm saying?

[00:24:08] So that's kind of what I was trying to explain earlier is the reason I'm telling you like, how I think we can improve in terms of business or how the business works, the strategy or the thinking behind the pricing model and the thing the projects and events I want to start doing. For you to really understand all these details, I think allows you to understand what you're paying for. And when you understand what you're paying for and you understand that it's not just about money. 

[00:24:31] But like... I should say that differently. It is about money, but when you understand where the money's going and why it's important, I think you can sleep a little bit easier knowing that you're, that you're paying money for this thing. You know? When you don't really understand it, there's a lot of question marks and you have all these questions or doubts about why things are happening or why things cost what they do or why this person says these things, you know, then you just are left to make your own interpretations. But I think when businesses are transparent, it's much more easy or, excuse me, much easier to get invested. You know what I'm saying?

[00:25:04] So, yeah. That's really it, man. I could say a whole lot more about that, but I'm trying my hardest to work on my rambling and shit. I just wanted to give you a quick update, man. So I think that's it for now, my friend. Hit me up on a Discord channel if you want to talk about any of these subjects, business, life, English, community, you know, all that type of stuff. These are some of my favorite subjects so I could talk for days. But like I said, my goal is to really get you guys more involved in this community because that's what I'm trying to build at the end of the day. You know? So hit me up on Discord, man, if you want to talk about these things or talk about anything, really. You know? But that's it for Coffee with Kaizen number 31 is in the books. So, my friend, I will talk to you later. Peace!

[END OF EPISODE]

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