February 6

Wishlist Member Co-Founder Explains How to Build a Successful Membership Site on WordPress

Wishlist Member Review Interview

In today's episode I get the chance to sit down with Tracy Childers, the cofounder of Wishlist Member, and discuss the best way to build a membership site for your growing audience.


Specifically in this episode, you're going to discover:

  • How Tracy went from a 11 year old selling cassette tapes to building a successful software company
  • How to build a membership website that creates recurring revenue
  • How to listen to customer feedback to successfully drive your future direction
  • The exciting future that is coming for WordPress and anyone who sells products online

Wishlist Member is currently running a deal on AppSumo where you can get lifetime access to their platform for as little as $49.

This is an incredible deal that is sure to sell out quickly, so click the link below to snatch up your licenses!

Get Wishlist Member

Get your lifetime license to Wishlist Member on AppSumo while the deal is running!

Video Transcript

Hey guys John here from Incomemesh.com welcome to the channel in today's episode I have a very special interview with Tracy Childers who's the co-founder of wishlist member one of the founding membership plugins for WordPress and in this interview you're going to learn how a non-coder was able to build one of those powerful membership site solutions on the marketplace how to build software businesses that can last the test of time the software's been around for over 12 years which is an eternity in modern software world as well as some exciting insider information about the future of wishlist member as well as just the future WordPress and how the entire.

Ecosystem is developing. So enjoy this interview if you have any questions for Tracy or myself or anybody in general leave them down in the comments below. Be sure to subscribe and like this video and let me know if you enjoy me getting in with some of the founders of the plugins these companies and bring you these interviews.

I'd love to get your feedback and without any further ado, let's dive into the interview.

Hey everybody John here from Incoming.com welcome back to the channel Today I have a very special treat for you because I have Tracy Childers one of the co-founders of wishlist member here on the channel. He is an amazing guy coaches a great guy all around and is here to talk to you all about wishlist member membership sites in general, if you're thinking about monetizing your knowledge monetizing and creating a community on your website.

Tracy Childers has some amazing nuggets of wisdom to drop for you as well as a ton of history on building businesses with WordPress, so Tracy just welcome to the channel. Hey, thanks John, I appreciate you having. Me and especially the kind words that I'm an all-around great guy too.

That that's awesome thing. Well, it's it's true. It's true. We've chatted a lot in the last few weeks or so. Really impressed with what you're doing over there at wishlist member. But before we dive into all of that could you just tell me a little bit about yourself and what eventually led you to creating a hugely popular.

WordPress plug-in like Bush's member. Yeah sure so I I kind of have a unique background. I grew up in I guess what you would call the infopreneuring space. When I was, Like 11 years old my dad was teaching seminars and so my job was I would do back in the day it was audiotapurification.

So, you know, he would record the message one time and we'd have a master tape and then he would sell the audio cassette so I had to all this duplication equipment and so. For me at the time I was like okay well I hated running the thin machines but then I kind of got into it and what I didn't realize was it was kind of being embedded in my mind that the one of the most powerful ways of doing business is to create something one time that you can duplicate over and over and over and over.

No. So, that's a powerful lesson. Yeah, that's what it's been just kind of a part of my life ever since I can remember. That's also how old were you when you've got started on that side helping your dad out. Yeah, I think I was about 11 or 12 and you know as as time went on me, you know more and more responsibility and then I became the director of shipping.

So I had like a little title and everything. And then what was kind of cool from an entrepreneur standpoint is I got to the point maybe when I was in high school and it was almost like I was running my own business and in a way I wasn't getting paid hourly.

I was getting paid. By the box right So there was a hundred cassettes in in a box and then he started paying me well I'll pay you just for the box and then I realized man I can do this a lot faster if I get my friends to work with me and back then this is going to date myself John because I know we're we have a little bit of an aged gap.

Back then back then the the minimum wage was three dollars and thirty five cents an hour and so you know, I work at like Disney and wet mild and all those places in Orlando and and I was making like, 350 and I told my friends like listen. I paid five dollars an hour.

So now I got two people on paying ten dollars and then we were cranking out a box in an hour. I was getting paid forty box. I was like, this is sweet, man. The seeds of entrepreneurship are deep in you know that impressionable age of early teenage years and you're already building an empire employing your friends.

I love it and that's one of the things that's great with what my wife and I do as well is when we go and we create content over blogging and we're building that audience oftentimes we can take to people who already know like and trust us like your friends there and they make the best employees the best contractors the best, you know collaborators on different projects and that's awesome that you've found that opportunity so early and in so what happened from there because You're in your early days, you're realizing building assets and duplicating and selling and replicating that process what what happened next.

Well, so I went to college and you know, I got my degree in marketing and I remember when I was just about to graduate. I I had this phone conversation was really really impactful to me and I was like Dad I'm like three months away from graduating college with a degree in marketing and I don't know anything.

At all about marketing, right? I mean, it was like you're taking these these classes from these professors that have never really done any marketing themselves and I was just like it didn't even make any sense to me and he said what was probably the most important lesson ever to me and he's like tracing because you didn't go to college to to learn how to learn about marketing.

He's like, well, all you've really done is you've proved that you can do what you said you were going to do. It's like, We started out to do something and then you finished And so that that one lesson has kind of just been ingrained in me every time I do something it's just so easy to like yeah, sometimes you do have to kill something and stop and move on but I just have this thing in there that just makes the keep going and going and going and filling it going, you know, that's fantastic.

Yeah, and I'm the same way I went to college for engineering and so I'll go to my you know, some new acquaintances house and the last what I what I study and I said engineering and they say, oh, can you come fix my air conditioner? Like no no like what I learned from college in the same way was yeah perseverance and getting through it, but also just learning how to think and learning how to solve problems and that's kind of what I've taken back from that as well.

So yeah, the the degree you do the in college has no bearing on what you do after college is simply opens up some doors if you go down that network that corporate path. Yeah, I mean all everything that I know about marketing has has completely come after college. And I mean, in fact, I mean most of the marketing, Now, you know, this is the whole social media internet marketing was like this this funny story John I remember when I graduated from college again it's gonna date me and I was like man this this email thing it's like it's really really cool if only I knew anybody else that had an email address like I was like, oh I wonder if that guy has an email address.

I like it's just crazy to see how far things have evolved since then right yep from the beginnings of email marketing to the now tick tock. Marketing and messenger fonts and everything else it's it's amazing but you know to your point from earlier on building an asset like a WordPress plugin and luckily in WordPress has proven the test of time.

I don't think it's gonna go away anytime soon from from the the strength of this it's got behind it. I mean that seems like you you could make a good bet when it when you came around to wishlist member and and working in the WordPress ecosystem, so yeah, how did you how did you go from a direct or director of marketing for your dad's business to a marketing professional to then becoming a plug-in developer well, no.

I was director of shipping a night director of marketing big big difference. John I boxed up the packages and took them to post office so that's a really good question and I I think you know after I graduated from college I started working with my dad and he and I started the business from scratch and that was a really unique situation because you go from just the idea phase into turning into you know, a big thing big operation where you got lots of people.

Working for you and so that was a really good positive learning experience for me and then I just I was I was 26 years old and I had 35 employees and I was like, man. I just I don't know that I'm gonna be able to do this for much longer I mean it was just wearing me out because there was always a crisis and I always wanted to make a better system but it was just it was really complicated with what we were doing and quite honestly.

I didn't have the experience. I mean, I was talented but I didn't have any experience and I was just doing most and by that time my dad was long gone who wasn't working in the business at all so we had an opportunity to sell it and I got out and then when when I got out I said, okay, well, what do what do I?

Want to do and I started doing some small business consulting and I was developing databases and stuff like this for companies with a program called FileMaker Pro, but for me it was all it was all really about technology. I just was always really interested in technology and I I started building some products of my own with with the database.

I would do things for companies so that they could run their business but then I started developing these little products and I had so much fun and then things started moving. On and kind of where things were getting more on the web and all of that stuff really required coding and I was like, okay, this is the next thing for me.

I have to learn how to do coding and I was just I was trying and I was struggling with it and I was interested but it was just like it's something just like boom it just hit me. I was like, I saw a guy speaking at a program a conference for the programming and I was like, Ever gonna be like him like he just lived and breathed a code and I was like, I just I need to like hire people like that, you know and so long story short.

I I said I'm not I'm I'm stopping. I'm not gonna try to learn coding anymore and then I started getting into silent wanting to sell things online, but I always had this little interest in in my software and so I found out about a website way back in the day, it was called rent decoder.

And I was buying like I was I was hiring these guys from all over the world a lot of people from Romania and Russia and all that that didn't they really really talented and and you know now rent coders them, they're they all leveled up. I think it became folded into upward or whatever but what I found was if if you can identify what what people need and what they want.

You can always get somebody to actually do the work for you most of those guys that are doing the coding they have no idea what to work on like, please just tell me what to code. I can code it and it just it it just from then on it's starting to click it for me and I started creating products and and my first big product was.

Video converter and at back back in the day it was shifted to flash video that was the big thing flash video now flash is getting killed but but it was it was really good it was a great product and it was strong seller and it was right before everybody started doing this thing where they just uploaded their videos on this thing like called YouTube or something like that and there was like yeah, but they can't do this and then it turns out yeah.

But you don't know at that time so you know I know we want to dive into the software but now you this is a whole other rabbit trial I want to just explore through a bit so you mentioned the big challenge and the big thing that you started to find was being able to know what people wanted and then diving in and creating software solutions for that so give us just a brief overview because there are a lot of people on my channel who are watching this are people who are looking for that big idea, they're looking for the opportunity and maybe they're not a coder maybe they are but the big thing.

I think you just touched on was being able to identify that gap in the market or that need how did you like yeah. Incest to how you were able to find those ideas man, that's a really good question and it it's interesting because it ties directly back into that story and the same thing took place with wish list member and so back in the day when I when I built this product there was there was another product out there and was like it was right around the time when video on the web was exploding and they're like, everybody was trying to figure out is like, do you put it in a WMV file or you make?

Get a quick time movie or you know or an avi and and it was really complicated and the clear path was at the time flash video because 95% of all computers had flash on them and so there was one product at everybody was using an and I think it was called sorenson squeeze and everybody's like men yeah you soreness is a great part product, but it's really complicated to use and figure it out and then there was another underlying problem was like, If the video is crystal clear but the the actual players they look terrible right you look at it and it's like oh that's torrents and squeeze videos clip and so is like those two problems.

I kept hearing them over and over and over and over and I was like, okay there's got to be an easier way, so I came out with this product and it also like boom and so the same thing happened with. Wish list member I actually started that with a good friend of mine named Stew McClaren and we we had been good friends for a long time and we were talking and it was at the same time when WordPress was really taking you know, WordPress had been around and everybody was starting to use WordPress not really for blogs, but for content management systems and just building out their regular website and so at the at the same time a lot of people were starting to talk about membership sites in the in the very same.

Thing exists. Exactly same scenario. Most people that were really two two options back then one was called member gate and member gate was very expensive. It was like $4,000 to get started and then I think it was a couple hundred dollars a month and and it was their platform.

It's like if they would actually build it out for you and it said on their server so you're pretty much hostage and then a member was a script and it was like I think it was like a hundred and seventy nine dollars and it was very complicated. To install because he had to do all these things and it's like okay well now I want to use WordPress how do I do what do I do now in the name had this hacky way of making it work to work with WordPress but it wasn't native, right?

And so everywhere we would go people were asking about this problem and we're like, okay, we're gonna do it and at the time I had been talking to Stu and I was like man a lot of things have changed for me because when I built that other product, I, I was hiring these people that were one off I would try to hire the same contractor over and over but I was I was shifting and then I I made the shift where I developed a full-time team and I had a couple good programs what one programmer specifically who our lead developer known he's a business partner of mine.

And I was like, we can build anything like in and stew is just like man he was an idea guy and he's like, I don't know if you know Steve very well that he keeps it ties like, This has never happened. And he's like we can build anything and and yeah so we were and and then back at the time this is interesting how things work out.

I told you everybody's talking about membership sites well because everybody was talking about recurring revenue and the big thing in that space was a monthly theme company and people were looking at this model and like man, there's this company on a South Africa called Ruth themes and is like you pay them monthly.

And you get a new theme every month and we're like that's cool and nobody is doing this for plugins. There were no everybody was paying for a themes nobody was really paying for plugins. And so we're like, we need to start building plugins and we'll have a we'll have a recurring revenue thing and we'll deliver a new plug-in every month and our first one that we built was wishless member.

And we didn't we didn't quite realize. How big the demand was for us you know So it was like we hit it and then it just started taking off we we went gosh we went almost a year before we spent a dime on advertising. It was just strictly affiliates and word of mouth and you know, it's just it just started taking off and then along came all the other competitors, right?

Well, that's what happens if you tap into a new market and you know, so just to touch on that point. So you were in the right circles you were talking to people you're hearing their frustrations and whatever you find in. Emerging. Industry and emerging technology like WordPress wasn't emerging one online videos streaming was an emerging one simply see what's out there see what is working in that industry and see where that commonality is where the pain points tend to be and there might be something in there for anybody listening to this to create a whole new niche when you look right now at what has happened to the WordPress repository, you know, start out with a few plugins here and there and then something like a wishlist member comes out and the sky's the limit from there yeah, I want to touch base on one thing John because if your channel that you're if you're subscribers are looking Sometimes for that new thing there's one thing that I didn't make really really clear and it was a lot of times people fail because they're they're looking for that that one idea like they want to invent the light bulb right and it's like man do not do that look around at something that's already established and like checked your the trends.

I'm like what people are looking for and find out are there any competitors like in that situation with the membership? We did have competitors they we were just doing it at different way right and so that's that's where like if you can find things like yes solutions exist then you've already proven that there's a big demand and that's the key on that one yeah thank you for touching on that that's huge.

I mean there's a saying that I hear Russell Brunson say, you know, you always know who the pioneers are because they're the ones who have arrows in their backs, so you might not want to be the first one into a new industry or to maybe create an industry, that's where you run a huge risk, but if you can refine what's already out there, you can stand on the shoulders of giant.

Figure out what has already been done well and do it better that's where I think that's you know exactly where was this member came into the department place so yeah thank you for clarifying that so that's an awesome orange origin story, so now we're kind of here and wishlist members on the market so give people an idea in the early days, what was this number was all about and kind of how has evolved to where it's at now at 2020 it's hard to believe we're already here in 2020, like what's what's been a little bit of that growth and because what I want people to understand here is that this is not a tool that was built a few months ago, this is not something that is still figuring it.

Self out that you've been here since I think of the before 2010 right I think you yeah we launched in 2008 yeah so so help us understand this this 12 years of development that is an eternity in the technology space so you guys have stood the test of time tell us a little bit about what wishlist member actually is because some people they hear the word membership plugin and they might get a little itchy because they think it's complicated and scary like help people understand what really good yeah, okay that's that's a great question so there's a lot of stuff there so kind of high level view wishlist member is a plug-in for WordPress.

It gives it all kinds of functionality that didn't exist in WordPress before and that's kind of the beauty of WordPress with the themes makes it maintenance a lot of stuff has changed with themes now but themes used to be specifically how it looks and plug-ins were how it functions so if if WordPress tried to put everything in the core of WordPress nobody would use it because it would be way too complicated you would install it like, Wait, I don't even.

Know what Google analytics code is like why is it why do I have this whole dashboard of stats and everything and all these other things so so the beauty of it is you say, okay, you get this plugin and it adds all this functionality so WordPress in and of itself has a little feature that says I want to password protect this page or this post so now when somebody comes to it, it's says, hey, you have to have the password to see this thing and so it works really really, well, here's the problem.

It's just one password right and so if you are trying to deliver something in a password protected format and you're trying to get it out to a thousand people and they all have the same password there's no username it it becomes problem, so they had a system for registering users so now they have a username and then they have their own password and we say okay, well now what all can we do with that now we start creating membership levels people on this level have access to this people in this level have.

Access to that and you can imagine they're all kinds of different combinations and then the the real power of it is when people say oh I want to I want to have I want to collect payments for that so just to be real clear you said clarify memberships a lot of times people say, oh membership is a recurring payment and that's not that's not true of recurring payment is a subscription model right but a membership site means you have to log in before you see.

The content you could be a free thing I mean it could be the chamber of commerce and you paid them with a check to access it or you could be going to a church and they're like, well, we just have our member directory behind login because we don't want everybody in the world to just scrape the you know, the phone numbers of all of our members right so so but if you do want to pay we have all these integration, so you can collect money with this system and then that system talks to us and so a lot of people think that we're more of like a builder, oh you're you're building a note.

Wish list member anything that you can build in WordPress now you can control who has access to it so that's kind of the high level there was so there was more part to your question that I just totally went off the rails and forgotten the second part though, no no it's awesome and thank you walking through that because I think you know my wife and we have this conversation a lot because you know, we saw online courses we have other different digital products and even we when discussing will automatically associate oh a membership site means they're gonna pay every month, they get access to specific content, but in reality anything that is members of Only and that could be an online course that can be an e-book that could be really anything that you can sell online even services or group coaching can all be part of a membership site because you're simply protecting off certain areas you've got your age or be indoor C which door can you enter which one do you have the key into and so thank you for breaking that down that's a great way to explain that so and to your point wishes member is I'm gonna throw it out there and I want you to kind of.

Explain this this statement here I think wishes member is a bit of a double-edged sword because there's there's two different ways that people have gone in the like building of this online route there is the walled garden there's a kind of a closed ecosystem where I won't use any names well, let's say you're a course selling platform all you can do is you know, upload your videos maybe put some links in there and maybe be able to access the professor questions and like that and and that's the limitations of that system wishes member is totally open where you have this amazing flexibility.

Of you want to forearm do you want to group community do you want access to this do you want courses you can do almost anything you want with it the challenge with that is you can do anything you want with it, how do you decide what to do and what not to do so so Tracy as you're building out this hugely open platform what have you kind of seen some people do good and maybe not so good when creating their own members besides what tips would you have for people as they're getting started yeah John that's an excellent question and I think it's part of what you're asking me before was the fact that we went way back and and we didn't.

So many we made so many mistakes when we were building it out and so we didn't quite really understand the wordpress space, you know, we did things that were big-time no-nos we did like the obfuscated our code which meant we were software developers developers, we we didn't want people to steal the code and and then found out people don't like that right and we quit doing that right away and then some people still think that we do this then like, Like since 2010 so it's like it's been 10 years since we did that and people still think oh they're the guys to do this and that's not the case right so the challenge that you just pointed out is that there are there are other platforms out there for creating learning LMS right learning management system, so some of the some of the more popular ones is you know, kajabi I know you teach a lot about kajabi and I remember when these guys came around and they've done an amazing amazing job with their system.

Because it's an all-in-one marketing platform and everything and then they they recognize that their market was people that are a lot of them are not selling physical products, they're selling digital processes like men, we've got to have a way of letting them deliver their digital products and and in my opinion, they've done a really good job with it and and I I pay for memberships to people and as soon as I log in like, oh they're using the job.

I mean, you can tell right yeah. And so one of the things that I talked to my friends that are using are like man, it's just it just doesn't exactly what I want, you know, it's it's not they ever really want to do something different.

So, there's a positive.

Survey like well that's that's that's that's that's that's good but we don't do that right and so now if you look at where we're positioned the marketplace people were say well, why don't you go and do that like well that's not. Really where we're positioned in the marketplace we're positioned for people that want to do anything and everything and sometimes that's good and sometimes it's a big challenge but with when we first built whistles remember we thought we knew exactly what people were gonna use it for and that was oh people are gonna create some courses and they're gonna create like videos and they're gonna pass they're gonna protect them and they're gonna sell them recurring payments, you know, and and that's what we thought that's that's that's what it was and in fact a very first.

Version we told our our code or like hey you can only create one membership level and like that's that's kind of a problem yes did we needed to create more like yeah well we didn't think about it but yeah and so now he's like we had to do almost like a big rewrite of the day to day structure because all immediately people are saying, Well what I want to have like a a bronze level and a gold level, you know to collect and so you start to see things there and and the beauty where I bring it back into wordpress is you know, we get people asking all the time like are you going to do this like are you gonna turn it into an LMS like and we're like well I always thought that we probably would because I think that that's what a lot of our customers want but then we have so many customers.

That they have no interest in that so if I had now spend all my time trying to create a good LMS that built in there's like the this whole market of people that are using like we don't we're using it for the church directory what we don't want an LMS, so what we've done in the beauty of the WordPress ecospheres there are plugins out there and like man, we have the best LMS, you know, there's learn dash lifter tutor LMS WT courseware.

I mean, there's a there's a bunch of them, right? And so we've got. On the route of San let's get where we integrate with just about everybody and so that way you can have the best of class if you want to a forum boom let's get to the other forum instead of us trying to build one at the best that memberships right and so that's kind of been our focus that's awesome yeah because you're going back to whether it's a job or cartridge or any of those all in one platforms, you know, when you first get started and if you're a beginner and you're trying to build out your online business the allure of those online platforms is it's hard to resist because You know it's it's affordable you know it's a the pricing is not outrageous and you can get up and running in a short period of time but then you start to grow and you start to build the business and you start to listen to what your customers are asking for and even if they're they're happy if they need something to be a different way or if you if you wish a feature existed that didn't exist good luck getting those all in one platforms to actually, you know, custody customizable or change whereas the route that you've gone, which is is super smart is be the best in breed at something and let others be the best in brief other things.

You know I work with dozens of clients and I help them do anything from launch e-commerce stores or sell courses or simply be a simple business website and I'm constantly diagnosing when I'm working with new clients what's right for them do they need the ultrasimplicity of an all-in-one or do they have these really great ideas where something like the wishlist member would come in and be the absolute vessel for them because as entrepreneurs are idea people as they're as they get ideas, you don't want the technology always to limit them, but you know, there's there's different camps there's different folks.

I think you guys made a wide. Decision by not trying to be all things to all people. I mean, good good choice on that yeah, well, you know, I like to take a ton of credit for that and just think that you know, I was brilliant and coming up with that or we were but that's not actually the case, you know, as you pointed out we've been around for a long time over 11 years and in the beginning and I said we we started out as we wanted to be a a monthly plug-in club and then eventually we did start doing some of that and so we started.

Building all of these plugins we had this membership site and every month we would deliver a new plug-in and usually it was some sort of an add-on and people loved it man it but what what happened was over time we started like just really scrambling to finish off what I would consider that I just I never felt good about is like, yes, we just delivered a mediocre plug-in.

And now as soon as it went out the door we had to switch gears and start working on our next mediocre plug-in yeah and I had all these thoughts eventually we could just say okay we can't do this anymore but then I also had all these visions like, you know, we want to build wishlist shopping cart, you know, look at how popular who commerces we want to build wish list, we want to build new social wish lists this we're supposed to that and, And all of a sudden you start to lose your focus and what the most important thing is and so that's why occasionally you'll come out and you'll find an older review and are like, you know sadly this is one it used to be one of the best plugins and now they they just lost their innovation and they haven't really done much and so that's why we just kind of completely switch gears and say let's get all of our focus back let's rebuild our system from the ground up so that we think it.

It's more of a framework and it's easier to use but then it's also in a an organized structure where we can add more power to it and the power that we're adding is. Flexibility yes flexibility so that this will work with that and you're not you're not even hostage to us in terms of a payment system right and so some people are like, oh well, you don't have this this feature that this other one is like well because we went about it in a different way we're allowing you to make your own decisions and sometimes like we just said sometimes that's good, okay this bad right so yeah, so perfect so give us an idea and you listen to your customers, you've a lot of your decisions have been.

Driven based on customer feedback, so what would you say is like the number one mistake that some of the beginners who come into trying to build their business on their WordPress platform using membership using bushels number or even a different platform what what's the one of the number one mistakes you see beginners make and how would you help them out well man, that's a good question.

I I'd say I'd say probably the number one mistake is trying to be all things to all people, you know, I I was just, Answering a comment from somebody the other day and you're like yeah thousands of features that are you know, I don't really eat all these settings right and we're like well all of those settings represent a portion of all the ones that were suggested to us and so had we taken every last suggestion it would have been crazy and so even even with what we currently have when we were building it what we, Were doing is we were stacking things on top of things on top of things on top of things and this is this is really embarrassing but I'll be open with you and I'll tell you we we had a tab that was called miscellaneous okay the junk drawer yeah it's the line yes, it's actually still in software today, but there's there's only like two settings on it because they're truly are miscellaneous but we started on this miscellaneous tab where there's a thing here.

That coincided with the feature that was right underneath this. Somehow another setting went in between the two. And then these these two things that were linked together where we're down here, like you would turn a setting off and the other part of it was down here and there was like, oh my goodness.

This is a huge problem. So I'd say the number one thing is is taking too many requests and and not being willing to say no and then when you do take request, S you just you just throw them in and you don't think about more of the the long-term picture on like if I do this what are the ramifications of the other system, you know, the backend how it all works together?

That's awesome. And that extends honestly, that's that's great global advice is more than just for if you're running a membership site. If you're trying to start a blog you decide to blog on everything you might not be serving anybody with a blog on everything. And if you're trying to bunch courses, you know, find your industry find your niche find what you're special at.

And dive into that and be willing to say no to people they're asking for you to be who you are not trying to be. And know that you're gonna turn some people away and doing that, but ultimately you'll be able to serve more people better if you can identify what you do what you're poor being is and what force you are in the world and double down on that.

I think that's fantastic. Yeah. I actually have some more to say on that thing because the your question was like what's number one mistake people make and my example was pretty much from a software development standpoint. If you're right for sure what what I've seen won't more people when when I step back and say, okay, I'm we're the software development company, but let's look at the users that are using our software.

What's the number one mistake that I see them do and it's a there's actually two things or maybe three or more. The one that you just mentioned is the same thing trying to be all things to all people. I'm not really getting a niche. The other one that I see people.

Do all the time and it and it really just it kind of stops you dead in your tracks. It's like I wanted to do this and this and this and this and this is and it's like you're not ever going to be finished. And we have this thing you've probably shared it with your channel before it's called MVP.

And it's like, it's not the most valuable player. It's what is the minimum viable product? So if you're going out and this is your first thing, Don't try to build something like it's got to it's gonna happen. Nope section, it's not I got a house like just get something.

What happened? Other thing that I see the huge problem and what you said really triggered my thoughts on it and this is people. Are always looking at somebody else and trying to copy their success and it's like this guys the way he talks on screen is like this look he's doing well I have to do mine just like him and you know and it's like, If you're not genuine and authentic and and acting like you normally act most of the time people are gonna see you through it and they're like, I don't I don't really like that guy because something's awesome right like he's fake he's not real yeah, yeah I could for example put a lamborghini behind me right here, but that's just not authentic.

I ride a bike most of the times. I live in a nice little pedestrian town, like for authenticity like I'm true like I tell you guys like a disability business that you want to live in and enjoy. Because like there's more important things in life like in my backdrop if you're watching this on YouTube like I've gotten my three kids because that's my reminder to myself and also my reminder to you guys like I align with a certain type of person and like my goal is not to become the decimal millionaire and to have you know, the cars and all that stuff like mine is to build a business.

I can tell my three kids like we can be proud of serving the right person the right way and doing good in the world and making time for the little people and the important things they're out there in the world, so I think that the genuine angle. If you try to just copy and and be bigger than life like I see some people on Facebook ads especially trying to be don't fall for that track, you know see through that see what's real see what's fake and in a line with with reality align with with real people on that straight advice, yeah and and quick comment on that John I was gonna point out the fact that you have the pictures of your kids in the background and I think that that's super cool and what it represents is that's that's what's important to you right and so if you had a Lambie in the back then then the fact that you're trying to show that you have a Lamborghini in the back that's what's important to you right so that works for some people, you know that but if that's not you don't don't rent a Lamborghini and put it there just for take although I will be honest.

I was biking my kids the school the other day and in our town there's a beautiful Lamborghini park and and like one of the coffee shops a little parking ballet or whatever and for a brief moment, like I had the angel in the devil on me. I wanted to like stop out and take one of those selfie videos.

In front of the Lamborghini saying by my course but I realized that was just for fun well. I'll tell you a quick one this is a super quick sucks because I never pressed for time but I did take a selfie in front of a Lamborghini but it was because I I had moved to Park City and and I wasn't trying to say this is my Lamborghini, but I took my phone and I was like, maybe the weird face and I was like, this is what you see in Park City, it was a Lamborghini.

With ski racks parked right next to I think it was like a course whiskey racks and it was like the things you see in parts of that is awesome, it would've been a great Facebook ad though I wasn't trying to make people think that it was me okay all right, so hey, so wish those member is clearly it's stood the test of time it's not done developing so I wonder even after 12 years of developing maturing in the market seeing what's out there, what can you kind of let the people?

Watching this, you know, close actors publishing date what's on the radar another there's some really big features that you're getting kind of excited about what can you tell us is coming even after 12 years of development some of the most amazing features we have coming. Well that's a that's a really good question and there there is a lot of stuff that that I'm super excited about sometimes I like to be somewhat careful but not not lay it out very specifically because you do have you know people that they're like, oh that's that's a good idea.

I'm gonna go add that to to my product but I'll tell you I think in my opinion. There's a big shift coming with membership sites and the shift has to do with all of the the newer technology, you know, you and I were talking about my past before and in where I used a shopping cart system and we just outgrew it it's because they didn't even have an API just in case you want an API is something for back-end like the developer geeks so that they can make one thing work with another one and so.

On with the new thing with the new version that we released we we released an integration with the company called Zapier okay, it's not Xavier it's Zapier because on their thing it says Zapier makes you happier. I've always called his eight year so well, they should have they should have put two peas in it.

I don't know that's how you spell Zapier so anyways squirrel Zapier kind of. Wrecked. Kind of represents what I say is the new shift and the new shift is taking. Less control taking control away from your membership site, meaning in the past people were saying well, I have to make it I'm using this membership site it or this membership system and if it doesn't work with that membership system, then I can't use it right so now without here their middleware so we have ways of things that we do with our system.

And you connect them with out here and exactly are connects you with another system. Many of those things that are popular that you can do is out here like for example. I'll tell you this is one that we're we're about to release is when somebody signs up for your membership just boom send something to your slack channel so that you know and it's like I'm always on slack boom it's like hey, I just got a new member what how do you think they would feel if right after they signed up you contacted them directly and they Recognized that it wasn't an automated follow-up right and so there's a powerful and personal yeah yeah and so I think that that's one of the things that we're most excited about and there's also I'll.

Try not to give away too much, I'll use the word automation there's also there's also some interesting things coming with automation that I think is I think it's gonna open the doors for the most flexibility you've ever seen some really excited about that wow and for everybody who's watching this I don't know what he's talking about, so I'm yeah, I'm my curiosity is very peaked right now, so you didn't say what I thought you were gonna say so so good job on you and and there's there's another piece that I I think I forgot to.

Mention so if you if you step back and you listen to all the things that that we said in this interview, you'll see there's kind of a bigger picture going on when I'm saying integrations integrations integrations, so here's here's a challenge for us we get we get contacted all the time by these systems and they're like, can you build an integration with us?

And many times it's a system that doesn't it's not necessarily popular in the US let's say they're popular in Europe or Australia or or something and and we do have customers there but the thing is they they have a lot of their customers that are using our software and like can you integrate with wish list member can you and nobody's really act like they represent for us, you know, we get a couple people can you do this and so with what I said?

Up here you can you can do all that thing all that stuff was after and then also Zapier has some competition but the thing that's probably the most significant is we're just about to release our integration with WooCommerce and the thing that really gonna yeah and I'm super pumped about this because of the way we did it and the way we did it was it's kind of our high level philosophy where we're not gonna we're not gonna hijack your payments.

If you don't have to collect your payments through us and then you're shackled and chains to always have to use us know if you start using WooCommerce and you collect your payments with food commerce and then it it talks directly with wish list member and then something happens and you want to leave and use some other system that's okay, that's okay because we understand what it's like to have to do something that you didn't want to do and it's never a good thing.

Here's the big thing John and I didn't even realize this myself until just recently, um, lots of things are changing worldwide because of security and payments and everything and in Europe in European Union the big thing was GDPR and so we had to we had to put a lot of our development plans on hold to get things working, right GPR and when you look at it from a big picture and you say okay, everybody's got, To work together on this like WordPress has part of GPR built into it, how can we make ours work with bears and not read reinvent the wheel right now when I say we're integrating with WooCommerce, it's like wait a minute that's just one integration right no if you go to WooCommerce and you look at their payment integration.

I looked at it yesterday there's a list of 65 different payment integrations if you have they're a powerhouse right they they're they're running on like, 20 50 million sites so they have the team to do anything and everything and they also built it in a way where they don't have to build everything so they now put the power in this payment system like here's our ecosphere of newcomers if you're willing to build this and we let you tie directly in it and it works what wecomers it will work with what's this memory so that's like, um, super excited about that because it's it's incredibly powerful couple that with the stuff that you didn't know about it's gonna be yeah for you some.

But you guys are working smart and hard but your focus on not duplicating efforts and doing the best thing you can to work with synergy with everything else that already best and breed there because you know, there are other options and for those of you who are are watching here, you know, there's several options for your membership sites solution, but also what you tend to see and I've seen this as well where let's say you have a membership solution.

I won't name any names but that has its own payment gateway and as it's own coupon system and has its own dashboard area, but maybe they're not all the best. And you end up having to integrate it with something else maybe like a thrive cart or some other payment solution or WooCommerce now you're in this world of you've got system.

A your membership system has got its own payment process its own coupons and all this stuff and then you have your actual system you're using but because that membership solution tried to be everything for you, you now have a bit of complexity in your system which which where do I set my price where do I set my coupons on where do my where do I direct my customers to to see the stuff they purchase?

I like the direction that wishes members taken where You just. Own it. You know who you are and you know who others should be in that space and you work together with them so they don't need to trip over themselves to figure out what settings lie where Any comments on that?

Yeah. Yeah, I think you did a really good job of describing that and I will follow up to say because we did it this this way and company XYZ did it that way it's not to say our way is right and there is wrong or there's this right in ours wrong.

It's, Just. Some people do things certainly and other people doing other ways and the reason that we went that direction it goes way back to win and we didn't completely realize it at the time but we wanted we were trying to go for a flexibility. And it's taking all taken all of this time to get to where we're at to recognize that the the power and the flexibility is is.

Because of the way technology has recently changed it It's it's gonna get interesting. It's certainly low. I think you're good at pretty well for the future though with with your Zapier integration with WooCommerce trying to do what you guys do best. So let me ask you. Tracy if there's somebody listening who uses a separate system, but they like what they're hearing how difficult is it to go from system membership system?

A into a wishlist member. Any tips to help people in that migration? Man, that's a really good question John and and we get that a lot and it it's a, Little bit difficult for us to answer because we don't always have access to those systems. We never look at our competitors their actual systems to see what they're doing can you know, we always just look at art but I will tell you if you're let's just let's just use good job for example because we talked about them before sure again.

I love kjobi. I haven't met those guys some of the few in the industry that they've seen really really cool and I know a lot of friends that that love them. But with the system like cajavi you you built out your platform there and let's just say man something happens and you want to lead them.

Well, you know, you definitely have the ability to export your data, okay. And so probably they'll let you export their their name email address username which is usually their email address anyways and, Maybe their password okay I don't know that because a password is a big security thing consistent, sometimes it's it's encrypted some systems just they don't really take the security that it's not super high on the priority list.

So if you were using a system like that, you could take the data and then you could rebuild over and wish this member and then you we have a system for importing like you could import all this. So that means anything and everything out there, you could always import.

Now, if you're looking at a plug-in, Closed of the plug-ins use the wordpress users database. So they're already in your WordPress system with the username and password that password is encrypted but we're not controlling it. WordPress is. So you basically you can turn off one plug-in and then you can turn on the new plug-in in this case versus member.

They would all be there and then you would select them and you say I'm gonna give them access to this membership level. And you know, There's always a challenge if it's a recurring payment and the other system was handling the payment. So there every scenario is different but that's kind of the high level those are the two primary ways that you can.

That's awesome. And I've gone through the process several times each platform is different but in general also I've reached out to wishlist support and they've been super helpful to the point even building some features or building some integrations that were needed for my specific project. So, I think that yeah, it's I tossed you a hard question there.

So you did a great job of answering that one Tracy, So yeah we've been on for a while now tracing this has been awesome I hope you guys are super enjoying this interview and seeing really one of the I'm gonna call you the dogfighter or one of the OGs of the membership site game.

You guys have done some amazing stuff. There will be links down below of this video and if I turn this into a podcast where you can get maybe a special deal on wishlist member depending on when you're watching this what personally going on. Tracy, I just think that you've done an awesome job of first building the platform and also explaining it in kind of guiding it and being open with your evolution.

As software developer as a plug-in you know co-founder and I think everybody listening in you know Tracy's been very humble in talking there. Oh, we made a mistake here. We've done certain things and laying it all out there tonight. I appreciate that because he's being genuine like we talked about earlier in the podcast, but what I take from that is that this is a platform that doesn't think it knows everything.

It's growing it's learning it's evolving and it's saying up on time with the integrated nature of software and WordPress in the future of building online businesses. So, I think that, A great job of Tracy are there any questions I should have asked in the conversation that I just hadn't thought to ask yet.

Anything you would add on Man, I appreciate that. John that means a lot to me. You know, we don't know everything and we don't know some of the new technology that's coming and when it gets here, we'll we'll probably follow the puck right and and get on that way.

I think he did a pretty good job. I can't think of any questions that that you probably should have asked that he didn't. I mean, I it's one of those things where I think you and I probably could go on talking for hours and stuff I think so my alarm clock is telling me that I need to let my people go a little bit.

Now, but I really do appreciate you having me and I'm a big fan of the work that you've been doing online. So that's kind of cool when you can come across somebody and see what they're doing and be like, you know, that's the type of person that that you when I saw your stuff.

I just felt like man, that's the kind of guy that I I think I could hang out with. Yeah, but in the funny thing is, you know, you actually live in our Grew up in the town. I'm currently living in so if you ever do come on back and visit home the first beer is definitely on me So guys anybody watching this video this has been awesome about an hour so I spent here with Tracy.

If you want to learn more about wishlist member you can click on the links down below income mesh com slash wish list number. That's my affiliate link. I appreciate you guys use that but also just go to wishlist member and search it on Google. These guys are everywhere they've worked with amazing companies, they've got some great stuff coming the trace list you guys in on and I just want to say thank you Tracy and yeah the whole income mesh community thanks you as well.

So, I hope you have a Fantastic day and and looking forward to all the great things you have coming up here. All right, thanks John appreciate it. All right, take care.

About the author 


John Whitford is an entrepreneur who has built over 12 profitable online blogs and businesses. He's also the founder of Unbeatable Tech, a data-driven digital marketing company that specializes in sales funnel implementation for both his own businesses and clients alike. John loves to be a beach bum while brainstorming new ideas for marketing strategies, but he's always excited to take on another project!

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