Conscious Growth Club Q&A

I’ve been receiving some interesting questions, feedback, and comments since the launch of Conscious Growth Club started a few days ago. I think it makes sense to answer them all in one place since I imagine that more people have similar questions about the group.

I didn’t pre-write this in advance in case you’re wondering. In fact, I hadn’t decided to write such a post till I woke up this morning and had some ideas swirling in my head regarding recent questions and comments about the group.

How many members does Conscious Growth Club currently have?

Updated May 4, 2019: Presently we have more than 150 members.

Could you offer a monthly membership option?

I don’t intend to ever offer a monthly option for Conscious Growth Club. I’ve always intended this to be a yearly membership with the invitation to renew at the end of each year.

A monthly membership wouldn’t serve our purpose nearly as well. This is a group for people who really want to invest in their personal growth. A monthly membership would attract a lot of short-term dabblers, which isn’t a good match for people who are long-term committed. Given how this group works, catering to those with a more casual interest would be a distraction.

An annual membership requires a higher commitment level. That makes for a smaller yet more tightly bonded group. When you join, you’re joining a group of people who are also willing and able to make at least a one-year commitment. Most people aren’t going to do that, but if you are that kind of person who really wants to invest in your self-development for meaningful, long-term improvements, you’ll probably get a lot of value from being involved in a community of people who are highly committed to this aim as well.

This group is designed to provide the most benefit to members who choose to renew year after year – for 3 years, 5, years, 10 years, and beyond. And that’s because this is how self-development tends to work. Short-term gains can happen, and that’s part of the group too, but for long-term gains it’s all about consistency – making intelligent choices and taking focused action over a period of years. It takes time to develop good habits that serve us well for life.

Maintaining a low churn rate, at least over the course of a year, serves our purpose well. It allows sufficient time for members to get to know each other, to care about each other, and to relate to each other as friends and peers. The ability to make dozens of intelligent, growth-oriented friends and to maintain those relationships over a period of years is a significant part of the value of Conscious Growth Club. We’re providing a service to actively help people develop and maintain those relationships.

I’d join if there was a payment plan. Will you consider offering one?

We tested a payment plan during the Early Access period – it was offered from the start when we first opened in April 2017. It did attract more members who might not have otherwise joined, but unfortunately it didn’t work out well enough to make me want to continue offering it, so I’ve decided not to offer a payment plan going forward.

The payment plan added more complexity and distraction, which I disliked and would rather not deal with anymore. Some members overstretched themselves financially and didn’t complete their payments, and they had to be dropped from the group. Sometimes people wanted to put their payments on pause. Other times people decided they could just quit after a month or two, trying to treat it like a monthly pay-as-you-go plan, despite the fact that they’d agreed to commit to the full year.

The actual experience of offering a payment plan was disappointing to say the least, even though it did result in a net gain from a numbers standpoint, including some people who’ve been excellent members. Alignment matters more to me though, and offering a payment plan ran contrary to that purpose.

Most members chose to pay in full anyway, so the payment plan wasn’t as popular. I fully expect that if we offered a payment plan, we’d attract more members, perhaps as much as 20% more. But to me it’s just not worth all the problems and distractions it creates.

It’s not as good for the community to have some members dropping out along the way for payment related reasons. When other members invest in you and then you drop out, you let everyone down.

It feels more aligned to get everyone’s payments handled up front as they join. Then everyone inside knows they’re fully paid up for the year, and we can be fully present with investing in each other for the year. Then no one has to wonder who might drop out along the way because they couldn’t or wouldn’t honor the payment plan.

I especially disliked having to drop someone from the group because they didn’t make their payments. It would be unfair to other members to keep them in the group though.

If people want to finance their memberships some other way, that’s up to them. I no longer wish to be involved in extending credit though. I seemed like a good idea at the time, and I’m glad that we at least tested it, but I like the dynamic a lot better without it. I think it yields a healthier community inside. And people can always save up and join in a future year if they so desire.

$2K is a lot of money!

Is it really?

For many it seems so. For some it’s a fairly small sum. Whether it seems big or small isn’t absolute but is of course relative to one’s situation, priorities, resources, and resourcefulness.

This amount works out to $5.47 per day for a one-year membership – basically a daily Starbucks. Is that a lot to invest in one’s personal growth each day? We can say that it’s a matter of perspective, but given the choice between forming a group of people who value their personal growth more or less than coffee, I think I’ll go with those who will prioritize their Conscious Growth Club membership over a vanilla latte.

On the inside many members are leveraging their Conscious Growth Club membership to help increase their financial abundance, such as by developing new income streams. Some members maintain progress logs to keep us posted on how they’re doing.

It’s good for all of us to help such members succeed. If members do better financially, they’re more likely to renew and less likely to drop out. And of course people would rather not see their friends in the group have to drop out due to a lack of funds if they can help prevent that. So there are good incentives for us wanting to help each other prosper financially.

I’ve seen a similar dynamic in other paid groups. People tend to be more invested in helping each other succeed, so they can all continue to leverage the ongoing benefits of being in the group. I find it especially fascinating that maintaining access to positive peer groups can be very financially motivating too. That’s been the case for me as well. It’s fun to hang out with ambitious, action-oriented, and playfully abundant people, especially when you get to do so on a daily basis.

I invest a lot more than $2K per year in my own personal growth, and if someone else had formed a group like this, I’d pay to join it. Such groups can pay off really well. My positive experiences in other paid groups helped motivate me to get Conscious Growth Club up and running, especially when I saw that I could offer something unique that didn’t exist yet.

I’m currently a member of the Transformational Leadership Council (Jack Canfield’s group, also seen in the movie The Secret), and the dues for that are $2K per year. With the costs of attending their retreats twice a year and Rachelle going with me (they charge extra for guests), it really costs me more like $7-9K per year for the membership. I think it’s a good deal.

Last year I spent $30K for a one-year membership in a mastermind group, and I spent about $12K on a related group the year before that. I also maintain some other memberships with varying prices. To me this is just a perfectly normal and intelligent thing to do. Of course it took me a while to reach this point, but I feel pretty solidly planted in this type of reality now. Such investments generally pay off very well, both personally and professionally. Given what I know, I’d only stop investing in these kinds of groups if I deliberately wanted to slow myself down.

I’d be hard pressed to think of intelligent and successful friends who don’t continue to invest in their self-development. Personally it’s one of my favorite areas to invest my own money as well. The long-term gains from doing so are excellent. I started with free books from the library, then progressed to books and audiobooks, then live events and courses, and eventually clubs and mastermind groups. This is actually a fairly common progression, although today people are likely to leverage the Internet a lot more than I did when I started.

I realize that putting a price tag on this isn’t a perfect filter, but it’s a simple one to implement, and it works reasonably well in practice. It helps us form a stable group of people who are genuinely willing to help each other get results. It’s also easier than having a complicated application process.

For one reason or another, most people will not invest $2K or more in their self-development. Conscious Growth Club wasn’t designed for most people though. I designed it to serve people who are willing and able to invest $2K per year – and to serve them well.

I can’t afford it.

That is okay. You may be right. Life is full of items and experiences we can’t afford to buy, even for the wealthiest in the world.

Just do your best to fully leverage the value of what you can afford. Conscious Growth Club will be around a long time. Maybe you’ll join us at another time. The door remains open for you when you’re ready.

In the meantime, be sure to fully leverage what’s already been provided. I’ve spent a decade and a half of my life writing about 1400 free articles and recording dozens of free audios and videos. These are also uncopyrighted and donated to the public domain, and I keep them available for people to access freely. You don’t even have to opt-in to anything to access them.

The first major course we developed was designed to help people improve their abundance alignment, hence the title Deep Abundance Integration. It’s an in-depth 36-hour program and only costs $97. As people have noted, it feels more like a $1K program. I deliberately priced it low to make it more affordable for people who want help in this area of life. We recorded it live over 30 days in August 2018, and hundreds of people have already taken this course with more still enrolling in it each month. I’m keeping it available indefinitely because it serves people well; it helps them take more steps in the direction of abundance. You can see the feedback people have shared about it if you’re curious.

Additionally, some people treat the affordability issue as a personal challenge. It creates a conflict between their desire to participate in a personally meaningful experience and their current self-image that’s still keeping them stuck in some ways. Such inner conflicts are common in life, and they actually help us grow – if we allow ourselves to accept them as invitations instead of rejecting them as punishments or taunts.

There are active members of Conscious Growth Club who found it challenging to afford their membership, and they decided to see if they could make it happen anyway. For some people there can be a personal growth journey just to join such a group. This often involves some reframes about what’s personally possible. For some people it was a big stretch experience to attend one or more of our previous live workshops as well. Just getting to the hotel can feel like a major accomplishment.

When I was younger, I would have found it difficult to pay $2000 for any sort of personal growth program. But eventually I did begin to invest. In college I paid $500 to attend a 4-day speed reading course. The following year I bought into a 6-month coaching program, which I think was around $900. Later I attended some seminars that were $500 to $800. Sometimes the money seemed like it was well spent, but not always. There is some genuine risk in these kinds of investments. Over time the payoff is very good though.

For some people to be able to join Conscious Growth Club, they have to go through a bit of a self-image upgrade as well, being able to see themselves as part of a community of 100+ people who are very growth-oriented.

Years ago when I was just getting started in Toastmasters, a wise mentor told me that he found it empowering to keep joining groups where he barely felt qualified to be a member. He said that had helped him grow tremendously in life. At the time he was inviting me to consider switching from my fairly typical Toastmasters club to an advanced club that he was in. I went to one of the new club’s meetings as a guest and was immediately intimidated by the quality of the speakers there. There were some amazing pros in the group – eloquent and dynamic speakers that I could scarcely hope to match. I joined anyway, realizing that I wouldn’t feel too comfortable at first but that it would surely be a growth experience if I stuck with it, and it was. Less than 5 years later, I confidently delivered my first 3-day workshop for 115 people at Harrah’s Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. That was also the event where Rachelle and I first met – a nice reward indeed. 🙂

Some of life’s rewards can be challenging to access. Conscious Growth Club isn’t meant to be easy for everyone to access. It is accessible in that it’s within the reach of plenty of people, including those who are already inside. But that doesn’t mean that the journey to get there will be easy. For some it will be quite challenging. Is that a problem or an invitation? It depends on how you want to frame it.

What you’re doing with Conscious Growth Club could really impact a lot of lives if it were free and available to everyone. People shouldn’t have to pay for transformation. It should be free.

Transformation is free. A membership in Conscious Growth Club is not.

If I offered something similar in design and made it free, and we invited people to join for free, it might still be interesting, but it wouldn’t be Conscious Growth Club.

Conscious Growth Club is a paid program, and delivering it in this form has many advantages. The investments people make help to ensure that the group has ample resources, making it more sustainable. This also makes it easy to investment in its ongoing development. Having a price to join attracts more committed, ambitious, and action-oriented people than a free community would. It keeps the group more manageable in size, so we can give members more personal attention, such as the many hours I’ve spent coaching people on our coaching calls. This also creates a sense of accountability among members to do their part to get their money’s worth from their memberships.

From 2006 to 2011, we ran free public forums for 5 years (at a loss to provide the service). More than 50K people created accounts, and there were more than a million posts. That experience ran its course for me.

In free circles, people mostly talk about personal growth. They discuss and debate quite a bit. They usually hesitate when it comes to bold action though.

Our free forums were quite possibly the best of their kind anywhere. We had a good run, but that ship has already sailed.

Give this some thought: Would you rather participate every day in a free forum with 50,000 members, where no one has invested a dime to be there? Or would you rather participate every day in a paid forum with about 100 members (1/500th as many as the free forum), knowing that they all invested $2000 for access? That isn’t a trick question, and there’s no single answer that’s right for everyone. It’s simply a question of what’s right for you, right now. I spent many years of my life having the free experience too, but right now I very much prefer the paid community experience. It’s just a better match all around.

Free is a good start for many people. I also benefitted from other people’s free content and free communities when I first began on this path. But eventually I saw that I benefitted more when I paid money and had some skin in the game. The risk of loss motivated me to try harder and take more action. And paid communities tend to have very different dynamics inside than free ones.

When someone pays $2K to be part of a group with 100+ other people making a similar commitment, it raises the accountability bar for everyone. Free doesn’t provide much accountability to take action and get results. No one needs a result when they aren’t invested. If people aren’t getting results but there was no significant risk to them anyway, people are frequently okay with that. They just move on to something else that’s also free. In the long run though, this approach is limiting. It can feel pretty circular after a while.

It would be wonderful if people would routinely make powerful progress just the same when they pay nothing, but that usually isn’t the case. We frequently need some risk to drive us. We’ll often do more to avoid losing than we will to accomplish something risk-free.

Having some risk of loss isn’t a bad thing. Risk can be stimulating and motivating. It’s what drives many entrepreneurs.

When you invest financially, you feel that pressure to act. You sense the risk of loss if you don’t do your part. And that works well for a lot of people, including me. It gets us taking action and testing ideas, and from that we eventually get some meaningful results.

I’ve invested a lot to make Conscious Growth Club a reality. It was a risk to attempt to create such a group. It required a lot of nurturing, careful decision-making, and co-creative solutions. It hasn’t been an easy project, and I never expected it to be. I feel very good about what we’ve built thus far and how it will continue to evolve.

I’ve explored a lot of ways to provide value to people for free. For the past couple of years, I’ve felt inspired to explore the paid side. I genuinely like both, but these days I feel more fascinated and inspired to invest more time and energy on the paid side. I like working with smaller groups of highly committed people. I like the exchange of value and the mutual support. It all feels very aligned to me right now.

People don’t have to pay for transformation, and if anyone prefers to remain in the free space, that’s totally fine of course. I expect to be working mainly on the paid side for the coming years though. I really like how it’s going so far, and I feel motivated to keep exploring it. I think it’s been a very healthy exploration for my own path of growth too. I feel very excited and alive at the prospect of continuing along this path. It’s a compelling type of experience to explore.

I loved your invitation video, but there was one thing that triggered me, which was that you used $1997 for the price instead of an even $2000. That seemed gimmicky since it’s so common in marketing circles.

I did actually give this some thought when someone else made similar comments at the start of the Early Access sign-ups in 2017.

I don’t really know whether a price that ends in 7, 9, 0, or any other digit would yield more sign-ups because I haven’t split-tested it. So I can’t claim to use prices that end in 7 for optimization reasons due to any testing. I do remember reading in an ebook years ago that people generally like prices that end in 7. If there’s any truth to that, I have no problem doing what people might like. Why should I deliberately do something they may not like as much? The actual price difference isn’t going to matter much to myself or anyone else. But if someone didn’t join Conscious Growth Club because some part of their brain subconsciously rejected a price that ended in 0, that would kind of suck for all involved, wouldn’t it? No one benefits in that situation.

$2000 feels okay to me, but $1997 genuinely feels more aligned. Somehow $1997 feels slightly more fun to me, maybe because I’ve bought other items at that price, felt good about those purchases, and got some solid value from them.

To me the $1997 price helps convey a sense of value, like you’re paying a bit less than expected, but you’re actually getting more value in return. I think that’s very true of Conscious Growth Club, so I feel this framing fits. For whatever reason, when I see other programs prices at $1997, I figure they’re likely to be good values and that I’ll probably get my money’s worth. When I spend $1997 on a course, for instance, it’s probably worth at least 10X to me in terms of the value I receive from it.

Using an exact price of $2000 feels like it sends a flatter message, such as: You get only what you pay for. What’s inside won’t impress or surprise you. It will merely match your expectations.

I think where a flat price would convey a better message would be if we were pricing something a lot higher, and part of the value proposition is that people are willing to pay this much. If we had a $25K per year mastermind group, for instance, I’d rather price it at $25,000 even instead of $24,997.

I also mentioned in the video that I like prices that end in 7. In Las Vegas where I live, it’s considered a lucky number because 7-7-7 is a win on local slot machines. Many places have phone numbers here that include lots of 7s, like numbers ending in 7777. Then again, maybe I like prices that end in 7 for the same reason that a lot of other people do.

Nevertheless, I do understand the negative reaction to all things that connect with marketing. I do put a lot of thought into making decisions that feel aligned, sometimes to the point of overkill. Keep in mind that I don’t have the same negative reactions to marketing that some people do. I find many aspects of marketing to be fun, especially the creative side. At its best it’s about helping people do what’s in their best interests anyway. Once I saw that, it helped me develop a certain appreciation for it.

What’s the difference between coaching and therapy?

I like to think of it as the difference between training and healing. There is some overlap between the two though, and coaching can often be therapeutic.

Think of this as the difference between a personal trainer and a doctor. If your health is basically okay and you want to improve your fitness, you’d probably favor the trainer to help you get certain results.

But if you have a broken arm, the doctor would be a better choice. If you go to the trainer instead, that’s going to be messy and painful until you get your arm fixed first. It’s also likely to be messy and painful if people try to treat me as their therapist.

If you’re in a mental and emotional condition that you’d generally describe as okay or decent, and you’re functional enough to be able to take some actions in a new direction if you felt motivated to do so, then coaching and an empowering peer group could be terrific additions to your life. They can help you achieve better results than you otherwise would on your own.

But if you can barely function, such as if you’re dealing with deep depression or other serious mental or emotional issues, therapy or some other form of help would be more practical than coaching.

I have a lot of experience with coaching and helping people improve their lives, and I’m good friends with dozens of other coaches as well, so I’m very well immersed in that space. I continue to invest in up-leveling my skills in this area too. I want to keep getting better and better at it.

I love working with people who are generally okay, but they know they could be doing better. I like helping people progress from moderately functional to thriving, prosperous, and inspired. For a variety of reasons, I feel that’s my role to play for now.

Consequently, Conscious Growth Club may not be the best place for healing deep-seated traumas and such if you perceive a real need for that right now. There are other people and groups who specialize in trauma, but I don’t count myself among them. My life has had its ups and downs, but overall it hasn’t been particularly traumatic.

I do feel a lot of compassion for people who are dealing with trauma and a lot of stuckness surrounding it, but I don’t feel I have as much to offer such people. I can offer listening and understanding, but I don’t feel I possess the skills to directly help people with trauma-based issues. I feel much better equipped to help people who are generally okay, and they want to keep making improvements beyond that.

Even so, my work has helped a lot of people with healing. It has apparently prevented many suicides, based on the feedback people have shared about that. I’m glad that it’s capable of having that effect, and it’s good to know that such ripples are being created. I cannot say that this was deliberate on my part though, other than perhaps being a result of holding the intention to create positive ripples in people’s lives.

There are other ways to frame the difference between coaching and therapy too. Some say that coaching is future facing while therapy delves into the past. I’m not sure it’s so clear cut as that, however. Past issues, such as limiting beliefs, often arise in coaching too. And I think healing can be approached in a future facing way as well. If you have a broken arm, you may prefer to focus on getting it fixed as opposed to delving in the reasons why it happened and how to forgive yourself. 🙂

What do you see as the future path for Conscious Growth Club? Where do you think it will go in the years ahead?

This year the main focus will be on improving the online experience. I’d also like to help more of our members resolve alignment issues that are holding them back from really hitting their creative strides, which will help with their abundance alignment as well.

On the inside, it’s actually a very creative group. Sometimes Conscious Growth Club feels like a creative playground, especially when I check the forums and see new songs or photographs or launch ideas that our members are working on. There are lots of creative projects in motion inside the group, and I expect we’ll see more popping up in the months ahead. I think this is a very positive energy to foster.

I expect that over time, the creative energy and alignment of the group is going to increase. If I had to make a prediction, my expectation would be that more members are going to move away from doing less creative work, and more will allow themselves to be swept up in the desire to express more of who they really are into the world. I think there will be more music, writing, art, films, designs, software, and other forms of creative work spiraling towards fruition inside the group. This kind of energy is already there, but it feels like it hasn’t fully unfolded yet.

I feel the presence of this creative energy inside the group myself a lot. It’s fair to say that the recent Deep Abundance Integration and Submersion deep dives were largely inspired by this creative energy swirling around inside Conscious Growth Club. I love this kind of energy so much. It gives me a feeling of creative limitlessness. I feel like it would be so much fun to keep creating more deep dives and challenging myself to deliver them in different ways.

I think that Conscious Growth Club is going to help a lot creative projects move from imagination to reality in the years ahead. Many members are already moving in this direction. I think this place is gradually evolving into something like an artists’ community from the Renaissance period. There’s going to be a lot of cross-pollination of interesting creative skills, and that’s going to lead to some really interesting developments.

We’re investing a lot in helping our members grow stronger as creative human beings. Month by month the shifts can seem like baby steps, but over a period of years, they’re going to build up more and more. I can already see how far many members have come since they first joined (and how far Conscious Growth Club has come since we started), but we’re still very much in the early game of this beautiful unfolding.

I think that bringing members together in person semi-regularly will be an important part of our path going forward. We do have that capacity, having done 16 live events since 2009. Many attendees from previous events are now members. So if you’ve been to one or more of our workshops before, you’re likely to feel right at home inside the group. The vibe is similar in some ways.

For this year, however, I want to keep investing in improving the online experience for our members. We have a strong foundation already, and I’d like to strengthen it with more deep dive courses, and by testing and polishing some new features we’ve recently added.

This launch is our first significant infusion of new members since we started, so I’d like to make sure we help them feel welcome and get acclimated too.

Conscious Growth Club is very much an evolving organism – very fluid and dynamic. I feel lucky to be watching it develop.