Meet the social worker who built a five-figure paid membership helping adults with ADHD
Featured in this Story of Awesome: Arc Alumni Coaching Groups
Launched December 2017
ARC Alumni and Coaching Groups is a paid membership site for adults with ADHD to develop habits, resilience, and self-compassion so they can accomplish their big goals.
Eric’s Mighty Moment: “The results I was getting for clients in my online groups were dramatically better than what I saw working with clients one-on-one.”
Eric Tivers was doing just fine as a clinical social worker with a thriving private practice, and a side hustle as a podcaster.
He had absolutely no idea that he had a calling as a mentor and coach online for groups of adults with ADHD:
“During my podcast I impulsively, stream-of-consciousness said, ‘Hey I'm thinking about doing these online coaching and accountability groups and I'll have more information for listeners next week.'”
Little did he know just how much demand there was for this kind of online group coaching.
Eric quickly put together an intensive 10-week coaching program called ADHD ReWired, with three weekly live video sessions and two weekly accountability breakout groups. While there was a ton of interest from his podcast listeners and private practice clients, the stream of new applicants was a huge surprise.
Yet, when he reflected on it, Eric knew that the fastest-growing segment of people being diagnosed with ADHD were adults, not children, as many might assume. These adults with ADHD were bright entrepreneurs, professionals, and academics with big ambitions and no room for their ADHD to get in the way of their time management and productivity:
“For a lot of people who are diagnosed late in life there's a lot of shame. Helping people realize that they are not alone is really, really powerful. We bring people together to gain a deep sense of acceptance and understanding for who they are, what they can do to improve their lives, and to develop a sense of resilience, grit, and self-compassion.”
Before long, Eric made another surprising discovery.
The members of his coaching groups were seeing better results than his one-to-one private practice clients. That was all he needed to shift his entire business to focus on his online coaching groups:
“A big part of what makes these groups magical is when members realize that other members are struggling with the same things that they are navigating and afraid to talk about. Even better? Members see other members just like themselves struggling and persevering to overcome the same challenges.
We see these people doing amazing things, and hear them being hard on themselves. My members quickly say to each other, ‘Cut yourself some slack, why are you being so hard on yourself?’ But then they realize, ‘Wait. I'm saying the exact same things to myself,’ so fellow members become these mirrors reflecting back at them.
For the first time there's no judgment—it's just acceptance and a shame-free space.”
Eric set up his coaching program to run three times per year, or for three “seasons”, with two “sections” running simultaneously, each with 12 members. To start, he emailed materials to group members, and ran live Zoom video sessions, coordinated via a shared Google calendar.
To bring his people together, he created a Facebook group. It was what he saw other coaches use, so he didn’t think a lot about the decision.
That was a mistake.
Many of his members were not fans of Facebook, and it’s not hard to see that a platform rife with distractions might not be the best fit with those struggling with ADHD.
Next Eric tried Slack, but was uninspired. Worse, Slack didn’t do a great job introducing his members to each other, and the pricing model that charged per member didn’t make sense for a growing business.
Eric went in search of an alternative. Then, in late December 2017, he came across Mighty Networks through a colleague.
He knew almost immediately that creating a Mighty Network was the answer.
On his own Mighty Network, he could minimize the distractions and create a well-structured community with all of his coaching groups organized in one spot that was all his own, instantly available on every platform–web, iPhone, iPad, and Android.
Coaching group members were invited into his new Mighty Network for the duration of the 10-week program, and shared a private group with the other members of their section. Even better, they could also connect within a larger group for both sections progressing through the program that season at the same time.
Now what? A community for Eric’s alumni
When one of Eric’s members applied to join another season of the 10-week program for the sixth time, Eric decided it was finally time to offer graduates the continued support and connections of an alumni community.
In March 2018, he launched a second Mighty Network for alumni of his ADHD ReWired coaching program, which he calls the ARC (ADHD ReWired Community) Alumni and Coaching Groups.
It’s only open to alumni of his ReWired program and he charges $39.99 per month or $399.99 per year for membership.
The alumni community offers:
- A weekly 75-minute live video group session on a topic
- “Adult Study Hall” sessions where members can gather online to co-work on the “im-bor-tant”— important but boring—things in their lives they otherwise have trouble tackling like taxes
- Monthly webinars with guest speakers
Here’s how the ARC Alumni and Coaching Groups Mighty Network is structured:
ReWired Coaching Groups – $1,650 one-time fee
- 10-week program
- 3x/week one-hour Coaching Sessions
- 2x/week 30-minute Accountability Team Meetings
- Section Group
- Season Group (both sections)
Alumni Membership – $39.99/month or $399.99/year
- Weekly 75-minute live video concept session
- 5x/week one-hour Adult Study Hall coworking sessions
- Monthly Webinar with guest speaker
- Monthly Happy Hour video call
- Special Interest Accountability Groups focused on sleep, cleaning, etc.
Members use a unique naming convention that Eric developed, starting with their first name, followed by the season and section number, separated by a period, then their last name. For the upcoming 20th season, a member in section 1 would go by “first name 20.1 last name.” This structure enables members to get a sense of how long someone has been working on the ReWired concepts and practices, wherever they happen to encounter them in the Mighty Network.
The alumni community has been a success, with 80% of coaching program grads choosing to join, totaling just over 200 alumni members. This revenue now makes up for the third “season” of coaching groups that Eric chose to discontinue as he rebalanced his life and work.
And members are continuing to get results:
“We have one member in our alumni community who was about ready to call it quits on her PhD because she was in year eight. The alumni community rallied behind her. Next week, she's defending her thesis. It’s not just exciting, it’s a true testament to this amazing community.”
That’s not to say that there haven’t been a few bumps along the way. Initially, Eric says, he made the mistake of being too subtle with his marketing:
“The first couple seasons I was like ‘They've already spent a lot of money on the 10-week program. I don’t want people to feel like I'm upselling them.' I didn’t want to be the coach that seemed like he was always going for the sale.
Even worse, when I first decided to tiptoe into this alumni community, people ignored my links. I reached out to a couple of the members and they said, ‘I don't think anyone understands what it's about.’
Subtlety, especially with folks with ADHD, was not the best approach.”
This contributed to Eric’s recent decision to combine the two Mighty Networks into one. The benefit of this approach is that once coaching group members graduate, they are already part of the alumni community.
In this new structure, coaching group members get a 3-month free trial in the Mighty Network which covers the 10 weeks of their program, plus 2 weeks to try it out free after the program ends. Then, their $39.99 monthly membership kicks in or they opt out.
To help them make the transition, he begins officially inviting coaching group members to the alumni events in week eight of the program, although they have the chance to interact with the alumni as soon as they join the community:
“I say to the current group members, ‘Don't panic. I know the group is ending in a few weeks, but there's ongoing support here.’
I promise them, ‘I'm going to do everything I can do to provide the most transformational experience possible, and at the end of 10 weeks you're still going to have ADHD. Which is why we have an alumni membership community to help you maintain the progress that you made.’
This is the reassurance they need and has driven many participants into our alumni community.”
Eric is blown away by the power of the connections he sees among his members. He credits the fact that they truly get to know and care about each other, sharing deep and vulnerable conversations over face-to-face video calls.
But it’s not all serious. Eric schedules monthly hour-long Zoom Happy Hours that are purely social. For March’s theme, “Spread the Joy Not the Virus”, members were encouraged to share a musical instrument, artwork or “pictures of puppies:”
“I refer to it as our most intentionally unproductive hour of the month. We're just coming to hang out. It's a healthy thing for our community.”
His members play specific and vital roles in bringing the community together too. Members host the Adult Study Halls, and with guidance and a framework from Eric, they lead groups.
Popular examples include the “Sleepy Dream Team,” which focuses on healthy sleep habits like getting to bed on time, or more recently, the biweekly “Covid 19 Emotional Support Group.”
A few alumni also step up as “ADDmins” for the coaching program, in exchange for free membership:
“They are my eyes and ears on the platform because I can't be watching everything. So they will let me know ‘Eric, here's a link to this post, you might want to reply to that.’”
Seeing all of this unfold has convinced Eric even more that the true value of what he offers lies in the community, not content. To that end he says he’s cut way back on the content he delivers in the coaching program:
“I have probably cut 75% of the content that I'm going to deliver now from what I did when I first started the groups. Because I wanted to share everything I knew in this small chunk of time, I was failing. The best way to teach somebody nothing to try to tell them everything.
It's not just about the delivery model and sessions that I'm leading. It's also about the community. I’m a very scientific-minded person, and stay away from anything too ‘woo-woo.’
But groups are like magic. You bring people together who are working on similar things and have similar struggles, and they realize they’re not alone. This is a safe space and they can continue those conversations on an ongoing basis.”
3 key takeaways from ARC Alumni and Coaching Groups’s Story of Awesome
- Don’t be afraid to sell. If people find value in what you offer, get the word out when you’ve got additional courses, groups or memberships that can help them achieve their goals.
- Simplify whenever possible. Just as Eric brought his current coaching groups into his alumni community, you can make things easy for yourself and your members by giving them fewer transitions to make and fewer spaces to navigate.
- When in doubt, emphasize community over content. The concepts and knowledge provide a foundation, but people stay for the connections they make to one another sharing stories, experiences, inspiration and encouragement.