This sound engineer created a micro community dedicated to the craft of audio for live events

Featured in this Story of Awesome: Goes To 11



December 2018







Goes to 11 is a paid membership site and mastermind group that gives live sound engineers the opportunity to level up their skills, get better gigs, and elevate the craft.

The Spark: Nathan’s podcast Sound Design Live inspired him to bring his listeners together.

Nathan’s Mighty Moment: “Everyone in my industry wants to work on the biggest, most complicated tours in the world. And my hope is that this community can help get them there.”

Nathan Lively had always known where his passion lied: in the niche world of live sound engineering. And with Lively as his last name, it sure seemed he was destined for it.

In search of fellow sound engineers who shared his passion, Nathan started Sound Design Live in 2015, a podcast where he could share his experiences and insight, and interview leading innovators in concert, theater, and corporate productions. Before he knew it, Sound Design Live started gaining momentum. And little by little, Nathan’s audience started asking for more:

“More and more people were expressing interest in the stuff I was talking about and wanted to learn more. It got me thinking, 'How can I help the people that I’ve started to meet because of the podcast?'”

Nathan figured offering an online course could be a good way to share his expertise, but he wanted to learn as much as he could before he got started. He decided to get his bearings with a business coach, who helped him navigate the world of creating and offering digital products. Soon after, he found the Course Builder’s Laboratory, an intensive that offered coaching and support to help people launch their own successful online courses. Nathan was hooked:

“I was really inspired by the structure of the lab itself. It offered pre-recorded videos and biweekly office hours, and I decided I could do the same thing for my own audience.”

Eventually, he launched a couple of courses, including his flagship offering, Pro Audio Workshop: Seeing Sound, where he provided education on the technical aspects of live audio engineering. It wasn’t long before his students expressed a desire to create connections with each other and start networking. He started brainstorming ideas for how he could get his people in touch with each other:

“I was familiar with a few other audio engineering courses that had forums attached to their courses, but within those, people wouldn’t get a response to their questions for a few days. So I knew I didn’t want to go that route. I wanted to really prioritize the idea of a place where people could get access not only to me, but to everyone else in the group. And I wanted them to be able to get answers more immediately.”

A new discovery makes way for a new kind of community

Nathan started experimenting with different apps, in the hope that one of them would be able to provide his students the community they so needed. But none of them were quite right:

“I started on Slack, but that became cost prohibitive. Then I tried Discord, but there were a lot of limitations, feature-wise. And a lot of my members had been in a course attached to a Facebook Group, but they found the experience overwhelming.”

That’s when he found Mighty Networks.

Nathan would be able to provide more with a Mighty Network than he ever could on the other apps he had tried to make work. He could:

  • Create a dedicated, member-only space for live sound engineers to network, share stories, and get answers

  • Monetize his community with a paid membership subscription, something that just wasn’t turnkey with Slack, Discord or Facebook Groups

  • Create a private mastermind group within his community for his most dedicated followers

  • Give members the chance to connect on a platform that was instantly available on the web, iOS, and Android

With a home for his course community in place, and taking inspiration from one of his favorite films, “This Is Spinal Tap,” he gave his membership a name: Goes to 11.

The more motivated, the better

Next, Nathan went about finding and recruiting members for his new venture:

“I wanted to focus on quality over quantity, and I really wasn’t looking for a membership of 20,000 to 50,000 people. I wanted a group of 70 people who would be really active, who cared about each other, and who were out there working on shows and looking to improve themselves.”

He decided to invite students who were actively taking his Pro Audio Workshop into his course community. That way, he could ensure that the community was filled with active members who were engaging with each other, and asking and answering questions.

He also decided that he would create a mastermind group within his Mighty Network for his most motivated followers. To identify who, exactly, those people were, Nathan took a direct, one-on-one approach, contacting the people he thought would be interested, and inviting each of them to an initial interview:

“I really relied on this book, 'The Mom Test,' to help me out with that. It’s the best explanation of how to talk to people about your product in a way that encourages them to give honest answers. And that way, when I ask them, 'What’s your biggest challenge around this topic? What do you think the ideal solution is? And if that were available, would you buy it?' I can get an honest answer out of them, gauge their interest, and make sure they’re motivated enough to contribute to a membership.”

After the initial interviews, he followed up with potential mastermind members and talked to them not only about the trends he discovered, but the ideas he had for helping them solve their issues:

“It’s really important to me to figure out how to communicate about these topics, first and foremost. It takes a little bit longer, but I’m happy to do more work at the beginning and go one-on-one so I can get something off the ground and make sure that it’s good.”

Using member feedback, Nathan made some small adjustments and prepared to launch his new course community and mastermind group.

Creating connections and navigating challenges, together

Today, Goes to 11 has 177 members and offers two membership tiers.

Access to the Student Membership is free for students currently enrolled in one of Nathan’s courses for up to six or 12 months, depending on the course package they choose. The membership also includes access to:

  • Topics like Design, Optimization, Mixing, and more where members can ask and answer questions

  • Twice weekly office hours with Nathan or another co-host

The Pro Audio Mastermind membership, priced at $46.99 per month is an invite-only mastermind group where especially active contributors get an opportunity to connect. These members get more direct contact with Nathan and can reach out to him directly for any challenges they’re working through. That membership includes:

  • Everything included in the Student Membership

  • Hour-long monthly coaching sessions with Nathan

  • Access to over 50 archived coaching sessions

  • Occasional live interviews with guest speakers who specialize in live audio design

Nathan is also still using his one-on-one approach to reach out to his members from his Student Membership individually when their courses are almost finished, and see if they’re interested in what the group has to offer after the course is done. If so, they’re invited to remain in the group for $16.99 per month or $184.99 per year:

“When someone joins the community, it triggers a Zapier that creates a reminder six months ahead on my calendar. So I’ll have a bunch of reminders when people’s time is almost up, and I’ll reach out to them individually and say, 'Hey your time is about to run out. Are you interested in staying in the group?'

There are some people who will reach out and say, “I don’t post a lot, but I really love reading the posts and being a part of the community.' They aren’t necessarily the most engaged, but they’re still getting a lot of value out of that access. And I respect that.”

Following the sounds of success

With Goes to 11, Nathan has been able to bring his passion to people who share his motivation to improve, and are as deeply invested in the world of live sound engineering as he is. Along the way, he’s also been able to help his fellow live sound engineers meet the right people, network with each other, and navigate challenges together:

“Everyone in my industry wants to work on the biggest, most complicated tours in the world. And my hope is that this community can help get them there.”

Looking towards the future, Nathan hopes to continue to expand his community by partnering with other industry experts to help him reach new audiences:

“I want to continue to build and maintain those relationships, and I want to keep getting people to try new things with me. I’ve started involving partners, who have these bigger lists and have really helped to expand my circle. I’ve seen a bunch of new people come in just from that.”

He also wants to move towards offering a single course, while offering occasional Live Sound Summits to keep his members excited:

“We just finished a Live Sound Summit, where we hosted different talks from 39 different speakers—audio educators and engineers and more—over five days. It was a great way to bring everyone together and offer some really valuable resources.”

In the meantime, Nathan will continue to experiment with his offerings, and make adjustments based on his members’ feedback. As it turns out, he’s as passionate about improving his community as he is about improving his own sound design skills.

“I’m most interested in testing new things because I think this community is valuable, and I want to keep improving it, and there’s still so much for me to learn, too. And the only way to figure that out is to keep launching, keep delivering, and keep getting feedback.”

3 key takeaways from Goes to 11’s Story of Awesome

  1. It’s worth it to engage deeply upfront.  Nathan’s one-on-one approach makes sure that he gets to know each of his members individually. That way, he can understand both where they’re coming from, and what they’re looking for from his community.

  2. Course and community go hand in hand. People learn most effectively when you create a journey to master something together as a community. And they get a lot more value from being able to connect with each other over their shared interests and experiences, too.

  3. Experimenting is key. Nathan’s willingness to experiment gives his community the chance to evolve and improve. In the end, that openness to change (and to feedback, too) creates a better experience on all sides.

Read More Stories of Awesome

Here’s how Ashley Fox launched The Wealth Builders Community and generated over $100,000 in her first two weeks

How SonoPath Education built a five-figure course membership for veternarians from scratch

Sktchy Art School is creating a sanctuary for 18,700 portrait artists

Mind Cake Vault is showing aspiring cake pop connoisseurs just how sweet the treat business can be

This sound engineer created a micro community dedicated to the craft of audio for live events

How a floral designer launched her own $18,000 floral business school

This is Octo Members, a private membership home to over 2,000 UK finance professionals

How a membership dedicated to women traveling solo found a way to flourish during stay-at-home orders—to the tune of 2,900 members

This cartoonist created a five-figure membership site to stop artists from procrastinating

How a platform for creatives, by creatives brought together 1,000+ members around the globe

With Youth Ministry Booster, Zac Workun created a five-figure membership to help youth pastors feel less isolated

How Teach Music Online grew from a $500 course to a five-figure membership business

How marketing maven Trish Martin tripled her community in five months

This visual note-taker combined courses and membership for a five-figure business

No perfect parents: This couple created a membership site for families to build compassionate connections

Find your niche: This membership site brings holistic equestrians together

How Dan Miller’s "48 Days" went from book to podcast to six-figure membership business

In the Mix: Meet the brother-sister duo creating a flourishing community for over 7,700 artists

There’s another path to financial freedom and Wealth Without Wall Street is showing all 4,500 of its members the way

The duo behind this paid membership site is guiding over 7,800 passionate dog owners on how to train their pets

This community of womxn visual artists used mastermind groups to build a five-figure business

How two creators transformed their community from tech headache to six-figure network

Meet the community that’s making the outdoors fun again for over 2,000 members

How two therapists built a community to get at the root of eating disorders

This psychologist forged connections for 6,500 people in the middle of a pandemic

Here's how esthetician Christine Byer launched a five-figure beauty membership in two weeks

How Luvvie Ajayi Jones creates an intimate, safe space for over 14K members

Welcome to the Academy to Innovate HR, a course community home to 7,300 professionals

How a healer transformed her spirituality podcast into a five-figure membership and community

How Tara McMullin pioneered virtual conferences and built a flourishing paid membership for small business owners

Ryder Carroll built a five-figure membership business teaching people about the organizational power of bullet journaling

Money, millennial style: How Financial University doubled its members in a year

From brick and mortar to digital membership: How Topstitch Makers grew a five-figure virtual business in less than a year

How Lenéa Sims launched Outer Work to 500 members in 72 hours

In the Cut is demystifying the entertainment industry for 1,200 Black creatives

Liberated Being brings together spirituality skeptics to learn embodiment practices

How this community is empowering 1,400 Black parent entrepreneurs to build a lasting legacy for their children

How Emily Thompson built a five-figure membership to help creative entrepreneurs make moves

Creating space: The Circle by Black Girl in Om made a five-figure membership centering Black women and holistic living

Introducing the GUILD, a five-figure membership for women entrepreneurs that’s evening the odds

Delivering a bright, new future for 3,200 birth workers and birthing women

How The Self Care Space launched their health & wellness brand with Mighty Pro

The eXd Community is on a mission to help over 900 educators design an equitable new world

This community of legal professionals is showing how anti-racism and technology can change the legal system for good

How a women’s apparel brand built a six-figure membership where runners can get inspired online and IRL

Nurses Inspire Nurses is providing a safe space for over 1,500 nurses to connect and share their experiences

How Boston While Black went from hashtag to a five-figure membership business in six months

Strength in numbers: Here’s how PLANTSTRONG consolidated its offering and built a six-figure community with nearly 20,000 members

Above and “Beyond”: These two communities are helping over 54,000 people impacted by diabetes to live well, now

How Qpractice's cohort-based courses are giving interior designers the confidence to ace their exams

With Goddess Council, Cat Lantigua is making the real world a little less lonely

How Elizabeth DiAlto built a five-figure membership business teaching women to feel their feels

How Martinus Evans' Slow AF Run Club made $140,000 in his first year

Meet the social worker who built a five-figure paid membership helping adults with ADHD

This premium coaching program for therapists went from passion project to 9,000 members strong

Mighty Networks: where people come for your content, but stay for your community.

Start Your 14-Day Free Trial