Do you really need an app? The surprising choice J.T. O'Donnell made to get results for her clients

Featured in this Story of Awesome: Work It Daily

Launched October 2019

Launched
October 2019

3,500+ Members

3,500+
Members

Paid <br>Membership

Paid
Membership

Work It Daily is a paid membership site offering coaching, courses, and community for professionals and executives in transition.

J.T.’s Mighty Moment:Our goal is to help a million people grow their careers. Now we have a platform that lets us do it.

J.T. O’Donnell gets people results.

From new grads just starting their careers to soldiers leaving the military, managers pursuing their next chapter to women returning to work after a break, J.T. helps people develop a fresh, exciting picture of where they want to take their careers and then guides them through the process of creating and following a concrete plan for getting there.

However, after working as a private career coach, she realized that one-to-one coaching wasn’t set up to ensure people got the transformation they were seeking. She’d meet with clients, and then when they were left on their own to take action, they’d lose momentum.

So starting in 2012, J.T. began taking advantage of new online tools to help professionals in transition, experimenting her way into a proven formula that gets results for people:

“We call them the three C’s. After five years of selling courses and trying many different things, we figured out what worked: the right combination of courses accessible on demand, a community where they could connect with other people and get their questions answered, and coaching offered at scale through a combination of staffing and automation.”

The right tech combination...or so she thought

J.T. thought she had the right tech in place to deliver her three C’s:

  1. Teachable for her online courses
  2. Slack for her community and coaching

In this setup, she offered the following:

  • Work It Daily Professional Level Subscription
    • $19.99/month or $199.99/year
    • 16 on-demand courses + communities, where members can connect about what they’re learning and ask questions
    • Monthly challenge with live events
    • Groups include: Seasoned professionals, Mid-level professionals, Recent grads/ young professionals, Long term unemployed, Career changers, Military personnel, and veterans
    • Weekly live group coaching sessions
    • 1-on-1 private message coaching
  • Work it Daily Executive Level Subscription
    • $74.99 month or $499.99/year
    • Everything at the Professional Level
    • Coaching from J.T.
    • Personal branding development

With this structure, Work It Daily’s membership hit 1,800 members.

The good news was that J.T.’s model was getting people to try Work It Daily. She was clearly filling a need for professionals in transition.

The bad news was that pushing her clients from Teachable to Slack and back again was causing them to drop out faster and miss their chance at transformation in a key area of their life.

She needed to fix this.

What was causing this drop off in engagement? Certainly, having multiple platforms wasn’t helping. But the lack of mobile access was an even bigger issue:

“Our clients were having to log in to two different platforms–one to have a conversation, one to learn. One had a mobile app, one didn’t, but for what I was trying to do with my overall brand, it was very clunky and confusing. I knew we needed something that was all-in-one, under my brand, and where everything could be accessed on our own mobile apps–so people could learn and connect easily and naturally.”

J.T. knew that offering her clients a totally integrated experience on mobile meant that she’d have to dive into custom mobile app development, especially if she wanted Work It Daily to be in the Apple App or Google Play Stores.

But she’d been down the custom development road before and been burned. J.T. and her team felt stuck.

Enter Mighty Networks: Branded apps with no custom development

Then, something great happened.

J.T. remembered that she’d checked out a new platform back in 2017 that offered a cool community product that came with its own branded mobile apps on iPhone, iPad, and Android.

Mighty….Mighty something…Mighty Networks.

Since she’d originally looked at the platform, things had changed. Mighty Networks now offered online courses with their own dedicated groups, as well as the ability to charge for online courses, groups, or a combination of both within a Mighty Network.

And those branded mobile apps? Not only were those still there, but pretty awesome with these new features. She could offer her vision of “everything-in-one-place” on her own mobile apps.

This was starting to sound too good to be true.

And for a moment, it was.

When she heard the price of Mighty Networks’ “Mighty Pro,” she had to sit down. It was EXPENSIVE.

As a replacement for custom development, the price wasn’t crazy. But it also wasn’t in her budget. Until she realized something important:

“Things were tight. But I knew that if we were going to take the business to the next level, we had to do it. I told my team, ‘This will increase retention. This will help people get better results. And it's going to reduce customer service inquiries dramatically.'”

Making the transition

After making the decision to bring her entire Work It Daily business together on her own Mighty Pro apps, she now had to figure out how to move her members over, especially when they’d need to (1) sign up again and (2) re-enter their credit cards:

“We knew this would be a challenge and that there would be no magic migration. We wanted to tell our members that we were moving to something better, even though it meant an extra step upfront.”

To make this transition, she first set realistic targets. She knew that all 1,800 members would not be making the move on Day 1. That was okay.

Step #1: Announce the Move 2 Weeks in Advance

J.T. used her member email list, as well as her LinkedIn Influencer account to announce the new Work It Daily, two weeks in advance of opening the doors.

Step #2: Share an Offer That Gets People’s Attention

In addition to giving members a few weeks to get comfortable with the upcoming move, J.T. also gave a generous discount for those members who made the move by a certain date.

Step #3: Keep the Communication Volume Up During the 2 Week Window

As part of their two-week communication plan, the team sent a fantastic email every day, and posted on their social channels, counting down the days to the move.

Breaking all previous records, Work It Daily is thriving today

When Work It Daily officially launched on Mighty Pro, 800 members–around half of the starting client base–joined in the first two weeks.

The team breathed a sigh of relief. This was working.

Within a month of launch, Work It Daily was up to 1,100 members and today, five months later, it’s up to 1,952 paying members at a 20% monthly growth rate. 🙌

Even better?

72% of members are sticking around. It’s the highest retention rate they’ve had since they started. Not to mention that word-of-mouth referrals have never been higher.

J.T. was also right about customer service. With everything in one place, customer service questions have basically gone to zero.

Something else happened that has surprised the team. With each new member that joins, members are getting more and more value from each other:

“As we grow, there’s simply more we can offer. While people come for the coaching and courses, each member who joins makes it a more valuable career development network for everyone else. There's just more natural value to the community, without any additional work that my team and I have to do.”

The secret to Work It Daily’s energy and engagement? The branded mobile apps:

“The whole idea behind Work It Daily is to celebrate your little victories and build better habits. If members have a good meeting, an interview, a call, they're in there and everyone is cheering them on. This is just more easily done with a mobile app on your phone.

Members get that instant gratification that somebody's responded to them, and it’s easier for people to check in with one another. That's the piece we always wanted. We wanted to say, "We're your career coach, and we're in your back pocket. You're sitting there waiting for that interview, we got you. You're having a rough day, we got you. We're literally that close.”

The sky's the limit for Work It Daily

Work it Daily has big goals when it comes to growth–targeting 3,000 members by the end of 2020. To achieve this, J.T. continues to give away valuable content via her email list, website, and social channels:

“The more free content we put out there, the more trust and respect we earn from people, even if they’re not quite ready to join. Then, when they do join, our members get instant value from the courses, coaching, and community even if they don’t instantly find absolute career clarity quickly. Together they are going so much further than they can go alone.”

The strategy is clearly working. J.T. recently had a member who signed up for Work It Daily out of guilt. It turns out, all the great, transformational content she’d put up on YouTube and LinkedIn had made this person want to pay her for it.

But the story doesn’t end there. Once inside, this member realized the content was only one small part of Work It Daily. The magic was the accessibility of the coaches and the supportive community that he hadn’t realized could be so valuable.

Work It Daily also recently began running a new challenge every month. The Monthly Challenge takes place during the final three weeks of each month and consists of a daily “mini-lesson” and 30-minute live session via Zoom.

For February’s challenge, “Network Like a Boss,” J.T. and team broke down step-by-step how members could be the most efficient and effective with the time they invest in building a network. But the challenges are so much more than instruction from J.T.:

“Our challenges have been engaging the community in totally new ways we couldn’t have tried with on our old set up. Members are dialing in, getting to know each other more deeply, and leaving with that feeling of success that comes from 30-minutes with people just like you.”

Work It Daily also recently introduced a Friday Mingle. This is a Live Text Chat that happens right in their Mighty Network. As Work It Daily gets bigger and bigger, they plan to eventually break out these live chats by industry for even more powerful online networking:

“We're very comfortable we're going to hit the numbers that we want to hit, and it’s exciting to know that what we’ve built isn’t going to break when we get to that size. We can drop a million people in our community tomorrow, and it's going to work. And that’s our goal, to help a million people grow their careers. Now we have a platform that lets us do it.”

Work It Daily continues to thrive, tapping their email list to recruit new members with these new programs and engagement strategies. While the transition to a new platform was a lift for J.T. and her team, they wouldn’t change their decision for the world.

3 key takeaways from Work It Daily’s Story of Awesome

  1. Bring your courses and community together to make them sticky. Members may initially join for the courses but they stay for the community and coaching they get along their journey.
  2. Mobile is the secret to making your community a daily habit. When you’re in your members’ back pocket, your community becomes the trusted advisor they turn to daily, whether they need support or want to share their wins.
  3. Keep mixing it up! Even if you’ve been in the courses business awhile like J.T. has, try out new programs and events so you can discover what works for your community.

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