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Last Updated on June 26, 2023
Welcome to the Success with Soul Podcast! Today we sit down with Laura Zug, a community strategist that helps entrepreneurs create movements around their missions. Laura shares from her years of community building experience how to build community that keeps people coming back for more and how to have a community impact on both your business and your life.
Table of Contents
At the heart of many female entrepreneurs lies a burning desire to make a difference and build a community that leaves a lasting impact. That’s why I started each of my blogs and businesses, and why I started the Success with Soul Membership, a space for women to have access to tools, support, and coaching for their self-development journeys.
Community builders are the architects of change, weaving the threads of purpose and passion to create vibrant communities. As women, coaches, and entrepreneurs, embracing the role of community builders enables us to drive meaningful impact and forge connections that transcend boundaries.
Today’s podcast guest knows a thing or two about how to build community, especially across boundaries that you aren’t usually exposed to in your daily life.
Laura Zug is a community strategist, and if you are wondering what that is, it sounds like just about the coolest job ever. In a nutshell, she helps entrepreneurs create thriving communities around their mission, basically transforming missions into movements.
Her experience in creating communities began in motherhood and creating play groups with other parents and kids that ended up being transformative spaces especially for the parents! Later, she experienced the power of online community while navigating family health conditions and building community with others in the same boat.
Then, 2020 hit, and Laura found herself in the same situation as many of us, relying on virtual communities during the pandemic to foster connection and understanding.
Today, Laura uses strategic vision and empathy to launch and engage global communities to support entrepreneurs, elevating and empowering the “voice” of the communities she serves with a soulful and connection-driven approach. Her guiding mantra is believing that, “We can do anything…TOGETHER.” And it’s evident from her impactful work.
But how do you exactly turn a mission into a movement and create a community that keeps drawing people back?
It can be tempting to focus on growing numbers quickly when building a community, but Laura credits Fabian Pfortmüller for a more impactful strategy: weaving from the inside out. Start with a small core group of engaged people that you can truly serve and can really grow, and that energy will attract others.
Plus, treat any community – but especially virtual ones – like a real-life communication situation and truly listen to those in your community. Create a feedback loop that allows for you to learn from your founding members how you can adapt and change to truly serve them. You can’t plan too far in advance, because you want to stay nimble and changeable, especially as you are building something new.
When it comes to creating a community, Laura says what we say at Success with Soul all the time: just start, even if it’s imperfect and messy. Aka, take imperfect action!
And if you don’t know exactly where to start, she shares some tips to get you going: brainstorm your ideal client, and if they are a person you know, write down their name and phone number. Take the step to call them and talk to them about your idea! Whether they join your community or not, they can help speak to what you can offer to serve people like them.
Once you have founding members, keep that feedback loop open. Not only does that help you learn how to grow and change to meet clients’ needs, but it also helps your founding members feel invested and a part of something bigger than themselves.
There are beautiful aspects to various communities, and Laura knows from experience that in-person, experiential communities are necessary for life!
But when it comes to virtual communities, Laura also learned that the people you interact with online often provide you with perspectives that you wouldn’t necessarily be exposed to when walking out your front door.
For many of us in coaching, we offer very niche spaces for specific people, creating communities around a certain need or desire. Many times, especially post-2020, virtual communities are the perfect spaces for that to happen globally.
Laura empowers entrepreneurs to use these same community-building techniques, whether through coaching or selling a product or service. Build up ambassadors for your community from your founding members or clients.
One of the key ways to make sure that your founding members are passionate about your work is to communicate your values and mission clearly and often. Laura sees too many entrepreneurs who send a bunch of foundational, missional information to their clients during onboarding and then expect them to remember everything from that point on. But that simply isn’t realistic.
Instead, treat everyday like an onboarding day, continuously providing opportunities for your clients to get excited about the mission and vision and how they are a part of building that movement.
This is how you create a movement out of a mission, Laura says. If your mission is to empower women to grow hustle-free online coaching businesses (oh wait, that sounds familiar…), then that mission becomes a movement when my team, clients, and followers are reminded often that they are part of a patriarchal-smashing, feminine power harnessing, cyclical-living community of badass women!
Laura’s experience with building transformative communities is even more evident in her inclusive nature and “controversial” views on interacting with community “lurkers”. Maybe you’ve had it happen before where someone purchases from you or signs up to a program but never attends or interacts.
Instead of restricting lurkers, Laura graciously finds space for everyone, meeting them where they are at. She recognizes that social anxieties, different seasons of life, and various learning styles are just some of the influences on others’ levels of involvement in a community. What you don’t know, she says, is what someone is learning from you, even from afar.
And that plays into how Laura measures “success” in community contexts. Instead of jumping to collect quantitative data to prove success, she looks to qualitative data. Meet everyone where they are at, she identifies how they have grown, what milestones they have hit, and changes they experience between onboarding and offboarding. When you shift your focus from the numbers of clients you have to the growth that each one undergoes, you have a whole new metric that speaks volumes about your service.
Want to learn more about how to build community in your own niche? Whether you are a coach or entrepreneur looking to grow a business or just want more amazing life coaching, Success with Soul has got your back!
If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, learn to tell your story, achieve your goals, and join a community of women taking inspired action, join the waitlist for the Incubator, our business development mastermind today! Get up-to-date information about enrollment dates and bonuses when you join the waitlist.
And if you want to learn more about archetypes, your personality type and tendencies, and gain tools for understanding yourself and others, check out the Success with Soul Monthly Membership. We offer mindset coaching, cyclical living guides, and tools for your self development. Learn more here!
Thanks so much for listening in this week! If you enjoyed this episode, here are some ways you can join our Success with Soul movement:
Focusing on client transformation through listening to their needs and helping them feel part of something bigger than themselves is perhaps more powerful than focusing on numbers and how many clients you have had. When launching, take imperfect action to start learning from your mistakes.
Each type of community has its unique benefits that the other cannot replicate. An in-person community is what we are most used to, providing interpersonal support in various areas of life. Virtual communities, however, connect us with others that aren’t normally in our spheres, introducing us to perspectives and worldviews that can impact us in unknown ways.
Katie Kus 0:00
Hi, Katie coosh here with Oregon girl holistic skincare. And I am part of the Success with Soul incubator. My favorite part about being in the incubator is I know no matter what roadblock I hit, whether it's a mental roadblock, something with tech or just trying to decide what the next steps need to be in creating my offer, I can always reach out to the team and Kate and they're going to be there with heartfelt thoughtful advice that is catered specifically to my business needs. And where I'm at in my business growth. The Incubator has completely transformed how I've been able to approach my business, and I really do feel like they've just become part of my team. So I'm so thankful for being a part of the incubator.
Kate Kordsmeier 0:46
You're listening to the Success with Soul podcast where we believe empowering women is the key to creating a brighter future for us all. Whether you're an entrepreneur, employee or stay at home mom, this podcast is for you. I'm your host, Kate Kordsmeier, and ICF life and business coach who has made over 2.2 million while working less than 25 hours a week, raising two toddlers, and quitting social media. I'm here to transparently share my expertise and help you create a life and business you love. Together with my diverse team of passionate women, many of whom you'll hear from on this podcast. We empower 1000s With holistic strategies, personal development, resources and mindset tools to find freedom, flexibility and fulfillment and business and beyond. Every week we offer life coaching for Busy Women who want to improve their relationships, self care, and overall well being and business coaching for coaches, course creators and consultants who want to make money sustainably. We believe personal growth and entrepreneurship are powerful tools for creating social change. And the world is a better place When more women find their voice and create their own money, power and freedom. Expect candid conversations and insightful interviews with experts that will inspire and support you on your path to intentional whole living and Success with Soul on your terms. It's time to ditch the hustle and find inner peace. Here we go.
Welcome back to the Success with Soul podcast. I'm your guest host Indira and I am so excited for today's interview. I mean, y'all you don't even know I felt like this was just like a Coffee Chat. Today we have Laura Zog. She's a community strategist who uses strategic vision and empathy to launch and engage global communities. A people first professional Laura has a gift for elevating and empowering the voice of the communities she serves. With a soulful and connection driven approach. Laura has experience in community management PR and marketing feel her passion for community building. As a trusted adviser and collaborator, Laura brings her creative vision and interpersonal skills to guide her clients along their community building journey. Laura is an articulate communicator who has a track record of success and community strategy consulting, management and mentorship. Her goal oriented planning practical guidance and problem solving skills have awakened engagement and bolstered retention for Laura's clients who have described her as proach as the oxygen that breathe life into their communities. Laura graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Science in European Studies, and has completed MBA coursework at the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia. Aside from her professional achievements, Laura is also a wife friend and a mom of two. And in her free time, Laura loves her morning coffee, pilates, cuddling with her Cavapoo and hiking the North Carolina mountains near her home. In this episode, Laura gives us so many tips and strategies on how to transform a mission into a movement, how to build community from the inside. I love diving into what it means to really come from a person first approach. So valuing those founding members, really learning about them really implementing their feedback. What does it mean, what do they want? What are the values of a membership and how that drives? Oh goodness. Let's just say that from this podcast. I was able to get a page full of notes and tools, tips and strategies. And I hope you do too. So let's dive in. Laura, I am so excited to have you on our show the Success with Soul podcast, you come highly recommended from one of our very own incubator clients, Tracy McGrath. So I'm particularly excited to have this conversation today because you're a community strategist. And I want to know all the things. So please tell our audience a little bit about you, and your entrepreneurial journey. And what is a community strategist?
Laura Zug 5:43
Well, first of all, let me say thank you, thank you, not only to you, but also to my dear friend, Tracy, you should look her up. If you haven't heard of her. She's amazing. But a community strategist. In a nutshell, I help entrepreneurs create thriving communities around their mission. And through the power of bringing more people into alignment with their mission. We transform missions into movements,
I think I'm gonna go down.
Laura Zug 6:13
I'm, my journey into this current role is like many entrepreneurs, a winding road, I started in my early career doing advertising and PR, I thought PR was going to be really public relations, I thought it was relationship building with people. That's not always what it is. But I really enjoyed serving clients, and I loved the part of advertising that was amplifying a message, and the variety, working with clients in all kinds of industries. Then I started business school, ended up meeting my husband, we started our family. And my focus was really, I was surviving by building community, just as a mom, I say, my first example of community building as an adult was maybe forming a playgroup. And if you've been a parent, you know that there's no growth journey like parenting. And I can't imagine navigating that alone, that had this group of women, my older son is going to be 19 this summer. So I've been friends with this group of ladies and families for almost 19 years. And I had community around, my younger son had a medical issue so that I could never have navigated that alone. And that story is, we can maybe dive into that. But that's a really powerful story about online community. And then we all went through a really tragic time, a really difficult time in 2020, with the pandemic. And all of a sudden, I was not only a parent, but I was a teacher and a nurse, and all these functions. And I really had not dipped into online community prior to that, but it became a lifeline. And I got my first community role after becoming a really active member in an online community. And I loved it, I saw the job description, I had not had been out of the workforce for oh my goodness, like 15 years. And I saw the job description. And I thought I could do this in my sleep like this is what I do like for fun. And I loved the role. It was part time and I started just offering some consulting to additional clients in different industries. And it has just grown kind of like a little seedling into a tree. And it's just an honor to get to walk alongside founders with really powerful missions, and help them amplify their message and teach and share their mission with more people.
I told you when just off camera, I was telling you how excited I was to have this conversation with you as I'm now really diving into our own community and you said oh, the incubator and I said, Ah, but we have something else. We have a life coaching community that is for all women, and it's our Success with Soul membership. And so, as an expert, this is what you do. This is your jam. Tell me what what are the key ingredients to fostering a community where people want to keep coming back for more?
Laura Zug 9:42
Oh, goodness. Okay, so that is such a great question. We could chat for a week.
Okay, let's, let's chat for now.
Laura Zug 9:49
Let's chat for now. So some key principles, I think are I'm going to tell you about two but the first one is this concept of weaving from the inside out. And there's another community specialist in Europe named Fabian forte Muller. I can't claim that term, but I really love it. And he describes it as starting with this core group of people like it truly can take three to 10 people and serving them and having them be engaged, having them comment. And other people start to be attracted to that energy. And that comfort and that feeling of being part of something. And I find that that is such a better way to grow a community if you start from the core, and attract people in rather than trying to go out here on the periphery of the community, and figure out how oh, we need to get our engagement up, and how am I going to get these people to comment and post and, but if you can, instead, start with this really attractive core. Other people want to be part of that. That that that is the first suggestion. The other suggestion is just do what we know to do in real life, which is when we're in relationship, we listen. And so I really encourage every community, professional, every founder to have a feedback loop, really listen to your members don't plan too far in advance. I think it's very helpful to be nimble, and adapt to what I call like a test and learn or test and iterate strategy, where you are always asking your members what they want what's meaningful, how can you help them make progress? And then you're creating many experiments and hypotheses and testing things. So that you know, you're building what your your community wants.
I love that. I love that. You mentioned that you do this for entrepreneurs, you come in and you transform a mission and to have movement. What does that look like?
Laura Zug 12:02
Well, it is not magic, and it is not fast. So last year, this is overnight, it is not. It, it really starts with, I like to say you're kind of building up your ambassadors, there's a large community that is based in mindset, and helping your members be part of something that is bigger than themselves, and helping them have really, you know, your community needs to have really strong values that are communicated. So when people join, their joining, I don't know what your values, what are your values in your community?
Well, I can tell you what our values are for Success with Soul, us as a team, you know, we are badass boundary pushing women, we make mistakes and own them, we think why not us? I will say now that you say that, I don't know that we have values specific to our community. Those are the values of our team. Are they the same? Or is there value in really? What is the value of the Success with Soul membership as a consultant? Would you tell us create your own values for that membership?
Laura Zug 13:20
I would, I would, I definitely would. And I think narrowing them down. Because you can have more values for your company, you can have more values for yourself as a person. But really defining like, let's just take imperfection, for example, is one that you named, let's say that's a defining value of that community. Then you start to, like, feel like, okay, I'm going to create this movement, there's such like, we're almost the antithesis of the Pinterest, Instagram, everything has to be perfect, we're going to create one of our values is going to be imperfect, messy, or real. And that then is woven into your events that's woven into your language, how you speak. And you're really, I mean, I think you're working towards creating a movement that removes this perfectionist culture that so many women feel trapped by to then you're you're able to share with your members that, hey, you're not just here to like, hang out that yes. And we are creating change. We are liberating women from this concept of having to be so externally focused and have this beautiful background and our hair just fried and not allowed to make mistakes because that creates a lot of internal anxiety.
Yeah, that's one of my favorite values for Team KK which is we make mistakes, and we actually are transparent about it. So something that we do as a team is we make a mistake. We go in the Slack channel, we say, Hey, I made a mistake. This Here's what I learned. And this is what I'll do better next time. So it's not like I just made a mistake. It's this is what I learned. And this is how I can do better. But we want to make it transparent because we want to create a culture where it's okay to make a mistake. That's how you learn.
Laura Zug 15:17
That's exactly right. So I mentioned a community where I was involved as the community manager and one of our pillars there was there, there's no failure on the success and learning.
Ah love it. I like to say failure is feedback. And I love that there's something on your website that I was like, Yes, this is my girl, where others see problem. I see a puzzle. Yes, yeah, yes, yes. Yes, I love problem... You know, seeing a problem. It's like, I'm so excited because I'm seeing a solution. I love people that look at a problem. And it's like, worse the solution. I'm married to someone like that. I'm married to someone who sees a problem. And it's like, it's a puzzle.
Laura Zug 16:00
I see it almost like Mind Candy. It's like, okay, hold on. How can we dig in here? What what are we going to start? What are we going to try first? Let's get the edge together.
Oh, love it. Yes, Laura, I kind of feel guilty. Because this episode is really like, I've already learned so much already. My head is spinning of like, absolutely. I want to have values for the membership specifically to have that language with our community. And definitely perfectly imperfect is like right on top of the list.
Laura Zug 16:36
Yeah, it's a fun exercise to dive into the values. And I think the more specific and the more niche we become, the more our members connect with our mission of what we're trying to do. And the more it creates a space that special and different.
Yes. So we do have a mission Team KK, absolutely. We are very clear about our mission. How do we ensure that that becomes a movement?
Laura Zug 17:03
No, that's tricky. You shout it from the rooftops. Right? You. You remind members, you know, I think I talk a lot about onboarding. And I feel like in community, it's so common to give this like flurry of information when someone just joins a community. And then we have this expectation that they read every email when like they were probably had their phone and maybe their toddler or their hand, maybe they were at the Starbucks line. I feel like we need to make onboarding an everyday activity in our community. And what that means simply is just welcoming, showing hospitality each and every time and reminding, reminding our members of why they're there, what our mission is, what our purpose is, reminding them how they fit in to this greater vision, and empowering them letting the community members also play a role in how the community is formed and shaped so that you're building leaders and not just participants.
Oh my gosh, I love that. My head is just like, du du du du, I'm gonna I'm taking notes. I normally do not do that during an episode, but this is a lot of gold nuggets. So listeners, take out your your pads. We do have show notes. We do have transcripts, but you're giving us a lot. Thank you so much, Laura, I'm loving this.
Laura Zug 18:29
We can talk about this all day every day. I love community and love it.
Kate Kordsmeier 18:38
Hey, I want to tell you about one of my favorite podcasts. So I know that we are all busy women with a lot on our plate and many of us have stopped prioritizing sleep and rest. Raise your hands. I see you. I am you. If you find yourself waking up several mornings a week and you just can't shake the sleepies off then check out my friend Tanessa shares podcast becoming limitless. In episode 54 called How to get out of bed in the morning Tanessa share six tips on how to feel more rested and energized busting the myths that tell us that the only way to get better rest is to go to bed earlier Tanessa shares research and her own personal story of realizing that she had her sleeping pattern all wrong and what happened when she made some unexpected tweaks. My own team has started following some of her tips and have felt a world of difference in their energy levels. After you finish this episode, check out the show notes to find a link to Tanessas's episode on Becoming Limitless.
You know you mentioned early on that the first community that you were really a part of was a parenting community and I can that right away took me back to my own parenting community. I was part of an attachment community so it was very unique in our parenting style. We did a lot of wearing of our kids and co sleeping and extended breastfeeding. So it was navigating finding my people, and yes till this day, I'm friends with people from that community. Our kids are not 19. They're 11. But it's been years. So I understand that. Now, tell me about the challenges and opportunity to have solutions for an online community. Right, where we're not necessarily ever seeing each other. This is online. Speak to me about online communities.
Laura Zug 20:29
Okay. I'm so glad you asked this question, a couple of things come to mind. So I mentioned this playgroup of, in real life, these parents, but I also alluded to the fact that my younger son has a chronic medical condition. Yes, I could not just go into my local community and find another parent, I mean, maybe one who could relate to what I was going through. So in 2017, I owe a great deal of gratitude to Shannon Goldwater, who created a community or a nonprofit called Feeding Matters. We live in North Carolina, we were taking our son to Duke and our gastroenterologist said, Laura, I think you would enjoy this community. And it was formed of professionals, a gastroenterologist therapist, and very few families, but there were some families involved. And I went to this conference in Arizona. And for the first time, when Shannon shared her story, I was sobbing, because I realized, Oh, my goodness, I am not alone. There's another person in this world who has navigated the challenge of having a child who can't and won't eat. And I would never have been able to achieve for my son, what I was able to achieve because of that community. I was privy to best practices, able to have conversations with leading experts to talk to other families, it would have been impossible for me to have given my son, the life and the experience that he has without feeding matters. So I think that opened up the door to me of why online community that doesn't necessarily have an online community. But online communities have an ability to be very niched down to where you're gathering like minded people who may not otherwise have been able to get to know one another, or able to find things that you cannot realistically find in your own community or your own backdoor, backyard. The other thing that I absolutely love about online community, and I find myself sometimes now getting surprised, we live in the south. And I when I attend large events, sometimes I look around and I feel like wow, people here are very much like me. And that, at this point in my journey feels odd to me, because I do spend so much time in online communities. At any given day, I might talk with someone in Bangladesh, Thailand, Seattle, Africa. And that worldview is so important. And that is something that online communities make exceptionally easy. So yes, there are challenges. But I also want to underscore the connection that is possible, and some unique advantages that online communities have over in real life community. Speeding matters. I didn't have the time I was exhausted as a mom navigating this complex medical journey, but it not been for the Internet to bring me together and make it possible. It would have been very difficult.
Yeah, thank you so much for sharing that with us. I can relate on so many aspects in terms of like finding an online community for something specific health related. And you said, finding your online community of like minded and funny enough, that was the name of our mom. We were like the like minded moms that literally was name of our communities. So I love that. Yes. So Laura, I'm ready. I have my mission. I want the movement. I want to start a community. What's their first step? How do we get started? What do we do?
Laura Zug 24:40
Okay, I'm gonna ask, I'm gonna say to start small and just start. Okay. Yeah. I normally recommend I work a lot with founders and recommend that they begin brainstorming their ideal clients, like literally a list like Jane, her phone number is whatever. And you can have your ideas about the ideal client, but then it's really important to actually connect with them and talk with them, hear from them. And hopefully, you then start this very small group. And you just launch. And back to what we were saying at the beginning can be imperfect, it can be messy, and you're probably going to get a fair amount of it wrong. And there's freedom in that because you can iterate. So staying really lean at the beginning, really asking for feedback, adapting and changing. So that you feel like okay, I have something now that's validated, I have some members who are bought in, then you can invite in some founding members, and you just keep leveling up your community. And it takes a few iterations of launches before you feel like you're on solid footing. So just starting here, the biggest mistake a founder can make is to overthink and, and try to have it all perfect and plan out. I don't know if you're ever if you're familiar with Pat Flynn from Smart, passive income, but the way he explained it, I just absolutely loved it. He said, Let's not build the Cheesecake Factory here. Let's start with like, your corner restaurant that has 10 things on the menu, to not being afraid to start imperfectly not being afraid to start small. And just trusting the process and listening as you go. I think it's going to win the day over and over again.
I love that. I like to say it's not from me. I heard it somewhere but action creates clarity.
Laura Zug 26:35
Yes! Amy Porterfield!
Amy Porterfield. I mean, listen, I listen to all I'm a podcaster. I love podcasts. I listen to all of them. I don't know who said it. But for me, it's like Absolutely. action creates clarity. Yes. Amy Porterfield. Yes. So I'm a big proponent of that. And it's like, I love that you said just take Perfectly Imperfect Action, you're gonna get to someplace, right? And if that didn't work out, now, you know what didn't work. And so you try something else.
Laura Zug 27:07
Yeah. And not only that, but also your members begin to feel invested. We talked at the beginning about having this core. That's a strong core. If you invite a member in and you are sincere about asking their feedback, and they feel like they've helped build and create, they're so much more invested than if they're just showing up to take from the buffet of offerings that you've provided for them. So I think there's benefit for the founder. And I think there's benefit for the members and the strength of the community for any future members. You want to attract, because you're creating that culture from the outset.
I love this. Laura. Is there something that you wish I had asked that I didn't ask you?
Laura Zug 27:51
Well, in our email communication, you had asked about how to deal with lurkers. Oh, yeah, let's talk about that, because that's a word of hey, so. And this is somewhat controversial. I was just in a debate with some other community consultants. And I was standing alone in my position. I would love to ban the term lurkers from community I, especially when we think about women in community. I think about seasons, right? I think about seasons in my life where I didn't have the energy. Or maybe I didn't even feel prepared to dive into the conversation. I just want to validate any level of participation in community. There are people who are neuro divergent, who may not feel comfortable chiming in, people with social anxiety, who can still learn from what is in the community and can still take advantage of any resources and get great satisfaction and a sense of belonging. So I just want to validate however someone chooses to show up in a community is 100% okay. And I am not one to, to drive metrics around engagement just for the sake of a vanity metric. Like I think it's really important to be focused on member progress. And that looks different for all of our members.
Ooh, you just said something that now that triggered something for me so member progress, I love that. How do you establish and do you even establish and just you know, a commute, for example, our community the Success with Soul membership, this is a life coaching community. Do you in the onboarding process, establish like, what is it that you hope to accomplish from this membership? And from that kind of, I'm big on having some sort of measurement even for yourself in different contexts, whatever that is. For example, I just started my Meditation, transcendental meditation practice. And so for me, my measurement is just to commit to doing it two times a day for 20 minutes. That's it, not a lot. So that's my measurement not I'm thinking all the thoughts throughout the whole met it not that just giving myself those minutes of silence. So that's my measurement. So would you recommend that, you know, for example of life coaching membership that we do still set? You know, it's so easy with business, you know, exactly in a business membership, the metrics, I want to launch my first course, I want to hit my first 10k months, I want to hit my first 1k. The measurements are easy, even any kind of like, for example, weight loss, you know, the measurements, right? They're easy. But what about something like this? What are some measurements that some progress? What is the progress that you would, for example, suggest to someone like me to get from their members?
Laura Zug 31:12
I love that you're asking this question. So when you were talking about the business, you're very much looking at quantitative ways to measure progress. And there's a whole other way to look at it. Qualitative. So I would say it comes back again, to your values that you're driving. In one. Number seven, I was involved, we had a Thrive score, and members just rated themselves on the Thrive score, like where are you in? You're coming in? Where are you now. And we know when you get to a certain number, that you're good to go. So I don't think it's necessarily necessary that every single community, we hold up the expectation that someone's going to be there forever. We want to just as onboarding is important. We need to also be thinking about offboarding, like what is successful, like, what are we doing for our alumni? What are we doing? I do believe there is a clear point A where a member comes into the community, and you're driving toward this very clear, point B. And you've got milestones along the way, so that a member does feel progress, and they do feel like they're getting so much value from your membership that they can't help but come check it in and put the events on their calendar and show up for one another. To get that I think if we're not focused on providing value, which to me looks like transformation and growth. Then our membership, we're going to struggle a little bit.
Yeah. Laura, you have no idea. I almost feel guilty, because I'm like, This is all for me. I am taking it all in. I feel like this was just like a mastermind. So thank you so much. Thank you for your grace. And tell us where where can our listeners find you?
Laura Zug 33:03
Oh, great. Okay, well, first of all, it's been a total delight to talk to you. I feel like the time is just whizzing by that I can be found directly on my website. It's just a laurazug.com. And also on LinkedIn, I'm on there every day. So look for you, in times, tons of communities, like your listeners might very well be in a community with me because I live in breathing communities.
Amazing. I'm definitely going to look you up in LinkedIn. That's somewhere. That's a new community. I am going to that I want to now engage in the LinkedIn community. We're not done yet, Laura, because we still have our lightning round. Yes. This is actually my favorite part. Okay, so just you know, whatever comes out, right? Don't overthink it. What's your favorite way to make time for self care while running your own business?
Laura Zug 33:56
My absolute favorite is exercise. And if I were to get even more specific, it is Pilates or walking in the neighborhood with a good friend and my cuddly Cavapoo
Ohh you have a Cavapoo That is my dream dog. I just had a dog he passed away in January, we were together 13 years. My wife would never let me get another dog. Now we have a kitty. But the Cavapoo is like my, you know, it's what I have been like my vision board.
Laura Zug 34:30
Oh my gosh. Well, the irony is that my son's medical team and in Boston, they have a program there called paw prints and the kids get matched up with dogs and we saw this amazing interaction with him in the dogs and I asked his team I said, Should we have a dog for him at home and the physician whipped out her prescription pad and said get a dog but honestly, I feel like he's everyone's therapy dog like a brain so much joy.
Yes, yes, well, I will say our kitty, which I never would have imagined in all of my life to be having a conversation about me being a cat owner. He really has brought so much joy and love. And I will say that if it wasn't for her, I don't know that I would have handled my dogs passing, as well as I have considering because she really like stepped in. So what is one tool or strategy that you use to help with time management?
Laura Zug 35:33
Oh, I love this question, too. So I use a tool called Upbased. And every morning, I've created my own little template. And they are, and I separate the rocks and pebbles, and I write down. So I did an analysis back in the fall of what are my key rocks, like what is important to me to touch every single day. And under each rock, I write one to two things. And then the pebbles are, you know, call and make the dermatology appointment. And I really limit when I do this, I mapped him out with my energy in the fall. And I only allow myself to tackle the pebble tasks in that time where my brain is sort of offline, like three o'clock in the afternoon, versus trying to fit pebble tasks into time that I have allocated for rocks. And I feel like it just helps me stay prioritized and focused on the goals that we set for ourselves annually or quarterly, but to drill them down into daily action steps.
I love it. This is the first time that I've heard this rock pebble described in this way. Love it.
Laura Zug 36:39
Oh, wow. Okay, and then there's sand, which is the annoying stuff that slips in, you just have to tack off.
Rock, pebbles and sand. I feel like this would be a really great analogy for kids actually. Yeah,
Laura Zug 36:53
it's great. You know, I definitely do not take credit you can you can Google it and find it online. But mapping it with my own energy. And the way I flipped during the day, I think was a game changer.
I love that you say mapping it with your own energy. That is something that we practice at Team K K, we practice cyclical living. So I love that you're bringing the energy into it as well. Tell me what's the most powerful business mindset or entrepreneurial book that you've ever read? This is the one that you keep coming back to,
Laura Zug 37:22
I would have to say it's not exactly a business book. But I love it. It's called Together by Dr. Vivek Murthy. And it talks about the power of community, and how community has been so important in all of humans, civilization, and how it's missing now, from our modern day world, especially here in the West. And it's he talks about this epidemic of loneliness, any link, and he's the Surgeon General. So he links loneliness, to a decline in health, not just mental health, but also physical health. And I feel like that book provides such inspiration for the work that I do, because I want to create a thriving world. And I just choose to work in community to help move that forward. .
Love it. So you referenced this quite a bit throughout your interview. And that's mindset. So what's your favorite quote, or mantra or affirmation for when things get tough and you feel like giving up,
Laura Zug 38:28
it is always too soon to quit. And always, always hope, you know, or this is not the end of the story, or trusters that like there's so many I could just go on and on. Honestly, I do feel like that is a little bit of what has set me apart even though it took such a long break from working professionally, having to navigate difficulty, especially my son's medical journey has almost like armored me to be able to have the mindset of fearlessness to just iterate try, fail, try again. I feel like I'm constantly learning and growing. And that is exciting.
I love that. I love that we as a team like to say we can do hard things.
Laura Zug 39:18
Yes that's right. I say that to my kids all the time. And also tell them you can never quit on a bad day. You can only quit on a good day.
So you're on the Success with Soul podcast. So Laura, tell me what does Success with Soul mean to you?
Laura Zug 39:35
Oh, what a beautiful question. I think Success with Soul means that it's just success on your own terms. And its success that looks like it aligns with what is matters to you most in your core. So for me the value I'm constantly if you take the seven levels of why I'm always driving for joy and compassion. So if my work at the end of the day is not bringing more joy and compassion to me and to my kids and my husband and my friends and my clients, then it is not a success no matter what other metric we're looking at. So I think it, it comes down to what metrics you're, you're viewing your success by, and it's going to change to me it changes in seasons.
You keep coming back to seasons. I love that.
Laura Zug 40:30
Yes. I love that.
I love that. Laura, you have no idea. It has been such a pleasure to have you on this podcast. I have learned so much in the time that we have been speaking. Thank you so much. I am so excited for the community that we are building and just from this conversation, all of the ways that I'm like, Oh, I can see how I can make it better. So thank you.
Laura Zug 41:01
Well thank you. It's been a delight and hope it's just the first of very many conversations. And I should also say thank you for the change you're bringing and the change that you will create for your members. So amazing.
think you have an amazing day and keep doing what you're doing. Because community is exactly what we need.
Laura Zug 41:25
Thank you. Okay, bye bye. Bye.
Kate Kordsmeier 41:34
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We are an LGBTQIA-affirming, interfaith-oriented, diverse organization. We are committed to social and environmental justice, including civil rights, dismantling systems of oppression like the Patriarchy, White Supremacy and Diet Culture. We believe Black Lives Matter.