Building Audience & Income With Justin Welsh

An inside look at monetizing a wildly popular Discord community with Outseta

By
Geoff Roberts
·
5 min read

I didn’t know Justin Welsh until a few months ago when he signed up for Outseta, although I recognized his shadowy face against a black background from updates I’d stumbled across on Linkedin.



The update above is the norm for Justin—one of several each day that results in hundreds of comments, thousands of likes. In short, the man is a Linkedin powerhouse. 

After playing an instrumental role in building a couple of very successful SaaS companies, Justin burned out and decided to strike out on his own. The result? Audience & Income, a Discord community where Justin deconstructs business growth for solopreneurs and creators.

And he practices what he preaches—Justin first caught my attention when he made about $40,000 in 48 hours after he began selling memberships to monetize his Discord community with Outseta. But he really caught my eye a few weeks later when he walked me through how he was using Outseta to manage Audience & Income. From his application process to his use automations, Justin is using Outseta to its full potential—this post is an inside look at how he operates his business.

Tech & Tools

Here’s a quick overview of the technology and tools Justin uses to run Audience & Income.

Carrd.co—Website

Discord—Online Community

Lu.ma—Member directory and event registration

Outseta—Memberships and business management across all of the areas listed below.

  • Membership payments
  • CRM
  • Sign up and login forms
  • Member portal
  • Email automations
  • Email broadcasts
  • Segmentation
  • Protected content
  • Lead capture forms
  • Activity notifications
  • Rewardful integration for affiliate / referral program
  • Financial reporting

Customer Journey

Justin's process for signing up new members begins on a simple one-page Carrd website. If you’re not familiar with Carrd, it’s an outstanding website builder for start-ups and one of the best deals in tech—for $19 per year you can build up to 10 websites with Carrd. 

Here’s a tutorial on building a membership website like Justin’s with Outseta and Carrd

But what's most unique about Justin's setup is that he doesn't allow anybody to sign up for a membership to his community—instead he's built a sophisticated application process that allows him to screen potential community members before presenting them with the opportunity to buy a membership. This is a quality control measure that:

  • Ensures only highly qualified applications are accepted into his community
  • Allows him to onboard new members at a pace that works for the community

Let's take a look at how he built his application process.

Application Process

The primary call to action on Justin's wesbite is to apply to join his community, which he charges $249 per year for access to.

When a potential member enters their email address Justin captures a lead and redirects the potential member to an Outseta lead capture form which serves as the application. Here’s the application form.

When the application is submitted by a potential member:

  • A Person record is automatically created in Outseta CRM pre-populated with the application data.
  • Outseta’s lead capture form includes a hidden field called Member Status that passes the value “Applied" to Outseta. The form then redirects potential members to a thank you message.
Justin reviews applications and changes the value of the "Member Status" field, triggering email automations
  • The potential member is added to a Segment in Outseta called “Pending Review.” This segmentation happens automatically based off of the incoming Member Status of “Applied.” (The segment is built using the condition of "Person Member Status = Applied")
  • Justin and his team then review each application and move potential members to different segments depending on the quality of their application. The vast majority of applicants are moved to a waitlist, so Justin can bring on new members at a pace that works for his community.
Segments specific to each stage of the A&I application process

Email automations

As applications are reviewed and the Member Status field is changed for each, Justin’s subsequent outreach is completely automated via Outseta’s drip email tools.

For example, the email below is automatically sent to members that are accepted. He has similar automation in place for rejected members, members added to the waitlist, and his other member statuses. 

The automated email Justin sends to accepted applicants

Membership Payments

You'll notice that the email above contains a link that says "please submit your first year's payment"—this call to action links to hidden section on Justin's website where users can actually pay for their membership. The payment is processed using Outseta’s sign up embed, at which point Justin sends the new member a link that provides the with access to his Discord community.

Justin uses a 1-step Outseta sign up embed to capture membership payments

When the membership payment is submitted an Account record is also automatically created in Outseta for the new member. This record shows their membership details, all financial transactions, their actual Customer Lifetime Revenue (which updates in real time as new payments are collected), and includes a complete activity history of all login activity, email correspondence, and support interactions.

A CRM record is automatically created for each new member

Justin also uses Outseta coupon codes to give discounts to friends and family members interested in joining his community.

Ongoing customer communication 

Justin continues to communicate with his member base regularly using Outseta’s email tools. This includes a weekly email to all community members that reviews the previous week, highlights wins from their community, and provides notices about upcoming events and workshops.

Weekly newsletters and other updates are sent using Outseta email broadcasts

He’s also set up Outseta’s help desk so he can route and respond to all incoming requests from his community members in one place.

Outseta's support ticketing system

Member Portal

Finally, Justin is using Outseta’s content protection features to protect a couple of areas on his website so that they are only accessible to logged in members. There protected pages serve two purposes:

  • First, Justin has a member feedback form (an Outseta form) that he uses to capture feedback from community members.
  • Second, members can access Outseta’s profile embed allowing them to easily maintain profile and billing information. They can also upgrade, downgrade, and cancel their membership from here.

Growth

With Justin’s application, acceptance, payment, and communication processes all automated he’s now focused on what he does best—growing his audience and income.

He’s taken advantage of Outseta’s integration with Rewardful to compensate people who refer community members to him and Outseta’s financial reporting features make it easy for him to keep track of his member count and monthly recurring revenue (MRR). All of his community magic happens over in Discord, and he uses Lu.ma for event registration and his member directory.

Justin’s use of these tools is truly impressive and a testament to what can be built and managed by a solopreneur, creator, or small team. If you’d like to learn from him directly, head on over to Audience & Income. He might just let you in off his waitlist!

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