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Designed to Stay Small: Why I decided to cap the community members at 200

Jay Clouse
Dec 9, 2022

I launched my membership community in March. In just 6 months, it has:

— Gained 135 members.

— Generated $92K.

— Nearly doubled my business.

— Become my favorite place on the internet.

And yesterday I decided to cap the total members at 200. Here's why:

1. Maintaining Closeness

The magic of The Lab is how close people feel to one another.

I've been a part of large communities and even run large communities! It's difficult to maintain closeness as a community grows.

Closeness = trust = safety = deeper insight shared

2. Protecting Member Experience

Beyond the closeness that can get lost in a larger community, it also becomes quite noisy.

As a community grows, there's less talking *to* people and more talking *at* people.

As a result, members tend to spend less time in that community.

3. My Capacity

A big part of The Lab is my personal involvement. I have a 1:1 call with every new member. I'm on every live session. I host 1:1 coaching sessions and I answer nearly every post that comes in.

If the community grew bigger and bigger, I couldn't do all of that. I want to invest significant time & energy into every member of the community, but I'm also a creator myself publishing weekly essays, podcast episodes, and more.

I lose my ability to be a professional creator (and share my insight) if I lose that time.

4. “Enough” Economics

From the beginning of the community, I've planned the economics to support this strategy.

By maintaining both

1.) A premium price point, and,

2.) Annual-only membership options, the community earns enough revenue to incentivize me to invest significant time.

As we get closer to the 200-person cap, I'll introduce slight increases in price. By design, the community with 200 members will generate ~$250K-350K per year. Not only does that compensate me for my time, but it's also enough to hire admin help.

From the beginning, I've intended to build The Lab to be a unique community membership. I'm using it to try different models than most other people. Not only is staying small a step in that direction, but it also protects member experience and my sanity.

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