For as long as she can remember “Cathy” has loved being of service to older people, so much so that on Saturdays she offers low-income seniors free haircuts.
Cathy’s is a one-person mission. As it turns out there’s a larger coordinated effort happening around the country which links the Cathy’s of the world with seniors who wish to remain in their homes.
The so-called village movement began ten years ago in Boston’s upscale Beacon Hill neighborhood. Knowing that it’s often the little things – like not being able to climb a step-ladder to change a light bulb or shovel snow – that force older people to give up their homes and move into a retirement or assisted living community, a group of residents set out to find a solution.
Today the Beacon Hill Village – and 56 other Villages across the U.S. and one in Australia – serves as a liaison between volunteers and older people needing assistance. Volunteers can be younger neighbors, other able-bodied seniors, or college or other youth service groups.
In return for an average of $600 in annual dues, members can get help with things like bookkeeping, yard work, and shopping, and have access to a list of vetted home-maintenance contractors. They can also tap into work exchanges where one member might give another a ride to the theater and receive help organizing files from someone else.
To get a feel for the village concept, click here to view a short video the Beacon Hill Village put together.
Each village is run by one or two paid employees who coordinate everything. Ordinarily anything that involved being an “employee” wouldn’t interest me, BUT…
It occurred to me that for people like Cathy who like serving seniors and who enjoy coordinating people and events, starting and running a village could be a very satisfying way to essentially create your own job.
Given that there are one hundred-plus more villages in development tells me that a lot of other people have the same idea. Beacon Hill Village creators received so many requests for information that they put together a how-to manual. At $350 they make a nice profit simply by teaching people to do what they did.
A manual is great for some people, but others thrive when they have more on-going training and support. Enter the non-profit Village to Village (VtV) Network which also uses the member model.
For an annual fee of $350 members who either run an existing Village or who want to start one get access to monthly Webinars, peer-to-peer mentoring, and the chance to attend the National Village Gathering happening October 24-26 in Oakland, California.
Put the Power of Continuity Income to Work for You
Certainly the community angle is a big factor in the Village movement’s success. The opportunity to be a part of a larger community is why a whopping 94 percent of the people who take my Profiting from Your Passions® Career Coach Training Program opt for the Inner Circle option.
But what makes this non-profit financially viable is, like Consumer Reports, that it’s based on the membership model.
With this or any continuity model, members or subscribers agree to have their credit cards billed on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis in exchange for access to things like information, training, support, coaching, networking, exclusive access, and so on.
So if you have 100 people paying $97 a month for a coaching program, that’s $9,700 a month. On the other end of the continuum if you charge $7.97 a month like Consumer Reports does and you have 5,000 members that’s $39,850 – a month.
Last week over 350 people joined the Webinar I hosted on how to create a business with a recurring income stream. Among other things, we talked about how the continuity model can work for products (socks, soap, or wine of the month), training (knitting lesson or yoga class of the week), or industry or affinity-based associations (association of lavender growers or gun owners).
For a limited time you can listen to the Webinar replay at www.ChangingCourse.com/ryanreplay.
Or, if you’re already familiar with the continuity model and you’d like to be part of a weekly coaching group that includes the chance to engage in live Q&A, you can learn more here: www.ryanlee.com/changing