The Calm Guide to Onboarding Members into your Paid Online Community

Deb Schell
3 min readJul 30, 2021


The Calm Guide to Onboarding: Section 1: Creating your onboarding plan

This is the first step in the five-step process of the Calm Guide to Onboarding your Members to a Paid Online Community. I’ll be sharing these steps each week for the next five weeks to offer you ideas on creating a great plan for onboarding your members into your paid online community so that they stay, connect, and transform with your help!

Here’s what onboarding does to help you find calm with the process of inviting new members into your community. Through the CALM Method of Clarity, Awareness, Learning, and Motion — I explain why getting your onboarding plan is so beneficial to new community hosts.

Clarity — To offer the new members of your community a clear reason reminding them of why they joined, telling them what you’ll do together, and how they can share, connect, and collaborate with community members, also transforming, creating, developing, or practicing the skills, tools, or guidance you provide inside the network. This can be done in several ways — The Welcome & Purpose Posts, LIVE Welcome Event to create connection (mentioned later), Emails that warm them to the community, or other types of communication such as a demo or personalized welcome videos.

Awareness — Paying attention to what your potential and current members tell you about your onboarding process or lack of a “start here” can help guide you to creating a “roadmap for success” for your members so that they don’t lose interest or have challenges with logging into the community — which could lead them to giving up and canceling their paid membership.

To gain awareness, you can keep detailed notes of the discovery calls and/or ideal member interviews to use their language when describing the importance of the network and reasons for why they’d want to join and stay. You can also listen to and ask for feedback from members throughout your onboarding process to see how it can be improved for them.

Learning — Continuing to learn through the community-building process is just as important as having a good onboarding plan. With the awareness piece, you can discover what you’ll need to learn, implement, or incorporate into your onboarding process based on the feedback from current members.
Once you’ve set up your onboarding plan (discussed in the next steps), you’ll want to test it out and see what you can learn from the member experience.

Motion — Being open to modifications and changes throughout the process of creating your customized onboarding process will allow you to refine it, making it simple to implement and allowing you to hand off tasks to an assistant easily. Taking action on the improvements while in the “testing” phase will allow you to feel confident your onboarding process will lead you to create a great member experience that brings and keeps members connecting, contributing, and paying to be a part of your network.

Get started! Write out your plan for onboarding members! Check out the resources below and let me know if this guide is helpful!

Additional Resources

Why you need a kickass member onboarding process
We’re All in This Together: Creating a Team Culture of High Performance, Trust, and Belonging

About Deb Schell

Creator of Find Calm Here LLC — As a consultant, designer, copywriter, and strategist, I help creators find calm in building, launching, and growing their paid online communities. Inside the Find Calm Here Community, I bring together community-builders who feel overwhelmed with launching a community, cultivating contribution, and creating an onboarding plan with the tools, resources, and support they need to find calm so that they can confidently create a community. As the Host of the Find Calm Here Podcast, I share conversations I have with community-builders and share resources that have helped them find calm in building a paid online community.



Deb Schell

Find calm building a business you love.