- How Christine used the French language and lifestyle to free herself from the challenges and setbacks she faced as a child.
- Why Christine doesn’t think of herself as a product – and how the membership site model allows her to connect authentically with others like her.
- How Christine turned her experience as an educator into a valuable, informative membership site.
- What Christine did when her first launch only brought in three people.
- Why launching a membership site helped Christine achieve personal and financial growth – and how she passes the same feelings on to others.
FREE Guide – Launch & Grow a Profitable Membership SiteReady to reclaim your time and attract more monthly paying customers? Our step-by-step guide will show you how to build a membership site that turns your passion into recurring profit. Click here to download!
- “I was a little girl that came from nowhere, was going nowhere, and was a nobody. That was drilled into me. My dad always used to say, ‘Little girls should be seen and not heard.’ I was the silent child. I was a shadow. I seriously believed I was nothing. Then French came into my life. As soon as I opened my mouth and spoke in French, I felt like I was another person – totally entering another world. That’s the spark that keeps me going right now.” – Christine Camm
- “I want to show people that when you’re learning a language, you can do anything.” – Christine Camm
TranscriptRead The Transcript
Shelli: Christine Camm, welcome to the It’s a TRIBE Thing Podcast. How are you? Christine: Hi, Shelli. Thank you. I’m fine. How are you? Shelli: I am awesome. So, I appreciate you making the time because I know you’re tuning in from the other side of the planet. So, we appreciate you being flexible with time zones and such, but we’re super happy to have you on. Let’s talk about your membership site. Christine: Thank you. It’s a real pleasure. Thank you very much for inviting me. I feel very honored actually. Shelli: Absolute pleasure. So, you have an amazing membership site. I’m going to get you to tell your story though if you would of who you were before you were a membership site owner. So, you teach people French-speaking success but how did you come to that? How did you come to be the person that is now owning and running a membership site? Christine: I’m going to have to put this into quite a little nutshell because I was a little girl that came from nowhere. I was going nowhere. I was a nobody and that was drilled into me and my dad always used to say, “Little girls should be seen and not heard.” So, I was the silent child. I was number eight, born in England, growing up in Yorkshire, and I was a shadow and I was a nobody and I seriously believed I was nothing. Then French came into my life and I was 11 years old and I looked in this book and there were pictures of France and I’ve never been anywhere else. Well, that was the beginning. That was the humble beginning because as soon as I opened my mouth and spoke in French, I felt like I was another person like I was totally entering another world and I think that’s the start that is keeping me going right now. Anyway, time kicked by and I was told, “You’ll never learn French. You can’t do this.” So, I was always put down and there was always something inside me saying, “No, it’s going to happen.” So, I go to school and I tell the teachers I want to learn more French and they say, “No, Christine, you’re too stupid to learn French. You can’t do this. You’re in the dumb class.” Literally, those were the days when these things were actually said and I believed it but something inside said that this is not true and I looked around and I thought, “This is not my future. You’re deciding my future,” but another half of me is like a lot of us were shaped by the society we’re in. So, I was told that I was going to be a secretary and I was going to be a good girl and I was going to grow up and get married and have children and it sounds like one of these 1950s films, and I believed it and I got my teaching degree and I got everything else. I got my masters. I was in teaching. I was an outstanding teacher many times. I ended up teaching the other teachers how to teach and even got the teacher that told me I was too stupid to learn French in my How to Teach French class. Shelli: No, you didn’t. That’s amazing! Christine: Yeah. And I just looked at her and I thought it brought everything back to me and I thought, “Do you know what? I’ve grown so much,” and I wondered what it was that made me grow because I realized something’s different. I am not the person she is looking at. I’m not that child that’s grown up. And I actually felt compelled not to say anything so I just went over and said, “Hi, how are you?” and everything and I was so grateful that she treated me like that because it kicked me into another trajectory and that was the one where I was standing on my own feet saying, “I love French.” I have no idea where I was going but I was going the French way and that led me to just teach French and keep going and that’s basically my life. I was just doing as I was told and yes, I have my children. Two beautiful fantastic children, a great husband, but there’s always something missing. Even after 35 years, I wasn’t in front following that dream. I think some of it might have been running away and I try to examine this. Was I running away from the fact that I was caged in being a nobody? And actually, I do believe that. So, now I was just getting at doing my own thing. And yet some of me just said no, it’s nothing to do with that. I just want to go to France and live there. So, I learned loads and loads of French, taught loads and loads of French and was not happy. I took off, looks at my chair just I’m resigning. I am walking out the classroom, not literally like this moment but I just thought I’m not going to do this anymore. I am being everybody else’s slave. I want to serve the people I want to serve. I want people to be enlightened as I’ve been to the fact that inside when you’re learning a language and you’re being confident about who you are and what you’re saying or where you’re going with it, you can do anything, and you don’t want to be told by anybody else what shape you are, what color you are or what you should say, how you should behave in public. I wanted an element of freedom and I wanted to share that and to me, it was by living in France and by serving as many people as I could to believe in themselves, to open their mouths and follow their French dream, not after 35 years in the classroom, however good you are that it’s okay to turn around and say, “No, I’ve got this dream and I’m having it. I’m going to risk everything. I’m going to do everything and I’m going to go there.” So, I’m here. I bought a spider’s web with a house attached and it’s awesome. It’s messy and it’s beautiful and it’s in the heart of the country and there are deer knocking at the door almost and we went out to Spain for the day today. I’ve got a member staying with me on a residential homestay right now so she can just speak French all day and live the French life and that’s what it’s about, Shelli, living that life you want to live. I don’t think I’m alone. Shelli: This is so powerful, Christine, honestly. I just want to dive in with a couple of questions before we get to the membership site because this is so incredibly powerful. You know, you’re talking about that little girl that should be seen and not heard and how when you’re 11 you started taking French when you felt like you were becoming somebody else. For you at that time that little girl that was sort of becoming somebody else through speaking French, who did you become? Christine: Good question because I never actually spoke French really. 11, 12, 13, 14 years old, the days were you sat in the classroom and you behave yourself and speaking wasn’t as common. Now, you just had to do as you were told. So, no one was speaking French and I got France on a trip. Mum was really generous. She let me go to France and, well, that was my discovery. I had to practice speaking of the French I’ve been doing for four years in the classroom, not really, really speaking French, just textbook stuff and I had to communicate and have real French with real French people and it was live and spontaneous, and I found my feet, Shelli. I found me. I felt like I was on a stage, but I didn’t want to be on the stage with anyone else and I didn’t want loads of people around me but felt so happy. It was like get a really big champagne bottle and you’d let the top off and all this fizz of me came out and I just watched myself. I kind of looked back and I don’t know if anyone else sees this but you put your head on the pillow at night and analyze your day and think, “Oh, that was a good bit,” like a film to just lull you off to sleep again. And I remember thinking of that exciting fizz and buzz and there was this element of craziness about me. I got so much energy. I was just jumping about being happy. Yeah. I found myself because when I met those people and I was speaking in French, nobody was telling me what to do, nobody was judging me. Nobody was saying, “Oh, you’re a girl, you got to be this in your future life.” There were absolutely no social or personal constraints. I was unashamedly me and the fact that it was French conversation and the people were showing and because I felt I was a nobody at first, people actually asked real questions of me that were genuinely interested in me. Shelli: Wow. It almost sounds like French was the way you emancipated yourself in some ways. Christine: Yeah. I would agree. Shelli: When you are teaching and you talked about when the moment, you’re like, “Wow. I have been teaching for a while and I’m not happy,” how did that end up transitioning into the membership site? Like when you did you very first have the idea and then realize, “Wow. Like this could be a thing?” Because it’s so interesting for me to hear you talk about the fibs and that thing that lights you up and how alive you felt and for those people that are listening there are all different kinds of membership sites and this is just such a beautiful example about whatever your fizz is, is going to be fizz for somebody else too. Christine: It’s fizz with love on top. It’s fizz with energy of believing in the people around me. [ANNOUNCEMENT] Stu: So many people in all kinds of niche markets are leveraging their existing knowledge and influence and they’re transforming it into passive monthly income. This isn’t luck. This is a repeatable formula for producing a growing subscription income and if thousands of others can do it, you can too. To find out what type of membership site would be right for your business, visit GetTRIBEGuide.com. Go to GetTRIBEGuide.com and download it today. You’re awesome. [INTERVIEW] Christine: How did it get to a membership site? Well, I think it was born a long time ago because even through my following at school I was always able to encourage, inspire, and empower those people who couldn’t see it in themselves and I was sitting with my daughter. We were in a conference in LA. There were so many ways of getting a message out and selling yourself in things and I thought, “That’s not me.” I’m not so much a product. I want to surround myself with people like I’ve been surrounded before and let them take their own champagne cork out. Shelli: So powerful. Christine: How do I show people where the cork is and even inspire them to want to know about French and speaking and how powerful it can be. I mean, they’re not all going to go on my journey but when people sit in my membership like I was on it just the hour before we were speaking here and everybody was sitting there, we were laughing, almost crying at some point and we were giggling and we were being silly and we were talking in French, and you could see that everybody have come on this absolutely neutral territory and that’s what I had the vision of with my daughter and that was last – not last November but the one before so call it 18 months ago. And it took a long time to realize how we could get the membership together. To be honest, we joined TRIBE because it was just a word. “Oh, we’ll do a membership site.” We have no idea what it was, so we drifted around, not really knowing what to do. I mean, it was like a club idea and I just didn’t know what to do or how to do it. Look, we joined TRIBE because it was the blueprint that was put out and it said it all, but it was the community that was going to do it all and I think that was a big difference. So, it didn’t mean anything on paper to me. I just looked at it and I was like, “No, I’m sorry. I can’t do this.” I was still learning how to build and pull my materials because if I was going to have a membership, I needed a success path. Guess what? Stu showed us what a good one looks like. Shelli: He sure did. Christine: Yeah. I think about being in the classroom. It’s kind of I’ve written my own schemes of work for years, but I think it’s not like writing something for membership site, for adults who are paying to come in, and I found it totally – I have no idea what loose chat was, okay, I hardly got a Facebook account. Pinterest, forget it. Instant? Don’t need it. Monday, Process Street? All these words. It was like I was trying to juggle all that and then I make a membership content. I was the one trying to perfect everything beforehand. How did it actually happen? Someone said, “Just launch.” I don’t know who it was and it was echoing for loads in the conversations, so I did. And someone came. Three people came. They’re my three. They’re an amazing three and people were saying about, someone said the power of one person. So, I treated those three people as I would like to be treated in exactly the same situation in that moment when I had those first conversations in France and people treated me like a wonderful human being that I am. Shelli: Wow. That’s an amazing full-circle moment. Christine: It was. Everything’s based on that. The rest, it’s just physical stuff around at all and like I’m totally overwhelmed with all this technology and our strategy and everything. I really find it very difficult. But having sat there for an hour before this, I was totally in my element because I was sharing that or they were sharing it with me. Not it wasn’t my moment. It was their moment. And I think that’s what it’s all about, to be honest. That’s what we all do, isn’t it? Isn’t that we all just look in the eye of our members and say I love you? Shelli: Well, you know, it’s so powerful you said that because you and I were talking at the top of this interview before we hopped on and we were saying that exact thing like sometimes the thing that somebody needs is not necessarily the lesson or the lesson plan. Sometimes the thing people need is just to be seen and to be given permission to just be. And oftentimes, that is the thing that people get that helps them get unstuck and to your point, I know that one of the things that you pride yourself in is offering a safe environment for people to speak and learn French and just having that safe space where people can come together and just be and fumble and have it be okay creates that community. Christine: Yes, and it’s terrible the three people there now. It’s growing and I like that. It’s warm and I like that about it, and I can see the progression in my members as well. There was one member, he came. Am I allowed to tell a tiny story? Shelli: Absolutely. Yes, please. Christine: Okay. Thank you. So, I call him his proper name because we’re happy here. He’s called Nick. He’s English. He’s an ex-policeman and he joined and he said, “Christine, I’ve got no confidence. I’m an ex-policeman but I’ve got no confidence with my French. I’ve learned loads of French, but I can’t speak. I’m joining. I’m coming,” and he came. Yes, he was a little nervous but it so happened that he was a first responder and I’ve done a prize so that people who are participating would have a little bit of extra teaching time with me one-to-one just for the fun of it. It’s one of my bonuses. So, as one of the bonuses, he hopped on a Zoom with me and said, “Can we pretend that you’re sick and I can do a first response in French?” So, I pretended I burnt myself on the barbecue and he had to treat me and he had to look after me and then I decided to have a problem on the stairs and I’d fainted and hit my head and it was interesting because that was just a roleplay that we did for him. Two weeks later lo and behold he turns up and the lady is not responding and they were saying, “We got to take her to the hospital.” He just says, “Give me a minute,” and he said my voice was running right through his head all the way through. Shelli: Wow. Christine: I can’t believe he said that, and he said the lady was French. Nobody thought to find out. And that lady he did all these things that we’ve been doing together, and our little practice fun run and that lady slept in her own bed happy, safe, and much happier than had she gone to hospital. Shelli: That’s incredible. That’s the beauty of having a membership site too because you get to know your members not only as a community. It’s also a relationship and I love what you just said there because when you get a chance to get to know your people, you can provide them what they need. So, it’s interesting that he happens to be a first responder and you have this teaching French in a certain context, something that he’s familiar with, but you don’t necessarily get that if you don’t have the relationship and the personal touchpoints that go with it. Christine: Yes, I agree with you. I keep notes on every single member and every time I have a conversation I’ve sat there with a pencil in my hand. I want to know my members inside out and I think it makes a difference. When you say, “Oh, how’s your grandson?” I mean, it’s just conversation. I mean, I think it’s important in what we’re doing that I don’t ask the same questions twice as well and I’m genuinely interested in them too. They are beautiful, beautiful people and it’s really nice when a lady was talking to me from Toronto, a lady from West Virginia, a lady from Holland, a man from England, and a lady from Wales were all talking tonight in French. We have common ground. Shelli: That’s incredible. I have one last question for you. What has your membership made possible for you? That can be personally or professionally. Christine: I’ve taken the time to look back and appreciate what I’ve accomplished on a regular basis and the time to celebrate my wings and reflect on how me, not just my business has grown, and I don’t mean financial growth. I mean, personal growth is really important. So, today I’m like I’ve stepped up into being the businesswoman rather than a scared overwhelmed teacher, anything like that. So, I can advise other people like after celebrating what you’ve done is to celebrate who we have become. Shelli: Wow. That’s powerful. Christine: Because I thought I had become me when I was 14. I thought I had become me when I was teaching and judged in the classroom to be outstanding. I wasn’t. I was wearing labels. What I’ve done for this membership is I’m learning to celebrate not what I’ve done but who I have become in the process of achieving my dream and allowing my members to become who they are. So, it’s not just the what. It’s the being, the person we’ve become. I think that’s what I’ve found through my membership. Shelli: That might be the best answer I’ve ever heard to that question. Thank you for that. First of all, thank you so much for your time. It’s been an absolute privilege to hear your story and your journey. This has been really personally inspiring for me how this all unfolded. So, I wanted to, first of all, thank you for your time, but if people are looking for you online, if they want to come learn French in a safe environment, where is the best place they can find you? Christine: Okay. Well, the first place, of course, would be Simply French Family. That’s my free Facebook group but you can contact me at [email protected] directly and my group is called Conversation Café because it’s a closed group. You just see the outside of it. So, yeah, I’m Christine Camm and [email protected] is the best way to get in contact with me. Shelli: Awesome. Well, Christine, thank you so much for your time and we here at It’s a TRIBE Thing appreciate you. Christine: Thank you. I really appreciate this. Thank you so much, Shelli, and love to everybody there.