Kajabi Communities

Teri Yu is a repeat founder who raised $2.5M+ and successfully sold her company Vibely to creator powerhouse Kajabi. She has deep product & sales expertise from experiences at Asana and Microsoft. Teri was also previously a viral YouTube creator.



Jessy: All right, so on today’s show we have Teri Yu. I have been super excited to chat with you today, learn all things about you, your professional background, all things Kajabi. But first and foremost, welcome and how are you today?

Teri: Thank you for having me. I’m doing wonderful. It’s a hump day today, so in the middle of the week.

Jessy: It’s so nice and tell everyone where you’re based.

Teri: I’m in San Mateo, which is 30 minutes, 20 minutes south of San Francisco. Move out here during the pandemic cuz SF to get a little grimy and less, safe. So moved out here and been have been enjoying this area since the pandemic.

Jessy: Perfect. And I think a fantastic place to start, I wanna go back. I wanna start at the beginning. Tell us a little bit more about you growing up. Like we know that you’re in California now, but where are you from originally? And what are some like more formidable memories from your childhood that may perhaps have paved the way to where you are now?

Teri: Yeah, absolutely. I was born in Arizona and moved to LA for school, then went to SF afterwards to join tech. So from Aaron, Arizona. My parents actually immigrated from Taiwan. They were pretty on their own for a while. They didn’t have much to support them or much resources out there.

So my parents were just trying to make ends meet. We lived at a little apartment complex near ASU that was, like rundown. I think I remember them telling us stories about we would hear a lot of arguing and some domestic violence cases next to which, was really sad. But it was a kind of humbling experience to grow up that way.

My parents, would look for jobs just to try to make ends meet. My mom would go door to door in the apartment complex, trying to find ways to make money by cutting people’s hair, by, babysitting their kids. 

And then my dad, took up a job at the cafeteria at the school, and he just, made ends meet as much as possible during the day and then came home at night to spend time with the family.

But yeah really pulled themselves out of that whole by working really hard and having persistence and grit to get through it. Which has been inspiring for me to see because now I have, seen what it’s you can do when you have almost nothing as a tool set other than just your sheer willpower.

My parents had really broken English, so it’s not like they had a lot coming in. They didn’t have any particular skill sets at the time that really stood out.

But the local community that they worked with, which is the Taiwanese American Association, was their second family where my dad would be part of that group and have his support for trying to help him find new jobs, new connections.

And then my parents had that like mental, and spiritual kind of like support as well. And so through all that they were able to pull themselves out of that whole and now, standing on their shoulders.

By no means did they become, the richest people in the world. But they were definitely, such an inspiration to me and made me work my tail off when it came to my own career and, making a difference in the world.

Jessy: I appreciate your story, much. I think a lot of people can relate perhaps to being in an industry that their parents maybe don’t necessarily have a familiarity with. A lot of, especially people who work in influencer marketing in some capacity. Influencer marketing didn’t even exist prior to them being in it. 

So how do your parents look at your career path?

Have they always been super supportive? Did they always understand? Did they have, things to contribute to your, growth and advice to give? Or what were those conversations like?

Teri: Yeah, so they haven’t always been supportive of my exact career path. I think a lot of Asian American our parents will just be very focused on the typical doctor, lawyer, scientist like, I known academic occupations. 

And so when I told my parents I was quitting, I used to work at Microsoft, then worked at Asana, which were companies that they had at least heard of a little bit.

And, when I told ’em I was quitting to start a company, they were shocked and appalled. Frankly, as much as I love my parents, they were quite unsupportive. My, dad really questioned whether or not, I had the skillset. He would ask me very frankly do you really think this is the right thing for you to do?

I don’t know about this and my mom, would constantly tell me that this is a mistake. So she would actually tell her friends that, I still worked at these big companies like Microsoft at some point. She got it confused and told people that I worked at Google. And so it was a little disheartening in that sense.

But despite it all, they had still supported me. Like in terms of whatever I wanted to do, I knew that I had them behind me. If everything failed. 

And I don’t mean like financially. Cuz we were by no means in that, wealth class, it was more that, if I really broke down from the entire process and just completely wasn’t able to survive that they would still be there emotionally for me.

And so that was really nice to have, despite all the hardship at the beginning. But to this day, I think they’re now quite happy for me, but they’re still actually more proud of my brother, which is quite fascinating cuz he was a Ivy League, he went to Yale, so he’s still like the golden child.

But, it’s something that I’m still like, very happy about to have just like a family who even supports and recognizes like e emotionally they’re there for me, that I am still someone like in the family that they are really proud of.

Jessy: That’s so funny. I was literally about to ask you is do you have siblings? Are you an only child? 

is it you and your brother?

Teri: Yes. Yes. So I have an older brother, his name is Evan, and he works in a law firm, like a trade law and like consulting firm in Dc. And so yeah, it’s interesting cuz despite all the success I’ve had, they’ve definitely they’re still very proud of him. And sometimes when they pitch me versus him in there’s a conference that they were spinning out for Taiwanese American Association where they’re doing speakers and for him they said, oh, he’s like renowned lawyer.

Went to a prestigious Ivy League school and then for me they put like entrepreneur in parentheses, which is just hilarious.

Jessy: That is pretty wild. So like how do you reconcile that? I’ve been very open on this podcast that and I’m not saying this is what you have, of course, but I’ve been very open on this podcast how I actually don’t have the closest relationship with my parents for a variety of different reasons.

And oddly enough, like they have been particularly supportive of, my career path. As someone, it sounds like you have a relationship with your family, I don’t. How do you reconcile this? Do you look back and you’re just like, it’s just a cultural thing, it’s just a generational thing.

Both. They just don’t understand. They just want the best for me. Or is there, a desire there for them to change? What does that look like? Because I can imagine that as anyone would, you want your parents’ approval? You want your parents to be proud of you. 

So I don’t know, how do you reconcile that?

Teri: Yeah, so there’s two ways that I think about it. The first is just generationally and culturally things are very different. So because they, immigrated from Taiwan, they’re just cultural values are night and day with what we expect in the US. 

And then it’s also a, generational like time difference as well. Cause you know, they grew up in a different era where, you know, being a doctor or lawyer was the most advanced and prestigious thing you could have done.

So I don’t really fault them for it. I think it makes me understand, even though, they’re not as proud of me as I would’ve wanted, I still understand why and where they’re coming from.

In some ways I’m actually grateful because I think they almost sacrifice their, closeness and like of relationship with me so that we could have a better life, right?

Like they came here to the state so that our family and my brother especially could have a great, childhood could actually have an opportunity to pursue the American dream.

Like I would by no means be where I am today without the opportunity to be here. And yeah, I think despite that I’m still very happy and, grateful that they, took this opportunity. 

The second way I think about it is like your parents will always prioritize, your safety over your growth. Because what they would hate and would just, be such a loss for them at the end of the day is if anything were to happen to us in any way. It could be like, you lose your job and your financial security. It could be that you, are on the street and it’s unsafe for whatever reason.

If you ask your parents, should I do X, they’re always gonna be seeing it through the lens of, okay, how do I protect my child or my family member as much as possible. Like if you’re to imagine your brother or your sibling coming to you and asking you like, should I pursue this highly risky thing that is fairly unsafe that most people fail at, most of the time, I think cuz you care about their wellbeing and you want them to continually be part of your life and have a good, secure life. 

You’ll recommend a thing that is safer. And it’s something that I now have opened my eyes to. And, when you’re thinking about what to do next, when you get the family advice, you always should caveat it with the fact that it’s not always going to be the best advice for your personal growth, cuz personal growth does require sacrifice.

It does require risk. And at the end of the day, if that’s important to you, you need to consider the family advice as one like grain of salt.

Jessy: That is a really healthy approach. Am sitting here being like, oh, safety overgrowth. That’s a very healthy approach cuz it makes logical sense. I hate when people come up with these phrases that sort of almost seem to excuse away things. And I don’t sense that with this. It seems very logical. It makes sense that they feel that way. 

And I also appreciate that you’re saying, if growth is something that is particularly important to you, that like really makes you feel as if you’re, living this really fulfilled life then perhaps go to a friend, perhaps go to a business mentor who that would be the line of thinking, or the lens that they would look through as somebody who’s giving you advice and like advising you along the way. So I really really appreciate that. 

So you also spoke about like risk taking. And I’d love to dive into, first learning about your former company, Vibely. Which you started back, I believe in 2018. Is that right?

Teri: Yep. 2018. 

Jessy: And then it was acquired by Kajabi, which I’ve known about Kajabi now for at least a few years. And for anyone. Who’s listening, who doesn’t know, they’ve helped creators earn over 5 billion worth of revenue.

And that’s probably a slightly outdated statistic too. It’s over that now. 

So I guess I’d love to just hear first about what made you wanna start launch, build, and create Vibely back in 2018?

Teri: Yeah so, so many inspirations here, but the first comes in the fact that my family was part of this local community, and it was really important to their ability to get through the hard times. So growing up, I always had this support system around me. I never felt like there was a single point of failure, meaning if there was something that was wrong, that no one would be there to at least talk about and be a ER to help us through it.

I think seeing the power of community, it’s always been something that I’ve wanted to recreate, especially in our, like nowadays when we’re seeing everyone’s tethered to their screens, there’s this obsession with screen, time and like this lack of local like places and religion that’s dissipating.

I’ve wanted to create a place where people could actually have meaningful social connections and really just, be enriched by the people around them. So it started with that mission. 

But the reason why I started to become very preoccupied with this particular mission was because I worked in product management at, Asana and just a couple of other companies.

And what I saw was this AB testing, experimentation framework that every tech company does, whether it’s Meta, Snap. All the companies do. They optimize for a couple of key metrics, which is often app sessions, which means do you come back to the app repeatedly, and b, it’s also dwell time or session time, which is how long do you spend on it?

So when you’re using the app like TikTok all they want you to do is open the app maximum amount of times a day. They also want you to come back to the app multiple times, or spend a lot of time in the app as much as possible. 

And so their goal is to basically take over your life, right? And while that’s good for the company cuz they can serve more ads, at the end of the day it’s bad for us as consumers because now we are living a life through our phones and there’s this idea of doom scrolling that’s becoming more and more well known where we’re spending so much time on our phones that once we unplug from it, we start to feel really empty, really unhappy. 

Depression is at an all-time high. Teenage suicides are at an all-time high. So there’s definitely an issue that I think society hopefully will start realizing and, carving back to a more healthy lifestyle.

But because this mattered so much to me, I quit my job, which was super secure at the time. But decided it was the right time for me to work on something that was quite meaningful to me. 

So we started Vibely, which was a way for communities to have those meaningful relationships. We have like in real life meetups, there was discussions that were lively, there were challenges that got people to take action together. 

And then we started working with creators because of I had a creator background at the time in 2011. My dog went viral. I could tell you that story as well.

But we started to work with these creators and they were hosting really powerful peer-to-peer communities where people were learning together. They were, developing business connections together. Some people were meeting as friends and traveling together but they were able to accomplish more collectively than they were able to alone.

And so once things started really taking off, we were growing at 59% revenue month of our month. We also worked with thousands of creators and then we kept hearing about this company named Kajabi. Kajabi as powers over 5 billion creator revenue and we were really excited to potentially join forces.

And so started having those conversations and yeah, it was panned out the way it did today.

Jessy: Isn’t that cool that like the story of this, you know the origin story of this company, Vibely which is such a good name by the way. Like I love, I appreciate the heck out of a good name, and Vibely is such a good name.

It goes back to your roots. So I think it’s really beneficial that we heard your story. Your origin story, because of course it impacts your, like your baby, your company.

So it sounds like you were looking for ways to partner perhaps with Kajabi, and then that sort of turned into them acquiring your company. 

Now, I know that some of our listeners are either in the process of looking for somebody to perhaps acquire them or haven’t acquired or have acquired companies and can understand and relate that is like, such a wild time.

Essentially if it’s your company, it’s a huge decision to make. 

And so I would love for you to talk about just the acquisition process as much as you can of course. Like what it’s like to sell your company and make that ultimate decision. Like why did you decide that it was right for you?

Teri: Yeah, so it started when we got a series, A term sheet. So we were actually looking to raise to continue to pumble forward and, upstage the company. 

The valuation was good, but it was not as amazing as I wanted. And so that prompted me to start talking to a few of companies that have reached out, included companies like Patreon, Google. Kind off determining the risk reward of continuing.

So I approach it in very like scientific way where it’s okay, what are the benefits of continuing, what are the, like costs to continuing and at the end of the day does that make sense? And, once I started these conversations with a bunch of these companies, more of these opportunities popped up.

And Kajabi was an interesting one because we had heard about Kajabi so much with all the different creators that we worked with. They were all saying, oh, I do need a community cuz I have my courses, my coaching, and my podcast on Kajabi, but I need a place for people to actually interact with each other and to scale my time.

And so this was such a common occurrence that Kajabi’s only ones that I proactively reached out to, to try to start that conversation. 

And so one of our investors, Hinton Shaw, he knew one of the board members and he introduced us via email. I had a conversation with the CEO and the CPO. We just talked about the potential synergies. 

I told them about our vision for Vibely, what our team was like, the DNA and how we’ve been successful so far. And that prompted probably a series of five to eight more like cording conversations where we pulled in the VP of product, we pulled in the CTO , we pulled in, the CMO and it just became this conversation where we, got to know each other and saw how good the culture fit was.

And we knew because Kajabi was such a big player in the space, and was under-recognized too for how much, traction there was. Coming together would really terribly charge our ability to accomplish both of our missions, right? Like they wanted to empower creators. We also wanted to empower creators, but we wanted to empower the community as well.

And so it was just a match meet in heaven. And now, we’ve rebranded Vibely as Kajabi communities, which is a little sad given that you like the name, but, It’s also like an amazing opportunity cuz there’s, thousands of, craters are that are now all using the platform. I think there’s 75 million customers on Kajabi today and all that is, being united and it’s just really exciting now to see like the product take off.

Jessy: It is a good name. And so you joined forces Turbocharging, each of your missions and tell us more about like your experience today. Some people have their companies get acquired and they sail into the sunset. Others, it’s like their baby and they’re like, I have to be there to like help with the transition and then others just stay and continue on with the company.

So you are with Kajabi today. Kajabi community specifically. And so tell us about you were doing at Vibely combined with Kajabi and what it looks like today.

Teri: Yes. I’m now Kajabi’s Director of product and I also write for the Forbes Business Council on how to build strong online communities for Kajabi. I was awarded block her Innovator of the Year at some point. So now I am currently just making sure that the integration for Kajabi communities goes as well as possible, right?

We really wanna empower creators to be, very successful in their businesses, to continue to scale, to continue to have vibrant communities. And so we worked on the integration around January launch and that was a big deal. Like we had people just flooding into the platform and, leveraging as much as possible.

There was a lot of feedback. We got a lot of good feedback, a lot of improvements needed, and so we’ve been working heads down just getting that all done. 

So nowadays I’m still leaning the team there. We’re still, rapidly working on improvements. I think we ship over, five to 10 things a week, and that’s all just to continue to improve the experience.

In terms of like my founder DNA, I definitely still have, the itch comes back. I think about and have a lot of creative ideas that I wanna pursue. But the good thing about how Kajabi set it up today is they’ve given me a lot of autonomy. They’ve given me a lot of, space to experiment and they really entrust me to, take on a lot of responsibilities and take on new initiatives.

So because of that culture, it actually fits really well. So there’s a lot of ways that I want to help Kajabi become better or improve like the company or processes. And whenever I have an idea, I just run forward with it, find the stakeholders internally to make it happen. And, it’s pretty exciting to see the impact that it has to the company in both our creators, and its customers.

Jessy: Sounds like it’s something that’s really important to you and like I can totally relate to that. Like I, can imagine that going from, you worked at some large companies prior to Vibely. But then, to take the leap to do your own thing and build that. It’s such a unique experience.

So to then go to another company that like, your company was integrated into it can go in different directions. So it’s really smart of them to approach it the way that they have and really, it sounds like they’re empowering you and giving you the autonomy and things like that.

So it’s really smart of them to do. 

Tell us a little bit bit more about the struggles that Kajabi customers experience and how Kajabi communities really solve those problems and struggles.

Teri: Yeah, so a lot of different creators come to us at different stages. So some will come in the beginning of their career in terms of maybe they’re a coach, maybe they’re an author, maybe they’re just starting out a new course there’s some kind of expert in the field. 

And then we have the other side of it, which are people like Jay Shetty, Blagoilates lots like Ali Abdaal, like these huge creators that already have massive followings and they, want to help others learn and grow from their experiences, their passions.

That whole range has very different problems, but they generally come to Kajabi to start that business monetize. Creators make over 5 million a day collectively on the platform, which is just a testament to how well the platform like powers the backbones of these businesses.

And then how Kajabi communities comes in is there gets to a point in creator, tenure where you wanna start scaling your time. It’s a really important part of anyone, whether you’re an employee or a business owner, or you’re a creator, there’s a point where you need to be able to make more money from doing less.

And that’s where communities comes in. There’s one model where you can have a free or a, low ticket community where you are empowering people to learn from each other, grow from each other, have amazing discussions, get feedback, get accountability, collaborate, new nodes of, connecting that are just not possible on social media today, which is a good place to build an audience, but not a good place to build a business.

And then you have a second type of community, which is often like higher ticket, little bit higher effort, but much more like lucrative as a program. Think of things like Masterminds or like really intimate, exclusive communities. 

But the way that it scales a creator is that it still giving you that collaborative environment where the network nodes are connecting, but you’re making a lot more money per individual.

And so it’s well worth your time, even though you’re spending maybe like one hour a week doing lives or two hours a week, just like making sure the community goes well, it’s still a very, well worth it. When you think about the ROI of making thousands per month per member in your community, if not tens of thousands in some communities. Have you ever heard of a mastermind before or had one yourself?

Jessy: Yeah, no, absolutely. Of course.

Teri: Yeah, so that’s definitely like the second model of, this high ticket, lower mid touch community. And we definitely recommend a lot of creators who are looking to scale themselves, look into that model.

Jessy: That’s so interesting. I think that, we talk a lot about it on this show, and I certainly hear it a ton in the creator economy broadly, that I guess influencer marketing from our vantage point was really, the huge monetary opportunities seem to have been predominantly built upon brand partnerships which is fine and that’s great and, a lot of people listening to this show their role is very heavily involved in that.

I think that lately I’ve been hearing a lot more about the, economy has taken a turn and brand partnerships are a little bit slower or we just don’t wanna be so heavily reliant upon, money that we can’t necessarily control as like a creator or as a talent manager. It’s very much out of your control in terms of how often or how much these brand partnerships are gonna be worth. 

So I think that as creators and as their talent managers continue to have more of a savvy business mindset, it just makes so much more sense for them to think about all of the additional revenue streams that they can and should be exploring. 

And people a lot are like communities, communities. It makes so much sense. Of course, that’s what most creators have on the social platforms. But I think what really resonated with me, with what you were saying is, those platforms aren’t necessarily conducive to monetizing those communities, right?

They’re launching like little features here and there, but nothing that’s meaningful enough and certainly it’s gonna be such a time suck because it’s not purposefully built to do that. 

And so I love what you guys have built and are continuing to build. And I think it’s just really smart. But, I just wanna make sure that our talent management community in particular is like taking notice of what you guys are building because I think that, so many creators are what have you done for me lately to their managers.

And I think that a lot of our management community should really put your platform on their radar, cuz it’s so important to know about. 

Teri: And yeah, coming from the tech side, I can speak by personal experience that you know, these platforms like TikTok, Meta Instagram, like they are all beholden to this system that I talked about, which is all about monetizing through ads, right? They may experiment with new ways of helping creators monetize, but their bread and butter and their focus, it’ll always be, how do I get people to spend more time on this app. 

And so while creators can continue to build presence and should have a presence on these social media platforms, at the same time, it’s not a reliable system that will help them grow their business or even attain any kind of psychological security in the future. Right?

So at some point, once Once you build that audience or even a smaller audience, you have to start thinking about a long-term sustainable growth plan. 

And that’s where platforms like Kajabi come in where it becomes your, like zone of safety or your ability to monetize in your direct to fan or direct to follower like model where you can reach them via emails, you have them in your community and can broadcast an announcement anytime they regularly hear from you.

You’re not like at the whim of an algorithm. So I always recommend to creators that I talk to keep going on the social media platforms, pick one or two, that you are, happy with, that resonates with the way that you produce, but don’t lock yourself in there for too long, because once Twitter might shut down or TikTok gets banned, like what is gonna happen?

You need to make sure that you have your, career plan knocked out the same way that any other like founder or employee would.

Jessy: Yeah, no I appreciate that so much, and again, like I think the social platforms lean really heavily into the ads. You’re saying how, the social platforms, like their agendas, how to sell more advertising and having a presence on them will also, yield money for the creators in terms of brand partnerships, and be very top of funnel and continue to grow your audience.

I think I don’t know the way that I describe even our community, is like the people who are our members, like they’re our super fans. Like they are the ones who are like obsessed with influencer marketing and really take it that much more seriously. 

But we have, our Instagram followers and we have people on our email list stuff like that. And those are people who are lurkers. Those are people who will dip in and dip out. And I think that no matter what your community looks like, they’re probably gonna be all of those types of people. But to be able to have the tools to be able to really maximize. Sell to provide more value to your super fans is a really incredible thing.

And to have it all in one place is huge and have it be like a really purpose-built platform, understanding all of the nuances that are necessary, to be able to cater to that community and to be able to build what you wanna build. 

I’m curious so having had your own company, having it be acquired now at Kajabi and like building all the incredible things that you’re doing, I’m sure you’ve received a lot of professional device advice along the way.

Can you share your best or worst piece of professional advice that you’ve ever received?

Teri: So the number one thing that has made me successful, and I’ve heard this from so many founders, but I think it’s really just the key to anyone’s success is persistence. You’ll hear this with content creators, you hear this with founders, but I think the people who succeed aren’t smarter, aren’t more talented than anyone else, they’re actually just the ones who don’t give up as easily. 

And if you continue in different directions and don’t give up, you’re almost like guaranteeing your chances of success for your own career, for your own life. 

And so I, learning from my parents and seeing just like my mom accomplish everything that she could without even much helping her, I definitely learned from that. And I am probably one of the most like relentless people that I know when I see a problem, I go outta my way to fix it. I don’t let anything hold me back. Like I might hit one to, hundred hurdles along the way, but I bash through that wall just to make it happen. And that is essentially what made me successful here versus others.

It’s nothing in particular that I knew or did. Although strategy can obviously be an accelerant. But yeah, that is something that I continue to tell others. It’s if you want something, if you wanna accomplish this goal, like the only thing you need to do is set that goal and start taking a series of baby steps to make it happen when you hit a hurdle and you inevitably will, it’s your failures that will define your successes.

And if you’re not hitting any failures, you’re not gonna hit many successes just how it is. So I continue to really live and breathe that mantra. 

The, worst advice I’ve ever gotten? I’m not sure. I think all advice has its merits in its own way. I think as a like society, we tend to think of success as, like the marker of happiness. And so one thing I’ve realized is how little accomplishing milestones will actually drive permanent happiness. 

And so you always think if I get that job, if I accomplish this revenue goal, if I hire this person, or raise this much money, I’m gonna be happy. That’s the moment I’m gonna be happy. The moment I’m featured on TV, that’s it. I’ve made it. And it’s never like that. 

When you get to that point, you’ll feel a little dopamine and some happiness come from it, but it really quickly fizzles out and you start thinking about the next milestone. 

And even I remember the moment that we were featured on Forbes or TechCrunch, I think I saw the article was relieved it went out as expected and then immediately went on to, okay, now we have to actually, build something more meaningful. 

This is not actually that great because now it means we have more pressure, blah, blah, blah. So I think appreciating the joy and the process is super important to maintain real happiness long term.

And as society, we’ve told ourselves this big lie that once we accomplish our goals, we’ll be happy. And it’s never like that. When a lot of founders, when they exit, they will actually be really depressed. Even, they had a hundred million dollar outcome, billion dollar outcome. You’ve seen founders like, I think, was it Kate Spade who, committed suicide?

So yeah there’s just, too many instances of this where we think that outcome, will make us happy, but actually we feel aimless. We feel lost. We feel like we don’t know who we are anymore, and like what is the point of life? And it becomes super existential. So all that to say, enjoy the journey because, and find the happiness from that, because you won’t find happiness even when you reach destination.

Jessy: That is so relatable. Cause as somebody who has the capacity and the drive to build a company, there are like continuous dopamine like hits that you’re getting and there is just that like persistence and that drive and just, I guess overall the purpose, it’s so wrapped up in your identity to your point.

It’s super relatable to, want that thing, and then you get it, and then it’s what’s the next thing? And that’s just like a really dangerous way to go about life because are you ever happy? Are you ever satisfied?

And so I guess my follow up question would be like, I was literally talking about this last night as we’re like after work, watching TV and I’m like, I wonder what other people do, like after work when they truly shut down?

Like to have fun. Like I felt like in my twenties I was a workaholic. Like I was just working 24/7 or finding other things that were disguised as fun, but were inevitably feeding into my business and all about business and his response was like, I think this is just what it feels like to relax and maybe you just need to get more used to that.

And I don’t know how to think about it. This literally happened last night, so I’m still trying to figure it out. But I guess my question to you is what do you do for fun? 

What do you do to, have that more fulfilled life that isn’t all about work? And, what are some things that fill up your time in those extra hours?

Teri: So when I was working on Vibely for five years, I honestly didn’t have a outlet. I think I, basically spent most of my day at staring at my computer, which is ironic given the mission that we had. I just wanted to make it happen so badly. I was just, tied to my computer, like constantly getting things done.

I couldn’t even really enjoy like any kind of travel or vacation because I would just be so stressed and not moving, was making me more stressed and, actually, getting work done. I think that was a lesson for me because I did burn out after the five years. It was just not sustainable. I didn’t have any hobbies.

 I eliminated my social life. I focused on just building the company. And so having a way to enjoy it along the way would’ve been a much better longer term solution to making it happen. 

But today, post-acquisition, I have a lot more time and, it’s because we’re now a, like much bigger collective organization. I think there’s about 400 people at the company today. And it’s not all on me if something goes wrong. There’s a lot of people who are all fixing it as opposed to just me being the one needing to handle it.

And so it’s been nice and refreshing actually, because I’ve been able to like, think about other things in my life that I’ve been not tending to for a while.

So for example, we just bought a house in San Mateo. It’s gorgeous, as you can see. But we renovated some of it, and I’ve been doing some like interior design on the side and just like channeling my creativity through other ways. 

But I am now also working on other projects, like I’m writing a book. I think a specialty of mine is how to network really quickly in like less 10 minutes or less. And I’ve broken it out into basically four different phases that is a playbook and I’m essentially writing it into this book. 

And I know books are not like the biggest revenue generator, but it’s a way for me to put all the, energy and creativity I have into something that’s meaningful to me.

But other than that, I guess I’m really into like singing and eating and traveling. Nowadays, I’m going to a lot of conferences and either speaking or, helping Kajabi represent. And yeah, it’s been a great time afterwards, but I’m grateful that I can enjoy it. And actually, find happiness from it because a lot of founders actually can’t.

Jessy: Yeah, I’ve seen that and it is really wonderful that you’ve been able to find that and, enjoy the home renovations. We just recently bought a house like a couple years ago, so we like just hired an interior designer to start to finally fill out like our furniture and stuff like that.

So this is what it feels like to relax, it feels weird. I guess that’s the point, right? We all work so hard and I can relate a lot to, your work being so wrapped up in your identity. 

And there’s also just such a thing as like if we repeat habits and we repeat patterns over and over again that is just what you become so used to. And whether they’re healthy or unhealthy, it can just be hard to break those patterns. 

Just this past couple weeks for Mental Health Awareness month, we had a whole episode about just like how to approach your mental health. And anyways, we were talking a little bit about things that just snap you out of your routine, like simply, spraying some perfume, like scent just will immediately snap you out of that of a certain mentality and like a reset button.

And, for some people, it’s taste. Some people just go into a nice restaurant, like they can immediately relax because just sensorily, like they can just switch into a different mindset. I just appreciate all that perspective so much. 

Is there anything that, you can give us a first look at in terms of maybe what’s on the horizon for Kajabi communities.

I’m sure you guys are like building things all the time. Is there anything that you can preview with us today?

Teri: Yes. Okay. So Kajabi as a company has been working on a lot of cool stuff. I think in particular, a lot of AI driven, improvements. So you can have a, course outline, coaching outline developed for you instantly instead of starting with a blank slate. 

A lot of our creators will look at it to edit it and add on top of it so they can spin in their own personal brand and style. For Kajabi Communities we’re working on a lot of customization options. 

And so that’s the number one thing we’ve heard from creators on Kajabi, is they wanna make it completely their own in every single way. And so that’s something that’s on our, current priority and we’re rapidly shipping things to make that happen.

The next thing is we are also integrating elements of AI. Surprise, suprise because we really care about scaling creators time and AI is a great way to make that happen. Whether that’s you know, sparking conversation through starter questions or ways to like, assimilate kind of the sentiment and the trends that are people are already talking about in the community and making it easy for you to surface those, or it’s like exclusive challenges that are about the course content that you create or the things that people are already thinking about in the community discussions, or it could be as simple as like a one click way for your community to get started up, without creativity or like the downtime to think about what could be in it. All that are things that we are thinking about.

But we’re also long term definitely gonna integrate the Kajabi core product and the communities product really intimately together. So you’ll see things like, the courses linked directly to challenges. So you can create a call to action where seven days of meditation happens after you release a meditation like lesson or let’s say you have a photography how to shoot landscapes. You could have a landscape photo battle in a challenge. 

So ways to really tightly integrate that. There’s also ways that you can once you have your community members, you can segment those into email, drips or, campaigns that target specific actions within the community.

So that might be like, someone who liked this post about, the merch that you had just announced. Okay, then can you segment them into email campaign and send them more information about it? So we’re gonna become the most powerful tool for communities and creators, by far, with all these really advanced integrations.

And it’s something that’s, already baking. So it’s gonna be exciting to see that come out.

Jessy: I’m just obsessed with everything that I love the mission, I love, giving back time. I was just having conversation with somebody the other day and it sounded like they were in that moment coming to the realization of how hard it is to be an influencer and a creator.

And my background in particular is in management, so for years, I guess if you ever, in whether it’s firsthand, secondhand. Have a, clear line of sight into what it takes to be a successful creator. You respect the hell out of it. And so I think that it’s just really powerful that you guys have built and are continuing to build the tools that professionalize everything that they’re doing. 

Make it simpler to accomplish their goals, make it more streamlined, efficient, like all the things. So it’s been such a pleasure, like getting to know you, getting to know more about Kajabi and how all of our, like listeners and people who are watching on YouTube can just take advantage everything that you guys have to offer.

So I have a feeling that some members of our community are probably gonna reach out, and if and when they do, what’s the best way for them to connect? Is it LinkedIn? What’s the best way for them to reach out and connect with you?

Teri: It’s so funny because it, I tell people to contact me if it’s professional, it’s usually LinkedIn. But because I want to, be there for anyone who has any questions. If you wanna DM me on Instagram my Instagram handles a little, funny, it’s teriyaki chicken.

I’ve had multiple publicists tell me to change my handle, but I still love it and I’m gonna keep it. But if you wanna DM me and just ask questions like if you have needed any advice, happy to like, give you my best thoughts on that. And especially in regards to Kajabi, we might have ways to help you get started, that I can send over. So yeah, I’m really excited to hear from everyone.

Jessy: Perfect. And we will link all of those in the show notes of the episode. So don’t worry. And you should totally keep that handle. It’s so good. keep it like, don’t listen to those publicists. 

They’re just doing what they think they should be doing. They’re trying to help. So thank you so much for coming on state, it’s been such a pleasure.

And for everyone who is tuning in, we will see you guys next week. 

Teri Yu

Head of Product, Communities, KAJABI

Teri Yu is a repeat founder who raised $2.5M+ and successfully sold her company Vibely to creator powerhouse Kajabi. She has deep product & sales expertise from experiences at Asana and Microsoft. Teri was also previously a viral YouTube creator.

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