Key points of topic with Stu McLaren:



Get clear on why you do whatever you do. If you lose your why your lose you way.



People underestimate the value of their ideas and the time you invest into ideas. We can all make things a little more special or magical with some creativity and time.

What if I “can’t” come up with great, creative ideas?

All you need to do is feed your brain with a multitude of different stimuli:

  1. Surround yourself with related sources of stimuli
  2. Surround yourself with completely unrelated sources of stimuli



TRIBE Workshop- helps people be clear on what they are offering, who they are offering it to, and help their members make progress.


If you want to be a part of Stu’s TRIBE Workshop, go to

There’s a limited time once a year where you can join to be a part of the TRIBE Workshop, and once the doors close then that’s it until the next season of promotion.

Show Transcription

[00:41] Welcome to The Ziglar Show, where we inspire your true performance. I’m your host Kevin Miller and today Ziglar Ex VP Mark Timm and I bring you a high octane discussion with Stu McClaren. Who is Stu? He’s a primary mastermind behind connecting leaders with their audiences. Michael Hyatt who has been wildly successful with his Platform University…Stu was his partner in creating it. Stu is about…connection, authentic connection. It’s hard to have a monopoly on any information and knowledge these days. But nothing can replace engagement and relationship. Stu coaches and consults New York Times best-selling authors, top-rated speakers, experts and niche celebrities on how to launch, grow and scale high-profit recurring revenue streams, primarily around profitable and fulfilling membership sites where the point is…human connection and relationships. In the show we talk about Stu’s personal journey that brought him such huge success and why he’s now devoted himself in his work to helping people connect, and through that in his personal life, helping some of the least fortunate on earth, he and his wife build schools in Kenya. You will be inspired.

[01:58] Stu is also the former founder of the world’s #1 membership platform for WordPress, WishList Member, where he had the chance to serve and support over 60,000+ online communities and membership sites.  Through that experience, he gained a unique insight into the subtle membership nuances that produce massive results.

[02:19] His new endeavour that you’ll hear about in the latter part of the show is TRIBE which you can find at

[04:37] OK folks, Mark Timm and I now bring you, Stu McClaren.

[04:55] Ok Stu, I wanna know about your personal journey. What inspire you your true performance? I mean you’ve had such significant success in business world and now with your humanitarian fronts we want to know how and why in literally I want to go back I mean to your upbringing how did it influence your path towards success?

[05:17] Well for me, I grew up in a very small town about an hour and a half south of Toronto and when I say small town I mean it like I had corn on one side and cows on the other you know. And so I grew up in this family where both my parents worked really really hard and I don’t know if anybody listening can relate but you know both my parents had two full time jobs. My dad he worked in a high school with kids with special needs from nine in the morning till three in the afternoon and then four nights a week he would work in a group home with people with special needs from eight at night till eight in the morning. Now on top of that he was also always there at every basketball game, soccer game you know cross country meet, he was there supporting and sharing my sister and I on. I don’t know when he slept personally. But that was the kind of you know upbringing. My mom was same she worked in elementary, if kids with autism and you know so she’d work you know the school hours nine to three and then three nights a week to working in a a fine dining restaurant as well.Sso I just grew up in a really hard working family and I think that certainly was a big influence on me and then the other big influence for me was in amongst all of that it was a very loving environment. You know my parents both of them had you know challenging things as kids when they came together they swore that they would give their kids the absolute best most loving upbringing that they could and they did. So for me I grew up in a very loving but hard working environment and that was really where everything began for me.

[06:52] So you mentioned in there and I’m curious about your parents working with special needs kids and such is that actually one of the clips that we played a lot from from Zig Ziglar and he cites this study that was done of top C.E.O.’s and big influence and how this high percentage of them came from homes where there was abject poverty or there were some handicaps either themselves or a sibling and really as we talked about that flesh that out to Tom Ziglar’s credit, he says I really think it’s because people found out that life wasn’t just about them and it took the focus off their,  does that relate to you?

[07:26]  Yeah I think for sure like we had you know both my parents would bring the kids and the people they’re looking after around the home and it developed naturally within us a sense of empathy and understanding and compassion and I think all of which have served me tremendously well you know moving forward both in business and in life. And I think that the more we can expose our kids to the fact that everything is not End Point perfect, there are going to be challenges in this world and how we handle them is really the marks our character our true character but that certainly helped me develop a lot of compassion and empathy as growing up.

[08:07] OK So in the same light though you have a family story of your own brewing there you’ve got I believe a little girl that is your biological. So here she is and she’s in a you know fluent white family here and then along comes another story tell us about that real quick.

[08:24] Oh my wife and I have always had a passion for adopting and I think it’s come from the fact that we started a nonprofit many years ago where we built schools over in Africa specifically in Kenya. And so we just have seen a lot of kids who would desperately love to have an environment to be able to grow up in with loving parents but they don’t and so there’s a lot of kids around the world who just don’t have parents that could would absolutely love them and so we would see this, every single year because we’re ringing and Africa every year and so we had a real heart for wanting to you know adopt and and support one of these children. But it’s a long process, it’s not easy and it took us alternately eight years to finally be matched up with our amazing son Sam and who we adopted from South Africa and he’s he’s just an amazing amazing little boy and we love and abets and he’s been with us now for the last two and a half years and he’s a real gem.

[10:15] When did you first become aware you wanted to achieve and realize more than just average?

[10:30] Well I can trace it back to when I was roughly around the age of twelve, my dad loves to tell the story but it really was a you know a turning point for me especially as a young entrepreneur. And that was you know my dad because we weren’t you know financially independent we didn’t have a lot of financial resources in our home, my dad was very handy he did everything himself and that meant you know if the dishwasher was broken he’d be figuring out how to fix it, if you know there needed to be pictures hung he was doing it, if there was furniture need to be built he was creating it and so here’s just one of those very hands on guys figured everything out. And this was by the way before like you know You Tube and every day where’s I’d like video tutorials of everything under the sun, you just figure stuff out. And but growing up in that there was this point in time when I was twelve years old my dad was building a deck outside for our house and he said it to me Stu why don’t you come outside and I’ll show you how to build the deck because one day you’re going to need to learn this for yourself. And I said to him not rude but just and just my twelve-year-old minds I said no Dad, I don’t want to learn that. And he said well what do you mean you don’t want to learn that and I said well I want to make enough money that I can pay somebody to do that for me. And he was just like oh and so that was like ah I was turning point. But here’s what I here’s the reason I think that came up at that age because as I said my parents work tremendously hard, nobody work harder than my parents and growing up, I realized that hard work was not the only factor to success because if it were my parents would have been the most financially successful people that I know. And so there was this disconnect that happened for me and I start asking different types of questions like how are some people more financially well off than others if it’s not solely tied to hard work and those were the early you know lessons for me or the early beginnings of that new path that you were talking about Mark where I wanted more for me and you know for maybe my future family that time.

[12:50] From early on, what has been the primary driver or drivers of your personal motivation?

[13:19] It’s a good question, I honestly I don’t know like I’ve always been fairly motivated I think like I can definitely trace back some more of the motivation and where it came from when I think about my high school days you know. I’ve always been involved in athletics, loved sports in every capacity or there be Soccer is my my main game but like you know basketball I guess a track like volleyball all kinds of sports and I remember my grade nine year, I was nominated for Athlete of the year and I didn’t even know that there was like an athlete of the year but I was nominated for and I was just like beside myself like it was like you know one of the greatest honours and I didn’t think that I would win in grade nine but what it did was it gave me the motivation to try to win it the next year. And so I didn’t win and my grade nine year and my grade ten year, I didn’t even get nominated and I was crushed like absolutely crushed but it was my parents picked me back up off the floor and they said look you didn’t win, you didn’t even get nominated this year but what that does is that now gives you motivation to prove people wrong and to prove that you should have been nominated and you should have won and I did and so the next year I not only got nominated I won it in grade eleven, I won in grade twelve and we had grade thirteen as well, also I want to grade thirteen as well and I also won to for all of our entire county.

[16:20] Have you had times of losing that motivation?

[16:45] Yeah absolutely I mean back in college we experienced that like when I failed out of my first year university. So you know I was in the honours business program and I was playing soccer at a university and soccer was a priority for me over school and so I got to the end of the year and I got the little pink notice that said Stu you may no longer proceed in the honours business program and that was a real gut check moment you know like is this really something that I want to pursue like you know how my going to handle this. The good news is that I talked to a few professors, did a few extra Simonds over the summer the bump my grade point average just enough to get me back into this you know two to school. Since by the second year, third year though everything changed for me knows because of a video that we watched of one of our marketing classes and this was a video of a guy his name is Doug Hall and he runs a company called Eureka ranch and long story short they come up with a product idea for Fortune five hundred companies, we’re talking like Disney and Ford and Fed Ex like major major companies. And he gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to come up with new ideas for them. And so in this video he’s there and a Hawaiian shirt shorts no shoes or socks on and he’s shooting Nerf guns at these corporate C.E.O.’s and I’m in this environment in business, school where everybody’s in shirts and you know shirts and ties and suits and I always felt like a fish out of water and then I see this video this guy in a Hawaiian shirt shorts and I’m like who is this, this is amazing, this is exactly what I want to do. And so what I’d learned from him because he wrote a book called Jumpstart Your brain was all about how to come up with ideas and it doesn’t matter whether it’s new ideas for your business, new product ideas, new marketing ideas, well or whether it’s new ideas for a romantic date, whether it’s ideas to land a job, it is all about use your brain and come up with great ideas. That was a huge turning point for my motivation.

[31:46] So I have to ask and I know Kevin’s jumped at the bit to ask you to but you are such a prolific idea guy and that story was like you had me at hello on that I mean it was that was that’s that’s awesome. So but what about the listeners that are out there right now Stu and they’re say oh my gosh that guy is an idea factory but I’m not like nobody nobody’s going to like my ideas, like I never have a good idea like that I can’t come up with any ideas like that. How do you inspire someone that you know Stu is filled with ideas and they just can’t get them out or they’re struggling to get them out and you’ve seen the impact it’s had on you? So this is a chance to just all of you that are listening right now they can relate to that because I know there’s a lot of you that can still do how do how do they get these ideas out?

[32:39] So creativity happens by surrounding yourself with two types of stimuli and this is what I learned from Doug Hall and the first type is what’s called related sources of stimuli. So whatever problem or challenges that you are experiencing you want to surround yourself with a lot of related sources stimuli. So for example like if you were trying to imagine like the perfect date that you wanted to create and take somebody on, what you would do is you would start to look up on the Internet like great date ideas or great first date ideas that would feed you full of lots of related sources of stimuli, lots of related ideas to get your you know creative juices flowing. Then similarly you want to surround yourself with unrelated sources of stimuli and what that means is that like things that have absolutely zero connection to the problem or challenge or thing you’re trying to come up with ideas for. So for example if again if we’re on the whole first a thing I would look at like a purple pillow or a green vase or a wooden chair or a laptop and what I would do is I would start to ask myself how could we incorporate a purple pillow or what could a green vase do, how can we use a green vase on the first date or that wooden chair and what happens is your brain starts trying to make these unrelated connections. And when that happens that’s when you come up with these really special ideas. So related sources of stimuli are going to help you generate a lot of ideas and that’s important. Unrelated sources of stimuli are going to help you generate really unique ideas, you’re not going to have as many but you’re going to have very unique and it’s that combination that allows you to come up with both a lot of ideas and very unique ideas and it doesn’t matter whether again it’s in business, whether it’s in your personal life or anywhere else this is what you’ve got to do, is you’ve got to constantly surround yourself with stimuli.

[41:08] Right there talking about personality, you used the word connect somewhere around one hundred times in that monologue right there and well it in there, it is it’s authentic to you know I came to know you as you partnered with Michael Hyatt and built platform university and I know that went on to be a high seven figure business, I looked into wish list member which was you know it’s an unbelievable membership platform site and now that brings us somewhat to today where you have tribe and where you’re working with people, you’re working with I know your bio says established authors speakers and thought leaders to launch grow in scale seven and eight figure membership sites which interestingly enough. I am in the process of doing right now so I’ll pick your brain for free in a minute but that’s connection and so tell me about that because you’re obviously have devoted your vocational pursuit at this point to helping other people create those connection points in their business for the benefit obviously you know personally but also financially.

[42:12] Yeah well for me like I was stuck in a business model about ten years ago that didn’t serve me and long story short, it was a business model where it was like a consulting practice. And so I just didn’t have any more time to give and but that so therefore my business was kind of tapping out like I couldn’t grow the business because I just couldn’t, I didn’t have any more time to give the only way I could grow was to raise my prices I could only do that so much. And so I knew that there had to be another model that would give me more leverage and so I started looking into sharing what it is that I knew with more people through a membership site. Now the problem was at the time this was you know 2008, I didn’t have the technical chops to be able to set this up myself. So I was getting frustrated because I didn’t know like what age to access man and I didn’t know how to set this up and add up and I was moaning and groaning to a friend of mine Tracy and I said like man I would just love to be able to get this membership site set up but I don’t know like what I’m doing wrong or what I’m doing right. And he said to me he’s like well what if you created your own solution and I’m like I said like dude OK maybe you’re not hearing what I’m saying like I’m having problems because I’m not technical, there’s no way that I could like create my own solution and he’s like well why don’t we team up together is like I have a great program that works with me and we can teamup and we can create something and we did and that was wishlist member and long story short that thing took off and then all of a sudden I’m in this, I’m growing this business a software company and I started to see because of all the tens of thousands of people that we were helping what was working and what was not working as it related to growing a successful membership site. And what was amazing was there that the strategies of the companies that were really growing like the ones who were doing high six seven and even eight figures, they were doing a few things completely counterintuitive to what everybody else was doing. And so that’s what I started paying attention to like what were those things, the way that they you know created the content the type of content they were producing, the way they would market their sites and the way that they would engage their members and keep them happy and paying month after month were totally different than what everybody else was doing and that’s why they kept succeeding.

[54:19] All right so to you just said Joy, I know that there are people right now like right this very second and they say to themselves I want more, I got to know more and we’re at the end of our program and so we want to be able to connect everybody listening here to what you’re doing with Tribe workshop. And so here’s what we’re going to do, we are going to set up a special URL, it’s going to be and we’re going to send people to tribe workshop so that they can learn more and I just I want you to give just a little taste because what I know about what you’re doing is that you really go all in and you’re unapologetic about serving your community which means you only open it up like once a year. If even once a year and so unlike some of the you know the offers or the places that we send people that they’ve got plenty of time to go check it out you’re getting ready to open up your tribe workshop and teach people go more in-depth about what you do at Tribal, what it what it’s like to have a membership community but you also closed the doors. And so in sixty seconds or less can you explain the logic of why you only let people in your community for a short amount of time and why you shut the doors down?

[55:46] Yes for me this is a simple business philosophy, you know in our business we have different seasons meaning different parts of the year we focus on different activities in our business and the first part we just all in to attract as many people as possible to join us for tribe. And so we’re all in terms of the promotion but then once the promotion ends our entire company shifts gear and it’s like once everybody’s in and we’ve close the doors. Now we shift gears and we serve and my belief is that we can’t do both at the best of our abilities when we’re trying to divide if we were to try to do both, that’s why you don’t see us promoting and delivering a core simultaneously. We intentionally are all in to promote and then as soon as the promotions finish we shift gears and we’re all into serve. And so it’s more of a philosophical approach to the way that we deliver our course in this regard and it’s because we are all hands on and I’m available nonstop and I could not have the capacity to be available and hands on the way that we are as a team, if we were also trying to simultaneously promote it. So for us that’s what’s made it easy for us to excel at both is that we have that hard cut off and we shift gears from promotion to serving and that’s served us well but it’s more importantly it serves our clients well because of the way we deliver the course.

[1:02:25] I hope you are inspired to build a tribe, or start getting super connected with your current tribe! Again, get connected with Stu at If you got value, the most valuable way to let us know is by leaving a review in iTunes.  And if you do, we want to thank you! Literally, if you’ll leave a review in iTunes, email us at [email protected] and we’ll send you Zig Ziglar and Tom Ziglar’s book, ‘Born to Win’. An actual hard copy! Again, email us at [email protected] and tell us the user name you use in iTunes. We’ll thank you by sending you the Born to Win physical book!

[1:03:09] Coming up next in show 559 we go behind the scenes with Stu McClaren and follow the Ziglar wheel of life, walking through Stu’s challenges and healthy habits in the 7 spokes. Some highlights: He’s a soccer fan and is almost always playing on a team or two. Being active with his young kids is a big part of his physical fitness regime. He started eating better for his kid’s sake! He’s big on managing family time amongst the entrepreneurial lifestyle and is a staunch proponent of Rules and Boundaries. Mentally Stu puts a high level of importance on having confidence in ourselves. He believes fear is like a muscle and you must work it out, so he’s routinely looking for things to do that stretch his fear muscle. Financially he loves being an entrepreneur where you can make an unlimited amount of money and feels the more money we make the more impact we can have. He and his wife have built 11 schools in Kenya that on average serve 4-700 kids. Personally he just loves creating experiences and celebrating others.  As you can tell, it was a rich discussion. Till then…







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