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Do You Have What It Takes to Profit from a Membership Site?

Do You Have What It Takes to Profit from a Membership Site_

Membership sites offer the best of times and the worst of times.

Believe me, I know.

My first foray into running a membership site was My BIG Brand System, a membership I founded in 2010.

I learned everything I could about creating a membership site from Teaching Sells, a course I took from the team at Copyblogger.

To be perfectly honest, running that membership site was not an entirely positive experience for me.

Here’s what I loved about my member site:

  • Sharing a topic I was passionate about with an interested audience of adult learners
  • Serving the community that gathered around my information: they were amazing
  • Seeing the recurring income that began flowing into my business

Here’s what I did not love about it:

  • That the interested audience of adult learners was tiny: that site never blossomed into the large, active community I dreamed of
  • That I had to continue to produce content for my small group of members month after month
  • That the recurring income that flowed into my business was only a trickle — it didn’t cover the time I spent working on the site

The rose-colored promise of a profitable membership site

Member site pros and cons

When everything is working as it should, membership sites can be the best of all worlds for your online business.

You’re sharing a topic you love with a group of people who want to know more about it.

You experience the joy of seeing people benefit from applying the hard-earned knowledge you share.

You count on reliable income: every month that goes by, a similar amount of profit flows into your business.

This consistent income allows you to do a lot of things. Think about it:

  • You could hire an assistant to help you with repetitive, trainable tasks
  • You could invest in advertising to promote your member site
  • You could pay for professional-level design and editing services for your member site content

The crappy reality of a membership site that doesn’t live up to its potential

Member site pros and cons

When a membership site goes bad, it becomes like a ball and chain you have to drag along behind you.

Month after month you must produce new content to fulfill your obligations to your members. And if the site isn’t bringing in the income you expected, you can find yourself working very hard for little or no pay.

Plus, you have no choice but to:

  • Continually delight members so you keep your “churn” number low: this is the number of customers who drop out of your program
  • Market it consistently and actively find ways to make it new and exciting to your members

Should you create a membership site?

member-site-advice

If you had asked me a couple of years ago, I would have filled your ears with cautionary tales about taking on the responsibility of a membership site for all of the reasons outlined above.

But my view has changed — because of a new course I took.

In 2016, I took Stu McLaren’s TRIBE course. Stu is one of the original team members behind Wishlist member software, so he has seen firsthand what works in member sites technically.

More importantly, Stu is the person behind some of the most financially successful member sites in the world, including my fellow Nashvillian Michael Hyatt’s Platform University site.

Several years ago, Michael approached Stu for help with his member site. Stu analyzed what was working and what needed improvement. Then he set about systematically improving every aspect of the site, from the way content is structured and presented, to how the site is marketed.

Today, Michael’s site has 6,000 members who pay $30/month.

(No need to grab your calculator: that’s $180,000/month.)

Stu’s course is one of the BIG reasons I created my own membership site, The BIG League!

Learn more about the BIG League here.

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson coaches people in mid-career to build profitable online businesses. Apply to work with Pamela in her Offer Accelerator, learn more about her books, and read reviews of the tools used to run this site and business.
Pamela Wilson coaches people in midlife to build profitable online businesses
I’m Pamela Wilson

In 2010, at the age of 45, I started this site and grew it into a business that offers freedom, flexibility — and consistent revenue.

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8 thoughts on “Do You Have What It Takes to Profit from a Membership Site?”

    • They’re pretty amazing, aren’t they, Cat? Glad you’re enjoying them.

      And thanks for the note you sent through this morning: I appreciate it!

  1. Thanks for your tip about Stu’s promotion, Pamela. I had already learned about him through Michael Hyatt’s Platform University, and watched several videos with him. So I already knew he was good! These free videos are excellent. I appreciate your recommendation. It’s always good to hear reviews from reliable sources!

    • Aren’t they amazing, Sharon? So glad you’re enjoying them. I have had nothing but positive experiences with their materials (launch and course materials) and their team.

  2. Thanks oodles and bunches for the recommendation Pamela! I’ve “threatened” to create a membership thang for years and I just couldn’t get myself to deal with the “cons” you mentioned.

    Hope you’re having a great one!
    Hugs&Blessings. MamaRed.

    • You’re welcome! I really like how this training doesn’t gloss over the “cons.” Rather than pretending they don’t exist, it teaches you how to deal with them.

      I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed it!

  3. Since you’ve introduced us to Stu I guess that means Brian Clark won’t be teaching this anytime soon?

    • Hi Catherine,

      Brian’s Teaching Sells course is the first online course I ever took! It was excellent — super comprehensive. That course is now off the market.

      Brian has a new course about online teaching which is also excellent. It is tailored to a slightly different market than Stu’s course.

      I’d be happy to guide you in the direction of the course that would work best for you if you care to tell me a bit about your business and what you want to accomplish.

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Pamela Wilson coaches people in midlife to build profitable online businesses
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